Best Practice Articles

In my days with an automotive website vendor, I remember how big the "call to action" buzz was back in the day. Every vendor was pushing it. Every dealer wanted it. You could sense a palpable change in the pitch whenever the concept was brought up.

Thankfully, things are a little more relaxed today. Nearly every page of a car dealer's website has at least one call to action. This is good. However, we're finding that even after all these years, there are still plenty who are overdoing it. There are vendors that brag about having dozens of calls to action on their inventory. There are dealers who feel like they need more calls to action on all of their pages. The reality is this: you only need enough calls to action to actually get your website visitors to act. When you have too many, it's distracting, confusing, and can have a detrimental effect on how well a page actually converts.

Keep is Simple

When there's too much going on with a page, the points get missed. I get really annoyed when I see a sidebar that has more than five calls to action in a row. Three is better. On many pages, one is best.

Even on high-converting ones like vehicle details pages, you want just enough to make them act. When you overload the page, people tend to not see all or even any of them. The thought process is that if you have several, at least one will resonate, right? In reality, the more you have, the less likely they are to see any of them at all.

By keeping it simple and presenting a clear path to contact you, they'll be more inclined to do it. With vehicles, remember the mentality of the customer. If they want to learn more about a particular vehicle, they will find a way to contact you. Even if you have one button and a tiny phone number on the footer of the page, they'll find you. On the flip side, if they aren't interested in the vehicle, there's nothing you can do to make them contact you about it. Nobody every says, "Hmmm, I don't really want this car, but my goodness, that shiny contact button is really enticing!"

Avoid Redundancy

It hasn't been as big of an issue as it once was, but it still exists. I remember looking at a dealer's website and seeing four buttons in a row that all had some sort of call to action. Check availability. Get your ePrice. Schedule a test drive. Inquire about this vehicle.

The sad part is that all of the buttons clicked through to the same page.

People aren't stupid. They know how contact forms work. They know how dealerships work. They realize that if they want to ask a question or learn more about a vehicle, they can do so by contacting you, even if it's on a contact form that doesn't have a fancy name to it. It can be persistent on the sidebar. It could be a button. Don't load up different terms in order to get people to contact you. Make it easy and straight-forward. They'll inquire.

When you treat them like they're idiots, some of them will catch on and have second thoughts about doing business with you.

Eliminate the Ones that Aren't Working

With all of the widgets and plugins available to dealers, it's easy to get caught up on website enhancements. I have no problem with this. We find that chat is effective. We've seen great results from lease special plugins and even a handful of gimmick plugins to capture customer information.

By tying in your analytics properly, you'll be able to see where people are clicking. Companies like String Automotive do a great job of helping to determine what's working and what's not working on a website. I was sitting in on a conversation with a dealer when the question of conversion came up. There were two plugins on a page and the dealer liked one but didn't care for the other, or so he thought. String pointed out that the two plugins were approximately the same size and were positioned right next to each other, but one was getting 7 times more clicks than the other. This was important news because the one the dealer thought he didn't like was the one that data showed was actually working.

Bigger is Better than More

We often view our websites from desktops, but a good number of customers are viewing from mobile devices. If you have the space and you want to make compelling calls to action, consider reducing the quantity and increasing the size. In a mobile world, size matters. You don't want to make it hard for people to click on the small screen.

Bigger also makes it easier to draw attention to it. Rather than having the four buttons mentioned above, one or two filling the same space would have been much more effective.

This One is Just Right

With most things in the car business, there needs to be a shift away from the bulk-mentality. We've been told for years that more is better .We've been told that we need to add, add, add to things rather than making them just right.

Think of it like trying to please Goldilocks. Don't make your website too hot or too cold. Make it just right.


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