It is no surprise to anyone that a statement like “the world has changed in the past year” has affected everyone in the automotive space in a big way. Belts are tighter, economists are wringing their hands, and car leads are seemingly drying up. It is also no small wonder that lead sources that dealers have depended on so heavily in the past years such as Cars.com, Autotrader.com, and AutoByTel are raising their prices and providing fewer and often un-qualified leads. This is a big problem.
Overcoming this situation forces us to be smarter at the way we approach the acquisition of leads. Customers are smarter and dealers must adopt a holistic approach to online marketing. Overall automotive industry leads are down nearly 30% but that doesn’t mean the customers aren’t still out there. One of the best things that members of the automotive industry are good at is networking and keeping relationships. Unfortunately, that hasn’t made its way into the online space. If by treating a dealership website just like a brick and mortar dealership, horizons can be expanded to reach customers where they are by means of networking, social interaction, constant contact, and friendly support.
Okay, so this may be an idealistic situation and it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. The world is changing though and the way that people communicate is changing also. Here are a few examples:
- The average teenager sends over 1000 text messages per month.
- The average age of a facebook user is 35 years old.
- The normal internet user would rather be emailed then pick up a phone.
To put this in dealership terms when we take a look at our processes, both fixed and variable, we have to be able to use all of the tools that are available to reach out to where customers live. That may be by text message, facebook or twitter, email, missed opportunities in old customers, accessories, or simply by an interesting and regular communication with information that can’t be ignored.
So overcoming a 30% downturn in leads is actually possible. It just takes a bit of a process change. This may be painful, but no guts – no glory, right?
Content Is King
Providing interesting content is by far the best way to capture a visitors’ attention and keep them connected to the information and message that is on your website. Subject-oriented content is the driving factor behind all current methods of search. The most frustrating thing to your website visitors is to be disappointed by a page that does not deliver what they were looking for.
Content can come in many forms. Text, video, audio, social, logical, subjective, as well as a host of other types describe the content that can be what a visitor is looking for. A good mix of all of these will make a well rounded site that will keep a visitor entertained and interested for a good period of time. With the release of streaming content via YouTube.com, time on sites with video content increased exponentially. Many people will watch multimedia content even if they would not have spent time reading the same information. Izmocars was one of the first to release a full library of 360 degree rotational vehicle animations in our Virtual Brochure that has become one of the highest lead-converting tools in the industry. Text content, however, should not be overlooked. The search giant, Google, has found that text ads used in the correct way with short descriptive content can actually be more effective than a graphic ad of the same size.
What Do People Want?
The most important thing about content is the message. A strong message that is carried through all content will capture exactly what your visitors are looking for and will minimize the distractions. Searchers have become numb to flashy ads and to blaring content that tries to force a call-to-action. Instead, the best way to give people what they want is to stay on topic and make sure that the organization of your site conveys your message. A good example of this is shown on the online shopping site of Amazon.com. Suggestive product offering as well as logical page organization shows visitors only products that are similar to what they are searching for while displaying the critical information in a quick-glance way. Displaying items such as “those who purchased this product also purchased” lists assist visitors into finding other areas of the site that they may not have found on a regular search. This process is called recommended links.
In the automotive industry this concept works very well since inventory, parts, service, and finance are so easily interconnected. One of the foundational principals of the izmocars platform is building interconnected websites that easily link to other similar areas of the site so that website visitors can easily find their way to other lead- generating areas of the site.
Keeping focus in a time-crunch society
Time is such a valuable commodity now that internet searchers have trained themselves to quickly glance down pages in order to gain the gist of the information without actually digesting the content thus spending less time on the site. Carefully engineering your content will draw your visitors into the meat of the message that you are presenting. All too often in the automotive industry in recent times full disclosure has been taken to an extreme. While full disclosure is good and provides a standard of stability in an industry marred by slick-haired sleazy sales the proper way of initiating a spark of interest as a visitor glances down the page is an intricate process. Izmocars uses these marketing techniques to sculpt content that is both disclosing and captivating by creating an interest in the subject that compels users to get in touch in order to gain the value that is offered for simply the price of submitting their contact information.
Conversion rates on websites is measured by the following formula:
Conversion Rate = Unique Visits / Traffic
This gives a percentage result. There are many ways to make a larger percentage of your website audience to contact you, buy your product, or complete a submission form to request information. Here are a few of them:
Create more Lead Forms
Make your Landing Pages more user friendly
Move Lead Forms around
Shorten the number of Fields in a Lead Form
Move the Lead Form higher in the Website Heirarchy
Make sure the name of the “Submit” button matches what they get by giving their information.
These are sure-fire ways of increasing conversion on your website. Check back for more tips on SEO and SEM that will be released soon.