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Most car dealers know that running a contest can be a fun, profitable way to get new customers into your business. When people think they have the opportunity to win big, or to get something free, they’re much more likely to come to your dealership. This increases the likelihood that someone visiting you will fall in love with a car on your lot, and walk away with one within the next 60 days.

To understand the anatomy of a great car dealership contest, we’ll first need to examine what the end benefit would be to your company. Many dealerships generally avoid contests because they don’t seem quid pro quo in terms of what the dealership will get back – but if a contest does meet your end goals, there’s no reason to refrain from sponsoring one. Particularly if you’re using automotive direct mail and other forms of marketing to inform the community about your promotions, you can build a strong marketing campaign from the ground up.

Benefits of a Car Dealership Contest

Most dealerships decide to have a contest because they’re looking for a:

  • Low-budget, high benefit way to connect with the community.
  • Way to get customers super-engaged during a busy time of year, or to bring customers in during slower times
  • Major way to unload stock, anticipating that the amount of vehicles sold will be greater than the costs of the promotion.
  • Way to increase brand awareness in their communities on a larger scale.

Ultimately, you need to look at these factors and decide whether or not running a promotion falls in line with your budget and marketing planning for the year. If not, no worries – next year’s budget planning might include a contest or promo to make people in your community aware of your brand.

Automotive Direct Mailers – Running the Promo

Once you’ve decided to run the contest, it’s important to decide what you’re going to give away. If the budget is small, door prizes and a small cookout are fine. If the budget is larger, a trip, a free car, or even something like buying a few iPads and raffling them can bring customers through the door.

When you know what you want to give away, it’s important to tell people you have something to give. Use digital marketing, automotive direct mail and whatever other means are at your disposal to get people in your community engaged. When considering the cost of your contest, make sure you factor in promotions. You might even want to consider radio and TV in addition to automotive direct mail pieces. If people don’t know about your contest, you won’t sell anything. The right promotion includes a well-rounded marketing plan that will ensure your contest is seen by the community.