When it comes to branding and marketing, traditional advertising isn’t just outdated — it’s downright expensive.
For every vehicle you sell through traditional advertising methods, you’ll spend hundreds (possibly thousands) of dollars to do so. That money comes right out of your bottom line, making it hard to hold any gross or net margins when you’re spending so much to attract a single sale.
Rather than spending time and money on advertising vehicles to new customers, why not maximize your marketing by focusing on unique branding in two other areas: what makes your dealership different than the rest and bringing in previous customers.
Help Your Dealership Stand Out
You’ve just gotten in a shipment of the newest model of Toyota sedan. So have two of your competitors within a ten-mile radius. Why should customers spend time visiting your dealership instead of one of the others?
Blowing up a giant inflatable gorilla and placing it out front doesn’t cut it. To excite and motivate customers, you need to get creative.
Incentivize them for visiting your dealership.
Mail out flyers or run a digital advertisement to your social media followers letting them know that if they come in and test drive a new model, you'll give them a free oil change on their next service visit. Offer them a gift card for accessories or vehicle-branded swag in exchange for a test drive.
Highlight Complimentary Maintenance
Another way to make your dealership stand out is to hammer home the benefits of your complimentary maintenance program. Make sure that new customers have a full understanding of their complimentary maintenance package before they drive off in their new vehicle. Utilize all of your dealership’s tools to ensure that they’re returning for regular complimentary maintenance appointments.
While they’re in for those appointments, they’re a captive audience for you to promote your dealership. Make sure you have a comfortable waiting area, free snacks, complimentary WiFi — something that makes their wait a pleasure, rather than uncomfortable boredom.
As they wait, this is a great time to educate them about newer models of vehicles that they may want to shift into when they tire of their current one.
The wait during an oil change and tire rotation is perfect for a test drive. Even if they don’t buy a new vehicle right away, you’ll have planted the seed for them to start thinking about their next car... and when they’re ready to buy it, they’ll come back to your dealership.
Target Current Customers
It’s a fact: advertising to current customers costs much less and is more effective than drawing in brand new ones.
Rather than wasting time and money focusing all of your efforts on increasing your reach, create a strategy that includes a sharp focus on people who have purchased from you in the past.
Use social media extensively. From Facebook to Instagram and Twitter, tailor posts that will interest and entertain your followers, keeping your dealership at the forefront of their minds even when they’re not currently in the market for a new car. Use your social media accounts to target your audience and announce a flash sale on a particular year, make, and model of vehicle to draw in the portion of your customers who are nearing the time for a new vehicle.
Run specials on maintenance so that customers who have moved beyond the mileage or time limits on their complimentary maintenance program will return to your dealership to have work done. Educate them about the benefit of having a certified technician perform maintenance and repairs on their vehicle, rather than taking it to a general mechanic.
By working to differentiate your dealership from the rest and using those differences to keep current customers coming back, you’ll get the most bang out of your advertising buck.