Building event awareness is a must-do to fill your dealership with prospective buyers. With so many options, what are the most effective advertising strategies? There’s no one correct answer. But strategies can — and should -— change based on the event.

The best success seems to come from layering promotion strategies and repeating messages. For larger events, radio, TV and newspaper ads can spread the word to a wide audience. Many dealers begin airing the ads about 14 days before the event, continuing through the week of the event.

Integrate these mass media promotions with more targeted approaches. For example, John Cooper of C&N Tractor, Watsonville, Calif., uses direct mail targeted to specific zip codes, sending out 20,000–30,000 mailers for large events. Others use mailing lists in which the recipients have been categorized, such as rural lifestyle, landscaper, light construction and others.

Take advantage of all your internal communication methods, including newsletters, web sites and special emails. Social media is becoming an important tool, as dealers use Facebook to announce events and then post photos afterward.

Having that creative kick can make a difference. Dustin Fussnecker of Fussnecker & Sons Tractor Sales, Russellville, Ohio, ends his radio advertising with “Call Trusty Dusty.”

“This personalization sparked so much interest and amusement,” says Fussnecker.

Consider a “mention this ad” discount or a coupon, so you can begin tracking which methods are most effective. And, don’t be afraid to turn to outside experts for help with strategies or just developing the ads and direct mail pieces. Check on whether there is co-op money to help cover costs.

Factor in old-fashioned word of mouth, too.

Quint Campbell of Birkey’s Farm Store, Rantoul, Ill., devised a schedule of invitation/postcards 2 weeks in advance, followed by a newspaper ad one week before and personal phone calls 2 days in advance. “We also remind customers when they are in the store.”