automotive

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.

Three Tips for Great Live Video Conversations with Customers

By: Tim James

During these times, consumers are becoming more comfortable with online transactions and are much savvier about how they chose to communicate with businesses. As a result, dealers are having to utilize technologies they may not have previously embraced

Video, in and of itself, has proven to be a necessity for successful marketing for dealers. In today’s world, live video is even more important. But not everybody does it as well as they could!

A great article on Business2Community lays out some simple best practices dealerships can use while performing a live video for a prospective car buyer. These tips are great for salespeople or BDC agents who communicate with your customers.

Here are three of the top tips:

Pause! –  When you are having a conversation with someone and they do all the talking – that quickly gets old, right? A one-sided conversation is not something many people enjoy which leads to the first tip in the article, Pause!

You have the customer’s attention. You have them on a live stream and, just like selling a car in person, you need to listen to their needs and wants. You have to listen to tailor that walkaround and your conversation to supply the information they requested. Listening is also how you find out what is important to them so that you can tailor your conversation to that specific customer.

It is much more effective to listen to your customers, answer their questions, and proceed to the sale than to dominate the conversation. Take a breath. Don’t worry about the uncomfortable pause. As long as the customer is still with you, you don’t need to fill the gap with conversation. They may be digesting what you have already told them and considering their next questions. If they don’t ask any questions, you can easily prompt them by saying something along the lines of, “Should I proceed with the other features I was going to show you or did you have specific things you would like to see?” — just like you would if they were physically on your lot.

Engage – The customer didn’t agree to a live video engagement because they weren’t interested in the vehicle. The very reason that they are on a live video call with you is that they are VERY low funnel and in the market RIGHT NOW! Think about all the Internet leads your dealership gets and how hard it is to contact the majority of these opportunities. Here you not only have a customer that engaged with you but one that agreed (or requested) to do a live video call about a specific vehicle.

Perhaps something about the vehicle which they inquired about doesn’t suit their needs. Since you have them live, you can easily ask them if you could show them similar vehicles you have in stock and, essentially, show them multiple vehicles.

What’s the other option? The customer doesn’t like the one you showed them and disengages simply to move on to the next dealership. Don’t waste the opportunity to show them more inventory. You only need to ask them — just like you would if they were physically on your lot.

Eye Contact – While you may not be able to see the customer, the customer can see you. If you aren’t looking into the camera while engaging, you lose the opportunity to build rapport. Most of our communication is physical. We typically read expressions and interpret answers by how someone is looking and/or physically gesturing. In a live video, the customer can see you. By making eye contact with them, it is much more personal.

How do you do that? By looking into the camera, itself. Not just at the phone. You can practice with another salesperson beforehand to get the hang of it. When you are talking to the customer, look directly into the camera. To them, it will seem as if you are talking to them rather than seeing your eyes focused elsewhere.  — just like you would if they were physically on your lot.

Bonus Tip:

Smile – There’s magic in your smile and smiling while engaging in a video call can be one of the most important strategies for success. Smiling while on the video call will not only help you relax and improve your mood and energy, it will also help the consumer relax.  Remember, it’s not only “what you say,” but “how you say it” that matters. The video call is your opportunity to build a personal relationship with the consumer and get them to truly like you. We all know that people buy from people they like, and a simple smile while engaging the consumer is scientifically proven to improve your chances of being liked — just like you would if they were physically on your lot.  

Live video has never been more important in the sales world. Buying a car is a big decision for most customers, typically the second-largest purchase any consumer makes. Regardless of whether you are open for business completely, or only online, consumers are getting more comfortable with online shopping. If you are a veteran in the automotive industry, think about how different your communication strategy was in 2010 versus 2020.  Now imagine how different it will be in 2030. Trust me, the next ten years are going to fly by, so make sure you stay ahead of the competition and are prepared for the acceleration and adoption of this technology by consumers. Great conversations certainly lead to more sales. And live video is a highly effective way to have great conversations with your customers.

Patrick Lands His Dream Job with Video

By Tim James

Are you searching for a new career opportunity, or do you know someone who is? One of the most challenging aspects of searching for a job is making yourself stand out in a crowd. When you apply for a job online, your resume could be one of hundreds for the same position. There’s no way to know whether the person screening all these resumes will forward your resume to the hiring manager.

That’s why more job applicants are creating video resumes and sending them directly to the hiring manager. If you think about it, applying for a job is very similar to marketing cars! To be in consideration, you need to send the right video message to the right person at the right time, and make them realize why you’re the best choice.

I want to share a story with you about someone that recently landed his dream job with a video resume hosted on Flick Fusion’s video marketing platform.

A few months ago, I was invited onto the Auto Converse podcast to talk about video marketing. A young man named Patrick Block was also a guest on the show, and he told me that he was having trouble finding a job.

He had been laid off from his job at a vehicle software company in February (prior to the pandemic), when the company was acquired by Lyft. At first, Patrick wasn’t worried about finding a new job, since he had quite a bit of experience in the auto industry. But in early March a tornado destroyed many businesses in Nashville, where he lives. Shortly after that, businesses everywhere were shuttered due to COVID-19. All of a sudden, job prospects were dim.

Patrick sent resumes to dozens of companies but didn’t receive any interview requests. He struggled with finding ways to make his resume stand out from all other job seekers. A videographer friend suggested that he develop a video resume.

Patrick agreed to try it. He developed a short video resume, posted it on YouTube and emailed the link to some hiring managers. The problem was, he didn’t know whether the videos were actually getting through and being watched.

When Patrick told me this, I invited him to use Flick Fusion’s video marketing platform to host his video resume. Our platform sends the creator/sender of the video a notification every time someone watches their video. In addition, I recommended that Patrick develop more videos to include on his resume landing page; including recommendation videos and videos that answer common interview questions.

Patrick followed my advice and created a page that hosted several videos. Here is a link to that page https://bit.ly/311sKxY

Patrick’s dream job was a position as a sales consultant with Lexus of Nashville. He believed that a high-line dealership was well-suited to his personality, and that car sales rewards hard work more than many sales positions in other industries. Patrick emailed the General Manager his newly enhanced video resume on our platform.

Shortly after he emailed the video resume, Patrick received a notification that the GM had viewed it. He was called in for an interview the very same day, and spent three hours at the dealership. While he was in an interview with a second hiring manager, Patrick received a notification that someone else in the dealership was viewing the video as well. It turned out it was the Internet Sales Manager, who then joined Patrick during his second interview, and raved about the video.

Shortly after this interview, Patrick was told that Lexus of Nashville was interested in hiring him, and he began the hiring process that included background checks, two more interviews and a drug test.

Patrick began working at Lexus of Nashville in July. Needless to say, Patrick is a huge believer in the power of video and he uses video in his new position to respond to leads and connect with active car buyers. When I asked him whether he thought his video resume was the reason he landed his dream job, Patrick claims it was 100%, absolutely the reason.

“I was nervous about using a Video platform during my job hunt. Flick Fusion was an awesome tool for me to use as it generated very professional emails, gave me visibility into how excited the recipients were, and allowed me to see myself presenting via the platform,” said Patrick. “Every person I shared this with was blown away at the idea of integrating video into the job hunt, especially during COVID. I was immediately separating myself out from the candidate pool with a small amount of extra effort. The impact it had landed me the job I had said I wanted for a long time. After what I’ve learned, I use video even more now in my job on a day to day basis.”

This story is just an example of how ubiquitous video is becoming in the auto industry; and I think it’s a good story of how a person used video to make themselves stand out in a really tough job market.

Your salespeople can easily use videos to make themselves stand out in the same way that Patrick does. When leads come in, have your sales team use pre-recorded videos, and/or live-streaming video calls, to connect with prospects. Video instantly captures and engages attention in a way that regular emails and phone calls simply can’t duplicate.

And if you’re ever searching for a new career opportunity, use a video resume to market yourself! You may land your dream job, just like Patrick.

How to Shoot Inventory Videos That Sell

by Brian Cox

As published in the June issue of AutoSuccess

Car shoppers are relying on videos more than ever to help them with purchasing decisions. For car dealers, the first step in creating an effective video marketing strategy is to start with inventory videos. Stitched photo videos are a great option and deliver a better shopping experience for your customers than static photos.

However, if you really want to up your game, implement a process for full motion inventory videos. Live action videos are proven to engage more shoppers and convert more leads.

The good news is you don’t need a professional videographer or expensive equipment. You can start with a smartphone. Expect that the first few videos you shoot will be horrible. That’s okay. Practice makes perfect.

Here’s a quick primer on how to shoot professional looking inventory videos that sell.

Video Quality

First, get to know your equipment and learn how to use it. Small adjustments can make a big difference when it comes to video quality. Shoot with a 16:9 (horizontal) aspect ratio and experiment with different settings. The settings we recommend are:

Frames per second: 30

Shutter speed (exposure): 1/60, 1/125, or 1/250. The lower the light conditions, the lower the shutter speed. However, lower than 1/60 and your shots may be blurry.

ISO setting: It depends on lighting. If it’s a cloudy day or you’re shooting in the shade, use a higher ISO setting. However, the higher the ISO, the more grainy your video will be. Keep the setting as low as possible and never go above 800.

Aperture: This setting affects depth of field. If you want to bring the car into focus and blur the background, use a larger aperture setting. If you want both the car and the background to be in equal focus, use a smaller aperture setting.

Audio Quality

When it comes to audio in inventory videos, there are three options:

  • Talk while shooting the video
  • Add voiceover in post production
  • Use automated voiceover

If you choose to talk while shooting the video, invest in a good quality wireless microphone with noise reduction. Often it’s easier and more professional to lay down a voiceover track in post-production. If you’re not comfortable with either of these options, try an automated voice over option. With the right application, all you have to do is shoot the video and a data-driven audio layer is automatically added to your videos.

Video/Audio Content

When deciding what to say in your videos, the most important thing to remember is this: information is important, but emotion sells! Your job is to make the car shopper want this car over any other car they’re considering.

The best way to accomplish this is to tell the viewer WHY a feature is important. For example, if a vehicle has a built-in GPS system, add a comment about how a GPS “keeps you from getting lost and keeps you on time for appointments!”

In general, it’s best to keep inventory videos between 1.5 and 2.5 minutes in length. However, there are some dealerships that produce videos from three to four minutes in length that have high completion rates. It depends on the quality and presentation of the video.

Don’t forget to include your dealership’s unique selling proposition (USP). Why should the viewer buy this car from your dealership instead of from the dealership across town?

Informational and Emotional Enhancement

An effective inventory video strategy is to have the audio focused on the vehicle’s features and benefits, as well as your dealership’s unique selling proposition. Then, use banner overlays and other visual elements to relay additional information important to the car shopper, such as:

  • MSRP data
  • Rebates and incentives
  • Mileage
  • CPO content
  • CARFAX data
  • Dealership specials

All the information listed on the VDP page should be included in the video. Be sure to integrate conversion widgets into your videos, so when viewers click on the video they’re brought to a landing page.

Don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of the video! You must tell the customer what you want them to do, and give them a reason to do it.

Visibility

Once your inventory videos are complete, the next step is distribution. The more touch points your videos are viewed on, the more leads you will get. Make sure your inventory videos are viewable on:

  • Your website’s Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs)
  • YouTube, Facebook and other social media channels
  • Third-party shopping sites such as Cars.com, Autotrader.com or eBay
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Craigslist ads (provide a URL link to a video landing page)

To get your inventory videos ranked by Google, make sure your website provider utilizes a video sitemap for your website. A video sitemap greatly increases video SEO rankings.

The ability to produce quality vehicle inventory videos is the first step in creating an effective online video marketing strategy, guaranteed to draw more customers to your website and convert them into leads. Fortunately, these days, it’s easy and fast to create and distribute powerful full-motion inventory videos designed to capture car shoppers’ attention, educate and inspire emotion.

How to Make Your Own Commercial for the “Big Game”

By Brian Cox, President and CEO, Flick Fusion

In 2019, advertisers paid over $5 million for a 30-second commercial ad spot during the Super Bowl. That kind of budget is out of reach for dealerships, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own commercial for the big game.

TV ads that run during the Super Bowl can be funny or heart-wrenching. They can be warm and sweet, or edgy and trendy. A good Super Bowl ad captures and conveys the essence of a brand in 30 seconds.

For weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, everyone wants to know which companies are advertising and what type of commercial they’ll come up with. Some commercials are leaked as teasers and even the news media contributes to the hype. Super Bowl advertisers probably get just as much public relations value out of running an ad during the game, than they do from the actual ad itself.

Why not cash in on this buzz and create your dealership’s very own “big game” commercial? All it takes is some creativity and a camera.

Of course, your commercial won’t actually run on TV during the Super Bowl. Instead, you can distribute it across every digital channel for maximum exposure. Post it on your website. Use it in email marketing and digital ad campaigns. Post it on all your social media channels. Use a shortened version as a pre-roll ad on YouTube.

Promote the heck out of it. Maybe it will go viral. Have some fun with it.

According to a National Retail Federation Study, 73% of Super Bowl viewers see the ads as entertainment. That’s the power of video. If you make your own “big game” commercial, everyone will want to see it. Just make sure that your ad is actually entertaining.

Here are a few tips on what makes a great commercial.

Tell a Story. Most Super Bowl ads don’t try to advertise a sale or special. The most successful ads tell a story that’s designed to elicit an emotion from the viewer. Buying a car can be an emotional experience, so try tapping into your customers’ experience, whether that’s happy, sentimental or exasperated.

Keep it Simple. What’s your brand’s unique value proposition? Don’t try to be everything to everybody. Use simple concepts and headlines. Don’t let complexity get in the way of your message. An effective ad conveys one message that is clear to the audience.

Brand Recall. Sometimes companies do such a great job at being cute or funny, that the viewers love the commercial but they don’t recall the brand. What’s the point of that? To be effective, an ad needs to accurately reflect your brand identity, and viewers should remember the brand.

Originality. If your ad looks like everyone else’s ads, it won’t be memorable. Spend some time coming up with a truly unique concept. Think outside the box. Even if your ad falls short of being award-worthy, your viewers will give you an “A” for effort.

Tap into a Trend. The auto industry is changing. Peruse news headlines and think about what people are talking about: autonomous vehicles, advanced vehicle technology, ride-sharing, electric vehicles and buying cars from vending machines. Try to leverage these trends in your ads, whether it’s poking fun or promoting interactions with an actual human.

Don’t Use Trademarked Terms. The terms “Super Bowl” and “Super Sunday” are trademarked by the NFL, so they can’t be used to promote your business in an ad, or the NFL will send a cease and desist letter. Use terms like “Big Game” or incorporate a football theme without mentioning any specifics. Also avoid using names of specific teams and players.

Be Honest. Most of all, make sure that your dealership delivers on your ad’s promise.

Once your ad is produced, it’s time to kick back, grab some wings and watch as the number of video views goes up and up. And don’t forget to enjoy the game!

5 Pre-Production Steps for Better Videos

by Tim James, COO, Flick Fusion

Videos are consumers’ favorite type of content to see from a brand, as evidenced by the fact that 87% of marketing professionals use videos as a marketing tool. But creating a quality video requires more than just picking up a camera and shooting footage. Before you begin shooting your videos, it’s important to go through a pre-production checklist that will ensure that you get the most out of your time and investment.

Step 1: Begin with the end in mind.

What is the purpose of this video? If you’re creating a vehicle inventory video, think about the end goal. If you’re thinking “my goal is to sell the car,” that’s stating things a little too simply.

Of course you want to convert that video viewer into a customer, but not just a one-time sales customer. Your goal is to create a lifetime, loyal customer who will bring the car in for service. What’s the best way to do this?

Even in something as simple as a vehicle inventory video, you want to lay a foundation that will establish your dealership as a trusted expert and build an emotional connection with the consumer. By the end of the video, the customer should not only love the car, they should like the dealership brand.

Step 2: Who is the target audience?

Before you shoot video, understand who your most profitable customers are. This data exists in your DMS and/or CRM. Filter customers by number of visits and money spent at your dealership. Then look at the demographics and create an ideal “persona.”

What zip codes do they live in? What age groups spend the most with your dealership? What is their income level? Are they white collar or blue collar? Which groups are they affiliated with? What problems do they have?

It’s important to identify audience characteristics so you know what videos will appeal to them. Demographics can help you set the tone for your videos; whether they should be professional, humorous or heartfelt.

Step 3: Determine where the video will be displayed.

If you’re going to produce a video, be sure to maximize your investment by leveraging it across all your marketing touchpoints, including your website VDPs, 3rd-party auto shopping sites, Facebook, Google ad campaigns, email and text campaigns and more.

Also make certain that you can capture your viewers’ data, which enables you to personalize the content of the video for every viewer. This provides your customers with the most relevant experience and provides you with maximum conversion. Make sure your video host can provide you real-time notifications when your videos are being viewed by existing customers or leads.

Step 4. Identify your call to action

What is the next step that you want the consumer to take after watching your video? If it’s an inventory video, you might think the next step is to submit a lead or make a phone call. But many people who view inventory videos are still in the early stages of the car shopping process and trying to narrow down which vehicle is right for them.

If a customer is still in this phase, it would be helpful for them to view make/model test drive videos. So, a better call to action might be to encourage the viewer to watch more videos on your site. This is why it’s important that your video host is able to serve up relevant video content based on a customer’s browsing behavior.

Once a car shopper has narrowed down a make and model, the next phase of the shopping cycle is to decide where to purchase the vehicle. After your test drive videos, a good call to action might be to encourage viewers to watch your dealership’s value proposition and customer testimonial videos.

Step 5: What is the Vision?

Last but not least, this is where you plan the actual shots. Plan to shoot a lot of footage that you can use in future video projects.

Video can be re-purposed in dozens of ways for marketing and social media purposes. I recommend planning shots of the vehicles, your facility, service department, sales department and employees. Professional videographers often shoot hours of footage for a 5-minute video. You don’t have to go overboard, but you should plan to shoot dozens of 15-second clips and catalogue them so you can refer back to them easily.

These pre-production steps are an essential part of the video production process and will help you create videos that resonate with your target audience.

[Video] Google’s 5 Auto Shopping Moments – Part 1: Which Car Is Best

In this series of video blogs, Flick Fusion COO Tim James shares Google’s 5 auto shopping moments that every dealership should know and how to take advantage of those moments to lead customers to your dealership.