I personally work with some of the top dealers across the country and speak to, consult with and present to hundreds of others. I see a common thread of concern on the decrease of lead form submissions. The flip-side to that is that phone calls are way up — and my dealers say that’s just fine with them. Consumers are spending more time researching online, but still desire and need to buy a car from a human being. Many of my dealers experience higher closing ratios (conversions) on phone calls, then actual lead forms. Therefore, equal weight should be focused on the “digital phone up” —especially now that more than 50 percent of searches are on mobile devices, and the top action on a mobile device is the “click-to- call” button.
I know, I know, your BDC manager says “I need more leads,” and there are so many lead choices that you don’t know which ones are the best ROI. The fact is, you don’t need more vendors or leads; you need to create better ads, place them in more relevant places and target better audiences. The other cold, hard truth is a true digital dealer’s lead comes from a variety of channels and an actual form submission is the least likely. It makes sense. There is so much information for the consumer online without having to submit a lead form, why would they subject themselves to being harassed by a salesperson? The last action a consumer should take is to print the dealer’s address (to plug into their GPS) and call to make sure the car they saw online is still available. Therefore, all your campaigns should include dynamic tracking numbers and optimized for mobile click-to-call conversions. All inventory photos should have a vehicle overlay with tracking phone numbers. All digital video assets should contain the dealership URL and a tracking phone number. Are you getting the hint? All digital marketing efforts should be created to inspire a phone call and have a human sell the car.
There are three main components to increase your leads and closing ratios:
- Track consumer behavior. Improving your lead referral sources, landing pages and contact forms will not only help increase engagement but will make for more efficient spend of marketing dollars.
- Create bold, unique and relevant messages. Many times, we push messages that we think consumers want to hear or see. By studying behavior, and delivering the right messages to the right consumer at the right time, you will be able to increase consumer interaction and conversions.
- Measure the impact of your marketing efforts. Creating good accountability of your people, processes and programs will help to optimize your success. If you receive the same amount of leads you did from the prior month, but increase your closing ratio by 10 percent, you’ve increased sales.