Do you remember this slogan? AdAge.com ranked it one of the top “Slogans of the Century”, along with: “Just do it” (Nike), “Tastes great, less filling” (Miller Lite), and “We try harder” (Avis).
“Let your Fingers do the Walking” was a Yellow Pages slogan that said to the audience…don’t walk around and shop. Use the telephone!
Today, dealers marketing themselves on the web are making a similar pitch: shop online first, then visit our showroom. I would pose a challenge to dealers — are you focusing your online marketing efforts with your customer in mind? The online experience should be close to (or better than) the showroom experience. When a shopper walks onto a dealer’s lot, he or she expects to look at cars. The experience is unique. It is a real-time, full-sensory experience in which a shopper can see a car from every angle, climb inside, drive it, pop the hood, and have a conversation with a salesperson. This entire experience helps the shopper select the right car for his or her needs. With today’s technology, consumers have even better opportunities to enjoy the convenience of shopping at home. So, the question to ask is, how do you best simulate the on-the-lot experience in an online showroom?
Step 1. Photos, photos and more photos. Take as many photos as you can reasonably capture to give the online shopper the simulation of actually being there. Take photos under the hood, inside the trunk, the folding third row, the navigation system, the pristine condition of the leather interior…you get my point. Car shoppers want to see all of the details, and your photos should provide that. Website analytics and statistics have proven repeatedly that more photos = preferred shopping experience.
Step 2. Descriptive text. Make it real and make it relevant. Shoppers expect you to give a description of the equipment, specs and options, but you cannot stop there. What are the options that differentiate this vehicle? And don’t just list them as bulleted text. Make it a conversation. People will read an interesting description, but will tune out bulleted text. Conversation creates preference and a connection, and helps close a sale or test-drive. This type of writing takes practice, but it is worth it in the end. Specific and customized text (ie, marketing descriptions) needs to be created for each and every vehicle you market online.
Step 3. Video: Vehicle videos create the ultimate multimedia experience. It’s the next best thing to being there. Sight, sound, motion, and human interaction. It is as if you are actually standing on the lot, watching a video of the value-building, walk-a-round. Again, not easy to do, the dealer must be committed to creating the very best online content, but seldom does greatness come easily.
Step 4. Personal Service. If a customer is standing on the lot and wants to know if a specific vehicle has a disappearing 3rd row seat, he can simply ask a salesperson to show it. But, if an online shopper has that question and the online description doesn’t list this information, she needs to get an answer in the most near-real-time way possible. This means someone in the dealership must be responsible for frequently monitoring the site, email and any chat option that appears on the site. It also means that this person needs to be able to run out to the lot to capture pictures or video to help answer the shopper’s question. After all, your commitment is to simulate the on-the-lot experience. Rapid response is key.
Once you’ve created this fabulous, descriptive information for your vehicles, make sure it is posted everywhere you post your vehicle data — your own site, third party portals, local sites, etc. Advertising partners must be able to support that type of rich content. If they don’t, chances are good that they are behind the times and don’t realize that better content equals better shopping experience, which equals more sales.
There are many ways to tackle these steps — from capable third party providers to purchasing slick software solutions to do-it-yourself. But, the good news is your commitment to building this descriptive content will set you apart. You can almost bet that your local competitors are not doing it. I search cars online all the time, and the fact is…there just isn’t enough information about vehicle inventory. This is a great way to make your dealership and your inventory stand out. Your shoppers will remember the unique experience you provided, will likely buy from you, and, best of all, tell their friends. || Need to learn how to make a vector? www.HowToMakeAVector.com