3 min read

A Car Dealer Marketing Plan for Used Car Sales in 2023

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A guide for dealers who want to increase their used car sales in a low-inventory market or low demand market.

Dealers, when inventory is low or demand is slowing down, it can be hard to keep up with your sales goals. To receive priority inventory allocation from the manufacturer, it is critical that you turn cars faster than anyone else in your market. Here’s how you do it.


Dedicate a portion of your marketing budget to used/pre-owned cars When New Inventory is low

With the global chip shortages always a risk, your dealership may not consistently be receiving as many new cars as you’d like. This makes it difficult to reach sales targets. However, you can combat shortages of new cars by shifting some of your focus to the used car market. If you sell more used cars (and more cars in general), you will be much more likely to receive higher allocation levels from your manufacturer.


Focus on inventory-based advertising

Even if you don’t have a lot of inventory, you can put more focus on the inventory you do have. Using inventory-based advertising will allow you to better reach potential customers. At the same time, you’ll eliminate wasted ad spend by gathering more high-quality leads.

There are numerous ways to implement this strategy. One extremely useful method is to start using OTT (over-the-top) video advertising to reach shoppers looking for the cars on your lot within their favorite streaming platforms. With technology like Auto-Stream, viewers are shown video ads of the exact cars on your lot, along with location, mileage, your website, and more. If they interact with the ad, they’ll be taken directly to the VDP where they can purchase the car, resulting in higher conversion rates for you. You can do a similar thing with social media and Google Vehicle Ads. These ad types allow you to place a photo of the car you’re selling along with make, model, location, mileage, and more right within a shopper’s social media feed or at the top of Google’s search result pages.


Stay on top of market trends

It is much easier to succeed in a market that you understand fully. Having comprehensive knowledge about the market you do business in will allow you to gain an advantage over your competitors. A great way to do this is by reading reporting on inventory and pricing trends. Keep an eye on competitor pricing and make sure your vehicles are always competitively priced but still at a price that allows you to take advantage of high demand to turn a profit. Also regularly perform an inventory analysis. Make sure you are stocking the most in-demand cars when possible and that your mix of inventory is optimized to meet the needs of your customers. An easy way to make sure you are pricing and stocking most efficiently is to use a market analytics tool. Learn how ZeroSum helps tomorrow’s top dealers succeed in their markets.


Sell the car, not the deal

With so few cars available, what matters most to shoppers is that you actually have the car they want available. In the current market, prices are also higher than usual, making discounts harder to offer. As a result, focus on selling the cars themselves rather than the price. Of course, if you have a great deal to offer that your competitors can’t, don’t be shy to promote it. Take updated photos of the cars on your lot and use video when you can. When a customer cannot quickly get to the dealership to test out a car, a good walk-around video is a great alternative.


Don't lose your leads

Once you have good leads, make sure you nurture them and keep them around. Focus on crafting an excellent customer experience spanning from your website to the showroom, and become a dealership that people enjoy coming to. When you have prospects that have made it to your lot but have not yet purchased a car, keep following up with them. If the car they came to see was not in stock, let them know you have a similar one or that you’ll have the model they are looking for soon. If they do buy a car from you, take advantage of referral programs to reap more business from their family and friends. It is important that you cultivate a relationship with each customer to ensure they feel supported throughout the buying cycle and are eager to support your brand.

Want to sell more used cars but don’t know where to start? We’ll do all the heavy lifting for you. Schedule a demo with us here.


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