The way consumers want to engage with the automotive market is evolving—in the past, people would visit on average seven dealers to do their shopping and research; now it’s 1.2. For example, customers want to know all the facts before even walking into a dealership. They want to do all their research upfront. Sending messages that are highly personalized and tailored to the needs of your market will ensure you secure the sale before a prospect even walks through the door.

Automotive Marketing

Who Is Your Target Market?

The first step in automotive marketing is determining “who” the company should strive to buy their cars. Most companies will go based on income, age, location, and current vehicle ownership status. These demographics are just the beginning of building an automotive marketing list. To better enhance your target market strategies, an automotive mailing list can also be combined, with an in-market car buying list. An in-market car buying list takes search intent data and geotargeting data to determine the likelihood of a person to be searching for a new car.

Engage New Customers

When attracting new customers, it’s important to make sure you are targeting just them with your direct mail marketing efforts and not your current customers. As part of your strategy, your creative needs to convince the prospect to take action and consider yours over the competitor. Aside from the creative, it is important to speak with your list broker about making sure your current database is excluded from your campaign. They can also help better increase your odds of getting engagement, by using in-market car buying lists in combination with your select demographics.

Leveraging Brand Loyalty

You’ll always hear “It cost less to keep your current customer than it is to attract a new one”. In the automotive industry, this is particularly true. Many drivers will stay brand loyal if their car continually meets their needs. Building on this loyalty with personalized mailers is a great way to strengthen a driver’s brand loyalty. Continually sending personalized Happy Birthday cards, just checking in mailers, and other personal direct mail pieces is a great way for car companies to show they care. These personalized messages also give the sales team a chance to convince the driver of upgrading their car or purchasing a new one.

Since the car buyer has been seeing messages from the salesperson throughout the year, they have established a sense of trust with them and are more likely to respond to messages like “Hi {First Name}, I have an incredible deal going on that I think you’ll like. Give me a call at {enter phone number} and we can talk more about this deal”. These messages would otherwise be lost on new car buyers, over the current clientele.

Automotive Direct Mail Marketing

Your direct mail campaign needs to begin by setting up goals. These goals can include increasing the number of visitors to your lot, increasing website visits, increase phone calls, and/or increase website chats. Of course, your campaign can use a combination of these goals, however establishing your main goal, can help sway the message in your ads. After you have established your goal(s), next you will want to determine if you are looking to attract new car buyers or have your current buyers upgrade their cars.

The beauty of automotive direct mail campaigns is their ability to draw in new and old customers. Simple mailers with contests, new inventory deals, and more are able to capture the attention of potential car buyers/upgraders. A well-written and designed direct mail piece from an automotive company can effectively drive the recipient to start searching or thinking about purchasing or upgrading a car.

Automotive Email Marketing

Email is an inexpensive way to get your brand continually in front of potential and current customers. Many automotive companies will utilize email as a way to promote any deals or new inventory they have in stock. However, with email, it is important to gauge your messaging. Continually emailing your prospects and current clients can lead to a higher unsubscribe rate.

Automotive Digital Ad Targeting

Experts at the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas discussed some of the things dealerships are doing to keep up with this change. In an AdWeek article recap of the event, panelists Sung and McCall said auto brands are testing with vehicle registration data blended with data from auto researchers like Polk and location data from customers’ personal mobile devices. The brands are using retargeting (a cookie-based technology that uses simple Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the Web) to deliver ads to potential customers as they visit dealerships, changing these ads based on where the person is. Sending offers on the fly like this is a great way to engage the prospect at the exact moment they are interested in buying—and therefore very receptive to the offer.

To make retargeting and other digital strategies work, you need good data. Automotive mailing lists, which can include information such as vehicle registration data, coupled with demographic and lifestyle lists can give you an accurate, and precise, picture of your target audience. This helps you develop ads that will resonate with them at critical decision points in their buying process. That’s how you can create the personalized brand experience your customers want, and set yourself apart from other dealerships.

Automotive Radio Ads

Radio has been the most popular choice in advertising routes for automotive ads. Why? Well, drivers tend to think about their car most when they are in their cars. This is an important fact when the majority of people listening to the radio are in their cars. Meaning when it comes to your ads on the radio, they need to be as convincing as possible. The goal of an automotive radio ad is to convince the driver that they could and should get a better car.

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