CARFAX Canada Driving Insights


Which Marketing Messages Actually Bring Customers Into the Dealership?

Thu, Sep 16, 2021

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Does your dealership proclaim that it’s been a proud member of the community since 1967? Invite people to come and see your new state of the art facility? Or maybe even tell everyone that you put your customers first? If you do, you’re not alone. Statements like this appear all over dealership websites, marketing collateral and vehicle listings, and are there to convince prospective customers that your dealership is a great place for them to buy a vehicle. But do these messages actually work?

After analysing countless dealership websites and listings, CARFAX Canada Driving Insights took 19 of the most common dealership marketing statements and put them to the test. We asked over 2000 recent new and used car buyers to tell us “Which of the following characteristics would make you think a specific dealership is a good place to buy your next vehicle?” Here’s what they said.

Statements that make your dealership sound like a great place to buy

When deciding how to market your dealership, customers seem to be interested in a few things. They want to hear that you provide a great experience including how you put customers first, have been around for a long time, and even have great reviews (so you must be doing something right!).

They also want to find the right car for a good price, so it helps to mention how you have lots of inventory and an ability to beat your competition’s pricing. Unfortunately, this data also shows us that speaking to only one of these benefits alone isn’t going to attract a lot of buyers. Even the most popular message, “putting customers first,” is only appealing to 38% of car buyers, so you’ll need to advertise multiple benefits, and ideally match them to the customers needs.

Three statements is the sweet spot

Making all these statements at once probably isn’t going to work. Car buyers won’t want to read a big block of text about the benefits your dealership offers – they will skip over it. To help you reach the largest audience with the fewest statements, we’ve taken a deeper look at the data to see which combinations will offer the largest reach.

While saying that you put customers first appeals to 38% of vehicle buyers, if you combine that statement with one more statement from the top 6, you’ll suddenly appeal to more than 50% of car buyers. Add a third statement and you’ll get to 65%. However, if you combine more than three statements, additional interest from customers drops quickly, and most likely your customers attention will too.


Your new promotional strategy

A few tips on mixing and matching targeted marketing messages: If you want your dealership to appeal to as many people as possible, lead with “putting customers first,” then tailor the remainder of your messaging to what your customers are trying to do. For instance:

  • If a customer is looking at your homepage wondering if they should shop for a vehicle at your store, mentioning your expansive inventory and how long you’ve been in the community could help them realize that they should come to the store in person.
  • If someone is looking at a listing, you can help them feel confident about purchasing by mentioning your competitive pricing policy and goal to provide the best possible experience.
  • If a customer is seeking to understand how credible you are, great reviews on Google should be demonstrated, not just mentioned; ideally this is done with widgets that show your rating directly from the source.

If you use this strategy you will maximize the number of potential customers who think your dealership is a great place to buy.

Explore how our research can be applied at your dealership to help you win more business - request a consultation with a CARFAX Canada Rep:

Driving Insights
Driving Insights takes your questions about Canadian car owners and finds the answers! Our proprietary research looks closely at the motives and behaviours of today’s car owners to uncover exclusive insights you won’t find anywhere else. To date, we’ve surveyed over 9,000 Canadians to identify their biggest pain points when buying, selling, and servicing their vehicles. If there’s a question you’d like us to address, email and we’ll get you some answers!

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