Let Your Fingers Do the Walking

Do you remember this slogan? AdAge.com ranked it one of the top “Slogans of the Century”, included among: “Just do it” (Nike), “Tastes great, less filling” (Miller Lite), and “We try harder” (Avis).
Let Your Fingers Do The Walking was a Yellow Pages slogan that explained to the audience, don’t walk around and shop, use the telephone! Today dealers marketing themselves on the web are making a similar pitch, shop online first, then visit our showroom, test drive then buy! I would challenge dealers, that in order to be successful along these lines, they need to focus on the online experience. You should make the online experience as close to (or better than) the on-the-lot experience as possible. What does this mean?
When you walk on to a dealer’s lot, of course you expect to view cars. You spent a bit of time traveling to the lot, but the experience is unique. In real time, a full sensory experience where you can see the cars in unlimited angles, full motion, climb inside, ask questions, pop the hood, hear a salesperson build value, and so on. This entire experience helps you decide if this is the car for you. However, today shoppers are very limited with time, and they like the convenience of shopping at home in their pajamas. So the question to ask yourself is, how can you best simulate the on-the-lot experience, in an online world? This article will begin to propose some ideas for accomplishing this very thing.
Step 1. Photos, lots of photos, more photos than you’re taking now, as many photos as you can reasonably capture, to give that online shopper the simulation of actually being there. Under the hood, the trunk, the folding third row, the navigation system, the pristine condition of the leather interior…you get my point. When I shop for a car, I look all around, and your photos should do the same. Web stats have proven repeatedly, more photos = preferred shopping experience.
Step 2. Descriptive text…make it real and make it relevant. Shoppers expect you to give a description of the equipment, specs and options…but you cannot stop there. What are the most important options that differentiate this vehicle? And don’t just list them as bulleted text, make it sound like a conversation. People will listen to conversation, but may fall asleep to bulleted text. Conversation creates preference, creates a connection, and helps close a sale or test-drive. I won’t tell you this is easy, but specific and customized text (marketing descriptions) needs to be created for each and every vehicle you market online.
Step 3. Videos. Videos create the ultimate multimedia experience…the next best thing to being there. Sight, sound, motion, and human interaction. It is as if you are actually standing on the lot, you are watching a video of the value-building walkaround on this vehicle. Again, not easy to do, the dealer must be committed to creating the very best online content, but seldom does greatness come easy.
Step 4. Personal Service. If you are standing on the lot, and you ask if the vehicle has a disappearing 3rd row seat, the salesperson can simply show you. But, if the online description doesn’t list this information, and the consumer asks it, your goal should be to respond to this customer in the most near-real-time way you can. This means constant monitoring on web messaging, and quick response, including running out to the vehicle to capture pictures or video to help answer the shoppers question. After all, your commitment is to try and simulate the on-the-lot experience.
And once you’ve created this fabulous content, make sure the websites you post to (your site, 3rd party portals, local sites), also post this rich information. If they don’t, chances are they have not yet caught up to the notion that better content = better shopping experience = sales.
This article may tell you things you already know, or things you don’t, but not much of what I’ve written here is easy to do. You certainly can outsource much of this work to capable 3rd party providers, or you can use some of the slick software solutions to do-it-yourself. But the good news is, if you commit to posting this type of content on your vehicles, you can almost bet your competitor will not! I look at cars online all the time, and see the level of service dealers are currently providing, and the fact is…this is a great way to stand out and differentiate. Your shoppers will remember the unique experience you provided, will likely buy from you, and tell their friends.

Happy Posting!

Full List:
TOP 10 SLOGANS OF THE CENTURY
Diamonds are forever (DeBeers)
Just do it (Nike)
The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola)
Tastes great, less filling (Miller Lite)
We try harder (Avis)
Good to the last drop (Maxwell House)
Breakfast of champions (Wheaties)
Does she … or doesn’t she? (Clairol)
When it rains it pours (Morton Salt)
Where’s the beef? (Wendy’s)
HONORABLE MENTIONS
Look Ma, no cavities! (Crest toothpaste)
Let your fingers do the walking (Yellow Pages)
Loose lips sink ships (public service)
M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand (M&M candies)
We bring good things to life (General Electric

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