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Transform Your Dealership Website into the Ultimate Lead Machine

Transform Your Website Into the Ultimate Lead Machine, computer monitor showing different Cosmos Website Platform screens
Transform Your Website Into the Ultimate Lead Machine, computer monitor showing different Cosmos Website Platform screens

Modern car buyers demand more from their shopping experience than ever before. In this edition of DealerOn University, we show you how to take your dealership website from a glorified vehicle showroom to an invaluable lead generation tool.

Transform Your Website Into the Ultimate Lead Machine, computer monitor showing different Cosmos Website Platform screens

Your website platform must be optimized for local search and loaded with features that guide your shoppers through their car buying experience

Unleash the power of local search to bring shoppers to your website and then provide them with an unforgettable car buying experience.

Attracting, engaging, and converting car shoppers into new leads is the goal of your dealership. It’s also the goal of your competitors. In a world of 10-second videos, where trends pop up and disappear faster than your average news cycle, capturing the attention of this audience is a constantly moving target.

The only way to effectively reach this new breed of car shopper is to provide them with a digital experience that demands their attention and maintains their interest throughout the entire shopping process.

You need to get your store in front of them. You need to give them a variety of vehicle browsing and financing options. And you need to give them good reasons to submit a lead through your website and not your competitors.

You need to transform your website into the ultimate lead machine.

It All Starts With Local Search

While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is universally recognized as critical to a dealership’s success, local SEO is a vital component that is often under-appreciated.

Car buyers have a maximum distance they’re going to travel to purchase a vehicle. Most of your customers will be locals, so one of your top priorities should be winning the battle for local search results. High rankings for “Dealership near me”-style searches will be the bread and butter of your organic website traffic.


The only way to effectively reach this new breed of car shopper is to provide them with a digital experience that demands their attention and maintains their interest throughout the entire shopping process.


Pulling in your local traffic will not only draw in website visitors, it will allow you to build relationships with loyal customers who will return to use your service department and upgrade their vehicle when the time comes.

A few of the must-have local SEO features for your website include:

  • A Google My Business profile with information that is accurate and up-to-date
  • Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) on your website and local directories (Check out our free guide to auditing your online presence for help with this)
  • Clear internal-link structure that supports ease of website navigation and information hierarchy
  • Optimized url structure, title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content
  • Individual location pages for auto group websites
  • Mobile-friendly site structure

Tools such as our own Listings Manager are a great way to guarantee your Google My Business profile and business directories such as Apple Maps, Yelp, Bing, Facebook, and more are always in sync with your website. And because we are always laser-focused on search rankings, our websites are developed from the ground up to provide the maximum local search value with a mobile-first approach, accessible website navigation, and optimized content.

Listings Manager from DealerOn, shows a variety of screens using the Listings Manager application

Listings Manager can keep your contact information from business directories in sync with your dealership website contact information

Include Structured Data and Rich Snippets

The process of organizing your website data to be search engine friendly is known as “structured data”. By including structured data (also known as “schema”) in your website, you not only increase your search rankings, you greatly increase the likelihood of Google generating rich snippets in your search results.

Rich snippets are extra pieces of information on search listings, such as vehicle details, pricing, and ratings. With the added context provided by rich snippets, your search listings will stand out from the listings of your competitors, and you’ll gain a critical edge in the battle for local search domination.

Example of a rich snippet found on Google Search

Rich snippets include additional information about a webpage such as ratings, reviews, and pricing

Important Note: Rich snippets are not guaranteed to show up on all search results, but by employing structured data in your website, you will greatly increase your chances that Google will show these in your listings.

The details added to Google searches by rich snippets are proven drivers of website traffic. According to a study by Milestone Research, search listings that include rich snippets have a CTR (Click-Through-Rate) of 58%, while non-rich results have a CTR of 41%. As the numbers show, shoppers who find valuable information on the initial search page are far more likely to click through to your site.

For vehicle listings and model research pages, your structured data should include information such as:

  • Price range
  • Trims
  • Available inventory
  • Reviews
  • Ratings

DealerOn websites take advantage of structured data right out of the box and is included in all website packages. Every page and vehicle listing features a wide variety of structured data to maximize your local SEO strength and boost your chances of receiving coveted rich snippets in your search results.

Provide Vehicle Search Options

Once a potential customer visits your website, you need to provide them with a variety of options to help them find their next vehicle. Giving them the option to search by monthly payment, in addition to the standard free search and price search, is a fantastic way to encourage them to view vehicles they might think are outside their price range.

How a particular vehicle fits into a household’s monthly budget is often the deciding factor in whether it gets purchased. Working with this expectation by offering a search-by-budget option both enhances the user experience of your website and increases the likelihood of a customer submitting a lead on a higher priced vehicle.


Once a potential customer visits your website, you need to provide them with a variety of options to help them find their next vehicle.


The reason for this is simple: high sticker prices are abstracts. Very few people can envision how a $50,000 vehicle will impact their budget day-to-day based on sticker price alone. It’s the monthly payments that have real value in a household’s budget. A CarGurus study found that 37% of shoppers base their vehicle purchases on the monthly payment price, and with the added value of shopping via budget, this number will only go up.

Screenshot showing DealerOn Shop-By-Budget feature, feature allows users to search for vehicles by monthly payment

Allow your customers to filter vehicles by monthly payment so that they have a clear picture of how each vehicle in your inventory fits into their monthly budget

Since we launched our Search-By-Budget feature, we’ve found that over 75% of shoppers search for vehicles by monthly lease and finance payments. Monthly payment searches are now the go-to choice for the majority of car shoppers.

Make Your Search Results Shine

Not every customer has the same concerns, so providing a variety of options for how to browse your inventory directly addresses their individual needs. It’s a subtle indicator that you care about their shopping experience and makes your site more user-friendly than your competitors.

A tile-based grid option on your SRPs (Search Results Pages) allows customers to instantly view a wide variety of vehicles in your inventory. It’s ideal for shoppers who don’t have a solid idea of what they want and can help them narrow a choice down. Horizontal viewing options give your customers larger vehicle images along with additional vehicle information, perfect for those shoppers who want to compare the finer details of each choice.

Screenshots comparing the Cosmos Search Results Page Grid and List Views

The Cosmos platform gives your shoppers the option to switch between their viewing method of choice: Grid view shows more vehicle inventory, List view shows more vehicle information

Each of your search results viewing options should allow your customers to look at a variety of vehicle images without having to click through to the Vehicle Detail Page (VDP). This streamlines the process, giving customers important information without forcing them to repeatedly navigate back and forth between your SRPs and VDPs.

Offer Custom Vehicle Ordering

Sometimes browsing inventory isn’t enough. A customer might have a clearly defined set of needs and cost requirements, and nothing you have on the lot is going to meet every one of them. Give them a way to custom-order their perfect vehicle to keep their business where it belongs: with you and away from your competition.

Order-A-Vehicle, available exclusively from DealerOn, does precisely this. Your customers can build their perfect vehicle down to the tiniest detail. Now, when your customers can’t find the exact vehicle they are searching for, you can guide them to your Order-A-Vehicle application, where they are free to build the vehicle of their dreams.

Order-A-Vehicle Screenshot, shows custom-vehicle ordering interface

Even if you don’t have the exact vehicle your customers are searching for, custom vehicle ordering allows you to keep them engaged on your website

Display Clear and Transparent Pricing

Price is going to be the number one concern for your customers, so the last thing you want is confusion over it. Your pricing should be clear and understandable in an instant.

Featuring all the available options is imperative, including vehicle price, monthly finance and lease price, as well as all available rebates, incentives, taxes, and fees. Customers need to know exactly how much they’re paying in total and how much per month.

PriceStak For INFINITI, shows variety of pricing configurations available through PriceStak

Transparent pricing information to gives your shoppers a clear view of the true cost of a vehicle

Our PriceStak Payments feature gives your customers a clear view of all the initial vehicle pricing available to them, including customizable incentives and rebates. You build trust with your customers with pricing transparency and help them find the right vehicle for their needs and budget.

Leverage Digital Retail

Comprehensive digital retailing is the final frontier in selling cars. Digital retail allows your customers to complete most of the financing process online, at their convenience, and gets them personally invested in a particular vehicle, making them much more likely to complete the final purchase.

By providing a digital retailing option, not only will you be serving the needs of your growing customer base, you will be adapting to the rapidly changing marketplace. You give your customers the power to create a custom financing offer, which in turn increases the transparency of your pricing process. Your customers get exactly what they want for a price they know they can afford, because they created and customized the offer themselves.

Apex Digital Retail Summary Screen, shows Apex Digital Retail application in use

Digital retail gives your shoppers the power to create their own custom financing offers from your website

Apex Digital Retailing, our flagship digital retail solution, gives the modern car buyer the financing freedom they demand. With Apex, your customers can create a customized payment plan for any vehicle in stock and provide you with a highly detailed, actionable lead from a motivated buyer.

Cosmos: The Ultimate Dealership Website Platform

Cosmos is the comprehensive website solution your dealership needs to compete in today’s market.

With Cosmos you allow your customer to decide what type of buyer they are via a guided experience that gives them the ability to choose where, how, and what to buy based on their specific needs, without any surprises. An exclusive suite of applications designed to meet shoppers’ exact needs and make the reliance on third party add-ons and digital agencies a thing of the past.

254% Increase in Conversions

Find out how one Ford dealer saw a 254% increase in conversion rate by switching to Cosmos

By connecting manufacturer data with your website, Cosmos automates all your critical online dealership functions:

  • Create and sync specials
  • Update your business profiles
  • Generate creative and landing pages

Schedule your Cosmos demo today and we’ll show you how Cosmos can transform your dealership website into the ultimate lead machine.

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Author Justin Robinson-Prickett

Justin Robinsion-Prickett is a content writer from Los Angeles with over a decade of experience in the auto industry under his belt. When not working, he enjoys fencing, re-editing dialogue in old movies to remove articles, and playing with his two dogs James Westphal and Dr. Kenneth Noisewater.

More posts by Justin Robinson-Prickett

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