By Brian Pasch
Defining Shopper Traffic
Automotive dealers are in the business to sell cars. Generating traffic to the dealership’s website is important. However, I don’t want dealers to only increase traffic to their website, I want them to increase shopping traffic.
Visitors to a dealer’s website that look at Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs) are shoppers.
I define the term “shopper” as a visitor to a dealer’s website that looks at an in-stock vehicle displayed on a Vehicle Detail Page (VDP). If someone visits the dealership’s home page, the “About Us” page, the directions page, or any “promotional” page on their website, they may be shopping – but I can’t know that for sure.
So let me talk to dealers directly; I recommend that you track VDP activity and monthly trends so that you can review your “shopper” traffic at any time. I will show you how to setup Google Analytics VDP goals in this post as well as show you some automated tools to track VDP activity.
Dealers can track VDP activities in Google Analytics using data segments and/or goals. If you setup Google Analytics goals for VDP activity, then dealers can gain the additional insights offered by Multi-Channel Sales Funnel reporting. This is a more advanced topic that I will not go into in this post, but it has strong value for marketing strategies.
In order to track shoppers and complete an in-depth analysis, dealers will need to trigger a Google Analytics “goal” when a VDP is viewed. Once a VDP goal is created for new and used vehicles, dealers can see how many unique visitors triggered various types of goals in any time period; this is how they will be able to calculate shopper activity.
Identifying Your Unique VDP URL Pattern
Dealers, since there are dozens of companies that offer website platforms, let me give you some advice on how to identify the unique URL patterns that define a VDP on your website. Select a used car from your website inventory and go to the Vehicle Detail Page (VDP).
By Brian Pasch
Producing marketing videos is easier today than ever with powerful editing software like iMovie and Final Cut Pro. HD cameras are also very inexpensive when you consider the high quality videos they can produce. If you are planning on creating videos for your website, you need to pick the right equipment for your needs.
Before you run off and get your own video equipment, I would recommend that you consult with a local videographer. In fact, I would suggest that you collaborate on the first few videos that you want to produce, so that you can learn the techniques involved with good video production.
Even after you learn how to shoot, edit, and produce videos for your business, there will be projects that you will still want to bring in a professional to complete. A professional video team is worth the investment, especially if your video project is critical to your branding or advertising strategy.
There are many marketing managers who don’t have the budget to hire a professional video team. If you want to create some beautiful videos for your website, email newsletter, or YouTube channel, let me give you some tips on equipment and costs.
Selecting The Right Video Equipment
By Brian Pasch
The average franchise dealership website in the United States has four website pages of content dedicated for service, also known as Fixed Operations. These pages can be named differently, but they normally fall into these four categories:
- ♦ Service Overview Page
- ♦ Service Specials Page
- ♦ Service Appointment Scheduling Page
- ♦ Factory Warranty or Service Program Page
Fixed Operations provides the highest percentage gross margins for a retail franchise dealership yet if you judged the value of Fixed Operations based on the percentage of website content, you would get a much different picture.
Common services like oil changes, brakes, tires, batteries, coolant system flushes, and factory schedule maintenance are not new dealer services. So, why are these services missing from our websites? Why does each popular vehicle service not have its own conversion page?
Learn From The Competition
If you visit Meineke or Midas websites in the United States you will see that these national service franchises have ample content for the most popular services that consumers need for their vehicles. Is there any reason why the default website templates for US franchise dealers could not have at least 10-15 pages of service content?
The “road to the sale”, the standard automotive sales training process taught for decades, is no longer addressing the needs, knowledge, and desires of today’s auto shopper. Consumers have access to vehicle features, walk-around videos, technical reviews, dealer pricing, trade-in values, and now even accurate lease/finance prices without ever talking to a franchise dealer.
Digital Retailing technology from Dealertrack Technologies, Dealer eProcess, DriveItNow, Dealer.com, and other payment processing vendors are transforming static dealership websites into ecommerce engines. Consumers can visit a dealership website at 9:30 PM, from the comfort of their home, and select a vehicle they want to purchase.
By Brian Pasch
Dealers should be aware that both Facebook and Twitter allow business owners to download a list of customer email addresses, in your case it is from the DMS, to use in targeted social media advertising campaigns. Targeted display campaigns, to existing customers, is a great strategy for brand retention and to increase customer satisfaction scores. Display advertising on Twitter and Facebook can also drive immediate traffic to the service drive when the correct ad copy is used.