It’s your website, but it’s for your customers, marketing consultant John Quade tells dealers.

“Your website is not about you, it’s about the consumer,” he says, offering tips on how to make the most of today’s so-called second showroom that serves online shoppers.

“If I said half the content on your website isn’t working, would you want to know which?” he asks at an industry conference. “This isn’t guesswork. It comes down to math and science.”

That includes measurements of what webpage sections Internet users go for. Engagement mapping determines their activities, including what they click, where they point the mouse and how far they scroll down.

A website can highlight only so much. Prime real estate deserves the best tenants.

A web page’s “sweet spot” isn’t at the very top, says Quade, a CDK Global digital marketing consultant, says at a DrivingSales conference session entitled “Website Content That Connects With Shoppers.”

Instead, the sweet spot starts a bit below the top and occupies about half the screen.

The very top of the page should include the dealership name, location, contact information and hours. But dealers should save the sweet spot for what they tout the most, such as deals and inventory listings.

“The layout of the content within the sweet spot is critical to engagement and conversion,” Quade says, citing an engagement increase as high as 300% for properly showcased vehicle specials.

“Leverage the sweet spot,” he says. “It's where the action is. Ninety percent of clicks happen there. Put your most important stuff there, from the consumer’s perspective. Show them what they want to see. Where their eyes go right away is less important than relevant content.”

Photos and graphics are important, but so is apt use of print. Quade recommends a succinct marketing message as well as large and clear fonts. This doesn’t work, he says:

  • Too many words.
  • Too many font sizes.
  • Non-contrasting backgrounds that make reading hard.

A good dealer website also gives certain property rights to the service department.

“Sixty percent of website visitors are there for fixed operations, yet most sites are set up for sales,” Quade says. “I’m not saying to radically change that, but make sure people can find fixed-ops information.”

Perfect websites are like unicorns: hard to find. “We’ll never reach a point where we say, ‘Finally, it’s done,’” he says.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com