Online shoppers: so close and yet so far. Your dealership’s future customers are out there browsing the internet for the best deals on their next vehicle, spending 12 hours or more researching online before coming into a dealership. And some of these shoppers have even found their way to your website, with 75% of all your dealership’s customers starting their buying process on your website. And yet, about 97% of website visitors slip away– or click away– and never buy at your dealership.
Why does this happen? Think about in-person car shoppers. When they step into your dealership, there is the crucial moment: will they stay and start to consider buying from you, or will they leave? Do they find appealing displays with cars they want, easily accessible information, and helpful salespeople? Or are they repelled by disorganization, poor selection, and salespeople who don’t take the time to understand what they’re looking for?
This exact process happens on your website. Your full-funnel digital marketing strategy includes paid traffic to bring shoppers to your website, but what do they find when they arrive? Does your website offer appealing, personalized content that makes visitors want to convert? Or does it prompt bouncing with too much, not enough, or irrelevant information and popups?
“Within 0-8 seconds, your website visitors will make the decision to stay on your page– or leave the page.”
The first moment on your website is as crucial as the first moment in your dealership. Within 0-8 seconds, your website visitors will make the decision to stay on your page– or leave the page.
This is where conversion optimization comes in. It is what will get online shoppers to engage with your website and come into your dealership– and cut your ad spend all at the same time.
So what is conversion optimization?
Conversion optimization means taking concrete steps to get more conversions directly from your website. It means providing engaging content, appealing opportunities to convert, and more reasons for shoppers to spend time on your website and answer your calls to action.
Conversion optimization boils down to creating a shopping experience that is as helpful and positive as a visit to your showroom, from anywhere, on any device. Shoppers who are satisfied with their experience on your website are likely to convert, and to eventually buy at your dealership. But it gets better: conversion optimization also lowers marketing costs for two reasons. First, if you get a 30% lift in conversions, every $1 you spend on traffic becomes worth $1.30. Second, when people convert early on your site, you can save on remarketing costs– which can come to 300% savings per lead.
Get started with conversion optimization
Successful conversion optimization needs both a strong strategy to speak to a range of visitors and careful design to catch the eye and build your dealership’s branding.
STRATEGY FOR OPTIMIZATION
- Use personas. Who are the typical customers in your showroom? How old are they? What kinds of cars are they interested in? What budgets are they working with? Sit down with your team and create a few characters that are amalgams of your customers. You might have Millennial Max, who is starting his first job and lives in an area with varied mobility options. Or Soccer-mom Sarah, who needs lots of space for children and their various equipment. Or Executive Erica, who’s looking for something sleek and stylish. Use your dealership’s specific clientele to come up with these personas so you can speak to multiple people on your website. Which brings us to the next point:
- Create content and offers to appeal to all your personas. The people browsing your dealership site are all looking for a great deal on a car that fits their needs, and they all want to feel that your website is speaking directly to them. Provide comparisons of models they might be looking at, and discount offers on vehicles that suit each of your personas. Round out your conversion options with trade-in, financing, and pricing tools to make sure people have a variety of ways to engage with your site.
- Target to your audience. Having great content is important, but it’s even more important to make sure the right content gets to the right people, specifically the right personas you’ve built for targeting. Target your website browsers to give them a seamless experience online.
- a. Traffic source. When a customer clicks an ad to get to your website, show them exactly what they came to see, either by redirecting them to a similar landing page or popping up a friendly offer that speaks to the previous ad. You’ll see more conversions if customers are immediately directed to the content they want and given that consistent experience online.
- b. Website behavior. Use data analytics to track your visitors’ behavior on your site and offer them the content they want to see, when they want to see it. For example, if Millennial Max has checked out three VDPs of comparable hatchbacks, show him an offer on one of those models. The number and length of VDP views are two of the most important online sales predictors, so take this information seriously. Don’t show him the latest features on trucks. Show him that you understand what he needs.
- c. Optimize for mobile: Many, if not most, of your website visitors are browsing from mobile devices, so your website must be adaptable. Make sure visitors don’t have to download an offer to see it on mobile. With an excellent shopping experience, mobile browsers will also engage with your website leading to more conversions. Remember to make your offers “fat finger friendly” with bigger form fields and easily accessible buttons for maximum conversions.
- Have a valuable proposition: Your offers have to be good. You can’t offer $20 off your next vehicle because no one will convert on that. Consider what will be valuable to your customers– valuable enough for them to give you their information. Show them what your dealership can provide for them to make their shopping experience better. Make the offer irresistible.
DESIGN FOR OPTIMIZATION
- Reduce form fields: Most shoppers, especially at early stages of the buying process, do not want to fill out extensive forms requesting lots of information. Ask website visitors for a name, phone number, and email address, maybe the model they’re interested in, and that’s it. Each additional field reduces your conversion rate by 8%, so cut anything that isn’t crucial.
- Contrasting colors: Use bright colors for your Calls to Action (CTA). People are drawn to these buttons and are more likely to convert on them. You can also use contrasting colors for different options: green for yes and red for no.
- Use images and videos: Images grab attention, especially if they are colorful, relevant, and unique. Not only are videos exceptionally useful, but they appeal to visitors’ emotion and excitement– and can increase conversions by 86%. Use images and video to enhance your content whenever you can:
- a. When your site presents an OEM offer on a specific car model, feature an image of that car model
- b. Show your inventory with helpful and up-to-date images and videos
- c. Use videos to explain safety or design features of particular models, or to compare similar models
Make the effort behind the scenes to enhance the shopping experience for your online customers through conversion optimization strategy and high-converting design and content. When you invest in a full-funnel digital strategy like this, you’ll see your marketing dollars go down while you get a lift in conversion rate from your website leads. Providing the ultimate online shopping experience leads to more visits to your showroom and more sales.
If you want to learn more about how conversion optimization affects your leads, contact us for a free whitepaper!
Author: Ilana Zur
Ilana Zur is an expert in sales, inbound marketing, and business development. She is constantly thinking about how to perfect conversion funnels to build brand awareness and turn leads into sales. As Head of Business Development at AutoLeadStar, Ilana works to build relationships and find mutually valuable partner solutions. She contributes thought leadership for tech companies in and out of the automotive industry including Pendo and Dealer Marketing, and for the DrivingSales community blog. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.