One of the greatest challenges faced by automotive dealers is winning the confidence of the customer. After all, a marketer’s task is to help get customers into your business so your sales staff has people to sell to. But automotive marketers don’t have it in easy in such a dynamic industry.

Studies show that up to 97% of those trying to purchase, repair, or modify a car will begin their journey online. Whether they’re surfing the web watching videos of cars on YouTube or just googling “car dealers near me,” the internet is where users are most likely to be.  

As challenging as it is to advertise in the auto industry, there are certain tried-and-true ways to achieve success consistently. Here are 10 automotive marketing tactics you can use to boost sales this year –

  1. Customer Reviews – Reviews are undoubtedly the most useful strategy in the field of automotive marketing. As an automotive marketer, not only do you need to ensure that you have good feedback, but you also need to go above and beyond to ensure that these glowing reviews are everywhere the­y can possibly be. The reviews must be genuine and be available to Google and all social networking sites.  They should also be shown on your own website.  You should also be aware of and monitor 3rd Party review sites like and Yelp.
  2. Rank higher on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) – People usually do not even scroll to the bottom of the page let alone visit a second search results page. It is possible to get to the first page of SERP rankings without spending a lot of money. Here are some of the tactics that Google seems to support –
  3. Keep keywords strictly related to the content being discussed and add 2-3 Ads per keyword list.
  4. Add “negative” keywords to eliminate irrelevant searches. Negative keywords could be typos or searches that may not be related to your business. This keeps your costs low by avoiding clicks on unrelated search terms.
  5. Google Ads account must be in place with ads per 15-20 words.
  6. Budget allocation is one critical area that is often overlooked at the time of running social media campaigns. Bid higher on keywords your target audience is most likely to look up.
  7. Competitor keywords – Bidding on top competitors’ brand names can drive in a lot of traffic. This will help keep you at the top of your game in an environment as competitive as automotive marketing.
  8. Manage your negative keyword list – While just bidding on exact match might seem like a easy solution, this will significantly restrict your scope. If your advertisements appear for irrelevant search keywords, your company will immediately lose credibility. That’s why being mindful of setting up negatives to avoid irrelevant search queries will save you embarrassment and money. For example, suppose if you are bidding on the keyword “Affordable Cars” and your ad shows on the “Toy Cars” search and a parent looking for toys clicks on it. It’s not just a waste of time for the parent, it’s a waste of money for you as well.
  9. Adjust campaign budgets to car-buying trends – According to a study by and U.S News and World Report, it is possible to purchase a car around 7.5-8 % below MSRP if you buy it strategically. Apparently, there are unofficial ‘car-buying’ holidays known for big promotions by auto dealers – President’s Day or Memorial Day Weekend.  
  10. Free car wash -This promotion is effective for anyone looking for something for nothing. Who doesn’t like a clean car?
  11. Arrange for car seat safety screening – Many of us are unaware of the correct ways of installing seats in a car. This is one way of adding value through safety and installation of car seats while engaging with people who can potentially become customers.
  12. Do a pickup/drop-off promotion – To drive in more sales, you can offer a limited offer of picking up someone’s car, fixing it at the dealership and dropping it off back to them.
  13. Free Gas Fridays – One Oregon dealer launched a campaign “Free Gas Fridays,” which is popular even with other dealerships to this day. Let your customers know that you are going to be in town every Friday, searching for a vehicle with a particular license plate frame or tire cover that includes the name of your dealer. Now, offer a $50 gas card for anyone you find with your dealer name on it.  Post a photo or short video of it on your website and social networking accounts.
  14. Run Contests, raffles and drawing during the holiday season – Prizes may vary but the idea is there is something FREE that a customer can WIN! Contests such as these can take your marketing game to a whole new level.