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If people buy on emotion, why do so many online vehicle
listings read like a window sticker’s staid list of features?

One reason is that many internet managers are unaware of
technology that allows them to add marketing messages to their online listings,
says Mike Baker, president of AutoUpLinkUSA, a provider of online vehicle
inventory listing services.

Another reason is that internet salespeople aren’t marketing
writers, and they often are not comfortable crafting the kind of online advertising
messages that move buyers to take action. But they can do it, with a little
effort.

Modern technology, such as VIN explosion, can update
inventory every 30 minutes and simplify getting inventory listed on online
car-shopping websites, Baker says.

“These tools help a dealer quickly populate online buying
sites with new- and used-vehicle VIN data, options and accessories descriptions
and attractive photos of the vehicles,” he says.

Showing plenty of photos is important.

“Don’t upload just one or two images of the vehicle to be
listed,” Baker says. “Rather, portray the vehicle from multiple exterior and
interior perspectives and be sure the images are clear and crisp so details
pop.”

Autotrader.com reports online inventory listings that
feature multiple photographs of listed vehicles generate 46 percent more
inquiries than one-photo online ads.

A short line of text helps direct viewers to particular
features in a photo, such as a premium sound system or in-dash GPS.

Baker says another aspect of powerful online vehicle
listings is information that describes the vehicle make and model year, mileage
and the like.

“Be sure to add other details like options, aftermarket
add-ons and perhaps some personalized note from the dealer that more fully
describes the condition and marketability of the particular vehicle,” he says.

Videos help online car ads, too. A study cites a four-times
higher click-through rate when video is provided.

Too many online ads read like newspaper classifieds –
facts, facts and more facts – when it is an emotional trigger that
motivates customers to buy.

Effective online listings use headlines laden with benefits.
They grab the viewer’s attention, identify the buyer, deliver the message and
compel the viewer to submit a lead or call the dealership.

Baker says don’t just list that Sebring convertible –
pack the headline with a benefit for the viewer: “Freedom, With Wind in Your
Hair” or “All Eyes on You” and then write your descriptive information.

Dealership sales trainer Mark Tewert says better online copy
targets the type of buyer for a particular vehicle.

In other words, copy for an import tuner should talk tuner
language, while an ad for a Cadillac CTS owner requires a totally different
message. It’s a matter of striking a specific chord.

Tewert advises that being able to write copy like this
requires putting yourself in the buyers’ shoes.