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Over the past couple of years, customer’s buying preferences have shifted firmly into the digital sphere, and this has created both new challenges and opportunities for automotive dealerships. The way in which we search for and buy cars has changed, and it is more important than ever for dealers to be visible online.

Most of the groundwork that leads to a sale happens online. In fact, 90%* of people research vehicles online before setting foot into a dealership – and effective search marketing can make sure that it’s your dealership they set foot in. Almost a third of car buyers start their hunt on a search engine, and this is the perfect way of influencing a potential buyer. Recent stats from Google/Kantar TNS show that 61%** of UK car buyers were not clearly decided about the brand or model when they started searching.

So how do you make sure that you’re there when your customers are searching for you?


Location, location, location

One key factor in effective search marketing for dealerships is having the ability to market within specific regions. Understanding your customer – who they are, where they are, and what they are looking for – has always been key to marketing campaigns. And the locality of customers is particularly important for automotive dealerships, where test drives are seen as a necessity for most customers (our research found that 80% of people would not buy without one).

Finding your key demographic and attracting their attention on Google can be achieved organically – via effective SEO – and also through paid adverts. Optimising your web content using keywords relating to location will help you rank more highly in relevant search results from local buyers. Another way of reaching nearby customers is using localised Google adverts which specifically target car buyers in your area, meaning your advertising spend goes solely towards your most likely buyers.


Timing is everything

We have already touched on the importance of online visibility, and timing is also a key factor in this. It’s not just about putting your stock in front of as many people as possible – it is important to target the right customers at the right time, where you can influence their car-buying journey. Research from Google/TNS found that 20%*** of car buyers began with one car in mind but actually bought something else. can target customers with make adverts based on their search query like, Modix Adbox.

It’s also important to note that although listing your stock with third-party websites that rank for more search terms might direct more customers to you, your competitors will also be advertising on there. By optimising your own digital strategy, you will drive traffic directly to your own website, where customers won’t be distracted with choice.


Be in the right place, at the right time

Search marketing is a key factor in reaching more relevant potential car buyers. It can aid you in gaining traffic from search engines through both paid and unpaid outreach, all of which focus on driving consumers to your physical dealership, where you can close the sale.

By targeting car buyers in your local area at the right time in their purchasing journey, you are likely to convert more sales. There are specialist tools available which can do this, for example, Modix Adbox. Adbox generates localised ads based on a search query and driven via your live stock inventory , enabling you to maximise your advertising spend, drive more leads and sell cars faster.

With the vast majority of car buyers starting their research online, it’s up to dealerships to be there waiting for them!

At Modix, we have a team of experts dedicated to helping you sell cars faster – if you’d like to find out more, get in touch today.



* Google/TNS, The Drive To Decide (2016)
** Google / Kantar TNS, The Drive To Decide (2017)
*** Google/TNS, The Drive To Decide (2016)