Memorial Day Profit Centers for Your Dealership

Memorial Day Profit Centers for Your Dealership

Memorial Day weekend has long been one of the most lucrative holidays for car dealerships across the United States. However, as vehicle inventory levels remain low, many dealers are expecting this year to be less profitable than usual.

Fortunately, this is misplaced pessimism. Though new and used car sales are likely to be slower than normal, it’s still possible to have a successful weekend by focusing on your auto dealership’s other profit generators, such as:

Service

The lack of new and used vehicle inventory means drivers are keeping their old cars on the road for longer. Those high-mileage cars require lots of regular maintenance! 

Your dealership can capitalize on the increased demand for maintenance by offering deals on oil changes and tire rotations this Memorial Day. A 50 percent off coupon is sure to drive customers to your showroom.

Once motorists arrive at your shop, you can generate additional income by recommending other services their vehicle needs. For most dealerships, filter changes and wiper blade replacements are among the most profitable service upsells.

You can even use service visits as a way to build your used car inventory. While your technician is working on a customer’s vehicle, have a manager appraise it and make a buyback offer to the owner. This tactic is particularly effective if the car needs repairs the owner does not want to pay for.

Road Trip Bundles

For many drivers, Memorial Day is the start of road trip season. However, before they set out on their journeys, they will want to get their cars serviced.

You can enjoy a highly profitable holiday weekend by promoting your auto dealership’s road trip bundle specials. Most shops advertise these services in the following ways:

However, if you want to maximize your results, we suggest using FastCoupon. This fusionZONE product gives you the ability to send tune-up coupons directly to your customers’ phones!

Car Detailing

If your dealership is low on inventory, you probably have a lot of unused space on your lot. Why not turn some of that empty space into a profit generator by adding a car washing and detailing station? All you need are a few basic tools and supplies, like:

  • An air compressor
  • A steam cleaner
  • A wet/dry vacuum
  • Detailing brushes
  • Detailing towels
  • A sponge, and
  • A power washer

Of course, before you set up your detailing station, you should check with the city to ensure you do not need any additional permits. It’s also a good idea to discuss the idea with your insurance agent to make sure it won’t impact your policy.

If you receive the green light, your new car detailing station could generate additional income for your dealership this Memorial Day. You can even encourage customers to take a quick look at a few vehicles while they wait. You might just make a sale!

Accessories

Whether they are setting out on a cross-country road trip or spending the summer at home, your customers need accessories for their vehicles. The most popular accessories include:

  • Wireless phone chargers
  • Trunk organizers
  • Anti-slip dash pads
  • Jump start kits
  • Travel coolers
  • Dash cams, and
  • First aid kits

If you want to maximize your Memorial Day income, don’t force your customers to go to Walmart or Amazon to buy these accessories. Stock them in your showroom instead!

Of course, if you want to drive sales, you’ll need to let people know about your accessories. We recommend going live on Facebook to showcase your products and answer questions from your followers. 

You can also make an announcement on local directories like Yelp and Nextdoor. fusionZONE’s FastListings product can help you make these announcements in a matter of minutes!

Ready to Take Your Dealership to the Next Level? fusionZONE Can Help! 

Do you need help marketing your dealership and its services this Memorial Day? If so, you have come to the right place! The fusionZONE team has been helping dealerships like yours find new customers and increase revenues for years. We understand the automotive industry, and we are ready to go to work for you!

To learn more about our services, all you need to do is fill in our short online contact form or give us a call at (424) 232-0728. Our friendly representatives will be more than happy to assist you!

When it comes to marketing your business, you know you need a website, but what exactly does that entail? As you start to research website design, you might begin hearing terms like PPC, leads, SERP rankings. When all you want to do is take some inventory photos, load the pictures to your website, and sell the cars, it can all feel overwhelming. The reality is, when designing a website, there is a lot to consider.

Think about your own experience when searching the internet. What do you like? What do you dislike? What makes you buy something, and what makes you close the window in frustration before the page even loads? From the speed it takes to load the page to the colors used on the page, a lot of subtle choices in the recipe of the website create an excellent experience.

Here at fusionZONE Automotive, we make it our priority to stay on top of current expectations and tactics so you don’t have to. You want a website that works and is easy to use. That’s where we come in. Here are some of the most common mistakes web builders make and how we avoid them.

1. Create An Experience

When designing the physical layout of your showroom, you’ve probably thought long and hard about your customer’s experience. How your customers are greeted upon arrival, how your signage appears, and how potential buyers are toured through your inventory all create an experience. Maybe the pastries and coffee are carefully laid out and chosen to help customers enjoy their time at your dealership. Your website needs to be equally organized.

If a little is good, then more is better, and the most is best. Or is it? Have you ever gone to a website only to be visually overwhelmed? There’s simply too much going on. A common instinct is to try and tell everybody everything at once. The result is telling nobody a thing. A clean and visually appealing website will create a feeling of comfort with which people will want to engage. Your customers will feel assured that a quick scan of the page will allow them to find what they’re searching for.

2. Don’t Forget To Read Goldilocks

Just as having too much going on can overwhelm visitors, offering too little can frustrate visitors. Like all elements of design, web design is about balance. Your website needs to offer a simple design that is intuitive and inspires confidence. Think about the web pages you like and why. When you visit your website, do you get the same experience? If you aren’t sure, ask a friend who’s never used your site to sit next to you and search for your product. Watch them navigate various pages and see what struggles they encounter.

User experience is something we often overlook or don’t know how to measure. If you owned a restaurant, you could stand at the door and watch people as they dine, seeing that their food comes out on time and staff is readily available to assist them. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean you can’t follow the same concept. Implement a chat agent to greet users. Use a heat map to analyze website traffic. As more users interact with your website, make sure the pages offer just the right amount of ambiance and information.

3. Pay Attention to CTAs and Limit Pop Ups

We’ve all experienced it. We’ve pulled up a website. We’re looking at a picture or reading an article when suddenly — a pop up appears on the page with a discount offer or a form to sign up for a newsletter. We haven’t even bought anything yet, and we’re being inundated with ads and opportunities to learn more. Unfortunately, having a strong call to action and building an online community through a regular newsletter are important marketing tools. So, what do we do?

As is often the case, timing is everything. Give website visitors a few minutes to get situated. Just as you would invite them in the door and offer them a comfortable place to sit or something cold to drink in person, allow website visitors to become familiar with your website before you ask them to sign up for a newsletter. Once they’ve been introduced to your business and found what they’re looking for, they’ll be more likely to seek another positive experience with your business and save on their next visit by subscribing to your newsletter.

4. Looks Could Kill Your Business

The layout of content on the page, what the content says, and the use of white space is key to the overall performance of your website. When building your website, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about SEO and how important it is to your business’s success. The first thing to do is define SEO. “SEO” stands for search engine optimization, which means optimizing your website to show on search results pages (ideally, near the top). Essentially, when someone searches Google you or businesses like yours, do you pop up? (For more on SEO, check out this video.)

The text on the various pages of your website needs to be informative, appealing to the eye, and strategically written to help Google find you. A common instinct is to stuff sentences with extra words to help Google rankings (known as “keyword stuffing”), resulting in content that is hard to read. Just as it’s easy to overwhelm visitors with pop-ups and bombard them with images, you can also overwhelm with the words on the page and even risk sounding unnatural. The content also needs to be updated regularly to keep you fresh and relevant.

By considering and understanding these four elements of successful website design, you can provide an experience that your customers will enjoy and keep them coming back to your dealership for all of their automotive needs for miles to come.

 

Understanding Color Psychology Influence

Whether it’s painting your house, buying a car, or designing your website, color plays an essential factor. We all have favorite colors, but have you ever wondered why?

In addition to looking a certain way, colors make us feel a certain way. This is important when designing marketing materials for your business. How your customers feel will impact their behavior, buying habits, and impression of your brand.

So, what colors should you choose when marketing your business? Continue reading to discover how color psychology can impact the success of your marketing and, thus, the success of your business.

The Theory Behind Color Psychology

We all know red and green make us think of Christmas, but do you know why?

When trying to understand how color impacts your marketing materials’ delivery, the first concept to grasp is primary colors vs. secondary colors vs. tertiary colors:

  • The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.
  • Secondary colors are the colors derived from mixing primary colors. Anybody who’s ever used a “yellow and blue make green” knows that.
  • Tertiary colors are a hyphenate created by combining a primary color and a secondary color. For instance, red-orange or yellow-green.

Within all colors, there are tints, shades, tones, and contrast. The color wheel below demonstrates what we mean.

Basic color wheel and associated temperatures

So, now that we’re familiar with these terms, what colors should you use when designing your next marketing campaign?

Knowing What Creates Contrast

Contrast isn’t just a difference in color; it is also a difference in tone. In fashion, you’d never wear a brown belt with black shoes because, while different, these colors have little contrast with each other.

By mixing colors and contrast, you can create content that is visually appealing and easy to read. The goal is to attract potential customers and deliver your message.

You can deliver effective marketing by choosing two or three simple color combinations that offer a mix of high and low contrasting tones. The color wheel above can help you choose those colors.

Color Opposites Attract

Blue and orange, yellow and purple, and the aforementioned red and green are opposites. When it comes to readability, the importance of color pairing should be considered in the product itself.

For instance, many watch companies use blue and orange when designing their timepieces because blue and orange are opposites. A blue face with orange hands creates an attractive design and easy readability, so the wearer doesn’t have to struggle to tell the time.

But is there balance?

In the case of the watch, we can picture a blue circle with two little orange lines. Blue is the dominant color, while the orange gives us a visual break. Our eyes naturally look for a second color. As marketers, you get to decide what you want that secondary color to tell the viewer.

What Do All the Colors Mean

Now that you know how to pick opposite colors and use contrast to your advantage, let’s take a look at how our brains interpret specific colors. The question we’re asking here is, why is Valentine’s Day red?

Red is a powerful color that conveys many emotions. From Valentine’s Day to horror movies, red quickly gets attention because it elicits powerful reactions of love and fear. Use this powerful color strategically and sparingly.

While red is powerful and yellow is friendly, orange is a warm mix. Orange is a very soothing color with effective usage energy drinks on the sporting event sidelines, vitamin bottles, and board games.

Green often connects us to nature, an overall sense of wellness, and makes us think of growth in both plants and wealth. Blue evokes a feeling of trust and dependability. Blue is often found in hospitals, spas, and fitness studios because of its soothing nature.

The color blue is also used on the Facebook website and marketing materials because the founder of the social media juggernaut, Mark Zuckerberg, is red-green colorblind (colorblindness is yet another important factor to consider when designing an effective marketing campaign based around color).

Brown is comforting and used in home furnishings. Gold is the color of luxury. Black is for professional attire and limos. White can represent purity and cleanliness.

Every color has a connotation, whether we’re consciously aware or not.

Using Word and Color Combinations To Convey Your Message

Are you trying to convey trust or speed? Courage or reliability? After you decide what your company stands for, you can choose the colors that deliver that message the best. From there, implement the strategies outlined above when drafting some snappy headlines for your campaign.

The chart below shows how all these ideas come together to help you convey the message you want to deliver.

Colors and word association

Know Your Demo

Men and women are different and experience colors differently. By knowing the demographics who shop your brand, you can deliver effective color-based marketing content.

Men typically like blue, green, and red, while women usually like blue, green, and purple. If women are the biggest consumer of your product, you could be better off using a little more purple and a little less red.

Women also see a greater spectrum of differentiation in a single color than men do. This point was hit home by Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada,” when she lectured Anne Hathaway’s character about the color cerulean. Where women might see cerulean, turquoise, or teal, men generally see blue… Just blue.

To summarize, we all have preconceived notions of what colors mean and how they affect us. Couches are most often brown for a reason. Firetrucks are red so they can stand out. By thinking of how color connects to emotion, we can direct the consumer to our brand by delivering the most effective message possible.

If you’d like further assistance with your website UX and layout strategy, contact the fusionZONE team.

Even as stay-at-home orders are lifting, the automotive world shifts to digital. However, there’s a limit to how much a piece of copy on your website can replicate talking directly to a sales rep.

Digital walkarounds have become more common as consumers grow more comfortable with large online purchases. Shoppers are looking for a vehicle on their lunch break more than they are stopping into the store.

A digital walkaround is when a rep uses a video conferencing tool to show a customer a vehicle in real time. This is different than a pre-recorded video (which are still great) as this is done live.

Being live is very important; it allows a customer to ask questions without having to wait for an email response or call-back. What could be a 3-hour process to get an answer is shrunk to a 3-minute phone call.

It also allows customers to compare how a car looks in real life to what they are imagining it would be. That’s important. Photos can only take you so far.

So, before you start scheduling 5 video calls a day, check out this handy guide we have put together for you. It’ll help you avoid embarrassing situations and help close customers who are remote.

Planning Your Calls

Before you start hosting video calls, you’ll need a plan. If you work the sales floor, you’re used to improvising. For digital walkarounds, you want to limit improvisation..

First things first, decide which platform you want to use to host your calls. There are a ton of free video-conferencing apps for your phone. Some of the most popular ones are:

  1. Zoom
  2. GoToMeeting
  3. Google Hangouts
  4. FaceTime (for Apple only!)
  5. Skype

It’s recommended that you have at least two options, so you have a backup if anything goes wrong.

Play around with your video hosting software to understand the basic features and where things are in the menu and how they work before you start scheduling calls. A customer doesn’t want to hear that “you just got this service and you are figuring it out.” Take 15 minutes beforehand and know how to:

  1. Start the call
  2. Record the call
  3. Flip between the camera facing you and away from you
  4. Share your current screen if needed

Second, do a test run with these apps with a coworker. Take turns running the call and being the “customer.” It’ll give you a great deal of insight to how the customer will view the call.

Finally, record your test calls and play it back. They’re great to have on hand for training the team or to reference later on.

Scheduling Your Calls

Next, ensure customers have a way to schedule these walkarounds on your site. Try to capture the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Phone/email
  3. Preferred Meeting Date
  4. Vehicles of Interest
  5. Features of Interest
  6. Preferred video-call app (if you’re using multiple)

It’s important that you don’t bury this page on your site. Add links from the homepage (desktop AND mobile), your inventory, and anywhere else it makes sense.

If a customer wants to check out multiple vehicles, it’s highly recommended parking them next to one another so that you can jump from one another. It’s not a great experience to be on the other end of someone walking from one end of the lot to the other. Be conscious of your customers time.

Running the Call

If you’re not as familiar with these kinds of calls, shoddy camerawork can lead to a bad experience for a customer. Don’t lose business because of that!

Follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts and you can’t go wrong:

DO

  • Move the camera at an even speed.
  • Use your hands to point at parts or features
  • Be friendly and personable
  • Keep the video-call portion under 5 minutes. You can follow up later or afterwards to discuss.
  • Keep your phone vertical. You don’t want the view to constantly be changing. Most phones have an option in their settings to lock this into place so the screen doesn’t shift as you move the camera.

DON’T

  • Put the camera too close to whatever you are trying to show. Instead, keep the view about a forearms length at all times from what you’re showing.
  • Record in a noisy area
  • Talk to others when you are on the call
  • Eat food on the call (gross)
  • Start the call when you are not near the vehicle

Other ways you can drastically improve the call experience is to call the customer beforehand and chat about what they want to see. It can cut a lot of the fat out of the video call as you (and the customer) will know exactly what to expect.

Following Up

After the call has wrapped up, it’s critical to quickly follow up. The most helpful items to include after a video call are the recording of the call, any info the customer needed (paperwork or links to the inventory), and a scheduled date to finalize the deal.

Dealers have been having a ton of success at making a lasting impression by video recording a personal “thank you” for stopping by. It will mean the world to a customer and it will only cost you 1 minute of your time.

That’s all for this week! If you have any stories about what is working or not working for you, drop a comment below.

We thank you for reading and hope you will check out future articles! If you have a topic you would like to know more about, feel free to suggest one in the comments below as well!

 

Don’t Let The Phones Keep Ringing

A strong online presence usually means a higher call volume. This means you need to work the phones better than ever.  Questions you should be asking:

  • When a customer calls the dealership, where does that call go?  Make sure your associates in-store are prepared to respond accordingly.
  • If your BDC is currently working from home, are calls routed to their personal phones?
  • What happens if a customer has service needs? Can you accommodate them at their home, or can a technician offer some tips?
  • Is your team set to text prospects?

The digital workforce depends on phones. Make sure your sales department has one or more active sales routing options to capture people’s interest and turn them into sales.
 
For those customers shopping from home, invite them to speak with a member of the sales team to discuss buying and delivery options on new and pre-owned inventory.
 
Get Some FaceTime

Consider taking to video. Do all you can to help simulate the car-buying experience from a virtual setting. 
Don’t shy away from being creative. Here are some ideas to think about:

  • Use your service scheduling tool to make FaceTime appointments to discuss inventory and delivery options.
  • Record more vehicle walk-throughs and feature demos on video. (Video test drives are not recommended.)
  • Consider going live on a social media platform to open a Q&A on financing options, test drive deliveries, at-home vehicle service, or other ways your dealership is adapting to current concerns.

Be aware, the purpose of these calls may vary greatly right now, based on circumstance. These calls could range from the “discovery/information-gathering” phase, where prospects are early in the buying process, to the “buy now” phase, where customers are looking for convenience and immediacy for vehicle purchase and delivery.
 
Buyers still value face-to-face interaction. If you can’t get in front of them all in person, be creative and use technology.

 

Stategies - Fusionzone automotive
In my last blog, I shared a few design tips I have seen drive website conversion rates as high as 10%. In this blog, I would like to move onto the next step and share advice about how to recognize and measure if your website changes are, in fact, effective.

Many dealerships regularly make (or request) changes to their website to increase conversion or optimize website traffic. However, it can be a frustrating process to know what is working or not. Below are four simple tips that can help you establish how to effectively track and measure if changes to your website are making a difference.

1. Set the right KPIs– To effectively track changes, you must know the key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure. This will vary by the type of dealership and individual goals, but will often be conversion rate, bounce rate, traffic growth, etc.

Some dealerships use discounted pricing found behind lead forms. In that case, conversion would be an essential thing to measure. One-price and transparent pricing dealers will probably be most interested in traffic growth, bounce rate, SEO results, etc. All of this can be tracked in Google Analytics. Discuss your KPIs with your website provider and ensure they are setting proper goals in your analytics account so that you can easily track these KPIs.

Often, dealerships grasp in the dark at various changes. Setting realistic and correct KPIs will eliminate this. What changes do we want to make? What is the goal of these changes? What are the KPIs that will track the effectiveness of these changes?

Look at the KPI for each specific change. If you are changing the lead process, establish your goal and KPI tracking for this particular change. If you are changing the lead structure, the likely KPI is conversion rate. If you are changing the SEO strategy, you will likely want to look at YOY traffic growth, bounce rate changes, specific keyword rankings, etc.

2. Discuss changes with your Website Provider–Discuss with the performance manager at your website provider what they expect to happen with any changes. Will it increase conversion rate, the amount of traffic to the site, or percentage of market on site? What is it your provider expects to see from that change? Setting and tracking KPIs should be a collaborative effort with your website provider. Keep in mind that vendors have likely seen any specific change hundreds or even thousands of times. They have a pretty good idea of how effective it will be based on your specific geographic area and the results they have seen from other dealers making the same change.

So, discuss what they feel would be the right KPIs for you to track. Often, dealers think that a particular change will have a considerable impact on a KPI, perhaps driving more leads or more traffic to the site. Your provider should know if the goal is realistic or not. Discuss it with them. Again, your website should be a collaborative process. Your provider should know the effects that specific changes will have and what realistic goals look like for each of those changes. If they don’t? Find a new provider. As a dealer, you should be an expert on selling cars. Your website provider should be an expert on how to achieve the realistic goals you want to achieve for your website.

3. Make the Changes – Now that you’ve figured out what your goals are, and have
discussed with your website provider if the proposed changes will help you meet those goals, the next step is to make the changes. But if there is one point I would like you to take away from this blog, it is that you cannot make mass changes and expect to track any KPI. That is probably the most critical point in this entire process. If you change 15 items at a time, it is difficult to know which change affected which KPI in which way. Many dealers will look through their website and say, “We don’t like these following 30 things and want them all changed.” That is fine, just don’t expect to know if any of those changes had any real impact, or which ones had the effect you were shooting for.

Limit changes to a few at a time and then track those changes over a set period. Establish what your goal is and see if those few changes make a difference. Narrow down those changes and revisit with your website provider after 1-2 months and discuss the results. If those changes don’t improve the KPIs that you want, then move on to your next change.

4. Don’t Freak Out! – Many dealers make changes to their websites and are alarmed when they don’t see an immediate impact. Frequently, I see dealers request a change and then become frustrated when nothing changes in a day or two. Give changes time to work so you can see if they are making a difference. You need, at a minimum, a couple of weeks of data to have a large enough data set to determine if you are achieving the goals you have set. The larger the data set, the better. So, if you can look at a data set after a month or two, you will have even better insight into the impacts of your site changes.

Imagine having a salesperson that is consistently your top performer, month in and month out, but they have three consecutive days of not closing anything. Does that mean you should fire them? No, you’re just looking at a tiny data set, when a more extensive data set based on a larger time frame would give you the full story. The same logic applies here.

In summary, set the specific changes you want to make. Set the KPIs you will use to track those changes. Discuss the expectations with your provider. Don’t make mass changes and use a large enough data set (two weeks minimum) to see the results.

Relax, make changes that align with your goals, and wait for the tree to grow. It won’t happen overnight. Make changes strategically and methodically and watch the data over some time. You should then be able to optimize your websites without running around in circles wondering why nothing is working.

Conversion rate (internet marketing) concept. Businessman (marketer) draw growing graph of rise conversion rate.

It’s a well-known fact the best leads aren’t the ones that are bought, but those that convert on your website. These leads close faster, close at a higher rate, and close for higher gross than any other online lead. The problem is that websites are consistently converting less than 1% of their traffic into leads. Some are higher, some lower, but rarely does anyone convert at higher than 2%. Below are a few design tips that I have seen drive website conversion rates as high as 10%.

These guide consumers to where you want them to go and pique their curiosity. By eliminating choice, they drive consumers to do what you want them to do on your site, submit a lead; giving your sales team one more chance at bat with an in-market car shopper! 

 

1. Where Do We Go from Here?– Imagine driving towards a destination, in the dark with no road signs, and your GPS stops working. Sadly, that’s very similar to the experience many dealers currently offer their online customers on their homepages. 

 

90% of visitors to your site are looking for one of three things: new inventory, used inventory or service. Doesn’t it make simple logical sense to have these 

areas clearly marked at the top of your homepage? I always recommend 3 large CTA’s on your homepage, one for each of these options. If you have additional profit drivers you can add simple CTA’s for those as well (no more than 6), but again, 90% of clicks are going to new, used, and service. These should be the first 3 CTA’s on your homepage. They should be above the fold, and they should clearly indicate where they will take a consumer.  

 

Your homepage, above the fold, is the map you are providing to consumers. “Here’s how you get to the destination you came here to find.” Somewhat counterintuitively, you want to eliminate choice for the consumer. You want to direct the consumer where you (the dealer) want them to go, to your product.  

 

Another point to keep in mind for your homepage is that few consumers will scroll down on your page at all and less than 5% will ever make it to the bottom of your homepage. This means that the content found below the fold (anything you must scroll down the page to see), isn’t really for consumers. Sure, you should put some specials on sliders, and a small fraction of consumers will interact with those. Truthfully though, almost all the below the fold content is strictly for SEO purposes. You should ensure that your website provider provides quality SEO content on your homepage, but that is a topic for another article.

 

Think of the lowest common denominator and structure your website so that the dumbest person in the world can easily find their way. If you make it simple for customers, more of them will find their way to where you want them to go AND have a better customer experience along the way.

 

2. Don’t Create Friction in the Search Process– The key to continuing consumer engagement once they do click on a CTA is to deliver relevant results. Just as Google focuses on relevance, the same concept applies to your site.

 

Once a shopper clicks on a CTA, many dealer sites take them to an irrelevant page. Most are set to deliver SRPs in a specific order. In most cases, all new or used vehicles and price, high to low. The problem is that this page is often irrelevant to the consumer. 

 

Let’s say I’m shopping at a Toyota store because I am interested in a base model new Camry. I come to your site, click new inventory, and am given an SRP with all your new vehicles priced high to low. This result is irrelevant for me, requiring me to either scroll through hundreds of other vehicles to arrive at the ones I am interested in or take additional steps to filter through inventory.

 

What if you delivered relevant results instead? This really isn’t that difficult. After a consumer clicks new inventory, rather than delivering them an SRP with every vehicle you have, first take them to a page where they can filter their results. This can be done by price, body style, model, etc. This simple change will result in a lowering of your bounce rate on SRP’s (sometimes by as much as 30-40%), which means that a higher percentage of consumers interact with your inventory. This will also lead to an increase in lead volume. 

 

One more thing on this point, when it comes to your SRP and VDP pages the same principal about limiting your CTAs applies. Don’t overwhelm your potential car buyers with 30 options. Keep it simple, limit to 3 CTAs with a focus on results that you want. Generally speaking, these are a lead form, click to call, and either digital retailing or a credit application.

 

3. What’s the Ultimate Goal? – The ultimate goal of any dealer’s website is to interact with the customer. The only way to convert a customer into a sale is to gain interaction. If you structure your site correctly, more customers will engage with you, leading to more sales.

 

It’s ironic that many of the things that we did in the 90s still work today. The bottom line is that – especially today – consumers need to be incentivized into giving up their information. The number one reason that consumers do not submit a lead is that they believe it will provide no benefit to them. Consumers don’t see the need to “check availability,” feeling that if the vehicle is on your site, it should be on your lot. Dealers must provide the “why” behind lead conversion. The most compelling “why” I have seen is offering a pricing concession in return for lead submission. This can be achieved by clearly indicating to a consumer that a lower price is available if they simply submit a lead. 

 

Today’s consumers are conditioned for instant gratification. Many dealer websites promise a price reduction in return for a lead but don’t deliver; instead, they  return a message, “a salesperson will call you with our price shortly.” All this does is upset consumers. Imagine you are shopping for a TV. You see a button that says, “get the best possible price on this tv instantly!” You click it, you give your name and phone number, and then a page pops up saying, “we will call you soon with your price.” That method isn’t likely to make you a fan of that business. The same principle applies here. Give a CTA that incentivizes consumers to submit a lead, and then deliver on your promise of a lower price, instantly.

 

It really doesn’t matter how much savings you offer; so long as it is provided instantly and fulfills any promise made in your CTA.

 

4. First to Make Contact Wins – In the end, typically the first dealership to contact the customer, to interact, build rapport, and set a sales appointment wins the sale. The faster a dealership can get a customer on the phone; the more likely that customer will still be on the dealership’s website and looking to buy a vehicle. There are a multitude of tools available to achieve fast connections with your consumers. However, you also have to examine your internal dealership policies. Take the time to test your lead process yourself. Go to your site, submit a lead, and see how long it takes for you to receive a response. Five minutes? Ten? Longer? Ask yourself, if I had submitted this lead on my site and my competitors who would have contacted me first? If the answer is your competitor, you have a problem! At that point, you need to identify if the problem is people, process, or product. 

 

When I work with dealers on this issue, the answer is almost always process or product.

 

The highest converting dealer websites are winning by creating a pathway that fulfills the customer’s desire for immediate gratification by delivering relevant results. They provide clear calls-to-action and respond promptly via phone and email to initiate the right kind of engagement to drive a sale.

 

Dealers who encourage customer engagement by providing precisely what they are looking for find they engage via form submissions more often and, ultimately, are more willing to work with the dealership. Customers are more likely to continue engagement either via phone or in person. And that’s how you increase time on site, decrease bounce rates and sell more cars.


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.