Closeup on business woman showing thumbs down

The Single Worst Thing A Dealership Can Do In Video Marketing

by Brian Cox

It has long been considered a best practice in search engine optimization and search engine marketing to use deep linking to take searchers to the exact content they are searching for, rather than simply directing them to your home page. If the searcher is not taken directly to the content they are seeking, they are forced to do a second search for the information once they hit your site. In many cases, searchers will simply click the “Back” button and move on to the next result. Consumers don’t have the time or patience to navigate your website, whether they landed there through an organic search or clicked on a PPC ad. There’s nothing more frustrating when researching a product online, clicking a link and being taken straight to a store’s home page, rather than the actual product page. Google recognizes this and takes deep linking and relevant results into account in search engine results as well.

In video marketing, there is a similar phenomenon that businesses use that is parallel and equally frustrating – video pre-roll. Video marketing success is determined and measured by how many people actually watch your video. Video pre-roll is, in general, just as annoying to consumers as pop-up ads. If a consumer is exposed to your video marketing message, is interested and clicks to watch it. To then have to watch a commercial before actually viewing the content they desire, can be just as frustrating as being taken directly to your home page. Volkswagen recognizes this and integrated it into a video ad campaign for the new Brazilian Beetle, the Fusca. The campaign takes advantage of the fact that consumers hate having ads appear before content. The “skip ad” option on YouTube has to be the most clicked on link on that site. Where does your mouse hover while you wait the obligatory 5 seconds simply so you can view the content you actually want to watch? A study by research firm MetrixLab concluded, “Of those who has seen pre-roll ads, 94 percent had skipped them, and 52 percent said they did so frequently.”

Taking this a step further, many dealerships are now front-loading their videos with commercials for their dealerships. Video marketing is a very powerful way to market your vehicles. When a consumer takes interest – regardless of where they encounter the video – forcing them to watch a 20 second (or longer) commercial for the dealership, prior to showing them the actual video of the vehicle, can be even more annoying then pre-roll ads. If 94 percent of people would skip watching a video pre-roll ad, how many consumers will sit through a commercial for your dealership, knowing that they cannot skip it?

If the vehicle videos on your website have pre-rolls branding your dealership, this forces the customer to watch the same marketing message for every car they review. So we suggest not putting them on your website videos. If you have to have a pre-roll then keep it short and create two versions of the video, one for your website without pre-roll, and one with. Another option is to not use pre-rolls and just put post-rolls, this way you are still getting your message across, but without inconveniencing the customer.

There’s nothing wrong with branding your videos. In fact, you should. There are many opportunities and methods you can use to integrate branding into your videos – from walkarounds to company culture or frequently asked question videos. Don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with creating commercials as content and a way to promote your sale or dealership. However, you should use them independent of your other content. Don’t make a consumer choose not to watch your vehicle marketing because they don’t want to sit through your commercial.

Just as in deep linking, you will see better results by immediately serving up relevant information on the subject a consumer is searching for. You’ll see more views, lower bounce rates and increased conversions for the most obvious of reasons: consumers will watch them.

Businessman's Hand Holding Toy Car

Sell the Car, Not the Price

by Tim James

Ever since the first car dealership opened, dealers have understood the emotional impact of “the walkaround.” As consumers move through the buying cycle, they get to a point where they don’t just want, but need to experience a vehicle that they are interested in. In the past, most consumers would visit the dealership in the evenings, when the lot was closed to avoid “being sold.” But driven by their need to experience the vehicle in person, they still came, day and night.

Well, believe it not, nothing has changed! Consumers still have an uncontrollable need to experience a vehicle first hand as they move through the buying cycle. The only difference is that the initial experience takes place online via a Vehicle’s Detail Pages (VDP Pages). Imagine, however, if a dealer could put one of their vehicles (or their entire inventory) in every mall, venue and every other busy consumer traffic area in their PMA, at no additional cost. Now image if they could have a salesperson at each and every location to talk to customers 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

While placing a vehicle and a salesperson everywhere in the physical world isn’t practical for dealers, it’s absolutely possible in the digital world. In this age of online shopping, one of the most important assets that any dealer has is their inventory’s VDP. Chances are very good that car buyers who land on a dealer’s vehicle display page are very close to buying. Every vehicle in their inventory should thus be displayed to its best advantage, and on as many potential touch-points that a car buyer is likely to visit as possible.

Let’s face it. Most of your in-stock vehicles are competing for consumer interest. Many dealers choose to attract consumers via low prices, sacrificing profit for the sale. Smart dealers understand that high quality, visually appealing inventory marketing will get a shopper emotionally attached to a vehicle. It will motivate that shopper to want to visit their store to test drive “their” car long before any “price” motivation will. The fact is, once a shopper begins forming an emotional attachment to a vehicle, you no longer have to be the lowest price to motivate the shopper to visit your store.

Nothing can generate a higher level of emotional attachment than a quality video presentation of your inventory, nothing. The best part of the equation is that your shoppers actually want to see videos of the vehicles they are considering. In fact, video content is quickly becoming the media of choice for consumers. 85% of automotive shoppers stated that they watched a video of a vehicle during their car buying experience, and half of them (49%) take action immediately after watching. While dealers are sure to have nice websites, great pictures of vehicles, attractive newspaper ads with calls-to-action, many neglect the fastest growing type of marketing (and the type of marketing that will have the biggest emotional impact) – video.

Think about it like this, your online advertising should be focused on motivating a shopper to “visit your dealership”, not “buy a vehicle”. Price based motivation is asking the shopper to commit to a purchase before they’ve ever even visited your store or test driven the vehicle. Meanwhile, a video’s power is inherent in its ability to involve multiple senses when displaying the vehicle to an online car shopper. Having high-quality videos will allow shoppers to experience your inventory at the highest level possible online, making it more likely for a shopper to become emotionally attached to a vehicle and have an uncontrollable need to visit your dealership to take a test drive.

Having the ability to then place that video on multiple touch-points throughout the buying cycle increases the odds that the consumer finds, views and chooses your vehicle over your competitor’s, regardless of whether it’s the lowest price.

Improve the quality of your inventory marketing to potential customers and you will see more interest, higher conversion, more profit per sale and a faster turn rate. Sell the car, not the price.

blue, burning, close, component,

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan

by Brian Cox

There’s no doubt that video marketing, in general, has become increasingly important in today’s world. Google has the search market cornered which is why, as marketers, it is important to pay close attention to the changes they make. However, did you know it’s even more important to pay attention to the second largest search engine in the world? You might think that I’m referring to Bing but, in fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube. Thus the importance of video for SEO.

Dealerships have increasingly embraced video in various degrees for years – from simple stitched videos to professionally created live walkarounds. There’s no doubt that consumers love video. In fact Google’s recent automotive study indicates that over 80 percent of car shoppers will watch a vehicle video and then take immediate action.

The challenges that face car dealerships when it comes to creating videos are the same as they have always been – time and money. There are many solutions that exist for car dealerships in video marketing. I’m fairly certain that you would agree that ANY video is better than no video. And you may even believe that all video is equal. Well, with this blog, I hope to help dispel those erroneous thoughts.

Let’s start with the fact that live video is the most effective (which it is). I don’t think any dealer would deny that, in a perfect world, they would have video walkarounds for every one of their vehicles. The infrastructure and format of your video is just as, if not more important than the quality of it. Some providers use flash-based video which allows them to offer video services to their dealer clients at a lower price point… and, on the surface, there is no visible difference between a flash video and a real video. In reality, however, there are huge differences.

Flash videos are self-contained videos that require a player (like Adobe Flash Player) or a compatible web browser with a plugin. It wasn’t too long ago that flash video was the de facto standard. Technology, however, has changed. Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet and websites using mobile devices. Guess what’s not compatible with those? You got it, flash video. In fact, in mid-July of this year, Google itself announced that it would start issuing warnings to people attempting to access websites containing flash with the statement “Uses flash. May not work on your device.” Chances are really good that a consumer coming across a website or video that receives this message will probably not continue, but rather seek their answers elsewhere.

Your website will certainly not benefit from video if your audience is not viewing it. In fact, flash video isn’t supported by any Apple device, nor Android versions 4.1 or higher, according to Google. These devices account for a HUGE share of the mobile market. Flash video is also not compatible with some third party inventory sites, and it also has problems with syndication to social networks and other touch points that consumers are on.

Real video, on the other hand, offers a few very important distinctions as web developers gravitate towards such things as HTML5 with mobile capabilities and syndication. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Nearly half of the U.S. population has a mobile phone with Internet access, and one out of five page views on the web happen on a mobile device – a number that is growing every month.” Needless to say, if you are using flash, you are already costing yourself 20 percent of potential traffic.

As a dealer, how do you know what kind of video you have? The answer is if your videos are syndicated across the web, viewable on a mobile device or tablet and the search engines can see them, you are doing the right thing and have real video. If not, you most likely have flash.

One of the largest advantages to real video is semantic search. Search engines don’t have the capability of indexing flash video. Real video, properly tagged and built using a semantic structure, can be indexed. Not only can they be crawled by search engines, but the search engines will read each video as an individual web page. This increases your page rankings. Last, but certainly not least, real video has the ability to be syndicated everywhere. All of those touch points that consumers use when vehicle shopping can display your video and increase the reach and impact of your video marketing. Of course more exposure brings more traffic viewing your inventory. And the more traffic your inventory receives, the more leads, conversions and sales you’ll see.

The bottom line is that flash video is a bad solution for video marketers. Flash video may be cheaper than real video, but what are you losing in the end? Just because it’s a shiny object and looks pretty, doesn’t mean that you should be using it. Real video offers businesses the ability to have a bigger footprint with their video marketing. It increases the effective of any marketing and the likelihood that a consumer will want to AND have the ability to watch it. This is the whole exposure aspect of real video plus real syndication. It equals more traffic, which equals more leads. The few dollars you may save by going the flash video route will pale in comparison to the profit you’ll lose from customers who never see your video or visit your dealership.

paint-can-11

Paint Your Way to Increased Profits

by Tim James

As a sales and marketing professional, you probably learned a long time ago that the best way to present your products is by using words that paint a picture. Not just any picture, a picture that puts each shopper in the picture; helps them visualize owning your product; and then mentally experience the emotional pleasure that results from that ownership.

Painting the right picture is crucial for any type of sales. At dealerships, effective salespeople utilize this technique to help the customer visualize driving that new car on a road trip; how comfortable they’ll feel during the trip; how safe they’ll feel on the road and the peace of mind they’ll have knowing that their car will function properly the whole way.

Painting pictures is even more important when dealing with customers you can’t engage with physically, such as online shoppers. Your vehicles are competing with thousands of others for the attention of the shopper. Over the years, inventory marketing has progressed as dealers have increasingly made efforts to better stand out. There was a time when many dealers didn’t even have pictures of their vehicles online. However, it has now become standard as over time, dealers have realized that including pictures increases sales and inquiries. Once everyone started doing this, progressive dealers realized that having MORE pictures made their vehicles stand out from their competition even more. Many dealerships consistently now average 30+ photos of a single vehicle in their marketing. Well-written descriptions have also become important selling points as they personalize the vehicle for the customer. These descriptions can also paint a fairly decent picture to get the reader emotionally committed to the story.

As powerful as good photos and a well-written description are, they pale in comparison to the informational and emotional power of video.

In fact, according to a recent article in TechJournal, Forrester Research reported that one minute of video was worth 1.8 million words. Imagine the emotional commitment you can generate for your inventory! Here are some other statistics shared in that article:

  • Video in email marketing can increase click-through rates by over 96%
  • Opt outs from subscribers were reduced by 75% due to video content in email marketing.
  • Video appears in around 70% of the top Google listings.
  • People who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy.

Customers don’t have the time to visit every dealer that has a 2012 Honda Civic in stock. If your vehicle doesn’t paint a picture that gets a shopper emotionally committed, chances are your vehicles are simply caught in a price or distance filter. Painting pictures, on the other hand, personalizes the vehicle and makes it stand out. Customers want to hear the story of a vehicle. Why do you think vehicle history reports are increasingly popular for consumers? They tell a vehicle’s story.

People process stories in a different way than facts and figures. Successful salespeople avoid catering solely to the analytical side of people, as that’s the part that will tell them that they should buy the least expensive vehicle. You want the customer to involve their emotions in their decision-making. That’s the part that will convince them that they should do it now. That’s when they visualize themselves as owners, not shoppers. Not just owners of ANY car, owners of THIS car…THEIR car.

By utilizing videos for your inventory, you’ll create a better experience for your shoppers resulting in more shoppers taking mental ownership of your inventory, and will hold more gross in the process. Everybody wins.

KiNETiQ™ Mobile 1.0 – Platform Updates

Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, now account for over 10% of all web browsing. With the growing demand for mobile content in mind, we have completely rethought, redesigned and re-engineered our mobile sites to provide users the best way to view your content and inventory.

Design Refresh

Our layouts have been retooled based on usability standards and real-time user data. Our mobile sites now offer the best experience both for our clients and their customers.  New features include:

  • Modernized Layout and design
  • Quicker load time
  • Decreased user bounce rate
  • Clean and simple user interface for faster browsing and effortless decision making

Increased Customization

Our new mobile layout gives you more power to customize your mobile site. The design offers several ways to completely personalize your site:

  •  Brand mobile sites with custom logos and color schemes
  •  Automatically include custom links and navigation items on all content pages
  •  Easily add inventory items, specials and promotions
  •  Create custom content across all pages

Promotion Slider

Our PASS system is now available for mobile.  Your promotions can now be shared across all mobile devices with our new mobile PASS system. Our mobile PASS system offers users a touch-friendly way to view offers and specials right from their mobile device.

Information: http://dealerimpact.com/mobile-website.php

Demo: http://dealerimpactmotors.di-mobi.com/

New Formatting for Text Lead Emails Released

Text-based lead emails have been updated to provide a more structured output of the lead data that is submitted to you through the forms on your website. The lead data has been organized into sections to help you quickly view your lead information in a consistent fashion.

The first two lines of your lead emails will state what Form was submitted, and what Website it was submitted from. The customer data will populate the sections according to which Form was submitted, with common Contact Information and Comments first, followed by Lead-type sections.

We hope this new consistent format will make it easier to read and manage your text-based leads.

Other Platform 2.0 Features and Fixes
Now that migration to our new system is complete, we are working hard to improve and expand the system on a daily basis. We love to hear your new ideas AND constructive criticism. It is your requests and feedback that will determine our future enhancements, so keep those suggestions coming!

Here is Just a Small Sample…

  • Addition of several new data exports – to get your inventory out to more places!
  • Secure Employment Apps viewable within VOCC
  • Improved decoding to provide more details automatically as they become available
  • Improved Listing Subtype filters adds more possibilities for inventory grouping
  • Improved Listing Subtype processing to auto add and remove vehicles on every import
  • Increased types of pre-configured inventory groups for display in vehicle feature widget
  • Added Pending status for manual temporary override of inventory auto-processing
  • Hundreds of bug fixes and minor system and customer-facing tweaks