July 2011, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
Every now and then something comes along and makes you do a double-take. Sometimes those double-takes make you say, “Wow awesome,” and sometimes they make you say, “What the heck?!” The first time I had a WTH double-take in special finance was about 15 years ago when a friend who aired the first special finance infomercial showed me what he was doing. It was an off-the-charts WTH, and it took a lot of thinking, discussion and analysis (over a couple of weeks) to finally get me to change my opinion to, “Wow awesome.” I launched my special finance infomercial (and two other 20 group members launched theirs a couple weeks afterwards), and as they say, the rest is history.
A few months ago I was introduced to another WTH idea in SF. Actually, I have seen many WTH SF ideas over the years, but this is the first one since the infomercial that merited another paradigm shift to, “Wow awesome.” Mind you, just like the infomercial, it is not for everyone—especially the faint of heart. For those set up for and utilizing it, it certainly has produced some amazing results.
So what is this WTH double-take? It is called a squeeze page, and it goes against the grain of just about everything you have thought about concerning your websites. It seems to be more appropriate for independent dealers, whose traffic is already primarily subprime, but I have new car dealer clients using it and succeeding with it, as well.
If you haven’t heard about a squeeze page on a web site, here is what it does. It is a single Web page with the sole purpose of capturing information for follow-up; that means no exit hyperlinks. Internet marketers borrow copywriting techniques from offline direct-response marketing, including the use of a headline, bullets, teaser copy, deadlines, testimonials, scarcity and the like.
As a general rule, Internet marketers try to keep the content on their squeeze pages to a minimum because the goal of the page is to obtain the visitor’s email address. Additional information could distract the user or cause them to click out to a different website. Navigation and hyperlinks are almost always absent from typical squeeze pages because the goal is to focus visitors’ attention on one choice: enter their email or leave the site.
So what’s the big deal? Well, it is where dealers are putting their squeeze pages—in front of their inventory pages. Yes, that is right; they are effectively hiding their inventory behind a wall. I did a big WTH double-take on dealers blocking off their inventory.
Yes, it is radical, and I still can’t totally buy into it for franchise dealers and their new vehicle inventories. To me, that doesn’t compute, but for independents and franchise dealers where their store’s credit demographics are 50 percent or more subprime credit, I have become convinced not only does it work, but it can produce some staggering results.
I know putting a barrier in front of your inventory defies all logic and everything else we have been taught, or taught ourselves, in recent years. I indeed have harped on dealers to pay close attention to the details of their photos, descriptions and (sometimes) pricing. The goal has always been to turn a Web visitor into a lead. Well, the bottom line is dealers who place squeeze pages ahead of their used vehicle inventory are successfully and substantially increasing leads. Yes, when set up properly, visitors are actually registering by giving their name, phone and email in order to view the inventory.
I had two concerns. I thought there is no way people would really give up their names just to see a dealer’s inventory; I know I wouldn’t. Guess what, the numbers have proved me wrong. Do you take a chance of losing a customer like me? Possibly, but there are work-arounds, and if your overall sales volume jumps significantly, you can let me buy a car somewhere else.
The second concern is that it might cannibalize your other website leads and the results would be the same, but you’d have to talk to more “suspects” to do the same business. Again, that’s not the case.
Get past those two items and the rest of the WTH thinking revolves around the fact that these aren’t “real” leads and not nearly as valuable as other leads you may attract or buy. It depends on what you are comparing them to. I only consider something a lead if you have a bona fide way to contact the customer (either a working email or phone number). You will get 10 percent or so with bogus information, and another 10 percent will only give you email. However, those real leads will compare well to the rest of a dealer’s leads. In fact, some clients report a higher closing rate than other SF e-leads, and they aren’t paying a per-lead fee for squeeze page leads.
The key, like any other e-lead, is you must be able to quickly contact the person by phone to set an appointment. The challenge is that if you are driving a lot of traffic to your website each month, the number of leads received can be overwhelming and more than one or two salespeople can handle—similar to when I launched my first infomercial and had over 4,500 leads in the first month. Too much of a good thing can be bad.
Realizing how important both timely and proper phone techniques are to the effectiveness of these leads, I can’t stress enough how important proper staffing and training is. The average salesperson can only work about 75 new leads per month effectively. I am seeing stores add as many as 20 leads per day with the squeeze page. One dealer I spoke with was attempting to work nearly 900 leads a month with a manager and three sales people. WTH? I suggested he either cut the leads to 300 or hire six additional people.
If you give a salesperson nothing but squeeze page leads, there will be a high frustration level, as the contact rate for them is lower than traditional leads even when utilizing proper techniques. However, dealers I work with are reporting anywhere from a 4-percent to 11-percent conversion rate. If you add 400 new leads per month and convert 5 percent, that is still 20 additional units, and at the benchmark gross profit of $3,176 per car, that is well over $60,000 additional gross profit per month.
So, if you think you are ready to handle the added lead volume, drop me an email at Greg@AutoDealerMonthly.com, and I will be glad to refer a couple of vendors I know are producing good results.
Until next month,
Squeeze out some more sales!
Vol. 8, Issue 5