3 Tips For Increasing Lead Conversion


Dealers tell us their number one priority for digital marketing is increasing lead conversion. However, there’s more to reaching online customers than getting them to fill out forms, since we know only 10% of car shoppers will fill out an online contact form or communicate via email.

Most car shoppers visit your site for information and resources, but they are still there for a reason ‒ they’re interested in buying a car.

To make the most of those digital opportunities, your strategy should include website optimization for both lead capture and lead engagement.

With this in mind, here are a few tips to offer more value and capture more leads:

Increasing Lead Capture

When we talk about lead capture, the key to remember is perceived value for the customer. Shoppers will offer their information, but only if they get a clear benefit in return for doing so.

  • Tip: Less is more ‒ ask for the bare minimum. You need a name, phone number, and email address to get in touch with your leads. Beyond that remember each added field decreases the odds of conversion, especially if the shopper isn’t quite ready to buy.
  • Tip: Add a pre-qualification form that utilizes a ‘soft’ credit pull. It’s a great way to capture lead information, and it benefits the customer by enabling them to focus their online shopping on those cars that fall within their monthly budget goal. It also reduces the chances of customers showing up at your store interested in buying a car they can’t afford.

Increasing Lead Conversion

While fully online sales currently account for only ~5% of total sales, providing shoppers the option of completing more of the data entry prior to visiting the store is a good thing.

Even if the shopper stops before completing the entire process you still benefit from any additional data they submit. Plus, your dealership will convey a more modern and transparent culture, and it reduces your in-store transaction times and cost of retail sales.

  • Tip: Place a “Buy Online” button on your VDP pages. By adding a “Buy Online” button to vehicle detail pages you will capture more lead information as the shopper walks through the online process – from trade-in, F&I menuing, stip collection, and scheduling the test drive or pickup.

Don’t be surprised if adding a “Buy Online” button to your VDP pages results in a 3-4x higher conversion rate compared to your typical online lead sources. (Learn why below)

The “Buy Online” Experiment

Recently, the Stanford StartX conducted a 6-month experiment with over 20 dealerships, ranging from small independents to some of the largest groups in the US.

The concept was simple enough. Every single mouse click, key press, user interaction was meticulously tracked, tagged and analyzed in a multitude of analytics platforms.

To start, they analyzed a simple data point – what is the click-through-rate (CTR) of a “Buy Online” button when placed on a dealership’s VDP and how does it compare to the CTR of more traditional call to actions (CTA).

To establish a baseline for comparison, StartX estimated a 2% CTR would be considered a success.

Findings: As it turns out, shoppers were almost equally likely to click a high commitment “Buy Online” button as they were to click a low commitment “Contact Us” button.

The biggest surprise came from what happened after they clicked “Buy Online” button: Shoppers clicking a “Buy Online” button had a 3-4x higher conversion rate than typical online lead sources.

To validate this finding, the team talked with some customers who had bought online. With permission of the dealers, they interviewed their online customers.

The customers told the interviewers they didn’t think anything was particularly “special” or “revolutionary” about the online sales platform. They thought it was…normal. They just assumed buying a car online was something dealers offered. After all, it’s 2017, who doesn’t buy things online?

Key Takeaways:

  • Click through rates for “Buy Online” buttons are very similar to those seen from industry standard CTA’s
  • Shoppers that click a Buy Online button are 3-4x more likely to purchase a car than traditional leads
  • Customers don’t think that online car shopping is revolutionary – they think it’s normal and expect you to support it
Bill Gerhard
Author: Bill Gerhard

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