Golf caddies do much more than simply carry a golfer’s bag on the course.
Along the way, they assist with making suggestions and offering tips. In fact, some of the best caddies are even known for it.
And I think we can learn about effective digital retailing by taking our cues from the caddie.
Your dealer website should also offer relevant suggestions and tips at the right moments along the way.
Humour me for a moment while I draw you an analogy.
If you’ve ever watched a professional golf caddie in action, you will note that, although they do carry the entire bag of clubs with them from place to place, they do not shove the entire array of clubs into their golfer’s face for every stroke on the course.
That’s because, as masters of their craft, they know that different golf clubs are used for different purposes and at different distances.
They know just which club to offer for each stroke without having to be asked.
Like a well-oiled machine, a golfer and caddie can work together seamlessly to achieve the best result without wasting time or energy.
If we think about our vehicle description pages (VDPs) with this principle in mind, we can quickly see how to leverage it to benefit customers while saving everyone’s time and energy in the process.
Your customers are golfers. Your marketing efforts are the caddie. Each visit to your website is a hole on the golf course.
Every customer visit to your site starts on the tee box and, if they convert, they’ve sunk the ball in the hole.
Many auto dealer websites bombard visitors with tools and resources (like the caddie passing the golfer seven different clubs), determined to capture leads at any cost.
A VDP is what I would consider halfway to the hole. You’re at the third stroke on a par five, middle of the fairway. Yet how many lead capture devices do you see on the average VDP?
“What’s My Trade Worth”, “Contact Us”, “Leave a Deposit”, “Book a Test Drive”, “Apply For Financing”, “Trade-In Valuation” (I know I said that twice, I see it twice on most VDPs), and the list goes on.
There’s 5, 6, 7, sometimes more all on one page!
It’s visually (and, let’s face it, mentally and emotionally) overwhelming.
This is the sales equivalent of a caddie scooping every single golf club from the bag and shaking them all in the golfer’s face. Annoying, confusing, and counter-productive.
Instead of throwing every option at someone, leverage your knowledge of your customer to funnel them through their options in a logical, cohesive way, aiming to give visitors the right information at the right stage.
What about the latest and greatest VDP button of them all: digital retailing.
This is the golden putter. Everywhere I look I see caddies throwing out the golden putter from tee to green. However, unless the customer is ready to buy and six inches from the cup, most digital retailing solutions are too much too soon.
Seeing It Play Out
Imagine a golfer in the middle of the fairway. Having reached the third hole, his caddie hands him his hybrid club. Because he doesn’t need the driver or the wedges or the putter just now, they stay in the bag, out of mind and out of sight. Instead of being distracted by five or six different options, he’s able to grab the right tool for the right stage of the course and get right to work.
In the same way, when potential customers visit your website, they need to be offered just the tool they need at that moment.
Options should always be naturally connected to the “part of the course” the customer is on.
Making it Clear
Narrowing down your calls to action and attaching them to the right stage of the process will not only keep you from confusing your visitors by immediately bombarding them with options, but it will also help you stay in line with some of the current best practices for web design, one of which is to keep your CTAs crystal clear.
Your calls-to-action (CTAs) motivate your customers to convert, whether by purchasing your products, subscribing to your content, or booking a call or appointment.
So, how do you make sure your CTA is as powerful as it can be?
- What’s being offered is immediately clear.
- Potential objections are addressed right away.
- Bold, coloured CTA in a highly visible location. The CTA itself is instantly obvious. It’s coloured and unmistakable.
Spur your users to action with a powerful CTA and you’ll see stronger results.
Separating out your CTAs and attaching them to the steps to which they most naturally flow will help you convert.
And who doesn’t want that?
Getting It Done
Streamlining and clarifying your CTAs is an important process, one that should not be overlooked or ignored.
If you realize that your website might need a little work to implement the “caddy principle,” never fear.
Getting it done might be simpler than you think.
- Evaluate. First, visit your site and evaluate it through the eyes of a consumer. Are there too many options available on your landing page or VDP? Does it have the right CTA and is it clear and unavoidable?
- Test. If you suspect (rightly so) that you lack the objectivity to see your site through the eyes of the average consumer, invite a few people from outside the industry to evaluate your site for you. See if the landing page is intuitive enough that they’re able to determine what their first step would be.
- Consult. There’ s never any shame in consulting with a professional. In fact, we recommend it! Marketing professionals have invested time, energy, and attention into building the sort of precise skills necessary to help with just these sorts of questions.
So what’s the next step? The first thing that caddies (dealers) need to try and do is find a way to determine exactly where on the hole the customer is. And this is what a good digital retailing tool should do.
I don’t have all the answers yet, but I can assure you that I am losing sleep trying to figure it out. And here at Autovance, a company that has been helping dealers retail vehicles for the last 10 years, we’re pushing incredibly hard to help solve this problem.
In the same way a caddie has invested in gaining skills and experience necessary to help a golfer achieve his best outcome, we can leverage our knowledge to help our customers achieve theirs.