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ABC’s of Dealership Marketing Pt. 1

Alphabet Soup with a spoon that has ABC in it
Article Highlights:

  • Your customer base is a powerful marketing tool, or at least it can be.
  • No marketing plan can work without clearly defined goals.

Marketing in today’s world is much different that it was when you had 10 times the inventory on your lot.  How, when, where, to whom, and even if you should be spending money are questions to ask seemingly every day.

That said, there are consistent, essential elements of dealership marketing that you can use more or less of to get your desired results—they’re the ABC’s to any successful marketing plan. In this article we’ll cover the first half of these basics, starting with letter A and moving all the way to L.

A is for Advertising

Dealership advertising is where a majority of your car buying market is going to hear about your inventory and services, making it a huge industry. It’s no surprise that car dealerships spent on advertising last year.

B is for Brand Awareness

Increasing brand awareness can have a variety of effects on your dealership, with the main benefit being an increase in sales. Keep your dealership in the mind of customers with relevant messaging at the right time.

C is for Campaign

Whether you’re getting the word out about your process for pre-ordering vehicles or sending emails to build customer relationships, a marketing campaign is a great way to work towards a specific dealership goal, all while having a way to measure your progress.

D is for Data

Your customer base is a powerful marketing tool, or at least it can be. When your customer information is updated and accurate, it’s easy to send custom, targeted messaging at the right time to the right customers. Be sure to evaluate the success of your marketing campaigns and ask yourself if cleaning and updating your marketing database could help your dealership.

E is for Email

Email campaigns are a great way to retain your current customers, recapture lost business, and generate new prospects and opportunities. You can even increase the likelihood of email recipients taking action by segmenting your audience and sending custom messaging, which increases the relevancy of any deals or offers.

F is for Fixed Ops

Your service drive is an integral part of what you have to offer your customers. While a majority of dealership marketing seems to revolve around sales, fixed ops specific marketing is a great way for your dealership to increase customer loyalty and profits.

G is for Goals

No marketing plan can work without clearly defined goals. Whether your dealership is looking to expand into another location or simply establish brand awareness, having dealership specific goals in place will help you determine how to measure the success of your marketing efforts.

H is for Holistic

From Facebook and Instagram, to emails, mailers, and paid search ads, how can your dealership ensure that your messaging is consistent when each platform has its own guidelines and procedures? Whether you’re looking for a complete marketing makeover or a specialist to help guide you through best practices, having a holistic approach to your marketing can boost success for dealerships of all sizes.

I is for Inventory

Inventory-specific search and display ads are the way that you connect your two greatest assets as a dealership—your customers and your vehicles. Displaying your available inventory, along with important vehicle information like the price and mileage, is an easy way to get your cars in front of the people most interested in buying them.

J is for Journey

One major sign that your marketing strategy is successful is that consumers will think about your dealership across all stages of the buying journey. Keeping the customer buying journey in mind can help you find the stages where you lose traction, allowing you to remedy the problem before you lose potential customers.

K is for Keywords

93% of online interactions start with a search engine, and 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search results. Optimizing your website by choosing the right keywords and phrases to market your dealership can improve your online visibility and boost sales.

L is for Loyalty

It’s 7 times more expensive for dealerships to acquire new customers than it is to retain current ones. Acquiring new customers is never a bad thing, but putting in an effort to retain the customers you already have will increase your customer lifetime value at a portion of the cost.


Ready for the rest of the alphabet? Keep an eye out for the second part of this series for a complete A-Z listing of the essential elements of dealership marketing.

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Mollie Swygart is a marketing communications professional at Reynolds and Reynolds. She is an expert on Reynolds’ suite of cutting-edge marketing products, their functionalities, and how they can be utilized to improve dealership success. Mollie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art and English from Marietta College. She also obtained an Associate’s Degree in Marketing from Rhodes State College.

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