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How to Promote Your Next Auto Show

Promoting a successful car show requires you to go full throttle. 

You should reach out to auto businesses, the press, and your community. You also need a strong digital footprint, which requires a user-friendly website, social media savvy, and targeted ads. For all things car show marketing, we’re here to help. 

Here are 54 car show marketing ideas that’ll take you from the starting line to the showroom floor. These ideas are divided into the following categories, so feel free to jump ahead to the section(s) you’ll find the most helpful: 

Get Found on Google

Build and Perfect Your Website

Get Found on Social Media

Promote with Other Auto Businesses

Reach Out to the Press

Reach Out to Your Community 

Promote at the Event 

Get Found on Google

Getting your business listed on Google allows you to list your business location on Google Maps, so that you can be found on local search. For example, if someone types in “car show near me” in the search bar, Google’s algorithm will recognize if your event is nearby and list it in the search results. 

In 2020:

  • There were an average of over 3.5 billion searches per day
  • US businesses receive 26% of their views from Maps results 
  • Roughly 56% of actions on Google My Business listings were website visits

Car show marketing ideas for getting found on Google:

  1. Create a Google My Business listing.
  2. Setup a Google Nonprofit account to get access to free services from Google, specifically: email handling and a Google Ad Grant advertising account.
  3. Look for vehicle owner forums with regional threads where you can post the show.
  4. Google “Things to do in ____[your city]” and see if you can get listed on the pages that come up.
  5. Ask people who have been to the show to create reviews on the Facebook or Google My Business pages for the show. The more positive reviews you have, the more Google’s algorithm will recognize you as a business worth highlighting during a search. 
  6. Create Google My Business posts in the weeks leading up to the show.
  7. Create a Google My Business event post for the show.
  8. Create a Yelp profile. Much like with Google, the more positive Yelp reviews you have, the more Google’s algorithm will recognize your business. 

Build and Perfect Your Website

Your website is your virtual storefront. Great websites can drive tons of traffic your way, while poor websites can cost you customers. Here are the basics of a great website:

  • Clear purpose, a.k.a. why your site exists
  • Good design
  • Well-written copy
  • User-focused 
  • User-friendly 
  • Simple, clean navigation
  • Great SEO and analytics
  • Good content management system
  • Fast loading time

It takes 0.05 seconds for a site visitor to determine if they like your site, or if they’re going to leave. Make it count! 

Here are some car show marketing ideas for building your website:

  1. Create a website with important information for spectators, people who want to bring vehicles, and potential sponsors and vendors.
  2. Collect email addresses of car people and send them a save the date, and later a vehicle registration link using MailChimp.
  3. Create profiles of sponsors and post them on the website. Then ask sponsors to link to them from their website.
  4. Pay for Google display ads to be placed on your website, and show to people who are all about cars.
  5. Get testimonials to display on your home page. 
  6. Get a logo designed
  7. Hire a copy writer, a web designer, and a web developer to perfect your content–or work with our expert team.

Get Found on Social Media

4.55 billion people use social media. People spend an average of 2.5 hours per day on social networks and messaging apps. When done well, social media can provide you with an abundance of great leads and buzz. 

Here are a few car show marketing ideas for social media:

  1. Create a Facebook page specific to the car show.
  2. Create a Facebook Event for the show.
  3. Post images of cars that come to the show to Instagram.
  4. Create simple videos of some of the vehicles coming to the show and share them on social media.
  5. Post announcements of the show on Reddit.
  6. Post announcements of the show on Craigslist. Yes, people still use Craiglist. 
  7. Create simple designs and schedule posts on Canva. It’s free to use, and the Canva Pro is well worth it! 
  8. Find Facebook groups in the area who have members that might want to exhibit and invite them to come with a registration discount or special parking area.
  9. Create a Facebook live video for when you see a great car around town. During your live posts, talk about the upcoming show!
  10. Create a slideshow post on Facebook or Instagram with pictures of great cars coming to the show.
  11. Start a TikTok profile and make short videos about cars. 
  12. Use targeted paid ads on Facebook and Instagram. 

Paid ads require savvy targeting and demographic research. They’re also one of our areas of expertise.

Promote with Other Auto Businesses

Industry pros love a good car show. Some even have vehicles to showcase! Contact your local mechanics, vendors, and car clubs to quickly spread word of mouth about your upcoming show. 

Here are a few car show marketing ideas for contacting auto businesses: 

  1. Contact car clubs within 100 miles and invite them to attend as a group.
  2. Contact other car shows within 200 miles and ask them how to promote the show, promote their show in return.
  3. Attend other car shows as a vendor with a booth, promoting the show.
  4. Get a TechSoup account for access to tons of great services and products.
  5. Contact car dealers in the area and ask them to become sponsors or supporters.
  6. Ask local automotive businesses to display flyers at their locations.
  7. Ask local automotive businesses to share the show Facebook event on social media with their audience.
  8. Look for car show listing websites and ask to be included. You can do this by going on Google and typing “car shows near me” in the search bar. 

Reach Out to the Press

Reporters are always looking for news stories, especially if you already have some basic details. 

Here are a few car show marketing ideas for reaching out to the press:

  1. Submit the car show to the calendar at your local paper.
  2. Work with a reporter from your local newspaper to create an article about the show for publication the week before the show.
  3. Use Help a reporter out www.helpareporter.com.
  4. Ask local radio stations if you can come do an interview or public service announcement.
  5. Contact local automotive media companies (newspapers, magazines, bloggers, etc.), give them a brief description of the show, or offer a free media pass and offer to answer questions.
  6. Contact local TV morning shows and offer to appear on their show as a guest. They are often desperate for people to come.
  7. Visit other local car shows and ask the participants to come to your car show.
  8. Contact local or classic car podcasters and offer to be a guest on their show.
  9. Run an ad in the local newspaper the week before the show. The newspaper may give it to you for free in return for a sponsorship.

Reach Out to Your Community 

Community members will likely be most of your car show attendees. Reach out to various aspects of your community to further spread the word. 

Here are a few car show marketing ideas for reaching out to your community:

  1. Contact the local city asking for help promoting the show.
  2. Work with the local chamber of commerce to get help promoting the show.
  3. Ask local businesses to become sponsors or supporters of the show.
  4. Create flyers and distribute them at local businesses.
  5. Ask local restaurants to be sponsors.
  6. Purchase banners and work with the city or town to find places to hang them around town.
  7. Ask the local library if car show flyers can be posted for a local event benefiting a nonprofit.

Need help with your flyer?

Promote at the Event

Professional advertising, social media, press outreach, and promotion will make a huge difference in attendance at the car show. These investments can pay off huge for a show.

Here are a few car show marketing ideas to consider:

  1. Have a professional photographer come and take pictures at the show. 
  2. Hire a professional videographer to come for one to two hours and create footage of the event. You can distribute this footage to local media so they can create an on-air piece.
  3. Hire freelance journalists to attend the event, create news stories, and send them to local media and bloggers. They can also be sent to automotive blogs like Jalopnik and SuperChevy. 

Still looking for some amazing car show marketing ideas? We’d love to help get you started. For a free consultation, send us a message


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