The Secrets to Growing Your Website’s Leads, Calls & Sales: Parasites on your Website?


For those who’ve heard me speak on the subject, you know that most website parasites are a good thing. In fact, for some of you with locked-down OEM-approved websites, you also know that if not for a few parasites, you’d likely get very few leads.

(We originally discussed parasites when we introduced good pop-ups in Pop Ups? On Today’s Web? earlier in this series.)

Of course, while most every parasite on a website is good thing, this does not mean that your website provider or your OEM will allow you to add these. This is too bad, because anyone who is blocking you from doing anything to your website that will benefit you in the short and long term is, of course, hurting your business.

A great example of this is the GM approved website program that doesn’t allow dealers to add Instant Retargeting. By our estimation, this is costing the average General Motors dealer using these sites about 57 leads per month. Assuming a 20% close rate on website leads, this means these dealers are potentially losing 11 units per month. (I wonder what would happen to GM inventories if every dealer currently using the approved website as their primary dealer website was to sell 11 more units each month.)

Rules for Parasites

Just because I said most parasites are good doesn’t mean you should add every single one of them to your site today. Before you dive in and start accumulating website parasites, you’ll want to understand a few rules for what constitutes a working parasite (i.e., a good parasite).

Rule #1: The parasites should primarily have a lead acquisition focus.

Your website has just two goals: Attract visitors and convert those visitors into buyers. Once someone is on your website, any parasite they encounter (like a trade form) should have a goal of increasing conversions. Anything else at this point is just fluff.

Rule #2: Parasites should deliver a cost-per-sale at or near your website’s organic leads.

Think about it; virtually all parasites are going to cannibalize some of your existing website leads and the leads that other parasites might have generated, so there’s no reason to add parasites that cannot deliver an acceptable ROI that’s in line with your existing providers.

Rule #3: Parasites should deliver a closing ratio at or near your website’s organic leads.

Parasite leads, after all, are website leads; so these should close at roughly the same rate as your website leads. Some parasites, however, try so hard to generate leads, that a large percentage of what they do generate are fully unqualified prospects that had no intention of buying a car from you at this time.

An example of this would be some of the gift card offer parasites that appear on every page, including service pages. For the most part, the gift card parasites are good for dealers, except when they work overtime to entice those just coming in for an oil change to take advantage of your $25 Target Card offer.

Rule #4: The cannibalization rates should be low for any new parasite.

Okay, but how do you determine the cannibalization rate for any one parasite? The key here is to always measure what you’re doing.

To determine cannibalization rate for a new parasite, simply record the existing conversion rates for all parasites and your website over the past few months. Then, add the new parasite to your website and examine the data over the first 60-90 days.

Compare the conversion rates over these months to your original measurement (pre-parasite) to determine if your overall conversion rate grew or stayed the same. If it grew, keep the parasite. If it remained the same, punt.

Will explore some “must have” parasites for every dealer next in the series: Parasites to Add Today!

(If you’re catching this series for the first time, you may want to begin with the first post in the series: Before You Change Even One Word on Your Website…)

About TheManager:

Steve Stauning, creator of The Appointment Culture and an expert in Digital Marketing and Website Conversion. He is also an extremely popular keynote speaker, writer, and industry consultant. Learn more about Steve at