How to Turn Tax Day Into Christmas at Your Dealership

Reap the benefits of making April 15 into a holiday for car shoppers

While consumers across the country file their taxes, many have already planned how they will spend their expected return. Some will put it into savings, others will use it to pay off credit card bills, and a many others will put it toward car-related purchases.

In fact, The Wall Street Journal estimates that among drivers, 35% of tax refunds will be spent on car expenses, and 25% of drivers who plan to use their refund for vehicle-related purchases will buy a new or used vehicle.

In other words, Tax Day can be like a holiday season for car dealers. But while tax refunds make their way into consumers’ pockets, dealers need to execute effective marketing techniques to capture potential buyers. For the most savvy dealers, this will involve a mix of Tax Day–specific ads across all channels.

Transform tax day into a holiday

Buyers are more likely to make a car purchase if they feel they’re receiving a special deal, and holidays or big events are a great way to create this perception. For dealers to create excitement around Tax Day—and ultimately motivate shoppers to spend their returns on car-related purchases—they must develop marketing content that specifically promotes Tax Day deals.

For some dealers, this may include creating catchy campaigns that offer additional perks to inspire buyers to come to the lot on Tax Day and put their return toward a purchase.

For example, a dealer could launch a “Double your refund, double your trade” event that offers buyers twice the amount for trading in used cars if they use their refund that day to make a new purchase. Other freebies like tickets to sporting events or free repairs and oil changes will also make shoppers feel that they’re receiving a special deal on Tax Day.

Cross-channel marketing is key

Tax Day campaigns are much more successful, however, if executed across multiple channels and integrated with highly personalized targeting efforts. Here’s why each marketing channel matters when it comes to Tax Day campaigns, and how each can be strategically altered to maximize ROI:

  • Television: TV is a great way to spread the word about your Tax Day event to a specific radius surrounding your dealership or among key demographics. This channel is best for general awareness campaigns to target top-of-the-funnel consumers because television offers little opportunity to specifically reach at-market shoppers. Focus on reaching consumers within your dealership’s radius and within a high-potential demographic.
  • Digital: In addition to TV advertising, dealers should use digital strategies like display advertising and email to better target at-market shoppers with Tax Day promotions. This is where it helps to invest in technology that allows you to target high-potential car shoppers specifically. The right strategy helps you reach consumers who are actually interested in buying, with promotions for the specific colors, makes, and models they’re interested in based on their browsing history. Prior to the Tax Day event, it’s important to incorporate specific references to Tax Day or tax refunds within your ad copy.
  • Social: To promote Tax Day sales events, dealers should use social media to supplement TV and digital advertising efforts. Although social may be a relatively new frontier for dealers, the CMO Council reports one in four car shoppers uses social media to discuss or communicate a recent purchase. What’s more, 84% of them are on Facebook, and nearly a quarter of those use it as a resource during their research process. Like display ads, social ads should be highly targeted based on a shopper’s search history, and should be tailored to mention specific Tax Day offers.

It’s no secret that tax returns burn holes in many consumers’ pockets. In many cases, this money will go toward car-related purchases. For auto dealers, this presents a huge opportunity to drive sales. The key for dealer marketers is to turn the event into a holiday for car shoppers, and promote specific sales across a variety of channels in a highly personalized way.

Bill Mahoney is the director of customer engagement at PureCars, and has 20 years of experience in sales and customer success. Since joining the team in 2014, Bill has helped provide PureCars customers with an exceptional experience.

Bill Mahoney

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