The Ultimate Guide To Car Dealership Marketing

Selling cars is a big business. There are units to move and you want them to make their way through your lot as fast as possible to maximize profits. Margins can be tight and sitting on inventory makes them even slimmer. This is one of the primary reasons most car dealerships have fairly hefty marketing budgets. Unfortunately, many dealerships are working with a big budget but not a strong strategy which leads to waste, lack of clarity and often less than ideal results.

Car Dealership Marketing Guide

Marketing your car dealership can be a challenge because not only are there numerous choices to be made, the way dealer’s market has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. So many people tasked with marketing a car dealership are left wondering what works, what doesn’t and where to get the best value for their marketing dollars. Add this to the fact that many markets are ultra-competitive and you’ve got a recipe for wasting a lot of time, effort and most importantly, dollars!

The solution is to get focused. Figure out who you are, who you’re marketing to and the best places to find them. Luckily, the change to a more digital marketing environment over the past decade means we have access to unlimited data. You simply need to pair that quantitative data up with experience and expertise (qualitative data) to figure out the right formula for your specific dealership.

The team at Digital Monk has over a decade of experience helping car dealerships with traditional and digital marketing strategies that have seen them drive huge results. In this guide, we’d like to share some of our experience and expertise with you to help get you on the right track.

Digital Monk’s strategy has evolved into simply – Create, Attract, Engage – and this is exactly what you need to do with your marketing strategy.

● Uncover your authentic brand to stand out in the market.

● Create content, offers and an online and offline shopping experience customers feel safe in.

● Use the best tactics to attract your target audience.

●  Engage with your audience and local community to stay top of mind.

Along with this, you’ll want to Align all aspects of your brand and Elevate as you settle into what works for you.

● Ensure your brand is consistently aligned across all fronts. This means streamlining your voice and visual brand, internal and external communications, carrying your mission and values through everything you do and ensuring that everyone on your team is moving in the same direction so customers have a consistent experience.

● Elevating your brand and results looks like consistently reviewing what’s working, what’s not and tracking trends in the marketplace. Taking each opportunity that presents itself to hone in further on what makes your brand special or taking feedback to improve how you do things. It’s testing your ads and analyzing results to see where you can keep tweaking.

Essentially, you want to lay a great foundation based on the best direction and information you have available, then once you’ve got a strong alignment, seek to continually refine any area of your business that you can elevate to see consistent improvement and drive toward your goals.

Whether you work with Digital Monk or not, we highly recommend at least consulting with an agency that has experience and expertise in marketing car dealerships. You can work together to craft a great strategy and choose the tactics that are most likely to work for you. You may also find it helpful to either have them execute your strategy for you or to remain available to consult on implementing your initial strategy. They can also be an excellent support to help you to Align & Elevate!

If you work with Digital Monk, here are the core tactics we recommend considering:

1. Branding: First, and most importantly, you need to discover your authentic brand. This doesn’t mean choosing a persona and running with it. It’s actually digging deep into the who, what, where and why of your dealership to figure out what you stand for and what that represents to those who work for you and do business with you. This also includes how your local community sees you. Ask yourself – what sets us apart from the various other dealers who sell the same products and services we do?

2. SEO: You literally can’t sell vehicles in this day and age without a rock solid strategy for SEO in the automotive industry. Over 90% of initial research is now done online so as potential customers are choosing the brands, makes and models they are considering, you need to show up in the conversation. This is especially important for preowned vehicles because if your inventory isn’t easy to find, you’re not even in the buying process!

3. Video & Photography: While it’s not exactly a tactic, it is very important that you invest in high quality photography and video production for your dealership. You’ll need these assets for almost every area of your marketing strategy so you want them to be professional and represent your brand effectively.

4. Website: If your website is hard to navigate, people bounce off of it very quickly. Not only does this hurt your SEO rankings, but much more importantly, it means more people shopping with your competitors over your dealership. You need a website that’s designed with the needs of a dealership in mind and has the right kind of back end support to help you make the most of your traffic. There are specific companies that provide these services, so you don’t have to look very far to find excellent options.

5. Social Media & YouTube: Establish a regular social media presence that includes publishing videos on YouTube. This helps people to find you and is the best way to share your brand personality and value in ways people can connect with. Offer practical advice, tutorials, walkthrough videos, contests and any other fun, engaging content you create. Keep up regularly with your audience so you can remain top of mind for when they need your services or are ready to buy a new vehicle.

6. Online & Traditional Advertising: Google Ads, AdWords, Spotify, Facebook and much more are all great potential online platforms for your dealership. Radio has proven to still be quite effective as well. Layer these tools on once you’ve got a solid brand and plan established to help you connect with very specific markets that make the most sense for you. These options are a great opportunity to work with those who have the expertise to ensure your budgets are being maximized and you’re always refining your strategy to get the most out of it.


Marketing a car dealership has many layers and facets and each is important to your overall results. Ensure you’ve got a strong foundation created, use the best tactics to attract customers and take the necessary steps to consistently engage with your customers. It sounds simple, and it is, but the execution can be a challenge in a fast paced environment, especially if you don’t have the prior experience and expertise needed to make quick decisions and pivot when necessary.

If you could use some support implementing an amazing marketing strategy for your car dealership, Digital Monk is here to help. Our automotive digital marketing agency can provide guidance and consultation to help you create a great plan or we can literally become like an in-house marketing team that handles all aspects of your strategy and guides your team. We can also work with any matrix in between to ensure you have the right type of support for your dealership’s unique needs.

Contact us today to get started!

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