Marketing to car enthusiasts the right way can be very tricky. For many enthusiasts, cars are are not only a hobby but a way of life. These enthusiasts spend countless hours online discussing their cars.
Where Do You Find These Car Enthusiasts and How Do You Connect With Them?
We’ll start with the most popular place first, forums. Forums can be very tricky, as these are communities of tight knit enthusiasts. They spend hours on forums sharing pictures, discussing modifications, products and repairs. The first thing you need to do is identify which forums your potential customers are on. For every car make and model there is a forum or community- Look for a future post on finding the right forum for your products.
Now once you have identified the appropriate forums, how do you interact? Well it’s not easy! Since these forums are so tight knit there are two approaches- Paid or earn your way in by participating in the forums by providing helpful information and being part of conversations. If you simply spam your product on the forum you will get banned and shunned very fast, and I see this quite often.
I recommend the paid approach. One example of a company doing a great job of forum marketing is an Audi/VW performance tuning company called Integrated Engineering.
They have dedicated staff members whose job is to soley monitor the forums, answer technical questions and promote their products. An example of a paid promotion is below. You can see by the user name they are a forum sponsor so that is acceptable. Depending on the forum expect to pay anywhere from $200 a month to $1000+ a month be a sponsored advertiser.
If you are not already part of the forum community another approach is to find an influencer to introduce your product to the community. Most all forums show a join date & number of post next to user names. Also by spending time on the forums you will quickly identify who these people are.
Alternatively Create Your Own Forums.
One example is the forum and community created by 034 Motorsports called Motorgeek. They have over 700,000 posts, 54,000 topics and nearly 9,000 members. The forum is a community of Audi owners who are focused on performance. The forum allows 034 Motorsport to be a part of the community while providing resources and product showcasing. They let their customers do the speaking for their product as well as provide technical support. If you’d like to see more examples of this, reach out.
Facebook Groups for Auto Enthusiasts
Facebook groups are quickly becoming hangouts for enthusiasts in addition to the forums. In this case for Audi we will show some examples. Many times enthusiasts refer to their cars by factory codes, for example the Audi S4 made from 1997-2002 is known as the B5S4. So in the Facebook search you want to put in the search B5S4 Owners to find groups. There are actually quite a few different groups for the B5S4, most are closed and require approval to join. Facebook groups operate the way as forums where etiquette is essential as well as no spamming.
In addition to make and model specific there are regional Facebook pages for cars to drill down ever further to reach enthusiasts. An example here is Utah Association of Euros.
Instagram For Automotive Enthusiasts
Instagram is another hot spot where enthusiasts hang out. There are various approaches to this. For example Ford is using Ken Block, a globally recognized icon in automotive, to promote the new Ford Focus RS. In only a couple of hours there are over 50,000+ likes and comments (it will be higher by the time you see this)!
Tag Motorsports , a premier performance shop, does a great job here utilizing great imagery to showcase their work while using appropriate hashtags. Using words with appropriate hash tags is key to getting found. Finding the appropriate hash tags can be challenging as many of the terms used are only known to die hard enthusiasts. We can assist with finding the appropriate terms.
Another example here is a user called Carswithoutlimits, which has over 2 Million followers. In this post they are doing a paid promotion for a keychain company targeting enthusiasts.
Youtube For Marketing to Automotive Enthusiasts
One of my personal favorites is the marketing done by Ammo NYC. Ammo NYC sells high end detail products and the owner is one of the best detailers in the country. They create very informative videos appealing to enthusiasts many times working on exotic cars.
Below is an example video that has earned nearly 140,000 views in 4 days. Also on their site they have a list of products used while detailing this car. They never actively sell the products as the the videos speak for themselves.
Another great example is done by Fonzie at DipYourCar.com They have revolutionized an industrial product called Plastidip which is a rubberized non permanent paint which has created a new industry within itself. Enthusiasts are able to change the colors of their vehicles at the fraction of the price of a paint job and the product is non permanent.
DipYourCar has produced hundreds of videos showing how to apply their product while showcasing their products. in addition they have their own forums with fanatical fan base as well as a huge presence on FB, Instagram and Twitter. Many of their videos have hundreds of thousands of views and some even approaching 2 Million.
Features In Blogs To Reach Enthusiasts.
Another way to reach enthusiasts to to reach out to media. Here ST Suspensions and aftermarket part manufacturer Fifteen52 have built a Ford Fiesta ST, one of the hottest tuner cars out there to showcase their products. They did an amazing job documenting the build process using professional imagery. The build process was then shown to millions of views on the site Speedhunters.com. Here is a link to the article.
We have gone over the lowest hanging fruit to find your niche market. You may have noticed we didn’t mention Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler, Reddit, Etc. While they all have a strong presence among enthusiasts we feel the ones mentioned in our post are the most beneficial.
Just to recap on major points.
- Forums- Don’t SPAM! You will find yourself banned and shunned quickly
- Reach out to influencers- If you have a great product or service they will help spread teh word.
- Have a great product- If your product is cheesy or sub-par you will find out real quick.
- Be prepared to pay-It may seem like it’s fishing in a barrel with a shotgun but it’s not cheap and tactic must be used while approaching forum owners and Facebook page owners.
- Dig Deep-There are many genres of cars enthusiasts out there from trucks, muscle cars, Japanese cars, etc. The list goes very deep and in each category there are many many sub categories.
- Be authentic and use the voice of your customer. If you can’t find out or reach out to somebody that can, like us 😉
If you have any questions about niche marketing or finding your target audience let us know. Also if you have any input we’d love to heard in the comments below.