Automotive Marketing Trends: Strategies for Success
An effective marketing strategy allows a business to connect with its existing customers and attract new ones.
An effective marketing strategy allows a business to connect with its existing customers and attract new ones. Since there’s so much market competition today, implementing an innovative and impactful automotive marketing strategy is one of the best ways to increase leads and therefore, profit. But what is automotive marketing, and what are the latest trends?
What are automotive marketing trends?
Any company within the automotive industry can employ a marketing strategy, whether they are an auto manufacturer, parts retailer, dealership, resale company, a mechanic, inspector, detailer, or technician. No matter what, the goal is typically the same: to generate new leads by helping customers learn more about your business in the hopes they will choose you to buy a product or service from.
Automotive marketing is wide-ranging, encompassing both traditional (physical) and digital advertising campaigns. Marketing strategies can be everything from targeted email blasts to producing content for social media. To harness the power of marketing, automotive businesses, like dealerships, must stay up to date on the latest trends. New ways of marketing your company are constantly being developed and it’s important to maximize them if you want to stay relevant and connected to your customer base.
What is the importance of automotive marketing trends?
Creating a unique marketing strategy for your automotive business, part of which involves keeping up with the latest automotive marketing trends, is vital to its success. When you develop a clear, long-term strategy, rather than trying different strategies haphazardly, you will gain a better understanding of your audience and be able to capture their attention more effectively. From there, you can take what you’ve learned about your audience and target them to generate leads and increase sales. For example, you might discover when your audience is online the most, the average location or age of your audience, or the types of content they engage with the most. You can then use this information to your advantage.
Which are the automotive trends to adopt in 2022?
We’ve compiled a list of the top automotive trends to adopt in 2022.
Thanks to video-sharing platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and more, video content is on the rise. Many auto consumers report that they are influenced by videos when shopping for cars and that viewing videos helped make a purchasing decision. Dealerships have already started employing this trend, recording personalized videos answering customers’ questions or creating a customized virtual shopping experience for remote customers. Automakers are also getting in on this trend by creating virtual showrooms for an immersive online shopping experience. Unlike static photos, videos allow the consumers to get a better feel for the vehicle. Another fantastic component of video content is that it can be integrated into other marketing strategies. For example, videos can be embedded in email marketing campaigns, website landing pages, and vehicle listing pages.
A second automotive marketing trend taking the industry by storm is automation. Think of automation as an “always-on” marketing strategy. When automation is used effectively, it allows businesses to connect with customers 24/7 all over the world.
For example, dealerships now have software, thanks to digital automotive retailing platforms like taq’s one Platform, that automatically updates digital ads based on available and incoming inventory. In turn, this provides buyers with the most up-to-date deals, giving dealerships an edge over their competitors. This marketing automation software not only applies to website deals but can also be linked to lease payments, financing, APR, and incentives for all the in-stock vehicles on a dealer’s website.
One final reason that automation is an effective automotive strategy is its ability to help businesses stay within budget. In fact, such software can even help automotive businesses realize where they could be better allocating their budgets. For example, marketing automation can reveal which marketing strategies are most effective by using machine learning to pinpoint where buyers are spending their time and money. From there, businesses can adjust their budgets to reflect this information, preventing them from overspending on a platform that isn’t garnering the desired results.
Nowadays, almost every business has Google reviews. And if they don’t have Google reviews, they likely have reviews on another platform or even on social media. Harnessing these reviews is extremely important when it comes to automotive marketing, especially when you consider how much these reviews matter to consumers. Since vehicles and other automotive products tend to be expensive, people are more likely to do their research before making a purchase. Part of this research involves reading reviews. Seeing positive reviews from other customers like them fosters trust and can help grow a business’s audience if used correctly. Therefore, as a company in the automotive industry, one of the most effective marketing strategies you can implement is to make sure you have good reviews. You should be taking great care to ensure your customer reviews are as glowing as possible. Ideally, you should strive for positive reviews on all platforms, including Google, social media, Yelp, and your own website. Given how much other consumers value positive reviews, it might be a good idea to create testimonials or customer success stories and videos out of these reviews. This content can then be published on your website or integrated into a paid digital ad campaign or e-blast.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The fact of the matter is this: search engine optimization (SEO) matters. Why? Consumers are far more likely to click on a search result on the first page when looking for something online. This means that even if you have a great marketing strategy that is relevant to your audience, no one is going to see it until it is optimized. SEO is a complicated business, and it’s only becoming more so. Luckily, there are online tools that can help you boost SEO so that your content ranks as high as possible in the results. Examples of some of the basic rules of SEO include adding main keywords through your content (and early on), using internal linking to other reputable websites, writing unique titles, content, and descriptions, and choosing optimized images.
Another tip? Focus on local SEO. Especially if you are a car dealership, auto part store, or auto body shop that mostly serves local clientele, local SEO marketing is key. One simple way to optimize your Google presence is by filling out your Google My Business profile. Doing so allows you to share your contact information, check reviews, and optimize your profile by adding localized keywords.
Paid advertising campaigns
Organic traffic is ideal, but the reality is that most automotive businesses, at some time or another, will implement paid advertising campaigns (this is especially important if your competitors are using paid ads). Paid advertising presents an instantaneous method of getting your content in front of more eyes, whether by getting your name featured on pages or social channels where it wasn’t previously or by sharing your ads to wider audiences. Paid advertising campaigns can be implemented on search engines, social media platforms, or in the form of website banner ads. Before purchasing paid ads, consider which mediums are best suited to your audience and budget. For example, if your ad is targeted toward a young demographic, it might be smarter to pay for social media ads than a website banner ad, as young people tend to spend more time on social media. Ultimately, to implement paid advertising campaigns as effectively as possible, research the browsing and buying habits of your audience before creating the ad.
Email and text marketing
Email and text marketing is another automotive marketing trend auto companies should employ. These forms of communication are quickly becoming the norm between consumers and businesses, so it’s important to take advantage. Your auto company can collect emails and phone numbers from current customers at your point of sale by asking for this information at checkout. Lead magnets can also be used to ask people to share their contact information in exchange for an offer or deal. No matter how the customer provides you with their email address or phone number, be sure to use this information. There are many strategies for email and text marketing. For example, you can send a weekly or monthly e-newsletter to your email subscribers, send updates about new models, products, or parts, or offer exclusive sales or discount incentives, all through text or email. As text and email become the preferred forms of communication, businesses shouldn’t hesitate to utilize them to stay relevant.
Keywords are vital, whether you’re writing blog content for your website or creating a paid advertising campaign. That is why any effective automotive marketing strategy in 2022 must feature carefully-research keywords. If you don’t already have an in-house marketing expert, use a keyword research tool to help you choose the best keywords for your marketing campaign. These tools can scan your business’s current online content and tell you how it stacks up against your competitors. It will then suggest new search terms to cover the gaps in your current strategy. Some even offer a negative keyword list, helping you identify the search terms that are least relevant. Using the right keywords can be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and an unsuccessful one, so do the necessary research and choose wisely.
Beyond purchasing paid advertising campaigns on social media, one of the most important automotive marketing strategies a business can employ is having a social media presence. Today, consumers are almost as likely to visit a business’s social media pages before buying a product as they are to search them up on Google. For this reason, it’s important that your business has active accounts on all relevant platforms. Depending on your audience, this may include Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and more. The good news is that creating and posting to social media accounts is free of charge, making this one of the most economical strategies for success. It is generally recommended that automotive companies embrace multiple platforms, owing to the various benefits they offer. For example, Facebook caters to a wide (largely older) demographic, allows businesses to share a mix of text and multimedia content, and places a strong emphasis on local advertising. Instagram and TikTok, on the other hand, have far younger audiences and focus on the visual, which can be vital for auto companies looking to post a video or photo showing off their latest product.
Even more than the opportunity to showcase your offerings, social media is a way for businesses to connect with their audiences. Through commenting, liking, and features like polls or questions, auto companies can see real-time audience feedback. They can also respond to questions or pose them to learn more about their customer base. Engaging with your audience is just as important as posting regularly. The more you interact with your customers, the more loyalty and trust you will foster.
Offering something unique to your audience is another important automotive marketing trend in 2022. Why? The market is oversaturated. There is endless competition, which means thinking outside the box is critical. For example, a lot of automotive marketing looks the same, with dealerships offering sales around holidays like Christmas or Black Friday. While there’s nothing wrong with such offerings, they aren’t enough to make you stand out. When coming up with a unique offering, ask questions like “What can we offer our customers that will set us apart from our competitors?”
Examples of unique marketing offerings may include a contest on social media (you could even team up with other brands to offer a grand prize), a limited-time offer to a specific segment of customers (e.g., $1,000 off a car for new college graduates), or a special collaboration with another company or even a local celebrity or athlete. If it’s feasible, you could even host an event that gets your customers excited to visit your place of business. To identify if your offering is unique, consider what your competitors are doing, and do something different.
Remarketing is another important automotive marketing trend. Remarketing or retargeting allows businesses to display ads to certain users to remind them to take a specific action. This form of marketing is crucial when there is so much competition in the market and when consumers are used to comparing products from multiple sources. Remarketing can help businesses hold onto leads by reducing their abandonment rates. In essence, these ads are used to remind people who recently visited your website of the product or service they were considering and then guide them through the process of following through with their purchase. For example, some ads might offer them an exclusive deal. Ultimately, remarketing strategies can increase brand recognition and help your business get noticed online.
While most of the automotive marketing strategies on this list have been digital, it doesn’t mean that we want you to abandon traditional marketing altogether. Rather, striking a balance between digital and traditional marketing is the goal. For example, print advertising and television commercials are still viable forms of multimedia. And again, depending on who your audience is, these traditional marketing methods may be more relevant than paid ad campaigns on social media. So, before you ditch print ads, take a close look at your audience and your current marketing strategies and identify which are most effective. You might be surprised to learn that some of your traditional methods are performing similarly to your digital ones.
The Yellow Pages might be largely a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean that directories are out. In fact, digital directors are still important marketing tools for automotive businesses to take advantage of. Getting listed in online directories not only boosts brand credibility but can improve your search engine ranking. Of course, when added to a directory, consumers can also find important information about your company, such as your hours, location, services, and website. Do some research into which directories are most relevant to your audience. Some are free while others are paid. In addition, make sure to always keep your information up to date.
One final automotive marketing trend for companies to take advantage of is call features. Strategies like call-only campaigns, call tracking or call extensions can be incredibly effective. Although text and email are important too, phone calls have been used in the automotive industry for decades, and phone leads are often easier to turn into sales than other mediums of communications. An example of a call feature for automotive businesses to leverage is call-only campaigns. The goal of these types of campaigns is to incentivize customers to pick up the phone and call you rather than visit your website or social media pages. Meanwhile, call extensions are used digitally to give customers the option to visit your website or give you a call. Call extensions can be programmed to only appear during business hours when representatives are on hand to answer the phone. Mobile bid adjustments are another call feature related to cell phones. Google allows companies to adjust mobile bids to bring in more mobile traffic. Lastly, call tracking is another call feature automotive companies should utilize. Call tracking, as the name suggests, involves tracking the origin of all phone calls to understand exactly where your ROI is coming from.