Less is More in Calls-to-Action on Dealer Websites

The past two years has seen a decrease in the number of website leads for many dealers. We're getting more visitors and fewer people filling out lead forms. The trend has caused what I've seen as an increase in the number of calls to action on pages, particularly on inventory pages. This is a mistake.

The truth is this: more is not more. It's less when it comes to calls-to-action. You don't need to have a dozen of different ways for people to contact you. You simply need to make the right ones the focus and to make others stand out.

It's something that I've wanted to discuss for a long time, but only now and I comfortable doing so because I have no horse in the race. I no longer work for a company that sells websites, so it's easy for me to go after the website providers without repercussion. Call me a chicken. I can handle it.

Here are some examples of great pages with their calls to action positioned appropriately:

Fewer Buttons... with Standouts

How many ways do people have to contact you on your vehicle details pages? You probably have several in the right sidebar alone.

In the example above, the dealer has one call to action inline (Request Sale Price) and a pair of calls to action that are "standouts" (Carfax and CarChat24). This is powerful in that it narrows the choices. Keep something very important in mind: your calls to action do not compel action. They give the option.

To understand this, think of it logically. If someone lands on a vehicle they don't really want, they're not going to make this statement: "This really isn't the car that I want, but would you look at those buttons! I need to contact them about this car regardless of whether I want to buy it or not!"

The opposite is true. If they land on a car that they want to buy, they will find a way to contact you even if you put the buttons on the bottom of the page and the phone number in 10-pt font.

Calls to Action Before the Action are Great

We are big fans of keeping it simple. However, there are times when appropriate calls to action on the "transition" pages make a lot of sense.

In the example above, the dealer has Automark Solutions buttons at the top that work to get their information before they have selected a vehicle. Some dealers would say, "but we want them to go to inventory because that's what all of the gurus say."

It's incorrect. With the understanding that my company specializes in driving traffic to inventory, I can tell you that it's not a goal. The goal is to sell more cars. It's easier to sell more cars to people who contact you. In the case above, the opportunity to grab their attention and generate a lead before they look through inventory is powerful. If you rely strictly on your VDPs to generate leads, you're letting your inventory do the talking for you. We want the lead, not the VDP views. While VDPs are often the most common way to generate leads, if you get the leads before they get to the VDP, you're even better off.

What if you don't have the exact vehicle they want? In that case, driving them to the VDP hurt. How many people know about dealer trades? More importantly, how many people buy the vehicle they intended to buy from the start?

Just get the lead.

Popups Suck. Most of Them.

We all hate popups. They get in the way. They're annoying. However, in most cases, proper popups work to get more leads.

Keep in mind that standard, true "popups" are ineffective. However, Java popups like the ones visible above are effective. DealerOn has built their brand around the idea of being able to guarantee more leads to dealers. Their secret - that awesome little popup. It works.

I better title for this article would have been "You Don't Need More Calls to Action. You Need Better Ones."

Oh well. Maybe next time.

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Comment by DealerELITE on September 9, 2014 at 3:48pm

JD

Excellent information

Comment by Brian Bennington on September 8, 2014 at 6:01pm

Nice work, JD.  Interesting, informative and easy to understand; the hallmarks of a well-planned and well thought-out post.  Plus, it's a great length and you didn't overdo it with illustrations or the dreaded "charts and graphs."  (Your expertise negates the need for those "weak argument" elements.)  A fine example of "When you know what you're talking about, you can deliver your most powerful and believable message with your words."  However, due to a couple of "first read obvious" typos, I'd suggest another proofread or two before publishing.   

Comment by steven chessin on September 8, 2014 at 5:03pm

And make sure use-up every possible molecule of space with unnecessary junk - because - we can. 

Comment by Tom Kerr on September 8, 2014 at 4:43pm
This is a great article!

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