Preparing for fight night is an endurance-filled test of strength and will. Fighters spend countless hours jumping rope, coordinating footwork, and double tapping the speed-bag to prepare their mind and body to anticipate their opponent’s next move. Dealerships need to train just as hard before they enter the ring with consumers.
Consumers take it upon themselves to conduct research and enter the purchasing cycle when they want to, not when a retailer tells them it’s time. So to win over the most consumers, your marketing game plan needs to be flexible and immediate.
“Consumers want what they want, when they want it…and they’ll get it almost every time.”
No matter where consumers start their research, they likely will end up on your dealership’s website at some point in their car-buying journey. That website is the embodiment of your brand; the digital staple of your business.
“The moment the consumer visits your website you have both entered the ring.”
So to prepare just as championship fighters do, you need to first identify your goals for your website. You want your site to provide insight for consumers regarding your brand, vehicle information, and how to get in touch with you. Ultimately, you want consumers to choose your dealership.
Therefore, your dealership’s website should have a twofold strategy: provide an optimal user experience and generate leads.
Optimal User Experience
The experience a visitor has on your website can directly impact the probability of a sale. More than six in 10 site visitors will either stop gathering information or not buy the product under consideration if the website does not meet their needs.
With that in mind, there are three questions your dealership website must answer for your visitors:
- Where am I? – The first thing every website visitor wants to know is “Am I in the right place?”
- What can I do here? – Do not make your visitors think. Show them exactly what they want with big easy buttons that take them where they need to go, with one click.
- Most importantly, WHY SHOULD I DO IT? – What reasons have you provided to convince the visitor to do business with your dealership over any other in the area.
The way to answer those questions is with your website design.
Clean, informative, and organized websites help visitors more easily gather the information they are looking for. Pull website analytics to see what links are being clicked on the most, what pages get the most attention, and even how far down visitors are scrolling. This data can help with the arrangement and focus of your website.
Don’t frustrate site visitors by hiding the content they are there to find. In an effort to keep them engaged, keep that content up top where you know they are spending the majority of their time.
Consumers’ need for immediacy is also a need for simplicity. The following links should be the most accessible and easily identified:
- New Vehicles
- Used Vehicles
- Schedule Service
- Contact Us
“Time on site is a false positive if not accompanied by a higher page view count.”
Lastly, don’t overwhelm your site visitors with every single promotion you offer. You know what people in your market are searching for, so make that information more easily accessible to them.
When you have provided the information a site visitor wants, you can then ask for what you want: the lead or the appointment.
Form leads from your website are essential for collecting contact information to use in ongoing communications. Plan to actively solicit information rather than passively waiting for site visitors to provide their phone number or email address.
The information you gather can be used to determine visitors’ location, the stage of the buying process, and even their level of interest. Once you gain their contact information, you can target them with information tailored to their immediate needs and begin to establish a relationship.
To obtain a conversion on any page, you will need four elements:
- Headline – This stops the visitor and makes them want to look at your offer.
- An Offer – Your offer must have three components: It must be CLEAR, it must be COMPELLING, and it must be CREDIBLE.
- A Call to Action – What do you want the visitor to do? If you don’t ask for what you want – and do so in a clear way – don’t be surprised when you don’t get the lead.
- Why Should They Do It? Most importantly, if you cannot tell your visitor what’s in it for them, you’ve wasted your efforts on a great headline, compelling offer, and specific call to action.
It’s also important to know that conversion rates from organic traffic to the website are 47% higher with the addition of incentive-based behavioral marketing (Online Drive study).
There is a social expectation to repay the treatment persons have received from another. A simple theory proven successful in everyday life: pay-it-forward at the coffee shop, holiday gift exchange at work, or even a simple smile from a passerby.
That’s why a call to action like “More Info” is not going to convert many leads. It would be similar saying “Get the ePrice” without explaining what an “ePrice” is. If you cannot convey the benefit to the visitor, it is not worth their time to continue.
Instead, show your visitors that if they are willing to invest their time and information with you, you are willing to invest in them. Entice your visitors to provide their contact information with more than a promise of email campaigns. Offer a gift card, test drive, or service discounts.
You are already investing money in attracting consumers through your marketing efforts. Focus those efforts on targeted incentives that will drive them to your dealership.
Prepare your dealership for every move consumers might make on fight night. If they pivot left, make sure you can still collect their information. If they jab, be quick to react and reach out to them. If they run, the fight isn’t over; give them a reason to come back.
The moment the consumer visits your website you have both entered the ring. Are you going to be ready?
Author: Larry Bruce
LARRY BRUCE is a 30-year veteran in retail automotive dealerships and digital marketing. He currently is founder and CEO of OnlineDrive, a digital marketing firm recently acquired by Reynolds and Reynolds. Larry has successfully launched three tech companies, all of which intersect with automotive retailing and digital marketing. He started AIMData, a targeted marketing suite of tools for automotive retailers and ClickBuyDrive, an online vehicle buying application, both of which he sold in 2008.