Tess Karesky
| 11 October 2016

How to Use Words to Convert Customers

 data-entity-type= When it comes to selling cars, language is important. Recently, we’ve been studying what we call the “Language of Closers” and how certain terms, phrases and ways of speaking are more compelling to car buyers than others. Jason Kessler, a data scientist with CDK Global, used sentiment analysis and natural language processing to analyze hundreds of third-party research site vehicle reviews. Combining that with conversion data from the site, Kessler was able to build a tool that identified common language in high converting reviews – the social content that is likely to push shoppers to the next step. Imagine there are two recent reviews of the model you’re promoting. One, a five-star review says something along the lines of, “I love my amazing car.” The other, a four-star review, goes into detail on the positives and negatives of the buyer’s experience with the car. You can put one on your VDP.

Which do you choose? What descriptions are more important to your customers?

Information is more important than “stars”

You might be inclined to pick the five-star review. It’s easy to assume that the very positive sentiment in the first review would be more influential than the mixed four-star review. However, it turns out that the positive sentiment and five stars is not always the most compelling when it comes to reviews. The most valuable review is one that converts shoppers to buyers. That means they choose a vehicle or visit a dealer site as a result of reading a review. So, what makes a review more likely to convert? It’s all about the content. Even a three-star review with the right language can be far more influential than some five-star reviews.

Relatable information is more important than technical descriptions

A common theme emerged among the highest ranking terms. Specific, relatable information is better than emotional language. “Passing” (as in passing someone on the road) was the number one predictive word for conversion in sedan reviews. It’s easy for most shoppers to visualize and understand the power of a car by its passing ability, while attributes like “torque” and “horsepower” are only meaningful to car enthusiasts. Many people might not have a clear understanding of horsepower or torque, but they do know the need for power when passing someone quickly on a two-lane highway. It’s no coincidence that “torque” was actually one of the lowest converting words. “Quiet” and “comfortable” were other highly ranked words for all vehicle reviews. Again, these are words that help a customer imagine what it might be like to drive the vehicle.

Content is more important than positivity

 data-entity-type= Every email you send out should have a specific purpose. Eliminate any distractions, like multiple images or nonessential information, that could prevent your customer from taking the desired action. Among some of the lowest converting words were “features” and “amazing.” While both words are associated with positive sentiment, they aren’t very useful. Great features on an amazing car doesn’t mean much to a shopper when they don’t know the reviewer’s expectations for either. Detailing those features and why they’re amazing in a relatable way does. In an ideal world, reviewers would use all the right words to compel other customers to buy the vehicle. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. You can’t control what your customers will say. You can, however, choose more impactful reviews to promote on your site. You can also adjust your own language to be more compelling. Incorporating these specific, easy-to-understand terms into your vehicle descriptions is one way to nudge customers along the purchase path. Another is adjusting the language you use in lead responses.


Tess Karesky
Tess Karesky

<p><strong>Tess Karesky</strong> is a Marketing Research Specialist at CDK Global providing insights and thought leadership to drive the industry forward. She has researched the behaviors and habits of Millennial, luxury, Hispanic and female shoppers, in addition to other consumer groups. Her findings include insights into optimizing web content, reputation, advertising, sales and service experience, and customer retention. Her research has been presented to automotive executives at Lexus, Audi, Nissan, Infiniti and GM, as well as industry events including the Driving Sales Most Valuable Insight award. She feels strongly in the value of quality, engaging research that provides actionable insights. She can be reached at <a href=""></a>.</p&gt;

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