How to Write Effective Online Copy for a Dealership Website

Give potential customers what they're looking for right away

As a car dealer trying to bring in online leads, you are fighting two battles:

  1. An abysmal attention span. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, from 2000 to 2015, the attention span of the average American dropped from 12 seconds to just 8.25 seconds. These days, it’s even harder to get people to pay attention to you.
  2. Tons of competition. Selling vehicles is a notoriously competitive industry, and online, where everyone can advertise in the same spots, that competition is only increased tenfold.

The key to making an impact on your dealership website is writing effective online copy. Effective copy means that if a potential lead lands on your website, that person will stay on the page, and hopefully, make it all the way through to the conversion point without losing interest.

It’s easier said than done, though. Read on for a quick guide on how car dealerships scan write and improve their Web copy. These tips will help you beat out competitors who are “just guessing” about what works in online advertising and marketing copy.

Plan your structure before you write

The average Web visitor no longer lands on a website, starts at the top of the page, and reads through all of the text in a linear fashion. Instead, Web visitors scan the page to find what they are interested in right away.

If that info isn’t readily available on your site, visitors will get confused and leave.

Follow a thought process with your copy

To capture the people who are going from top to bottom, you have to structure your copy in a way that follows their thought process. For example, visitors who land on a page for one of your dealership’s newer models would likely first be curious, then interested, then hesitant, and, finally, be wanting to convert.

  1. Curious. The visitor has clicked on the page to find out more information about you or a car.
  2. Interested. If you have concise, informative copy above the fold, the visitor will become interested and continue to scroll. Throughout the page, you feed the visitor’s curiosity with features and benefits regarding the topic.
  3. Hesitant. As you hit the reader with your features and benefits, your copy might raise questions or concerns. Your job is to address those questions or concerns as they are brought up, or write in a way where they are explained at the start.
  4. Wanting to convert. If you follow the visitor’s thought process correctly, by the end of the page (and sometimes at certain points throughout), the visitor will have gone through a full thought cycle and will be ready to contact you to feed his or her curiosity even further.

All in all, you’re not just displaying your copy—you’re displaying your copy in a logical way.

Every page on your website will vary, but there are a few basic questions that can help you write copy that both informs and converts the visitor, regardless of the subject matter of the page:

  • What information is the visitor looking for?
  • What information would help the visitor, even if he or she isn’t looking for it specifically?
  • How can I make visitors realize that my dealership is the best one for their needs?
  • How can I get the visitor to convert right now, whether it’s through a phone call, contact form submission, or some other conversion point?

If you answer all four of these questions and include the necessary elements in your copy, you can make sure that every page on your website is converting well for you—not just conversion-driven ones like your contact page.

Check and improve on your copy immediately

The following techniques will help you analyze and improve your website’s copy right away.

  • Apply the guidelines given previously. Are your headers both informing readers and enticing them to read more? Is your copy structured correctly throughout your website, or is it just thrown together? Be thorough.
  • Compare bounce rates. Install Google Analytics (if you haven’t already) and look at the bounce rate breakdown. You may find certain pages or categories of pages have abnormally high bounce rates—address those first, because visitors are clearly not finding what they need.
  • Install a heatmap. A heatmap, such as Clicktale, will let you see exactly what visitors are doing while reading your copy. You can see where they scrolled, where they paused, where their mouses hovered, and even where they exited the page. This data can help you drill deeper into which sections on which pages are working or not working.

All car dealerships take the time to spend money and advertise online, but very few take the time to make sure their copy is converting and they are profiting as much as they could. Fix and improve on your copy, and you can enjoy higher conversion rates on your entire website, which will ultimately lead to more inventory being sold each and every month.

Masroor Ahmed is a conversion analyst at Invesp Marketing, one of the leading providers of landing page and conversion rate optimization. Follow Invesp on Youtube for its latest webinars on conversion optimization.

Masroor Ahmed

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Smith June 11, 2018

    Really a fabulous post! This is so useful and helpful for me. Thanks for providin such a great help. I am thinking about to create a car dealership blog about canada auto and financing. Really appreciate your effort.


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