You might be thinking, “In-store business has been good. Do I really need to market my dealership online?” The consumer landscape is shifting, transformed by the e-commerce boom that resulted from the recent economic shutdown. More consumers are browsing and buying online than ever before, and the increase in online searches for units means countless opportunities to connect with potential customers on the internet. ARI presents the key areas dealers should be focusing on to enhance the performance of their digital marketing efforts.

Even if you aren’t advertising your dealership’s units and services online, your competitors likely are, which means they have the resources to scoop up leads at the very beginning of the buying cycle. To stand out from the competition online, we recommend shifting your objective from just promoting your individual units to communicating the value of your dealership’s brand. Invest in digital channels that introduce online leads to your dealership, not just your inventory.

Today’s consumers shop on multiple devices and platforms, requiring businesses that want to connect with a larger volume of shoppers to adopt multi-channel marketing strategies. As a result, most businesses today have some sort of presence on most of the popular online platforms. To help you streamline your strategy, focus on the following core tools because they draw in highly qualified leads while promoting your dealership’s brand:

Targeted Paid Search Ads

Paid search gets your content in front of shoppers wherever they are browsing and directs them to whichever webpage, special offer or unit listing you want them to see. By targeting your ads to online shoppers who have visited similar units on other sites, you are more likely to connect with leads who are interested in your inventory and ready to make a purchase.

High-Performance Keywords

Boost the performance of your paid search ads by targeting the popular keywords in shoppers’ online searches, such as “contactless,” “delivery” and “at home.” By aligning your ads with relevant online searches, you demonstrate to shoppers that you understand exactly what they’re looking for — and you can provide it. If you don’t currently have units on your lot, you can promote your PG&A inventory and other profit sectors of your dealership.


YouTube has earned the nickname “Google’s other search engine” because, according to Google, 55% of online shoppers watch online videos as part of the research phase when shopping for a unit. Educational “how-to” videos are especially appreciated by first-time buyers, who don’t know where to start the buying process and will be thankful to have found your content.

Social Media

Younger generations of consumers interact with a brand’s social media more than their website. Social media platforms allow dealerships to exercise their “voice” and incorporate a more human touch into their marketing, allowing consumers to develop a personal connection to the brand and increasing the customer conversion rate.

If you are not currently managing a digital marketing campaign, we highly recommend that you start now. With more and more consumers using the internet to research and purchase units, maintaining a strong online presence will help you capitalize on the increase in year-over-year search growth.