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Online Marketing: Seeing is Believing

Better online visuals make car buyers “swipe right.”

How many prospective buyers walk your lot in a week? One hundred? More? How often do you walk your own lot, checking your inventory for clean windows, like-new interiors or, yeesh, fresh

How often do you walk your own lot, checking your inventory for clean windows, like-new interiors or, yeesh, fresh splats from low-flying birds? Daily? Hourly? What’s the return on that ratio, in terms of effort to sales? Whatever the math works out to, it’s worth it, isn’t it? Presenting your vehicles to the potential buyer in the most attractive, engaging,

What’s the return on that ratio, in terms of effort to sales? Whatever the math works out to, it’s worth it, isn’t it? Presenting your vehicles to the potential buyer in the most attractive, engaging,

Whatever the math works out to, it’s worth it, isn’t it? Presenting your vehicles to the potential buyer in the most attractive, engaging, here’s-the-car-of-your-dreams way is tried and true marketing, right?

So, why are so many dealers so much worse at paying the same level of attention to their online offerings?

For every pair of boots kicking tires on your physical lot, it’s no exaggeration to suggest that you could multiply them 100 times and possibly still not accurately represent the number of prospective buyers who are doing the digital equivalent— looking through your online listings and researching available models, mileage and price points.

On the one hand, it’s fair to say that the vast majority of us get it. We understand the importance of online listings in this day and age.

However, there still remains a lack of proportionate care that many dealers take with respect to their digital inventory, compared to how they baby their on-the-lot cars and trucks.

Precious time spent online
Here’s what we know: 88 percent of buyers use the Internet to research makes, models, prices and any number of other variables before they set foot in your dealership. And by the time they do, they have spent more time online than they will ever spend talking to your sales staff or taking a test drive.

They’ve already determined what they want, and pretty much what they’re willing to pay for it, before you’ve even gotten as far as “hello.”

Information is power, and when it comes to the car business, it has never been easier for consumers to get the information they want, long before they commit to real-world engagement on their search for a vehicle. And as with any commitment, before you can close the deal, they’ve got to get a little smitten.

Stimulate the senses
Visual stimuli is perhaps even more important to the online buyer than it is to the prospect on your lot. Seeing the vehicle in its cleanest, shiniest, most attractive state is one of the single most motivating factors toward an eventual purchase.

Having top quality, arresting visual online images that portray the vehicle in the most optimum possible way is the tipping point of the fulcrum between “swiping left versus swiping right,” if we can put digital vehicle shopping into Tinder terms for just a moment.

“Captivating media content is a proven business driver for vehicle sales,” says Bart Tecza of Oakville, Ontario-based Car Pics 2.0, a company that specializes in providing dealers with online merchandising solutions, including images and video.

Bart Tecza’s vision
Here’s how Tecza views it: We are all visual creatures. It’s what the entire advertising industry is founded on. Imagine flipping through your favourite magazine and landing on a page promoting a sandy beach holiday, or a glistening watch—but shot with a flip phone. You would flip the page.

Now, picture a car buyer landing on your website, the place where the all-important first impression is made, and seeing blurry images, pixelated, shot against the sun so they are blown out, interiors crooked, the list goes on and on.

Consider the benefits one might reap if their inventory didn’t just promise quality, but demonstrated it. Paper floor mats removed. Navigation ON. Sun roof opened. Front seats moved up when photographing the back seat to demonstrate leg room. Rear view mirror tags removed. And the mother of them all—dirty engine bays NOT shot.

They say that a good cup of coffee starts with the bean. The difference between a photographer and a capture rep is the difference between a cook and a chef—so what are you serving up? Imagine having all your cars shot consistently from the same angles with the same number of images. What message would that send? When something is consistent, it is dependable by definition. Ultimately, the goal is to get your future buyers excited about the car they are looking for, because the best decisions in life are the ones you are excited to make.

Quality and consistency are the two key words when it comes to effective visual online marketing. Digital ads that demonstrate both are winners—not only for you, the dealer, in the individual transaction, but also for the reinforcement of your overall brand. When the vehicles you’re selling look the best they can, so does your dealership.

Categories : Dealerships

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