When was the last time you filled out a form on a website? Actually, when was the last time you filled out a form on a website and didn’t resent having to do so? (Obviously not when signing up for our awesome newsletter). Nobody likes having to give up their information on the internet, particularly when they aren’t sure about the value they are getting in return, or when they are wary of being spammed to death by attempts to contact them. And car shoppers are no exception. Form fills, or web leads, have become the de facto measure of website success for dealerships, to the detriment of actual sales.
Most dealerships and website vendors currently measure website success in terms of traditional metrics like bounce rate, traffic, traffic sources, and particularly, leads and conversion rate. And these are good metrics. They are each a valuable measure of how a website is performing. That being said, undying devotion to these traditional metrics can get in the way of true website success.
The Big Picture
When a website is geared to extracting the maximum amount of information from the maximum number of prospects, that site ruins its chances at converting the 90% of car shoppers who never fill out a form (or send an email) before they step into a dealership. Instead of making it easier to fill out a form, and thus capturing a greater number of website visitors, this tactic often undermines shoppers trust and desire to do business with the dealership.
Many website vendors use tactics such as pop-ups or gated pricing to increase conversions, but do those extra leads actually close to sales? If you have to force a car shopper to fill out a form to get the information they want, chances are they are not THAT interested in what you have to offer. Your BDC or sales reps will spend a lot more time chasing leads that are not as serious, or not as far along in the buying process.
What this really boils down to is a question about the purpose of a website. If the words “purpose of a dealership website” immediately cause your brain to throw up the neon “WEBSITE LEADS” sign, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate. We’re sorry, but we don’t think the sole purpose of a website is to generate website leads. There’s nothing wrong with leads, but for dealerships, a website goes much deeper.
According to NADA, 90% of car shoppers rate the website as the most important source of information in their car shopping journey. Shoppers use dealership websites, for the most part, to get information, not to fill out a form so they can be contacted. So paying attention only to metrics like conversion rate and leads means a dealership is ignoring the actual needs and wants of the shopper. And as we know, in the digital age, a dealer ignores those needs and wants does so at their peril.
But if you can’t get customers by focusing on traditional metrics, what do you measure to improve your sales?
Part 2, our next blog post, will lay out these metrics and methods in their entirety.