3 Easy Year-End Marketing Ideas for Car Dealerships

November 29, 2023

The end of the year is a pivotal time for car dealerships. Balancing end-of-year inventory management and hitting sales targets and quotas can be challenging. Dealerships often find themselves under pressure to sell off current-year models to make room for new arrivals in the coming new year. This stressful period involves planning and executing marketing initiatives, regulatory compliance and reporting, and keeping this all balanced while striving to exceed customer expectations and maintain high staff morale.

Innovative and Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies

Marketing initiatives can be crucial for end-of-year sales success, but they do not always have to be expensive or time-consuming.

Here are 3 ideas for maximizing your time and energy at this busy time of year for car dealership marketing.

3 Easy Year-End Marketing Ideas for Car Dealerships

  1. Leveraging Online Inventory Visibility

    • Customers are Moving Digital: Consumer habits are changing. With customers moving more towards technology, browsing inventory online has never been more important. The more of your online car inventory that you can expose to potential buyers with convenient access, the more your brand will be seen by these potential buyers. Entering their buying process where they are, is a critical junction to have your brand introduced and repeatedly ingrained in customers’ minds. 
    • The Power of High-Quality Imagery: With this shift to digital, it is crucial to have high-resolution, accurate photos of inventory to attract online customers. According to the Power of Pictures study concluded in 2016, “40% of consumers are likely to purchase
      a vehicle based on images they view online without seeing the vehicle in person.” This is a power statistic that helps validate the need for high-quality photos.
    • Engaging with Customers Online: Virtual tours, online consultations, and live question-and-answer options for online shoppers can boost brand trust and engagement. Unfortunately, the automotive industry sometimes has a negative stigma for being “untrustworthy.” Engaging with customers and building trust is one of the quickest ways to flip this narrative for customers to feel like someone cares about their questions and concerns. Customer testimonials can help build this platform and begin to build bridges with prospective buyers.
  2. Creative Promotional Events: Free Car Wash

    • Benefits of Promotional Events: These initiatives not only attract new customers but also build a positive brand image for those new customers as well as existing ones. You want your brand to be the one first of mind anytime new or previous customers find themselves in a car bind. Inviting previous customers to these events can be key for this kind of brand building.
    • Seasonal Advantage: For this specific promotion, many dealerships already have the process built for fresh car washes as customers drive their brand-new cars off the lot. It’s a small lift to be able to use these resources for a new promotion. Offering a free car wash to any potential buyers for a day, weekend, or week is an easy way to drive potential new business to your location. Many may think that winter is actually a poor time for this, but in fact, car washes typically see even more traffic in the winter months with heavy salt and dirt that is flung on cars during snowy months.
    • Customer Experience and Loyalty: As mentioned before, the stigma of car dealerships needs to be turned on it’s head. Where many consumers think it’s all about tight margins and negotiating to the end, a free car wash is a simple act of showing that money isn’t everything. All at the same time of being a low-cost promotion for your team to execute!
  3. Billboard Campaigns for the Holiday Season:

    • The Impact of Billboard Advertising: Billboard advertising cannot be skipped, swiped past, or completely hidden by spam blockers. This creates a powerful medium of strong visibility and extensive reach as you can spread your messages on billboards throughout your city. At the top of your marketing funnel, billboards can create brand awareness that can prime the rest of your marketing efforts for better success.
    • Flexibility and Timeliness with Blip: Blip’s flexibility allows users to start billboard campaigns within just a day or two. If you have a promotion or event that you would like to promote in the upcoming week, we can help you get that message on a local billboard in no time. No back-and-forth negotiating is needed and impressions are delivered with ease and speed. Dealerships have also used billboards to feature specific cars/inventory and rotate billboard designs that feature each car individually. Once the Holiday promotions have wrapped up, swapping billboard designs for general brand advertising is quick and easy. Once the next promotion comes around, you have built that brand recognition and can feature deals quickly.
    • Kruter Motors (Spoiler: It’s A Fake Dealership): A study was conducted for Kruter Motors with 30 digital billboards placed around Detroit. The goal was described -“As the home to the American auto industry, Detroit was the obvious market to launch a real OOH campaign for a fake auto brand.” After running this campaign for over 2 weeks in the area, the campaign was measured with a mix of mobile survey and website analytics. Survey and website results revealed:
      • 38% ad recall of Kruter Motors (aided and unaided)
      • Over 2,000 website visits to Krutermotors.com
      • 48-second average visit duration on the website
      • 84% took an offline or online action after being exposed to the campaign

Aiming for Success

Maximizing your end-of-year sales with these innovative marketing strategies for car dealerships is a great step toward holiday success. Dealerships embracing these methods are preparing for a prosperous end to the year and a strong start to the next. Start planning your end-of-year marketing strategies now, using the tips and ideas in the article above.