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.

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.

To Sell More Cars, You Need to Get Personal

The chances are pretty good that any email lead YOU receive is also sent to competing dealerships. That means the car shopper will get emails and phone calls from other salespeople looking to sell that customer a car. Unless the lead is on a unique used vehicle, your competitors have the same new vehicles in their inventory.

Therefore, reaching that customer quickly and effectively, while at the same time standing out from your competition, is vital in winning that customer’s business. The easiest way to do that is to build a personal relationship quickly – something every successful salesperson learns. While that may be easy in person, it becomes more of a challenge when the customer’s email inbox is barraged by auto-responders and other generic emails.

So, how do you stand out?

Well, personal video email responses are a very effective way to separate yourself and transform your email from just plain old text into a more dynamic, eye-catching and personal introduction.

Something you did on your VDP got their attention, whether that was on your website or a third-party listing site (hint: If you have video included in your listings, you’ll attract more customers). If that customer were in front of you and inquired about a vehicle, you would proceed to sell the dealership, then sell yourself, and then sell the vehicle. You would work to build a trusting relationship with the customer from the beginning. But, how do you sell your vehicle to a customer that’s not present?

The same, exact way!

The great thing about selling cars today is all of the technology that is now available to assist salespeople in facilitating a better online buying experience for the customer. Because of the Internet, customers are visiting less dealerships than ever – it’s now down to just about one dealership visited before the customer purchases, because now the customer can browse inventory in their pajamas at home.

Today, when you receive an Internet lead, video enables you to literally walk the customer around the vehicle explaining its features and benefits in a personalized way .This video can then be delivered to the customer on a landing page that contains your Value Proposition (Why Buy); and testimonial videos to sell the dealership; as well as your own introduction video to simultaneously sell yourself – all while you are selling the vehicle — just as if they were on your lot.

Dealerships that do take the time to shoot personalized walkaround videos for Internet leads see a 20-40% increase in re-engagement, lead to appointment and lead to show rates. Car shoppers love them. They show a customer, whom you have not yet met in person, that you care about earning their business and will make the effort to get them the information they requested over and above the standard “when can you come in” message that exists in most first responses.  Combining personalized walkaround videos with the value proposition, testimonial, and your personal introduction video, will then multiply the emotional impact of your communication and significantly enhance the “trust relationship” that you so greatly covet.

Being forthcoming, providing information and doing so in a personalized way with the use of video, allows you to “sell” the vehicle, build rapport and make the customer feel more at ease and amenable to coming into the dealership.

The customer will still want to inspect, touch, feel and drive the car and they can only do that in person at your dealership. Video, however, can whet their appetite and grab their interest and attention in ways that pictures can’t.

It may sound like a lot of work. Perhaps you are thinking you don’t have the right equipment. But hold on a minute – the fact is that you can use your existing inventory videos and personalize the audio — all from the comforts of your office and without even having to walk out to the vehicle each time you need to shoot a personalized walkaround. You’ll quickly find out that the few minutes it takes you to personalize the audio of your existing video will pay dividends in increased sales and bigger paychecks.

You don’t have to be content with closing rates on Internet leads hovering in the 8-10 percent range. Maximize each and every opportunity you receive, blow your customers away with your responses, and put your competition out of the race by sending Internet leads personalized emails that use the power of video to sell your dealership, sell yourself, and truly sell the vehicle– then sit back and sell cars.

Man selecting tv channel on virtual touch screen

YouWho? Why YouTube May Not Be Your Most Effective Video Marketing Option

As consumer touch-points in the car buying journey continue to increase, it’s ever more important to ensure that your video content is available at each and every one of those pit stops the car buyer takes. Your digital touchpoints are in essence your brand’s points of customer contact, from start to finish. For example, customers may find your business online in an ad, see ratings and reviews, visit your website, or receive an email, to name a few. Often, the problem is getting your videos on all these touch-points.  It may be very time consuming to upload each of your videos to each touch-point.  For that reason, many choose to “host” their videos with a hosting service and then hyperlink or embed their video URL’s to get additional exposure and visibility.

YouTube has long been the king of video hosting platforms and may seem to be the obvious choice. However, there are some things that you should consider when developing your video marketing strategy that may or may not make YouTube the best option for you and your marketing partners. “Self-hosting” or using a “3rd party host” that specializes in the automotive marketplace may be a better option for you.

If you are spending a lot of money to rank your website, certain pages of your website, landing pages, etc., then embedding a YouTube video on those pages may not be your best option.  You see, when you upload a video to YouTube, YouTube claims the metadata and SEO value of your video. So, if a consumer were to find that content via a Google search, they will most likely be taken to your video on YouTube, versus to the page of your website that your video resides on.

However, if you self-host, or utilize a third party host that allows you to claim the SEO value of your videos, then you can apply a meta tag and video sitemap strategy on your web pages that can create the same (or better) visibility for your video on Google, but bring shoppers, when engaged, back to YOUR website, or the webpage that the video resides on.

One of the most powerful advantages of self-hosting or utilizing a hosting platform within the auto industry is that you now have real-time access to your data. You can also integrate that data into your CRM. For example, you can follow the customer along their path as they watch your video on a third party listing site; and again, as they view a video email you sent them; and later, when they start viewing inventory videos on your own website. All of this behavioral data provides clues as to where in the funnel – and what vehicles specifically – these customers are considering. This enables the delivery of precise messages that are extremely relevant to the consumer, at the exact right moment in their buying process. Because this video content is hyper-relevant, consumers will engage with it more. In addition, the ability to follow the customer on their path (and see the vehicles they are interested in and where they are watching your videos from), enables video remarketing opportunities in real-time via the video the consumer is watching, such as geo-targeted messages for shoppers who are showrooming from your competitor’s lot.

Utilizing a hosting service that specializes in the automotive industry could also open up tons of advantages such as automating the process of getting your video content on many of your most valuable touch-points. Now you can control how and where the video is delivered. Industry-specific companies also allow you to integrate third party conversion widgets straight into your video. Because you have this level of control, you can generate dynamic rule and behavior-based content in real time. This transforms all of your videos into content that has greater informational and emotional value.

Don’t misunderstand me — YouTube and other video platforms are also touch-points on a consumer’s journey and can provide video search engine optimization benefits. You can absolutely upload your video content to YouTube as well, to maximize your exposure on their network.

Chances are your automotive specific host could automate that part of your strategy for you as well. That being said, those VSEO benefits from YouTube, while valuable, cannot trump the level of personalization and customizability that an industry hosting service can provide. So, rather than relying on YouTube to host your video, take your content back under your control by leveraging all of the benefits an industry specific hosting platform. You’ll find out very quickly that you can implement a more effective video marketing strategy.