The Importance of Maximizing Online Lead Forms

Kimberly Vo, Customer Training Manager

December 11, 2019

According to Think With Google, ninety-five percent of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information. In fact, twice as many start their car research online versus at a dealership. As digital becomes the primary way for shoppers to start their car buying journey, it is imperative for dealerships to optimize their digital efforts. One way your dealership can do so is by maximizing the use of lead forms online.

The importance of lead forms

Lead forms are a critical resource to your dealership because they are the primary way to capture customer information on your website. There are several kinds of website lead form tools, but all of these tools have one goal: to get your visitors to fill out a form with their information, thus generating a lead. These leads provide your dealership with important customer information and the thumbs-up to contact them. 

The only way your shoppers fill out these forms is if you provide the lead forms for them to fill out. Your shoppers will take the time to fill this form because they have become familiar with your site, and they want to hear from your dealership because they are interested in your latest specials. There are several tools that can help you gather leads and optimize the website lead form performance including plugins, digital retailing tools, and email retargeting services. Your dealership should supply tools that cater to each of your visitors’ needs to ensure that their car shopping journey is personalized and efficient.

Once your shopper fills out a form, it makes it possible for us to better understand their car buying journey. Using their browser cookies, we can create a Shopper ID for that visitor and build a profile based on what vehicles they are looking at, what deals they are interested in, and even see if they are looking to lease or finance a vehicle. Knowing this information allows you to create a better shopping experience for visitors by providing them a personalized experience with tools that can ultimately get them to come in and purchase their desired vehicle. 

How can we increase website lead form performance?

Your dealership may already have some strategies put in place for your marketing campaigns, but maybe the number of leads aren’t increasing every month from your allotted budget. Lead forms are important because your advertising ROI depends on them. The first step in ensuring that your website lead forms perform at its best is to create and organize your digital marketing mix. When you set up your campaign spending, you need to establish that your conversion tools are personalized for your customers. Once your visitors fill out a form, you should aim to reach out to them as soon as possible. Your sales team should be using these leads to re-engage until a connection is made. Let’s take a closer look at the four steps to increasing website lead form performance. 

1. Creating the right digital marketing mix

Having the right digital marketing mix can help your dealership take a closer look at your campaigns and the cost per lead. What you can do is create a table with your campaigns, that campaign’s budget, and the number of leads obtained from that campaign. It might look something like this: 

Because we are reallocating funds, we’ll take a closer look at just the sales digital campaigns. 

We can see that Campaign A and Campaign B both generate 80 leads, but we are spending double the amount of money in Campaign B than A, which ends up costing $40 per lead, whereas Campaign A’s cost per lead is $20.

After reviewing these numbers, we are going to move $800 from Campaign B to Campaign A. 

We are spending the same amount for both Campaigns A and B, and with both combined, we were able to receive 160 leads at $30 per lead. After reallocating the digital marketing spend, we saw that there was a 10% increase in leads using the same spend, and the cost per lead average went down. 

By taking a look at how your dealership is allocating its funds in digital marketing, your dealership has the opportunity to create more leads by testing different campaign strategies. 

2. Personalize to maximize conversions

Once you’ve captured leads, the next step is to personalize your customers’ online car buying experience. The two ways that you can personalize their experience is through the usage of site activity and shopper activity. When you look at your customers’ site activity, you’ll be able to see the cars they viewed, their current page, pages visited, and clicks or scroll depth. With their shopper activity, you’ll see the vehicles they viewed, the ad they clicked, how frequently they visited, and the last time they visited your website. 

On Orbee’s Platform, we create unique shopper IDs for each visitor from your website and collect their online activity and place this information in their individual shopper profiles once they have submitted a form for easy access. Having complete shopper profiles are essential in understanding your shoppers and determining what your next steps should be in order to move them down the sales funnel.

So how do you get your visitors to fill out a lead form? Most dealership websites have finance forms, call-to-action buttons, and lead-capture forms on their website to provide more information about a special offer or promotion they currently have going on. Some dealers have a pop-up lead form, which is a pop-up that displays personalized messaging based on where your shopper is in their car buying journey. If your visitor has viewed the same VDP multiple times, this gives you an opportunity to display a pop-up with a special offer. They could also continue to browse your website, and see a custom banner advertisement about a vehicle that has a special deal or even a vehicle they’ve previously viewed. 

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Once they fill out a form, you can set up website retargeting emails. Website retargeting emails are emails that are sent to your customers to remind them of vehicles they recently viewed from your website. The email consists of a picture of the vehicle, its price and mileage (if used), along with a link to its VDP. These emails give your visitors a reminder that the vehicle they were looking at is still available. At Orbee, we also send out emails when the price of a vehicle is lowered or if there are only a few of those exact vehicles they were looking for left in stock for another added measure of bringing these shoppers back to your site.

3. Response Rate

Harvard Business Review did a study on the effectiveness of a quick response time to leads, and they found that if companies didn’t respond to these leads within five minutes or less, they risk losing them as a customer. After five minutes, they exponentially lose the opportunity to gain a customer. The average response time was 42 hours, which is almost two days. 

Think about it like this: if a shopper is online and browsing vehicles and fills out a lead form, they are using their free time to browse and you can assume they are in a buying mood. If you respond to them quickly, they are more likely to convert. If you wait two days to get back to them, they might have already found a different dealership that was willing to answer their questions or provide them with a special offer because you took too long to get in contact with them. The key point here is that you need to follow up right away with your leads and provide them with the information they are looking for before you lose them as a customer. By waiting too long to connect with your shoppers, you are also risking the opportunity of moving them down the sales funnel.

4. Re-engage until a connection is made

Once your shopper provides you with their information, it’s up to you to contact them and attempt to re-engage until a connection is made. This means that your dealership should be making several attempts at contacting your leads. You shouldn’t be afraid to contact your leads with emails, pop-ups, and retargeting. By sending out emails and following their shopper activity, you can track your customer’s revisits and prioritize these leads to better personalize their shopping experience and understand their engagement on your website. 

Even if your shopper has already filled out a form, you can continue to retarget them to keep your dealership at the top of their minds. You can do this by showing them VIN-specific advertisements on Google and Facebook. Your dealership can show the same vehicles your shopper has been browsing on Facebook using their carousel advertisements. The visitors can also be exposed to VIN-specific advertisements on Google’s Display Network. 

You can also show them advertisements directly on your website that targets their specific activity. If they are looking for a special offer, show them an advertisement with a special offer. If they have been looking to trade-in their vehicle, you can show them an advertisement that can check their trade-in value to see how much their vehicle is worth. Most dealers have a button on a VDP that states, “Get Today’s Price!” But what if instead of a generic button, you have a call-to-action button that stated exactly what the shopper is looking for based on their shopper history? For example, if they are looking to lease a vehicle, you can have a button that is labeled “Lease for $320/month today!” or if they’re looking for a special offer, you can have a button saying, “Get an instant $500 off!” If you know what your customer is looking for based on both the site and shopper activity, you can provide them the personalized experience they are looking for, which will in turn lead to connecting with your customers.

Conclusion

Website lead forms are becoming increasingly important in the digital age for car dealerships. Car shoppers are using the internet to research their next vehicle along with which dealership they should go to based on who can provide them with the best deals and the quickest response. Lead forms provide you with shoppers who are interested in what you have to offer, and the next step is to ensure that their shopping experience is seamless from start to finish. By creating a digital marketing mix, personalizing the shopping journey, providing a quick response to your leads, and re-engaging until a connection is made, your dealership has a better chance of converting leads into sales and accomplishing your sales goals.