Tailor Your Marketing Strategy: A Dealership Isn’t a Hair Salon

Strengthen your customer base and sell more cars with auto-specific technology

In the marketing world, not all tactics are created equal. What works for one industry or brand won’t necessarily work for another. Automotive marketing can take many forms because cars mean many things to many people, from a basic means of transportation to a status symbol.

Many auto dealers, however, fail to keep their unique marketing needs in mind when developing a digital strategy because their advertising platforms and publishers are vertical-agnostic.



Put simply, dealers can’t market their dealerships like a hair salon, or any other kind of business. When choosing the best way to market their dealership and their cars, dealers need a strategy tailored exclusively to automotive so merchandising can be blended with advertising to create smart advertising.

The marketing platforms they use must understand how vehicles should be marketed based on industry variables like performance, merchandising, and market supply and demand. In the same way that certain engines run more effectively on a specific type of gas, the right strategy or platform can improve marketing performance for auto dealers.

With proper display advertising, retargeting efforts, and more, auto marketing technologies can increase traffic and sales significantly for dealerships, both large and small. The following are three key areas in which customized auto digital strategies and marketing platforms can improve sales.

Web traffic

Using a personalized combination of dynamic display advertising and site retargeting, dealerships can target the consumers furthest along in the purchase funnel. To determine if the consumer is a researcher or buyer, dealers need to understand the behavior of the shopper and the contextual part of their search query.

They can then take their ad budgets and apply it to buyers before considering researchers. By serving up relevant and customized ads, dealers can draw potential buyers back to their site and vehicle details page (VDP).

A recent study from PureCars found a direct correlation between how well merchandised VDPs were and units sold. When high-probability car buyers see specific and personalized value indicators, dealerships can turn their inventory 65% faster. The goal should always be to drive potential car buyers to the VDP, and display advertising can make this happen.

Better content

After enticing shoppers with relevant advertising, a solid auto marketing platform will bring users to the right page when they click on an ad. When more prospective car buyers are exploring options online before making a purchase, it’s important that dealers communicate clearly what their models offer.

Dealers should make their vehicle details pages easy to read, compare, and contrast. Only the most valuable and relevant info should be on display for prospective buyers to view. Transparency on the page is key because it tends to act as a virtual showroom—one step before the buyer comes to the lot to make the purchase.

By providing potential buyers the most helpful information about each model, dealers are able to serve as a resource for shoppers and understand what features are most enticing based on clicks. This data can then be used for successive retargeting.

Higher conversion rate

Thousands of dollars are spent driving people to websites, but limited time and energy is spent re-engaging or retargeting these opportunities after they leave. About 1% of visitors will fill out a form, only to leave minutes later. But proper retargeting can bring back in the remaining 99%.

Driving customers to a dealer’s website and optimizing their site visits isn’t enough to turn leads into sales, making the conversion stage crucial. Often, retargeted ads are either irrelevant or completely generic. Shoppers who have been browsing Chevrolet models, for example, don’t want to see ads indicating a Corvette’s price drop.

Retargeting speaks to already-interested site visitors with information about vehicles they viewed—price drops, detailed reports, etc.—reminding them of your dealership and offerings. This strategy gives you a better chance of recapturing customer interest using the right car at the right time in the right location to bring them to the dealership lot.

Last year, a Boston dealership association had lower-than-desired sales volume of two Chevrolet models and needed to drive sales upward. To do so, it used display advertising and retargeting to deliver ads based on search-relevant features, such as trim level, color, and reconditioning.

As a result, the association increased its sales for the two models by up to 149% throughout the region. This illustrates how personalization pays off, especially in the auto industry.

Just as engines run less than optimally with the wrong fuel, an improper marketing strategy fails to target valuable customers who are ready to buy. By adopting auto-specific marketing technology, dealers can obtain a stronger customer base and higher sale numbers.

Jeremy Anspach is the CEO of PureCars, a digital advertising platform designed exclusively for the automotive industry. Armed with the industry’s most extensive data library, Jeremy founded PureCars in 2007. A Detroit native and renowned industry speaker. his drive and passion has led PureCars to become one of only seven automotive Google Premier SMB Partners, powering digital for over 3,000 dealers across the country.

Jeremy Anspach

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