If people buy on emotion, why do so many online vehicle listings read like a window sticker's staid list of features?
One reason is that many Internet managers are not aware of technology that allows them to add marketing messages to their online listings, says Mike Baker, president of AutoUpLinkUSA, a provider of online vehicle inventory listing services.
Another reason is that Internet sales people aren't marketing writers, and often are uncomfortable crafting the kind of online advertising messages that move buyers to take action. But they can do it, with a little effort.
Modern technology, such as VIN explosion, can update inventory every 30 minutes and simply getting inventory listed on online car-shopping websites.
“These tools help a dealer quickly populate online buying sites with new- and used-vehicle VIN data, options and accessories descriptions and attractive photos of the vehicles,” Baker says.
Showing plenty of photos is important.
“Don't upload just one or two images of the vehicle to be listed,” Baker says. “Rather, portray the vehicle from multiple exterior and interior perspectives and be sure the images are clear and crisp so details pop.”
Autotrader.com reports online inventory listings that feature multiple photographs of listed vehicles generate 46% more inquiries than 1-photo online ads.
A short line of text helps direct viewers to particular features in a photo, such as a premium sound system or in-dash GPS.
Baker says another aspect of powerful online vehicle listings is information that describes the vehicle make, model, year, mileage and the like.
“Be sure to add other details like options, aftermarket add-ons and perhaps some personalized note from the dealer that more fully describes the condition and marketability of the particular vehicle,” he says.
Videos help online car ads, too. A study cites a 4-times higher click-through rate when video is provided.
Too many online ads read like newspaper classifieds — facts, facts and more facts — when it is an emotional trigger that motivates customers to buy.
Effective online listings use headlines laden with benefits. They grab the viewer's attention, identify the buyer, deliver the message and compel the viewer to submit a lead or call the dealership.
Baker says don't just list that Sebring convertible — pack the headline with a benefit for the viewer: “Freedom, With Wind in Your Hair” or “All Eyes on You” and then write your descriptive information.
Dealership sales trainer Mark Tewert says better online copy targets the type of buyer for a particular vehicle.
In other words, copy for an import tuner should talk tuner language, while an ad for a Cadillac CTS owner requires a totally different message. It's a matter of striking a specific chord.
Tewert advises that being able to write copy like this requires putting yourself in the buyers' shoes.