Today’s automotive consumers spend an average of seven hours researching and shopping online when buying a new or used car. Much of this time is spent looking at online listings posted by local auto dealers.
The vast majority of auto dealers list their inventory online, which means auto consumers may scroll through hundreds of different listings when shopping for a car. One way to cut through the clutter is to use high quality car images, which are striking enough to stop consumers mid-scroll.
When consumers click on your listing, they expect to see more than just additional car images. These consumers also want to read clearly written ad copy to learn about the vehicle in the picture.
However, auto dealers often put little effort into writing their ad copy. Don’t make this mistake. Ad copy should not be treated as an afterthought. Follow these tips to produce compelling copy to pair with your high quality car images:
GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Before you start typing, it’s important to take the time to get to know your target audience. The reason for this is simple: you can’t write effective copy if you don’t understand who will be reading it.
The people who are looking at your ads are obviously interested in purchasing a vehicle, but you need to know more than that. Why are they purchasing a vehicle? What qualities are they looking for in a vehicle? What need are they trying to fulfill or problems are they trying to solve by purchasing a vehicle?
For example, research shows that people with growing families often buy large SUVs with three rows of seating. If you’re writing a copy for a large SUV listing, the person who reads it might be looking for a car with plenty of space for their kids in the back. Highlighting the seating options and spacious trunk in your copy might help you win over these customers.
BEGIN WITH THE BASICS
People who click on your listing shouldn’t have to scroll down or read through hundreds of words to learn more about the vehicle in the photo. The first thing people want to see when they click on a listing is some basic information about the vehicle. Before you start describing the vehicle in detail, make sure you answer these basic questions:
- What year is it?
- What is the make and model?
- What is the trim level?
- Is it new or used?
- What color is the exterior?
- What color is the interior?
- Does the vehicle have leather or cloth seats?
Don’t assume that the reader will know this information based on the listing photos or headline text. If customers can’t quickly find this information in your copy, they may go back to the search results to look at other listings.
INCLUDE IMPORTANT NUMBERS
You’re almost ready to start writing copy that describes the vehicle in detail. But first, you need to add important numbers to your listing.
Two of the most important numbers to add to your listing are the mileage and the price. Some dealers choose not to disclose the price for higher-end vehicles online. Instead, they instruct customers to contact the dealership to request pricing. However, research shows that including the price alongside vehicle photos can increase vehicle detail page (VDP) views by 10% for new cars and 87% for used cars. If you want to sell vehicles as quickly as possible, it’s best to be upfront about the price.
These aren’t the only numbers your listing should include. You should also include the miles per gallon (MPG), especially if it is an eco-friendly vehicle. Be specific with numbers when describing the warranty, too.
For example, instead of saying the vehicle has a manufacturer’s warranty, you should say the vehicle has a three-year or 36,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty. Including these numbers helps potential customers understand the extent of the warranty.
STICK TO THE FACTS
Some auto dealers try to sell a lifestyle rather than a vehicle when writing their ad copy. For example, when writing the ad copy for a convertible, they may go into great detail about putting the top down to feel the wind in your hair and sun on your face. This type of copy might paint a pretty picture, but it’s not an effective way to sell a vehicle.
People who are shopping online for a vehicle want to know as much as possible about their options. They aren’t interested in reading a creative short story, so stick to the facts when writing your ad copy. Including too much unnecessary information in your ad may distract or frustrate the reader. But the more specific information you provide about the vehicle in your copy, the more effective the ad might be.
Make sure to incorporate the keywords you want to target as you write your ad copy. This will improve your chances of appearing in relevant search results.
The keywords you incorporate in your copy will vary depending on the listing. At the bare minimum, you should target the year, make, and model of the vehicle you are trying to sell. So if you are creating a listing for a 2021 Toyota Corolla, your primary keyword should be “2021 Toyota Corolla.” You may also want to use location-specific keywords by putting your city in front of your primary keywords. This makes it easier for consumers who are located near you to find your listings.
Include your keywords in the heading/title, image captions, and main description of the vehicle. Don’t overdo it, though. Your primary keyword should only be mentioned once or twice in your listing’s main description.
Don’t assume that the people who will eventually read your ad copy will know a lot about cars. If you include a lot of industry-specific jargon, the people who you are trying to sell to may not understand what you are saying. To avoid this problem, it’s best to avoid using automotive industry jargon.
You should also avoid using acronyms to describe the vehicle’s features. You may know that AWD stands for “all-wheel drive,” but your potential customers may not be familiar with this acronym. Use layman’s terms to ensure that everyone who is looking for a car will be able to comprehend your copy.
END WITH A CALL-TO-ACTION
Put the finishing touch on your ad copy by ending it with a call-to-action. A call-to-action is a statement that instructs the reader to take a specific action. Some examples of effective calls-to-action for online car listings include:
- Call us now
- Check availability
- Email us
- Schedule a showroom appointment
- Book your test drive
- Learn more about this vehicle
A call-to-action can take many different forms. Some calls-to-action are plain text, which means the reader must figure out how to follow your instructions on their own. The most effective calls-to-action, however, are either text hyperlinks or buttons. This gives the reader the option of clicking on the link or button to take the specific action.
If you aren’t sure which call-to-action to use, run a few A/B tests to see which one is the most effective. This will help you evaluate the strength of your calls-to-action so you know which one you should include on the rest of your online listings.