The national average of sales lead to site visitor ratio is below 2%... Here are tips for how you can make that number bigger.
RVT.com put out a pretty cool 14 page booklet titled "RV Marketing for the Digital Age". I was impressed with the stats they gathered from their case studies, as well as the detailed explanations provided. As a result, I am writing this article to summarize the main points in that PDF, throw in some numbers of my own, and better explain website sales tactics Ride has been trying to stress the importance of for quite some time.
... Or VDPs as they're referred to in the car industry, along with your home page are the most important and influential webpages on your site to a potential buyer. The more effort put into these pages, the higher volume of leads you receive.
You figure the typical car dealer has around 30 photos of each vehicle for sale on their website. RVs are a lot bigger than cars, therefore, more photos should be taken of an RV. Cover every inch. A customer wants to see as many photos as possible and you can't trouble them with too many. RVT suggests a minimum of 31-35. I say 40 if it's a big boy.
RVT Pictures GraphOn average, units with 31-35 photos see ~60% more leads than units with 16-20. Check out the graph.
In addition to the quantity of photos, focus on quality. Car dealers have their standard set of photo angles, so should you. Uniformity between one RV to the next can only help your sales. For example, photos of the dinette should be the taken at the same angle, aspect ratio, lighting as it is for your other RVs.
Tech Spec: To keep your photos loading quickly, set your digital camera to 72 DPI and around 1000px wide.
Don't use dark or blurry photos. Be sure they're all well lit, crisp and provide some sort of bearing of what the photo is of.
Do not use stock photos. Customers want to see the exact RV they may potentially purchase. They can look at stock photos on the manufacturer's website.
They really don't need to be anything special. Just take your smartphone and steady hand on a slow stroll through the RV. Point out the important features and show them all areas. Just a few minutes long is all it has to be.
RVT Videos GraphRVs with unique walkthrough videos get 46% more leads and the customers spend 20% more time on that VDP.
Camera shy? No worries, the only people who'll watch your videos are those who are very interested in making offers.
Once you've shot your videos, upload them to your dealership's YouTube account with a descriptive title and summary. Those video pages will be indexed by Google and will begin taking up spaces on search results, pushing your competitors farther down the list.
Most importantly, be sure those walkthrough videos are uploaded on your website and displaying prominently on that vehicle's VDP.
Every piece of inventory on your website needs a unique description. It's no longer okay go to the manufacturer's website and copy/paste their descriptions on your own. Well, you can, but Google won't display those pages in their search results because it is considered duplicate content. Google continually stresses the importance of providing high-quality, original content on each and every webpage. They work hard to give those pages the search exposure they deserve while the duplicate content and poor-quality pages are pushed far down the list or not shown at all. Writing unique descriptions is one of the most important things you can do for your website.
Rather than just talking about the RV itself, talk about the potential buyer. Explain why this is the right RV for them. Be descriptive with your wording to make them feel like they're in it. Get all Robert Frost on them.
Don't use ALL CAPS. Caps are hard on the eyes and slow down the reader. They also suggest you are yelling at your customer. Don't yell at your customers. This is a very common trend in the RV space as dealership staff often leave their CAPS LOCK on for uniformity when entering data into their DMS (dealer management system).
Use some nice formatting. You don't need to be a web designer to format important headings (h2, h3, h4, etc), making them larger and the pages better optimized for SEO. Black/charcoal text on a white background is clean and easy to read. 12-15px is a good paragraph font size.
Also, break up long paragraphs. These are all minor adjustments that have a big impact on how well your descriptions flow for the reader.
All your inventory should display pricing. The tactic of not displaying prices in order to entice the customer to call you just doesn't work. RVT did a case study showing that units with prices receive 50% more views and 115% more leads than those with no pricing.
RVT Prices GraphIf you're an RVSS client, you have several options for displaying a unit's prices. The usual MSRP and sale price, along with a special internet price that requires the customer to complete a form in order to receive it- this is by far RVSS' highest lead generator. I suggest dealers use a special internet price on around 30-50% of their inventory. Using it on more than that tends to make the units not stand out as 'special' and the customer sees it as a gimmick. RVSS also has a versatile payments section that we highly recommend using.
The majority of RV dealers use a Dealer Management System (i.e. IDS, DealerVU, SYS2K, etc) to keep track of information about the inventory on their lot. The majority of that majority have their DMS integrated with their website, effectively preventing the dealership from needing to enter the same information in two separate mediums. Therefore, the information entered in your DMS is the same information the customer ultimately sees on your website... and RV Trader, Craigslist, all those third party classifieds your data is fed to. That data needs to be organized, consistent and well-populated.
The importance of filling out basic fields such as year, make, model, stock number, prices, etc is something that probably doesn't need to be relayed since it's usually mandatory to fill them out in order for a unit to be saved. After those fields, go farther... Length, weights, slides, sleeping capacity, description. These are usually viewed as secondary data and often are tossed in the back seat. Rule of thumb: The more you put in, the more you get out.
As I mentioned, your data is usually sent to third party classifieds listing sites like RV Trader and such... Since often times those third parties don't do a good enough job of advertising your dealership as your website, it's always a good idea to consistently mention your dealership and why it's special, where it's located, phone number, etc. Do this in your description field and make it as obvious as you can that the RV they're looking at is on YOUR lot.
Search engines nowadays do much more than just show you relevant results for a keyword you've searched. They recognize patterns in your searches and the way you navigate the web - they apply that data to your next search, providing you with the most fine-tuned results possible. So then it shouldn't be a surprise that they collect, break down and sort the data you've entered on your VDPs... or not entered. If they're consistently recognizing gaps and errors in the data your website displays- along with seeing high bounce rates on your VDPs, it tells them you're not satisfying their customer. They'll begin to push your website farther down the search results list. After all, search engines are in the customer service industry...
I know all the things mentioned in this post and in RVT's booklet takes a lot of effort, but we've seen the lead generation differences on the few of our client dealers who use most of these tactics versus those who do not. It works!
You all have many companies pining for your business (or for more of your business), saying you have to be doing 'this' or you have to be doing 'that'- so it's understandable you tend to tune out a lot of that chatter. I'm not even trying to sell you anything in this post, I just want you to sell more of your RVs.
P.S. - You can view RVT's "RV Marketing for the Digital Age" here.