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Marketing Strategies for Dealerships Looking to Grow

Updated: Jan 16

One of our most common questions from growing dealerships is: “How do we grow to be like Brandon Ford?” The short answer is time, patience, and smart investments when it comes to your staff and marketing strategy. Let’s focus on what a marketing agency can control in this equation: how to make an impact with marketing strategies.

Step One: Know your goals. 

CBC has worked with many growing dealerships over the years. The first step toward growth is to create a set of S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable,  Realistic, Time-Based) for your dealership. Are you looking to increase profits by 20% over the course of the year? Perhaps you are looking to grow your volume by 15% every year for the next five years? Whatever you decide will determine the next steps for your marketing strategy.

Step Two: Set the Foundation. 

When it comes to this step, CBC has encountered many different opinions on which marketing channels a dealership thinks are important. We see opinions ranging from wanting to focus exclusively on top-funnel brand-building, all the way to wanting to focus exclusively on extremely low-funnel digital approaches. Neither answer is entirely correct.

While building your brand and creating an emotional connection with your potential customers is important, it’s not the whole story. Consumers want to feel good about where they are purchasing from, but they also want to know they got a good deal. On the opposite side, if you’re only focusing on low funnel clicks, you’re missing out on building trust with potential customers. Instead, it’s important to create a healthy advertising foundation that hits both sides. For over 30 years CBC has called this the balance of Share of Market (reasons to buy today) & Share of Mind (reasons to feel good about where you buy).”  

Matt Hayward in Maine is Director of Brand and Business Development and a Senior Account Manager at CBC Automotive Marketing, an ad agency working across the United States with successful dealerships and dealership groups. Matt is a lifelong Mainer, originally from Dayton Maine and still resides in Southern Maine. Maine values and work ethic are ingrained in everything both Matt and CBC Automotive Marketing do.

The first step in the buying process is awareness.  When you’re a growing dealership, this stage is often the first to be skipped, due to budget. If you’re starting off slow when it comes to budget, you can build awareness of your brand through more targeted means like OTT and Pre-Roll video. These are typically budget-friendly and they give you the opportunity to tell your dealership’s story while connecting with your audience emotionally. They also can reach consumers who have been targeted as ‘in-market’ through their purchases, online research habits and more.

Next up in the buying process is the comparison stage. This is where it’s crucial to have your inventory and deals in front of customers. You want them to know you have what they need at a great price. Facebook advertising delivers an effective and inexpensive opportunity here with Dynamic Inventory Ads. Vehicles from your inventory show up directly on the consumer’s feed. The best part? The vehicles are the same make and model the data shows that particular customer is interested in buying. Facebook advertising also brings your ads beyond the platform itself…reaching to Instagram, Facebook Messenger and a slew of mobile apps and websites. Last, but definitely not least, there’s Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Focusing on low-funnel keywords (ex. “Ford F-150 lease near me”, instead of just “Ford F-150″) will help keep your cost per click low and spread your budget further.

Step Three: Monitor & Analyze

This is a very important step. If you are on a limited budget, you need to make sure your money is working for you. Creating goals for your campaigns will help you determine the success of your efforts. CBC has important metrics we utilize when analyzing the effectiveness of a given marketing channel. We’ll communicate with you, so all parties understand whether a campaign is succeeding or if it needs adjustment. This process means we’re going to optimize your marketing spend. It also means when we have hit our goals for the allotted budget, we know it’s a logical time to add more money to grow with you, rather than guessing.

Step Four: Keep Building.

Don’t stop. Continue to evaluate your sales and your metrics. When you feel like you can add more to your budget, and it’s a logical time based on your goals & results, do so. This will help your dealership grow. Your agency will help make sure you’re utilizing the most beneficial channels for your goals, while keeping you apprised of new opportunities in the market.

Our clients’ success is what keeps us going, so reach out to us below and let’s have a conversation about your growing dealership or group!


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