New Vehicle Online Marketing Strategy – Do You Have One?

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If you ask most dealers if they have a dedicated online marketing approach for their new vehicle inventory, the majority would answer yes.  In reality most dealers don’t have a defined strategy.  Most dealers assume that because their new vehicles are online that they have an approach.

New car inventory needs to be promoted in a similar fashion to the used.  If you had a used vehicle online without a price, a poor description and no listed equipment, would you consider it properly promoted?  Unfortunately, most dealers have their new vehicle inventory listed like this.  Today’s online shopper doesn’t separate their new vehicle shopping experience from their used so why don’t we provide the same experience.  

Here are a few resources for marketing your new vehicle inventory online:

  • Look at your new vehicle advertising from the eyes of a customer – would you be satisfied with prices at retail, stock photos and poor descriptions? 56% of shoppers shop online for their new vehicle and are getting a poor experience at most dealerships – be the difference.
  • Think of your website and the portals you advertise on as your online showroom- Would you ever not have your cars lined up?  Would you ever not have a price tag in the vehicle? Would you ever prevent a customer from looking inside? The internet is the new showroom.  Make sure your “open” and ready for business.
  • Stand out from the crowd -Shoppers have the ability to search thousands of the same vehicles within their immediate area in the matter of minutes.  Make the listing as complete as possible.
  • Discounted prices- You don’t have to “give” a car away to get some attention.  Give the consumer a nominal discount to let them know you are negotiable. In a study by Autotrader.com, the concluded that a discounted price increases engagement by up to 180%.
  • Use aged stock as your price leaders –aged stock costs the dealership in floor planning costs and lost profit opportunities.  Use these vehicles aggressively priced to drive leads.  When the lead comes in, you obviously have an opportunity to sell the advertised vehicle or move the customer into a car with more profit.
  • Real pictures- we all know what your new white pickup looks like.  You and I know that t looks exactly like the other 10 you have.  The customer doesn’t have that luxury.  Provide them with actual pictures of the actual vehicle.  Good pictures sell.  Multiple pictures of different angles and inside of the vehicle help to further engage the customer. We suggest a minimum of 10.  See our “Best Photo Practices” section.
  • No stock images- Again, in the autotrader study it was determined that ads with photos get twice as many leads and vehicles with stock photos have the same effect as having no photos at all.
  • Video – Shopping has become virtual and so has the test drive.  Create a strategy for developing videos for each new car on the lot.  Sounds like a lot of work?  It probably is but in market shoppers are 14 times more likely to watch a vehicle video than general internet surfers (Polk Video Study) and therefore be more likely to engage.
  • Actual Description- Does your listing show any equipment?  If equipment is listed, is it accurate? In a vin decoded listing, only standard features are included but all optional equipment the vehicle has won’t be listed because it can’t be determined from a decode.   You could be missing customers searching for specific features if they don’t know your vehicle has it. Do the key features stand out?