You cannot manage what you can’t measure. As more and more consumers flock to your dealership website, you must focus your attention to optimizing the ease of which your prospects obtain information about you. This stage in the sales process is called Pre-Commerce.
Pre-Commerce is behavior of consumers on your website before they become a lead. You want to be able to track everything that everyone does on your site so that you can properly engage them with the right message at the right moment.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? But, you’re probably wondering how it can be done.
Real-time website analytic reporting software exists so you can do just that; monitor each of your website visitors as they interact with your content. Analyzing the behavior of your website visitors in real-time allows you to interpret their intent and then engage them in the sales process using live chat (which is most effective) or other proactive communication and marketing channels.
This strategy will dramatically increase your amount of highly qualified leads, as they are generated directly from your website. Knowledge gained from monitoring web analytics will also help marketers determine the success of their campaigns.
There are a variety of providers out there that offer similar business intelligence packages, but very few of them are comprehensive, easy-to-use and have real-time data reporting (letting you watch website visitors’ actions as they make them). Additionally, dealers should choose software that reports on geo-targeting so that prospects can more easily be identified based on their proximity to the dealership.
So, now that you know you need to monitor, here is a list of what you should be monitoring and why.
- Unique visitors – This data is the foundation of all of your success metrics. An increase in unique visitors indicates that your marketing initiatives (including SEO and SEM) are successful. Further, a unique visitor is more likely to convert into a lead, so knowing unique visitors will also help you identify prospects.
- Total visitors – This data gives you the overall picture of consumers on your website. Break down this data into new and returning visitors and it can communicate several things about your website: are consumers not finding the right content or the content they want? Are they comparing you to other dealers? Are they book marking your page because they like what they see but aren’t quite ready to buy?
- Time on website – This data helps you determine if customers are having difficulty finding information on your site. Break this down into time per page to identify bottlenecks in your online sales process. The time on site metric will also notify you of real interest in your content if there appears to be significant time spent on certain pages or the whole website.
- Depth of visit – This data will tell you if consumers are engaging your content or are they abandoning your site after viewing 1 or 2 pages. The average page views per user will communicate if consumers are finding your information and if the navigation of your site is clear and easy.
- Click paths – This data tells a story. Google analytics consolidates click paths, but you will want to be able to determine individual user experience. Ask yourself, “what did the consumer go through before he or she submitted a lead or took action.” You want to be able to understand, measure and improve click path consistency in to push more consumers through the conversion funnel.
- Exit pages – This is some of the most critical yet over-looked data available. Where are people leaving your website? Having this information allows you to plug those holes. Take your highest abandoned page (the home page for many dealers), where the most visitors are leaving, and look to change the messaging on that page to get people to stick there.
- Entrance page – Not everybody will come through your home page. People will bookmark into your site or they can arrive from Social Media including YouTube videos and Facebook pages. Ask yourself, “Are these landing pages optimized for conversion? Is there good navigation on that page to get visitors to other parts of my site?”
- Keywords – Understanding what keywords consumers type into search to get to your site is extremely important. Use this knowledge to interpret visitor intent and improve SEO.
- Referring URLs – From where are you getting the majority of your visits? This information may surprise you. Knowing if your consumers are coming direct from typing in your URL or if it’s from search or Social Media will help you to make informed marketing and optimizing decisions. By tying this data to all the other analytics, a manager can interpret the level of consumer engagement for each referral path and thus make appropriate marketing decisions based off engagement information.
You have to get into the mindset that your site is never going to be done. Web perfection is a moving target. The only way you can stay ahead of competition is to interpret the data gathered from real-time website analytic reporting and continually improve the overall effectiveness of your website. At the same time, this data will help you understand the online shopping intentions and behavior of your website visitors, allowing you to create, stimulate and influence their online experience in order to convert visits into leads.
Real-time web analytic reporting + proactive customer engagement = optimized website + improved online shopping experience = increase of highly qualified leads
Monitoring consumer behavior on your website is only a small portion of a comprehensive digital strategy. Decisions based on data are critical to online success. It has been seen that the most agile, adaptive and successful dealerships in the industry are the ones using detailed web analytic reporting to boost their websites’ conversion rate and meet the ever-changing needs of their customers.
What do you measure on your website? How does data impact your decisions?