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The Dos and Don’ts of a Perfect Vehicle Description

Do's and Don't's

Imagine selling a customer on a vehicle before they even send you a lead.

Sound too good to be true? Well, correctly merchandizing your vehicles does just that.

You can teach, market to, and create desire in a customer just by how you present your vehicles online. (Especially if your competition isn’t.) And other than your inventory pictures and video, your vehicle description is the best way for you to tell—and sell—the story of that vehicle to the potential customer.


Do – Include as much about the history of the vehicle as you can

This is especially important for used vehicles.

People want to know details like:

  • How many owners a vehicle has had
  • Whether the previous owner smoked in the vehicle
  • If it been in any accidents

How do you know what information is relevant? Simple. If it is something a customer asks you in the dealership, include it in the online description.


Don’t – Keyword stuff or have one big block of text

People’s brains have been trained to skip over large blocks of text, so the surefire way to make sure nobody reads your vehicle descriptions is by having no line breaks like the description above. You should have enough white space in the content section to keep your reader from thinking, “Yeah… That’s not gonna happen.”

Give your content room to breathe!

While we’re at it: don’t keyword stuff 20 different cities in your description line. Google’s search algorithms are sophisticated enough to tell where your dealership is located and which searchers would be interested. There was a time when this practice made sense. It also once made sense to insulate buildings with cheap and fire resistant asbestos. Both are toxic. Just don’t.


Do – Include descriptions for your New Vehicle Inventory, not just used

Most people think a new car is a new car—every other Ford dealership will have the same description and there is no history of ownership. So why does it need a vehicle description?

Well, there are two reasons:

  • Tell them why they should buy it from YOU. This is your opportunity to let the customer know about your 30-day exchange program, your Test Drive from Home program, or the OEM incentives currently available for that vehicle through yourdealership. This can and does make the difference between someone buying that new car from you, or else straying towards your competitor down the street.


  • Let them know about the different trim levels and how much (or how little) it would cost to upgrade. Is this something you would do on the sales floor? Then do it online. The average car buyer doesn’t know what an LX or SE or Touring is. It’s true that now more than ever, the average car buyer does more research and has a lot more information to work with. But for some reason the trim levels escape them. Let the customer know what model they are dealing with, and the top features of that trim; then explain to them the benefits of the next trim up, and what it has that the current trim does not.


Don’t – Use all caps

Much like the big block of text we discussed above, having all-caps descriptions are a great way to make sure people don’t read what you have to share. Why is this? The Internet has been mainstream for over 20 years now, which means that users have had equally enough time to become used to—and desensitized towards—the tackiest tactics most often used by pop-ups and email spammers.

Also let’s put multiple exclamation marks in here as well. Nobody likes them.


Do – Focus on the demographic to which a vehicle is marketed

If you are writing a description of a minivan, are you going to spend four sentences talking about the engine? Or would the buyer of that vehicle be more interested in the safety features?

Focus on the selling points. When you are in the dealership, you know right away what you are dealing with when you see a guy drive up in a ’69 Mustang with engine modifications and a muscle shirt; he is going to want something with power. Online, we skip the intuition and rely on data-driven analysis to make the best decisions to predict who will be most interested in any particular car. So if you’re selling a Mustang, focus on the engine. If it’s the smallest car your manufacturer makes, focus on the gas savings. You get the idea.

Don’t – Include every single options the vehicle comes with

I’ve seen many vehicle descriptions that are nothing but the 100 or so options available for the model. Not only does having a list this long make it difficult for the customer to find the features that may be relevant to them, most of these items will be featured elsewhere on the site, anyway, like in the VDP.

Do you want to bury your aces in the deck? Then don’t!


Don’t – Use jargon

Most customers don’t know what CFD or PDI means. I bet half of the customers who walk through the door don’t even know what a demo is. It’s best to keep any dealer talk out of your description. And remember, those who understand it probably already know.

Do, Do, Do! – Write vehicle descriptions

If you don’t believe that spending a few minutes to write proper vehicle descriptions is an important part of selling cars online, then you can continue not selling cars online.

Yes, it takes some time to write descriptions for each piece of your inventory, but it also takes time to wash every car, go for test drives, and advertise the inventory. It’s all part of selling the car. The more marketing you do, the more cars you will sell.


Need some expert advice?

Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to winning over customers with your vehicle descriptions.

But if you feel that you’d benefit most from a workshop, inqure; we will set up a training session to help you finesse your descriptions.

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