I hate to break it to you, but if you run a for-profit business – like a car dealership – then your website has just two important goals:
Goal #1 – Attract Visitors
Goal #2 – Convert Visitors
Sorry, that’s it. Attracting and converting visitors are the only real value your website provides and the ONLY goals you should be focused on when considering this critical digital marketing asset.
Yeah, but what about…?
When I drop this bit of knowledge on the average Internet Sales or Marketing Manager I get lots of “yeah, but what about….?” retorts.
Yeah, but what about enhancing our brand?
Yeah, but what about showcasing our inventory?
Yeah, but what about highlighting our social media interactions and online reputation via positive mentions as we increase the engagement of potential in-market consumers assessing their micro-moments while seeking that zero moment of truth on the final steps of their customer journey on our VDPs?
To these questions I answer “To what end?”
To what end are you “enhancing your brand” or “showcasing your inventory” or “blah, blah, blah?” To what end?
Umm, to sell a car?
Bingo! That’s called a conversion – the sale of a car is just one of the many types of conversions that your website is responsible for creating. Once your website attracts a visitor (or you send a visitor to your site courtesy of a few marketing dollars), there is only one important goal remaining: Convert that visitor into a buyer.
Attract. Convert. Repeat. Everything else is just fluff.
“You cannot sell an empty seat!”
My very first sales manager taught me this lesson in 1985. His point was that if I told the prospect everything they needed to know about the purchase over the phone there was no reason for that prospect to visit our dealership. If they never visited – and filled a seat – we could never sell them a car.
Of course, while consumers do have the ability to gather all the information and complete the entire automotive purchase online today, nearly every retail sale is still concluded at a dealership. Moreover, for the average dealer in America, there are only a few options to consider if you want to offer the complete deal online – you just need to compare the few choices out there and decide what fits your market best. (And/or, continue to watch as the technology for online buying improves and is more widely adopted by consumers.)
However, short of completing the deal online, there are lots of ways to either attract or repulse your website visitors when your goal is more broadly defined as “convert a browser into a buyer.”
Let me reiterate the lesson I learned in 1985: You cannot sell an empty seat.
This means your marketing must be robust enough to both attract today’s car buyer and to compel them to do business with you.
Does this mean ‘get them to submit a lead?’
Not entirely. A site conversion today includes everything from a form lead submission to an actual buyer who shows up and purchases based on what they saw on your website. Therefore, whether it’s a form lead, a chat, a text, a phone call or an Up, your website must be configured to capitalize on every possible conversion.
Dealers who successfully maximize their website conversions are gaining market share at a terrific rate; while the average dealer is merely treading water (or outright losing share). It would take me a few hundred pages of text to teach your team everything they needed to know about maximizing conversions on your website – and neither you nor your team would read through anything that extensive.
That’s why I recorded a 3-hour, free, live training event. My goal for this session was to teach your team everything important that I’ve learned about Converting Website Browsers Into Buyers in the 13+ years I’ve been working in automotive digital. (I understand three hours is a long time, so we edited it down to a svelte 1 hour, 47 minutes.)
Dealers who attended gained an immediate Undeniable Advantage over their competition. They learned real-world tactics, strategies and actionable tips that they can put into place right away – all without raising costs or adding headcount.
Of course, if you leave it to your competition to watch this, you might end up trying to sell a bunch of empty seats.