The 5 Biggest Dealer Website Mistakes

Car Dealer Mistakes

As a marketing supplier to a number of franchised car dealers, as well as the operator of the hugely successful new car sales website ‘CarQuake’ – we’ve compiled our ‘top 5′ mistakes that Car Dealers make in their websites.

1. They Focus Too Much on ‘Cheap’

There is a large difference between ‘cheap’ and ‘value’ – and it’s not just in the semantics. It’s the difference between getting the appropriate quality and not noticing what quality is. You can tell when a dealer has a cheap website… because there’s no attention to detail, getting around the website is a chore and finding offers is practically impossible.

2. They Don’t Measure Their Website Visitors

With the Internet, there is no excuse – you have no reason not to know what traffic is coming in, and what visitors are doing on your site. After all, a good car dealer pays full attention to anyone who steps on their premises… so why should your website be different.

3. They Focus on Marketing Spend, Not Yield

Don’t fix a marketing budget – because you can be sure that whoever operates it for you, internally or externally, will just spend it. Set a spend per sale, and then aim at this… you’ll be surprised how your profitability increases, and whoever runs your spend for you will also be called to account.

4. They Ignore Server Speed

This is easily missed. Most dealer websites we test are slow… too slow. This not only affects your website visitors (and tests their patience), but if you are running Adwords campaigns, it means you are also downgraded for this too.

5. They Don’t Optimise Their Site

Most dealer sites are barely optimised for Search Engines, which is absurd given that, apart from the manufacturer, dealers are in the best position to take advantage of optimisation. Furthermore, dealers don’t even optimise the conversion paths for site visitors – often the offers are a dead end… and the visitor leaves the site without ever enquiring! A website is an ongoing 24/7/7/31/365 process.

… Don’t Get Left Behind…

If you would like us to give you a FREE telephone appraisal of your dealer website and offer you a few pointers on how you can improve your website – then contact us, or call 0845 680 3100 and put a bit of dynamism into your website! We can tell you:

  • What the key problems are with your current site
  • What you need to do to address them
  • How you can generate more business online
  • How you can become a proactive, successful, online dealer

So, don’t despair, it’s not to late to turn this around.

CarQuake – Featured in The Sunday Times

CarQuake in the Sunday TimesIt’s amazing how things sometimes happen in reverse…

We access the CarQuake site on Monday morning and are astonished to find out that we had a really busy end to November. Sunday’s traffic was the best single day of traffic in November…

Given all the tools at our disposal, we look at our analytics – traffic is up, particularly direct visits and on searches for ‘CarQuake’ in the search engines. So, what does that mean?

Another look and we see that direct links from have increased tenfold. So we go there, do a search and find this article: ‘A Brand New Car, I’ll Take Two Please‘… and there we are… The best offer for a SAAB in the UK. Then, we find out that the same article was published in the Sunday Times. Unfortunately, we are unable to correct that CarQuake also has the cheapest new land rover discovery prices in the UK… and that CarQuake is not a ‘broker’ – it puts buyers directly in touch with supplying dealers! Still, publicity is good.

In terms of the stats, here’s the interesting bit – the traffic on the day from Sunday Times online was about 15% of that estimated from the printed newspaper (direct searches and traffic). However on Monday, the online version was more like 40% of the traffic estimated from the newspaper and we expect that by the end of the week, the online version will have overtaken the print and will for the foreseeable future.

It pays to be as smart with the way you measure media as with how much you spend, and episodes like this really help us evaluate both!

Car Sales Slump… Ouch!

Car Sales Drop 21% in September

Car Sales SlumpSo, it’s happened in September following a pretty miserable August… we get the feeling it’s going to be a long winter with March months away and little evidence that anything will change soon in the marketplace.

At least some of the car manufacturers are trying to slow down production, but even then the gap between the real market and what they would like it to be still seems to be too wide.

So, how can we help? Read more

The Importance of Trust…

If anything the online purchasing experience needs to work harder than anywhere else to generate trust and confidence in the consumer. Particularly when it comes to high ticket items like cars…

A recent study by trading standards in January in Warwickshire estimated that 27% of used cars available for sale were unroadworthy.

However, that is nothing compared to a Hertfordshire report in June… five in eight used cars sold were unsafe.

And, yet, these were cars available on traders’ forecourts. Not online, but in a place where it was expected that they would have been properly checked.

So, What do we Think is Driving This? Read more

Brand Loyalty vs. The Credit Crunch

Buy Sell ScreenAlthough the internet car buying experience is still in its’ infancy, there are some trends that we found useful to share with you – some anecdotal, and some measurable.

The Right Experience

The internet car buyer is no different to any other online customer. They expect a professional, secure, smooth transaction and some kind of incentive for taking this route to purchase. Brands who recognise this end up not only benefiting from passing on the increased efficiency of the internet, but also end up with very satisfied customers – CarQuake’s CSI ratings are far higher for our dealers than through any other source of business.

The Real Deal

Online customers also expect a proper offer and therefore ‘deal’ for their enquiry. After all, they are not choosing to take the high ticket and overhead route… they just want a decent price and not to be messed around. All other consumer products have better offers online than on the high street – why should cars be different?

So, Where Does Brand Loyalty Fit? Read more

New Car Sales… Something’s Got to Give

New Car Sales - Really Going DownIt’s no surprise that we watch the new car marketplace carefully, and given this, that we are always interested in the gap between what is reported and what is actually the case.

New cars sales seem, on the face of it, to be rising… tell the franchised dealers the great news… or perhaps they know something that we don’t? Word on the street is that there are a lot of dealers out there with stock of new cars, having bitten the bullet for Q1 and wondering how they can achieve decent NEW business in Q2. After all every pre-reg takes a new buyer out of the marketplace.

Yes, the Pre-Registration issue raises it’s ugly head. Put simply, this is deliberate devaluation of beautiful new cars… register them to make them ‘not new’ even if they haven’t been driven. Curious strategy? Only in the motor trade… where the production lines churn out more cars out than there are buyers for them.

Read more

Which? MotorTrader? Who?

It’s what we’ve been saying for a long time, and something that dealers using CarQuake know already… Customers SAVE MONEY buying online AND they prefer doing so too.

Motor Trader on the recent Which? Report

Customers save, on average 11% more… They also save their time (and patience) by shopping online for new cars… and Dealers come out poorly. In the most part, they are forced to tow the corporate line, and then they get slammed on customer satisfaction for trying to ‘do the job’ (i.e. not discounting cars).

Read more

Help Needed… But Only for Dealers Who Want More Business


Switch OnIt’s as if someone just flicked a switch… and the lights came on! January has already started off with a real explosion of activity at CarQuake.

Someone tell our visitors that the market is wobbly! We need help as we’re still looking for dealers to take advantage of the sheer volume of business we generate… so pass the message round – or just contact us.

New Nearly New Used Car Marketing


If you want us to help you manage the end-to-end marketing of your cars online, then contact us today. Soon, we will have services for more than just new factory orders… we’ll be able to also help you sell:

  • New ‘on the way’ ordered cars
  • Physical new cars
  • Nearly new cars
  • Approved used cars

There are some exciting developments we just can’t publish yet, but if you contact us, then we will definitely keep you posted on our developments.

Call Trakr – The All-in-One Phone Solution

Call TrackrSometimes when you have an idea and you have a really good hunt around, and find nothing suitable, you just have to go and do it yourself. Which is what we did with Call Trakr.

We wanted a manageable online phone system where we could buy phone numbers, route them to whatever numbers we wished, record calls if and where necessary and, most importantly, use different numbers for different campaigns AND get realtime reporting of the calls.

So, we did want any determined business would do… we just went and built the thing with our telecoms partner. Thus Call Trakr was born! You can read a little more about it on the site, or contact us if you want to find out how it could work for your business. After all, if you really want to know if a particular campaign worked for you… the only way to be sure is to use Call Trakr?

It really is a neat piece of kit.

« go backkeep looking »