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How To Put Your Automotive Marketing Into Top Gear

18 July 2022 | 0 comments | Posted by Zanthe Agrela in Petrol heads

Guide for marketing auto business

The automotive and mobility industries are particularly challenging, it’s a highly competitive industry, customers typically research carefully and in-depth often comparing prices and model information from multiple dealerships before making a purchase.

Due to the nature of the long purchase cycle of a car you’re working with customers who purchase relatively infrequently, who conduct more intense research and consideration, and who are making high-cost purchases, so it’s essential to have the right marketing strategies in order to help your dealership or car brand compete.

In this article we unpack our top automotive marketing strategies, best practices and strategies to help drive more sales and they are:

Understanding the current landscape

The automotive industry has certainly been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and these are just some of the important industry changes we have noticed over the past 2 years

  • Electric mobility, driverless cars, automated factories, and ridesharing—these are just a few of the major disruptions the auto industry faced even before the COVID-19 crisis.
  • There has been a shift to more working from home, less big promotions, more unemployment, less travel and for many people the, less need for a car or duplicate car households- particularly during and a few months following hard lockdown
  • Thus all these major shirts are making the used car buying and selling market crucial and on the rise.

However, the picture is improving, car dealerships are getting busier and overall mobility is picking up slowly.

Dissect your audience and find suitable matches for your buyers

Not only should you separate your audience into very distinctive types of buyer personas and market to each of these differently but also match the persona to the automotive vehicle that suits the buyer and their lifestyle with a unique approach and messaging for each.

Some examples of personas with matched vehicles could be:

The Eco Warrior

They are most likely green living enthusiasts in their daily lives, passionate about global warming and the environment. Perfect match- hybrid cars

The Gearhead

These enthusiastic drivers know their fair share and intricate details about cars, they enjoy getting under the hood and getting their hands dirty. Perfect match – something older that can be restored to it’s former glory

The Mom on The Run

She is busy, practical, needs something spacious and is concerned about safety. Perfect match- Minivan, SUVs or large family sedan

The Off-Road Adventurer

These thrill seekers want something tough, rugged and practical. They spend time off the beaten track and want a car to keep up with their adventurous and thrill-seeking lifestyle. Perfect match- off road and Jeep-like vehicles.

However, don’t neglect your previous buyers either; this is one of the most effective car dealership marketing strategies out there: Tapping into your existing and past client base after a few years to upgrade their car. Tools like Active campaigns will help create marketing automation to help manage this.

Sell the lifestyle, not just the car

Utilising all the above insight on who your specific buyers are and what their needs and wants are, you can conceptualise different types of campaigns for different types of buyers based on exactly that.

For instance you might want to advertise your off road vehicle in Getaway Magazine with companion banners featured alongside an article about “the top 10 off the beaten track holiday destinations in SA” whilst a sedan or family SUV/ minivan would be better suited for a young family with a home page takeover on Parent 24.

Likewise a more budget entry-level vehicle might be better suited for a run of site banner ads placed on Youth Village to attract entry level workers seeking new job opportunities. Think about where your desired audience is (dissect them into smaller persona groups) and advertise to them where they are.

Map out and market throughout the user journey

Since the user journey of such a long-term, the expensive purchase requires so much consideration, thought and research so it’s crucial to think and map out what marketing efforts you are actively doing throughout each of those steps in the marketing funnel, these steps include:

  • Step 1 Brand awareness
  • Step 2 Brand engagement/ education/ interest peaked/ intent
  • Step 3 Consideration/ evaluation
  • Step 4 Conversion
  • Step 5 Brand loyalty
  • Step 6 Brand advocacy
  • Step 7 Repeat business

Being a well-known car brand or having a great-looking website isn’t enough for people to find your auto industry business online, you need to identify your target audience and market to them where they are and have consistent touch points with the right type of information throughout each the user journey step.

For example channels like Parent 24, Youth Village and Getaway Magazine as well as social media ads will be powerful to reach those buyer personas mentioned above in the brand awareness phase however an article on Car Mag comparing the best minivans, their safety features and park assist benefits would tick off brand education as well as consideration/ evaluation steps.

SEO (search engine optimisation) will be powerful in the consideration and evaluation step and Google Search would work exceptionally well in converting buyers if you can pre-qualify buyers on your website with an affordability calculator and fill out a form online to be contacted about purchasing the car. Once the user has spoken to a sales representative Google My Business will be really beneficial if the buyer needs to come into the dealership to sign off their paperwork and drive off in their new ride.

Build and Establish Trust with Customer Reviews

It’s no secret that car dealer salesmen have a long-held perception of being untrustworthy and pushy. Which is precisely why if customers Google your dealership and the website that comes up is just bare-bones and has little to no indication of customer satisfaction, this could even deter potential buyers. No matter what type of automotive establishment you have or any business at all actually, your business will certainly benefit from customer reviews across both Google and social media channels.

Be Innovative

If your car brand, dealership or any other automotive business is seeking to stand out truly you need fresh concepts, something exciting that feels exclusive and limited time offers also offer an immediate reaction that compels buyers.

Think about shifting your business to go as far digital as you can; even if your competitors aren’t there yet, it will only mean you are ahead of the curve. Think about providing a digital platform for consumers to explore vehicles online to compare prices where they can select 2/3 car models side by side for comparison or experience virtual driving car experiences or 360-degree views of the vehicle or even visit carmaker websites where they can “build their cars” with the ability to change colours, add on all the customisable features and fully view the interior and exterior online.

Potential buyers should also be able to take advantage of sites and apps that help them explore and arrange related services, such as financing and insurance, remotely and virtually as part of the car-buying process.

Another idea is if you are a car brand, you certainly can capitalise on bidding on your competitor's keywords on Google Search.

Did I miss answering any of your questions in this guide? Or do you want more detail on how to take your automotive establishment to the next level with a marketing team and development team experienced in this exciting industry, then please email us at enquiries@fusebox.co.za. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, then we suggest you check out the following articles.

Tags: Automative , Marketing, Digital Marketing, Online Marketing, Guest Post

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