When you run a website and social media channels and have digital marketing campaigns running alongside them, it can be easy to feel like you live and work completely online. But as you fine-tune your automotive eCommerce shop’s digital presence, you also need to ensure you don’t lose sight of your shop’s physical, offline marketing presence.
This blog provides guidance on traditional real-world marketing for automotive eCommerce stores that want to grow their audience.
Inject Your Brand Into the Real World
This may sound old-fashioned with all the sophisticated technology at our fingertips nowadays, but simple branded products and advertising still go a long way. Car-related accessories like keychains, glove box tools, tire valve stems, stickers and vinyl that has your web store’s branding on it are all great ways to start injecting your automotive brand into the real world.
Beyond those basics, branded clothing and accessories such as T-shirts and caps are also effective means of promoting your store on the streets. Brands benefit greatly from their supporters sporting their logo, especially at relevant automotive events. However, this kind of advertising is only as good as your branding, so ensure you have a strong logo before you make this investment. If you haven’t already, invest in a graphic designer to get your logo and branding up to scratch and to make sure it will translate well to these mediums.
Get Your Shop Involved in Your Local Car Scene
Put your store in front of people who are actively looking for automotive accessories by going to local automotive events and immersing your brand in your local scene. Whether you’re sponsoring or simply attending, having your brand at special events, parts swaps, races and car shows, both big and small, enables you to get to know your community and build brand recognition and credibility. It can also be lucrative, particularly if your automotive web store specializes in performance aftermarket—as we all know, track car people buy lots of car parts. Start by looking up what’s happening in your area and contacting them to see how you can get involved.
Start Small with Cars and Coffee
If races and shows seem like an investment you’re not quite ready for, don’t worry; there are plenty of smaller-scale but still-worthwhile events for your automotive store to have a presence at. Car-and-coffee meetups, local cruise-ins and amateur car shows all provide valuable in-person brand awareness at a grassroots, community level. While not as flashy as the large events, they can still be valuable in getting your brand name and image out there. Also, remember that sponsorship doesn’t necessarily have to entail a financial investment. Think about products or services you could offer in lieu of cash for events, competitions and charity fundraisers.
Move on to the Big Shows
Once you’ve warmed up and gotten some experience showcasing your brand at the smaller events, it’s time to get involved in the bigger car shows and custom car parades. An on-site presence at an event like Cavalcade of Customs or annual new car Auto Expos will give your brand a chance to showcase your logo and display and distribute your branded marketing content. You could also potentially gain media mentions if you’re a sponsor. These larger professional events require a different marketing approach, however, which is why it’s best to start small with local events and build up to them.
Tie It All Back into Google to Improve Your SEO
Whatever actions you take offline, make sure your brand can be found online, by driving traffic to your eCommerce store. Include your website address in all of your real-world promotional efforts, and set up a free Business Profile with Google My Business to claim and update your store’s information. This will also improve your local ranking on Google, which is crucial for making sure your business comes up in search results on Google Maps.
You can also improve your SEO by starting or sponsoring an event on Facebook for free social media advertising and then tying that back into Google Events, and blogging about the event in order to hit Google News.
These are just some of the ways you can take your automotive eCommerce store into the real world. For a more comprehensive solution on aligning your digital and physical presences, reach out to InteractOne’s team of experts.