Danny James: There’s an art to attracting Powersports buyers to the website and keeping them engaged throughout the website once they are there. You can’t just build a great website and sit back and wait for it to turn into cash. It doesn’t work that way. You have to first compel shoppers to visit and then keep them focused on the value you offer the customer as an individual dealer.

WEBSITES WITH PURPOSE

Larry Bruce: There was resistance to having a website when they first became available to dealerships in the automotive industry as late as 2002. The mindset was that a website is nothing more than a newspaper ad online. So there was initial pushback to a website, but then the tide turned and every dealership had to have a website.

Website vendors began building websites in Flash; beautiful sites created for no one but that dealer’s aesthetics. It didn’t matter how many leads it converted or how it helped customers research information. It looked nice and that’s all that mattered.

We’ve now transitioned our thinking in that a website should deliver two functions:

  • Answer questions for the customer
  • Collect leads

PROVIDE INFORMATION

That’s the job of a website. There are specific pages that are important in converting leads, and everything else is to answer questions. There are three questions the website homepage should answer:

  • Where are you located?
  • What activities can I do on the website?
  • Why should I interact on the website?

It is, of course, important that consumers know they are on the right website. Answer that question on the homepage. Then answer what they can do on the website. Then probably the most critical question is why should I do it?  

So build a website with the dealership logo and address in the upper lefthand corner. Include all the ways a shopper can view inventory, or be directed to the service pharmacy, or special deals.

But the most critical piece of information is what sets this dealership apart from the competition with which the consumer can do business. What is your value statement? Because if you don’t answer that, don’t be surprised when a shopper bounces and doesn’t click into the website.

Far too often, we see the reason for high bounce rates being that the one critical question, “Why do business with us?”, has not been answered. Your bounce rate should be down between 8 and 12 percent. If it’s higher than that, you’ve got a problem.

COLLECT LEADS

Then there are 4 to 5 primary pages that are responsible for converting leads:

  1. Search page
  2. VDP (Vehicle Details Page)
  3. Instant Trade Value page
  4. Credit Application/Pre-Qualification page
  5. Specials page

The search vehicles or response page is where most people begin shopping. The VDP provides details about a single vehicle. And a dealership should have the ability to instantly inform buyers what their trade is worth. There might be pushback to the trade value, but it’s a necessary lead generation page (and your competitor is doing it).

For privacy, your entire site should be HTTPS encrypted; if not across the entire site, at least on the credit application page. Your credit application page can be very long and a buyer is going to take a long time to complete the form. This is typically at the point in which they’ve decided to buy from the dealership.

If you want to get even more leads, a credit pre-qualification page is a better option. A credit pre-qualification page requires a name and physical address and not a social security number to process.

Danny James: People perceive giving up their social security number a big red flag. They may not be that committed to going that far into the sales process. So if you don’t need that information up front, you’ll get more leads with just a name and address.

Larry Bruce: Exactly because name and address are public information.

A fifth critical page is a Specials page. The Specials page is different than Featured Vehicles. It should tell consumers what the real vehicle specials your dealership is currently offering; a percentage or amount discounted on a vehicle, for example. A whopping 17 percent of a dealership’s website traffic will click to the Specials page.

In summary, the five critical pages that will generate website leads for a Powersports dealership are Search, VDP, Instant Trade, Credit/Pre-Qual, and Specials.

MAXIMIZE ONLINE OPPORTUNITY

One challenge I hear is that dealers aren’t aware of how to manage these pages. Dealers aren’t sure what kind of layout they should be looking at or what kind of information they should be collecting. They may not know what or how to optimize their dealership website for lead generation. They don’t understand the online customer journey and the progression of the pages. Each page answers important questions. The header gives the shopper this information and reasons why I should scroll the rest of the page or browse other areas of the website; a carrot. Give an offer. An offer they can’t (and won’t) refuse!