Preparing for the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow


With the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow set to roll into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in just a few weeks, it’s time for dealers to generate excitement and traffic for their dealerships with outbound messaging that connects their showroom to the auto show. Creative marketing, with an emphasis on social media and value-added propositions, can help dealers across Canada tap into and leverage CIAS traffic to grow customer databases, boost new and used car sales, and generate business in service departments.

The CIAS expands brand awareness among attendees, with a considerable percentage of those attendees either adding or subtracting brands from their consideration list after seeing the show. More than 70% of attendees are there to see newly launched vehicles, and at least 50% are looking for tech innovations/options in vehicles.

These attendees are customers who are already in the sales process, comparing vehicles and “shopping” the show before heading into a dealership. More than half intend to purchase a new vehicle within 12 months and often make their final choice after seeing the show. At least 20% intend to purchase within six months. And before, during, and after the show, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram users have the ability to make a significant impact on other potential buyers through posts, tweets, photos, and video.

Auto show season is a great time to remind customers that you exist and that you’re the spot to test drive all the newest models or find great deals on 2015s still in stock. Auto show-themed promotions, contests, giveaways, and even in-store events create awareness and excitement by connecting your dealership to the auto show and, ultimately, bring customers back to your showroom to close the deal. Engaging potential buyers on social media channels is one of the best ways to harness the momentum of CIAS and put it to work for your dealership.

At Search Optics, we offer full-service social media and reputation management via an integrated approach that includes custom content strategy, behavioral targeting, engagements that drive brand loyalty, optimized local listings, and promoted posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


With Facebook advertising, Search Optics can generate leads directly from your Facebook news feed. Earlier this year, Facebook unveiled a streamlined process that allows a person who clicks on your ad to sign up for your newsletter or special offers from their mobile device with just one more click. The form auto-populates with contact information that they’ve already shared on Facebook. All they have to do is click “Submit.” As always, privacy is important. That’s why there’s an option to edit their personal info before the second click. Targeted ads designed to run during the show can deliver offers directly from you that customers can bring back to your dealership. Lead generation on Twitter employs a simpler form that serves a tweet to targeted users who click on the form to share basic info that you can add to your database.

In the weeks leading up to the show, we can create custom ads offering customers a free auto show ticket with every test drive at your dealership. Or you can offer them the chance to win two free tickets by opting in to your newsletter. You’ll get people into your showroom, and just as important, into your database.

Aligning dealership special offers with OEM promotions is important, and because this is auto show season, focusing on all-new or redesigned vehicles (if you have the inventory) will tap into a segment of auto show traffic looking for the latest models. Advertise a private “after-glow” or 2016 model year launch party, open to customers with an auto show ticket stamped by the manufacturer. But don’t limit your efforts to new vehicle intenders only. Consider used car buyers and service customers too. Offer customers complimentary service on their current vehicle if they bring in their auto show ticket and check out the new 2016 lineup or sign up for a test drive.

Not all manufacturers allow dealers at the show, but for those that do, you can leverage your presence through your social media channels. Post pictures and live video from the show paired with offers to visit your dealership, take a test drive, and get free auto show tickets. Live video from the show, vehicle walkarounds, and customer testimonials can be viewed in real time. Invite viewers to visit you at the show, and they’ll take home auto show cash to apply toward a new vehicle purchase or service on their current one.

The CIAS is Canada's largest auto show and one of the most prestigious and influential consumer events in Canada, bringing in an average of 300,000 visitors from around the world annually during its seven-day run. Let Search Optics help you generate and leverage this captive audience to build your customer base and increase sales and service revenue. And if you have an auto show promotion that’s worked for you, share it with the rest of us in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

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