How to Increase FREE Traffic, Increase Conversions, and Increase Profit

We all understand that organic traffic has a higher percentage of leads that turn into actual sales. It’s more important than ever and is what has been lacking the entire time.


Let me go right to the point: as an industry, we have neglected and managed one of the greatest assets we have ever had very poorly. The entire existing and easily-improving FREE online traffic that dealership websites receive is this asset.


The reason we missed it is also really simple. The current version of Google Analytics (GA) is segmented and largely linear. We examine each type of traffic separately: organic, direct, referred, and Google Business Profiles. Not many dealerships (that I have met) truly lump these all together into the “asset” class of ALL FREE traffic. Once dealerships have done this, it is much simpler to identify this traffic as belonging to a distinct “class” and to be able to dig further.


The genuine conversion rate of that traffic is the second thing that many dealerships have overlooked for almost a decade (not all, but a significant enough portion for me to make a point here). The conversion rates of the traffic are another asset class that requires management and optimization.


Let me summarize everything so you can see why I think dealerships should all pay greater attention to these assets. (Have I emphasized the word “asset” enough to make you consider it?) The polar opposite of “free” is “paid.” Before even exploring (or exhausting) all of the optimization chances to enhance their free traffic results, I would predict that many dealerships turned to pay traffic sources, such as Google Ads, paid social media, third-party listing sites, lead generation businesses, etc.


I’m not saying that “paid” advertising has no place, as many SEO-focused businesses might suggest. It serves a purpose and frequently offers good value and a return on investment (ROI). I am a strong supporter of well-managed paid campaigns that focus on ROI. Recently, a $9,500 campaign that was optimized generated 680 leads at a cost of $14 each. I would spend that $9,500 every day of the week if I owned a dealership. The dealership was able to set records thanks to that promotion in almost every category.


Go back to FREE.


I would suggest that dealerships start by looking at their conversion rates. The first step is to make sure that website statistics are configured to capture actual “conversational conversions,” if they aren’t already. To manage it effectively, you must measure it correctly.


Many dealerships that are reading this have already taken care of it, but once more, the first thing a dealership should do is make sure its website is correctly tagged. The conversion rates for all free traffic sources are the next thing dealerships need to be aware of. What proportion of a dealership’s total traffic results in a lead—and not just any lead, but one that can be tracked and is a “conversational conversion,” such as a phone call, an email lead from a form, a chat lead (not simply one that is initiated), and/or a text conversation.


The dealership needs to work harder to make the most of the free traffic if the figure is below 3.5% to 4.5%. For instance, a website that is correctly optimized and receives 10,000 free visits per month will produce 250 more leads (FREE) than a website that converts at 2% since it is set up to convert and generate actual conversions (leads) at 4.5% or higher from all of the free traffic sources! Again, that’s 250 additional leads.


It sounds simple, clear, and perhaps even trivial. I’d probably agree with you if you said: Yeah, duh, we understand that; that’s simply simple math and makes for a fantastic essay. However, when a dealership has finished a basic audit, I encourage them to track these indicators and report their findings to me.


Dealerships can have a better understanding of all the free visitors visiting their website at various levels of conversion by quickly crunching all these numbers. The expected outcome is to convert free traffic at the higher end of the benchmarks (at a minimum), regardless of how much dealerships are ready to spend on paid traffic. So, starting by doing this is a terrific idea.


Moreover, here’s why:


The additional 250 leads should result in 20 to 25 extra sales. If dealerships’ websites are configured properly to turn ALL traffic into leads and sales, they should get a better ROI from any paid solutions they utilize to increase their traffic.


Finally, I’ll share with you a quick technique that dealerships can use to assess the caliber of website visitors. A dealership has a quality issue if its paid traffic isn’t converting at levels comparable to “free traffic” (or even higher). With this information, dealerships can tailor their campaigns, target markets, and creative content to convert at the rate that they should expect from their free visitors.


In conclusion, dealerships need to be more aware of all the free traffic they receive. Dealerships need to treat all FREE traffic like the valuable resource that it is and pay (more) attention to their overall conversion rates. This will enable dealerships to either: With a well-configured website and a free traffic strategy,


Sell the same number of cars for less money through advertising.

Increase automobile sales with a similar ad budget by scaling more easily.

The third comes next. Dealerships can more easily extend their operations to heights they never imagined. With these tactics in place, dealerships may invest with more confidence to scale after having more confidence in the conversions from their website.

No leads were lost. reduced overhead.
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