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Foundation Over Flash: Why It's Important to Humanize Your Website

Our business websites serve one main purpose… to sell more cars. Why we get so distracted from that purpose is beyond me. Most times the excuses range from “but that’s the hottest new trend” to “that’s how it’s always been done”. I urge you to consider a simple concept: Foundation over flash. This concept really applies to all aspects of a business’s operations but let’s start at websites.

The internet itself is such a distracting place — a place with so much to see, read and do. Nowadays, it’s extremely easy for consumers to completely divert their attention from one thing they were initially focused on, to the very next. If we don’t do our job to quickly present the content they are looking for and creatively engage them to complete the mission they started, we miss out on a valuable opportunity that likely cost our business hundreds of dollars.


“If we don’t do our job to quickly present the content they are looking for and creatively engage them to complete the mission they started, we miss out on a valuable opportunity that likely cost our business hundreds of dollars.”


For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, my work or my writing, I should note that I’m completely obsessed with websites (from a business perspective, at least). It was one of my main projects as an Internet Director at my first dealership and the one aspect of my job that I could control and manipulate by relying on science and testing. Yes, I’m a nerd but that’s besides the point.

 

Everyday, millions of businesses attempt to capture the attention of prospective customers through their various online channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and naturally, their websites. Although social media channels have proven to be great for consumer engagement and research on your business, consumers are LOOKING to learn more about you and engage with you… if you so choose to take the time to create an engaging website.

 

The ability to customize and optimize your website makes it quality real estate for converting leads into paying customers. By taking some time to make your website engaging, your brand will remain top-of-mind for many of our consumers and they’ll be less likely to leave your site because their needs are being taken care of to an extent.


“The ability to customize and optimize your website makes it quality real estate for converting leads into paying customers.”


So, how do we do that? I’ve been recommending for forever that dealerships find new ways to better engage with consumers on their websites. The difficulty is that many dealers don’t know what that even means.

More often than not, dealerships will think of engagement as putting up around 35 different banners or CTA’s directing them to different sections of their website. To make matters worse, these various banners aren’t at all cohesive to one another. Still, we think these loud banners do the trick.

But aside from being attention-grabbing, we need to come up with better ways to interact with prospective customers. A two-way, back and forth discussion needs to happen between the dealership and its consumers.

More importantly, it needs to feel HUMAN. Humanization of content and your website is ultimately what’s going to set your dealership apart from the competition. And what’s more human than increased one-on-one interaction?


 “Humanization of content and your website is ultimately what’s going to set your dealership apart from the competition.”


One thing that I’ve found particularly interesting over the last few years is that fewer and fewer consumers are submitting leads than ever before — yet dealers are still spending an outrageous amount of money on 3rd party providers.

What a lot of dealers don’t seem to understand is that their website is likely already getting a recent amount of traffic. The problem is keeping these folks from leaving your dealership’s website. Your website visitors need to be interested in the content that’s available on your website.

If consumers aren’t seeing any value and they aren’t interacting with your website (say, through a chat application or trade appraisal tool), what makes you think they’re going to give you their information? If they’re going to submit their contact information to you, you absolutely have to be able to provide them with something in return.


“If they’re going to submit their contact information to you, you absolutely have to be able to provide them with something in return.”


Building a strong foundation and humanizing your brand is one of the most important things you can do for your dealership. If you want to capture stronger leads and build stronger relationships with those consumers, you need to make sure there’s a way to initiate that discussion. In order to start the discussion, you need that strong foundation.

Don’t JUMP to 3rd party tools that may or may not work. Focus on strategy and then create a conversation that keeps your brand top-of-mind. Initiating discussions is one of the most personable and HUMAN things you can do. BE HUMAN!

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