The automotive digital marketing world is not a static one. Things change. It’s the only constant in ours and other industries.
With that knowledge, it should be easy to understand why we test tenaciously. There is no end to the evolution of marketing tactics nor is there an end to the revolutions spawned from new technologies. Entire aspects of our industry have had to change completely thanks to the rise of mobile, for example.
Let’s take a look at why testing is important, then why we have to do it constantly.
Why We Test
The most forward-facing aspect of online chat is the call-to-action. Your customers see it on your website in multiple forms. When they click on it to initiate a chat, they are met with a smiling person who represents the chat operator on the other end of the computer screen.
As such, most companies will go through and select stock images to populate the chat windows. They will pick them based upon preferences and appeal. Often, they’ll use good ol’ fashioned intuition to guide them. It’s just an image of a smiling face and it doesn’t really hold much weight in the whole scheme of things, right?
Wrong. The reality is that the image used in chat boxes can have a dramatic effect on the lead-generating abilities of the interface. You can have the same people using the same scripts answering the same questions the same way, but the image can be a singular difference-maker in the end result. We’ve seen spreads as large as 7.94% between two different images.
Even with this information, it’s possible to come to the conclusion that the choices can still be easily handled by personal appeal. In other words, one might come to the conclusion that the gap was caused by picking a “bad” image to test against a “good” image. This is where testing comes in and obliterates the notion. Case-in-point: there was an operator image that we had in one of our early batches of operator pictures that was universally liked by the team. In fact, it was my personal favorite. Testing proved that it didn’t just underperform. It was the worst-performing in the batch.
We all would like to believe that we know enough about people and preferences to make the right decisions, but only through proper testing can we make the distinction between reality and gut feeling.
Why We Keep Testing
Most companies put effort into testing different aspects of their chat software. Unfortunately, it requires diligence and the constant investments of time and money to do the testing properly. As a result, most companies in our industry test, find the results, and implement based upon the data.
This doesn’t work long-term. It will work for that moment and probably for the near future, but things change too rapidly on the internet and in digital marketing to rely on old data. By “old” data, we mean information that has been stagnant for months, not years. It’s not like before when dealers could make judgments about their marketing and advertising in 1999 based upon information from 1996. In the digital age, data gets stagnant and pretty much worthless much more quickly.
Testing is an ongoing practice. Most companies see it as a sprint, but it’s not. In fact, it’s not even a marathon. It’s a never-ending journey that continues to yield improvements and even the occasional surprises. There is no end to the value of collecting and testing data, whether it’s the chat operator image, the flow of script tracks, or even something simple like whether to start the conversation off with “hi” or “hello.” This is one of the things that we know differentiate our product and services and its why our clients get more leads.
The testing never ends.