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Auto dealers: Capturing leads or delivering a user experience?

The world of auto dealers online marketing, while certainly having its own nuances, still faces many of the traditional conundrums facing online marketers in general.

Marketers the world over struggle with “demand gen” versus “lead gen”. Demand generation is essentially providing valuable content to your visitors, effectively for ‘free’, meaning you don’t try to capture lead information.

Lead generation on the other hand is also providing information for your visitors but only if they’re willing to give up their contact information. This could be as simple as an email address or┬átheir full contact details.

As you may expect, demand gen results in more users staying on your site, whereas lead gen causes a higher abandon rate as many people will balk at giving up their personal details. A good marketing program should really encapsulate both concepts.

Which brings me to auto dealers.

One of the primary lead gen mechanisms used by car dealers on their website is a trade valuation service. The theory goes that users will exchange their contact information for a valuation of their vehicle. Classic lead gen. In fact, one of the largest trade valuation services owns a patent, albeit questionable, on capturing contact information before providing the valuation data.

The problem with this approach is that dealers will experience a high abandonment rate of users who simply won’t complete all the information requested. And this abandonment may well cause not just abandonment on the trade valuation but abandonment on your website as a whole. Hello competitor dealer down the street.

What car dealers should do instead is learn to build an experience and brand with their visitors. Provide a lot of free information (demand gen), and provide compelling reasons to leave their contact details (lead gen). This ensures that you have the right mixture of keeping visitors on your site and coming back to your site, while also capturing leads in the process.

I can’t stress this enough – remember, the fact that people are abandoning the trade valuation widget on your website is NOT a good thing despite claims to the contrary from the widget vendor. Yes, the people who do complete the long and antiquated form are solid leads. But how much damage is being caused by the abandoned people who leave you for another website entirely?

With tradeIQ we worked hard to strike a balance between lead capture while providing value to your visitors to build them into long term and lifelong customers. Check out how we did this. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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