There are potentially hundreds, if not thousands of visitors browsing your website at any given moment. Your dealership’s website is now your #1 showroom in terms of traffic.
IMPORTANT: The following concepts apply even if you’re working outside the auto industry. We’re simply using real-world experiences & case studies.
Now, your goal is to transform nameless browsers to known prospects so you can have a conversation about your prospects’ needs. Your store is most likely putting huge advertising budgets. Your job is to make sure your return on ad spend (ROAS) is positive through sales of new vehicles, pre-owned vehicles, finance, service & parts.
Additionally, a Landing Page, hence the name, is a page where people “land” after searching and browsing the web for information. The outcome for you and your user is the conversion. After all, they need to have a question/problem, and you have the solution.
Give your audience what they’re looking for
To do so, you must welcome your car shopper audience with something they’re looking for. Some are looking for a good deal, others for service, others for pre-owned vehicles. Your website’s purpose is to guide people where they need to be.
Simply put, your website is a collection of landing pages, and your goal is to funnel users where they are most likely to convert to leads. Once you can establish communication with your prospects, its much easier to influence them, doesn’t it?
On the practical side of things, increasing the number of landing pages, in turn, increases your chances to present the right bit of information people are looking for.
Need to build a landing page?
Avoid the common pitfalls
The tricky part here is to make sure 1 landing page = 1 offer. Most importantly, this means your offer has to speak to your potential customer. Because of this, you have to understand who they are and what they’re looking for. We’ve all landed on some bloated websites with 10-20 different call-to-actions only to turn back without taking action. This practice is terrible for everyone, and you should avoid it.
You’re most likely paying thousands of dollars in ads every month. Keeping the page focused on a single idea will help you increase your conversion rate, and ultimately, your sales. Let’s not burn your marketing budget to the ground with no return, yes?
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page can be a stand-alone web page or be part of a website. It can be set apart of your site on a subdomain such as offers.autobahnchrysler.com, stand-alone on a domain such as autobahnchrysleroffers.com or even on your website autobahnchrysler.com/ram-special-offer. Remember this; a landing page is a single dimension page that aims to capture a prospect’s contact information based on intent or interest.
Landing Pages serves three primary purposes:
- Convert unknown incoming traffic to contactable prospects in a specific field of interest.
- Create a destination where your prospect’s information and an offer of yours are traded.
- Achieve maximum number of conversions to help sales
A landing page is the end goal, where the desired next step is communication between your team & your prospect.
A landing page can also be part of a landing page sequence, most often called a funnel. It means the landing page used to generate a contact, is followed by one or more landing pages serving different purposes. Your end goal is to keep offering services or products as long as they say yes.
For example, you might have a landing page at position 1, pushing an offer for the 2018 RAM. Upon submitting the page, the user finds a page about financing a 2018 RAM or even an upsell for discounted aftermarket wheels.
What is a typical car dealership Landing Page?
Most dealerships using landing pages aside from their websites will focus on specific new, pre-owned & financing offers. Since 99% of you use a specialized car dealership website provider, you sometimes run into flexibility issues.
Although some amazing platforms out there offer custom page creation, it’s generally not as easy to create a page that 100% to your liking.
Individuals like you might be tempted to take the landing page route. You can craft a page that’s 100% unique to your store, to differentiate your offer from your competitors. As we all know, vehicles are commodities, and it sometimes helps to get creative about your offerings.
Here’s an example of what a typical landing page can look like for a car dealership selling an outgoing model:
Take a look at this RAM 1500 clearance example
In this case, a Chrysler dealership is aiming to clear its outgoing RAM inventory with the use of a specific landing page. As you can see, the subject is clear and direct, as well as the call to action. There’s also a scarcity play with only 7 RAMs left on inventory.
This model-specific landing page is only selling the Special Offer on the 2018 RAM. There is no call to action on a test drive, financing, new model, or pre-owned RAMs. Once all 2018 RAMs got sold, the page was taken down. Doing so reduces confusion, frustration in your marketing efforts & dollars waste.
Quick tip: Make sure there’s a place holder in case someone gets the email late.
There’s one critical concept you must understand when working with landing pages. Since they are so focused on one single message, bringing unqualified traffic can be destructive to the conversion of the page. You need to align your traffic source with the landing page message. It’s valid for search engine traffic (paid & organic), social media, email marketing, and referral traffic.
A landing page is a stripped-down version of a regular website page
There’s a fundamental difference between a website page & a landing page. Websites tend to have navigation links, social media buttons, blog links, and footer links. On the other hand, a great landing page has only one link. This link pushes the user towards submitting more information or down the funnel (more on that concept later in this guide).
Moreover, the landing page serves as a landing page for your marketing efforts. While a website page’s purpose is to inform or entertain, the landing page’s goal is for the user to click the call-to-action and submit a form filled with their information.
Thus, opting for simplicity will not only make your offer clearer but increase conversion % as a result. If you’re using paid traffic through Google, Facebook, or other media converts well, your acquisition cost will reduce as well.
Keep it simple
Always keep in mind that fewer links on your landing page will help increase conversion. Because the user is not distracted by multiple offers, buttons, and navigation menus, they’ll take the only path they can to get in touch.
Typically, OEM ads will send traffic to the website with links. For example, shopping for a RAM 1500 and going to the official RAMtrucks.com site and see what their “landing page” looks like. My search was quite broad with the term “RAM 1500”. I was not surprised to find a complete webpage with a load of information about the RAM 1500. I counted more than 60 different links or call-to-action on the page.
This is quite common since OEMs will try to give the most information about their products to their potentials customers vs. converting them. Your role, on the other hand, is the opposite.
Never take your eye off the prize
Since you the dealership, are the last line of defense, you should try to get a contact and then qualify & inform through a well-crafted lead nurturing process. Funny enough, I’ve always wondered why manufacturers didn’t go the direct response marketing route.
With the amount of traffic they generate each month through branding and advertising, the number of leads would skyrocket. That would be good because internet sales teams usually really like the OEM leads.
Why create Landing Pages?
There are almost an infinite of reasons why you’ll want to use landing page in your dealership’s marketing & sales efforts.
Using a temporary landing page is perfect for a specific event, sale, or clearance, as stated above. Since there’s an expiration to this sale, as 2018 RAMs will run out, the landing page should be put offline, or replaced by another offer.
Once you have a decent framework paired with a tool you’re comfortable with, building your landing page can be done quickly under one hour. You get more time to work on your offer versus the actual technical side of things. In our industry, the OEM will come up with last minute offers and even new offers during the month.
You must ensure your turnaround time is as short as possible if you want to beat your competitors to market. You can’t afford to have your promotions on the 10th of each month.
It’s Low cost
Since you need a simple page, it requires minimum graphic design and content creation. This means lower agency creation fees and a better shot at ROI.
Moreover, if you or someone at your dealership is comfortable with building pages through software, you can control 100%of the process. This is easier with the right tools, more on that further in this guide.
Own your traffic
Sometimes in marketing, you want to control 100% of a page’s traffic. You might have a specific offer you want to keep for a specific group of people. It could be a portion of your email list, like a reward for your top customers, or run a hyper-targeted Facebook campaign.
Sometimes, your website provider might have limitations on how you can track and attribute sales to marketing efforts.
A landing page sitting outside of your website can give you a lot more flexibility over its content. Most dealership website agencies will even use software like Click Funnels or Unbounce to create custom landing pages for their clients.
This is why you, as an actor in your car dealership, should consider using such online tools to create your content. Doing so will give you total flexibility on what you will show on that landing page: text, images, videos, links, call-to-actions, and much more.
How do Landing Pages work for car dealerships?
Think of a Landing Page like a farmer’s market where you trade information. Depending on which side you’re on, you might give away your contact information (customer side) or value (business side). Your customer will fill out the form you created because they value what they’re going to get out of it.
Build value inside your landing page
While this may sound overly simplistic, I want you to pause for a moment and put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a second. You must understand that you are not the client here, they are, and they might as well have a different set of expectations than you.
Since you’re not the buyer, because you’re reading this, you can’t trust your first instinct on what is of value on the landing page. Your perceived value is not your client’s perception of value.
This means you’re not the buyer, so you must think like one. If you’re not sure about your customer’s need & wants, it means you don’t understand your buyer. You need to back and study your dream customer. This part is especially hard for marketing managers, who are not in contact with the end buyer.
Be careful when crafting your landing page
You might tend to go with your gut, but you have no pulse on the sale. If you are a marketing manager in a dealership, you need to sit down with your sales associates team and ask a ton of questions about your customers. If you don’t, chances are your landing page won’t speak to them and you’ll fail.
Think about it for a second.
Sure, you work in a dealership, but you don’t like cars that much. Your client does, though. What makes him or her tick? You must find the right hook to make them step into the virtual funnel, to go a step further.
This is only going to happen by providing the right value & call-to-action. Take this right landing page per example. We took the time to line up all the potential questions someone in your situation might have and got to work. However, don’t have to create a landing page heavy on content for your offer.
Become a Marketer
In order to succeed, you must embrace two powerful aspects of marketing: Scarcity & Urgency. Used correctly, those two can be devastating forces that can help you smash your monthly targets.
Sadly, we’ve been terrible at using those in this industry. Every single ad is telling our customers the deal ends at the end of the month. The problem is, it doesn’t. People are not stupid. We as humans have robust built-in BS detectors. Your offer on your landing page has to take this into consideration if you want it to produce results.
To create the best landing page, let’s dissect the path users will go through because it starts even before they get to visit you.
What type of information should you ask for?
Now that your landing page exists to collect information about potential customers that would buy one of your vehicles, you must take a step back and reflect on why users would give you their private information.
The problem is that unless you know your customers, you can’t get in touch with them. This is a simple concept, but achieving contact is less so.
You must create an environment where your future customers are willing to trade a bit of privacy to be able to buy something they want.
This is key because they must rely on you to get closer to buying the vehicle they want. They have to trust you, but at the same time, some information must be left out intentionally on your end to make sure you collect as many leads as you can so you can start your nurturing them.
This right here is the art of online conversion. Never make a mistake thinking this is easy because it’s not.
Since the key is to get leads, these will contain information. It should include the name of your prospects. You also need a way to reach them like their phone number and/or email.
Don’t screw up conversion
The real question is, what information can you collect without jeopardizing your conversion rate. Generally, the more information you ask for, the lower the conversion %. Although you must know, there are advanced techniques to counter this phenomenon.
One of them is opting for a multi-step form.
For example, instead of asking for eight different bits of information like name, phone, a vehicle of interest on the same form, splitting it into 2 or 3 steps can increase conversion. This happens because the implication of online shoppers is fragile. Users don’t like to take 1 or 2 minutes to fill out a form, especially when they’re still not sure what’s on the other hand.
If they have to think or get up to fetch info, you’re dead in the water. You can be sure something else will get their attention, and they’ll move on.
Also, filling a multi-step form gets prospects invested. When you’re at step 3 out of 3, it’s much harder to leave knowing you just took time & energy to fill out the first two steps. Entering your name & contact information seems like a no-brainer at that point.
It might sound silly, but it does work. When building landing pages, we’re able to increase conversion from 50 to 300% just by rearranging multi-step forms.
How can I create a great landing page for my dealership?
Landing pages should have a clear goal in mind. It could be to gather inscriptions for a new store opening, a private sale, a used car clearance event, a trade-up event, and a new car offer.
With this in mind, you should try to understand who is your dream prospect, and make the landing page so bulletproof they have to get in touch.
This means you’ll have to address every single concern they may have. So I suggest you take a pen & paper out right now and start building a list of reasons that might prevent someone from buying from you.
Here are some ideas of concerns you might tackle right off the bat:
- Color availability
- Delivery delays
- Booking a test drive
- Available Options
- Online Consultation
- Who is going to help them
- Why people buy at your store
- Out of state delivery
- Military rebates
- Service offers
- Available warranties
1. Double down on the offer
This landing page is about solving problems for your client. You must address every single bit of concern or question they have. On the other hand, you must make sure you don’t turn your landing page into your homepage. This is not about your company, but about the offer.
There should only be one single to action. Remember, your team in on the other end and can answer all remaining questions or concerns. At this point, your job is to generate contact through landing page conversion. The higher, the better.
Don’t worry about quality right now; this is why segmentation through nurturing will be done.
2. Push a Unique Value Proposition
If you had to take your entire landing page and sum it up in one key phrase, what would it be? That’s your unique Value Proposition. It has to take the car shopper from the problem state to the solving state. They have to be looking forward to speaking to you.
Your landing page’s value proposition should be a flashing red light for users stepping onto your page. You need to line up an attention-grabbing offering. Provide them with something on top of the OEM promotion or an easy & fast buying process.
You must feel like you could describe how the person interested in your offer walks, dresses and thinks. This landing page must appeal to a very specific audience. This is your customer niche, you must be right on target.
3. Confirmation or Thank You page
Since your landing page’s goal is to turn unknown visitors into prospects, you should start taking care of them right away. You must let your future customers know you’re taking charge. By sending them over to a thank you page, they’ll know what they just did work. You must keep trust high while you answer back with the needed information as soon as possible.
What we like to do here at Autobahn Academy, is to keep offering more services or products in line with what our visitors request. Since we’re keeping landing pages simple and center around one offer, you might want to open up on the confirmation page. Say your customer is inquiring about the RAM 1500 offer above, you might want to thank them and offer them a few options such as:
- Download the RAM 1500 Brochure
- Buy a complete vehicle detailing package at a crazy discount (this is great because your customer directly develops a relationship with you
- Financing options & information
- Discounted live inventory
4. Loading Speed
Definitely among the top ranking factors on Google. This should be no surprise because most of us browse our smartphones when shopping around.
Reality is that humans are not patient beings. Our attention span is shorter than ever. Using a lightning-fast landing page is vital to your marketing efforts. In other words, whether you want to rank on Google or not, you have to think about the on-page user experience.
5. Mobile-first approach
Last but not least: Mobile. Since more than 50% of your users are browsing your site through mobile, your landing page should be built for them first. This means fonts, headlines, buttons and images have to be designed with smaller screens in mind.
Most importantly, this is where it typically breaks for most page builders, especially through car dealership website providers. Don’t worry, you now have the option to create perfect mobile pages using our Landing Page Bundle.
6. Use a reliable Landing Page software
Nothing is worse than building a page that breaks down all the time, is slow or just doesn’t work. You’ll find an almost infinite amount of landing page building solutions out there.
When building our main site, we wanted something flexible, fast and that would integrate with the other tools we had. After going through a few landing page building software, we ended up choosing Click Funnels.
The blog section you’re reading right now is built with WordPress, but we felt we needed something more powerful where the action actually happens.
Types of traffic to drive to your landing page
When it comes to driving traffic to your new landing page, all traffic is not equal. You must first understand your landing page’s traffic source. There are two fundamental types of traffic on the internet: intent-based and interruption-based.
Traffic type: Intent-based
Landing pages are not commonly driven through organic traffic. The reason is that organic traffic takes dedicated work & patience in order to grow. That is to say, unless you’re serving a popular niche with very low competition (which almost never happens), driving organic traffic to your landing page is a long term strategy.
I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, I just want you to manage your expectations. There are some really good reasons why you might want to take the organic route. The most obvious is the lack of a need for advertising. Ads cost money, and if you’re tight on ad spend, this is a great option for you.
Certainly, the automotive market is quite competitive, so growing an organic presence will inevitably require a ton of effort. We’ve seen large automotive entities shift OEMs and big marketplace in an effort to drive free & qualified traffic to their dealership website.
Traffic type: Intent-based
The most common type of paid search campaign is, of course, Google Ads. Everyone knows about it, and most of you invest in paid traffic from the most popular search engine ever.
The reason why you do is quite simple, it works. However, there are some caveats & common pitfalls you must stay clear of when driving paid traffic to your landing page.
Driving paid search traffic is the fastest way to test & optimize a landing page. You can drive a lot of intent-based traffic to your page and see if you offer sticks. Very quick, you should have a handful of leads in your hands and start working them. My personal rule of thumb for anything optimization is 1000 visitors.
Until I get that many visitors, I am not drawing any conclusions on my landing page performance. The worst thing you can do is drive 47 visitors to your landing page and pull the cord thinking it didn’t work.
Traffic type: Interruption-based
Display ads are mainly used in two forms. Used effectively, this can be a low cost & targeted way to stay top of mind through your prospect’s shopping cycle.
The first and most popular among dealerships is through retargeting. Your banner will appear with an offer and link to your website or landing page after the user in question has visited your website.
The second is behavioral targeting. This popular advertising technique consists of showing your ad to someone who’s behavior shows interest in vehicle shopping. They did not necessarily visit your dealership’s website in the past.
In conclusion, display ads appear where people browse the internet, outside your own website such as your favorite news, recipe & weather forecast site.
Traffic type: Interruption-based
A referral visit happens whenever a user clicks on a link to your website or landing page that’s sitting on another website. It doesn’t include search engines or paid advertising. To clarify, a good example of referral traffic would be a local news site talking about a special event at your store such as a grand opening or a marketplace like AutoTrader or Cars.com linking to your website or landing page.
Traffic type: Interruption-based
Traffic originating from social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin among others. It can be from organic content such as a post from your business page or through ads ran through sponsored content. That is to say, social advertising is still on the rise as most platforms offer powerful targeting possibilities through demographics, interests and shopping intent.
Traffic type: Intent–based
Direct traffic is an auxiliary type of traffic when working with landing pages, especially temporary ones. Subsequently, direct traffic originates when users type your exact URL in the address bar. You can imagine this is quite rare as you and your team might be the only ones in control of the exact URL.
Another important factor to consider when looking at direct traffic is that Google Analytics will categorize unknown sources as Direct traffic, inflating the result.
Traffic type: Interruption-based
As your sending emails to prospective customers, you should insert links to engage your shoppers in buying activities. Moreover, you might also want to provide more information. When those users click your links through the email you just sent them, they are categorized as Email traffic.
Common mistakes dealers make with Landing Pages
Copying the OEM’s offer word for word
Look, we understand they are asking you to use their offer, font, images, and everything else. In turn, they bribe you with COOP money. It’s all good, as long as it works.
The problem is, you can’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, strategically placed in the network, 8 minutes away from you. Have you ever read the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin? If you ever want to dig deeper on how to stand out in a crowded market, this book is a real gem.
Building a landing page with more than 1 goal in mind
We can’t stress this enough, your landing page should have one clear goal ahead. Don’t build a page with 3 of your models + call-to-action on finance all mixed together. You’re going to kill conversion. You’re better off creating 4 different pages if you absolutely need to push these 4 offers.
Leaving old, stale landing pages online
Nothing is worse than finding a landing page that somehow ranked with a year old promotion. It shows you’re not taking care of your online business. Plus, you might have issues with an overzealous customer that wants the old price & the old interest rate.
Mobile is now the favorite car shopping medium in North America. It makes sense for your dealership to create landing pages with mobile-first in mind. Too many dealerships out there create pages that are not adapted to mobile, or worst, non-existent. Above all, non-mobile-friendly pages are a sure way to hurt conversion, increase the cost per acquisition and kill any chance at ranking high in Google. After all, they’ve been pretty clear about the importance of mobile in the past few years.
Want to avoid costly mistakes?
By popular demand, we decided to build a few landing pages you can start using today. Get a head start and download our free car dealership landing page templates.
Landing Page Anatomy
There are rules you have to follow if you want to build a powerful landing page. Over time, we were able to identify frameworks for success, and we’d like to share them with you. This way, you’ll be able to skip the learning curve and go straight to powerful landing pages yielding results you need right now.
Crafting the perfect headline is 80% of the effort. The only reason why you’re reading is because this page headline caught your attention.
Headlines are vital for many businesses, even outside the auto industry. Think of the Gossip magazines you’ll find at the grocery store check out. These things have literally 2 seconds to grab your attention. They hire the best copywriters on the planet for a price you wouldn’t believe.
You have to do the same. You have to create a Hook that snaps at your visitors and get them invested in your landing page’s offer.
The supporting headline is there to put emphasis on the headline central point. This is where you can expand while keeping the reader’s attention at its highest. Your supporting headline is punchy, short and descriptive.
The reinforcement statement can be found between the above the fold portion of the landing page and the middle of the page. You can use this portion as a soft sell in favor of the vehicle you’re selling. Positive reinforcement has been used vastly by marketers to tell the user they’re making the right choices when buying this vehicle.
Placing an image of the vehicle or the offer is a must. Images can paint a clear picture of what the landing page is about and clarify your unique value proposition.
If the offer is about a RAM 1500, having a picture of the truck is a no-brainer. Your future customers must be able to see themselves in your product. Is your pick up truck pulling a boat or a Ski-Doo? You must align your image with your target customer
This is where you tell your visitor why they should take up on your offer and buy from you instead of the competition. Here’s your chance to separate your offer from everything else your prospect is considering. Do you have anything that sets your store apart from your same brand competition?
Yes, it can be about pricing but there’s so much more. Do you have any type of fidelity program? Military discounts? VIP Services? One-price policy? Largest inventory? 24-hour delivery? No-pressure environment?
The value proposition should attack every single false belief or misconception your potential customer might have. This is your chance to tackle the most common fears of car buyers today:
• Will I get screwed over?
• Will I get pressured into buying something I don’t want?
• Will I get stuck in the dealership for 4 hours?
• Will I get the most $ for my trade?
• Can I get financing on this vehicle I want?
• Can I do the whole process from home?
And there’s more… For every single fear your customer might have, I want you to line up the benefit they’d have buying from you. You have to help your customers visualize how the buyer process feels like at your store.
Moreover, this helps build trust, and therefore increase conversions. Never forget, people are comparing like crazy online, and this is your chance to shine and lay it down on your competition.
This is one of the most overlooked yet most powerful items you can use on your landing pages. Social proof is very powerful and should always be used when trying to generate new business.
Always remember that people expect you’re going to say your the best dealership in town. But the thing is, they won’t always believe you. Using testimonials and reviews from Facebook or Google per example can help you boost your reputation when it’s decision time.
You can use testimonials and reviews to address every single buyer’s belief. For example, you can tackle the trust issue by inserting a positive comment about how a customer keeps buying at your store.
Another social proof might be to show how many vehicles you sold since the store exists, or prizes & awards you may have had from your OEM: CSI, President’s Club, etc. Showing something like “Over 6,400 vehicles sold” will place you as a strong, reputable business.
This is where it gets real. Without a Call-to-Action, your landing page is useless. This is your ultimate goal. Remember how the only reason your landing page exists is to convert unknown visitor to prospects? Your call-to-action is a prompt for them to enter their information and get to the next step.
You should place your call-to-action above the fold and in the middle and at the end of the page. You want to make sure users don’t have to search for it when they are ready.
Your landing page’s call-to-action must be easy to see by using contrasting colors. Your CTA text shall be short & engaging. Here are a few examples:
• Get the Offer Now
• Learn More
• Sign Up for Free
• Get Started
• Secure My Offer
• Appraise my Car for Free
• Get Free Oil Change
• Claim your Offer
Above all, make sure your call-to-action is in line with your value proposition. You can also use a sub-headline CTA to confirm what’s going to happen.
CTA = Claim OfferSub-headline = Get your Free Oil Change Now
A/B Testing your Landing Page
Building landing pages and measuring the impact is vital for your business. You can accelerate landing page optimization by performing something called A/B testing.
A/B testing consists of creating two or more similar pages and running traffic to both of them. After a reasonable traffic threshold is met. My personal favorite is at least 1000 unique visitors per side. Now is the time to see which landing page converted more users to leads for your offer.
You can then scrap the least performing landing page and send 100% of the traffic to the best one. But, you can also change the “contender” landing page until you find a better combination of content, colors, placement & call-to-action that beats your “champion” page.
Ease of A/B testing is one of the main reasons why we chose Click Funnels to build all of our landing pages here at Autobahn Academy. If you download our free templates with the 30-day trial, you’ll see what I mean. Here’s how you can play with A/B testing, it’s super easy.
Example: Trade-In Event Landing Page Template
Creating your first Landing Page
Are you ready to get started building your landing page?
If so, I suggest you start with our pre-built templates. We created them with the automotive industry in mind but can be modified to fit your exact needs. Plus, you don’t need to be a technical person.
Head over to our Landing Page Bundle for Car Dealership page and get started.
In a nutshell
- Give your Audience what they want
- Keep it simple (and stupid)
- Use a powerful, fast & reliable landing page builder
Give your audience what they’re looking for
Keep It Simple (and Stupid)