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Jared Hamilton
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Less is More in Calls-to-Action on Dealer Websites


The past two years has seen a decrease in the number of website leads for many dealers. We're getting more visitors and fewer people filling out lead forms. The trend has caused what I've seen as an increase in the number of calls to action on pages, particularly on inventory pages. This is a mistake.

The truth is this: more is not more. It's less when it comes to calls-to-action. You don't need to have a dozen of different ways for people to contact you. You simply need to make the right ones the focus and to make others stand out.

It's something that I've wanted to discuss for a long time, but only now and I comfortable doing so because I have no horse in the race. I no longer work for a company that sells websites, so it's easy for me to go after the website providers without repercussion. Call me a chicken. I can handle it.

Here are some examples of great pages with their calls to action positioned appropriately:

Fewer Buttons... with Standouts

StandoutsWork.jpg?width=750How many ways do people have to contact you on your vehicle details pages? You probably have several in the right sidebar alone.

In the example above, the dealer has one call to action inline (Request Sale Price) and a pair of calls to action that are "standouts" (Carfax and CarChat24). This is powerful in that it narrows the choices. Keep something very important in mind: your calls to action do not compel action. They give the option.

To understand this, think of it logically. If someone lands on a vehicle they don't really want, they're not going to make this statement: "This really isn't the car that I want, but would you look at those buttons! I need to contact them about this car regardless of whether I want to buy it or not!"

The opposite is true. If they land on a car that they want to buy, they will find a way to contact you even if you put the buttons on the bottom of the page and the phone number in 10-pt font.

Calls to Action Before the Action are Great


We are big fans of keeping it simple. However, there are times when appropriate calls to action on the "transition" pages make a lot of sense.

In the example above, the dealer has Automark Solutions buttons at the top that work to get their information before they have selected a vehicle. Some dealers would say, "but we want them to go to inventory because that's what all of the gurus say."

It's incorrect. With the understanding that my company specializes in driving traffic to inventory, I can tell you that it's not a goal. The goal is to sell more cars. It's easier to sell more cars to people who contact you. In the case above, the opportunity to grab their attention and generate a lead before they look through inventory is powerful. If you rely strictly on your VDPs to generate leads, you're letting your inventory do the talking for you. We want the lead, not the VDP views. While VDPs are often the most common way to generate leads, if you get the leads before they get to the VDP, you're even better off.

What if you don't have the exact vehicle they want? In that case, driving them to the VDP hurt. How many people know about dealer trades? More importantly, how many people buy the vehicle they intended to buy from the start?

Just get the lead.

Popups Suck. Most of Them.


We all hate popups. They get in the way. They're annoying. However, in most cases, proper popups work to get more leads.

Keep in mind that standard, true "popups" are ineffective. However, Java popups like the ones visible above are effective. DealerOn has built their brand around the idea of being able to guarantee more leads to dealers. Their secret - that awesome little popup. It works.

I better title for this article would have been "You Don't Need More Calls to Action. You Need Better Ones."

Oh well. Maybe next time.

Dennis Wagner
Great article, JD! Great information. Thanks for sharing!
Lauren Moses
Very good read.
Paul Schnell
KISS? Good stuff as always JD. Seems so simple but our web vendors don't always come out of the contract with a great VDP/SRP design. You get handed off to the web dev team and their entirely different set of goals. You get a base template and their own call-to-action, primarily the hurry-up offense. Slow down, check the data, do it right.
Timmy James
Great info JD. By definition, "Call to Action" must tell the shopper "what" you want them to do and "why" they should do it...what is in it for them. There are lots of great examples of effective Calls to Action across the internet (Hub Spot has some great articles on CTA), but having a long list of "buttons" on a VDP page is definitely not effective CTAs and by giving the shopper too many choices you again defy the rules of effective CTAs and ultimately motivate the shopper to "not" make a choice at all. There are also fundamental rules to follow for effective use of popups (popovers). Yes we all hate them but "yes" they do work (if used correctly). Intrusive advertising (when used correctly) generally outperforms Passive advertising...but when used together (and properly) you will always get the very best result. GREAT TOPIC JD!
Larry Craig
Great Topic JD. I actually juwst wrote a blog post for Auto Success Magazine covering virtually the same messaging.

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