Selling cars is all about developing and nurturing relationships over time. A new vehicle is a major investment for customers, so you want to be sure your dealership is front-of-mind at every portion of their buying journey. The good news is that there are steps you can take to hit your ambitious goals. One of the most important things you can do is implement a system for consistently generating new car sales leads.
5 Ways Dealers Can Generate New Sales Leads
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The average buyer spends about 12 hours researching cars online¹. It’s likely that your dealership already has a website, but that’s only the first step. It must be optimized for search to improve the likelihood of generating leads.
Generating car sales leads through your website is directly attached to your ability to identify primary keywords that drive search engine traffic. For example, if you sell Ford vehicles in Chicago, IL, target keywords may include:
- Ford dealer Chicago
- Chicago Ford dealer
- Ford cars for sale in Chicago
- Used Ford cars Chicago
Your keywords should appear throughout the site, like on product pages for the different vehicle brands and body types you carry and on customer service pages, such as parts and service or financing. The keywords might even vary slightly based on their placement and the site visitor’s intent². Someone who is just starting to plan their purchase will have very different needs from someone who is deciding between vehicles or dealerships or someone who is maintaining a car they already own.
It also helps to make sure your directory listings and local citations are correct, so take advantage of available Google Business profiles to be sure local customers can find you quickly.
2. Social Media Marketing
A well-built website is more likely to bring in traffic and leads, but organic search isn’t the only way to attract attention. Social media platforms can also help you generate car sales leads because they’re quick opportunities to share unique content that showcases your business’s personality and engage with customers.
Social media marketing isn’t just about posting a few times a week. It takes a consistent schedule of new content and responding to comments and questions to build an audience and generate leads.
3. Email Marketing
Many car dealers overlook the power of email marketing because there are so many myths surrounding its relevance in today’s fast-paced digital environment. But don’t let those misconceptions stop you from taking advantage of this leading marketing tactic.
Get this: 77% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months³. If you’re not using email marketing to generate leads, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.
Collect email addresses when customers visit your site and physical location; the bigger your list grows, the easier it becomes to create segments for prospective, currently active, and previous customers. Tailoring your message to each audience is more likely to generate a steady flow of leads at every stage of the customer relationship.
4. Video Marketing
Generating car sales leads often comes down to the ability to differentiate your brand from the competition. And that’s why video marketing should be a priority.
Benefits of video marketing for car dealers include:
- Increased engagement: People are more likely to watch a video than read long blocks of text, and they’ll stay on your page longer⁴
- Improved brand awareness: Videos are easy to share across platforms, from your site and email lists to social media channels
- Better search engine optimization: Adding video content gives you more ways to show up in search results, especially if you incorporate keywords into your titles and descriptions or transcripts
Since video marketing isn’t as widely adopted as search engine and social media marketing, it’s a way to make an immediate splash in the local market. Make sure you have clear goals for videos—are you educating customers on different cars or simply looking to establish personal connections with your team?—and experiment with different lengths⁵. A short Instagram Reel or Facebook Story will capture a different audience than a detailed YouTube feature.
5. On-Site Blogging
Starting a blog can provide numerous benefits for car dealerships, starting with your website’s SEO. Search engines love to see fresh, relevant, and engaging content, so blogging will make your business more visible⁶.
A blog allows you to provide targeted information as often as you wish. Posting at least once a week keeps readers coming back, but you can also post more often if you identify additional opportunities to respond to customer search trends.
Additionally, a blog is one of the best ways to establish authority. By sharing expert advice, industry news, and helpful tips, you can establish your dealership as a leader in the local automotive space.
- 10+ Strategies for Automotive SEO. Go Fish Digital. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from https://gofishdigital.com/blog/local-automotive-seo/
- Heitman, S. (15 September 2020). SEO for Car Dealerships: 5 Best Practices to Get in Front of Buyers. LocaliQ.com. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from https://localiq.com/blog/car-dealer-seo-best-practices/
- Kirsch, K. (30 November 2022). The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2022. HubSpot. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats
- 5 Ways Video Will Supercharge Your Marketing. DealerCreative. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from https://www.dealercreative.com/power-of-video-in-car-dealer-advertising
- Zabneh, J. (16 December 2019). 9 Essential Video Marketing Tips for Car Dealerships. J&L Marketing. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from https://www.jandlmarketing.com/9-essential-video-marketing-tips-for-car-dealerships/
- 6 Surefire Car Sales Prospecting Techniques That Can Increase Your Leads. BombBomb.com. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from https://bombbomb.com/blog/6-surefire-car-sales-prospecting-techniques-that-can-increase-your-leads/