The Ultimate Auto Dealer Mobile Marketing Guide

Mobile device

There is no denying the trend of researching and even buying cars online is picking up amongst customers. Dealers have known for awhile that there is a massive culture shift in the auto vertical to focus dollars and strategy away from print, radio and some TV to online. Generally the physical stores and process are quite good through manufacturer guidelines, training and experience. One of the hottest growth areas are consumers using more of mobile to access the web. Whatever type of business you run, a focus on mobile is key. What exactly should you focus on as an auto dealer doing mobile marketing? Here are 12 important mobile marketing tips that will help you make a mobile impact!

Tip 1 – Are You Ready For Mobile Marketing?

Before you direct your customers to a mobile device or before you make any investment in the mobile devices, you must be certain your website and process are ready for viewing on a mobile device. If you’re not going to be able to give your customers a good experience with the application or the mobile website prepared by you or does not contain any good content about your cars or other vehicles on the showroom, then there is no point in directing them to the mobile site. This will impact credibility and their trust in you and you’re going to lose out on a lot of potential customers.

Tip 2 – Responsive Is Key

Responsive template

If your website, is not yet responsive then you are certainly losing out big. This technology has been popular since 2010. Ever since then, mobile usage has increased exponentially, year after year. What exactly is responsive? Responsive is a website that keeps the same look and feel but adjusts depending on the device you are viewing the site on. A responsive site looks the same on a desktop iMac as a mobile Android phone.

According to a recent statistic, nearly 80% of the online car shoppers shop via mobile. So, in case you do not have a website that is responsive, then you’re going to miss out on a lot of your customer’s potential business. Nearly 85% of the smart phone users opting to buy a car, believe that the mobile version of the website should be at least good, if not better than the desktop version of the website. Hence, looking at all these statistics, it becomes extremely essential to design ONLY a responsive website.

More importantly, not just the first landing page but all the pages in the website should be responsive. Every page and every segment of information about the cars, autos and other vehicles that you deal in, should load properly.

Tip 3 – Promote Your Mobile Application

In case, you have just created a new mobile application for your car dealership and wish to promote it, amongst your users, then you must offer incentive to your customers. For instance, ‘Download this awesome car application and get 5% off on any service that you purchase from our store.’ This would lead to a dual benefit: one the customer will download your app and two you’ll attract more customers. Discounts work everywhere and in every industry. So, when you offer discounts to your customers, the downside risk is negated and makes the download an easy decision.

Tip 4 – Keep The Site Simple & Easy

Do not make a complicated navigation structure for the mobile device. People like simple things and with so many options will leave your site if it is not easy to use. If by chance, the information on your page is too clogged up, the customer will get distracted and instantly shut down the site. There is no certainty whether this customer will return or not. Moreover, the car application or the mobile website created by you should be user friendly. There should be ample amount of information to guide the user where they want to go. Don’t include everything on the first page itself. Each page should have a clear focus.

Tip 5 – Mobile loading Time

Response time

Loading time is important irrespective of which device you’re targeting- phone, desktop, tablets. It is a key Google ranking factor. If the site created by you takes a lot of time to load, the customer will lose interest. The website of a car dealer is bound to have too many images. This will make the site heavy. Despite that the loading time, should be minimum. Reducing the image size can be of great help. In case, you find the mobile site very heavy, you can always direct the customers to an application. Using an application is handy and interesting for the users. If the applications are well designed, the customers are going to enjoy the experience and browse the website via application only.

Tip 6 – Click to call

Call to actions has long being the most important inbound marketing tool available for car dealers. According to combined Google statistics and analytics, nearly 61% of mobile users looking for a car online call up the business when they search for something on their mobile device.

Not all call-to-actions are the same!

It is important that the CTA button in your mobile site be large enough to allow the user to tap their thumb and call directly from there. An ideal size could be anything from 44-57 pixels. In addition to this, you’ll also want the CTA to be easily seen by people who are opting to buy themselves a new car. The user must instantly find the CTA button, so that they don’t have to look around for your contact details on top to right and then bottom to left. You can also include the CTA either in the footer of the website or even in multiple locations of the website too that can be A/B tested with software like Optimizely.

Tip 7 – AdWords Call Extensions

If you use the Google AdWords Call extensions in your car selling campaigns, then you’ll be able to add your number in the AdWord ad. This is indeed very useful for car dealers who are operating from multiple locations. Using this call extension, people will be able to call up your nearest location and get their questions answered. The additional phone calls that lead to buyer leads are also counted as conversions. For years, appropriate usage of AdWords Call extensions, has known to increase the Click through Rate by 6-8%. The car dealers can achieve adequate CTR if they have the AdWords Call extensions activated and used properly.

Tip 8 – Easy to Read Mobile E-Mails

Easy to read on mobile

Make your e-mails mobile friendly. If you have to add pictures of the new additions in your car show room then you can do this by reducing the size of the images, resizing the images in the right proportion and provide the clickable call to action buttons in the e-mail as well. There are also some graphics that are blocked on the mobile and/or are not viewable on the mobile device. It is important to tone down the usage of the graphics and images on the mobile. Use more  text and the text should be meaningful and attractive.

Tip 9 – Take Advantage of Mobile Social Media

There are over two thirds of Facebook users, who access Facebook via mobile at some point of the day or the other and one in every six people use mobile only to access the Facebook. Thus, Facebook is a very popular medium to run your promotional mobile paid ads relating to your car dealership company. Dark posts are a great way to advertise to a target audience. For instance females, aged 21-35 that live in the following zip code. It’s amazing how targeted your ads can be!

You can show ads that direct the customers looking to buy a car to your mobile application or a website. Facebook will only bring potential customers to you, the conversion of such customers will depend on how friendly and attractive your car application or website is.

Retargeting is another tool that can be used with Facebook to draw users back to your website after a previous visit. Imagine re-showing them the exact car they were looking for multiple times a day!

There are other websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, etc which can be targeted as well.

Tip 10 – Retargeting for Desktop

These days, customer often switches between devices. We might check out some information from our mobile phone, some information from the desktop and some other information from a tablet. According to studies conducted by Google, nearly 90% of the people looking to buy a car switch between devices. They see some information about the car on the desktop and then while travelling they wish to open the same website on mobile to check out more details about the particular car shortlisted by them, or vice versa.

The same study conducted by Facebook stated that nearly 60% of the active users use approximately 2 devices every single day. Thus, regardless of which two devices are being used by your customer, it is important that you car dealers are ready for every device. This will allow you to have 360 degree coverage and attract more and more people to join in your network. For this, you can run paid ads on Facebook and Twitter to enhance retargeting on mobile devices and the desktop. Thus, if you want to allow retargeting for desktops, you’ll have to reach your audience out on both the mobile and the desktop.

Tip 11 – Don’t Go Mobile Only

As much as we say that mobile marketing is important for the auto dealers, we would still maintain that simply focusing just on the mobile would work negatively for you. People like looking at big detailed photos and can generally work more quickly on research on a desktop machine.

Even if your Google analytics and website statistics state that the maximum conversion rate is from the mobile, you still can’t over look the importance of having a good desktop website. You never know, when a potential customer who is not aware about the success of your car application, comes in to your desktop website, finds nothing useful there and so switches it off.

You must always balance out on the devices. You can give more importance to one device over the other but don’t bet the farm on just one device. There will always be some customers with poor vision or don’t like mobile devices looking to buy a car, who wants to have a full view of the cars they purchase, so they would prefer to catch up your website on the desktop rather than having a small view on the mobile. Thus, keep in mind, your website should friendly and easy to navigate on all the platforms. The quality of the content and display should never be compromised.

Tip 12 – Test and Test Some More

A B testing

You must always keep testing your website. What color, content and design is found appealing by a customer on the desktop might not be enjoyed by him on the mobile or the tablet. Try and test out different versions, different color pallets and different headlines or call to actions for the customers.

Use, the colors those are more appealing to the customers coming to your website to buy a car. However, experimenting and testing is important yet it is advised to not do a massive change of the general theme of the site. The theme of your official car selling website should remain constant. Changing the theme or keeping different themes for different platforms, might confuse the user whether the car website they saw on the desktop is same as the one seen by them 10 days later or on a different platform.

You can change the color and the appearance of the internal content of the website on different platforms to make it more attractive. Never make it too fancy where it is difficult to read by users.


Above, we have discussed 12 tips that play a vital role in mobile marketing for car dealerships. If you’re able to implement such amendments or improvements in your website and mobile platforms then you’re bound to be at a better position compared to your competitors!


May 6, 2015 - Written by

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