These days, car buyers spend a lot of time shopping online on multiple devices. Most of that time is spent on websites like Autotrader, Cars.com, TrueCar. You probably already pay one (or more) of those sites for automotive leads each month. Why not generate more of those leads on your own?
Cut Out the Middleman
If you want to sell more cars without relying on third-party sites, you need to learn how to get more car sales leads with digital advertising. With the right marketing mix, you can sell a lot of cars all on your own. That’s what this article is all about.
Brand loyalty is at an all-time low. Unless you’re selling something Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Mazda or another make with high level of customer loyalty, you can’t afford to trust past buyers to be future buyers. Most car buyers start out undecided. That means you need to be aggressive in pursuing past customers, and you should strongly consider whether a conquest campaign makes since in the context of your overall marketing plan.
Sales are cooling off from record highs, and the abundance of offerings on the market has created a new reality where nameplate loyalty no longer holds the same weight. It’s going to be a delicate balance for automakers as they face the immediate challenge of keeping customers in the fold while also anticipating the demands of the future.
And even if you are lucky enough to sell a make with a high level of customer loyalty, why share anymore of your money with third-party sites than you absolutely have to?
By using remarketing, Facebook, and paid search, you can make sure that as many of your customers as possible are coming straight to the source (i.e., you).
The Car Buyer’s Journey
On average, the car buyer’s journey lasts about 108 days. The vast majority (almost 2/3), don’t know what they want to buy when they first begin searching for a car. Used, new, Honda, Ford, it’s all up in the air. So you need to be there from the beginning. And where is “there”? Online.
Car Buyer’s Do Most of Their Research Online
Well over half (61%) of all car buyer’s (new and used) time spent during the buyer’s journey is spent online. And 62% of that time is spent on third-party websites. That means you’ll need to step up your marketing to game to cut out the middleman.
Generating Leads for an Automotive Dealership
You’ll need to take a comprehensive approach to win new leads before they’re snatched up by AutoTrader et al. Here’s how:
Be There Before They’re Thinking About Buying
Run Facebook and Instagram ads at all times. You can run video ads for as low as a penny a view. This is a great branding play. You can also run carousel ads that showcase different cars you have available. Or just run simple branding ads that emphasize why you’re better than your competitors.
Facebook even has a Brand Awareness objective specifically for this purpose. That’s probably one of the cheapest ways to get your name out there.
Be There When They Need a New Car
Based on their activity on your website, you can create remarketing lists on Facebook and serve relevant ads to your website visitors. Did they visit a VDP for a Ford SUV? An SRP for sedans? I bet you can figure out what sort of ads to show them in either case.
This is a great time for a carousel ad that displays different cars that they’d be interested in (based on their activity on your website).
(This approach will require software like HubSpot so that you can implement behavioral tracking. Email me if you need more information on that.)
Be There When They’re Ready to Buy
For terms that indicate purchase intent, you’ll want to buy Google Ads. You can also use Remarketing Lists for Search ads to bid extra when website visitors are making the search. If they’ve been to your site before, they’re more likely to buy. So it’s usually worth it to pay a little extra for those clicks.
Don’t forget to set up Google Analytics so you can track the ROI of your ad spend. (Let me know if you need any help with that.)
Stop Spending Extra for Leads
This is a broad overview of a full-funnel campaign you could run to generate your own leads. How much would you save if you weren’t paying Cars.com, TrueCar, or whoever else for leads?
If you want to get into specifics on how to set up these campaigns, check out the articles below, or email me for a free consultation.