Moving up the market ladder and selling premium cars was a winning business strategy for many car dealerships that are now household names and synonymous with quality, reliability, and class of the brands they sell. However, for startup companies who want to enter the high-end market, or diversify their offer, marketing techniques for selling premium cars are in many ways different than those used to market and sell less expensive vehicles. Any marketing strategy for a car brand needs not only to acclaim the remarkable values of the car, but also the person who drives it.
Invest in marketing materials
Your marketing efforts need to clearly establish the quality of your car. To this end, your marketing materials need to be high-quality, as well. Using words and pictures, you need to show your customers what sets them apart from other brand fans. Let them see what they’re paying for and don’t skimp on high-quality photographs, glossy paper, engaging TV production, and radio ads. Being too economical with marketing in the early stages could bring irreparable loss down the road if the bulk of potential customers don’t take you seriously.
Know your market
Owning a car dealership in Santa Fe, New Mexico isn’t the same as running one in London, UK. These two are completely different markets, so if you’re still in the dark about your market, it’s time to do your homework. Research the dominant demographics in your area and study the car-buying seasons. For example, if you live in a mountainous or a northern state, consider stocking up on trucks and full-size 4x4s so you can offer a big sale right before winter.
Know your buyers
Who is your average customer? Are they more blue-collar or white-collar? Should you focus your marketing efforts more to single people and families? A historic, upscale community will see more of older buyers, while a prospective suburb with plenty of amenities and low-rise neighborhoods indicates you’re more likely to encounter younger buyers and families. The customer profile that makes the bulk of your current sales can give you an idea of what types of cars you should sell, but also how to target those buyer groups in your marketing and branding campaigns.
Improve brand recognition with visuals
Regardless of the marketing tactics you decide to use, your logo has an important role in helping people recognize your company. Logos of famous automotive brands like Mercedes or GMT are instantly recognized even with no words attached. That should be the kind of brand recognition you want to achieve for your dealership. There are several visual and “car-friendly” ways you can raise the awareness of your brand:
Brand your company cars
While it’s the usual practice for test cars to be covered with strong messages, slogans, and even special offers, why not extend the practice to all business-owned vehicles? Car branding is both a cost-effective and high-yield way of promoting a brand, a product, or service.
Brand the license plates
If you prefer a less NASCAR-esque approach, you can spike up the interest and upgrade your dealership cars with personalised number plates. Many people read number plates, and if you present a “plainclothes” vehicle, no one will have a clue that it belongs to your dealership until they read the catchy letter combination on its brand name.
Brand car accessories
For many car owners who don’t own a garage, a car cover is all that separates their latest wax coat from birds, dust, and the elements. As part of your visual marketing/branding initiative, offer your loyal customers branded car covers, so they can be ambassadors of your car dealership even when sitting in parking, wrapped up for the day.
Find a reason to boast
Successful car brands always give their customers a reason to boast. Try to find what qualities make the cars you sell worth the price people are willing to pay. Bentley and Maybach sell durability as well as the brand history that continues to spark imagination even after they’ve been acquired by VW and Mercedes, respectively. Other brands, like BMW and Renault, are associated with celebrated racing teams. One might focus on the hand-polished wood interior, while others boast dashboard technology and seamless integration of the car sensors and systems. Even if your target audience isn’t premium car buyers, you can always find features that make a car stand out from the competition.
Generate leads through social media
Companies have only begun to tap into tangible benefits of social media for growing brand awareness. Unfortunately, many car dealerships decide to leave all social media marketing to the brands they represent, so they’re missing a huge piece of the branding cake. However, your posts and tweets shouldn’t consist of your weekly deals or monthly specials. Social media is not a platform for converting followers into customers, but rather a place where your brand awareness grows, where people can engage your online persona, and become involved in your story. The best way to pique their interest is through engaging content, such as interesting blog posts, infographics, test drive videos, etc. Car dealerships are often followed by stereotypes of being pushy and selling too hard. Using marketing strategies that advertise your dealership brand as customer-centric and low-pressure, you can avoid traditional industry stereotypes and attract new buyers based on the trust and value you provide.