How often do you update your onsite content, and why? We’re not just talking about updating prices or specials, but also the key content on your website.

Your website and its content aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it situation. Even if you’ve reached your goal of a stylish, informative and intuitive website, there’s always more that can be done to attract new customers and keep your visitors coming back for more.

If your onsite content has been stagnant for quite some time, you may want to think about some updates. After all, there are many benefits to fresh content!

Here are a couple of reasons why it pays to keep continually improve your onsite content:

Creating Value for Your Visitors

If you want your website to become an authority within your market of products and services, then you need to create real value for visitors.

Your site can have the most well-written content and most detailed information, but if it’s old and outdated, it may not be doing your visitors or your SEO any good.

To attract visitors — and the right visitors — you need relevant and fresh content.

For example, outdated content isn’t going to fly for new car shoppers. They want details on the latest vehicles and why the new model is better than the old model. They may not be looking for just any brand-new crossover or SUV; maybe they’re only shopping for models with Apple CarPlay and adaptive cruise control. If your onsite content is outdated and generic, how are you going to attract these buyers?

Likewise, drivers searching for a service center in their area want to know why they should choose one over the other, not just that you do indeed have a service facility.

Creating value for your visitors should be the goal of any website. But how do you attract visitors and potential customers in the first place? That’s right, with SEO! Improved search engine optimization is another benefit of updating your onsite content.

Enhanced SEO

If you’re looking to grow your customer base and attract more attention online, then search engine optimization matters. Creating fresh, tailored content around your targeted keywords is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve SEO and website traffic.

When search engines regularly scan your website to index pages, they’ll take notice of any new content on your site, whether that be new webpages or updates to current pages.

If search engines already recognize your website as a valuable resource for certain topics or keywords, then creating new content can establish even more authority for your site.

Maybe you haven’t quite reached where you want to be in terms of attracting traffic around certain keywords. But by continually refining and even expanding your site content, you can get there.

Have you ever come across a website or blog with lots of fresh content or frequent posts, but it was clearly written for search engines? Yeah, it’s not pretty. That’s why writing merely for SEO purposes won’t cut it.

Updating your onsite content is a great way to enhance your website, both from an SEO and visitor’s perspective. Of course, updating your site with just any content to keep it “fresh” won’t cut it: you need high-quality, relevant content. After all, they say “content is king,” which couldn’t be more true today and going forward.

Is Your Site Content Ready for an Update?

If you’d like some assistance with updating your onsite content, we can help. Reach out to fusionZONE, where we have dedicated SEO and Content teams and are committed to SEO best practices!

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.

Effective Website Design - Part 2Welcome back! You have reached the third and final installment in our series on Effective Dealership Website Design. So far, we have covered intuitive and responsive design in parts one and two, which you can review here on the fusionZONE Blog.

Today, we’re finishing up our principles of great website design series with one final topic: simplicity.

Why a Simple Design for Your Car Dealership Website is Best

In website design, it is always better to strive for simplicity over complexity. While a flashy website with thousands of features, links and pop-ups may seem more impressive to some, it often results in a clunky or downright frustrating user experience.

With a car dealership website, you are designing the site for ease of use of your customers. While you certainly want your site to be attractive and professional, going overboard with features, plug-ins and navigation menus can negatively affect the user experience.

Users who visit your website are likely not there to simply admire the design elements and advanced features of your site: they are there to achieve a goal. Help them reach their goal of buying a new or used car, appraising their trade or scheduling service with a simple and uncluttered layout.Schedule Service

 

In this screenshot, we see the schedule appointment section of the dealership’s service department page. There is a prominent ‘schedule appointment’ button plus simple steps listed to complete this goal.

 

Simple Website Design

Most users don’t read, they scan. If your site is cluttered, it can be overwhelming, and the user will go elsewhere. Make scanning your homepage, navigation menu and all other pages easier with a clear and simple layout. This lets users control how they interact with your site, which could lead to decreased bounce rates and increased engagement and conversions.

A simple yet attractive layout with ample white space, clean graphics and effective writing can provide a better user experience — and help improve conversion rates!

In this next example, the dealer displays some of its most popular new models on the homepage with links to its inventory. This simple, clean layout makes it easy for the many users visiting the site to shop for a new CR-V or Civic.

While trends in website design seem to change regularly, one constant going forward is that simplicity tops complexity every time.

We hope that you have enjoyed our series on Effective Dealership Website Design. If you have any questions about your current dealership website or what our team can do for you, reach out to us today.

Effective Web Design - Part 2

Welcome back to our series on Effective Dealership Website Design! If you’d like to revisit Part 1 before we begin with Part 2 below, read it here.

Today, we are moving on to responsive design and looking at why it is crucial for modern websites, including your car dealership site.

Why is Responsive Design So Important?

Before we delve into why this aspect of website design is so critical, let’s review precisely what responsive design is. In responsive web design, all pages and their content are flexible and adjust for optimized viewing across various screen resolutions and devices.

Think about viewing your dealership’s website on a large computer monitor or TV screen in landscape mode, then visiting the site on your smartphone in portrait mode. You wouldn’t expect the site layout to be exactly the same, would you?

Today, with so many screen resolutions across desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices, it is critical to create a pleasant viewing experience for every possible website visit. That’s where responsive design comes in!

With responsive design, your website and each user’s experience can be tailored for the device they are using to interact with the site.

In these screenshots, we see an example of a dealer’s new inventory page displayed on a laptop in landscape orientation, followed by the same area of the page in portrait orientation on a smartphone.

The laptop’s larger screen and higher resolution allow for ample white space, and the entirety of the vehicle snapshot is displayed in one view. When the page is viewed on the smartphone’s smaller screen in portrait landscape, the responsive website optimizes its available real estate by condensing the details displayed and featuring prominent buttons for ‘Buy Online’ and ‘Build Payment.’

Benefits of a Responsive Website

We’ve covered the basics of why responsive website design is vital to your dealership’s online presence, but let’s go a bit deeper.

Today, most consumers utilize multiple internet-enabled devices each day. From their smartphone and work computer to their tablet or personal laptop, we jump from device to device and expect a seamless experience.

When your customers can easily access your website across all of their digital devices, they are more likely to stay engaged with your site and return in the future. With more visits and more engagement, you will likely see higher conversion rates.

We all know that car buyers can spend days, weeks or months shopping and researching their options before making that final purchase decision. Why not make it easy for them to revisit your inventory and pull up vehicle specs and photos on any device?

Here are some of the many potential benefits of utilizing responsive design on your website:

  • Flexible
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Improved user experience
  • Increased engagement
  • Decreased bounce rates
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Professional appearance across all platforms
  • Ease of site management
  • Cost-effective
  • Gains in search engine optimization and rankings

Now that we’ve covered intuitive and responsive design in parts 1 and 2 of our series on Effective Website Design, we’ll move to our final installment. Stay tuned for Part 3 of the series, where we’ll go over the benefits of simplicity in website design!

Effective Site DesignAs the events of 2020 have shown, reaching and engaging your customers online is more important than ever.

With effective web design, car dealerships can create a better user experience and achieve more time on-site and improved conversion rates. In this installment, we’ll look at elements of effective web design and what our team is doing to ensure that your dealership’s online presence is dialed in for performance.

In Part 1 of this 3-part series on effective website design, we’ll start by covering the intuitive layout of a site.

Make It Easy With Intuitive Design

Utilizing intuitive design means that when a customer interacts with your website, they will know exactly what to do, where to go and how to accomplish a task. Whether they are visiting your site to shop for a new SUV, see your new car specials, apply for financing or schedule a service appointment, intuitive design makes it all easy.

Web users (and car shoppers) can be impatient, especially when they have other options. Take the guesswork out of interacting with your website by providing clear and simple navigation. After all, frustration can lead to bouncing from your site altogether, which doesn’t bode well for conversions.

Reserving your most valuable online real estate — the top of the homepage — for the most commonly visited pages of your site makes it easy for customers to get where they’re going.

Intuitive Automotive Site Design

In this screenshot, the store uses the top of the homepage to promote its new and pre-owned inventory and service scheduler, plus a link to sell your car. These products and services are the bread and butter of their business, so it makes sense to place them front and center.

Beyond new or used inventory pages, every dealer has products and services they know are highly valuable to consumers and the business alike. Placing prominent links to your used car specials, truck inventory, service scheduler or other high-traffic pages “above the fold” on the homepage lets users skip the scrolling and navigating altogether and reach their goal.

In this next example, the dealer adds lease specials and service specials above the fold. These specials are not only valuable to the store and customers, but they also create urgency.

Specials on the Homepage for an Automotive Website

Don’t squander your customers’ patience with a complex or clunky site design. If you can manage to focus each user’s attention and provide quick access to what they’re looking for, you’ll be on your way to increased engagement and conversion.

That’s all for Part 1 of our Effective Dealership Website Design series. Look out for Part 2, where our team will cover responsive websites.

 

Laura Morse of Jim Norton Toyota

This month’s Word on the Street segment features Laura Morse, the eCommerce Manager at Jim Norton Toyota in Tulsa, OK. As Laura will tell you, her multifaceted career prepared her to tackle automotive sales as an industry veteran. State Farm Auto insurance just may have stolen their slogan “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two” from Laura.

While most dealerships are scratching their head on how to mitigate sales losses in the era of COVID-19, Jim Norton Toyota is meeting and possibly exceeding their sales targets. As it turns out, their processes and commitment to outstanding customer service prepared them for just this sort of event.

Below are some of the key moments of our conversation together on how to equip yourself to make the most out of the situation.

On Creating an Empathetic Message

At Jim Norton Toyota, my General Manager saw very quickly we couldn’t have the same sales message as we were using a few weeks before. We took a look at ourselves from the customer’s point of view to see if we liked our own message under these new and very serious conditions. 

The message we wanted to create was not “Big sale going on today!” but “How can we help you today?” Thankfully we launched our Express purchase program last year as well as Service Concierge. So, for us it was not new to offer and promote safety-conscious home visits for sales test drives or picking up a customer’s vehicle to be serviced and returned.  

It may sound funny, but back when I was on the sales floor, I always treated my customers the way I’d want someone to treat my mom, dad or brother.  To me this feels the same – what can our dealership do to help our loyal customers during this unusual time?

On Social Media and Being Creative

We know people are spending more time on the internet than ever before due to COVID-19.  Our social sites are seeing a lot more engagement.  But if everything we post is a blatant sales message, folks are going to stop reading pretty fast.  So, we enjoy offering a mix of interesting content peppered with sales info. 

We recognize our dealership staff and congratulate high achievers, give fun employee birthday and anniversary shout-outs every day. We worked with our service department to create ‘Tech Tip Tuesdays’, which offers helpful service advice.  Then we do Trade-Talk-Friday, answering common questions people have about trading-in their vehicle.

On Sanitation and Informing Customers

Our company is taking extra precautions to ensure our customers’ safety while visiting the dealership.  Not only has our dealership followed every CDC guideline, but we have added plexiglass dividers throughout our customer-facing departments.  We want customers to feel safe while they’re here.

After someone has been in lock-down for a month, they tend to look for any reason to go out!  Having reliable transportation is so important and why the Oklahoma Governor deemed automotive an essential business.

On Industry Veterans Adapting to New Technology

Everyone on our team has been very resilient and adaptable. Thanks to the guidance and vigilance of our General Manager, we were a process driven dealership beforehand. So a lot of this came second nature.

With a sales team of over 50 sales associates, we quickly started a telecommuter process and changed our team schedules. Tracking everyone’s activity and reporting was essential before but was now is under the microscope. I believe it is a large contributor to why we’re doing well.

 

That wraps up this month’s segment of Word on the Street! If you’d like to be featured as a person of interest, please contact WOTS@fzautomotive.com.

Stay safe!

 

 

 

Coversion Rate Optimization

A 15-Minute Check Can Create More Opportunities and Sales!

Feeling like your web presence just isn’t clicking the way it used to? Not getting enough leads?

Our clients often scramble for an answer. Is your competition trying something new? Are your model research pages the issue? Maybe it’s the homepage! Let’s redesign the whole kit and caboodle!

Often, the solution is usually much simpler and is a better use of your time than a massive overhaul: your SRP and VDP probably just need to be revisited. With some minor changes, you could see a massive boost to your lead generation!

In this article, we’re going to share with you our secret sauce for generating high-quality leads. These are easily and you can often do without bringing in your support teams.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion Rate Optimization (or CRO) is the modification of your website to generate the greatest amount of opportunity possible.

Why Should You Care About CRO?

Because that’s how you sell more cars! Your operational management team’s goal is crafting your floor team into a conveyor belt that turns customers into sales. Why wouldn’t you want your website to operate on the same principle?

There is a ton that goes into a successful website and CRO is among the most important items. CRO is about the long game. You’ll find it well worth your effort.

How Do You Calculate Conversion Rates?

Conversion rate can be calculated by using this formula:

(leads generated ÷ website traffic) * 100 = Your conversion rate %!

So if your website gets an average of 200 leads and 5000 sessions (using Google Analytics as a tracker) per month, your conversion rate would be:

(200 ÷ 5000) * 100 = 4% Conversion Rate

 

What Counts as a Conversion?

This is the part that we believe some people overlook. In our humble opinion, you should only be reviewing anything that can be converted into a sale.

This means calls, website chats, and lead generation forms (inventory, finance, trade-ins, service requests, etc.).

This does not mean form starts (but not finished!) or landing page views.

Landing page views and form engagement are incredibly important to build an audience profile! They are also important to modify your existing lead generation tactics.

But if you are reading this guide, you are most likely not there yet! Start with the basics, get primed and ready for testing later.

So, as a rule of thumb, if you can make money off of it, it should be counted as a conversion.

You can create sales of someone’s email or phone number, but not VDP views!

How Do You Track Your Conversions?

There are several tools available to you that you can use to track your conversion, such as

  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Your website CMS

Ask your website provider how they track conversions and if you need assistance setting them up. They might already be tracking them as far as you know!

If you are using a 3rd-party provider for your financing applications, get in touch with your support representative and they will most likely know how to connect all of your conversion tracking tools to your analytics platform of choice.

What is a Good Conversion Rate?

Now that you understand what CRO is and how to track it, what do you do if you find out your results are poor? Do you need to change everything up or make minor adjustments?

The answer is the most important response in all of web design. Ready?

It depends.

That’s not very helpful, we know! Let’s dive in and get to a more actionable solution.

The commonly accepted average for conversion rate for web leads in the automotive vertical is around 1.5%.

This number will fluctuate. Don’t panic if you’re at 1.51% and a new study comes out that says the floor is 1.75%.

Why? Ultimately, this number is useless for you. This may be surprising due to all the sales pitches from digital marketing companies. But it’s the truth.

The reason why it’s not very useful is because your conversion rate depends on several factors completely out of your control. These can be:

  • Location: Rural vs. Urban
  • Region of the Country: (the southeast of the U.S. is far more hospitable to a best price button than the northeast)
  • OEM: A Honda dealer will receive more leads than most Acura dealers. If you can afford an NSX, you probably aren’t likely to put in a lead online.

If you’re a Chevrolet dealer near Atlanta, GA, you would not be as shocked to learn than your website operates on a 10% conversion rate on web leads. If you said that you’re an Acura dealer in the northeast and you are pulling a 6%, we’d be more impressed.

Keep this in mind!

Your Website is Your Digital Showroom

Here are some tricks and strategies to help you improve your website conversions.

SRPs and VDPs: Keep It Simple!

First things first, a clean, simple website will usually outperform one that is a visual nightmare. If things start to look busy to you, the website owner, they are likely twice as confusing for a customer. Good UI/UX (user interface/user experience) is crucial!

In short: simplicity wins.

 

Call to Action

Automotive Dealer Inventory Calls to Actions

 

Your call-to-action (or CTA) should be readable and clickable on both mobile and desktop. These are your most important items on your site besides your inventory!

On your SRPs, keep your calls to action minimal. Remember, this is the first time a customer is viewing this inventory. Reduce your CTAs to the absolute minimal amount.

Customers can become paralyzed by choice and will ultimately decide to move on. If you keep your CTAs simple, it’s easier for a customer to focus on finding a vehicle with the right price and less on all the myriad of options and considerations they could be making.

CTAs should also create a sense of urgency.  “Check Availability” is one of the least performing CTAs you could possibly use. Most customers know that if they see the vehicle on the site, you most likely have one in stock. And if you don’t, they definitely know you can get them one.

If you’re adding a third or more CTAs, ask yourself: “is this absolutely necessary to have right here on this page?” If it’s not, dump it. Your customers will appreciate it.

Price is a larger determining factor for a customer’s inclination to submit a lead. “Get Our Best Price” is still one of the best lead-submission generating lines around.

If you have digital retailing tools, focus more on utility. “Get Financed” or “Start Checkout” do not really cut it in our experience. You’re more likely to pique someone’s interest with “Build Your Deal” (as they aren’t feeling the pressure to finish right here, right now).

Images

Another important piece is ensuring your vehicles have images of the vehicle. The vehicle could do well to swap out the stock photo for an actual image. Seeing the vehicle is one of the largest deciding factors to whether or not someone submits a lead!

Pricing

It may seem obvious, but you could have a website designed by Amazon themselves and if your truck is $3,000 more expensive on your site than a competitor’s down the road, customer are not likely to give you their information. They’re calling the other listing.

Make sure your pricing is competitive. We recommend tweaking the following:

  1. Showing discounts before or after the Best Price lead is submitted.
  2. Deciding whether to use Best Price at all.
  3. When compliant, using a red strikethrough to indicate a greater price beyond the Best Price.

If you change your pricing, be sure to change your CTA verbiage as well to match. You do not want to claim there is a better price beyond a CTA only to show nothing!

Forms

This one also seems relatively simple, but it’s missed all the time. Make your customers do the least amount of work possible. That means lowering how many forms you require them to submit or filling out the least amount of information on them. This applies to your service forms, credit applications, SRP/VDP Best price forms; all of them. If you don’t like filling them out yourself, your customers won’t like them either.

Requiring a name, address, phone number, and email address is often too much. If you’re struggling to generate incoming leads, only require name, address, and your preference between email or phone number. Another possibility is to let your customers choose which of the two they prefer. Requiring both can be overkill.

Think Outside the SRP

Reviews also play a huge part into a customer’s likelihood that they submit a lead.

There are two factors that goes into this: average rating and number of reviews. If you have a 5.0 rating on Google, that’s great! If there are only two reviews, that’s less great.

Think of everyone’s favorite ecommerce site: Amazon.

Amazon Shopping Review Features

 

Obviously, you shouldn’t copy everything from Amazon. We created a three-part feature on that mindset, after-all.  But there are some features that are worth mentioning.

Amazon lets you sort through their inventory from highest to lowest reviews.

Anecdotally, most people who use Amazon swear by shopping with this filter. It’s human nature to not to be first to take the plunge on a brand-new

Ask yourself: why would a customer take a chance on your dealership if you’re sporting a 3.0 average and only 20 reviews? Quality and quantity count.

Customer service very much translates into the digital world. Keep this in mind and get happy customers to leave you glowing reviews online.

Test, Test, and Test Some More

One of the best pieces of advices is to take it slow and change only a few small things at a time. A/B split-testing can help save you a lot of headaches in the future! Believe us, it’s the worst feeling changing a website’s layout only to find it performs worse than before and getting a third of the leads. For example, you could change one vehicle’s layout, then see if it’s working over the course of a month, then apply it to the rest.

We hope you find these tips and tricks useful! For more exclusive strategies on how to boost your online presence, subscribe to our newsletter! We’ll send the latest issues directly to you so you can stay ahead of the curve.

 

Gray Scott Automotive DealerCOVID-19 has certainly shaken up the automotive industry. Many of our dealers are showing solidarity and providing support to those scratching their heads at what to make of the current situation.

One such dealer is Gray Scott, the Marketing Director for a high-volume dealership near Chicago, IL. He recently created an insightful post on LinkedIn that detailed what steps dealers are taking to maintain their web presence. Here is a relevant portion of that post:

 

“What we/you should be doing is maintaining a presence online with digital but making sure your message and creative is more top-funnel and value-oriented. If you have good content, car info, walkarounds, video test drives, this is what you need to be pushing. Over the next 2 weeks, people will be poking around. They will demand advertising inventory from the DSPs, because before the pandemic, they were in-market. People are not buying cars and are not trying to take unnecessary risks. Now is the time to make sure your SEO game is on fire. YouTube and social as well. It’s a time to evaluate your website and its user experience and consider making changes. In 2-3 weeks and when stay-in-place orders are lifted, THIS will be the time to double down.”

 

When Scott references user experience, he is referring to banners, homepage calls-to-actions, and top-level menu items being correctly optimized to reach top-of-funnel customers. If you are offering a new service, such as video walk arounds or home deliver, assess where customers can find this content and ensure it’s visible and above the fold. Don’t forget to check your mobile view, where 40-60% of your customers view your site!

Scott’s emphasis on SEO, YouTube, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are essential to reaching top-of-funnel customers. They are the best platforms suited to delivering informational content. For paid search, Google has recently announced a relief fund for Google Ads, so be sure to keep an eye on that space as well to take advantage of free advertising credits.

We hope you are staying safe!

Check your inbox regularly for more updates from fusionZONE on how to tackle obstacles created by COVID-19.

 

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.

 

Get the Message Out

How is your dealership responding to the COVID-19 outbreak?  The first step is to communication. Consumers want reassurance you’re taking the coronavirus threat seriously and prioritizing their safety.  Let your customers know and start with the basics.  

Ways to Communicate

How do you get the message out? Whether it’s texting, FaceTime, or social media, people are as connected and plugged in with technology as ever before. You should embrace this.

Think website first, with a landing page and/or pop-over informing customers of dealership updates specific to COVID-19. Use email to directly broadcast your message to a wider group.

Customers also frequent social media. Spread the word and exist where your audience is. Consider using a hashtag to index coronavirus updates:

  • #DealershipNameCOVID19Updates
  • #AlertNotAnxious
  • #ShopAtHome
  • #ShopDistancing

Be sure to also update your Google My Business Page and your website’s hours of operation. If they’re different from the usual operating hours, make that known. If there’s no change, acknowledge its business as usual, while also pointing out precautionary measures taken.

If you are changing operations or services, provide clear steps for customers to take so they can remain in contact with you. You may even be surprised to see how customers respond to humanized communication.

Ideally, you should spread the word in as many ways as you can. At a minimum:

  • Confirm if/how operating hours are affected by COVID-19.
  • Share updates with customers via your website, social media, and email.

You don’t have to be a virologist to communicate with your customers about how you are facing challenges head-first. Keep your customers informed with upbeat, clear, and concise updates. 

Safety First

What safety measures are you taking in response to COVID-19? 

  • Is hand sanitizer available where hand-to-hand contact may occur?
  • Has hand-washing become a focal point for employees?
  • How frequently is the dealership deep cleaned everyday?

All additional measures count.

Think Outside the Box

Make your dealership stand out from the rest. How? Here are some ideas on how to accommodate your customers while public transportation is a minimum:

  • Home delivery on vehicle purchases.
  • At-home car detailing and deep cleaning.
  • Complete the F&I process at home or online.

 

Consider the circumstances and try to relieve the burden for your customers, as best as you can.