Stay competitive in the warmer month by using some of these dynamite dealership marketing strategies
Winter is notoriously challenging when it comes to auto dealership sales, with January typically being the slowest month of the year for U.S. auto sales. January 2017 was no different than past years, with the top three companies in U.S. sales—General Motors, Toyota, and Ford —all reporting declines.
But now, as the days are getting longer and you’re able to leave the house without seven layers, it feels like things will be looking up. If you want to capitalize on the heavier demand in the coming months, though, you’ll need to get your dealership marketing strategies organized and on point.
This isn’t just about shelling out money for marketing—your plan needs to be structured for both online and offline, and targeted toward the wants and needs of consumers during the spring and summer.
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ideas to get you moving in the direction of maximizing your profit during the warmer months.
Warm weather dealer marketing strategies to boost auto sales
1. Reallocate marketing dollars
Look at your marketing budget and the channels you’re using for advertising. For example, did you put a significant portion of your budget toward television commercials during the fall and winter? In spring and summer, your customers are less likely to be sitting inside watching TV, and more likely to be out and about. Consider taking some of your TV dollars and moving them into Facebook advertising or PPC ads.
2. Sponsor local events
There are all types of community events during spring and summer, so don’t miss opportunities to sponsor some of them and get your dealership’s name out there! Visit your town’s website (and neighboring towns) to get a feel for an event’s fit with your dealership’s mission and business model. Think of your target customer base and what events they might attend.
3. Host events
Sponsoring a community event is one thing, but don’t forget that spring and summer are perfect for hosting events at your dealership, as well. Advertise a big weekend barbecue on your lot with free food and games for local families—no string attached. It’s a nice way to bring in new faces and create good will (that will eventually come back to you in the form of future sales).
4. Analyze your summer sales history
If you’ve been in business for a while and tracking your dealer marketing strategies diligently, your marketing efforts don’t have to be a guessing game. Go back in your records to look for lulls and boosts in sales during the spring and summer months of past years. Try to figure out what may have been going on during those periods of time—did you get a boost in sales after the local newspaper ran a story about your dealership? Was there a big dip in sales in two weeks during July 2015 because your area had a damaging hurricane? Look for what you can control—and what you can’t—and use those insights in your planning.
5. Create targeted email campaigns
Fill your CRM with copious notes and details about the lives of your customers and what tidbits they’ve given you over the years. For example, do you know a few of your customers take a road trip with their families every summer? Create and advertise one general offer for a certain percentage or dollar amount off a pre-road trip tune-up—but then, email those customers directly, tell them about the deal, and offer them an even better deal for being great customers. It shows you’re listening and you care about the details.
6. Establish a giveaway contest for graduates
May and June are prime time for high school and college graduation, and one of the most prized gifts a graduate could receive is a brand new car. Wouldn’t it be great if your dealership could make that happen for a local grad? The terms of the contest are obviously up to you, but when a car is up for grabs, word has a way of traveling fast and making your dealership look incredibly generous.
You could have an essay content, in which graduates can be nominated (by themselves, or someone else) as being worthy of winning the new car. There are many ways to make this type of contest profitable for your dealership, so put on your thinking cap!
7. Run a tax return promotion
Getting together a down payment for some customers can be incredibly difficult, but there’s one time of the year when those people seem to finally get a chance: tax season. When people get their tax returns, auto dealerships see an influx of potential buyers looking around the lot.
Want to make sure those eager buyers with fresh tax returns come to your dealership? One of the more popular dealership marketing strategies is offering to double someone’s tax return for a down payment—up to a certain point, of course. So, if someone walks in with $2,500 for a down payment, you’d throw in another $2,500, so they have a total down payment of $5,000. Again, the exact terms are up to you and what your dealership can swing financially.
Spring and summer are great seasons to get creative with your dealership marketing strategies. Just remember that no matter what you do, organize ahead of time, make a schedule, and have a reason behind every advertising dollar you spend.