Dealers have known for a long time now that putting up great sales numbers consistently month after month take a little more effort than a slick newspaper ad. Most of you have already “made the move to digital” but what does that really mean at this point?  With fast-growing competition as dealers continue to allocate more and more of their budgets to digital marketing,  what does it take to have success as a modern car dealership? These 5 essential automotive digital marketing strategies will help you cut through the noise and focus on no-nonsense marketing tactics that produce tangible results for your store.

1. Responsive Website

Did you know that Google recently made the move to a mobile-first index?  We all knew mobile was coming and those of you who already have a responsive website will be well-prepared, in fact, you don’t need to change a thing. Responsive sites will help ensure all your content is indexed and designated mobile friendly while providing an optimal user experience for your customers across all of their devices. Nice!

If you have separate desktop and mobile sites then your situation might not be so simple, and worse yet, if you have no mobile site at all then it’s high time you make the upgrade. If you’re not sure how your website handles mobile then be sure to ask your website provider, it could be costing you traffic and sales!

2. Quality Merchandising

There’s been more than enough research and data from authoritative sources like Google and Auto Trader to demonstrate definitively that quality merchandising leads to more VDP views and ultimately more sales.  It’s so obvious that someone is bound to wonder why I even included it in the list. However, I still find dealer websites with stock photos or low quality images. Why?

There’s several easy-to-use mobile app solutions available that make it so easy to generate photos and videos for your inventory seamlessly. You also get the benefit of adding search friendly semantic mark-up to your inventory records. If you’re spending thousands of dollars to market your website and you don’t have exceptional merchandising then there’s no doubt that your ROI is suffering. Do yourself a favor and make your cars the stars with high quality photos and videos your customers will love.

3. Local SEO

You want potential customers in your area that searching for your products and services to be able to find your right? Of course you do! To make sure the shoppers in your area can find you when it matters you need to make sure your local SEO strategy is up to speed

  • Are your web pages optimized for your city/province?

  • Does your content answer the questions your audience is searching for?

  • Do you have glowing online reviews?

  • Do you have consistent NAP info ( name, address, phone number ) across all your citations on the web?

  • Have you built up some relevant inbound links?

  • Is your website structure optimized for both search engines and people?

These are just a few of the ways you can start capitalizing on local search so potential shoppers end up where they belong – in your dealership.

4. Google Ads

There’s some debate about the value of paid marketing strategies with some people suggesting that there’s not enough return on the investment. I can understand how that might occasionally be the case but in my experience, if you build a good campaign you’re going to see the results.

Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook give you the opportunity to create targeted campaigns to reach potential shoppers and bring in leads while delivering thousands of impressions that help create brand awareness as well. You have to spend your ad dollars somewhere, why not use effective platforms that let you accurately measure the results?

5. Reporting

Sometimes the solution to your marketing woes isn’t spending more money but spending your money better. You can’t improve what you aren’t measuring so it’s absolutely essential that you have the analytics in place to understand the value of your marketing campaigns.

With tracking tools like analytics, tag manager, and CallRail there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to see exactly how many leads your and calls your campaigns are generating.

Now that you know which marketing channels and campaigns are performing the best you can start adjusting your marketing mix for the most efficient results.