5 Creative Car Dealership Marketing Strategies to Get More Customers

Office desk with scratch paper that says "Marketing Strategy"

Every business wants more customers and sales – but sometimes making that happen is easier said than done. From buying newspaper ads to posting on Facebook to cold-calling potential customers, it may feel like you are already doing a ton to market your business without seeing great results.

The success of your car dealership depends on you getting potential customers coming to your lot. How do you make that happen, without blowing your budget?

Here are 5 smart car dealership marketing strategies to help you attract more customers, sell more cars, and get more positive reviews.

Why Marketing Matters for Car Dealerships

Wide shot of car dealership lot

Depending on where your car dealership is, it’s likely that you have a few (or many) local competitors. What this means is that waiting for potential customers to just drive by your sign and come to your lot isn’t the best approach. You’ll need a marketing strategy that helps you stand out.

Marketing matters because it allows you to get in from of potential car shoppers before they even drive by your lot. With marketing, you can grab their attention online, at events, or via referral so they come to you straight away – without ever glancing at your competitors.

Try these 5 car dealership marketing ideas to make your business stand out.

1. Jump into Video Advertising

Smartphone on video recording tripod

With 90% of consumers saying that video marketing directly affects their buying decisions, car dealerships and businesses in general can’t afford to skip out on video.

Auto dealerships can use video to grab attention on social media, generate business via YouTube, and target potential customers through paid ads. With a professional video discussing your latest deals or new cars on the lot, you’ll have something that makes you stand out from your competitors.

Videos are great because they help you build trust as well. Potential customers are more likely to check out your lot if they feel that you are authentic, friendly, and trustworthy. Use video to your advantage to teach people more about your business.

You can use your laptop webcam or smartphone to record videos on your own or hire a professional videographer if your budget allows. It doesn’t always have to be fancy. Just be sure to tell people the name of your business, where to find you, and how to contact you.

2. Throw Newsworthy Events

Local event tent on the lawn

Involvement in the community is a great way to expose locals to your brand. Depending on the type of cars you sell, there are a few different ways that throwing killer events can serve as a great car dealership marketing strategy.

If you sell antique, exotic, hypercars or another kind of specialty automobile, the best event to throw is a car show. Put a few of your hottest wheels out on the lot and invite other local car owners to bring their beloved rides. This will create a buzz in your local car community and bring your target audience to you.

Don’t worry if you sell more practical cars. There are other events that will benefit you. You can sponsor a themed event that is fun for the whole family. Just make sure you provide a ton of branded merch!

Some ideas are back to school picnics, fall festivals, Christmas in July parties, local holiday celebrations or even something as specific as a bike safety expo. Your community building will likely be noted in the news, and your attendees will be reminded of your business regularly since your t-shirts, cups, drawstring bags and stickers will be in their homes.

Make your car dealership a household name.

3. Gather Online Reviews to Build Trust

Two cans of soda that say "Thumbs Up"

The importance of creating the perfect environment for a smooth car buying experience is a no brainer. But with the constant evolution of digital technology, it is important to stay ahead of the curve.

People can buy cars online with all of the details about the car spelled out before them and with no salesperson breathing down their necks. If you want to keep your customers to buy from you in the future and refer you to their friends, you’re going to have to match that pressure-free car buying experience. 

Offer incentives to customers who leave positive reviews on Yelp and Google. A few 5-star reviews are a great start, but hundreds of reviews that average close to 5 stars can help you build a great reputation and trust in the community.

It all comes back to the experience that you provide to each and every customer who walks through the doors of your car dealership. Make sure your customers know that they are valued and you aren’t trying to oversell or take advantage of them. When there is genuine trust between you and your community, selling cars will be a breeze. 

You can send out emails to past customers asking them for reviews in order to bump up your online reputation. This will encourage more people to choose your dealership over your competitors.

4. Invest in Local SEO

Block letters that spell out "digital marketing"

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing strategy that involves attracting online customers via search engines – namely, Google. When people go to Google and type in “car dealership near me”, an algorithm determines which businesses show up in the search results. Your goal, then, is to take advantage of this algorithm to ensure that your business is at the top of the search results.

SEO involves targeting specific keywords that potential customers are using to find car dealerships like yours. When you optimize your website for these keywords, you increase your chances of showing up in the search results. Then, people can click on your website or business information to find out more about what you offer.

To optimize your business, we recommend hiring a trusted SEO professional. They will help you find the right keywords, use the keywords correctly in your website content, optimize your Google business listing, generate positive reviews, and more. Of course, you can take the DIY route by researching SEO online, but you will save loads of time (and energy) by hiring a pro.

Getting to the #1 spot in the Google search results is the very best thing you can do for your car dealership’s marketing. That means you will be the first option people see when they are looking to buy cars in their area.

5. Build Beneficial Partnerships

Two car dealership owners shaking hands

If you’re looking for more ways to build trust in your community and expose larger audiences to your brand’s name, one of your best bets is to establish meaningful partnerships with local brands.

Brand partnerships can vary in nature, but they typically involve cross-promoting each others’ businesses or products. For example, you could partner with a local car wash that posts promotional signs about your car dealership, while you give each new buyer a coupon to go visit that car wash.

When you’re supporting one another, you don’t usually have to pay for the promotion. You can feature one another on your websites or throw co-sponsored events. Your car dealership log is a great tool to use in brand partnerships because you can plug them into posts or use it to spread awareness to any projects that you’re collaborating on. 

Brand partnerships can open many doors and lead to many possibilities for your business.

Marketing Moving Forward

There are many directions that you can go with your marketing. But at the end of the day, you need to choose what works best with your target audience. 

Test out some of these out-of-the-box car dealership marketing strategies, and see what helps drive more sales. Use your creativity to leave a lasting impression on potential car buyers in your community.  

Which of these car dealership marketing strategies will you use to set your dealership a step ahead of the rest?

Written by:

Roman Massey

Roman is the owner/operator of Raxxos. He has a blend of strong technical skills, business acumen, a love for people, and impacting the world in a massive way. His superpower is creating efficient/automated business systems and empowering businesses with technology. He contributes to his local community and is part of many entrepreneur and digital nomad groups. He owns a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle which he enjoys riding.. Everywhere.

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