What automotive websites need in order to increase sales
To help identify the features, functionality and content that your ‘digital dealership’ (website) needs to increase sales, we are going to consider your prospects at each stage of the buying process.
This will provide you with inspiration on the different marketing collateral you should consider to turn your website into an ‘automotive sales machine’.
Look out for the INSIDER SECRETS for additional advice on how to help save you time and money when marketing your website.
Start of the customer journey
Behaviour: Your prospects are right at the start of their journey. They are researching different brands, products and numbers (mostly from mobiles and NOT desktops – 63% of automotive searches are done on a mobile). They are looking for the perfect vehicle that will suit their home life, their commute and their lifestyle.
The best way to help these people is to provide information and education that is specific to them, to demonstrate how your products compare against others.
- Blogs, ‘how-to’ videos, ‘what cars are best’ articles
- Product reviews (Top Gear style)
- Product comparisons
- Desktop and mobile version of your website – this is very, very IMPORTANT (click here for data on mobile vs. desktop automotive searches).
INSIDER SECRET: Take the hint from Google! The top searched-for car in May and June 2016 was the “New Tiguan”.
The screenshot below shows page one of Google for the search term “New Tiguan”.
Obviously Volkswagen.co.uk is top (in the organic search) but then Google has listed images of the new Tiguan followed by a review from CarBuyer and CarWow in positions 2 and 4 – then a video and news articles about the model.
Google knows that the vast majority of people using the search term “New Tiguan” are in research mode and are NOT in buying mode. So, Google has prioritised useful ‘information’ and ‘education’ over deals and finance options.
Unfortunately the dealerships who are paying for advertising on this keyword will be paying quite a bit of money for people who are a long way from making a buying decision. We would only invest in keywords like “new Tiguan cost”, “new Tiguan offers” or “new Tiguan finance” – but that’s for a future blog post.
Visiting your digital dealership
Behaviour: Your prospects have found their way to your website and the front door of your ‘digital dealership’. You now have 4 seconds to impress them with an attractive brand (imagery, look and feel, colours, logo, font type and animation) and 8 seconds to grab their attention.
That’s how tough digital marketing is. You have to tell your visitors very quickly that you have the solution for them. You have to tell them that you are a trustworthy business and convince them that the journey that they are just about to go on is going to be exceptional.
You need to promise people that dealing with you is hassle-free, fun and professional.
Does your website do this? Or does it have a high bounce rate (people pressing the back button)?
More and more younger consumers are now choosing to buy from businesses that have a ‘social cause’ or ‘point of view’ over faceless brands.
If you don’t spend time getting the first impression right, there are so many other businesses poised behind the back button.
Car shopping can be very confusing. You see or hear about a car that could be right for you, only to do your research and find out that it is not suitable.
Consider the type of people who are going to buy each of your models. They will typically have different backgrounds and requirements. They will be trying to picture themselves in their new car and how it will affect their home life, their work life and their playtime.
Make it really easy for people to identify what models would be good for them and make recommendations based around them and their lifestyle.
Lastly, be very clear what you want people to do next. Have strong calls to action at the right places to move people into your sales funnel and CRM system.
- Make it clear who you are and what type of people you have solutions for
- Have a stand-out point of view – have a cause – be social
- Provide compelling information, education and ENTERTAINMENT
- Make it easy for people to share experience and information
- Give product comparisons and recommendations
- Have strong calls to action
Remember: 71% of Brits under 35 agree with the statement: “I’d rather tell people about something I’ve done than something I’ve got”. This goes for your website, too. If someone finds it a good experience and they think the information is useful or entertaining they will share it!
INSIDER SECRET: People still buy from people – not websites! Add personal images and videos throughout your website to increase its ‘stickability’. This will enable you to buy more time from people. The aim is to get them past the home page and to stay onsite for 4 to 5 mins. The likeliness of them contacting you increases massively at this level.
The images and videos can be of the business owners, the staff and your happy clients.
This is the best way to humanise the experience and provide entertainment. It will also reinforce your promise that the experience and customer service you provide is exceptional, as prospects start to build trust with real people.
There have been reports that conversion rates (of click-through rates and stickability) can be increased by up to 95% using professionally-shot personal images.
Enter your sales funnel
The ultimate goal of your website is to fill your database full of prospects that want to buy from you and clients that want to be served again and again by you (and only you). What are the entry points into your database and business?
Do you only have a “Book A Test Drive” and “Contact Us” button?
If you offer 4 ways into your business your conversion rate will increase by up to 22%. The simple fact is that the audience all wants different things from you. Think about what people really want from your website.
If people are in research mode they don’t want a test drive, so you need to persuade them to receive product reviews and new launch offers.
If people are comparing vehicles, offer them a special report that compares the models they are looking at, or even Live Web Chat to get their questions answered quickly.
If people are in buying mode, offer them a buying incentive, special offer or make it easy for them to receive a finance offer.
Now you can segment your database in your CRM system and see where the leads are coming in from, then follow up with an appropriate conversation.
INSIDER SECRET: Displaying both ‘product’ and ‘service’ reviews by appropriate people will increase your conversion rate and can increase the amount they spend by 31%.
For example, more mums buy a particular car for the school run, so include a review about how great that car is for the school run and how great your dealership was.
If more businesspeople buy a car to feel comfortable on long road trips, have a review highlighting the features that add to their comfort and how you helped them make the right choice.
90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Consumers are looking for reliability, expertise and professionalism.
You have done so much hard and smart work to get people to your website and into your database. Don’t just let them sit there. They are there because they want a service from you. They want to hear from you with information relevant to them:
- MOT reminders
- Service reminders
- Upgrade options
- New plate registrations
- New models and features
- Request feedback
- Request reviews
- Request referrals
- Special offers and promotions
The best thing about all of this is it can be automated. Automating your back-end marketing with ‘rules’ and ‘recipes’ will increase sales. It will act like an additional aftercare salesperson (who never takes a day off!).
Using sophisticated software and setting up your ‘client experience’ will ensure that you stay at the forefront of people’s minds when they are thinking about buying and maintaining their car. Additionally the amount of referrals you will receive will soar.
INSIDER SECRET: Creating advocates out of your clients by improving your ‘back-end’ email and social media communications will be the turning point in your digital marketing strategy.
It will generate a bigger digital footprint, give you more authority on Google and boost sales through better conversions, referrals and reviews.
Blog Author: Scott Hodson, Digital Manager, Big Marketing
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The Big Point of View
Nick Hill, Managing Director of Big Marketing, says:
I find that it is important to have several ways for different people to contact you (as they will all have their favourite ways of communicating).
Have a telephone number to call, have an email to message and have social channels to connect with. In our experience, Live Chat is a great tool to be able to help customers and prospects here and now, and speed is vital in a new sales capacity.
When you do get an enquiry through your website you need to respond – if not immediately then definitely within the hour – or you will lose sales. If your team aren’t set up to do this then you need to think about maybe automating responses or outsourcing your customer services.
I know this is not technically a feature of most websites, but if you don’t support your most important sales tool then it won’t perform as well as it should.