What if I told you that you could generate a 15 percent higher gross profit from the leads being sold from your Website? One of the primary ways to do this is by having a conversation with your consumers — but not in the way you think. I don’t mean having a live conversation with a salesperson (although that’s what you ultimately want). No, I mean letting consumers have an in-depth conversation with your Website. Doing so can drastically reduce negotiations on trade and vehicle of interest.
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Think about it — even though they aren’t the conventional conversations you’d think of, consumers have conversations with Websites all the time, with Google, Amazon, Yelp, and many more. These Websites take user input and guide them towards the things they want — all without anyone talking to a live person.
Although you eventually want to have an in-store conversation with consumers, they’re currently doing a lot of their research and decision making online. Wouldn’t you want your initial “conversations” to be online too?
Many of the investments dealers make to their Website involve static forms and CTAs — which means they’re placing lots of different calls-to-action on the VDPs with the hope of consumers latching on one of them. And, once they’ve selected their next step, they’re provided with a form to fill out their information. The consumer is then expected to fill out their contact information, write their inquiry and submit it to the dealership — never to be seen again, in some cases.
Let’s say you’re a car buyer who’s looking for answers to the many questions you have. You walk up to the dealer to say “Hi,” are abruptly interrupted by them, handed a form and are told to come back after it has been filled out. It isn’t, by any means, a realistic scenario — but what if that did happen? This is, in essence, what happens when the average consumer sees a static form on your Website. They aren’t receiving any real value. Consumers are generally much happier when they have more control over their overall experience, and when they’re able to get immediate value.
Of course, this leaves one very important question: How do you bring this conversation online? Two words: Interactive experiences.
What are Interactive Lead Forms?
Interactive experiences are resources integrated on your Website through software that allows car buyers to engage with your Website in order to provide feedback and, simultaneously, receive valuable information and incentives that move them down the sales funnel.
So what are some good examples of interactive content? These consist of assessments, quizzes, calculators and shopping tools. Regardless of the chosen content, the ultimate goal is to have consumers receive valuable, personalized information immediately after they’ve provided their information to you. Additionally, incentives or information can and should be individually catered to each consumer based on their on-site behavior and submitted information.
For example, let’s say a consumer is trying to figure out whether or not they want to buy a new or used vehicle. One way you can help is by integrating an assessment experience onto your Website. If you already have content on your Website explaining the pros and cons of buying new or used, you can use that content in your interactive experiences. The consumer can go through your dealership’s assessment and get a suggestion based on the answers they provided in the experience. Once they’ve received their suggestion, your dealership can then push them further down the purchasing funnel with smart calls-to-action.
What’s the Deal with Smart CTAs?
If you’re like most dealerships, you have a ton of different calls-to-action on your vehicle description pages (or VDPs). Because dealerships often have no idea how far along a consumer is in their purchasing journey, it would seem that most logical move is to provide as many options as possible: schedule a test drive, get e-price, get trade appraisal, etc. The problem with placing all these CTAs on your vehicle description pages is that it can leave consumers feeling overwhelmed.
Consumers are undoubtedly interested in a number of different things at the same time — so doing this doesn’t help with prioritization. They’re probably asking themselves “What should I be focusing on first?” Many of these consumers feel lost because these CTAs are also taking them to the very static forms they’d rather avoid. The forms aren’t customized, so consumers don’t feel like they’re being catered to.
One way to combat this issue is with Smart CTAs. Unlike the static CTAs currently posted on your site, Smart CTAs are often limited to two per page (or one to two per vehicle listing, at least), and they change based on a consumer’s current behavior on your Website.
For example, a brand new consumer (one who’s never had any interaction with your dealership) will be served one or two generic CTAs — ones that would basically appeal to just about anyone — such as a “value your trade” or “e-price” experience. After a consumer goes through one if these experiences, the next logical step might be “check out our inventory” or “schedule a test drive.”
It boils down to getting the right set of calls to action in front of the right Website visitors at the right time. Smart CTAs make this possible. Along with integrating Smart CTAs onto your inventory pages, you can place them on results pages that consumers see after completing an interactive lead form. It’s similar to a “Choose your Own Adventure” book — where consumers can choose to continue “down the rabbit hole” or leave. What’s cool about Smart CTAs is that even if consumers leave your site, they’ll still use data from their previous visit to provide a customized experience.
So, how your dealership execute an interactive strategy? First, find a provider able to provide assessments, quizzes, etc. In other words, find an organization that truly focuses on creating and perfecting these types of experiences. While it would typically make sense to go to your Website provider (since you already have a relationship with them), would your investment with them give you anything of value? Website providers typically only provide static forms and landing pages — nothing interactive. Additionally, trade-in tools from third-party vendors can only do so much — and they aren’t very customizable and often have their brand plastered all over the place — not yours.
Although the general consensus is that static forms are simple and quick to complete, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze when it comes to integrating interactive lead forms with smart CTAs onto your Website. It might require a bit more planning and strategy on your behalf, and those experiences might take a little more time to complete, but the two-way communication allows for both you and your consumer to benefit. You capture a viable lead, and they become a more-informed shopper.
So, what impression do you want to leave with your consumer? If you want to show you care about their opinion and their time, you have to ditch the static forms. Engaging with consumers via interactive experiences lets you to have something static forms simply don’t allow to happen: a conversation.