What Forms of Advertising Work Best for Your Dealership?


Advertising is crucial for dealerships to increase brand visibility, foot traffic, leads, and sales. Yet with so many promotion channels out there, it can be challenging to decide which ones yield the best results for an automotive dealership. Let's look at the process of determining the best advertising strategies to help you achieve your business goals.

Define Advertising Objectives

Before anything else, establish clear objectives. What do you expect to achieve with your advertising campaigns? Are you hoping to enhance brand recognition, direct potential customers to the showroom floor and website, or nurture leads? Perhaps you want to boost sales figures in the service department, drive sales of new and pre-owned vehicles, or showcase various F&I products. Outlining these goals lays the groundwork for targeted campaigns that are more likely to deliver the desired results.

Conduct Market Research

Automotive industry research involves gathering and analyzing data about your target audience, competitor strategies, and industry trends. As a dealership owner or manager, you need to:

  • Study your local demographics, consumer preferences, and media consumption habits to tailor your advertising messages to resonate with your target audience.

  • Identify the advertising channels your competitors are using and assess their effectiveness. This will help you avoid replicating unsuccessful strategies and identify potential opportunities.

  • The automotive industry is constantly evolving. Staying up-to-date on the latest trends, such as the rise of online car buying or the growing popularity of electric vehicles, will help you tailor your advertising messages accordingly.

Conducting exhaustive market research provides dealerships with invaluable insights that inform their advertising decisions and increase their return on investment (ROI).

Test Different Advertising Channels

There are a variety of advertising platforms/channels available to dealerships, each with its advantages and limitations. The most popular options include:

  • Traditional media, for instance, television, radio, and print media. These can still be effective for reaching a broad audience, particularly older demographics.

  • Digital marketing channels like search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, and display advertising that allow you to target your ideal customers with laser precision.

  • Content marketing, which involves creating engaging content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, to attract potential customers. Publishing informative and evergreen content also establishes your dealership as a thought leader in the industry.

  • Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to target users based on demographics, interests, and online behavior.

  • Video advertising such as YouTube and other video platforms offers a powerful way to showcase your inventory and connect with potential customers on an emotional level.

The best advertising channels for your dealership will depend on your target audience, budget, and advertising objectives. The key is experimenting with different channels and tracking your results to see what works best, as explained next.

Track and Measure Results

Once you have launched an ad campaign, optimizing said strategies doesn't end with implementation; you must proactively track and measure results. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as impressions, clicks, conversions, leads generated, and sales attributed to each advertising channel can help you determine the effectiveness of your advertising efforts. With these matrices, dealerships can identify which channels deliver the best outcomes and adjust their campaigns accordingly.

Contact the Vanguard Dealer Services team for more information on how to develop impactful advertising campaigns.


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