How to Sell More Cars with 10 Creative Dealership Promotion Ideas

Written By Eric Schlesinger

With everyone glued to the internet these days, it’s become increasingly difficult for car dealers to capture people’s attention by traditional means. Wild and exciting tactics of the past don’t cut it anymore in today’s instant gratification society.

While the inflatable tube man on the side of the road is eye-catching, it fails to explain why your dealership is different or unique from other dealerships to the general public when it comes to selling cars.

That’s where creativity and out-of-the-box thinking comes in!

10 Creative Auto Dealer Promotion Ideas to Sell More Cars

A good deal is born out of creativity.

But not all is lost! Increasing dealership visibility just takes some fresh ideas and a little bit of creative marketing to pull off, and you’ll be on your way to capturing more eyeballs in a flash. ActivEngage has curated a list of 10 creative promotion ideas on how to sell more cars!

These incentive ideas can result in increased sales across dealership departments, helping car dealers.

Anytime you try something new, you’re bound to run into challenges along the way. But the most significant upside to giving any of these new ideas a shot is the response you’re going to get back from your potential customers.

You’ll learn more about what car buyers like and what they don’t, and you’ll be able to use that new insight to craft even better promotions to sell more cars in a process that will need continually refined.

#1: Hot Ticket Raffle Incentives

This is certainly not a new concept, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Raffles are a proven marketing tactic that has stuck around in the dealership world since cars had wheels. The reason?

They’re exciting!

Potential customers love prizes, and the possibility of getting a big screen tv or the hottest new Apple gadget isn't the worst sales approach. The gamification aspect of a raffle is enticing to buyers, and if you include a hot ticket item as the raffle prize, it could be a recipe to increase sales.

#2: Offer Free Car Washes for Lease Deals

A Car Lease with a Bonus? Yes, Please.

Simply put, customers who lease vehicles want a great-looking car with all the upgrades.

They value that new car smell and are always looking for that new vehicle feel. You can take advantage of this by offering them continued value in free car washes for the entire term of their lease.

This is among the easiest of customer asks, and can help build rapport with existing customers that can then be passed on to another potential customer; someone in their family, or a friend.

Repeat business is definitely an option for how to sell more cars!

10 Creative Auto Dealer Promotion Ideas to Sell More Cars

#3: Host a Social Media Giveaway Promotion

Showcase your new car deals on your social media

What better place is there to get visibility these days than on social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it - your customers are on it. Like raffles geared towards specific promotions, leveraging social media adds an extra element that can help increase your reach dramatically.

People are social beings, and social media is a great way to help humanize your brand and can be an effective way how to sell more cars and excite those in the car buying market.

People will engage for a chance at your best car deals

By requiring people to interact with your giveaway posts (likes, shares, retweets, etc), you increase your reach as your offer appears in front of an entirely new customer audience.

Additionally, because it’s also a relatively low cost, you could run several social media giveaway campaigns at once for things as simple as a car wash or oil change.

#4: Give Free Gift Cards with Test Drives

Car buyers love the test drive; it helps them get first impressions of the vehicle's features and just what they may be getting into.

But getting them into the driver’s seat isn’t an easy task.

However, once they get past that point in the purchase process, the likelihood of selling the car rises considerably. Incentivizing the test drive can be a way to get to this point and have a car salesperson primed to close.

The Best Car Deals Right Now Aren’t Always Deep Discounts

One of the most popular promotions for ActivEngage’s behavioral-offer tool ActivTarget is the gift card test drive offer. Dealers have found that online shoppers convert on an offer (typically, a $25 gas card) and book a test drive appointment for a particular vehicle; typically for the same day. These kinds of simple deals are proving to be very effective in auto sales today.

#5: Themed Car Sales Events

Customers and prospects alike love a well-done theme. From winter wonderlands to tropical islands, a well-done theme can transform the look and feel of your dealership, making it a more welcoming place to do business.

Tie in rock-solid promotions with your theme, and you’ve got a hit (hint: share themed posts on social media for an extra boost in foot traffic). Who wouldn’t love to crack open a coconut for a special offer during your Summer Surf n’ Sand Sales Event? Plus, it can help your car salespeople have more fun, boosting morale and helping them present a more fun atmosphere to their car sales leads.

Sign me up!

Be the dealership that pops up when someone searches for ‘car sales near me’

When you do a big, themed sales event, make sure you put considerable digital marketing out in advance so that people who are searching for car sales will find you quickly. You wouldn’t want to put together a big event just for it to pass by without anyone experiencing it.

#6: Holiday Season Bonus Incentives

Holidays are Prime Opportunities for Car Dealerships

Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and other holidays can be some of the best car dealership promotion opportunities around, and one of the most reliable industry trends. Not only are customers looking for deals to take advantage of, but they’re also a great time to test out marketing ideas and events.

Use the holiday season to try a unique bonus car sales incentive like extra money off of a new purchase, free at-home delivery, or maybe even a free car giveaway! Because the holidays are prime times to buy cars, that makes them the perfect option to try some new deals or offers. Customers are always looking for a better deal!

The bonuses don't have to just be for the customers either. You can incentivize a car salesperson's drive and output with modest commission increases to take advantage of the campaigns you are running. Dealerships sell cars like hotcakes during the holidays, so you can share some of the holiday cheer with your staff to help sell more cars.

10 Creative Auto Dealer Promotion Ideas to Sell More Cars

#7: Customer Appreciation Events

Customer acquisition costs are very high. So why not avoid some of that heartache and take care of the customers you already have? Not many dealerships are offering customer appreciation incentives, and it’s an opportunity that can really boost sales.

Fixed ops are ideally the place to focus heavily on since current customers likely aren’t in the car buying mindset and market just yet. You can increase your service sales by treating customers to a free car wash or a free tire rotation with their appointment.

Why? Because they’ll more likely be a return customer if they continually feel valued by your dealership, making them more likely to spread the good word of your dealership name.

And, with some subtle and clever service bay advertising (possibly for a trade in), you could get customers thinking about how satisfied they really are with their current vehicle, and thinking about a new vehicle. Just a thought!

#8: Free Rental Car for Service Appointments

Incentives that Keep Customers Coming Back

People lead busy lives. From soccer practice to appointments to work, nobody has time to sit around at a dealership while their car gets worked on. A simple gesture like a free car rental can take your service experience from good to great, and plant the seeds for a new potential customer.

Rental Car Sales Anyone?

And if you use a nice new car as your rental, customers may also be interested in making a trade for that new model car too. It could almost serve as an unofficial test drive! You can turn service customers into qualified leads!

#9: Offer a Cash Bonus for a Vehicle Trade In

More than anything else, customers want to feel valued. A great way to show your commitment to customers is to value their trade-in higher than the average value.

You can boost the car value up by a percentage or by a dollar amount. However you choose to do it, you need to make customers aware that you included those savings in their deals.

Customers will appreciate seeing that extra cash as a line item in their deal. Giving them a printout at the end of the sales process showing all their savings is highly recommended.

#10: Service Package Giveaways

The best sales driver for your dealership is your service center, so anything you can do to increase business there will impact your dealership in the most significant way. That's right; selling cars at a dealership isn't the majority profit driver. A great way to get engagement here is to enter customers into a special service giveaway only if they book an appointment.

Brainstorming similar promotion ideas around fixed ops has two main advantages. First, it shows customers what kinds of bundled services you offer at your dealership, and second, it gives customers a reason to book an appointment beyond obligatory vehicle maintenance.

With great incentives comes the need for great reporting.

After you’ve implemented a new promotion, you have to know if your ideas truly made a difference for your bottom line. Surveys are an increasingly important tool for uncovering marketing successes.

You need to know specifically if the promotion was a contributing factor to the customer’s decision to visit (and ultimately purchase from) the dealership. If you find that the promotion wasn’t a factor among most customers, knowing why becomes the next important element to uncover.

Your customer’s direct feedback should become the ultimate roadmap for your next promotional campaign since customer preferences tend to vary by region and brand.

How to Sell More Cars with ActivEngage as a Partner

You know your dealership better than anyone and are in the best position to make creative marketing decisions for your brand. From free offers to seasonal events and beyond, creating a successful promotional campaign is all about continually working out new ideas and then listening to customer feedback.

ActivEngage is here to manage digital communications with shoppers and customers alike throughout the customer’s buying process. We also work with you to showcase dealership promotions or events during our conversations and even have the capability to book complete service appointments.

Give us a call at 1-888-970-0177 to learn more about how ActivEngage can help!


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