Design a Video Showroom to Banish Customer Fears

by Tim James, COO, Flick Fusion

Car shoppers still hate to visit dealerships. Ask them why and they’ll tell you they don’t like pushy salespeople, they’re afraid of being ripped off and that buying a car still takes too much time (among other reasons).

In an attempt to banish these customer fears, dealerships come up with marketing slogans like, “No haggle guarantee,” and “Your friendly neighborhood dealer.” But car shoppers remain skeptical. They take to social media, ask friends for recommendations and read online reviews. And increasingly, they’re watching videos.

Video is by far the most powerful communications medium because it taps into our emotion at a sub-conscious level. As human beings we evolved to pay attention to how other humans talk. We interpret their body language. We sense their sincerity. Our very survival can depend upon whether we decide to trust someone–or not.

Instead of telling prospects to trust you, show them they can trust you with videos designed to banish their fears. Create a video showroom on your website that mirrors your sales process and answers your customer’s biggest question: “How will I be treated when I visit this dealership?”

Once you have some good video content, your strategy needs to evolve around getting this video content in front of the right shopper at the right time. Just throwing it on the Homepage or About Us pages of your website doesn’t solve the problem.

Think about it: you train your sales team to “sell the dealership, sell themselves, and then sell the car” when taking an up. This should also be your strategy on your website. Your value proposition and testimonial videos need to be on a landing page along with your inventory videos. So when shoppers click to watch your inventory videos, you are selling the dealership and building trust when it matters most.

What videos should you include on your inventory video landing page? Here are some great ideas:

Value Proposition Videos. After a car shopper decides which make and model they want, the next question they ask is, “Where should I buy it from?” Your video showroom should contain several value proposition videos that give your customers reasons to buy from you.

These videos may have titles like, “Family owned,” “Community involvement,” “Huge selection of vehicles,” or “Fair and upfront pricing.”

Educational Videos. First-time customers and even repeat customers who have not purchased in a while may not know what to expect when they visit your dealership. One of the best ways you can avoid disappointing customers is to set expectations. Create at least one video that takes the customer step-by-step through the process of buying a car. Tell them how much time it will take and explain why each step is necessary.

Customer Testimonials. Today’s car shoppers want social proof. It’s critical to have several customer testimonials in your video showroom that show ordinary people talking about why they like your dealership. When videotaping your testimonials, ask your customers to share what their biggest fear was, and how it turned out they had nothing to fear at all.

Intro Videos. Introduce your general manager, sales manager, service manager and parts manager with personal profile videos. Ensure that the subject is at ease and comes across as likable and friendly. People want to do business with people they like. Video can immediately create that perception, giving your prospects the feeling that they already know and like your staff.

The more you can remove your prospects’ fears and objections, the more you should see an increase in calls, appointments and ups.

What are you customers’ greatest fears? Do you have ideas for videos that will banish those fears?

Don’t Use a Band-Aid When What You Really Need Are Stitches!

by Tim James

There is a lot of talk and buzz building about the importance of video marketing – as there should be. Video is quickly becoming the preferred medium for consumers. Don’t believe me? Literally thousands of articles exist on the Internet illustrating the benefits of using video in your marketing.

But for this blog I would like to take a step back for a minute. I’ve talked about using video in emails, virtual reality, etc. However, it’s time to get back to basics, because, despite the power of video, there are still some dealers who don’t even have videos of their vehicles on their websites.

Let’s get real here. You spend tons of money on your website. That website has one major purpose – to show off your inventory so that a car shopper can get emotionally attached to a vehicle and call you. And I am sure you also spend quite a bit of money driving traffic to your website and vehicle display pages. As well as a considerable chunk of change to get your vehicles on third party listing sites in order to influence and engage with car buyers there. Seeing as all this money is spent to market inventory and drive traffic to it in order to do the only thing that matters – sell a car – then it makes sense to ensure the greatest return on your investment by having the very best advertisement for your vehicle on that vehicle display page!

If you aren’t actually taking full-motion videos to merchandize your vehicles, the next best thing is stitched photo videos. Yeah, I have heard the naysayers that don’t see the value of stitched photo videos but, at the same time, are not doing any video whatsoever. Those dealers are missing out on customers. You don’t have to listen to me… but you should be listening to your customers – and here’s a nugget of data for you:

According to data, stitched photo videos on vehicle display pages have an average 75 percent completion rate.

Now let me ask you a question. Would stitched photo videos have a 75 percent completion rate if customers DIDN’T like them? Of course not. Most dealers have about 40 or so pictures of each vehicle along with a written vehicle description designed to provide information while simultaneously creating an emotional attachment to the vehicle. By presenting this same information with a video (even a stitched photo video), you increase both the informational and emotional value of the content, which means you get more leads.

Look, let’s remove our “opinions” from the equation and just focus on the data, which clearly shows that consumers like and are influenced by stitched photo inventory videos. Time and time again we see dealers go from NO video whatsoever to stitched photo videos — and very quickly realize a significant increase in some of their most important KPIs. We have seen122% increases in unique VDP views, 110% increase in total VDP views, 75% increase in return website visitors and lead form conversions of 95% or more. These are actual increases realized by your peers, just by adding stitched photo inventory videos!

If you’re NOT using video, don’t you want these performance increases from your website? And these are results from dealers that simply flipped a switch with their video provider and turned on stitched photo videos. This took no extra effort on their part whatsoever. The pictures are already being taken. The software does the rest.

Nobody ever said video marketing needs to be overwhelming. Sometimes you have to crawl before you can run. But what really matters is that the mere act of crawling will get you farther than doing nothing whatsoever.

There are many other reasons that inventory videos are critical to your Video Marketing Strategy, even if you only use stitched photo videos — particularly when it comes to the data capture and utilization power of inventory videos. The bottom line is that customers want to watch inventory videos and they will have a significant impact on your sales. If you don’t provide it for them, you may find them watching another dealership’s videos. And that probably won’t work out in your favor.

Communicate Your Dealership’s “Why” With Video

by Tim James

Great leaders and organizations inspire people because they are good at explaining why they do what they do. Their why gets people motivated. Their why makes people want to work for that company. Their why makes people want to buy their products.

For auto dealerships, your purpose is your “why buy” or “value proposition” message. The goal of this message is inspire, motivate and make people want to buy your cars.

Dealers, if you don’t know your why, I highly recommend finding it. Author Simon Sinek has a book called “Start With Why” and a course on how to find your why. There are dozens of articles on the Internet that can help you find your why. I won’t go into that here because the purpose of this blog is not to help you find your why.

The purpose of this blog is to help you communicate your why.

Chances are you have some “About Us” content already on your website, and you may even share your “story” during your onboarding process for new employees. But what happens then? The most successful companies throughout history, and the most successful automotive dealerships, are passionate about their “why”.  But having a “why” and communicating your “why” are two very different things.

Once you have your why, you’ve got to get that message out there. You’ve got to be excited about it so your employees are excited about it and your customers are excited about it.

And the best way to communicate your why? Video.

People remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see and 70% of what they see and hear. Video is the ideal medium to communicate your why. The emotion that video conveys can inspire both your employees and your customers.

To illustrate my point, read the following paragraph:

“You can write everything down if you want to. Be brave enough to write every one of your goals down, but I’m gonna tell you something. Life’s gonna hit you in the mouth and you gotta do me a huge favor. Your why has to be greater than that knockdown.”

What do those words make you feel? Anything? Now, if you watch a video and listen to those same words narrated to visual effects, you’ll get an instant chill down your spine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNQhuFL6CWg

See how the same words in a video have a much bigger emotional impact than simple text? Your videos can have a similar effect. If you’re going to make the effort to create videos, you must take advantage of the emotional impact that videos can convey. Otherwise you’re not using the medium to full effect.

Once you have created a powerful “why video,” put it to work for you and you will be amazed at the impact it can have on your business. There are a lot of places to share your “why video”, but for now I’m going to focus on a place where it can have an immediate impact on your sales: your website. I often see dealerships hosting their “why videos” on YouTube, embedding them on the homepage of their website, and that’s it. This is wrong for a couple of reasons. First, if the video that you have embedded on your website is hosted on YouTube, then YouTube is claiming your SEO value for that video. You should either self-host your “why video” or utilize a 3rd party host who will let your website claim the SEO value. This way, when the video is found on Google and engaged by the shopper, they are directed to your website and not YouTube.

Next is where your “why video” should be displayed on your website. Your homepage is a great start; however, the goal is to get it in front of the shoppers where it is more likely to be seen and have an immediate emotional impact. One of the best places to display your “why video” is on your VDP Pages, alongside your inventory video for a vehicle. Not as a pre-roll on your inventory video, but as a standalone video that is visible and can be easily engaged by the shopper as they are browsing your inventory and watching your inventory videos. This is also a great place to have a testimonial video or two as well. And don’t forget the “About Us” pages of your website. This is another relevant page of your website that should include both your “why video” and your testimonial videos as well.

Why wait? Communicate your why to create an emotional connection, inspire and motivate your customers. Video is the most effective medium for doing so.

If a Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words, How Many Is a Video Worth?

If you haven’t drunk the video marketing Kool-Aid yet. Or, perhaps are overwhelmed by the thought of creating and distributing videos, it’s time to consider the advantages of having a video marketing strategy.

There was a time in my career when dealers used to complain about having to take multiple PICTURES of a vehicle. Now, however, most dealers include as many as 40 or more for each vehicle. Why? Because buying a vehicle is an emotional purchase and your online merchandising must transfer information while inspiring emotion. By providing more photos (and a good vehicle description) dealers give shoppers more information and help to facilitate them in becoming emotionally attached to a vehicle.

Once dealers understood that with multiple pictures customers would be more interested and they’d receive more inquiries, that’s all that mattered. And then along came video….

Look, technology is rapidly advancing and consumers are advancing with it. If video marketing didn’t benefit you in the only way that matters — which is to help you sell more cars — I’d be the first to tell you not to worry about it. But, the facts are the facts.

An excellent article published on Business2Community shared a wealth of statistics on the benefits of video marketing for businesses in general. While all of them are impressive, here are some highlights from the article that I thought applied specifically to an automobile dealer:

  1. Including video in an email leads to a 200-300 percent increase in click-through rate.
  2. 90 percent of people say that a video is helpful in the decision making process.
  3. Including a video on a landing page increases conversion by 80 percent, while including one on your homepage can increase conversion by 20 percent.
  4. Video ads increase purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent.
  5. An introductory email that includes a video receives an increase click-through rate of 96 percent.
  6. Video increases organic traffic from search engines by 157 percent.

Think about these statistics. The highest converting (as in sold) leads come from your dealership’s website. Why then, would it not be prudent to increase conversions on your home page by 20 percent? Or how about an 80 percent conversion increase on a landing page (like a VDP)? How many leads are you getting per month from your website and inventory? You do the math. These leads are gold waiting to be mined.

And what about your salespeople sending follow up e-mails to customers? Or replying to leads for the first time which get no response at all? Don’t you think that increasing click-through rates by 97 percent by having the customer watch an introductory video tailored specifically for them would increase engagement?

Give your sales staff (or BDC) an edge with video. The stats are there to prove that you’ll interact with more people. Think of it this way. If you had a lot full of customers, but your salespeople weren’t allowed to interact with them until the customer interacted first, you’d probably sell less cars. Of course, you wouldn’t allow that to happen! But that’s what’s happening with all of those people on your virtual lot!

People can be lazy. Most people would rather watch the movie than read the book. Why? Because it’s easier. We enjoy it more. The same applies to your marketing and follow-up efforts.

Want to increase views, conversions and engagement? Send your customers a video. You’ll see how powerful video content is.

And, before I forget, I’d be neglectful if I didn’t answer the question I posed in the title of this blog. According to Forrester Research, one second of video filmed at 30 frames per second (which means that it has 30 pictures per second) is the equivalent of 10,000 words. This means that a 60-second video is worth 1.8 million when it comes to the amount of information that you can deliver with a video, versus static photos. However, you can’t even begin to measure the increased emotional impact that a video will have versus the static photos…and emotion sells.

Want to make an impression on your customer? Seems as if video says – and produces – more than a picture by far. Take advantage of video marketing. The results will speak for themselves.

What to Do with the 5 Must Have Types of Video Content

by Tim James

In my last blog, I shared the five types of video content you must have when beginning your video marketing initiative. To recap, they include: New Model Test Drive, Inventory, Value Proposition, Testimonials and Lead Follow-up.

Hopefully you’ve begun the process of creating this content. Now for the next step!

Effective video marketing requires much more than just content creation. In fact, if used strategically, video can be one of the most effective ways to steal your competitor’s business. However, if no strategy is involved, you will simply be wasting your time.

So, as promised, here are some strategies that can be used to make those videos effective and capture more business.

The keys to transforming your video CONTENT into a video marketing STRATEGY are:

  1. Exposure – If nobody ever sees your videos, they’re pretty useless. Consumers look at up to 24 different touch points in their buying journey. You have to ensure that your videos get on the right touch points to be seen by your buyers at the right time in the buying cycle and without them having to work to find it. The problem is that some of those touch points make it difficult for dealers to get videos onto these sites. Video files are extremely large and most touch points don’t want to host the video. In fact, they would prefer (some even require) that your videos are hosted elsewhere and then just hyperlinked or embedded on their site.

    That is why the right hosting platform is so important. It will automate a large portion of your exposure and make it very easy to integrate your video content with your Sales & Marketing strategies, getting more of your video content in front of your shoppers, at the most critical decision points, which brings me to my next point.

  1. Data Capture – The right hosting platform can be one of your biggest assets when it comes to video marketing. By having your videos all hosted together your hosting company can capture your viewer’s data from more touch points and then you can use that data to communicate with a shopper in real-time via the video. This data can also be utilized to generate real-time alerts via your CRM, no matter what video is being watched, and no matter what touch-point the video is being watched on. Which brings us to personalization.
  1. Personalization – How cool would this scenario be: You send a video email campaign out to your existing CRM database. The data from your existing customers (and all of your abandoned leads) that engage with that email is then captured and matched with your video viewer database from your video host. From then on you receive an alert in your CRM every time someone from your database is back “in market,” because they are watching one of your videos.

    Armed with this knowledge, you can then send personalized videos to that specific customer with various messages. Perhaps the customer has been consistently watching videos of Honda Civics in your inventory. Sending a video message informing them of special offers on Civics would certainly be relevant and give you the fast track to selling them a vehicle before they start shopping at your competition.

    However, there’s a fine line between personalization and creepy. So make sure that the video doesn’t necessarily inform the customer that you KNOW they’ve been shopping. The video message should be something relevant to the behaviors you have seen them make, without crossing that line.

  1. Tracking – Because you’re capturing this data and it’s being matched to buyers, you’ll get a notification that your buyer is watching one of your videos, along with which touch point that they are watching it on. Now you know that right at that second Joe Smith is on AutoTrader, Cars.com, or any other touchpoint out there, and what vehicle(s) videos they are viewing. Wouldn’t it seem like a good idea to call them at that point?
  1. Conquest/Geo-Targeting – This technology allows you to know which site they are viewing your video on and you can also see where (as in physical location) they are watching it. Imagine getting an alert that Joe Smith is watching your video and happens to be on your competitor’s lot at that exact moment. The right hosting company would enable you to know this information, call Joe and in addition queue up a “last chance offer” as a banner ad right there on the video they are watching… all in real-time!

A video marketing strategy isn’t just about the video. It’s a strategy that involves getting MORE of your videos on MORE touch points while capturing MORE data. Then utilizing that data to your advantage to know exactly how and where your customers are watching your videos. Then sending more personalized, relevant and perhaps even deal-saving messages to them in real-time.

There is nothing more powerful than to communicate with your customer exactly at the right time, with the right message, in a way that they know is just for them.