From giant banners and inflatables dominating the storefront to television commercials with catchy jingles, car dealers are willing to try seemingly every marketing strategy imaginable.

But what works?

Well, success is usually dependent on a number of factors, including your dealership, target audience and location. But, there are a handful of select strategies that can boost the efforts of nearly every car dealership.

Increase website traffic

The digital age is here to stay, and a bump in website traffic often assures an increase of in-person visits to your dealership. Recent estimates state that up to 95 percent of potential car buyers do some form of online research before visiting the lot. 

For example, ads on Facebook are a relatively inexpensive way to target a precise audience while generating web traffic. Want to promote a “red tag” special that would be great for a first-time car buyer? You can pinpoint a younger age group within a specific location. Pushing higher-end luxury vehicles? Target the individuals with an affinity for luxury brands.

Ideally, more clicks online will translate into more knocks on your dealership’s door.

Improve in-person experience

When a potential buyer walks through your dealership doors, it’s imperative to make the car-buying process as easy and efficient as possible.

A stress-free buying process leads to happier customers, and happy customers are more likely to return later and tell their friends about their positive experience. Cut down the number of employees your customers deal with and shorten the buying process. Buying a car can be a nerve-racking experience; the buying process shouldn’t be.

Sweeten the deal with after-purchase incentives

Buyers are aware of powertrain warranties and manufacturer-provided assurances, but dealership-provided perks can often help shift a deal from on the fence to signed on the dotted line.

Offering services like free oil changes and safety checks over a car’s lifetime can chip into profits, but any negatives will be mitigated by the development of a post-purchase relationship between the buyer and employees at your dealership.

Commit to your plan

There are certainly more than just a few tactics that will get customers into your dealership, and what works for someone across town may not work for you. Remember: no one knows your dealership better than you do. Design a marketing plan, commit to it and put it into action. It may be exactly what you need to vault ahead of your competitors.