Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What Consumers Really Want from Your Website

When you think about all the things your website does for you - from keeping your hours to housing your available inventory to giving potential buyers a deeper look into your dealership - it’s obvious why it’s such a crucial part of your business. It’s as much the face of your business as the sign out front. And the craziest part? You might have no idea who these buyers are that browse your website because they might not have reached out yet - so it’s important to have a website that can help close the deal for you. Think about it as your “soft” salesman, keeping leads warm until they’re ready for one of your main guys to step in and close.

And having an updated design and modern functionality may not seem like the most important thing you need to worry about - but 78% of buyers do say it will influence their perception of your dealership and the experience you’ll offer. If your website is a mess - shoppers may worry that the experience in your dealership might be a mess too. And no buyer wants that. This purchase is one that they are looking forward to - and they don’t want to make it more difficult than it needs to be.

We know you don’t want that either - so here are some things to keep in mind:

Build a Mobile Friendly Website
More and more buyers are checking out bikes on the go. They see a bike riding down the street or sitting in a parking lot that they’re interested in - and they’re automatically whipping out their phone to look it up. Same thing in their free time. Waiting to pick the kids up from school? Let’s see what bikes are available.

Mobile traffic on Cycle Trader went up by 17% as compared to this time in 2017. I don’t know exactly what your website analytics look like - but I’m guessing your numbers went up too. As for the buyers - 64% consider mobile functionality an important feature of a dealer’s website. They want the convenience - and anything you can do to fuel their passion, we’re all for.

Call Out Your Most Valuable Assets
Buyers come to your site to check out bikes - so it’s no surprise that 69% of buyers said that your vehicle detail pages are the most important thing on there. So when you are thinking about where to devote your time, that’s a good place to start. And the great thing is, the effort you put in here can be used in the other places where you advertise your listings - so by spending a decent amount of time here, you can actually knock out your listings across the board. We call that a win win.

The next closest page of importance at 18% is your Homepage. And that makes sense. Your homepage gives them a look at your dealership and what you have to offer. They may be able to see service or sales deals, interesting testimonials, etc. Having good info here helps set you apart from other dealers in the area that may carry similar inventory. Offer new rider classes? Have a group of moto-mommas who race nearby and buy from you? Putting on an event in a few weekends? This is the place to tell them. Homepages are the place for the not-so-humble brag.

While the Contact Us page may seem like a very important page from your perspective, only 6% of buyers felt the same - and it’s because buyers know how to get ahold of you if they want to talk. The page that shocked us with its lackluster love was the Service Page. Only 2% of buyers felt this was the most important page, which we guess makes sense since so much of our traffic is active buyers and they aren’t thinking about service now, but since service is such an important part of their bike’s future - we thought it might get some more votes. With that said - and this doesn’t happen often - despite what the data says, we would recommend putting some time into your service page. While buyers might not feel it’s the most important page - we’d bet that they rely on it more than they’re letting on here. Tell them why your service department is the one to keep them on the road longer - and, in case they’re new to riding, help them understand what milestones they should expect.

Keep In Mind Why Buyers Call - And That Might Not Be A Good Thing 
If a buyer can’t find the information on your website, they might give you a call - which is great news, right? Well - yes and no. Yes, because now you have the opportunity to talk with them, hopefully turning them into a qualified lead, and bringing them into your dealership. But also no - because from a best practices point of view - the digital buyer expects to be able to find what they are looking for on your website and can sometimes be annoyed if they have to call looking for additional information.

The majority of buyers on Cycle Trader said they would call either about a pricing question (40%) or to check the availability of the bike (48%). In our opinion, this is information that should be included on your website. While we understand that sometimes getting your inventory updated in real time can be tough, including a price should be the standard. If you want to read more about why we think including a price is so important - you can check out our article all about it here.

The experience that a buyer has on your website could determine if they are choose to do business with you. That can be tough to hear if you haven’t spent a lot of time on your site - but there’s no time like now and the power of websites is only growing.
Trader Online Web Developer

A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words... And So Is A Description

We all know that riders are buying more than just a bike - they’re buying a lifestyle. They’re ditching life on four-wheels for miles of open road. They’re often looking for life’s next big thrill -- and you want to encourage that. There are riders who know exactly what they want in their next bike and then there are riders who are so overwhelmed with options and have no idea where to begin -- as dealers, it’s your job to cater to both.

So, when they come across your listings online - are the pictures and descriptions you provide helping them to picture this lifestyle they’re thinking about? Most of the time - the answer is no.

We live in a digital and visual age -- so it’s no secret buyers want to see pictures (and lots of them). Having a large variety of high-quality photos helps eliminate any element of surprise when a buyer shows up to your dealership. They want to know up-front exactly what the bike looks like, what kind of condition it’s in and if there’s any damage -- honesty is always the best policy, especially when building trust with your buyers. It’s also important to have a top-notch feature photo that will quickly grab a buyer’s attention while they are scrolling through bike options. We suggest avoiding up-close, detailed shots for your main photo (those should be included in your additional gallery shots). Pictures that show the entire bike right off the bat excite buyers and make them more apt to click your listing over other competitors.

Once you’ve gained the attention of a potential buyer through photos -- it’s crucial to provide a detailed description of the bike you’re selling (especially for first-time buyers). Put yourself in the customer’s shoes -- why would they choose your bike over a similar model? Make sure to point out everything the bike has to offer a future rider. Does it have modifications or upgrades? Write about them. Is it a great option for first-time riders? Highlight why. It’s important not to overwhelm your customer, but that doesn't mean leaving out key details they need and want to know. Your listing should be well thought out, easy to understand, and most of all - helpful. Try to think of common questions a customer might ask and be sure to answer them in your listing.

Buyers want to imagine themselves on their next ride and you are the link that can help them understand what a particular bike can do for them. Putting the extra time and energy into creating your listings will pay off in the long run, and your customers will be sure to thank you.
Trader Online Web Developer

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Building your Business on Instagram: 3 Tips to Expand your Audience

It’s no secret that Instagram has become one of the most prominent social media platforms and the idea behind it is actually pretty simple - a digital online scrapbook. With nearly 800 million users as of September 2017, interacting with your audience on Instagram is a great way to showcase your dealership in a very visual and engaging way.

To help you hone your social strategy on Instagram, we’ve come up with three key tips to grow your following, engage your audience and get customers interested all through the simple use of this social platform.

  • Get your company's profile completely filled out. Without all of your information - including a profile picture - users may think that your Instagram account is actually spam. If they don’t trust your presence -- they could block or unfollow your Instagram account -- or even worse, you could even be reported. Don’t let that happen. Be sure your Instagram profile includes all of the following elements in full:

  • A clear profile image, featuring the most simplistic version of your logo possible. The amount of space provided for a profile photo is incredibly small, so you want people to be able to identify your business identity easily and without straining their eyes.

  • A link to your website. Instagram has a section on your profile where you can include a website or link, take advantage of that space. If a user notices you on Instagram and visits your profile, that is your chance to introduce yourself to them as who you really are. This way, they aren’t having to exit out of the app, open a browser, and search you on Google- they are directly linked to your website for information.

  • A short bio. You have a very limited number of characters to fill the “About” section of your profile so grab their attention right from the start. Include something about yourself being a business (“The best Harley dealer in Southwest Florida”), but add something to help them remember you by. Try not to be too corny, but whether it’s your company slogan or a quote, this can help draw your audience in and get them scrolling through your feed.

  • Engage with your followers to grow your audience. The thing about Instagram for business is that it isn’t an exact science - it's more of an art, with stable practice over time. You’re not going to grow by 20,000 followers overnight, but you definitely can grow by at least 20 a day with the proper tricks on hand. Try a few of these strategies known to grow business’ follower numbers exponentially over time:

  • Use hashtags in your posts. When people are searching for something on Instagram, such as a travel trailer, they will type into the searchbar “#traveltrailer.” You want to make sure your dealership’s profile and related posts to show up in their search - so make sure to include relevant hashtags to help that customer find you. The most successful and engaging posts include at least 11 hashtags, so depending on your niche, primary models carried, etc., choose the best ones that work for you. At least one should be focused on your company name, and most of the rest should be focused on the type of different makes and models carried by your dealership.

  • Engage with Instagram users regularly - treat them all as though they were all your prospects. One way to find new followers is by searching one of your target hashtags (i.e., “#indianmotos”) and liking posts you find. It may sound tedious, but by liking at least 50 posts a day - focusing on the most recent posts, which have less likes - you can get your name on a user’s notifications as someone who liked their photo.  

  • Another way to do this - scroll through those hashtags, and when you see a photo you find especially interesting, comment on it. Even if it’s just a statement such as “Great photo!”, users love engagement. Talk to them, and whether it’s through a like, follow, or simple response back, you are putting your name out there - and once you comment on their photo, it’s now in front of that individual’s followers, too.

  • Pay special attention to the quality and type of photos you post. Don’t take the same photos of different units over and over again. Rather, try to mix your messages. Include images of your staff, people searching the lot or offer up a helpful tip to guide buyers in their search for the perfect unit. This will communicate to your audience that yes, you are a dealership, and your goal is to get units sold, but you also care about the experience they have with your company- both online, and in person.

We hope these tips have helped you gain a clearer vision of what steps you can take to refine and develop your presence on Instagram - be sure to tag @cycle_trader and hashtag #cycletrader and #cycletradernation to gain the most exposure possible for your photos- and possibly even get featured on our own Instagram page.

Trader Online Web Developer