Hit the Road: Understanding the Impact of Digital Marketing for the Automotive Industry

In today’s car buying market the overwhelming majority of shoppers begin their search for a new car online. They become familiar with the brands and models they are interested in, compare reviews, and they research multiple dealerships online before they buy. Many of them will never step into the dealership until it is time for them to sign papers and take ownership of their vehicle. So how can digital marketing help your car dealership, tire shop, auto parts supply store or other automotive industry business thrive in today’s marketplace? It does so by capitalizing on inbound marketing, which means getting customers who are already at the stage of wanting to buy a new or used vehicle, car parts, campers, tires, etc.

1-Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy

A multilateral automotive digital marketing strategy takes the success of inbound marketing to the next level by incorporating a variety of SEO tactics within the content of your website, drawing interest through social media, building a pay-per-click advertising campaign, and sending targeted emails with valuable content offers. The many facets of this approach will make up most of the rest of this article. 

Automotive digital marketing strategy is much easier said than done and will demand considerable focused attention, identification of your brand and lots of work in all areas of digital marketing. The most important elements are all listed below and there are lots of marketing experts who will guide you through the process and help you with as much or as little of the implementation as you need.

2-Make your Website Your Showroom and Shop Stop

Your website should leave your viewers breathless and thinking, “eureka, I’ve found it!”  It is your virtual showroom and it must reflect you, your makes, models, extras, services, as well as your values.  In other words, it must reflect your overall brand!  It should reach out and grab the interest and attention of your customers.  Here are a few tips to make your website layout work best for you:

  1. Make your message simple and clear throughout your website.
  2. Place information capturing forms, otherwise known as Calls to Action (CTAs), in strategic spots on every page.
  3. Include eye popping photos of your vehicles inside and out. Nothing makes people move on to the next site like endless pages of text on a website!
  4. Include “Offers” on relevant pages as your CTAs.
  5. Use social proof elements like testimonials and recommendations from your satisfied customers.

3-Optimize your Website to be Mobile Friendly

A mobile responsive website is not only imperative (come on, you know that MOST people look for you on their phone), it also lets people know that you know they want to get easy access to information and that you’re there to provide it. 

Don’t make millennials resize your page so they can find your buried phone number. This is not an age of ‘coy’. This is the era of getting your message out, easily digestible and accessible from any device. Let them click, click, call. Let them engage with your vehicle makes, models and optional equipment.

4-Get Your Website on Search Engine First Pages

Optimizing your website means making the value of its content, organization and layout clear to  the artificial intelligence (AI) crawlers (spiders) that search engines use to collect data. These search engines are programmed to find reliable, helpful and quality information to their users. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) identifies keywords that consumers use most often when they go searching for information.  Then SEO looks for quality content on the web that uses these keywords to offer back to the searcher.  

Great websites weave these keywords into the content of their webpages, blogs, infographic content and links to optimize the quality of their content for SEO crawlers. Strategic keywords are woven into as many places within the web content as possible so that the site will get noticed by Google as well as other search engines. Search engine software scans the content of billions of pages and notes and indexes the use of these keywords. The desired end result comes when a consumer types “best mexican food near me” into the search engine and the result of their search gives them your business name, address, phone number, menu, weekly schedule, etc. on the first page of their search. 

5-Write Quality Content on your Blog to Improve SEO

Providing quality content for internet users will continue to be the determining SEO factor.  Therefore writing useful content about your vehicles, services, automotive care and other topics that your audience will be interested in is a first priority. You must consider your audience and ask yourself what kind of content will most benefit them. Then write or get professionals to write high quality and high impact content in your blog, in your newsletters and on your website.  Quality content will soon get noticed and shared by others through social media and will inevitably lead more people to your website. 

Producing high quality relevant content requires a business owner to consider what are the most likely questions and objections of our potential customers?  Specifically what questions will they have in each stage of the sales cycle, from awareness to pre-purchase? What are your next steps to maximize the incredible power of SEO for your automotive digital marketing? 

6-Target Pay-Per-Click Ads for Immediate Results

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is one of the most effective and cost effective modes of marketing today.  It is basically a way to use search engine advertising to drive clicks to your website. And it works primarily in two ways.  

First, you can buy a sponsored ad that runs at the top of Google’s first search results page in your market area. This ensures that your business is one of the first options that shows up when someone does a search with your business keywords in every market where you have a storefront or in specifically targeted locations.  

Second, you can run PPC campaigns on Facebook or LinkedIn. A targeted ad is created that appears on identified FB or LinkedIn accounts of those who would be most interested in your automotive products or services.  Any time your ad is clicked, the user is sent to your website, and you pay Facebook or LinkedIn a small fee. An excellent and well-designed PPC ad campaign will generate a high percentage of quality leads making the fee a very worthwhile investment.  

7-Pay Close Attention to Online Reviews

People want to know what other customers think. In fact 75% of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Online reviews are influential and helpful for shoppers when  making their decisions. Including several detailed and enthusiastic reviews on your website as well as a few key sites lead to a steady stream of click-ins to your website because they help people build trust in your business products and services.

Cultivating responses from satisfied customers through a systematic approach of requesting reviews from especially pleased customers shortly after their visit will help to firmly establish your dealership with a quality online reputation.

Be sure to pay close attention to your online reviews. Quickly and proactively respond to any negative reviews. Any time you can carefully manage your customer complaints and even turn them into positive social posts you build trust. Documenting those experiences will help to convince shoppers that they matter and that your team is willing to go the extra mile to get things right.

8-Track Everything with Custom Reports

Investing in Automated Marketing software is a great way to harvest data and evaluate what is working as well as what is not working.  This full time monitoring and evaluation of your website also allows you to retrieve all of the collected data into a wide array of reports, including: 

  • Lead sources 
  • Event contacts 
  • Event analysis 
  • Offer download rate 
  • Number of contacts 
  • Contacts by source 
  • Average days to close by source 
  • Number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) 
  • MQLs by source 
  • Blog leads by source 
  • Visitor to lead conversion rate 
  • Revenue 

Every generated report will help you identify areas of effectiveness and/or weaknesses in your overall marketing strategy while also giving you the tools to make adjustments that will increase effectiveness or cut/rework any areas that aren’t cost-effective. Your reports are all customizable and present you with enough information to get a 10,000 foot view of your business.

Final Thoughts

As you can see there are lots of ways to maximize the benefits of digital marketing for automotive industry businesses. They will demand a considerable amount of focused attention, effort and time to develop and put into practice. That is where you have many options for getting the expert help you need to make your business grow! 

One especially exciting option is that you can approach a full service marketing agency with your goals in mind, and work with them to hone your brand, design an overall automotive digital marketing strategy that is tailored to your company. In this way you can let your marketing agency develop and grow your quality inbound leads while you concentrate on the needs of  your automotive business. 

Here at zo agency we work to build long term relationships with our clients. We call it Tribe! 

We will work diligently to discover your vision, your passion, your needs, your hopes and dreams for your business and then will create an overall marketing plan that meets your needs and fits your budget.  Visit us today at

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