Car Dealership Marketing Ideas: Be Creative & Innovative!

In today’s ultra-connected world, it is more difficult than ever for car dealerships to capture the attention of potential customers using traditional car dealership marketing tactics. The inflatable tube man may be eye-catching and amusing, but it’s not exactly a unique way to make your dealership stand out from your competitors – that’s where creativity plays a key role.

Time-tested tactics used in days gone by no longer hold up against society’s expectation for instant gratification. To remain competitive you must think outside the box and come up with something new as someone in the automotive industry. This is where understanding the different types of marketing efforts you should follow is crucial.

How can using different marketing methods help you when promoting a car?

Using different marketing tactics can be extremely beneficial for a car dealership when it comes to promoting its vehicles. By using creative and innovative tactics like handwritten notes for automotive dealers, car dealers can differentiate themselves from other local businesses and provide potential customers with a clear understanding of what sets them apart.

With new technology such as social media platforms, advertising through digital channels can help car dealers reach numerous audiences quickly and effectively. Additionally, by hosting events or running promotions or contests, auto dealers can create additional buzz around their business which may lead to increased car sales and boosted profits.

Ultimately, utilizing different automotive marketing strategies is an effective way for car dealers to engage more customers, with each offering different returns on investment. Just keep in mind that all of the below car dealership marketing strategies are scalable, so they can be as cheap or as expensive as you’d prefer them to be.

#1: Do a social media giveaway

picture of social media apps on a computer: Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, tumblr again for some reason

In the digital era, there is one car dealership marketing idea that stands above all the others: using social media channels.

There is no better locale for gaining visibility than on social media platforms. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – your customers are there! Social media can be leveraged to increase reach exponentially; think about running digital raffles tailored toward promotions and campaigns which then draw people to come into your dealership. With the right approach, you almost certainly attract customers to a larger degree than before by using certain aspects of social media marketing.

Interaction with your social media posts can significantly increase sales

By asking your followers on social platforms to interact with your giveaway posts (likes, shares, retweets), you reach a whole new customer base. What’s even better is the cost-effectiveness; you can launch several social media giveaways for something as simple as free car washes or oil changes at once!

We’ve written an article entirely about automotive social media marketing that goes a bit more into depth if you’re interested in figuring out how to maximize your time with your automotive marketing.

#2: Offer free rental cars with any service appointments

man holding car keys in front of a car door

With busy agendas, from soccer practice to business meetings, no one has time to spend at a dealership while their car is being serviced. This is an automotive marketing strategy that some may feel is controversial due to the cost, but in our eyes, it makes complete sense: offer rental cars for those who schedule service with your dealership.

Offering free car rentals can take your service experience even further and provide an amazing benefit for customers who need reliable means of transportation in the interim.

Using free rental cars as a way to get info about your current customers

Now imagine taking it up another level by providing them with a stylish new model – it could almost act as an unofficial test drive that entices them with potential upgrades! The only caveat to keep in mind here is that these customers are already within your target audience, so you don’t need to convince them to come to your dealer – you just need to understand whether they are in the market for a new car. If they are, this next automotive marketing strategy is likely a good idea.

#3: Incentivize people to trade in with a cash bonus

dollar bills on a black background

Above all else, customers yearn to be valued. To demonstrate your commitment to them throughout their car buying process, it is wise to value their trade-in higher than its average price point. You can choose to enhance the vehicle’s worth either by a percentage or an exact dollar amount; regardless of how you decide, make sure they are aware that those savings were added to their deals! The best part is that it doesn’t even have to be a huge amount – even an extra 5-10% on a trade-in can be quite substantial.

The appreciation they will feel when seeing this extra cash as one of the components in their deal will not go unnoticed – we would even suggest printing out each customer’s full list of discounts at the end of every sale for further emphasis that you, as an automotive business, care about them and the fact that they chose you as their dealer of choice.

#4: Give gift cards to test drivers

credit cards in a denim pocket

Drawing car shoppers into the driver’s seat isn’t always a cakewalk, however, once they get there, their chances of becoming customers are significantly higher. So the logical question here, is how we draw customers into auto dealerships at a higher frequency. A gift card to a local eatery or coffee shop would certainly entice test drives and possibly generate leads in a way you haven’t thought of before.

This might be more expensive than other marketing methods, but it’s worth it because you can use these cards to reward customers for trying out your cars and make them feel appreciated. It also allows you to monitor how many test drives were successful and unsuccessful so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

This can also help to build local connections

Another benefit that some auto dealerships may not think about is building connections with other local businesses. If you can get in good standing with other small businesses, you can automatically become their go-to if someone ever mentions car dealerships. You can even use your partnerships to act as physical marketing, with one example being a local bakery creating car-themed pastries for a sales event.

#5: Car sales events with a theme

multicolored eggs

A well-crafted event with a theme can completely change the atmosphere of your dealership and make it more inviting for customers, prospects, and potential buyers. Incorporating promotions into a themed event incentivizes car buyers to come in because it’s a unique, once-in-a-lifetime event (at least, that’s how your social media presence should phrase it as).

Don’t forget to advertise online

If you want to make the most out of your themed sales event, invest in digital marketing beforehand so that potential customers searching for car deals have an easy time finding it. After all, a big event like this should be experienced by everyone — not just pass them by!

#6: Take advantage of any holiday with unique bonuses

picture of Christmas ornaments red and white

This feeds in from the previous automotive marketing idea: when we’re thinking thematically about the car business, we can create a themed event, or we can just have an event framed around a specific holiday. Many car dealerships don’t take advantage of the holiday season and the wild shifts in new customers that exist; luxury cars, in particular, seem to see a roughly 35% increase in purchases during the Christmas season.

Any holiday throughout the year can see fluctuations in sales

Make the most of different holidays like Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s by utilizing them to test out special marketing ideas or events at your car dealership. Why not offer bonus incentives like extra cash off a new car purchase, free home delivery services, or maybe even a giveaway? These are times when customers are actively seeking major car sales deals so take advantage of this opportunity to experiment with fresh offers!

#7: Implement a referral program for added rewards

Referral programs are a powerful tool for any business, and the automotive industry is no exception. This is a simple strategy: reward your existing customers for bringing new customers to your dealership.

But how does this work?

Easy: every time a current customer refers a friend, family member, or colleague who purchases a vehicle, the referrer gets a discounted service or a gift card as a thank you!

Why referrals are beneficial

Think about it – what’s more persuasive than a satisfied customer singing your praises to someone they know? Referrals not only bring in new customers but also foster loyalty among your current ones. It gives them a reason to keep coming back and to talk about your dealership in their circles.

Stats show that 84% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, making this a marketing strategy you really can’t afford to overlook.

The power of word-of-mouth marketing

Referral incentives capitalize on the power of word-of-mouth marketing, one of the oldest and most effective marketing strategies. People trust their friends, family, and colleagues, and are more likely to go with their recommendations when it comes to big decisions like buying a car. And remember, every satisfied customer has the potential to bring in more customers. Make them feel appreciated, and they’ll do the marketing for you!

So go ahead, set up a referral program, and watch your customer base grow!

#8: Leverage social media for brand awareness

Social media has become an indispensable marketing tool in this digital age. It’s an excellent platform for car dealerships to showcase their inventory, announce sales events, and interact with customers and prospects. The best part about automotive marketing campaigns on social media? They’re cost-effective and can reach a diverse, vast audience!

Why social media matters

Why should car dealerships tap into social media? Here’s the thing — social media platforms allow businesses to reach out to their target audience in real time. It allows you to have a two-way communication channel with your customer base, making it easier to understand their needs and preferences. It’s also a fantastic platform to boost your brand’s visibility and credibility.

Studies show that 54% of social browsers use social media to research products, making it an ideal place to showcase your vehicles and their features!

Harnessing the power of digital relationships

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter (X) can be used to build and nurture relationships with customers and prospects. Sharing engaging content — be it car maintenance tips, behind-the-scenes looks, customer testimonials, or vehicle highlights — can keep your audience hooked and make your dealership top-of-mind when it’s time to purchase their next vehicle.

#9: Get involved in your local community

Becoming an active participant in your local community is a highly effective way to boost your dealership’s visibility and reputation. By supporting local charities, sponsoring sports teams, or participating in community events, you are not only giving back but also showing potential customers that you are a trusted and integral part of their community. It’s a win-win!

Why community involvement is crucial

Why should car dealerships get involved in their communities? For starters, it shows that you care about the same things your customers care about. By investing in the community, you’re investing in relationships, and these relationships can result in increased customer loyalty and, ultimately, more sales. Plus, who can resist a business that puts people and its community before profits?

Maximizing community engagement

There are many ways to get involved in your local community. Consider sponsoring local events, partnering with local businesses for cross-promotions, offering a free car wash, or even hosting community activities at your dealership. Not only will this increase your visibility, but it will also show your customers that you’re more than just a business — you’re a valuable member of the community.

At the core of it, remember: people prefer to do business with people they know, like, and trust.

#10: Excel in customer service for lasting relationships

There are only so many innovative marketing ideas that can drive revenue for your dealership. But one that puts back good into the world while also improving your retention? Customer service is the lifeblood of any successful car dealership.

It’s the cornerstone of your reputation, and it’s what keeps customers returning time and time again. Providing stellar customer service not only ensures customer satisfaction but also fosters customer loyalty – which is far more valuable!

Why customer service is paramount

Why should car dealerships prioritize excellent customer service? Simple – it’s the best form of advertising! Satisfied customers are likely to recommend your dealership to others, and in this age of online reviews, a glowing testimonial can be worth its weight in gold.

According to Zendesk, 87% of customers who had a good customer experience reported that it changed their future buying behavior, while a whopping 97% who had poor experiences changed their future buying patterns. So, it’s clear that providing top-notch customer service can significantly impact your reputation and bottom line.

Creating a culture of exceptional service

Building a culture that values outstanding customer service starts from the top. Equip your team with the necessary tools and training to handle customer concerns proficiently and professionally. Show empathy, be responsive, and always follow through on your promises. Never underestimate the power of a sincere “thank you” or a follow-up throughout the car buying journey.

These small gestures can go a long way in building trust and establishing solid relationships with your customers. Remember, in the automotive industry, it’s not just about selling cars; it’s about selling an unforgettable buying experience!

Make sure to track every single one of your car promotion efforts

Once you’ve initiated a promotional campaign, it’s essential to measure its effectiveness and determine if your efforts were worthwhile. Surveying is an invaluable method for recognizing marketing triumphs – gaining insight into campaigns’ performance should be a top priority!

It is critical to understand if the promotion had an impact on a customer’s decision to visit and purchase from your dealership. If it turns out that promotions weren’t particularly influential, then you must discover why in order to move forward with further promotional campaigns. Gathering direct feedback from customers should be at the heart of any future strategies since what people want can differ significantly depending on their location or brand preference.

Bonus tip: create relevant content for search engines

We’ll keep this point brief since it’s more of a bonus tip than anything, but automotive digital marketing is likely one of the best strategies to think about going forward into the future. We wanted to frame most of this article around physical marketing strategies you can follow to influence direct foot traffic rather than your trying to build brand awareness online.

But the search engine results do matter, a lot; over twice as many car buyers start to research online before going in person, meaning that the optimal way to boost sales most efficiently is to focus heavily on digital marketing ideas.

Luckily, we’ve written up an article that breaks down the ins and outs of automotive digital marketing strategies; check it out to maximize your time!

Keep things genuine to your dealership’s message

This is more of a closing statement, but you, as an automotive dealer, are uniquely poised to make creative marketing decisions that will work for your brand. To have an effective promotional campaign, it is essential to come up with inventive ideas and listen closely to customer feedback. But above all, make sure to retain a sense of individuality, of uniqueness from other dealers. If all you do is copy what other dealers do, how do you expect to be the one that new customers flock to?

When done right, these efforts will undoubtedly pay off in increased engagement from customers and a boost in sales.

How Handwrytten can help automotive dealers

automotive marketing thank you for your business example letter

In the past, customers and car dealers merely interacted when choosing a car to purchase. The best of these dealers would thank their clients with a token afterward. However, now there is an amazing chance for both parties to form an even deeper connection through unique, modern automotive trends, like handwritten cards.

Differentiating your customer experience plan by including handwritten notes, such as holiday cards, thank you cards, service reminder letters and appreciation cards is an outstanding way to set yourself apart from other dealers. This tells customers that not only are you pleased to be their friend, but also shows that they truly matter to you. Moreover, handwritten mailers have a spectacular 99% open rate! Investing in this strategy can make all the difference when showing clients just how valued they really are.

The indelible impact of handwritten notes is undeniable. Automotive dealerships that convey this level of thoughtful care and attention to their customers are proven to cultivate higher customer satisfaction, retention rates, and referrals than those who use printed cards alone. Writing a few extra words on paper can go a long way in forging meaningful connections with your clients, ensuring they remember you for years to come!

Car dealerships will be thrilled with our platform’s capabilities. We can quickly integrate your DMS to effortlessly dispatch handwritten cards that reach out to potential and current customers alike, something the automotive industry has never seen before! By providing this personalized handwritten automotive mail with a personal touch, you’ll gain immense benefits from the customer’s perspective.

Check out our services if you are interested in automatically sending handwritten cards to your customers.

Choose from our cards design or your own.

Over 100 designs to choose from or design your own. Our online card customizer makes it simple.

Check Out Our Cards!

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