Are You Being Googled?

How can you make sure auto loan prospects find your site and, if they do, keep them there?


Drive Loan Business to Your Site, Keep Them Longer

The English language is extremely malleable. According to the dictionary, the word “goggle” originally came from Middle English and it meant to squint or stare with wide eyes. A device used to protect the eyes became known as “goggles.” And in the early twentieth century, comic page readers in America came to love a short, goofy-looking man who went by the name of Barney Google, he of the "goo-goo-googly eyes.” Then, of course, there’s “googol” the number.

All that is ancient history. Because today there is only one common meaning for the word that may have started with two gees but now has two ohs. Today’s connotation describes the Internet user’s search tool of choice. As a noun, a verb, an adjective, in almost every usage imaginable, the word “Google ®” is where most online shoppers begin their search for what they need or want.

Now why is this important to my credit union, you say? After all, you already have a website, which your members know about and visit.

The Web Extends Your Reach

More than 5% of all web searches are for researching and purchasing vehicles. More than 62% of new car buyers used the Internet. And approximately 25% of all auto site visitors buy a car within three months.

Clearly, the impact of the web on commerce is huge—and getting bigger all the time. According to Forrester Research, the Internet will reach an estimated 63 million U.S. households by 2008, with online buying moving increasingly toward the mainstream. And according to Jupiter Media, the Internet will soon influence 34% of all U.S. retail spending, reaching a projected $105 billion.

Yes, car shoppers are flocking to the Internet in ever-increasing numbers. But what do these online car shoppers look for when surfing the web?

Based on published findings, 54% of online consumers rated configuring a vehicle with all options or accessories as important or very important, and the same percentage gave equally high marks to comparing vehicles side-by-side. More specifically, 90% sought list price; 79% consulted consumer guides; and 73% looked for financing information.

Cast, Reel In, Keep

Seventy-three percent check out their financing options! Plus, once a consumer starts researching financing options, 83% of them actually purchase a loan. How can you make sure those prospects find your site and, if they do, how do you keep them there?

Here are a few reminders for doing business online that will help you both drive traffic to your site and keep those visitors longer:

  • Add your website address to your other Marketing materials
  • Actively promote the benefits of your website to your members via newsletters, statement stuffers, letters, etc.
  • Make your website “search friendly” (e.g., add a site search engine, such as Google Mini)
  • Optimize search engine efficiencies (e.g., know which keywords people are using, then add those words to your site)
  • Leverage the efforts of your online partners
  • Avoid partners that don’t serve your best interests. If you place an outside link on your site, for example, you risk losing that prospect to a competitor
  • Give your members a one-stop shopping experience, with a complete research tool for new and used vehicles, new vehicle pricing and used values, as well as vehicle comparisons across all makes and models
  • Offer up-to-date and complete content, backed up with useful research tools to make your site easy to use, as well as relevant

Are You Being Googled?

Which brings me to my final point, which is, of course, the point where I started: Google ®. Make sure when online car shoppers use Google ®—or any other major search engine—to research vehicles or financing that you or your partners appear on the first three results pages. Don’t get “ungoogled.” Remember, if it’s easy to find you, it’s just as easy to find your competition.

Work with a search engine optimization vendor to determine your best course of action. Power your site with complete, objective and up-to-date vehicle research tools. Make your tools seamless. Let your members research any vehicle, new or used. Above all, give them access to accurate dealer prices or trade-in values. If you do, you’ll capture more eyeballs and wide-eyed members will flock to your site.

Chrome Systems pioneered the technology behind electronic vehicle configuration close to 20 years ago and continues to lead the industry. Today, Chrome's complete and accurate vehicle descriptions and prices facilitate online loan origination and enable lenders to better understand the true value of their collateral.



This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

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May 9, 2005



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