Is your definition of ‘online success’ still right?

11 februari 2018, Paul

Summary of day 2 and 3 of # kain2017

David and Paul

I recently attended a David Kain event in America. I was allowed to speak on the second day of the conference about my journey from cellar to eBay. In other words, I have told you about the way we have traveled to become and stay successful. First as SsangYong dealer and later on with Nieuweautokopen.nl. I was a guest speaker in good company.

On the same day, the CEOs of cars.com, Active Engage, AutoHook and Truecar were on stage. A nice list to be on!

I was not there just to give a presentation, I also wanted to gather information about developments in the industry. What can we learn from the state of the online automotive in the US? Has it changed a lot? Can we participate in the Netherlands? Are we even able to teach anything to the companies in the US? One of the most interesting keynotes I have followed was that of Alex Vetter from Cars.com. Recently, I wrote about the way they use reviews about their salespeople to reward the best in the sales team with more qualified leads. As far as I am concerned, this approach is a good development, but there were more interesting things that caught my attention!

The measuring points for 2012 no longer count in 2018

Many dealers measure the success of their online marketing investment based on the number of forms that customers filled in (online lead). Is that the right approach? Does today’s customer want to fill in an online form? Isn’t it much more logical, because of the dominant use of the smartphone, that the customer wants to call rather than e-mail? And when he calls, is the buyer further in the decision process than when he is e-mailing? To ask the question is also to answer it.

Many customers see calling as anonymous, because they are ‘in control’ and with one click they are gone, without leaving any data behind. Keep that in mind with your analysis and, for example, by placing call tracking on your main marketing channels. Without such a tool, it is now impossible to get a correct picture.

The online lead versus the call lead

The statistics made the story extra interesting. Alex said that research among thousands of customers had shown that the average buyer, who first reports via an online lead, still needs around 67 days to purchase. Lesson? Make sure your follow-up process is much longer than those 67 days. After all, an average is an average and there are also customers who are traveling much longer to buy a car. Also interesting: a call lead turns out to have a much shorter turnaround time. The caller is on average 37 days to purchase a new car.

Here too, an important conclusion: whoever has his telephone process in order, sells more.
Back to assessing the online marketing investment. Do you do this just based on the number of online leads and leave the call leads out of consideration? Then you view a part of the results that is just too small and you only get half the truth. Moreover, you focus on an area that only gets smaller in the future. The most important KPI for your investment is, and remains, the visitor of the VDP page. How many visitors have looked at your VDP pages and what did they do on that page? Scrolled, viewed photos, viewed details?

As much as we would like to see it differently, most people buy their new car without calling first or presenting themselves as an online lead. The number of active ‘engaged shoppers’ who view VDP pages is currently the most important KPI to be assessed. And that applies to your own website, but also to other places where you show your stock. For example, portals such as Marktplaats and Autotrader. So check them every month. You can’t do this yourself and you need help? I have created a nice Excel Reporting Tool, on which you can carefully monitor your investment every month.

About Paul de Vries

Paul de Vries became a Key Automotive Spokesperson at eBay (Marktplaats) after selling Nieuweautokopen.nl to eBay back in 2015. Paul is the founder and CEO of the #DCDW Academy and the presenter of the #DCDW Podcast. He is also a by dealers and importers frequently asked speaker in the online automotive industry. Paul is the winner of the prestigious Lighthouse Award 2016 in the U.S.! `Lead the Way op de digitale snelweg’ is Paul’s new book, which can be used as a guide in the online automotive industry. More information is available at: DCDW.nl.