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5 Ways to Improve the Digital Outreach of Your Dealership

Most consumers start their search for a new car online, so your car dealership's digital outreach is crucial to its success. Here's how to ensure the effectiveness of your car dealer advertising ideas.

Business professionals collaborating on digital devices

Like with any business, the success of your car dealership depends on how well you promote it. You want to attract buyers by demonstrating your expertise and reliability, in addition to showcasing your fleet and inventory.

And with 95% of consumers looking up information about their intended used car purchase on the internet, logically, the bulk of your used car marketing efforts will be taking place online.

So, in this article, we're going to go over some car dealer advertising ideas that just might boost the profile of your establishment.

Let's get started!

Use automotive content marketing efficiently

Of all types of automotive media marketing, creating useful content gives you the most opportunity to gain the trust of prospective buyers. In other words, it allows you to demonstrate your expertise, and in the process, assure the clients that there’s no truth to the usual stereotype of the shady used car salesman.

As a provider of a service, you’re the best judge of what your buyers want to know about what you offer.

You can give them that information in a straightforward and comprehensible way, like we did in this post teaching potential buyers how to evaluate a used car

In fact, you can even provide some entertainment value, like the car dealership from the video below:

Source: Fox 13 Tampa Bay on YouTube


As a form of inbound marketing, creating useful content also has the benefit of bringing potential customers to you. While looking up a topic they’re interested in, they’ll come across your page, and you’ll get a chance to charm them.

However, in order for this form of automotive digital marketing to be effective, you need to know which keywords to target with your used car advertising ideas. 

Set up a budget for testing PPC campaigns

Since as many as 78% of consumers rely on third-party websites when shopping for cars, setting up an inbound marketing channel that brings those users to you from those other websites that host your ads is a logical step.

And that’s how PPC works - rather than attracting views organically, as you would with content, you place an ad on another website, or a search engine, and pay a fee every time someone clicks on it. This essentially ensures that you only pay the fee when your ad fulfills its purpose.

A variety of factors will determine your budget, including what you want to achieve with your PPC campaign (e.g., expand your reach or increase your sales), the standards in your niche, etc.

The one thing you should definitely include in your budget is testing the effectiveness of your ads.

A man is using a laptop with a seo icon on it

Find the right keywords

Competition in the automotive industry is fierce. Therefore, the car dealer advertising ideas you decide to implement will have to target more specific, highly localized long-tail keywords (3+ words), as the shorter, more generic ones will already be dominated by the major players in your niche.

Not only should you target localized keywords like “used car dealership near me” or, if you’re, for instance, a Spanish car dealer trying to target British expats in Malaga, “used car dealership Malaga”, but you should also consider your unique selling proposition.

Are you, for instance, the only used car dealership in your area that offers high-quality hybrid cars? Then it’s a good idea to target a keyword like “used hybrid cars for sale in Malaga”.

The great thing about highly specific keywords is that they appeal to consumers with higher purchasing intent, bringing you more qualified leads. In other words, a user on the lookout for a “used Hyundai Tucson for sale Malaga” knows exactly what they want. Consequently, they’re more likely to appreciate a Google showcasing your offer than one who simply searches “used cars”.

To research the right keywords, use the appropriate tools such as:

  • Ahrefs,
  • Semrush, 
  • Google Ad Keywords Planner

 to test your used car dealership advertising ideas.

Start local Google Ads campaigns for your dealership

Once you’ve decided on the keywords you want to target, you can set up a Google Ad campaign for your dealership.

Google Ads will require you to input the relevant info about the vehicle, ranging from the car’s make and model to its mileage. The targeted campaign will then be shown to your desired target buyer in your area.

screenshot that say drive sales with google adsUtilize Google Ads for your dealership

The reach of your ads will depend on a variety of factors, including the amount of money you allot to your campaign and the quality score Google gives your ad.

You can boost the latter by ensuring your landing pages are informative (clearly showing your dealership’s name, location, and information about the vehicle), relevant and well-optimized.

Additionally, your ad should feature great copy.

This means a clear headline, a thorough and truthful description, as well as a clear call-to-action inviting your buyer to click on your URL and make the desired action.

Well-made photographs are also a must, as we will discuss in later paragraphs.

Gather the data and make improvements

Google Ads are also useful because they automatically gather data that can help you improve the effectiveness of your car dealer advertising ideas. They also enable you to retarget previous leads.

A key metric to track is the click-through rate. It essentially shows how appealing your car dealership's advertising ideas are to the consumer.

screenshot showing the statistics about average click through rates across industries

Average click-through rate across various industries


However, once potential buyers land on your page, you want them to complete a certain action - such as contacting your dealership. Google Ads collects data that shows whether they do that, and it can also track the time they spend on your website, or other metrics.

Moreover, Google Ads can detect how your ads correspond to actual searches made by the users. You can see which keywords led prospects to your website, and you can tailor your car dealership advertising ideas accordingly.

Good reviews are crucial for your dealership

Earlier, we touched on the importance of projecting reliability as a used car dealership. One of the key ways to do that is by showcasing reviews from your previous clients

Client testimonials are vital - studies show that businesses that make them visible on their website see an increase in conversions of a staggering 270%. Conversely, when these testimonials are hidden, conversions are 80% less likely.

As such, reviews are an important part of your automotive social media marketing strategy.


Show testimonials from your clients

The testimonials of happy customers should be clearly visible in a specially dedicated section on your website.

You should also make them a part of the social media marketing for your dealership, showcase them on your social media, and even include them in your Google Ads campaigns.

If your potential customers see positive reviews from other consumers just like them, they’ll be encouraged to purchase their next car from your dealership.

So, leveraging testimonials is a foolproof car dealership digital advertising idea. If those reviews came in video form - even better. Videos provide a much-needed dash of authenticity, which is always a plus in automotive social media marketing.

screenshot of ecarstrade google reviews

Try to get buyers to share their impressions of your business soon after the purchase, while their positive experience with your business is still fresh in their mind.

Collecting the reviews you’ll showcase as part of your social media marketing strategy in a timely manner should be a priority even if you choose not to use video. 

However, if you find written testimonials a more feasible option, make sure writing them is no hassle for your customers. 

You can do that by creating easy-to-fill forms asking for the specific information you need, or by providing examples in the form of these easy templates for leaving car dealership reviews.

Remember to answer critical reviews

Positive reviews are great, but unfortunately, it’s inevitable that you’ll also meet clients who won’t be happy with the service they receive in your dealership. The reasons for their dissatisfaction can be as numerous.

Your inventory may not be to their liking, or they might clash with one of your employees. In those cases, it’s important to remember that, although negative reviews can undoubtedly have a negative effect on the reputation of your dealership, they’re not the end of the world.

You just have to address them in the right way.

Consumers tend to leave negative reviews because they’re unhappy with one of three things:

  • the price (perhaps because of some unexpected fees)
  • the condition of the vehicle
  • or the service at the dealership

In any of those cases, the dissatisfied customers usually want to be heard more than anything else.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to hire an employee to deal exclusively with customer relations to monitor any negative comments either on your social media or on third-party sites.

positive google reviews of ecarstrade business

Keep in mind that it’s better to de-escalate the situation by avoiding an impassioned discussion in a public forum, and instead invite the reviewer to contact your dealership directly to discuss the issue.

However, moving the conversation to a less publicly visible venue doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to resolving the issue.

When communicating with the customer, be empathetic and transparent above all.

For instance, if the customer is bothered by the price, explain your acquisition processes and how you set your prices.

Also, be proactive - don’t be afraid to offer an apology if the error turns out to lie with you. If necessary, refund the buyer, or offer something in exchange.

If you handle the complaints effectively and offer the right incentives, you can turn negative reviews into positive ones - and a great opportunity for social media marketing for your dealership.

Social media is the place to be

We’ve talked a lot about social media marketing for dealerships in this piece, and for good reason.

Social media allows you to target your desired demographic with precision. It’s a vast treasure trove of information about your target buyer.

ecarstrade instagram grid with photos and graphics

Determine the go-to platform for your target audience

Efficient social media marketing for dealerships starts with zooming in on your target audience, and determining which social media platforms you can find them on.

This information allows you to adapt your car dealer digital advertising ideas to those particular platforms and user groups.

For instance, according to Motor and Wheels, 56% of used car buyers are men, while 44% are women.

Here’s a breakdown of typical used car buyers by age from the same source.

infographic showing age demographics for used car buyers

Source: motorandwheels.com

Once you decide whether you want to focus on the most numerous demographics (men between the ages of, say, 35 and 54), or try to reach a more underserved demographic, like, for instance, Gen Z women, it’s time to determine which social media can grant you access to them.

Studies indicate that YouTube is the best social media site for your automotive advertising ideas. 

infographic showing most popular social media channels for used car buyers
Illustration: eCarsTrade / Data: AM Online


It’s the most widely used by all demographics, yet especially useful if you want to target the groups that make up the most likely used car buyers in the table above, closely followed by Facebook.

Men slightly outnumber women on Twitter / X, whereas on Instagram, it’s the other way around.

In any case, regardless of which social media platform you opt for, photo and video content is crucial for any kind of automotive social media marketing.


Create engagement and promote your brand

Although important, video won’t be enough to create engagement and promote your brand. So let’s look at some other automotive social media strategies for creating engagement.

According to Hootsuite, tutorials and inside tips (like in the video below), or product reviews - in other words, the type of content a car dealership would likely be posting - reach around 25% of viewers on YouTube.

Source: VeracityDigitalTV on YouTube 


However, brand videos can expect engagement levels of only about 7%.

Engagement can be boosted by:

  • collaborating with other influencers in your niche
  •  making sure to contribute to every relevant trend
  •  replying to comments
  • interacting with the audience in other ways

Also, dynamically edited shorts are a safer bet than long-form videos, and an occasional giveaway doesn’t hurt, either.

All of this (interacting with your fans, making sure your car dealership advertising ideas capitalize on trends and current events) is applicable to Facebook, too.

There, however, it’s also important to pay attention to posting times. These are just some of the details that car dealerships need to keep in mind when developing car dealer advertising ideas for social media.

Lastly, no matter where you post your advertising content, it has to be visually appealing. We cover that in the final section.

a person holding a camera taking a photo of a car in a car studio

Don't forget about quality images and videos!

High-quality visuals are indispensable if you want to make a good impression.

Photos and videos both require good lighting, decent equipment, and a fair amount of skill, so you likely wouldn’t be amiss hiring a professional.

However, if that’s above your budget at the moment, let’s look at the basics of taking good photos and videos for your car dealership


Learn how to take better photos

If you want your vehicles to look their best in photos, there are some basic rules you need to follow.

First, it goes without saying that the car should be clean and well-lit.

Then, you should take all the photos at a consistent location, somewhere where there isn’t much to distract from the vehicle itself, preferably with a neutral background. It’s also important to avoid the shadows of any other objects to appear in the photo.

Next, if shooting outdoors, try to avoid cloudy days, as the car will look better in fine weather, and the photo itself will be more enticing.

A professional camera with a tripod is best, as it eliminates shaking and blurriness. The lens should ideally have a focal length of 55mm to avoid distortions.

Finally, avoid retouching the photographs - in the spirit of transparency, any damage on the vehicle must be clearly visible.

If you want more tips on taking great photographs, check out our detailed guide on how to take photos for your car dealership, and we’ve also listed some tips for making great videos for your car business

a person taking a photo of a car with a mobile phone

A photo tour of your showroom

In the (post-)COVID era, many car dealerships have opted for virtual car showrooms, which offer the convenience of a personalized shopping experience. 

In addition to high-quality photos and videos, they also provide easy access to a lot of additional information about the vehicle the buyers might be interested in at the click of a mouse.

Such showrooms can also be used as a treasure trove of car dealership advertising ideas, as they allow you to show what you offer to the buyer in the comfort of their own home.

You can find some useful advice on how to build a virtual showroom for your car dealership in the video below:

Source: iStaging on YouTube 

Expand your dealership's inventory!

We hope this article has provided some insights and inspiration for some great car dealer advertising ideas and automotive social media marketing strategies.

These are best paired with an amazing, versatile inventory. 

To make sure you’ll always be able to offer your potential buyers what they need, have, use our website, eCarsTrade. 

We offer amazing pre-loved vehicles from top European markets, such as Belgium and the Netherlands. Do your prospects want their vehicle channel the elegance and sophistication of France? With us, you can make that happen for them. 

Or, do your prospects prefer the precision and reliability of German cars? We’ve got you covered.

Find all the cars you need right here on eCarsTrade!