New Vehicle Marketing Methods Aren't Very Successful With Pre-owned Cars

November 08, 2021

The days of the dealership are numbered. Dealerships are simply too inefficient for today's market, and that means if you want to stay in business, you need to be willing to change your methods. There is no better way than turning over your lot with pre-owned vehicles.


Because dealers make more profit on every pre-owned car they sell, according to NADA DATA.


But before you start selling cars like they're going out of style, there's something important you need to know: Your automotive marketing strategy shouldn’t be built around pre-owned vehicle sales if you’re a franchise dealer. But it doesn’t mean your pre-owned department won’t benefit.


The only way you can make a sale for pre-owned cars is to make sure your customers are getting more from their purchase than they would from buying new ones. This means your automotive marketing strategies must include reasons not to buy new. 


That's why new vehicle marketing techniques are no anymore effective for selling pre-owned cars.

So, want to know how these marketing techniques suck your targeted customers away from you and toward new cars?

Well, we're glad you came here. Let's find it out...



Pushing New Vehicle Features

You may not know this about your customers, but they don't give two shits about new vehicle features. They want to look good, and that's why they're buying the cars in the first place.


Give them a reason to buy pre-owned vehicles by giving them something they can't get with new ones.



Guarantees Aren't Worth The Paper They're Printed On

The only guarantee your customer cares about saves them money. So if you want to make sure they choose your pre-owned car over a new one, convince them you won't waste their time or money on anything other than their happiness. You'll win every time because your target customer knows that dealerships are notorious for wasting their time.


So, convince them you won't do this by giving them a guarantee. Guarantees have nothing to do with new cars, so use one of these three types of guarantees:

  • 100% money back if they don't like the car after a test drive
  • Money back if they regret buying your pre-owned vehicle 6 months or 6,000 miles down the line
  • Free oil changes every 6 months for 3 years, and then remind them about it every single day until they buy because trust is not established on the first visit.



With Pre-owned Vehicle, You Have to Double-Check Its Availability, Whereas New-Car Buyers May Not Necessarily Do So

New vehicle buyers believe you DO have the vehicles they are looking for on your lot or that it is simple for you to acquire them. After all, if you work for a BMW Bavarian Motor Works dealership, you must own the newest automobile model, right?


If you don't have the special package or color your customer wants for whatever reason, they expect you to be able to place an order for them. Eventually, they don't have to check with you first to ensure that the automobile they are looking for is available before coming.


However, because used car purchasers know that the availability of a used automobile is unreliable, they believe you don't have the vehicle they're looking for. They understand that if you don't have what they want, it's not as simple as simply ordering one from the factory. As a result, they need to verify whether or not you own the car before coming over.


Car dealers must go past merely marketing the make and model of a pre-owned automobile to optimize marketing for pre-owned vehicle sales.



Dealership Marketing Techniques Don't Usually Concentrate on Used Vehicle Inventory!


A lot of revenue generated from used car sales goes to waste because dealerships focus on promoting new vehicles and not much else.


Dealers should shift their marketing effort away from promoting the make and model of a pre-owned automobile and shift it toward focused target customers who will want to purchase their pre-owned vehicle.


In order to start bringing in more used car sales, here are some useful tactics for car dealerships:



Sell Pre-owned Vehicles as a Second Vehicle

People who may buy a new vehicle probably won't be looking for a pre-owned one as their first car purchase. If you can convince them that the pre-owned vehicle is the perfect second vehicle, you may be able to sell them one.



Get in Front of Ready Purchasers Now

People looking for a pre-owned vehicle are generally in the market right now, even if they haven't made up their minds entirely yet. This makes it easy to attract potential customers with ads at the right time.



Showcase the Car's History

People are more likely to purchase a pre-owned vehicle if they can get access to details about its history. So, give them an easy way to check this information by creating a history report that will interest them, including fuel efficiency data or accident reports.



Paid Advertising Platforms


You need to spend money to make money. Well, that's not entirely true when it comes to paid advertising platforms like Facebook and Google Adwords.


They work by ranking advertisers according to how much they're willing to pay per click (PPC). The thing is, most used car shoppers don't go directly from seeing an ad or Facebook post straight to visiting a dealership. 


Their next step would be some form of an online search, which means you're just giving your money away to keep up.



Here's what you should do instead?

Drive traffic to your website directly. This way, you can advertise for lower prices because the click doesn't come from paid advertising platforms anymore.



Sending Postcards To Your Targeted Area

It might sound like a great idea at face value, but sending postcards to an area where only used car is ineffective regardless of how targeted it may be.


If they're looking for new cars, then they won't be visiting dealerships in that area regardless of whatever promotions you have going on or any discounts that might be offered somewhere else in town!


So unless they see your ad and decide to go with you specifically, then it'll be just another waste of time. So what should you do instead?


Precisely the same thing you would sell new cars: Target your best customers! These are usually people who have bought from you before or at least given you their contact information. They'll generate more sales than random customers because they are already primed for purchase and much less likely to go somewhere else after seeing your ad.



New Car Marketing FAQs


Are Car-Shopping Websites Effective?

Yes, if you use a Car-Shopping Website to market your dealership effectively.



Where Is the Best Place to Advertise a Used Vehicle and Get an Excellent Return on Your Investment (ROI)?

Local newspapers, local television stations, and social media are great places to advertise used vehicles. However,car-shopping Websites are the best. Some of them are Autotrader, eBay Motors, Craigslist, CarGurus,, Carvana.



Does Advertising on Facebook Pay Off?

Yes. In fact, Facebook advertising is very effective when it comes to marketing a vehicle.



What's The Most Effective Way For Dealers To Reach Their Customers?

Social media, car-shopping Websites, and search engines.



How do I market my used car?

  • Create a short video and upload it to YouTube. The video should be high quality and show the features, interior, and exterior of your vehicle.
  • Upload images of your used vehicle to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • The content of the used car ad should be honest and straightforward. There's no sense in trying to make your pre-owned vehicle sound better than it actually is. The more honest you are about the condition of your used car, the better chance you have at attracting customers who will want to purchase your vehicle.
  • Don't spend too much time marketing a vehicle that you don't have in stock. If there isn't one available, let it be known that you'll be getting one soon.
  • Your ad should include the year, make, model, mileage, price, history report/certificate of title number, and photos.



Key Takeaway

The fascinating thing about inventory level marketing is that it's not really innovative; instead, it's a slight variation of some of the current channels you already use.


If you want to optimize pre-owned car marketing, focus on inventory-level marketing.


Pre-owned vehicle buyers know the availability is unreliable, so they are more likely to check with sales before coming. The dealership should easily find out if vehicles are in stock or not by creating a history report that will interest them, like fuel efficiency data or accident reports.



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