Phone: 630-495-2282 Fax: 630-495-2260 Map/Directions

NADA offers tips for marketing used vehicles on a dealership Web site

November 17, 2010

The Internet stands as one of the greatest modern marketing tools. More and more, customers are going online to research the pricing, features and availability of vehicles that interest them.


It stands to reason, then, that dealers should devote more time, attention, and money to marketing their vehicles online. Here are key points to help make the most of this resource:


  • Your dealership Web page should be current. It’s frustrating for a customer to select a vehicle online only to be told that it’s no longer available. Think seriously about having an outside vendor or a dedicated Internet salesperson keep the Web site up-to-date.
  • Your Web page should be user-friendly. Design your Web site with customers in mind, and don’t let technology can get in the way of your primary goal: selling vehicles. The fancy font and advanced animation won’t please customers whose systems aren’t equipped to handle them. Be sure the site has clear instructions and easy-to-follow links to features like monthly specials, help for credit-challenged customers, and directions to the dealership. Also, be sure the site allows customers to see vehicles they’re interested in within one to two clicks.
  • There should be multiple photographs of each vehicle. Customers savvy enough to shop online won’t be satisfied with just one view of a vehicle. Your walk-in traffic will likely increase if you post at least 10 to 12 good photographs, taken from consistent angles. Also, don’t be afraid to show dents, scratches or other unrepaired physical flaws in your photos. Showing—and describing—any blemishes helps build trust with your customers and reduces unpleasant surprises when they come in-person to see the vehicle.
  • Your Web address should be featured prominently in all your marketing. Use your print and broadcast advertising to promote your Web site, whose address, if possible, should be short and memorable. The Web site can contain a lot more detail than the other advertising.
  • Your Web site should have current contact information, including your dealership phone number. Although the Internet is a valuable tool for reaching out to potential buyers, the ultimate goal is to get them into your dealership. Including your phone number increases your chances of establishing direct contact and setting up an appointment with the customer. Also, be sure to log all customer calls for research and callback purposes. And remember: It is vital to respond professionally and quickly—ideally, within 30 minutes—to any phone calls or emails your publicity may generate.


This article is adapted from an NADA guide, "A Dealer Guide to Used-Vehicle Strategies and Solutions." The guide can be ordered by calling 800-252-6232 ext. 2, or online at