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:

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,, 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.

Laptop with reel

Five Types of Videos You Must Have Today

By Tim James

Video content is now the preferred medium for consumers and statistics show that consumer Internet traffic for online video will increase by 80% by the year 2018. That’s not too far away.

And, when both are presented on the same page, consumers would rather watch a video than read text. For that simple reason, video content simply converts better.

There are many types of video content and unless you devote (or outsource) this content, it can be difficult and take some hard work to produce all of the different types of video you need. This can include: Pre-Roll; PPC & Re-Targeting video campaigns; promotional; model comparison; video email campaigns; in-market video display; new model test drive; value proposition; testimonial; inventory lead follow up; delivery; service department; and, finally, life cycle marketing videos. Are you overwhelmed yet?

While all of these are important, I would like to help simplify this for you by focusing on the five types of video content that have the biggest impact on conversions, leads and sales.

Here are the five types of video content you should focus on:

  1. New Model Test-Drive – According to Google, the top three types of video content that auto shoppers are searching for are: test-drives, features & options and vehicle walkthroughs. In fact, the time consumers spend watching these kinds of videos has doubled in the past year. For this reason, if you fail to provide this video content for your customers, I guarantee that they will watch it on someone else’s website! If your competitor has New Model Test-Drive videos and you don’t, they may be getting the shopper into their funnel higher in the buying cycle — and you may lose them before you even get started!
  1. Inventory – Your VDP pages on both your website and 3rd party sites are THE most important advertisements your inventory could have. You spend a lot of money trying to get traffic on those pages. However, it’s becoming harder to differentiate your dealership from VDPs by your competition. Most websites are very similar – especially the VDP pages – and you really don’t have much control of the content you can put on them. So how do you create a more compelling VDP page that sets your vehicle apart from all of the other similar ones? Through video. Yes, perhaps you think it’s difficult to take full motion videos of each of your vehicles. But here’s the thing: video is no longer an option. If you can’t do it, have your lot service do it. If neither of these is an option for you, then use automated services that stitch together the phots into a video format. Why? Because they work. Your time on site will increase by 20% or more, videos will have an average completion rate of upwards of 75%, lead form conversions will increase by 20% and engagement by 200%! Inventory videos have a significant impact and are ridiculously inexpensive to create.
  1. Value Proposition – As much as shoppers are looking for a vehicle to fall in love with, they are also looking for a dealership and salesperson they can trust. One of the first things you train a new salesperson to do is to sell the dealership, then themselves and then the car, right? Why would you do it any differently when the “salesperson” that the customer first encounters is your website? Consumers simply want a dealership that they can trust to be fair and honest with them. That’s what this type of video content is designed to achieve.
  2. Testimonials – These videos reinforce the trust factor and compliment your value proposition videos with a combination of selling both the dealership and the salesperson. Consumers trust other consumers and video testimonials are a powerful way to show potential customers that previous customers had a great car-buying experience with your dealership and/or salesperson. They also show that it was so good that they were willing to broadcast it publicly via a video testimonial. People communicate through tone and body language – something that text cannot fulfill. Video, on the other hand, can. Prospective customers watching your testimonial videos can identify with, understand and be influenced by that testimonial, just as if the person giving the testimonial was standing in front of them.
  1. Lead Follow-up – When consumers submit inquiries via third party sites, oftentimes they are contacted by more than one dealership. Even if they convert on your own website, the chances are great that they are also cross-shopping you with your closest brand competitor. Most e-mails coming from dealership CRMs are templates. Consumers can smell these a mile away. They know these weren’t created specifically for them. If you send these, the consumer isn’t going to be impressed. However, sending a personalized video e-mail, makes an impression. In fact, it makes so great an impression that video e-mails see a 200% higher click-through rate and 80% get more replies. They also have a 70% higher conversion rate and 65% of the consumers watch 100 percent of the video!

Starting your video marketing with a focus on these 5 types of video content should immediately increase VDP views, conversions and, ultimately, sales. Keep in mind, however, that simply creating the videos is only the first piece of the puzzle. You can create all of the video content you want but if you aren’t doing it with a strategy in place, you may find less success.

In my next blog, I’ll show you what a strategy looks like, how to implement it and why choosing WHERE your videos are is extremely important.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Millennials

by Gina Reuscher

In the classic movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we received a filmmaker’s glimpse into what humanity would experience in the event of a U.F.O encounter and actual physical contact with an alien. To many dealers, Millennials are very similar. They’re very different from past generations, are far more technologically advanced, and we really don’t know much about them — Or do we?

Millennials, defined as people born between 1980 and 2000, between the ages of 16-26, represent a large buying demographic. So large, in fact, that many estimate the buying power of this demographic to be $200 billion, and a whopping $500 billion when indirect purchasing power is included. That’s pretty significant.

These are the kids raised on VH1’s pop-up videos, YouTube and other video content. This is the type of content that they not only like, but use. When they’re considering a movie to watch, do they read the IMDB description? No. They head over to YouTube and watch the trailer. That’s how influential video content is for this demographic.

In fact, according to an article on Business 2 Community, 8 out of 10 Millennials find video helpful in making purchasing decisions. They are also 85 percent more likely to purchase an item they watched a video about. Why? Because that’s how they like to take in information. 2/3 of Millennials prefer video over text. And a whopping 50% ONLY watch video!

In a recent blog I covered how Facebook predicts that its content will eventually be purely video-based content. Think about that. These social platforms cater to the users. If their users wanted all music, that’s what it would be. Pictures? Done. Text? That’s Twitter (for now). The point is Millennials increasingly dictate the type of content that is delivered. The sole reason being that they represent a large portion of the current consumer demographic for most products and they are absolutely the dominant demographic for the near future!

What does that mean for the auto industry?

It means that a good percentage of current car shoppers, and an even larger percentage of future car shoppers, will be influenced by video in their buying decisions. Other retail sectors already realize this. It’s no longer relegated to Super Bowl time. It’s all of the time. Videos are engaging, entertaining and connect with consumers on an emotional level. Unlike past generations, Millennials don’t want to be SOLD to, they want to CONNECT with a company or a brand.

The article further stated that half of all Millennials consider companies that produce video content on their products to be experts in their field. And let’s not forget that videos on product pages convert at a much higher rate than product pages with no videos. So why wouldn’t any retail business want to embrace this cultural shift? Most of them are — but some of the automotive industry is still a little stuck in just pictures and are not taking full advantage of video.

In order to secure market share now and for the future you need to have a good handle on Millennials. And they need and want videos. There’s no ifs ands or buts. If Millennials want to buy cars from a desk in your parking lot, you’d put a desk out there and sell it to them, right? Well, these Millennial consumers are tech-savvy, have access to more information than any other generation before them and will happily move to your competition for $50 in price, or a $20 oil change, whichever they need at the time. So you need to be in front of them so that YOU are top of mind when that need arises.

Do yourself a favor. Video marketing isn’t expensive and with the right process does not need to take a lot of time or effort. In fact, this is something that your porter could do with the cell phone in his pocket. Or, you can get as sophisticated as professional equipment and a branded staging area. It’s your choice. The bottom line is that you need video to engage Millennials. And you need Millennials to sell cars – now and for decades to come. So get yourself a video marketing strategy in place and sell some cars. That is what it’s all about, right?

Video Marketing: Let’s Get Musical!

By Gina Reuscher

Quality video content can manipulate emotions and convey meaning far beyond the capability of written words or any still images. But videos aren’t effective simply because customers can see you or view the vehicle, they also work well because another sense is stimulated – sound. In a personalized video email, your voice and message is conveyed without ambiguity. Customers can see your facial expressions, hear your tone of voice and interpret what you’re saying in the most effective way. And, music can take the experience to a whole new level.

Imagine going to see Jaws with no soundtrack. That “duh na duh na” whenever Jaws is around instills fear without the shark even being on screen. In fact, many of you probably had the sound from the famous score come into your head as you read this. That music is just as famous as the movie. It was specifically created to instill a sense of fear and foreboding. Most viewers would know when that music plays – and it gets faster – nothing good is about to happen.

Music is a great addition to video as it can more easily convey emotion to viewers. Consider adding music to your inventory videos as they then become that much more powerful at playing on the customer’s emotions and pulling them into your message. That being said, due to copyright issues, you can’t simply download a popular artist’s song and stick it in your inventory video. So what do you do?

There are plenty of music libraries out there for dealers of all sizes and budgets. Some offer royalty -free or public domain music. And, there are also sites that offer extensive music libraries which you can subscribe to and use in your videos as needed. Here are a few resources I like, which were also highlighted in this article by Vidyard:

There is a reason why some businesses choose certain types of music – because it sets a mood. If the customer wants luxury, play to that by choosing suitable music. Cars targeted to younger demographics could work well with a little more pop or hip-hop type background tracks.

Playing to consumers’ senses is not a new concept. However, auto dealers as a whole could to a lot more with it, especially in video. Did you know that Disneyland pumps the smell of popcorn into their parks before opening every day and throughout the day? They do this because the smell of popcorn instills a sense of happiness into people as they’re entering. And, while we may not be able to add new car smell into videos yet, you can use the same techniques and tricks that play to customer’s senses to make your videos that much more engaging, attractive and interesting to the viewer. And, if you get their attention and keep it, chances are much better that the customer will inquire about or come in to see the vehicle in person… which is exactly what you want them to do.


Note: Be aware of companies that administer copyrights on behalf of artists. Some have been known to aggressively file unsubstantiated Content ID claims with YouTube on a broad scale. This mostly only impacts videos that are hosted on YouTube. If hosted on an alternate platform, you don’t have these concerns. Their motive is to create an unscrupulous stream of revenue and they are a huge inconvenience to those following the rules — namely, you!  Best-in-class video production and hosting platform solutions typically own their own library of exclusive music tracks and are knowledgeable on how to handle these kinds of minor setbacks for their clients.