Thanks to an ever-changing online landscape and perpetually shifting customer shopping behavior, it is beyond crucial for your car dealership to be on the cutting edge when it comes to its website. However, achieving this goal does not always happen with a program website.
Naturally, I know you can afford the upfront cost of a program website. But the real question we need to tackle here is, can your business truly afford to rely on it to increase its profits? When was the last time you evaluated having only a program website versus paying for a third-party site?
Here is a look at some of the trade-offs that come with opting for just a program website.
When you need something taken care of, your dealership cannot wait a week or two before your request is handled. Time is money and the amount of time your support request is not resolved can end up costing you severely in the long run.
While search engine algorithms change non-stop, many program vendors are way behind the times on this front. In order to keep up with the classified sites that are currently beating you out for many of long-tail, lower funnel sales terms, you need a technical advantage on your side. There is a reason why your list pages are not ranking with the search engines, even though they are indexed.
Speed & User Experience
If you want to win a race, you need a fast car that is built specifically for the chosen track. The same holds true for your website. You want to offer up lightning-fast load speeds and a great user experience so that customers can easily find the vehicle that piques their interest. Navigate your site on both desktop and mobile to see just how fast it is, and look for issues that a customer might also run into.
If you do not think this activity is necessary, just look at these stats Google released:
• 53 percent of visits will abandon a mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
• 60 percent of people say their mobile phone helps them feel more confident and prepared.
• 79 percent of people say they are more likely to revisit and share a mobile site if it is easy to use.
This is why speed is so important, and why it also serves as a ranking factor. Then again, when your program website is behind the times with technical SEO, you should not expect speed to be a priority either.
Every Little Thing Is Extra
Do you need an extra page made, more banners or something customized? Of course you do, but you are going to pay extra for all of that, and who knows how long it will take before it is done. I have heard horror stories of dealerships waiting for up to two weeks for new banners, so why are you settling for this level of service?
All of Your Online Marketing Channels Suffer
With all of the money you spend on digital advertising, imagine the increased results you would see if your website was that much better. If you have a bad trap setup at the dealership, your closing percent will suffer. The same holds true online, so think about how many leads you are missing out on by pushing traffic to a sub-par website.
Better performance + better experience + better setup = winning the race
Paid Search Stamped Out Like an Assembly Line
A lot of money is wasted on paid search since many program vendors just use templates for each dealership that are all the same. When you have thousands of dealership websites to manage, you cannot give each paid search account the attention it truly needs to be optimized and running to generate real leads — and not just clicks and impressions.
The other big problem is that many program vendors own your Google Ads account and would rather not grant you access to it. You would think they would at least link it up to your Google Analytics account so you can evaluate their performance, but sadly that is often not the case either. You need to be hands-on with your website and any paid search campaigns will ensure you are getting the maximum benefits out of both.
Would you trust your race car setup to someone who uses the same setup for every car they oversee? Of course not. From this perspective, why would you take this approach with one of your biggest revenue generators, your website?
I Will Not Get My Co-op
The question here is, can you afford to give up more sales with a better performing website just so you can get a few co-op dollars? At the end of the year, your increased sales will, by far, exceed your co-op funds. Not all cars are the same and clearly the same is true with websites.
Reaching a Smart Conclusion
Now that all of this is in front of you, ask yourself one more time: Can you truly afford to rely on a program website? How much money are you losing out on compared to what you think you are saving by not having a better website?
At the end of the day, you pay far more in both money and lost revenue when you settle for a website that is not at the enterprise level.
Click here to view more solutions from Steve Seeley and Remora, Inc.