The power of the internet has completely changed the face of automotive sales and marketing. Buying a car is a sizeable investment, and the car buying process is starting months before keys are handed over.

In a way, car companies are more competitive than ever before. Customers no longer depend solely on a single source of information, such as a car salesman, to find the right car.

A customer can now instantly find out whether they are getting a good deal or not. Fellow buyer’s reviews, comparison sites, and thousands of daily articles on new and used models are more accessible than ever.

Some consumers still prefer in person engagement before making a final decision on a vehicle. However, more car businesses now use the internet to sell directly online. It’s as simple as click and buy.

What are some of the ways customers and auto companies connect online?

1. Online Automotive Marketing

Today, it’s easier to cut out middlemen and make a purchase decision before stepping into a car yard. The focus on good sales skills has moved to better online marketing to draw potential customers in. An online presence is now necessary for success.

What are some of the online channels consumers are using for car buying decisions and research?  

2. Google Search

Google is a common path for customers on an automotive purchase journey.
Search engines are often the easiest way to find answers to most ‘micro moments’ a car buyer has. Questions about pricing, car models, safety, longevity, and practicality can be made and answered rapidly.

Successful car businesses are not only placing ads on Google to reach potential customers. They are also monitoring and analyzing what exactly their target customers are searching for.

Evaluating customer concerns and what they like about a particular car model, helps to adapt marketing in response.

3. YouTube & Community

Social media has completely flipped the lid on the customer buying process, not just in the automotive industry.

Many customers now watch a potential purchase in action and ask a huge community of buyers their opinions.

Honest feedback is instant through real-time online conversations and reviews. Car companies on top of their game can contribute by listening to their customers and creating a dialogue.

4. Comparison Websites & Reviews

A potential car buyer now has unlimited insights into every type of car brand. Online market places like Gumtree and comparison sites provide consumers even more options in the research and buying process.

To stay at the top, car businesses need to be across various touch points in a car buyer’s journey. At a minimum, this requires presence across search, video, social and engagement in online communities.

It is clear that the internet is a force to be reckoned with. Brands that are not online will be left behind those with savvy online marketing.  

A customer’s journey starts online and can also end there. Putting effort into engaging potential buyers online and remaining relevant, is vital.

It is a completely new and fascinating way of doing business, that is more customer driven than ever before.