Four Tips: How Content Marketing Drives Car Dealership Connections

Your website is the place to connect with shoppers on a personal, relatable level before they ever set foot on your showroom floor. Fresh, relevant content like blog posts, downloadable articles, infographics, high-quality photos, and videos help you increase search engine rankings. It also makes your customers feel that your dealership is run by people they can trust.

Here are four tips to build and enhance that connection when developing content.

1. Know Your Audience, & Don’t Discount the Millennials

We once thought that Millennials would be the weakest demographic regarding vehicle purchasing trends. According to Autoweek’s interviews with leading car manufacturers, new car purchases by this generation have skyrocketed. The 50 to 69-year-olds are losing ground as the age group with the most aggressive auto buying habits. Millennials are also slowly shifting from economy-class cars to SUVs and crossovers as they begin to settle down and raise families. They’re shaking off the “flaky” stereotype.

Millennials are generally distrustful of large institutions and “big business” having grown up during the latest recession. Business Insider reports that while they still take advantage of lending opportunities, they’re far less likely to set foot in a bank than are other generations. They prefer to handle financial transactions online or through mobile apps whether they’re transferring funds or searching for an auto loan.

What else do you need to know about Millennials?

  • They’re sensitive to deceptive marketing. Keep your ads and content headlines honest
  • They’re more experience-driven than materialistic
  • When it comes to content, they want to get in, find the data they want, act accordingly, and get out
  • Their auto buying motivation is driven by need rather than want 

Millennials, Gen-Xers, and the youngest of the Baby Boomers are all tech-savvy consumers, but auto retailers might want to nudge their marketing toward the up-and-coming, “avocado toast” set. In our industry, what appeals to Millennials also serves our broader audiences.

2. Develop a Relatable Brand Character

 Justin Long sums up the Millenial persona.  Does your website appeal to this generation too? If you don’t know, it’s time to develop your brand’s character, voice, and tone.

Voice is the style in which your advertising and digital content deliver your message. The tone is how that message is adjusted according to the situation or audience. Given the suspicious nature of Millennials, you need to back away from the stereotypical “car salesman” persona. Develop a voice your audience can relate to on a peer level, but with the confidence of informed authority.

Millennials love video content and gravitate towards social media “digital influencers.”  Previous generations responded to endorsements from mainstream public personalities. You don’t have to hire a YouTube star to represent your dealership. If you’re considering a social media campaign, align your spokesperson with your brand voice and the type of character that appeals to your audience. 

3. Use Local SEO and Local Content

Local SEO, in short, establishes your brand as a local business. Not only will it validate your claim to local keywords—edging out that big dealership in the next large city—you’ll elevate your “cred” in the eyes of your target market. Create content that highlights destinations in your area, allowing your audience to think, “oh hey, they value this area for the same reasons I do!”

Here are some examples:

  • High-quality photographs of local cityscapes or landscapes
  • Videos of your vehicles driving through local neighborhoods (particularly those where your target demographic resides)
  • Informative blogs about local events or destinations your demographic might enjoy

4. Create Useful, Honest Content

Millennials will bolt at the first whiff of dishonesty. Regardless of age group, it’s essential to create a genuine persona for your dealership.

One way to establish trust is to appeal to your audience’s affinity for companies that give back. GenXers care about philanthropy, but according to a study by Fortune, Millennials are “more inclined than their elders to say they would buy products from a company that contributes to charity, or to recommend the business to a friend.”

Create content about local philanthropic organizations and consider sponsoring causes that are important to both you and your demographic. You might even run a promotion in which you donate a to a customer’s charity of choice when they come in for a test drive or, better yet, close a deal.

Audiences of all ages will gain a greater appreciation for your brand if you include consumable, actionable advice and information. A few money-saving articles or videos with instructional DIY maintenance tasks—without compromising vehicle safety—will impress those who are suspicious of dealership markup and high-pressure sales practices.

Increase Conversion with Engaging Content & Streamlined Shopping

Fresh content with a genuine, relatable appeal stays on your audience’s radar and keeps shoppers coming back. Use social media platforms to encourage potential buyers. Good content naturally helps others to share your videos, infographics, photos, and blog posts. Ask customers what kind of material they’d like to see.

Be sure to have software that monitors user behavior on your site. Google Analytics is free and can give you great insights. Give your visitors the ability to do comparison shopping… not just for cars, but for lenders.

Your current “digital native” shopper isn’t as difficult to reach as you might think. With the right approach to content creation and e-commerce infrastructure, you’ll be ready to relate to even the most challenging customers. And you won’t have to serve avocado toast at your coffee bar.