Devising holiday advertising strategies for dealers is vital, especially when the auto industry is dealing with low inventory, low brand loyalty, and a lack of OEM incentives. Consumers, used to Black Friday, holiday, and end-of-year specials, are still demanding new vehicles among limited inventories. While some 2022 models are delayed because of the global chip shortage, most OEMs are still releasing their new cars.
Despite the year’s challenges, dealers are experiencing high profitability, high prices on both new and used vehicles, and high trade-in values. Consumers are paying more for cars because of the limited inventory, with many settling on their second or third choice because their top pick isn’t available.
This year, there is a change in buyer demographics amid the Covid pandemic, with a younger crowd choosing their first cars. People who typically weren’t driving in the past are now buying cars to feel safer in their personal space and during their commute.
There’s also a change in automotive market share with the rise of the many electric vehicles coming online. And while the inventory might not be there, many dealers are upping their pre-order game to get car shoppers locked in and excited about those cars when they become available.
Here are six holiday advertising strategies for dealers, as outlined in a recent Digital Air Strike webinar:
- Identify what challenges you are trying to solve and advertise towards that. If you want sales, run ads about the customer experience. Emphasize how your dealership provides buy-from-home services and test drives from home. If you have low inventory, run ads for trade-ins and buybacks. If you have no inventory, run ads for your service specials, like winterizing your vehicle, and your parts and accessories department. There are lots of opportunities for a much broader range of messaging now with campaigns, so it’s good to think outside the box.
- Diversify your ad platforms to reach a broader range of consumers. Holiday shopping looks different this year as most consumers are not shopping the same. Reach consumers where they are. Millennials do their shopping online, so focus on your YouTube page and organic and paid social campaigns. More people than ever before watch sports and shows streaming on connected devices, so invest in Amazon streaming targeted advertising. Make sure your Google My Business page is up to date and optimized with your inventory, new photos, and updated store hours and information as consumers do more research online. Send consumer text messages with advertising to reach consumers always on their phones. Even indoor signage is helpful when customers visit your store.
- Target your audience to maximize advertising spend. Use data to target and develop customized campaigns aimed at individuals or niche groups. This is called hyper-segmentation. Dealers can gain better clarity about their target audience and predict customer behavior. It’s essential to understand your customers and improve how to market to them better over time. Minimize wasted advertising dollars by getting rid of tactics that don’t work for your store. Make your ads work smarter. Reactivate cold leads through texting and re-sending updated quotes. Focus your ads on educators, veterans, and front-line workers, especially if you offer discounts for those groups. Employ geofencing, which targets consumers on their cell phones in a defined location, including sporting events. You can also geofence your competition’s dealerships.
- Refresh your messaging occasionally to renew consumer interest. There are different cadences for each ad platform, and not all ad platforms are alike. Be sure to refresh the messaging at optimal times that work best for your dealership throughout Q4 to stay ahead of shoppers and renew their interest. Streaming ads typically run between 60 to 90 days, while display and social ads should be changed every 30 days.
- Make sure your holiday advertising messaging is consistent and reflected everywhere. Check that you’re putting out the same information on your Google My Business profile, website, ads, and in-store. Build urgency by counting down the days until Christmas and New Year’s Day.
- Track results and strive for continual improvement. The analysis of data behind a campaign can help to pinpoint whether it’s successful or not. The data can also show why and how the audience interacted with it to duplicate results or improve the messaging the next time. Keep looking at the information to understand it best.
The important thing is to continue advertising to make sure your dealership remains top of mind. You don’t want car buyers and service customers to forget about your stores and go to your competitors. Let’s crush it this year and make sure you have the best holiday advertising strategies in place now.
To ensure your dealership is getting the best ROI and has a 5-star online presence, request a free Intel Report, including a custom analysis of your online presence.