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Geolocation Strategies That Should Be a Part of Your Car Marketing

These days, success is all about using technology more effectively than your competition. Technological improvements and the mass adoption of mobile devices have set the stage for geolocation marketing to move into its prime. It’s time for dealerships to take advantage of this and incorporate geolocation strategies in their car marketing. Here’s how:


What is Geolocation in Car Marketing?

Since our phones began to have built-in GPS, marketers have been getting better at targeting their messaging to the right audience in the right location. Geolocation in car marketing involves using location data to maximize the efficacy of your marketing. Much of geolocation in car marketing involves setting up geo-fences, virtual perimeters that use cellular data, radio, and GPS data from user’s mobile devices to trigger marketing to those devices.


Why Is This Important Now?

Geolocation in car marketing is finally coming of age. In 2017, 77% of all Americans owned a smartphone, and that jumped to 85% among college graduates. That percentage is going to get higher as online experience begins to shift further and further towards mobile. With the majority of people in the United States, running around with a smartphone on their person, the ability to use geolocation in car marketing effectively is only increasing.

Geo-fencing campaigns aren’t just creative and useful, they’re more effective than standard ads. A study by reports that “many businesses have experienced click-through rates on geo-fencing campaigns that are as much as 70% higher than standard ads.”

Thankfully, right now there is still relatively low competition when it comes to geo-targeting your car marketing, particularly in a local setting. In fact, only 22% of businesses say they’re using hyper-local targeting to its full potential. This state of affairs isn’t likely to continue for long. In 2015, location-targeted mobile ad revenue was $6.8 billion, but is projected to hit $18.2 billion in 2019, according to a report by BIA/Kelsey.

Geolocation should be a part of your car marketing. That much is apparent. Here are a few ways to actually go about implementing this powerful car marketing tool.


Target Shoppers at Your Dealership

The first recommended strategy when it comes to using geolocation in car marketing is to focus on your turf. Geo-fencing your dealership area gives you the ability to target shoppers for specific messaging while they’re on your lot. These ads can include seasonal deals, current promotions or coupons, specials, markdowns, and more.

You can also target the community around your dealership. One study found that over 80% of dealership customers live within seven miles of the dealership. Now, naturally, depending on your location, that mileage could vary, but it’s a good place to start if you want to begin seeing more returns from your local business. Analyze your local community and set a local-specific geo-fenced campaign within that 7-mile radius to improve your car marketing.


Capitalize on Complementary Businesses

Your own lot is obviously a major asset, but there are opportunities to reach out to shoppers not only when they’re looking at cars, but when they’re thinking about them. By geo-fencing businesses that are complementary to your dealership like gas stations, car-washes, auto-parts stores, as well as high-traffic retail areas like malls, shopping centers, or big-box stores, dealers can extend their car marketing reach beyond the obvious. Keep in mind that shoppers in these different locations may have different motivations and be at different stages in the shopper journey. For example, a higher-end car wash might be a good place to market your luxury vehicles, while a self-service car wash might be a good place for more budget-conscious messaging in your car marketing.

Not all locations should be so specific in their messaging. A mall, for example, might be a good place to target car marketing intended to get shoppers to visit your lot — these shoppers are already at a mall, so it is clear that they aren’t exclusively online shoppers who are loath to go to a retail location. Beyond that, however, a mall, like a gas station, will likely see a wide variety of people, and trying to get too granular and personalized with your car marketing could backfire.


Use Showrooming To Your Advantage

Showrooming is a phenomenon that we see occurring more and more in retail stores. Shoppers will find a product, then check their phone to compare products, read reviews, gather more information, or see if they can find a better price online or elsewhere. Obviously, this is a major challenge for dealerships, one thankfully addressed by geolocation in car marketing.

Using geo-fencing on competitive nearby dealerships, you can target ads to shoppers who are showrooming on their mobile devices. You can market your best performing models, most competitive specials, or tailor your car marketing messaging to play your strengths against your competitor’s weaknesses. You should also use geo-fencing to combat showrooming on your own lot, both to take up space that your competitors might be trying to use, and to put forth car marketing messaging that keeps customers on the lot.


Get Competitive With Your Service

Sales doesn’t need to be the only team to see a boost from using geolocation in your car marketing. The service department often takes a backseat when it comes to marketing, but there is plenty of opportunity to engage in strategic geo-conquesting of service competitors. Auto-body, repair, oil-change, and similar stores that all directly compete with your service department are ripe for geo-conquesting ads that offer better prices, no wait-times, or other irresistible deals.


Do You Have A Geolocation Stretch Goal?

A few dealers have the opportunity to go a bit out of the normal range with their geo-fencing. If, for example, your dealership is a mega-store outside of town and you don’t have many local competitors. You could try picking a competitive dealership from another town and geo-conquesting on their lot with ads that make your dealership attractive to people looking for the swiftest experience or best bargain. These ads can include something as simple as “We’re Worth the Drive” messaging or even a “make the drive — we’ll fill your tank” coupon.

This specific strategy won’t be applicable to all dealers, but it’s a good way to think about using geolocation in your car marketing. Get creative. Look for opportunities in locations around your community — there are some to be had, we can assure you.


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