How Do Consumers Use Video In the Buying Process?

By Tim James

Dealerships sell more than just vehicles. They also sell accessories, parts, and swag. Consumers may not be interested in these other items at the time of purchase (or may not have been presented with any of these options). However, once they get home, or at some point decide they want to get their windows tinted, a bed liner for their truck, or need to upgrade a part on their vehicle — Now what? Well, that is where providing an amazing video experience comes in!

An article on MultiBriefs.com shares that there are three key stages where video is extraordinarily powerful in the buying process — no matter what a consumer wants to buy.

The three stages are Awareness, Consideration, and Decision, and they work as follows:

  1. Awareness: When a consumer decides they want to purchase any product, most go online and research it. This is when a video experience shines. Whether it be describing the benefits of this year’s newest model, or an educational video on the best bed-liners for their new truck, followed by testimonial videos to back up the claims, video will get the most information to a consumer in the most emotional way possible. By utilizing video high in the buying cycle, dealerships can present themselves as a guide for their customers, building trust and showing a shopper they are a resource to help throughout the car purchasing process.

    But a curated video experience does so much more than just give the shopper the most information about inventory possible; it also gives the dealership the most information about a shopper possible. When a dealership gets a notification that a returning customer is looking at accessories, they know it is probably for a new vehicle and can target them with value proposition videos.

    A customer is looking at parts and repairs? Target them with specials, lease offers, and new model test drive videos that show why the consumer needs to ditch their worn-out vehicle and get into something safer, more reliable. Providing this experience puts the dealership a cut above the competition.

  2. Consideration: Now that a consumer has decided they need or want one or more of these things (including parts), they then start looking where to buy them. My advice is to be that resource by providing explainer videos about the benefits of buying those items and getting them installed at your dealership. Many consumers find other retailers online or, even worse, a competing dealership where they purchase and have these items installed.

    Use your explainer videos to clearly illustrate to customers the benefits of conducting the transaction at your dealership. This could include facts such as your dealership will know exactly what the consumer needs based on the make and model of the vehicle, and that installation at the dealership is done by factory-trained technicians rather than the independent down the street.

  3. Decision – The consumer has now moved down the funnel and is ready to purchase. In this stage, videos such as customer testimonials, FAQs, and personalized video communication can convince a customer to choose your dealership rather than the competition. Customer testimonial videos are powerful. Most dealerships focus on testimonials in sales but having them in parts, accessories and service can be just as powerful when it comes to gaining trust and establishing rapport.

    FAQ videos can be used to answer common questions about products, such as “How long will it take to get the bed liner?” “How long will it take to install?” “Will I be out of my vehicle for a day or two?” — You get the point. By providing this information upfront via video, you end up with an educated customer and no longer need to explain these things to the customer. The easy way to figure out which questions to focus on when making these videos is to simply ask your service or parts department about the most common questions they get from customers. Then make videos answering those questions.

    Finally, personalized video emails and texts help establish your sales team and dealership as a trusted source. People buy from people they like, and whether they are purchasing a new car or a new set of tires, video communication is the best possible way to get consumers to trust you and buy into the fact that your dealership is the best place they can go for anything they might need regarding a vehicle.

Dealerships can sell more than just cars, and they can sell everything in a more impactful way by giving their shoppers a high-quality video experience. Consider taking your video marketing strategy to the next level with your entire inventory, from cars to bike racks and repairs, by providing the best online shopping experience to your shoppers.

8 Quick & Easy Video Email Marketing Best Practices to Boost your Results

by Tim James, COO

Most consumers have a built-in fear of communicating with automotive sales professionals.  Many of the “new age” automotive retailers are trying to play on this fear by running negative ads that make automotive dealerships (and sales professionals) look like high-pressure evil people.

When a consumer does finally reach out to your dealership, using video content in your initial communications can be your opportunity to show them that they will have a GREAT experience working with you and your dealership. People buy from people they like, and video is the best way to show your potential customers why they should like you. It can be one of the most effective ways to humanize your dealership and establish trust with shoppers. 

Here are some quick tips for making the most of your video email campaigns that will increase your click-through and response rates.

1. Include the Word “Video” in the Subject Line & Avoid SPAM “Trigger Words.”

The simple act of adding “video” to an email subject line can increase open rates by 7% and can improve your click-through rate by 96%. Put it in brackets [VIDEO] at the end or beginning of your subject line to make it clear to your audience. People are more curious to see what is inside your email when it includes video and perceive the information displayed in the video to be more valuable.

In addition, the word “video” can help you avoid SPAM filters, which can be triggered for a variety of reasons, causing your email to skip recipients’ inboxes and land straight in their SPAM box. By avoiding trigger words in your email subject lines, you can dramatically increase your chances of getting beyond SPAM filters.

2. Link to the Video (or video landing page)

Unfortunately, some email providers have not started using the latest technology and this can play a significant role when you select a provider. As several email clients cannot play embedded videos, it can be better to provide a link to your video or landing page, rather than embedding it in your email.

3. Place Video Below the Email Message

Adding videos into your email will boost open rates but don’t let the video distract from your main message. An engaged audience will drop what they’re doing to watch a new video, so be sure to add it at the end of the email. By so doing, consumers will read your brief message before watching the video. Keep the text message above the video brief, as the main focus of the email should be the video.

4 Do not Send an Image Only Email

Do not send an image only email, and do not say too much in your email either. Video emails that keep it short and to the point with a word count of 50 words or less receive up to a 52% higher response rate than the same video sent with a long wordy message. 

5. Include a Call to Action

All forms of digital marketing should invite the audience to do something specific, especially when it comes to an unsolicited email or text. Make sure your videos in your emails offer value for the customer and include that critical CTA. The whole point of any message sent to a consumer is to lead them on the path that you want them to follow. Make sure the CTA is easy to understand and clearly directs them. Then ensure you take them where you promised.

6. Be Professional.

Include some basic best practices when taking your video. Have good lighting and a clean and pleasant space to stage your video. It is best to turn your phone to the side and capture the video in landscape mode. And be friendly and enthusiastic in the video (Smile).

7. Have a Variety of Video Content On Your Landing Page.

Now that the consumer has engaged with your email to watch your video message, this is the perfect opportunity for you to provide them with easy access to additional video content that really shows them that “YOU are the good guys,” and they can trust you. Rather than making the consumer search for “where should I buy it” content later in the buying cycle, present it to them now. Move the consumer along in YOUR buying cycle by including Value Proposition, Testimonial, a Personal Introduction, additional Inventory, Promotional, and New Model Test Drive videos on the same landing page as your initial video message. Let the shopper know that they can LIKE and TRUST both you and your dealership before they’ve even decided which vehicle they want to purchase.

8. Leverage The Shopper’s Data

A large number of consumers can disappear after your initial contact with them. How many times have you wondered what happened to that person that you just spoke to (who isn’t calling you back or answering your emails now)? Using a hosting company for your videos that offers detailed insights and data can make it easier to track your video success rates while allowing you to track the actions consumers take. Also, using the right video host can allow you to receive real-time notifications when your other video content (such as your inventory videos) are viewed by these same consumers. This gives you greater insight into which of your leads are still in the market and actively shopping on your website (or the popular marketplaces like AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc.), and provides you with a notification the second that they click to watch your inventory videos on these touch-points, allowing you to follow up with them at the most relevant time.

Video in email is no longer some gimmick. Consumers consistently state that video is their preference. Video has fast become a key factor in running more effective email campaigns. Adding video will breathe new life into your email marketing and is an engaging way to bring compelling content to shoppers, resulting in more appointments for your BDC and sales teams, more up-sell of recommended services for your service department, and higher CSI Scores across your entire store.

3 Hot Video Trends for 2021

By Brian Cox, president, Flick Fusion

The practice of using inventory videos to better merchandise and market vehicles is nothing new. Many dealers are old pros at using inventory videos to engage and convert more car shoppers into leads—not just on their website Vehicle Details Pages (VDPs) but across multiple channels and touchpoints.

While inventory videos form the basis of a sound video marketing strategy for dealers, there are many more ways to connect with customers and leads using video. In this article I’ll discuss three of the hottest video trends and how dealerships can incorporate these trends into their video marketing strategy.

Live Video Calling

When COVID-19 hit, video conferencing stocks soared. Almost overnight, live video calling became mainstream. Consumers not only enjoy video calling, they have come to expect it! Is your dealership meeting their expectations?

Have your sales team use a video calling app to perform live vehicle walkarounds with leads. Choose an app that can be used cross-platform and on any device. Live video calls are ideal for establishing rapport and building trust with customers, while answering all of their questions in real time.

In the service department, advisors and techs can live stream video calls to show customers worn-down parts that need to be replaced or repaired. Providing that visual proof to customers helps to increase service recommendation approvals. 

Interactive Videos

Interactive videos are fun, immersive and highly engaging because they put car shoppers firmly in control of their own viewing experience. Interactive presentations are ideal for taking your vehicle merchandising to the next level. The vehicle is showcased in a video with clickable “hotspots” that pop up to reveal detailed information to viewers, so they can learn more about features they’re interested in.

In various studies, interactive videos are proven to increase time on websites, increase recall of content and increase purchase intent. Interactive videos are a great way to make your inventory stand out from competition on third-party auto shopping sites and on your social media channels!

Personalized Videos

Your marketing vendor is probably pushing you to do more personalized campaigns, with good reason. Consumers love marketing that’s catered just to them!

Dealerships can use personalized videos in several ways. When responding to a lead, don’t just send a generic inventory video. Personalize it by recording a new, customized voice track over the existing video. Use the customer’s name, answer their questions and tell them why the vehicle would be a good fit for them.

Video technology also exists that allows you to insert a “video inside a video.” The salesperson uses their computer camera to videotape a quick, customized presentation for that same generic inventory video. When a lead opens the video, they’ll see the inventory video, along with a smaller insert video of the salesperson narrating.

Both of these personalized options only take a few minutes and are great tools to increase your lead response rates.

The use of personalized videos also involving leveraging customer data and viewer behavior in order to show the right video to the right customer at the right time. This can be done automatically by video hosting platforms that incorporate this technology. This feature is ideal for use in video ad and email campaigns. If someone is shopping for a truck online, you don’t want them to see an ad for an economy car!

If your dealership has successfully used inventory videos to merchandise and market your vehicles, think about expanding your video marketing strategy in 2021. Take advantage of these three hot video trends to connect with more customers and exceed their expectations.

Who You Gonna Video Call?

By Tim James

According to Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, the “working-from-home” economy is likely to exist far beyond the pandemic. Employers are enjoying decreased expense in office space and increased employee productivity, while employees have more freedom with the luxury of no longer having to commute. A whopping 42 percent of U.S. employees are now working from home.

How are they able to do that? Via Video, of course.

Statistics increasingly show video as the preferred choice for consumers when it comes to media due to its viability and multiple benefits across all platforms and channels. And, during the pandemic, video has become the most used method of communication on all fronts.

Almost every company outside of essential workers is utilizing video services to efficiently continue their operations and stay in business. Video conference calls have become the norm, rather than the exception and video conferences or person-to-person video calls have exploded out of necessity.

According to Forbes, this digital pivot may become permanent – in all walks of life. Many students are having to do in-home learning and the only way some employees can continue professional development is via video. Trade shows and conferences are opting to hold virtual events First, because it is safer during a pandemic, second because it is much less expensive than in-person events, and third because viewers can choose to watch an event live, or later at a more convenient time.

Video is not going away and is certainly not losing any ground. Its popularity has exploded faster than was expected! When this pandemic eventually goes away, consumers and businesses alike will be fundamentally transformed.

As a marketing and sales tool, video will allow your team to inspire more emotion from a consumer than a text, email, or chat could ever get close to accomplishing. Think about this — when are your sales associates at their best? When they are face-to-face with a consumer, of course. An effective video marketing strategy embraces that understanding and puts your sales associates face-to-face with the consumer, even when the consumer is still at home.

Your dealership would be wise to have a video-first marketing strategy to place you in a position of dominance over your competition who may only use video as a stopgap out of necessity.

Be sure to embrace video now more than ever to take advantage of this extreme acceleration in video adoption by consumers. This will put your dealership ahead of the game and build a sound foundation from which your dealership will benefit for decades to come.

Become a Social Media Influencer

Did you know 92% of consumers trust recommendations from a social media influencer more than they trust advertisements? Lehel Reeves, Flick Fusion’s Director of Partnerships and Business Development, explains why dealerships and salespeople should start using social media accounts to become social media influencers.

3 Biggest Video Marketing Mistakes

By Brian Cox, president and CEO, FlickFusion

The power of video marketing can’t be denied, but not every dealership has instant success when they launch a video marketing initiative. If you don’t see significant improvement in website engagement and lead conversions from your videos, you could be making one of the following common video marketing mistakes.

  1. Lack of Distribution

Many dealerships post vehicle inventory videos only on their website Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs). This is a mistake because your website probably isn’t the first place that active car shoppers think to visit. Car shoppers visit many websites during their research phase, including third-party automotive shopping sites, social media platforms and YouTube.

To engage these potential customers, expand your reach by expanding the distribution of your videos. Include inventory videos in your email campaigns, post them on your social media pages and feature them in video advertising campaigns. Most people spend hours a day on the Internet. Be aggressive about pushing your inventory videos out to where they are, instead of waiting for them to find your website.

  1. Don’t Leverage Customer Data & Viewing Behavior

Many dealers use YouTube as their primary hosting platform, which is a mistake. Although YouTube is a great place to post your dealership’s videos, it’s better to upload your original videos onto a smart hosting platform.

The main problem with YouTube is that it doesn’t offer in-depth analytics or share critical data about video viewers. The ability to collect and leverage video viewer data is important if you want to create a relevant, personalized video viewing experience for every prospect.

Imagine there are two car shoppers looking at inventory videos on your website. Mary is looking for a mini-van. John is looking for a truck. Based on Mary’s consumer data and previous browsing behavior, the incentives she sees displayed in a video are different than the incentives that John sees displayed in a video. Content that’s relevant to each buyer is proven to increase time spent on your website, boost search engine rankings, improve CTRs and other metrics, and produce higher quality leads.

Consumers’ video viewing behavior can also be linked to customer profiles in your CRM. This allows you to set up alerts so your sales team is notified when a customer is viewing one of your videos; whether that video is being viewed on your website, a third-party auto shopping website, social media platform or in an email.

  1. Not Enough Video Content

Many dealerships have video inventory videos, but not much other video content on their website. This is a mistake because video is the absolute best medium for engaging customers, sharing information, creating emotional connections and influencing purchase behavior.

According to Google, the video content that auto shoppers search for most are test drive videos, video walkarounds and videos that highlight vehicle feature and benefits. Showcase these videos in a virtual showroom on your website for maximum impact. Additionally, create a series of “why buy” videos highlighting your dealership’s unique value propositions, as well as customer testimonial videos.

Creating video content doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Many video marketing platforms automate much of the creation and distribution process.

Another tip is to avoid using a single-purpose video marketing strategy. Often dealers spend a lot of money to create a video for a single marketing campaign or as a pre-roll in video ads, then fail to use that video again. Maximize the value of all your videos by including them in email campaigns and retargeting campaigns. Post them on your website and social media pages. Videos can be re-purposed many times across many channels. Get creative!

Avoiding these common video marketing mistakes should boost the return on investment from your video marketing strategy, leading to increased website engagement, lead conversions and sales.

5 Beginner Video Tips for Salespeople

By Tim James

Adopting a new technology into our lives can be challenging. When CRMs first came along, many salespeople preferred to keep using their stacks of index cards. Now that we’re in the age of video, many salespeople prefer to use phone calls and emails to communicate with customers. Why change?

Videos incite a significantly greater emotional response from people versus phone calls, emails and text messages, making it easier for salespeople to build relationships. In fact, most automotive salespeople are “at their best” when they are face to face with a shopper versus on the phone (or trading emails/texts), so they are much more effective when communicating with a shopper via a pre-recorded video or live video call when the shopper isn’t ready to (or can’t) visit the store.

If you’re in sales and still aren’t using video to communicate with customers, it’s time to get started. Here are some tips.

1 Just Start

One excuse I hear is “I’m not good with video.” The only way to become good at something is to do it.  Practice and keep practicing. Accept the fact that you’re probably your own worst critic and that you won’t like the first few videos you’ll make. However, they’re probably better than you think, and they’ll get even better as you become comfortable with the technology and the process.

2 Maximize Your Effort

If you’re going to shoot a vehicle walkaround video to post to YouTube or Facebook, don’t stop there! If the video is good, post it on your website VDP and export it to any 3rd Party Marketplaces that you utilize. Live vehicle walkaround videos will increase the engagement and leads that your dealership has coming in from ALL of your other marketing sources utilizing the same video content. Also, share the video in your video email responses to other leads along with your personalized video message. These are effective ways to maximize the impact that the video will have that all require little to no additional effort on your part.  The more exposure you get for every video, the better.

3 Track Your Efforts

Use a technology that gives you real-time notifications when a lead watches one of your videos. Include other inventory videos, value proposition, and testimonial videos and you’ll know when they watch those videos as well.  This gives insight into a customer’s intent to purchase. Additionally, you can get notifications when a consumer watches one of your videos on an online marketplace or third-party shopping site, such as Autotrader. So, you’ll instantly know if a lead switches from looking at new models to used models, and what they’re interested in. Knowledge is power, and you can leverage this to reach out to that lead with the right information at the right time.

4 Focus on the Presentation

Whether you’re making a pre-recorded video or you’re on a live-streaming video call, don’t just list the features of the vehicle; talk about the benefits of those features. Include a short introduction, smile and be enthusiastic. Today’s shopper is looking for a dealership and salesperson to “like and trust” as much as they are a vehicle to purchase.  Let your personality shine through.

5 Stop Looking at the Clock

Many salespeople believe videos must be short, so they make videos under two minutes long. This can shortchange consumers’ expectations. The video should be as long as it takes to answer all the customer’s questions and to effectively “sell” your dealership, yourself, and the car. I see videos that are four- to eight- minutes long that get watched all the way through because they’re informational, presented with emotion, and interesting to the viewer! Remember, these aren’t unsolicited entertainment videos that just happen to appear on the shoppers’ Facebook feed. This is video content that the shopper requested.

Once you start using video to connect with customers, you’ll never go back to using just phone calls and emails. Video will quickly become your go-to method because it gets the best results.