Your words matter

By Christine Plunkett Automotive Content Comments Off on Your words matter

How important is the language we use in our automotive marketing?  Very.

Spending months, years, decades, or longer inside a dealership equips us with a unique and specific set of everyday phrases and terms which, to us, sound perfectly normal.  To a shopper, however, your lingo may not translate properly and at the very least is not the most attractive way to convey your message.

For example, what image do you conjure when you hear the word “lot”?  Most likely you imagine a freshly paved black top beautifully stocked with the latest model of whatever brand you sell delightfully decorated with balloons dancing in the breeze on a warm spring afternoon.  However, when the average Joe hears the word “lot” their experiences generate a much different mental picture.  Most likely a poorly-lit, vacant asphalt desert with cracked pavement, tumbleweeds and/or a drug dealer lurking to solicit new business.

We must be intentional about the picture we paint with our marketing language.  It is not necessary to dig out thesaurus-sourced synonyms for every interaction as the goal isn’t to use “big” words, simply better words. Words which invoke a sense of pleasantness, warm, inviting, friendly language which invites the reader to imagine an enjoyable place to do business.

Here are a few commonly used dealer-speak words and their more acceptable counterparts:

Lot < Showroom

Inventory < Selection

Salesman < Product Specialist

Trade < Current Vehicle

Cheap < Affordable

Used < Pre-Owned

The next time you construct a marketing message for your dealership, whatever the platform, keep in mind the impact your words have on your audience and select wisely. When in doubt ask a non-car-guy to preview your material and offer honest feedback about the perceived tone of your advertisement.

In addition to the language, and this should be a no-brainer, be certain your work is without grammatical and punctuation errors, and free from slang and shorthand elements.  Write like a well-spoken professional and your dealership will be perceived as a better place to do business.

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