Automotive Merchandising Tips, Automotive Marketing

When writing vehicle comments, pages for your website and other dealership-related content, it’s easy to get swept up by formatting gimmicks that (in theory) draw attention to your words.

The car business is competitive, and it’s understandable to think that extra characters, added punctuation and constant capitalization might provide a leg up on local rivals. But the best approach in writing is usually the simplest. Car shoppers are searching for a dealership they can trust, and that starts with clear, straightforward communication.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you grip the keyboard to hammer out a few lines of copy to promote your store.

Ease Up On the Shift Key

You wouldn’t introduce yourself to a new client by yelling at him or her, would you? That’s exactly what if feels like when you start a sentence in ALL CAPS. If you’re using this tactic at your dealership, let the shift key go.

Aside from coming across as rude to potential customers, using solely uppercase letters in copy makes your writing more difficult to read and confuses your message.

See for yourself:

On top of its standard family-friendly features, the new Grand Caravan offers a host of optional amenities, from heated seats to a Blu-Ray entertainment package, sure to make any road trip a breeze.

ON TOP OF ITS STANDARD FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES, THE NEW GRAND CARAVAN OFFERS A HOST OF OPTIONAL AMENITIES, FROM HEATED SEATS TO A BLUE-RAY ENTERTAINMENT PACKAGE, SURE TO MAKE ANY ROAD TRIP A BREEZE.

When in doubt, stick to standard sentence case and use extended capitalization sparingly.

Ditch Extra Punctuation

Exaggerated punctuation, such as exclamation points, asterisks and misplaced dollar signs, can be jarring for consumers to read. More importantly, those ancillary characters don’t do anything to communicate the actual value your dealership provides. Because car shoppers are both skeptical and judicious with their trust, stay away from ornamented phrases like this: “**COME IN FOR A TEST DRIVE NOW!!!**

Instead, find ways to highlight the benefits of your dealership using common language that will resonate with shoppers in your area.

Example: Treat yourself to a complimentary latte before test driving the all-new Chrysler 300 with one of our helpful vehicle consultants.

Focus on Structure

If you want to emphasize a specific point, use design elements rather than punctuation. This means using headlines to segment ideas, adding line breaks to draw attention to standalone sentences and bringing in subtle graphics like text boxes and lines to section off content. Doing so will drastically increase the readability of whatever you produce and give you more control over your message.

As a rule of thumb, when you create a new piece of collateral (e.g., email template, web page, mailer, etc.), have someone else on your team read it before sending it to customers. Ask what sections they’re drawn to most and adjust the visual hierarchy accordingly. Be sure your prospects are focused on what’s most important.

This same best practice applies when an outside marketing partner designs your materials.

Highlight Customer Benefits

Why should a car shopper visit your dealership instead of the dealership down the road? Hint: It’s not because you’ve got blue Chevrolets.

A laundry list of vehicle features and dealership amenities doesn’t fully speak to your “why buy” message because it only communicates information, not value. Rather than only stating the facts, strive to share how working with your dealership will improve the lives of your customers.

For example, tout how customers will have peace of mind thanks to your dealership’s superior warranty; highlight how busy families will never need to miss work or little league practice because of your store’s complimentary loaner service; showcase how every new vehicle purchase supports a local philanthropy your dealership has partnered and why that’s important.

By focusing on these guiding principles, you can tighten up your copy and begin strengthening relationships with customers.

Still looking for tips to hone your automotive writing chops? Read our related blog post, 4 Easy Steps to Writing an Effective Call to Action.