Do you run a small, independent car dealership? Want some advice on the groundwork needed to promote an event? Read our guide to the tools at your disposal.
Dealerships of all sizes have long understood the impact of a dealership event to encourage local people to engage with car showrooms and to raise awareness of new products and services being offered.
Events can help dealers cultivate relationships with people who might become their customers in the future, form relationships with local media, generate more repeat business and increase the visibility of their brand.
Franchised dealerships use events in this way to great effect, but smaller independently run dealerships can find that events are a vital way to improve sales and integrate themselves into a community. Indeed, since the rise of social media, events are arguably even more important than ever at driving brand awareness and spreading the word about an event has become easier.
Events can range from a cost-effective contest to a grand, crowd-drawing spectacle that can keep a town talking for weeks. Regardless of the size of the event you are hosting, social media marketing and other modern methods of promotion should be your first port of call when looking to stimulate interest.
Filming your event is an obvious tool for getting the word out. This is particularly effective if it is a repeat event, such as an annual competition, so the previous year’s film can be used to promote the next. The film can be produced cheaply using local film students, for example, and should be posted out widely to your social networks and on your website.
Print promotion can work well in the dealership environment as it's easy to flier customers as they come and go from your showroom. Perhaps even consider inviting a local print firm to sponsor your event in return for the flier printing.
Don’t forget to use a full page of your website to promote your events, while also featuring a banner advert on your home page. Design is important, so don’t scrimp on this. Instead make sure your event promotional material is slickly designed and eye-catching.
There are a huge range of promotional tools freely available to you via social media. From creating a Facebook event for your promotional event, to Instagramming images of prizes and/or the vehicles you are hoping to promote with your event - it’s worth utilising all the social media tools at your disposal. Tweeting out videos, links to contest entry pages on your site or images of your dealership setting an event up, for example, is an effective way to create a buzz among customers and drive footfall to your event.
Don’t overlook the impact of email marketing to notify your customers of your promotional event. Using tools like MailChimp, for example, helps you to create email campaigns and track their effectiveness easily and cheaply (or for free for up to 2,000 contacts). You can compile customer email lists quickly and gain insights into who is opening emails and what impact your campaign is having on traffic to your site and on sales.
Despite the potential impact of the above promotional tools, it’s still true that there’s very little that can beat person-to-person promotion for events. Brief your sales people so they know all the details of your event and can speak enthusiastically to customers about it. Customers who engage with a staff member and show interest are probably the most likely to actually show up or participate in your promotional event.
Making sure you take out a comprehensive dealership insurance policy will mean you are fully covered for public liability involved with hosting an event and attracting large numbers of people to your dealership.