It’s 2018 and Automotive Sales Leads Still Matter Way More Than Attribution


It’s 2018 and Automotive Sales Leads Still Matter Way More Than Attribution

I support those vendors and consultants who want to open dealers’ eyes to the concept of digital marketing attribution – it’s an important topic. However, when they do so by bashing sales leads (as if a website sales lead mattered less than a page view on a third-party site), then we have a problem. 

Leads not only matter, but when it comes to most internet prospects: If you fail to get the lead, you’re lucky to get the sale. Let’s look at a likely scenario:

You’re a Ford dealer. A new car prospect visits, your website, the website of one of your competitors (we’ll call them Joe’s Ford) and a third-party automotive information website.

The prospect’s intention is to buy a new Ford Fusion and to physically visit both your store and Joe’s Ford. While browsing on, your website, and the third-party site, they find lots of great information.

They also find great information on Joe’s website and they trigger a pop-up form that asks them if they’d like to “Lock-In Internet Pricing.” They complete the form (nearly instantly, because of every browser’s autofill feature) and click “submit.”

Joe’s Ford has the prospect’s name (let’s say Barbara Jones), email address, phone number and vehicle of interest.

You have a Google Analytics trail showing what “Prospect” did during their site visit. Unless they buy from you, you’ll likely never identify Prospect

Don’t worry, they’re not buying from you.

Just by acquiring a website sales lead, the team at Joe’s Ford (if they’re average) has a 20% chance of selling Barbara Jones. If they’re great at closing website leads, their chances increase to almost 40%.

If they schedule a test drive with Barbara and conduct The Perfect Appointment, they’ll close her 80% of the time.

Because you never got the lead, you’re lucky if you sell a car to Prospect

Attribution is Good, But Leads are Great

Regardless of which attribution model you think is most appropriate, properly awarding attribution to various sources can help you better manage your previously unmeasurable digital advertising spend.

That said, if given the choice between understanding “the entire digital journey” of Prospect or a sales lead from Barbara Jones, every dealer in the world should prefer the sales lead.

Plus – and this is important (that’s why it’s in bold italics) – with the sales lead, you don’t have to choose. You can both understand the journey and gather a sales lead – they’re not mutually exclusive, despite what some vendors will tell you.

Wait… with the long digital journeys so many prospects take, hasn’t the emphasis on sales leads declined over time?

Tell that to the small dealer group enjoying over 3,000 valid sales leads per month or to the single-point store that sold more than 300 vehicles last month to the 2,000 or so Phone & Internet Ups they connected with.

Generating a sales lead allows these dealers to be the first to speak with a prospect. It allows them to control the process and to prepare for the visit. The best you can do without the lead is connect the store visit back to a series of various website visits and actions after the fact. (Great data to help you manage your marketing budgets; but without the lead, you were lucky to get the sale… and lucky to get the chance to connect the visit back to some online action.)

Leads Matter, But Mobile Leads Matter Most

It’s no secret that more than half of your website’s traffic is from mobile visits… and the move to mobile continues to grow. Moreover, mobile visitors are often lower in the sales funnel (that is, more ready-to-buy) than desktop visitors.

This begs the question: Does your mobile website deliver more prospect contacts than your desktop site? When it comes to phone calls, the answer is usually “yes;” the answer is often “I think so” for chats/texts/Messenger contacts; and a resounding “no” for e-leads.

That’s because mobile visitors just won’t complete lead forms!

Actually… that’s not only inaccurate, but astoundingly so.

Mobile visitors will most certainly complete lead forms, you just need to ask them to do so. Plus, because they are generally lower in the sales funnel, the leads generated by mobile visitors will often close faster and at a higher rate than traditional website leads.

Okay, How Do I Generate More Mobile Site Leads?

Let me leave you with four quick tips you can start implementing right now:

Instant Connection. I didn’t want to call this chat, text, video chat, or Messenger, because truthfully, all of these are possible solutions for both your mobile and desktop sites. The key is to have multiple instant connection options available and obvious to the visitor – especially on mobile.

Click-to-Call. The good news is that your mobile site certainly already has this feature via a small phone icon like this one:

However, for many dealer sites, the phone icon may not remain clearly fixed to the top or bottom of the screen when the prospect scrolls or navigates around the site. This means that when they’ve finally discovered enough compelling information on your website and they’re ready to buy, they’re not reminded to call. Make sure your phone icon is always clearly accessible no matter where they go or how far they scroll down a mobile page.

Pop-Ups. Yes, pop-ups! You may need to put aside your unfounded concerns for a moment and understand that an easy-to-close pop-up – that’s limited in its delivery to once per day – will never drive away your visitors. Furthermore, if your mobile pop-up performs like I’m seeing AutoWeb’s WebLeads+ product perform, you should expect to more than double the leads you were receiving from the desktop version. (Yes, mobile visitors do complete lead forms – you just need to ask them.)

A properly-worded, easy-to-close pop-up on your mobile site could deliver an incremental 40 or more leads for the average dealer. Given these are website leads, you should expect to close a minimum of 20% of those. (If my math is correct, that’s about 8 more deals per month… and that’s if you’re average.)

Calls-to-Action. Basically, you need to tell your website visitors what you want them to do before they’ll do it. For example, telling them something like “Value Your Trade” will, of course, encourage them to take this action – an action they likely did not contemplate when they first arrived on your website.

That’s why “Value Your Trade” or “Complete This Form” or “Check Availability” are all considered calls-to-action. Of course, the space is limited on mobile sites; though despite this, if you’re interested in capturing mobile sales leads, you’ll want to ensure every mobile page includes at least one relevant call-to-action that can deliver a contact to your team.

As we settle in to what is projected to be a flat, though healthy market, it’s important to remember that growth will come not just to those who spend their marketing dollars most efficiently (that’s where attribution models come in), but especially to those who get the lead.

Because… if you fail to get the lead, you’re lucky to get the sale.

Good selling!