Article

Generate More Leads With Interactive Online Advertising

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Ali Amirrezvani - Also by this author

One challenge facing most dealers today is how to most effectively spend online advertising dollars. With all the ways you can advertise online, it can be difficult to decide which mediums will provide you with the best results; not to mention the issue of what to do with your prospects after spending the money to get them to your web site.

Instead of wasting your time and advertising dollars, make your money work for you by using proven and effective e-marketing techniques combined with an interactive Web site to produce outstanding results. Here are several methods of online advertising that I recommend:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – On search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN, you can advertise alongside keyword driven search results, and you pay only when someone clicks to your Web site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – On the same search engines, it is possible to optimize your site to be ranked at the top of the list for keyword driven searches through precise proprietary methods.

Banner Advertising – Use animated graphics based advertisements on location, franchise or topic related Web sites to attract attention, increase brand recognition and drive traffic to your Web site.

Permission-based E-Mail Marketing – E-mail special offers and newsletters only to those who have opted in for your list.

All these methods are highly effective in generating traffic for your Web site. Furthermore, using these may be advantageous because they allow you to clearly track your visitors.

Now that we have established how to most effectively drive traffic to your Web site, we still need to develop a strategy for converting this traffic in to qualified leads, which usually consists of either phone-up or an online vehicle request. The most effective way to achieve the highest conversion ratio is by dynamically delivering strategic content that is targeted to the specific needs of each individual visitor on your Web site. For example, a prospect is using a search engine such as Google to find a vehicle that you offer will usually begin their search by entering some commonly used keywords such as “Price Quote on a Ford F150.” Should your Web site be interactive, it will be intelligent enough to recognize what a customer has searched for and instantly deliver a personalized message to your visitors directing them to a specific call to action, such as calling the dealership, scheduling a test drive or requesting a quote.

A truly interactive Web site should incorporate a human element that engages each Web site visitor. These “virtual assistants” give life to your site. Imagine the ability to greet your Web site visitors and direct them to multimedia content and lead generation forms online. It is exactly like taking your showroom sales process and implementing it on the Internet. Now, imagine having a Web site that can recognize your visitors shopping habits and buying status down to the car they are looking for and offer a custom message based on this information. This interaction is the highest way to captivate and excite your audience into requesting more information.

Dr. Byron Reeves, a research professor at Stanford University, recently completed a study where he found that adding a human voice and face to a Web site increases retention, awareness and conversion. “[Virtual assistants] can be perceived as realistic and well-liked social partners in conversations that simulate real-world interactions,” says Dr. Reeves.

Recently, Rafi Hamid, group director of e-commerce at Napleton Automotive Groups, launched interactive Web sites across his 23 stores, using PPC advertising and SEO to increase traffic. “We are seeing that the virtual assistant is very effective in driving traffic to our specials and lead generation forms,” says Hamid. “Since our launch, we have seen not only our lead volume increase, but also the quality of those leads increase dramatically.”

Most importantly, the Napleton Automotive Groups have maximized the effectiveness of their online advertising by properly allocating marketing dollars towards branding their own Web site while reducing their third-party lead costs.

Vol 2, Issue 4

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