4 Auto Dealer Advertising Ideas Your Competitors Haven’t Tried Yet

auto dealer advertising ideas

When you’re an auto dealer, advertising ideas that drive sales are essential — you just need to deliver ads the way customers want to consume them.

Your favorite show goes to commercials, and then you see it: a close-up shot of an overly enthusiastic man’s grinning face.

The camera zooms out, and you see that the man is standing in an auto dealership’s lot, surrounded by rows of shiny cars and brightly colored balloons. Suddenly, he begins shouting about “LOW PRICES!” and “ZERO DOWN!” in his regional accent.

Instead of focusing on the actual content of the commercial, you start to wonder why this dealership made such an unappealing television ad. Don’t these salespeople know that low-budget TV commercials just make their dealership look low in quality as well?

Many used car dealerships think these kinds of ads are among the most powerful auto dealer advertising ideas. What is the truth? There are many, much more efficient methods of advertising that most local dealers haven’t even scratched the surface of yet because they’re stuck in the past.

While your competitors are busy focusing on lead generation ideas that worked in the ’90s, why don’t you take a step into the here and now with auto dealer advertising ideas that work?

Auto dealer advertising ideas for using video

Quality photos of your inventory are necessary, but most auto dealerships already know that. Go one step further and invest in video. In late 2013, Google released a report called “Digital Drives Auto Shopping,” and the results were very clear — 84% of video researchers plan to watch auto videos the next time they shop for a car. The report also found that an online video was the top ad format for driving brand consideration.

And remember, those numbers are from the end of 2013; online video’s impact has only increased since then.

How should you use those videos? There are a few innovative ways that many local car dealerships haven’t quite latched onto yet:

Pre-Roll Ads

What are pre-roll ads? They’re those short ads that pop up before a YouTube video starts … and they work. Usually, pre-roll ads are much cheaper than other forms of advertising, but they’re excellent at keeping consumers engaged and boosting website traffic. You can set very specific parameters in Google when it comes to what kind of people can view the ad — for example, individuals who don’t live more than a specified number of miles from your dealership — to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Snapchat and Instagram

These newer forms of social media are currently most popular with the younger population, but they’re also the future of social marketing — and you need to stake your claim before your competitors get there. The videos don’t have to be long; in fact, they can’t be. Snapchat videos can only be a maximum of 10 seconds, while Instagram recently increased their length from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. There are also Snapchat and Instagram “Stories” which allow you to take multiple videos throughout the day, and your followers watch them in succession like a story. Use these videos to show off new inventory and to give consumers a glimpse into your brand’s personality. By the time they decide to set foot in your dealership, they should recognize most of your staff from your videos and feel like they know them already.

Incorporate existing customers into your auto dealer advertising ideas

Usually, when thinking about advertising, you’re focused on the customers you want to get — not the ones you already have. However, you put in a lot of hard work to win those existing clients. Use them to your advantage, and harness their enthusiasm for your dealership in a way that can increase your sales.

Host a contest on social media

Encourage your team to come up with a contest idea for Facebook; Facebook is still the most popular social network, and you want to engage the highest number of people as possible. You can use your imagination to cook up an idea that you think would work best for your dealership and target clientele, but make sure that anyone who participates clicks “Like” on your dealership page and shares your contest post with their network. The goal is to get people from the networks of existing customers to also “Like” your page and to start a relationship with your dealership.

Ask for testimonials

Testimonials are incredibly compelling, but most dealerships either bury them somewhere on their website or ask customers to review them on a third party site, like Yelp. These types of testimonials are still important, but if someone isn’t directly on your website or searching for reviews, they aren’t going to see some of your best material.

Ask customers to participate in video testimonials and get their permission to use them in your online advertising — post testimonials on social channels, YouTube, and in your digital ads. If anyone prefers not to be filmed, ask if you can use his or her written words in similar ways. You need to incorporate testimonials into your actual advertising because they can be extremely useful in showcasing how trustworthy your dealership is and the quality of your products and services.

The key to all auto dealer advertising ideas

As you zero in on a few different ideas for your advertising, keep one major thing in mind: consistent branding. Be very clear on what you’re trying to communicate about your dealership in your advertising and stay on message across all advertising mediums. Customers should never be confused about who you are or what your brand stands for, so make it clear in your ads and continue to build your base of loyal clientele.

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Ty W.
Ty W.

Ty was born and raised in the automotive world. He's an enthusiastic expert who writes exquisite content about cars, automotive sales, and dealership best practices. When not writing for AutoRaptor, you'll find Ty on the golf course.