Modern Auto Marketing and Advertising Tactics

These days, buying a car is a lot more complicated than just walking into a dealership and choosing your favorite car off the lot. Most potential car buyers are searching on their smartphones or computers before even choosing which dealership to shop at. Car salesmen and dealerships need to be creative in their auto marketing and advertising tactics in order to reach their potential customers.

According to Google, while more than 95% of car sales happen at a dealership, many customers begin their search online. This is why it is important to utilize a marketing strategy that incorporates traditional, digital, and creative tactics. In this article, we will discuss the best automotive marketing and advertising strategies that exist today.

modern automotive marketing tactics

Traditional Auto Advertising and Marketing Tactics

The phrase “traditional marketing” refers to any kind of marketing tactics that do not take place online. Here are some traditional automotive marketing tactics for car dealers and the auto industry:

Rate Negotiation 

One of the benefits of traditional marketing tactics is the ability to negotiate rates for your ads. It’s possible to spend less money and get more media value out of your advertisements.

Media Coverage

Another traditional marketing strategy involves using the media to do the hard work for you. There are several ways you can go about getting press coverage for your dealership, from participating in local events, to donating a car to charity, the list goes on and on. Whether it’s a newspaper, local TV news, a radio show, or a magazine, media coverage is a very beneficial (and free!) traditional marketing tactic.

Television Ads 

TV ads are a classic automotive marketing strategy. You can create a memorable and effective commercial for your dealership. 

Radio Ads

Radio ads are another traditional marketing strategy that helps you reach your target audience in your area. 

Streaming Media Ads

Don’t forget about the possibility of also creating ads for streaming media, like YouTube and other streaming services. This is a slightly more modern take on traditional automotive advertising tactics. 

Research Your Audience

The key to any good automotive marketing or advertising tactic is to know who your audience is and how you can reach them. If your perfect client is part of an older demographic, traditional automotive marketing tactics might be the way to go. 

automotive advertising

Digital Auto Marketing Tactics

Digital marketing, on the other hand, is any marketing tactics that take place online. (Or, well, digitally.) Your digital marketing strategy ultimately might be the most important. That is because most consumers do their research online before making their purchase. If your dealership isn’t getting found online, it might not be getting found at all. The more work potential clients can do from home, the better. That’s why you need to create the best possible online experience for your customers. 


SEO, or search engine optimization, is a key digital marketing tactic for the automotive industry. Since most car sales begin online, it’s important that your dealership has a high organic search ranking. This is how those who research online find your dealership, rather than the competition. SEO Design Chicago helped one automotive vendor reach their goals with our SEO services.


SEM, on the other hand, is search engine marketing. While SEO helps you rank higher on search engines organically, SEM is a paid strategy. SEM allows you to place paid ads for your automotive business on the search engine results pages. 

Email Marketing 

Another automotive digital marketing strategy is email marketing. Email marketing allows you to connect with your potential clients, reconnect with past clients, let your audience know about your upcoming sales and promotions, and more. It also allows you to remarket to potential customers who walked away from a car, but who might still be interested. 


Geofencing is a digital marketing tactic that allows you to target potential car buyers with geographic precision. For example, when someone whose contact information you have enters your geofenced zone, they will receive a text message or targeted ads telling them about your latest promotion or some other kind of incentive for them to make a visit. 

Website UX 

Your website UX, or user experience, is an often overlooked but essential digital marketing tactic. People want a seamless experience when they are looking at your website. If your website is slow, or it’s difficult for your visitor to find the information that they are looking for, they will leave, not come back, and most likely end up giving their business to one of your competitors. When someone is making a large purchase like a car or truck, they want to trust that they are buying from the best. This is why it’s essential to make sure that your website runs as smoothly, efficiently, and quickly as possible. 

Data Analysis

What’s working for your dealership and what isn’t? Maybe you know, but maybe you don’t. That’s where data and analysis comes in. Digital marketers can help you measure the success of your marketing campaigns, help you find any problematic areas, and develop new strategies to replace the ones that aren’t effective for your dealership. 

automotive marketing

Creative Auto Marketing Tactics

If you really want to stand out from the competition, then it’s time to get creative with your marketing strategy and try some innovative tactics. Many car dealerships are stuck in a rut with traditional, old-school marketing tactics. 

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics are simply an alternative way to communicate with your target customer. Take your content to the next level with animation, music, and effective copy. 

Video Production

These days, video is one of the most popular forms of content. Create professional, high-quality videos with the help of a videographer who can also edit your videos for you.

Graphic Design

To get creative with your pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign, enlist the services of a pro graphic designer to help you create bold, attention-grabbing display ads and hero images. The work will really pay off. 

Content Creation

Car buyers want to feel confident in who they are buying from. Creating a marketing blog for your website with lots of helpful, valuable information for your web visitors will make sure they see you as a trusted source. Plus, you can use your content posted on your website and share it on social media. Boom, there’s your social media marketing strategy! 

Web Design

In this day and age, it is imperative that everyone in the automotive industry has an excellent website. If you expect potential customers to trust you with a large purchase, they expect excellent quality in all aspects of your business in return. Create a well-optimized, responsive, and attractive website in order to find and keep clients. 

auto advertising

Text Message Marketing for Auto Dealerships 

One of the latest developments in the world of auto marketing is text messaging for auto dealerships. Most of us spend all day, every day, on our cellphones. And let’s be honest, many of us hate actually talking on the phone. So, if you want to stay in touch with your potential customers in a way they will appreciate, you should try text message marketing, also referred to as SMS marketing.  

Use Text Messaging to Close a Sale

Text messaging can help you close a sale. How? You can encourage your lead to come in and visit the dealership. Or, you can reach out to someone who stopped in previously and might still be interested. A text message is a gentler follow-up method than a phone call, which some buyers might deem too aggressive. It is also a simple way for you to answer any questions potential clients might have. 

Text Several Potential Clients at Once

You can also utilize auto dealer text messaging to reach out to many potential clients in your area at one time. You can send a mass text (customized with each lead’s name) to let them know about your big holiday sale or your latest promotion. Don’t worry – clients can text you back directly, not to everyone! 

Make Sure They See the Message

Another benefit of text message marketing? When you send a customer a text, you know their phone will vibrate or ring. Most people, however, don’t have the same notifications set up for their emails. Plus, texting back and forth with your potential leads couldn’t be easier. If you want to sell more cars, text message marketing just might be the answer. 

Use Text Reminders for Automotive Service Departments

The boundaries of SMS marketing know no limits. For example, in addition to using texts to just sell cars, you can also use text messaging to remind clients when their vehicles needs to be serviced (“it’s time to come in for that oil change, Susan!”), when their car is ready to be picked up. 

auto marketing

Create an Automotive Marketing Strategy with SEO Design Chicago

SEO Design Chicago can help you create the perfect auto marketing and advertising strategy for your company. Whether your marketing strategy is completely digital, or a combination of traditional, digital, and creative tactics, we can help your business achieve its goals. Contact us today!

FAQs about Auto Marketing and Advertising Tactics: 

  • Do most car sales happen at a dealership or online?
  • What are automotive marketing tactics?
  • What are some traditional methods of marketing cars?
  • Are there new modern ad tactics for the auto industry?
  • What is text message marketing for auto dealerships?

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