Here at BigWing, we have a knack for marketing auto dealerships, but this didn’t come overnight. We’ve spent years researching and testing the best types of content for dealerships. Over time, we have found that unique, unexpected online content is most effective at engaging and educating customers in the auto industry.
Without further ado, we’re sharing four out of the box content marketing strategies we’ve successfully used for our clients to help you with your auto campaigns.
1. Create pieces with built-in outreach opportunities
Before writing any piece of content, a good rule of thumb is to always know who you’re trying to reach, include your industry experts, and have an outreach strategy built into your campaign.
In the Top 5 Podcasts for Your Commute blog, we targeted weekend off-road enthusiasts, we quoted hosts of popular off-road podcasts as industry experts, and we built in an outreach strategy in which we contacted each of the hosts early in the piece to encourage ownership and involvement in the piece later on.
This blog post has stayed in the top 3 pieces of content for our client. One of the featured podcasts, Jeep Talk Show, tweeted at our client, shared the blog on Facebook, and gave a live shout out during a podcast.
Here’s what they said during the podcast:
“We want to take some time to tell you something pretty cool. I was informed about a blog post called Five Off-Road Podcasts for Your Commute. You guys will find the list very interesting. I would really love if you would go over to their blog and, of course, we will have the link in our show notes, but we would really love it if you go over there and visit that blog. There’s a little area there at the bottom for comments. Go ahead and leave these folks some comments.”
Why it worked
We incorporated the top three things you should include in any piece of content: your persona, experts in the industry, and a fool-proof outreach strategy. This led to getting lots of brand exposure, a bump in traffic, some comments on the blog post, and most importantly, we were able to educate and enrich the experience of off-road enthusiasts on the site.
2. Create useful articles that appeal to local audiences
It’s important to consider your local audience when writing content for car dealers. There are hundreds of dealerships writing about car care tips, vehicle promotions, and other general car information. Not only is that kind of content impossible to rank for in search, it’s almost impossible to connect with your audience.
Our solution to this dilemma is to create vehicle-related content around hyper-local topics. One of our most successful pieces used data from the Department of Transportation and created a safety-centric article that ignited the interest of the surrounding community.
For this piece, we targeted older homeowners in the area who regularly commute to work and have teenage children. This audience represented a large population of the city who were highly invested in safer driving in the community.
The results for the dealership
Through a simple Facebook post promotion, our ad generated 29,500 impressions locally in a two-week period. Audience engagement was exceptional for this client, and the article was shared over 160 times.
This article brought 4,200 clicks to the auto dealer’s website, with 97 percent of that traffic being new users who had never interacted with the brand before. The average time on page was nearly two minutes, which means thousands of people were exposed to the brand for an extended period of time. This kind of awareness is incredibly valuable for building a loyal audience over time.
The phrase “content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint” holds true here. Although this piece didn’t necessarily bring thousands of dollars in revenue, it created a positive brand impression to almost the entire city of Winchester, Virginia.
Why it worked
We identified a topic that had a lot of potential and no competing content on the internet. It was a trifecta of local relevance, related to our industry (auto), and thought-provoking. When those elements come together, you have a recipe for great content.
The targeting of our Facebook ad was also key. A standard Facebook promotion for an auto dealer might focus on individuals looking to buy specific vehicles. This content, however, was relevant to all drivers and commuters in the area. By targeting key community influencers like older parents who commute to work, we hit an audience more willing to share.
3. Build relevant, fun, local, and informative guides
Local guides are another way to capture leads with non-traditional (read: not boring) auto dealership content. Similar to the Dangerous Intersections post above, this guide targeted a larger local audience than just those shopping for vehicles.
The infographic below is a section of the full article we published, targeting those living in and around Warrenton, Virginia who enjoy getting out into the great outdoors. Our dealership client sells Jeeps as well as trucks and SUVs, which appeal to an outdoorsy, adventurous demographic.
The post resulted in one of the highest viewed pieces of content for our client and received nearly 250 site visits in a three-day period. We reached out to the campgrounds mentioned in the post and these groups then shared the article on Facebook. Through their network of followers, many more people were able to see this piece, and thus the car dealership’s brand.
Why it worked for this auto dealership
When you mix locally relevant content with the perfect season, the stars will often align. This camping guide was published in mid-August, right before the weather starts to cool down in Virginia and people venture out for those end-of-summer camping trips. This camping guide delivered relevant information that our targeted audience wanted when they wanted it.
4. Involve an online community
Involving a targeted online community can be a great resource for information and built-in outreach opportunities.
In our Jeep Dog Guide to Pet Safety piece, we reached out to several members of the Jeep Dog Facebook group, which has over 3,700 followers and is an active community on social media. We were able to obtain images and quotes from five different members of the community to share their knowledge and dog safety techniques they use when taking their pups out on trail rides.
This blog brought in 272 sessions and 256 new users and continues to send organic traffic on a monthly basis. It also performed well on social media with a Facebook ad targeted to reach individuals who have shown interest in Jeeps and dogs in the area. The post reached 2,019 people, received over 25 likes and several shares. Also, two of the featured individuals in the blog shared the post on their personal pages.
Why it worked
We were able to find a targeted, active group of people online that were passionate about Jeeps and dogs. From there we were able to build a piece of content around that specific audience for outreach and participation in the piece. This gave the blog a more relatable, personal approach to the topic.
Take your Auto Dealer Marketing out of the box
We hope this guide has inspired you to take the standard, predictable content marketing ideas for an auto dealership and flip them on their heads. If you really want to engage and connect with a local audience, you can’t keep writing about the same promotions and service center articles that every other dealership in town has already covered.
When you pull yourself out of the box of “industry standard”, you can truly make a positive and useful impact on your customers.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we market for car dealerships, we’d love to chat!