Brand awareness for your dealership is more important than you might think. Today’s consumers spend approximately 59% of their time researching vehicles online before heading to a dealership.

Gone are the days when people went to their local dealership first to make a vehicle purchase. If you want to improve customer loyalty and bring more people to your dealership, you need to enhance brand awareness.

Defining Brand Awareness and Its Effects on Your Dealership

Enhancing brand awareness may not have been a high priority on your marketing strategy list. Maybe you’re a GM, Toyota, or other vehicle brand dealer, and you’ve been relying on the manufacturer’s nationwide marketing efforts to elevate their vehicle brand.

However, you need to focus on defining brand awareness for your local dealership. Consider some of the following advantages of enhancing brand awareness for your dealership:

  • Known for Superior Service – Customers don’t generally go straight to the manufacturer to purchase a vehicle. They look for a local dealership that will provide excellent service and a quality product at an affordable price. When you build your brand as a dealership known for providing such service, you will increase your customer base and improve their patronage.
  • Known for a Great Experience – You want your dealership to stand out from your competition. You can do that by gaining a professional reputation for providing a great customer experience. When a consumer is trying to decide between buying a vehicle at yours or a competitor’s dealership, make it easy for them to choose you. Become known for delivering the best customer experience that people share online and refer by word of mouth.
  • Known for Quality Products – Only sell high-quality used vehicles. You don’t want your customers posting negative reviews online or warning their friends and family to steer clear of your dealership.

Steps to Start Implementing for Branding and Customer Loyalty

You need to take an omnichannel approach in your marketing efforts. When branding is consistent across all channels, you can see an increase in revenue by 23%.

Focus on social media engagement, online ads, creating niche content, touchpoint branding, and start using brand advocates.

1. Cultivate Engagement on Social Media

Your customers want to hear from you on social media. Don’t ignore replies to tweets or other posts on popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. When you start interacting with followers, you will become known as a dealership that cares more about customers than just the bottom line.

Cultivating engagement on social media will take an investment of time. You may want to invest in hiring a social media manager to work at your dealership. Or you can choose to work with a marketing company who can tailor a social media strategy that is a perfect match for your target audience.

Follow the 80/20 Rule that was suggested by management consultant Joseph M. Juran and based on the Pareto Principle by the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. Promote your dealership 20 percent of the time and focus on engaging with followers the other 80 percent. Become known as a dealership that doesn’t sell to people all the time, but cares about what consumers want. 

2. Use Google’s AdSense Auto Ads

You can enhance brand awareness by using Google’s AdSense Auto Ads. AdSense will automatically display any ads you create on sites that are most suited to your brand. This ideal matching system operates through machine learning that optimizes the process of reaching your target audience and increases the return on your investment (ROI).

The process for setting up auto ads is simple, and Google provides a comprehensive set up guide for users. When using these auto ads, you can easily track their performance by reviewing the Ad Formats Report

Using Google’s AdSense Auto Ads is a great way to expand your customer base. More than ever, consumers are shopping for vehicles on their mobile phones and devices before they even step onto the dealership lot. Make sure your mobile showroom effectively engages customers and showcases your brand.

  • Use high-quality images
  • Focus on top features and performance

Ads with vehicle photos can see up to 30 percent engagement and increased click-through-rates (CTR) to your dealership website.

3. Focus on Creating Niche Content

You are competing with other local dealers for traffic to your website and customers coming to your dealership. By focusing on creating niche content, you can increase your chances of expanding your customer base and improving your brand image.

Focus on content niche tips such as the following to increase the ranking for your website or blog in search engine results pages (SERP):

  • Write original content that meets Google’s E-A-T Guidelines for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
  • Review traffic data to your site to improve the way you write educational content for niche topics on your dealership blog.
  • Focus on niche content that distinguishes your dealership from your competition. For example, you may have unique benefits of how you help millennials with no credit purchase vehicles.
  • Write educational blogs on topics like this Guide for Consumers on Car Sales Terminology.
Competitive Analysis

4. Branding for Various Touchpoints

Touchpoints are any interactions that people have with your dealership. They can be interactions at your dealership, on your website, or through your app. Each touchpoint a customer has with your dealership should enhance their awareness of your brand.

Any confusion of that brand awareness can hinder your efforts to cultivate customer loyalty. Consider some of the following important touchpoints with your dealership:

  • First brand awareness through viewing an ad, social media post, or your Google My Business Listing in a SERP.
  • Second brand awareness when they have clicked a link to your website or stopped by your dealership.
  • Third brand awareness when they have converted from a lead to a customer, and their customer lifecycle begins.

Every touchpoint must consistently showcase your brand image if you hope to promote long-lasting customer loyalty with your dealership.

Insert image of dealership ads with a brand identity across channels.

Make sure each interaction – from that first brand awareness to engaging with the salesperson, to the first time they bring their vehicle in for servicing – is positive and creates great memories.

If touchpoints are negative, the person might post a bad review online and share their undesirable experience with everyone in their circle. In the digital age that we live in, that circle is exponentially larger. They can shame a dealership online through social media and create negative publicity that won’t enhance your brand. 

5. Work with Brand Advocates

You may want to consider working with brand advocates to improve brand awareness and cultivate customer loyalty. Brand advocates can be customers, employees, friends or family, or influencers such as local celebrities.

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is powerful and has resulted in five times more sales than online advertising and social media promotion. Sure, we live in a digital age, and those types of online marketing strategies are important. However, 90% of consumers are more likely to purchase after hearing a positive review from a trusted source like a friend.

Consider the following types of brand ambassadors you can integrate into your marketing strategy:

  • Customers – Your customers are an excellent resource for increasing brand awareness through WOM marketing. Provide customer incentives such as a free oil change or tire rotation for anyone who refers a customer who makes a vehicle purchase. Make sure to set up your referral program so it follows your state laws (various states differ on referral programs).
  • Employees – You can implement a program where employees become brand ambassadors. You can create strong employee testimonial videos and leverage that production cost across multiple marketing channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your website and various TV advertising options. This helps you differentiate your store’s brand in a way that can help you increase sales and attract future employees.
  
  • Influencers – Social media influencers have considerable sway on their massive following and are often asked by companies to try their products and promote them online. Now, unless you have deep connections and know a celebrity, you probably won’t be able to get a famous person to promote your dealership. However, you should think outside the box. You may be able to connect with a local celebrity like an author, retired football player, or other well-known people in your community to help promote your dealership. Many of your own customers have a strong social media following and would love the opportunity to tell others about their experience with your store. Similar to your employee videos, previous customer testimonial videos can be leveraged across social channels. Your previous customers will share these videos with their connections, giving you free advertising.
  

6. Become a Valuable Resource to Car Buyers

Give customers more value than simply helping them find the right vehicle. That’s the primary goal of all automotive dealerships. However, if you become a valuable resource to consumers, that will improve your brand image and cultivate customer loyalty.

For example, offer great incentives like extended warranties or promotional deals for complimentary tire rotations when a customer purchases at your dealership. Create interactive tools on your website that can help customers calculate potential car payments (with all manufacturer incentives included) for various vehicles. Your digital retailing tools should include the ability to calculate their current payoff and instantly apply their equity position to every vehicle on your lot instantly (such as with Easy Car Buy and these Virtual Sale Events).

Become known as a dealership that strives to help customers make informed decisions when purchasing a vehicle. The added effort you put into delivering additional value up front will make a positive impression on customers and visitors to your website.  

Cultivate Customer Loyalty by Improving Your Brand Image

Engage with customers and leads on social media and start using Google’s AdSense Auto Ads. Improve your reach online by writing superior niche content. Enhance your branding efforts for all consumer touchpoints and start working with brand advocates. Get connected with the J&L Marketing team today to help you implement these tips to help you enhance brand awareness for your dealership and improve customer loyalty.