How and when your message is communicated is essential for the impact of any messaging your company is producing. For dealerships in the Covid era, that means putting your cleanliness messaging in front of people when they are making that initial decision to pursue getting a vehicle, as well as that final moment before they decide to contact a dealership about a vehicle or financing.

These two moments are before someone starts to look for a vehicle, and once they are already on the website ready to contact you about a vehicle. Anything in between is helpful, but doesn’t hold the same impact of bookcasing the whole shopping experience with that communication.

Where To Start Updating Your Website

Now, you would assume that this means to just update the home page, and the interstitial / pop up that most people are using, but that isn’t the case. An interstitial should be used to interrupt an experience to drive a specific action. Simply closing your popup isn’t a desired result for an interstitial. Contacting a dealership is the desired result of an interstitial. Adding the popup alone isn’t going to get the desired result you want from your customers, and isn’t an actual update to reflect the current utilization of your website.

Now there are two main experiences for a dealership: paid and organic. Organic includes branded and organic search, which will mostly land on the home page. These people are influenced by other forms of marketing – tv, radio, email, past sales, referrals, and organic rankings – but will have their first web experience on your website starting with the home page. That makes your home page design and messaging essential to start the experience off with why your dealership is a safe haven in these extreme times.

We don’t recommend an interstitial on the home page for these customers. In fact, we believe that this detracts from the experience and messaging by encouraging banner blindness in that experience. Instead, we recommend changing the design / layout of the home page to clearly communicate if you are open, open by appointment, or currently working remotely for safety. Put heavy emphasis on your mobile layout, as this is likely to experience that message or main call to action being pushed below the fold. The second reason that we don’t recommend an interstitial is that this will slow down your website both in terms of loading time and the time to first interaction because the interstitial is disrupting the flow.

The language you use on this page is going to set the branding of your cleaning initiative for the rest of your marketing and the rest of the website. Think of a message such as “Our Sanitation Promise” or “Our 1 Hour Safe Buying Experience.” The latter would be a full messaging suite that we will get you in and out of the dealership in less than 1 hour if you follow these simple steps.

Clearly Communicate Your Message

Clearly communicating that message in a way that is consistent with the rest of your call to actions on the website is essential to make sure that the messaging isn’t ignored like a traditional banner ad. For example, can you remember the last display ad you saw on Amazon? Were you aware that there were banner ads on Amazon? People are trained to ignore images in out of place areas, which is why you will want to update your main conversion actions to match the reality at your dealership.

For simplicity we would recommend that on your desktop site you keep it simple with “how to buy from home,” “chat now,” and “have us call you.” “How to buy from home” opens up an interstitial with a form and a message at the top talking about the steps to buy a vehicle remotely, and having the only face to face interaction be when you sign the paperwork. Keep it concise and easy to read on mobile.

For desktop we would recommend three buttons again, but changing the last one to “call us.” There is no need to fill out a form to call the dealership because they can click and start that process right there.

If you are feeling especially rogue, you could put a bullet list of “why you should contact us” right below your call to actions with messaging like:

  • Request video call to show vehicle
  • Have the vehicle re-cleaned before coming in
  • Request more images
  • Get our best price
  • Get vehicle history report

That messaging will vary by what you are able to offer remotely and easily, as well as what your market has demonstrated the need for.

Make The Barrier to Communicate As Low As You Can

The goal is to make gathering information as easy as possible, and get them into your new sales process that is done remotely for the first several steps.

You will also want to have representation of your initial sanitation promise. Whatever you are doing to help keep your customers safe is important, and should be included in messaging within your vehicle detail and search pages on the website. Edit your initial email responses to leads and messages to include the language to make that branding unified, and build confidence on all levels. By frequently communicating your values you will be able to position yourself as the “clean” dealership, and start the transition.

TLDR: Short version:

Change the call to actions on your website to reflect the remote aspects of your dealership, and build your cleanliness messaging into your email responses, home page, search results pages, and vehicle detail pages. Not with banners, but by including that messaging directly into the most important parts of that page.

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