Putting together a long-term marketing strategy is no easy task – especially at a dealership.

Dealers like you face constant pressure to hit quotas and stay on track month-to month. This forces dealers to focus on the here and now and prevents them from considering long-term solutions that could solve these short-term problems.

It leaves dealerships in a constant state of reactive marketing that can put unnecessary pressure on sales teams and result in a negative customer experience.

This is Why You Need to Have a Long-Term Marketing Plan Click To Tweet

These short-term marketing strategies do serve a purpose and can be the caffeine boost your dealership needs to hit your goals, but they don’t have the be the only solution.

Long-term marketing strategies provide a consistent source of leads and allow dealers to be proactive with their marketing rather than reactive.

Discover What Works for You

In the world of long-term marketing strategies, there are more than a few options out there for dealers like you to choose from. The biggest issue is choosing one that will work best for your dealership.

As you work to find an option that will deliver the results you need, it’s important to remember your goals.

For many dealers, this is increased brand awareness, higher website engagement, more leads, higher quality traffic, and (ultimately) more vehicles sold – but remember, the map to all of this may look different from what you would imagine!

Here are a few strategies you might want to consider as you search for a quarterly or long-term marketing plan:

1.      Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a key marketing strategy that every dealer should be incorporating at this point. If you’re not, then you’ve found your plan.

Under the umbrella of digital marketing are many proven strategies – some of which are a little out of the ordinary!

For instance, if you’re seeking increased brand awareness, higher quality traffic, and even more vehicle sales, the best long-term marketing strategy for you might not be what you’d think.

This is because more revenue and sales exist in your service department than anywhere else in your dealership!1

If you’re looking to boost showroom traffic and sales, don’t overlook digital marketing strategies that reengage lost customers and win new customers through your service department.

On the sales side, one unique strategy is VIN-specific advertising.

This can be in the form of a paid search advertisement – like when you search for something on Google and see an ad relating to your search.

I, personally, like these a lot. The ads that are shown are tied to a specific vehicle on your lot. When the ad is clicked, visitors are sent directly to the vehicle details page on your website. This type of marketing generates leads and if you’re having trouble getting traffic from online to your dealership, this is the way to go.2

This can also be done with remarketing – which is what happens when you shop on Amazon or other major retail websites and later see ads for the items you viewed following you around online.

I currently have a Peyton Manning jersey tracking my every move.

You can also increase leads from website traffic by using banner ads on your website. Get the right offer and call-to-action and you can seriously increase your website leads and, ultimately, showroom traffic.

However you choose to utilize digital marketing, it’s important to understand one thing. These advertisements are two-fold. While you will definitely see more website engagement and more leads from your digital marketing efforts, the biggest impact of digital marketing is oftentimes simply that your information is available and helpful to vehicle shoppers.3

You might not sell a car for every search made or advertisement served, but every interaction a shopper has with your dealership, whether it’s on Facebook, or Google, or your website (or another digital channel), is an important aspect of their ultimate decision to visit your dealership.

And that’s why I consider digital marketing to be a great on-going marketing plan for dealers.

2.     Monthly Sales Events – Minus the Event

Confused? Believe it or not, this is a marketing tactic that’s both consistent and efficient.

As a dealer, you are probably aware of, or have experienced, event fatigue. This is what happens when you target the same people time and time again with similar marketing messages.

Shoppers know that they can miss any given month’s sales event and still get the same deals the following month. There’s no urgency and no reason for them to visit your dealership unless they’re ready to buy a car and they want to buy it from you – which leaves your marketing useless.

By overusing traditionally successful marketing strategies, dealers lose the significance of these events and aren’t able to salvage slower months with this type of marketing.

When I suggest monthly sales events, maybe this is what you picture.

Let me clarify. Monthly marketing strategies can deliver incredible results, but, only if you’re strategic.

Data will come into play a lot with a monthly marketing campaign like this. You’ll want to fluctuate your marketing to different recipients each month, so that it doesn’t go to the same people on a regular basis.

And, because today’s shoppers conduct the majority of their shopping journey online, you might want to skip having an actual, physical event! This type of Virtual Sales Event is ideal because is allows shoppers to enjoy the benefits of the sale without having to visit the dealership to discover information they could find via third party sites. They’ll visit you when they’r ready to buy – and your marketing might be exactly what puts them over the edge!

If you’re able to take the successful elements of tradition sales event marketing, and combine them with today’s technology and trends, you’ll be able to reach shoppers with marketing they can’t refuse, month, after month.

3. Consider the Calendar

Anniversaries, seasonal service opportunities, Labor Day sales, and more are all great traffic and sales-boosting opportunities and can all be missed if not planned accordingly!

As you probably know, Private Sale Events are a great way to increase traffic and sales on a slow month or to capitalize on holiday shopping mentalities. Similarly, Private Service Events are a great way to bring in current, former, and even new customers who would otherwise turn to third-party mechanics.

The thing is, these campaigns tend to perform better during certain times of the year. If you want a long-term marketing strategy that keeps your showroom busy and your sales up, then you might want to consider planning your short-term marketing strategies over the course of the year.

By planning in advance, you’ll give you and your team the chance to meet your goals each and every month.

Put It All Together

Whether you choose to utilize digital marketing for long-term sales and service, begin an ongoing monthly sales marketing strategy, or choose to create a careful combination of it all, you’ll love the results.

Even on the slow months, you’ll know you’ve done everything possible to set you and your team up for success. And, on the busy months, you can jumpstart sales for the next month by having a constant stream of leads coming from one of your base methods.

There are always things in the automotive world that are unexpected and unplanned, but preparation and planning is helpful even during the most unusual months.4

  1. http://www.autonews.com/article/20170619/RETAIL05/170619929/why-customers-stray-and-what-your-dealerships-service-department-can
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/12/18/how-digital-marketing-will-change-in-2018-15-top-trends/#5458f8812d9a
  3. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/micro-moments/five-auto-shopping-moments-every-brand-must-own/
  4. http://www.businessinsider.com/hurricane-harvey-economic-impact-2017-8