In our industry, conversion rates are horrible. A great dealer “might” convert at a higher rate, but many are missing the boat on the majority of their website visitors. There are many reasons why this is true. However, the sad fact remains that it is.
Imagine making some simple tweaks to your website which produce an immediate increase in the number of website visitors who decide to engage with you. Do you think you’d sell more cars? Of course, you would! The instant a consumer engages with you, the chances of you selling them a car increases dramatically. But what is stopping them from doing so?
If you ask most lead providers for performance reports, you will get varying answers as there are so many different types of interactions they consider to be a conversion. Heck, some of them think simply getting a customer TO a dealer’s website qualifies! Their rationale? That consumers are no longer filling out forms. Because of that, many providers have chosen to use alternate metrics when, in reality, a lead is the only real conversion that matters.
The average conversion rate on a dealership’s website is 0.75%. That means less than 1% of all website traffic fills out a lead form. How can this be true? And, if it is, what can your dealership do about it?
Fix the mobile experience!
As 60% of ALL WEB TRAFFIC is via a mobile device, the mobile customer experience is key. However, dealers are losing a majority of their customers simply because their mobile experience is flawed.
In fact, the average mobile bounce rate is 70%. To put this in perspective, let’s say you get 10,000 online car shoppers a month visiting your website, 6,000 of whom use a mobile device. With a 70% bounce rate, 4,200 of those 6,000 mobile shoppers only visit one page before bouncing to another site. This is simply because many dealerships do not have their sites optimized for the mobile experience.
How can you increase leads? Here are a couple of tips about the main problems preventing online conversions and simple fixes:
 

  1. Site Speed – In July 2018, Google started penalizing slow websites. As a result, page speed is now more important than ever. Increasing the loading speed of your website results in a lower bounce rate, higher engagement rates and better search engine rankings. If you don’t know how fast your dealership’s website loads, you can access Google’s official tool and find out. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, your bounce rate increases by up to 150% per second!

 

  1. Weak Calls-to-Action – Poor word choices on calls-to-action, or obnoxious forms that nobody would fill out, obviously contribute to low conversion rates. Why? Because weak calls-to-action lead to poor consumer mindset. For example, which do you think is more likely to encourage a customer to fill out a form? “Get your e-Price?” or “Get your best price?” Sometimes, a simple change in wording can increase conversion. So, be cognizant of your what your calls-to-action say and optimize wording to improve shopper engagement.

 
Today, the car shopper’s mobile experience is key to your dealership’s sales success. Optimize your site for the mobile user with an easy-to-navigate website that loads quickly and is equipped with well-designed calls-to-action. Otherwise, it will negatively impact your conversion (lead) rates.
Take the time to investigate how your website is performing in these areas. Examine your calls-to-action and truly ask yourself whether the experience you see is one you would like as a shopper… or would it drive you to a competitor’s site? Be sure to also check it out with your smartphone to see how the experience is for a mobile user.
If your website visitors – especially mobile – are presented with an easy-to-navigate site that loads quickly, provides the information they seek and has compelling calls-to-action, you will see your leads skyrocket and the doors to success unlock.
To find out more about this topic, attend my session, Increasing Online Conversion is not as Hard as You Think!”  at the upcoming Automotive Analytics & Attribution Summit in Palm Beach, FL. Monday, November 19, at 3 pm. In my presentation, I will share how to supercharge conversions on your websites through mobile optimization.
 
 


Arguably, one of the most important marketing channels any dealership has is their website. Think about it. How much money do you spend simply to get customers there? When you combine all marketing efforts including, but not limited to, SEO, SEM, some third-party listing sites and more, dealerships spend tens of thousands of dollars (or more) per month.
Once that customer hits the dealer’s site, most dealers have the additional cost of all of the widgets it has chosen to adopt. Whether that’s a chat service, trade-in appraisal tool, inventory merchandising on VDPs, video and photo content and more, everything is designed to communicate with customers and/or provide the information that they need so they convert and purchase a vehicle.
But what about the most profitable area of your dealership? What about those customers that need vehicle service?
A huge piece of the puzzle is missing from most dealership’s websites: the service department.
According to NADA’s 2017 annual report, the average dealership’s service and parts department enjoyed sales of $6,793,905. But, when it comes to marketing, at many dealerships this profit center is overlooked.
That makes no sense whatsoever! Why would any dealership exclude marketing their biggest profit center when they could do so relatively easily?
All that money spent on SEO and SEM is mostly designed to attract car buyers. Ah, but many current customers go online when they have service-related questions, such as how to pair their iPhone with their in-vehicle entertainment system, how much does service cost, or to perhaps search for available coupons. The sad part is that far too often the dealership’s website has very little, and sometimes no service information at all. Those that do are often full of outdated information and expired coupons.
So, where do theses customer go to get that information?
While you’re completely focused on acquiring sales customers, your service customers are finding all the information they need in the worst possible place for the future of your dealership’s largest profit center… on independent repair shop’s websites!
And, at that point, where do you think those customers will go for service? It’d be silly to think that consumers aren’t motivated by low prices, offers of speed and convenience and attractive coupons.
But, the biggest problem many dealerships have in this highly competitive service space is NO MESSAGE WHATSOEVER! What is a dealership supposed to do? Why not pay attention to the very strategies independent repair shops have long used to steal your customers: implement a few of them and reclaim that service business.
Consider revamping your website and provide the information your customers are seeking — rich service and parts content, tutorial videos, effective appointment scheduling services and more. Provide your dealership with every opportunity to serve these customers, establish value in dealership service versus independent repair facilities and this will quite simply help to prevent customers bouncing from your website to an independent’s.  That rich content will also attract new service customers.
Another huge benefit of relevant, user-friendly content which is continuously posted and updated, is that it helps your dealership rank higher in Google searches. The exact thing you desire on the sales side is much easier to achieve in fixed ops. In most cases, you are not in competition with manufacturers, third party listing sites, lead providers and so on, vying for customer eyeballs. You may even want to consider creating a standalone website on a sub-URL designed specifically for service.
It’s absolutely possible for your dealership to outrank PepBoys, Firestone, Midas and Jiffy Lube! In addition, because Google search results are now location-based, you have an edge over competing brand dealers to get that local service work by ranking higher in common routine maintenance searches.
Stop ignoring your service department and start using your online real estate as a powerful marketing platform for vehicle service. Don’t be afraid to advertise service-related pricing, the independents do, and they are doing just fine. Take back the service work that is rightfully yours by adopting best practices that will drive service customers. Some of them, as you know, do convert to sales customers. The bottom line is; the more customers you have coming to your dealership – whether sales or service – the more profitable you will be and, in the end, isn’t that what you want?