“In a world where we have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff,” says marketing master Seth Godin in a 2003 Ted Talk. He then goes on to say that unless something is “remarkable” it’s going to be ignored. Times haven’t changed.
These words have real meaning when it comes to convincing visitors to a car dealer website to take actions like calling the dealership or filling out a form. Sales activities like these are known as “calls to action”, or “CTAs” in web marketing lingo. A successful customer response to a CTA is called a conversion.
The number of conversions compared to the number of times a CTA is displayed is called the conversion rate. If your website isn’t yielding a conversion rate that compares to the real-world conversion rate average of 2% for a car dealer website, then there’s probably a very good reason.
Seth Godin is onto something here that’s extremely important to best practices when prospecting for leads with a website…
Don’t Overwhelm Your Visitors
Take a look at the front page of your car dealer website and tally up the number of CTAs. How many do you have in total, and what kinds of actions are you asking visitors to take? You want visitors to take an action while they’re on the site, beginning the mental buy-in process and giving them some skin in the game. Which action are they going to take? You don’t actually know, but you can make a good guess if you think through how your sales funnel needs to work, what you are selling, and what’s most important to you (for good sales).
Make a list of your CTAs on the front page. Include any button, text or picture that asks the visitor to take an action. A typical list might include the following CTAs:
- Shop Now!
- Value your Trade
- Order Parts!
- Check Out These Specials!
- Get Pre-Qualified
- Contact Us Today
- Chat Now!
This particular list provides only has seven choices, but when you have a lot of CTAs on a web page, you can produce a lot of clutter, especially when they are all clumped together and/or viewed on a phone. If these CTAs are not presented properly, then you will blunt your conversion rate, and prospective sales. So how do you gain control of the visitor actions?
Clean Up Your Act!
The first thing to do is to order that list by priority. What is the one action you want a visitor to take when first visiting the site? That one action should be at the top of the list and should be presented in a very obvious way in the main viewable area when the page initially loads. Bury it down the page and the prospective customer may never see it.
Next, reduce the number of CTAs on the main page to the absolute minimum, sticking to your priority list. Now you’re getting better control of your CTAs and your sales funnel too. Each CTA should lead to another step, instead of offering every choice at once. Lead the prospect down the primrose path, one CTA at a time to close the sale. Here are some other tips:
- Simplify the overall appearance, using fewer and larger buttons.
- White space is important to make CTAs “remarkable” in their scarcity. Make sure there’s plenty of space around them so they stand out.
- Avoid words like “get” or “join” on CTAs that suggest the visitor has to be the one spending energy. Instead, use positive words and incorporate first-person perspective such as “Send My Guide” or “Sign Me Up”. Now you’re offering to do the work for them.
The Big Miss
What’s a good example of wasted CTAs that clutter up a website, slow down the load, and do very little? When was the last time you visited a dealer website with a bunch of sliders at the top of the page? We had a franchise dealer who used to post 8-10 of the OEM’s promotions in a slider. What a waste! Our data shows that no one sits and reads the sliders, but if the site is very slow to load on mobile, I can guarantee you that a lot of car shoppers will leave and go to a competitor. Do you make this same mistake?
That’s All Folks!
So, in summary, for effective calls to action that get results, prioritize your CTAs, create a progressive process to lead prospects along your sales funnel, and simplify your site’s appearance. Use positive language that encourages the car shopper to act. Finally, know that there is always room for improvement, but these simple steps will help prevent “analysis paralysis” and raise your car dealer websites’s overall conversion rate. And, if that is not enough, contact us if only to discuss your challenges. We’re here to help!