The Chemistry of Effective leads – December 2006
By Sean Wolfington
What do chemistry and leads have in common?
Chemistry is the study of the transformation of matter. Like this branch of science dealing with different elements and their reactive characteristics, the science of effective lead generation also has to do with analyzing characteristics of prospects in an effort to achieve targeted reactions. In the case of leads, the desired reaction of the prospect is the transformation of their desire into a sale. But, before this transformation can take place, the leads must be generated.
The Basic Elements
In the technology-saturated world of digital marketing, it may surprise you to hear that successful Internet marketing is not all about traffic. Getting the right kind of sales lead into your dealership is the key to success. Digital marketing campaigns, it is important to understand the chemistry – the basic elements – of effective lead generation. What elements make a lead effective? A lead in itself is not a sale. It is simply an indication that a potential buyer has expressed an interest in your product. In order for your dealership to reap the benefits of successful online marketing, conversion is the key. To successfully convert a lead into a sale, you must generate high-quality leads that produce high conversion ratios. Let’s analyze the different types of leads that your dealership can generate, and what methods are used to produce potent sales leads.
Every lead is not a good one. Some leads are hard to close and generate little gross profit.
“After two months, our Web site provider was able to get www.HondaNorth.com to the top placement on all of the major search engines.” -Ed Naczi, Jr., Director of eCommerce at Honda North
Most dealerships that buy sales leads usually have low-closing ratios and not much to show for their efforts. It is more difficult to close a third-party lead because the same leads are being sold to your competitors as well. Additionally, there is a potential that your dealership’s “safe harbor” compliance could be jeopardized. If the purchased leads are on a federal or state “do not call” list, this could subject your dealership to costly fines.
Natural leads are pure leads generated from your own Web site. Most successful dealers have transformed their Web sites into lead-generating machines. These leads generated by a strategic Search Engine Marketing campaign will produce higher closing ratios and higher gross profits. Natural lead generation is a cost-effective way to improve your bottom line and turn your business into a 24-hour marketing machine for your dealership. There are a number of ways to generate your own sales leads.
Formula for Effective Lead Generation
Below are key marketing elements that are the catalysts for effective lead generation. These elements are necessary to formulate an effective “marketing mix” that will produce potent, high quality leads. They are as follows:
1. High-End Web site
2. Search Engine Optimization
3. PPC Campaign
4. Effective Landing Pages
5. Powerful CRM Tool
High-End Web Site
Leads generated by a dealership’s Web site close at a higher percentage because the prospect is further along in the buying process, and is ready to buy. Not only should your Web site be alluring with unique and interactive features, it should be a marketing center for your entire dealership. Rather than just providing information for the customer, it should build value in your dealership, people and products. Your Web site should transform visitors into more leads, phone and showroom traffic. However, just having a great Web site does not mean that leads will appear automatically. Successful dealerships are utilizing Search Engine Marketing strategies to attract consumers searching for vehicles onto their sites.
Search Engine Optimization
Every Web site should be optimized. Search Engine Optimization is the ongoing process of developing and coding your dealership’s custom Web site in order to promote the site and increase the probabilities that it will appear at the top of the most popular search engine results. SEO involves comprehensive market keyword research and analysis to ensure the relevance of keyword phrase usage in your dealership’s Web site copy. When a consumer searches for a targeted product in your region, you want to dominate the search results and get rated ahead of your competitors. Ed Naczi, Jr., Director of eCommerce at Honda North says, “I believe in the power of this technology. After two months, our Web site provider was able to get www.HondaNorth.com to the top placement on all of the major search engines.”
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a method by which advertisers pay to have their ads displayed at the top or right hand side of organic search results. This concept is based on a bidding process for keywords and phrases. The higher the bid, the higher the placement of your ad. Since you pay only when someone clicks on your site, PPC is one of the most cost-effective and immediate methods to begin generating leads.
Whenever you implement a PPC campaign, you will be providing a link for the consumer to access. The landing page is where visitors “land” when they click on your online ad. It is crucial to provide an effective, well-designed site that will build credibility and trust with the prospect. The landing page should be brief, but informative; be creative, but subtle. The main objective of the landing page is to assure the visitor that they are in the right place, and to make them feel comfortable enough to take the desired action of submitting a minimal amount of personal information in exchange for more information.
An immediate automated response to any lead is essential. The goal of automated response tools is to acknowledge the visitor’s inquiry and to drive them back to your dealership Web site or to contact the dealership directly. A powerful customer relation management (CRM) tool will enable your dealership to reach thousands of prospects at virtually no additional cost, eliminating the need for more traditional forms of advertising, such as radio, television and newspaper. A state-of-the-art CRM tool will enable your staff to prospect as well as follow up with the customer from the initial click through the entire buying process. Naczi adds, “Within 120 days of implementing our eCommerce strategy, along with our BuzzTrak CRM Tool and Virtual Test Drives, we more than tripled our online sales. Not only did we exceed our expectations in sales, we also dramatically reduced the advertising cost from $365 to $200 per unit.”
“Within 120 days of implementing our eCommerce strategy, along with our BuzzTrak CRM Tool and Virtual Test Drives, we more than tripled our online sales.” -Ed Naczi, Jr., Director of eCommerce at Honda North
Getting the right type of sales lead into your dealership is the key to its success. Each of these five components should be present in an effective lead generating marketing plan. It is the science of correctly using these elements in combination with one another that provides the effective chemical bond in the “lead generating marketing mix.” Adapting the elements to match your dealership’s target market and using each component in coordination with the other will lead to … well, more leads.
Sean Wolfington is the general manager of BZ Results, an ADP Company. He can be contacted at 866.647.0471, or by e-mail at email@example.com.