The automotive industry flaunts some of the best marketing tactics: glowing testimonials, virtual ride-alongs, creative sales campaigns and breathtaking photography.
And it all works — 88 million vehicles were sold in 2016, which was an increase of 4.8 percent over the previous year, according to the 2017 Automotive Trends report from Strategy&. But when it comes down to signing a purchase agreement, it's clear that customers want to know the details of the car they plan to buy.
That's where a vehicle detail page (VDP) comes into play. An overview of a popular make and model isn't good enough. It's time to get specific about individual vehicles for sale.
What's on Your VDP?
A typical VDP features a list of common fields, although they may not all apply to each type of vehicle being offered for sale. MAXDigital detailed some of the information that should be included. Here are the most important elements.
- Helpful Visuals: Include a gallery of still images that show the vehicle from several angles. The car can be photographed in a studio with a solid-colored background or outdoors in a scenic driving scenario. There should also be a short video of the car, with a look at the interior and a peek under the hood. These are extremely helpful for buyers making decisions.
- Details and Options: This is the section where you'll highlight all the factory-installed features and any upgrades made to the car. The basics include color, make, model, VIN, mileage, interior fabric, sport package add-ons and trail-rated tires. If you've sold this type of vehicle in the past, insert a customer testimonial about their great new ride and buying experience with your establishment.
- Cost and Payments: Make sure that the price is visible and clear. Indicate if there are any deals, rebates or other discounts available, and how long they last. Explain any payment plans offered by the dealership, such as financing or incentives for paying with cash. Also consider including a payment calculator to help customers estimate possible monthly payments.
- Information About the Dealer: Don't forget to include a section stating your hours of operation, contact names, live chat feature, email address, phone number and any perks related to buying from your establishment. Do you offer on-site repair service, weekend test drives or free monthly washes for buyers? If so, highlight it!
- Narrative: Finally, wrap up your VDP with a short paragraph or two that speaks directly to the ideal customer. A van might be perfect for a growing family or couple that loves to go on road trips with their dogs, while a sedan works for a young business professional with a longer commute. Share a short scenario featuring the vehicle as the centerpiece.
The Value of VDP Views
So why should you go through the work of creating a unique page for each car on the lot? Individual VDPs not only help customers hone their decision-making process, but also allow dealers to learn more about the sales funnel so they can improve their tactics.
"By 2020, growing digitalization and advancements in technology will have increased the automotive industry investments to $82 billion," Forbes writer Daniel Newman noted.
Customers are seeking a digitally-enhanced experience from start to finish when shopping for a vehicle, Newman explained. This includes all stages, from conducting research before buying to making a purchase, and later on when they are operating or repairing the vehicle.
Reviewing Shopper Traffic
Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing suggested that by analyzing your website traffic to VDPs, you can learn more about customers who are ready to buy.
For example, if the majority of clicks on the link are about financing, start highlighting how easy it is to get approved with your partner funding source. Running promotions related to low interest rates, sending a follow-up email with a helpful PDF financing guide or generating a pop-up ad highlighting on-site financing options can help close those sales.
Learning Your Sources
Examine how potential buyers are finding your vehicles by tracking which links brought customers to your VDP pages. Did they click links on social media posts, a company blog, the front page of your website, paid ads on an automotive industry website or elsewhere?
Once you learn where your potential customers are coming from, you can concentrate more ad spend there and pull people into a direct sales cycle on specific vehicles.
Generating Viable Leads
Traffic Institute reported that 70 percent of people are undecided when they start the vehicle shopping process. The addition of specific information to your website — in the form of VDPs — creates an opportunity for personalized service and recommendations.
General traffic will flow in and out of your website daily, but when viewers are targeting your VDPs, it's a sign that they've gone beyond browsing and are actively making a decision. Implementing a question box on the page will provide customers with the opportunity to learn even more, and will give you a way to contact them with additional information to facilitate their decision.
Customers want to see your website or mobile app updated to include specific pages about each car available. The current information helps them make decisions before even stepping onto the lot; and with carefully placed feedback tools, you can start working with customers via the web or by phone before meeting them in-person.
A vehicle detail page can influence car shoppers by being an essential marketing tool, working to help finalize sales and generate regular website traffic. Customers want products that work for them — the more detail and specificity you can provide, the better off you'll be.