Marketing Automation for Automotive Dealerships

With the doors on the showrooms open again (even if by appointment only) the motor industry is bouncing back into life with many dealers expressing business levels higher than anticipated.  Here we will look at just a few of the ways marketing automation can be used by an automotive dealership to engage with customers and generate more leads for sales to close.  While many Dealer Management Systems (DMS) have a marketing module, for most this is little more than an email manager and does not achieve automated marketing.


During the shutdown, the savvy dealer continued his engagement with prospects and previous customers using all digital means that their disposal.  For many this has given the virtual foot traffic to their doors and websites in the last few weeks.  Those planning for the new way, used the shutdown to update websites, clean up messy databases as well as investing in and connecting the technology they had been putting off for the last couple of years.  


The reliance on traditional local newspaper advertising has been replaced with a greater online presence in social media and switching budgets to paid online advertising such as Facebook and Google Ads.  For many, the penny finally dropped that prospects travel some 70% or more of their buying journey online and long before they contact a dealership.  In this mode, early engagement is vital to gain an advantage of the other dealerships and marketing automation can take over the time-consuming tasks of follow-up and continual nurturing of prospects.

Automotive Dealer Marketing Automation

Marketing automation should be involved at the very start of the buying journey.  When a prospect clicks that Google or Facebook Ad and lands on the website vehicle page, it should be tracked by the system.  But at this point you only have the click and its cost in your Google or Facebook account records.  To convert this anonymous click to a prospect you need their name and contact details to nurture them further.


A good marketing automation system will do any of the following;


  • Offer them a brochure download - In exchange for an email address.
  • Push a targeted pop-up about the current deal on the vehicle or ask if they have a trade-in to move them forward
  • Offer a video tour of the vehicle - Again contact details are taken
  • Offer a COVID sensitive showroom appointment using an online booking system.


Here, your imagination is literally the limit.


Once contact data is exchanged, then buyer journey tracking takes over.  Alerts can be sent to the sales team every time a prospect visits the website.  The sales team has access to this information and can take over from marketing when the prospect is deemed Sales Ready.  This eliminates the ‘cold call nerves’ that so many sales closers have as it's a warm call.  The prospect knows who your dealership is – after all they were just on your website.  The sales-person knows what the prospect is interested in because they can see their contact history.

Once inside the real or virtual showroom, it's over to the sales team to work their magic.

What about the prospect that still need to “think about it” and walk away despite the sales person’s best efforts?  Well marketing automation takes over again.  Send a nice (Automated) thanks for visiting email with links to brochures, offers, sales experience survey, etc.  If the prospect engages, then the system will send another nurturing message - culminating in offering another appointment, selling the vehicle virtually with digital signatures….. or pick up the phone and call them.  Either way you know there is still interest there.


In today's post COVID wave 1 times, marketing automation can offer the automotive industry very attractive packages that are always working - even nights and weekends! What’s more, it helps with early engagement, nurturing and getting a prospect to the showroom (Real or virtual).  ActiveDEMAND, sold and supported in the UK by Lead Intuition, is used by over 6,500 users who are reaping the rewards of more leads as well as time and resources saved.

Want to know more, then take action today


Many of the things we have set out here are not part of most DMS packages.  If your DMS or marketing apps cannot achieve some of the points discussed, please feel free to contact us to find out how we can make your dealer marketing more effective 

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