4 strategies for marketing your dealership’s service department—and why it’s so important

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on November 19, 2018

More than half of the average dealership’s revenue comes from its service department. Yet only about 30% of sales customers return to the dealership for service within the first year of ownership—and that number drops with each passing year. Why? Studies show that convenience and price are the main factors. Car owners believe that returning to the dealership for service is less convenient than visiting a local mechanic, and they assume non-dealership service options are better deals.

But as car owners continue to hang onto their vehicles longer than ever—and the opportunity to increase revenue grows—it’s become crucial for dealerships to expand their digital marketing efforts to include their service department. Dealerships that set themselves apart by marketing their services stay top of mind among existing customers and earn more new business.

Fixed ops marketing presents a valuable opportunity for dealerships, but to truly tap into the opportunity, you have to be strategic. Here we explore four things you can do to effectively market your dealership’s services and reach more potential customers.

Use content to drive awareness of your dealership’s services

The first step toward driving awareness of your service department is creating and sharing SEO-optimized service content. Focus on content that emphasizes the quality of the services your dealership offers, the expertise of your mechanics, and your dealership’s competitive pricing.

Publish this type of content on your blog and social media channels, but also consider creating parts- and service-specific landing pages that are optimized to bring customers to your dealership’s website. And always make sure your content provides a clear path for potential customers to schedule a service appointment. By producing regular content and optimizing it for the right keywords, you’ll be able to grow awareness of your dealership’s services while building consumers’ trust and driving them to your website.  

Bid on auto service search terms to expand your audience

Search is the first place consumers turn when they need auto service information quickly. In fact, nearly 25% of all automotive searches are related to parts, services, and maintenance. If your dealership isn’t showing up in those search results then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

When considering which service keywords to bid on, it’s important to be selective and strategic with your campaigns. Don’t waste your ad dollars bidding on broad keywords that third-party service providers in your area already rank highly for. Instead, go after make- and model-specific services that will grab the attention of customers looking for a high level of make-model expertise that only your dealership can provide.

Actively manage your dealership’s online reviews

The majority of people searching for service information will read reviews, so it’s crucial that you pay attention to them. Strive to have favorable reviews and make sure your dealership’s information is always correct online. You should also respond to all your reviews—both good and bad—wherever your service department’s information is listed. Keep your responses timely and professional. Managing your dealership’s online reputation will help you strengthen your relationship with existing customers and clinch potential customers’ business.

Optimize your mobile search ads

More than 50% of searches related to parts, services, and maintenance come from mobile. This isn’t surprising though: people always have their phones with them, so help is just a tap away when that occasional sputter or bang becomes an issue that can’t be ignored any longer.  

Optimize your mobile search ads so that they appear in the top searches for auto parts and services. And make sure to use extensions that make it easy for potential customers to get in touch or schedule a service appointment. Call extensions, location extensions, and compelling offers are key ad components that will help drive people to your site.

Focus on fixed ops marketing and create a continuous revenue stream

By expanding your digital marketing efforts to include your dealership’s service department, not only will you build loyalty and trust among your existing customers, you’ll attract new customers who are in the market for certain services—or even a new vehicle.

Topics: fixed ops, Marketing tips, service department