Getting Traction With Automotive Marketing

At one point buying a local 30 second TV spot for your dealership or repair shop on television, was the most valuable and most sought after way to advertise a brand, product or service. Automotive TV commercials continuously showed generically exaggerated ads featuring happy, good-looking people in brand new cars and it was super effective.


Although still very effective, these days buying a TV spot isn’t the only option for advertising. Marketing in today’s digital age has changed drastically and trends suggest they will keep evolving. You can argue that a TV spot during the playoffs sounds effective, but what about consistency?


Placing your ad on mobile phones via social media, where people will constantly see it and give it attention, might make a deeper imprint on people than one TV spot with a bigger reach. Be honest with yourself, when watching TV, when commercials come on, what do you do? You’re most likely taking out your phone and scrolling through your social feed of choice, most people prefer Facebook and Instagram.


Here are some powerful marketing strategies you can use in 2020 for your dealership or auto shop. Automotive brands all over the country are using these exact strategies to help leverage social media to establish themselves as the most familiar and trusted brand in their local markets.


“You don’t need to be king of the WHOLE world, just king of YOUR world, so think niche, think local and stay focused.” – David Russ, Advertising Director of Mr. Launch.

Organic Social Media

Social media can be split into three categories: organic, paid, and influencers.
Organic social media or social media management includes posting on your Pages across all social networks, answering incoming Messages, engaging in relevant discussion Groups, and may even include the production of graphics, photos, and videos for use on the Pages. Basically organic social media marketing is using social media to engage a broad audience, without spending money on paid advertising budgets or influencers. These broad audiences may include friends, family, early adopters, fans of your brand, referrals, customers, reviewers, people doing research about your business etc.


Publishing one post daily is recommended because it is relatively easy to do and gives your core audience a regular dose of consistent branding. For the most part, just the people who follow your page will be seeing the organic content. This kind of marketing works great for remarketing and referrals. Fans of your page already have an interest in what you offer and sometimes just need to be reminded that you’re there. Sharing promotions can help drive sales instantly, “behind the scenes” photos and videos can help build trust with transparency, and constantly sharing great, relevant content can help make you known as a resource for information within your niche’s community.


It costs you no money to post, it just requires you to find content, make content, or have the media produced for you by professionals.


Paid Social Media

Paid social media advertising gives you the ability to reach hundreds, thousands, and millions of people with a small monthly ad budget of $300-$500. Unparalleled in any other form of advertising. An ultra powerful marketing tool combines a low cost with a wide reach and the ability to target only the most ideal potential customers. For example, through Facebook Ads Manager auto repair shops and car dealerships can match their business objectives with matching campaign types to create their own ad campaigns that make the most of every single penny. There are different types of campaigns, each with a unique objective, such as lead generation, brand awareness, app installs, website clicks and store visits.


Social Media Influencer 

Let’s review the statistics. According to MediaKix, 89% say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels, so don’t be scared to invest into working with influencers. They found 19% of marketers planned to spend $1,000 – $10,000 on influencer marketing in 2019, while 18% planned to spend between $100,000 – $500,000 per year. About 17% of companies polled planned on spending more than 50% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing. Find the right influencer and give it a shot, there is very little to lose and much to gain, since most influencers accept sponsorship through products and services, not just cash.


Make it Short

Peoples attention span often lasts as long as their environment allows. For commuters, their attention span may only be able to last as long as that light is red. For someone watching the game on Sunday, they only have a few minutes to scroll down their social feeds while commercials bore unfortunate viewers. They want to see as much content as possible, as fast as possible. The key here is concise content that gets right to the point and gets the message across.


Use Humor

A funny ad doesn’t have to be a departure from your main campaign message, it can be an extension of your current efforts. A clever video that makes your audience laugh is incredibly powerful. We’ve all seen the Dollar Shave Club ad where the CEO walks through his warehouse and knocks out his script in what seems to be one witty take, even including an employee who is clearly camera shy but can’t hide her smile. The ad makes the audience laugh and still focuses on the message in a memorable way.

Comedic ads are trending and seem to be more memorable and remarkable than serious ads. People are bombarded with bad news every day, all day. Cheer them up, make them smile and enable them to share a smile with their friends and family.


Use a Character

Marketing for something that is generally way too serious or boring for the public can be made more attractive and interesting with humor or a fun character. If done correctly, having the only fun brand in a boring industry may be exactly what you need to stand out, scale up & claim the throne.

If there is nothing sexy about selling used cars, make a character who is funny and bring your branding to life instead. With a bit of creativity and innovation, people will remember and love your character and brand.

Everyone has trouble brainstorming and coming up with clever ideas for a brand’s character, so start by looking at customer reviews to get ideas and inspiration on a character people will relate to and associate your brand with.

Keep it Simple

Don’t complicate things. People have short attention spans and prefer things be simplified for them when watching videos or reading articles. A simple message that’s easy to understand will reap the best results on social media.

When people find something too complicated or too wordy, they quickly move on. A catchy tune, a live or animated character with a simple catch phrase is exactly what you need to pique interest in your brand.


Offer Incentives

People like free things, discounts, or basically the feeling of getting a deal that is greater than average. When people are already looking to buy a car, they are going to look for the best deal. These can be found on google searches, storefront signs, banners on social media, TV ads, and ads in local newspapers. It is important your special offer is competitive and really gets them excited enough to take action.

Offering incentives online where people are meant to participate to redeem an offer is a great way to gauge how effective your offer and ad are. You can analyze how many people saw, clicked, shared and participated to set a benchmark and test other offers and ads.

Even people not looking for that particular product might know someone who is and could pass on the offer to them if the offer seems like an outstanding deal. You can also use a different promotional/discount code to test different variables of the promotional ad campaign.


Know Your Audience

The great thing about social media is being able to get feedback. Try asking questions or taking polls, you can even start discussions about problems your audience has in common.

Once you know your audience you’re able to target your ideal customer. If you have a national or local campaigns, target individuals based on an absurd variety of overly-detailed demographics, interests, and behaviors. For example, an exotic car dealership in Miami, Florida may choose to target Males whose income is among the top 5%, between the ages of 40-65, living in South Florida, who like Porsches and Lamborghinis, and are frequent international travelers.

You could pay to launch a TV or radio advertising campaign and reach tons of people. Maybe most of those people are highly relevant, maybe, but how much is actually wasted on reaching irrelevant viewers? With Facebook Ads and Google Ads it’s easy to reach only ideal audiences and avoid wasted budget on irrelevant people.


Community Involvement

This type of marketing is basically free and has great potential to increase sales. Join your neighbors at their annual street fair or BBQ or trade show to show support. Sponsor and support a local sports team with uniforms, transportation or equipment.

When you support your community, it builds trust and strengthens your brand. People are far more likely to recommend someone they know and trust, someone who does great things for the community without asking for anything back in return.


Wear Your Own Colors

If you sell cars, then your personal and company cars should reflect that. Get a sticker or a wrap to really show off your automotive brand on the road, everywhere you and your team go. Your brand should go everywhere you do, to build recognition and confidence. Fans love seeing your vehicles on the road and the other locals will start to become familiar with your brand. Another option is to get your logo on public transportation. These kinds of ads are mobile, so they go literally everywhere, plus commuters will see it frequently on their habitual commutes.


A Daily Commute

My habitual 7:30am departure, on an hour long, weirdly crazy, yet standardly Floridian commute to Coconut Grove from Aventura, is filled with a flurry of cars that look basically the same. Everyone is driving the exact same make and models, they all use the same standard colors and I wouldn’t even be able to identify my own mother’s car among the cluster of cars on the I-95 highway. However, every single day, without fail, I see one man’s Jeep wrapped in a beautifully designed, unique, orange color featuring his company’s logo. And honestly, I absolutely LOVE to see him going to work everyday with the same level of dependability as the sun rising. He created a fan in me and I trust him fully, so when I am in need of his services, I will reach out to his business.