automotive

How to Use Video to Increase your Service Revenue

by Tim James

Have you ever been frustrated because a customer turned down a service recommendation? Perhaps they hand you the excuse that they need to consult with a spouse, friend, or family member before they accept. The problem is most consumers are pre-conditioned to say “no” to the additional service recommendations. They all know the additional service recommendation is coming, and have already prepared themselves to say no, without knowing the additional services you plan to recommend. But how do you convince that customer who lacks trust that the additional services are truly needed?

VIDEO!

Most consumers say “no” to the additional service because they don’t fully understand what the service is, or why it is necessary. They think you are trying to sell them something they don’t need. It is much easier for people to believe something when they can see it. And while sending photos is better than just sending words on a screen, a video personalized for a customer which explains the service and why their vehicle needs it is a much more powerful tool to add to your service department. A technician (or service advisor) who takes the time to show a customer what needs to be fixed on their vehicle via video – whether it is recorded or streamed live – will make your service department more transparent, create trust, increase CSI, and upsells. And, if hosted on the right platform, can capture invaluable data to make your service marketing more effective.

These types of explanation videos are already incredibly valuable. BUT they become even more valuable when you can get data from them. With the right platform hosting your videos, you can get data on who is watching your videos, whether it is a personalized video for a current customer or a general video on your website. And with real-time alerts, you’ll know exactly when someone watches your video so you can ensure that you are getting the right message to them at the right time… when they are the most interested. Hosting your website/marketing videos on YouTube just cannot provide this level of insight or data.

Humanizing your dealership in the eyes of your customer is also important. Video builds personal engagement with your dealership as well as the service advisor or technician that made and sent the video. And the best part? Your service advisors and technicians can do it. using their very own smartphone.

Create a process for recording the multi-point inspection so it can reinforce what you tell the customer. “Hey, Mr./Ms. Customer, we’ve completed your multi-point inspection and found a couple of things we think you should address to keep your vehicle healthy and have a longer life. Let me show you what those are and explain why they should be fixed.”

If you let the customer leave when they decline a service recommendation, they will forget what you told them, and you will have to remember to remind them over and over again(assuming they return). Or perhaps they just go to another dealership that is already using the technology and strategies we are discussing, who wins their trust a little better.

According to statistics, service acceptance rates increase by 25-35% when customers receive their MPIs via video. And Dollars per RO increase by 35-60% with a 25-35% increase in CSI! Is that worth the effort to integrate video into your service department’s process? If you don’t think so, I’ll come out and do it and you can give me the increase in revenue! That’s how confident I am in the results video will bring to your dealership’s service department.

A lot of technology out there promises more revenue. The bottom line is that video is the most preferred method of content in EVERY area of a consumer’s life. From entertainment to shopping to sales and yes, even servicing a car (plus more). I am not sure a more powerful medium exists to engage a customer and create an emotional impact to sell… well… anything.

Video Is Essential for Personalization & Branding

Why does everyone like Super Bowl commercials? Heck, some people watch the Super Bowl just to see them! Companies spend millions of dollars for a 30-second slot both during and leading up to the Super Bowl. And why do consumers like them? Because they are entertaining and use video to tell help companies tell stories. Emotion sells, but so does information.  Especially when you can transfer your information in a more emotional manner, and that is exactly what utilizing videos does. They also make those companies memorable and help gain brand exposure as people continue to discuss them around the office and over social media the next day.

I’m not asking you to spend millions of dollars on a Super Bowl commercial. What I am saying is that companies find value in this marketing medium because those commercials transfer information in a highly emotional manner, which builds brand exposure and makes them more memorable. The good news is that You don’t need to spend millions of dollars to use video to make an impact in your business. All you need is a phone, a strategy, and a way to distribute your videos.

Customers take the time to look for and research who they want to do business with. Video helps in the process as it engages customers emotionally and helps them become attached to your business and inventory. The next time that customer is in the market and needs to select which product to buy, they already know you, like you, remember you, and choose you, before they’ve ever even decided which vehicle they want to purchase.

With the advent of the VR universe – or Metaverse – the time may come when these commercials speak directly to an individual consumer. Facebook is pretty much the most dominant social platform in the world with billions of users. Now, they have changed their name to Meta, focusing on bringing their community online through, at the moment, their Oculus product.

They are not quite there yet. But using video for branding and personalization certainly is. And it doesn’t cost a million dollars. In fact, all you need is a smartphone, the right hosting platform, a strategy, and buy-in from employees.

An article on Martech shares some key points about video from a study by Wistia. Brands are currently spending more on video marketing and 72% plan to incorporate video into their marketing this year. One of the largest reasons is because it is the type of content consumers prefer. 1.4 BILLION minutes of video were watched by consumers in 2021! That’s a lot of video! Videos are an essential part of any marketing strategy and a mandatory marketing tool for successful businesses today. If you are not already using an aggressive video strategy, you need to grab your phone and get to work. You might just find that with video, word-of-mouth spreads faster than you think, brand exposure increases and sales do as well.

Flick Fusion Upcoming Auto Industry Events

At Flick Fusion we strive to educate dealers about the importance of integrating video into your marketing strategy and customer communications. We do this through our blogs – featured by Digital Dealer, AutoSuccess– and other sites, in addition to webinars and in-person educational events.

Our goal is to provide quality education to dealers throughout the year. It is our belief that you can never stop learning. And the simple fact is that video will help dealerships engage more customers and sell more cars!

Here is a sneak peek at some upcoming events in 2022 that we have scheduled:

March 11-13NADA Show: In Las Vegas, Nevada, you can find us at booth #1902W where you can learn about Nucleus –all a dealership needs to start, grow and excel at video marketing. We were Named as one of the “Best of the Best at NADA 2022” by AutoSuccess, Magazine. Stop by and see how to take your dealership to the next level!

May 9-13 – Tampa Convention Center: Have you ever been to an American Express Lounge in an Airport? In Tampa, Florida, we have our very own Hospitality Suite conveniently located within the Tampa Convention Center and adjacent to the Digital Dealer Conference! You don’t need an American Express card to come in. If you are in Tampa at this time, attending the Digital Dealer conference, or one of the other conferences at the Convention Center during this time, stop by and see us. Kick back, relax, charge your electronics, have some refreshments on us and meet our team! Our Hospitality Suite will be open throughout the day, so stop by and enjoy!

As a bonus, join us right outside the Convention Center at the pavilion, The Sail Plaza, for some refreshments on May 9th from 5pm-9pm right on the water! As one of Tampa’s most popular waterfront hangouts, you don’t want to miss the atmosphere and networking this event promises – and is open to all automotive dealership personnel and automotive dealership vendors!

June 10-12 – We’re proud to support the Montana Auto Dealers Association at their 108th Annual Convention as Platinum sponsors! We’ve always loved Montana and having the opportunity to present more information and knowledge about the power of video marketing to its dealers is great! Enjoy a round of golf (don’t forget to find our tee sponsorship) and visit us at our booth in the Expo Hall!

August 4-7 – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in August? One of the most beautiful destinations and venues, the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort, is the perfect place for an event. Right on the beach with waterparks and many activities. It is the perfect place to bring your family while you join us at the Unfair Advantage Automotive Mastermind Group (UAAMG), hosted by the Carolinas Independent Automobile Dealers Association (CIADA. It is the 67th Annual Convention for both North and South Carolina Independent dealers. Part of the educational content is one day of UAAMG during the convention.

This full-day UAAMG interactive class focuses on what dealers want to discuss and everyone participates! Not only will we have a booth at UAAMG but our COO, Tim James, will be co-moderating and speaking! Then, as icing on the cake, we’ll be joining the CIADA Expo on Day 2 with a booth for a second opportunity for dealers to learn about the power of video marketing!

And this is just for the first half of 2022! Stay tuned for the second half, we’re just getting started! We look forward to seeing you at these events.

Home is Where the Money Is

By Tim James

As we head into 2022, a dramatic shift has occurred in online consumer shopping behavior, according to an article in Forbes. While online shopping was growing, COVID hit, forcing an increasing number of consumers to do their shopping online. Shoppers started buying more than books, but necessities such as groceries, household goods (remember the toilet paper shortage), pet supplies, and more.

Due to the pandemic, for most everything a consumer needed, they looked online – and businesses had to adapt. Even big-time movie production companies changed strategies to online content. As consumers were so worried about being around others and as restrictions were in place, Warner Bros. teamed up with HBO to deliver first-run movies on HBOMaxx the same day as the official theatre release.

Another example is real estate. The most expensive purchase most consumers make in their lifetime. Due to Covid, people didn’t feel comfortable visiting multiple properties in person — so what happened? Real Estate Agents adopted video walkthroughs, drone footage, and more!

Let’s now talk about the second most expensive purchase that consumers make in their lives — vehicles. Videos are extremely valuable in the car-buying process. What do industry disrupters that operate completely online do? They use video to make the emotional attachment that is missing when a consumer can’t visit their lot! Through an aggregate of data on our platform, we’ve seen a huge spike in video usage by dealerships as well as a marked increase in consumer consumption. It’s convenient. It can be done remotely. It inspires significantly more emotion than photos alone, and consumers don’t have to visit multiple dealerships to buy a vehicle.

To create a great video experience that builds emotion in your shoppers it is important to include personalized videos to the customer as part of your video strategy. These can include “Why Buy from Us”, “Why Buy from Me”, or service-related videos. Selling yourself and your dealership along with your vehicle in your video presentations can build a solid trust relationship just as it does when the consumer is on your lot. People buy from people they like and a majority of all online auto shoppers are looking for a salesperson and a dealership they can trust – just as much as a vehicle to purchase. Use your vehicle video presentations as an opportunity to build that personal relationship as well. 

Next, focus on the data. Having the data necessary to continue interaction with a customer is imperative. The data you get from your online videos can continue engagement while informing your dealership that a customer is interested. Think about when an email is sent by a salesperson or BDC agent. Most are never responded to and in many dealerships, it is almost impossible to know if the customer has read those emails or not. If your dealership is using video in an attempt to engage customers and hosting them on sites that don’t provide individual viewer data, such as YouTube, the same result occurs. You’re shooting in the dark and don’t know if you’re hitting the target.

Consumers are getting more comfortable shopping from home, online. Escrow services are even paying notaries to travel to a customer’s house to get the paperwork signed to finalize the sale. Many dealerships are also offering this type of service. There are several ways to “complete” a sale nowadays, especially with the new digital retailing technologies now available.

That being said, no house can be sold, no car can be sold, nor any other high-ticket item, without the consumer being confident in their choice. They also need an emotional attachment to their planned purchase. Even comparatively low-priced items on Amazon have video descriptions and/or reviews and information about the product.

In 2022, resolve to incorporate more video into your marketing strategy and ensure you are hosting on a platform that provides actionable data from those videos. Then you can create a game plan not just for the dealership, but for each prospective buyer.

To your success in 2022 and beyond!

To Be Successful, Stop Over Talking About Yourself!

A very interesting article published by Entrepreneur shares an analogy about how marketing is a lot like dating. The article explains that marketing is essentially about building relationships with your consumer audience. Most people would agree that it is aggravating on a first date, or when meeting someone at a social gathering for the first time if the other party simply talks about themselves the entire time. This illustrates they only have an interest in themselves and none for you or anyone else in the group.

The same philosophy can be applied to marketing. A lot of marketing revolves around concepts such as “This is what makes my product great!” or “Buy My Product!” and many consumers tend to lose interest fast – exactly like you would on a date or in a group at a party. The key isn’t to start by giving shoppers a long list of all of your product’s features, but rather to have a benefits-focused message that gets them engaged and yearning to learn more.

While in today’s Covid-stricken world people are seeking interaction, we still want to buy the things we need or want. Wouldn’t your dealership want to satisfy both of those needs? In doing so, you create a bond between the consumer and your dealership that can last far beyond the pandemic. Consumers will absolutely remember those that take the time to recognize them as individuals and not just random wallets.

How can you do this? Video email/texting and live video communication and by using your past customers to “sell” your dealership to current shoppers with video testimonials.

Cell phones are pretty much stapled to everyone’s bodies. They are the first things many people look at when they wake up, checking them constantly for all communications. Emails are fine. Text messages are better. But video messages – including personalized videos; live-streaming videos; and other forms of communication that involve targeted one on one communication with another; trump everything. Can these types of communication be combined? Sure! You can send an email or text with a video message. You can live-stream with a consumer regardless of whether you can both see each other, or they can only see you.

Additionally, one of the best ways to sell your dealership’s value to your customers is through customer testimonial videos. These videos use customers that have already purchased from your store. They explain their great experience working with your dealership. Placing these on your website is an amazing way to let potential shoppers know that they can trust you.

Using personalized videos and live streaming to communicate with the consumer more ABOUT their needs than about yourself is gold right now. Don’t just talk to them about a vehicle, inspire trust in yourself and your dealership by taking the time to truly get to know each shopper. It should also remain gold post-pandemic as this is what consumers want. Canned and templated messages are no longer very productive (not that they ever really were.)

Find tools that can assist your dealership in easily creating personalized video messages and communications. By providing your salespeople and service advisors with tools that are easy to use employees will sell more cars and service advisors will find that service recommendations are accepted more easily.

Stop being “that guy” on that date who only talks about himself. You will get much more attention, interest, and interaction by being more interested in the other person.

Don’t Let “Writer’s Block” Stop Your Video Marketing Efforts

by Tim James

Most dealerships understand the importance of effective marketing. Heck, you’ve been doing it for years. Every medium, every day and go big on Friday! As online content has grown, so has consumer preference for video. In fact, according to an article on Search Engine Journal, 78% of companies that use video in their marketing strategies said it helped increase sales; 83% stated that it increased consumers’ time on their website, and 86% saw it increase overall website traffic.

Most dealerships know they should create video content to effectively market their dealership, sales team, and inventory. Those dealerships who have experimented with different types of video content rave about the impact that it has on their sales.  But even those dealerships often stop creating new video content even though they have experienced the positive impact firsthand.

So, what’s the problem then? Why isn’t every dealership using video?

A recent article on Inc.com has a phrase that I love – Perfection Paralysis. Essentially, it shares how many marketers are so worried about making video content perfect that they end up not making any at all. Striving for perfection is great. However, major league baseball players, NFL stars, and musicians don’t become great overnight. Do you know what they do? They go out and do it! Whatever “it” is. They don’t expect it to be perfect. But what they do know is that the more they practice, the better they get.

If your dealership isn’t utilizing video, a great place to start is with automated inventory videos and 360 spins. These videos and 360s are fast and easy to create, as they utilize your existing inventory feed and then are automatically pushed to your website and online marketing partners. From there, you can continue to build on your video marketing strategy to add in full motion inventory videos and 360s, new model test drive videos, live video streaming, monthly promotional videos, lead follow-up video communications, etc.

You’re never going to improve unless you start. And you can’t expect to go from crawling to running a 5K overnight. Your customers aren’t going to expect your videos to be commercial grade by a professional videographer. I would even argue that, if they did look like they are professional quality, customers may doubt your sincerity.

Many salespeople have made an excellent career for themselves by utilizing video with their customers. They didn’t start as professional videographers and many of them still aren’t. What they did do, however, is recognize video’s potential and, most importantly… STARTED.

Don’t let writer’s (or in this case) video block stop you from actually creating video content. As you start to use it, you will see how customers react to the effort you made to create a video just for them! You will see how much easier it is to engage them when they get a video response instead of a text template email. And the most important part, you will sell more cars!

The Future of Video Marketing

By Tim James

The majority of consumers prefer video content which is why social media and streaming services thrive (and prefer) this form of media.

I remember when it was revolutionary for an inventory syndication company to take still photos and convert them into stitched photos videos

Then we evolved to video walkarounds where an actual video of the vehicle is used (rather than still pictures put together) which increases engagement because the consumer can see the vehicle almost as if they are on the lot This also enables the dealership to produce their own custom voice-overs whereby a salesperson describes the features and benefits just as they would if they were doing it in real-life.

And then we moved on to taking personalized videos of vehicles for a specific customer, answering their questions then emailing the video to them. Take it up a notch and we are now able to use individual shopper data to change the viewing experience for each individual shopper based on their viewing habits and report each viewing experience back to your CRM in real-time.

Then we graduated to real-time Livestream video to communicate with customers on mobile devices, whether that be for purchasing questions or simply to let the customer guide the salesperson while doing a virtual walkaround (or virtual test-drive) to show them what they want to see. Imagine a salesperson being able to communicate with a customer just as if the salesperson were standing in the room with them!.

Now we get into the Star Trek zone…

The Cirque de Soleil show, Michael Jackson One, in Las Vegas, has an awe-inspiring feature — Michael Jackson himself appears as a hologram. And the recent Digital Dealer Conference featured an ENTIRE CONCERT with a hologram of Whitney Houston. Let me tell you, it looks like these departed celebrities are really there. They’re dancing next to real-life dancers and singing their songs. It is certainly very engaging.

The point is that video – as well as technology in general – continues to evolve. The technology to bring people in various locations together so they can engage with each other in meaningful ways will only continue to progress. What is the thread that drives all of this? It’s video. And that is how important it is for engaging others.

What’s the next step? Perhaps we’ll be able to just transport a salesperson and a vehicle into the customer’s living room (with their permission, of course.) Now, beam me up, Scotty!

All Aboard! Using Video to Onboard Employees

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, there are many uses for video in marketing. One thing I haven’t yet discussed is using video internally in your dealership. At many dealerships, training is not always a strong focus and new employees are introduced to the dealership and company culture through piles of paperwork, manuals, and other tedious tasks that, for the most part, get skimmed through – rather like all of those “Terms and Agreements” we are all subjected to continuously. For the most part, these just go unread, and we simply scroll down until we reach the “Agree” button.

Well, similar to how you can use video to great success to engage your potential and existing customers, you can also use video to engage new employees and make it simpler and more enjoyable for them to learn about their new career as well as your dealership’s culture, branding, and messaging. Incorporating training videos into your onboarding process will be more engaging and will also be remembered over piles of paper.

Here are four ways to incorporate video into your training:

  1. Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Policies – These are pretty standard in almost every business. Typically, however, there are manuals that have to be read. Then, at the end, the employee just needs to sign the last page and turn it in. These are very important for company culture and legal compliance. Consider having your corporate office or Human Resources department create a video outlining the dealership’s policies THEN have the employee watch the video and sign the form stating they understand them. It would be much more engaging, and, with the right platform, you can have a data record of what has been watched.
  2. Company Culture Overview – Dealerships market the experience consumers should expect and employees are on the front line of this. Employees can either reinforce that promise or detract from it. Consider creating a video for employees that illustrates the company culture and the importance of complying while also explaining expectations. You can then get a head start on the new employee’s indoctrination into the organization.
  3. Meet the Team – All too often, a new hire completes all of the paperwork and gets thrust into their new role without knowing who else exists in the dealership outside of the few they work with directly. Just as it is a good idea to make videos introducing yourself to customers, why not have department managers – front, back office, and service – create a short video introducing themselves to a new employee? This will help the new employee start their career with a sense of who everyone is and what they do and add a sense of the “team” they are joining.
  4. Social Media Policies – Most dealerships have policies in place for employees’ use of social media platforms. Whatever your policies happen to be, the new employee should be informed of them right from the beginning. There have been lawsuits whereby employees were terminated because of social media use and, when the employee sued the dealership, the dealership lost due to lack of a policy.

When you make these videos, you would be wise to use a video platform that provides data. Then you can allow these employees to watch these videos in the comfort of their own home –rather than sticking them in a closet with a bunch of paperwork.

Employees will feel more comfortable, will pay more attention, and should, ultimately be ready to roll from the first day they step into the dealership.

Taking Moment Marketing to a Whole New Level

By Tim James

In a past blog, I talked about how dealers can capitalize upon customer moments in their video marketing strategies. This is an excellent tool for utilizing sales and service customers to acquire new ones without spending hundreds of dollars. A recent article I read by MarTech suggests taking this “Moment Marketing” strategy to the next level. Mainly, utilizing current topics and trends to create marketing that consumers care about on a larger scale, going beyond just the dealership’s internal assets.

I am sure you have seen some examples. Do you remember when the power went out during the 2013 Super Bowl? All sorts of companies capitalized on that including Walgreens, Oreo, Tide, and even Audi taking a shot at Mercedes… and they all went viral.

I realize that your dealership probably does not have the resources to accomplish that level of marketing. However, you may be surprised to learn that many of you are probably already doing it on some level. Think about how most dealerships’ marketing changed during the pandemic to showing how hygienic, clean, and safe their dealerships (that could be open) were. Or how they instituted pickup and delivery services for both service and sales during the pandemic.

Currently, the auto industry is experiencing turmoil in vehicle acquisition and pricing, with some consumers paying MSRP for used vehicles. These acquisition pricing challenges at auction have shifted the marketing focus towards enticing consumers to trade in or sell their cars to the dealer. In addition, dealers are aggressively targeting the end of lease customer 12-18 months before their lease end date rather than the 3-month norm. There are also many consumer-oriented sites advising customers that now is the time to get rid of that vehicle because they can get an extremely attractive trade-in value.

To take a larger view of Moment Marketing, and to produce the most ROI from this marketing, it helps to additionally be aware of what’s going on in your communities, PMA, and the world. Besides using video to focus on how great your dealership is through customer testimonials; consider utilizing video to show how your dealership understands and cares about the exact things your customers do. It’s not a hard concept because every dealer, dealership employee, or even your vendor partners care about a lot of the same things that are going on. Whether that’s unusual or funny things that happened (like the lights going out at the Super Bowl through social media posts); or more emotional things such as the Budweiser Clydesdales kneeling to remember September 11 ten years after the fact, these are things that endear people to your brand by touching their hearts and creating an emotional connection.

There is no way for me to know what’s going on that is important to your local community. Every dealership is going to have its own “moments.” I can tell you, however, that the majority of us know what’s going on in the United States. By being sensitive, identifying what matters to YOU and your customers, and using that information to create sensitive, emotional, funny creative video (depending on the situation, of course,) your videos can transcend the normal “buy a car” type videos.

Create videos that connect your dealership with consumers, build brand awareness and advocate and increase engagement with your content. This will endear your customers and potential customers to you and, when they’re ready, they will choose you over your competition.

Live Video Calling: Carvana’s Kryptonite

Video marketing has been a growing focus in nearly every industry for over a decade. But during the past year-and-a-half, due to a majority of business moving to virtual, video use at dealerships has exploded. While covid-related restrictions have started to ease in recent months, video has taken root and continued to be an essential tool to help sell more cars. This is because not all consumers are ready to venture out, or they recognize the convenience of an online car buying experience.

At the same time, the used car market is exploding, forcing dealers to increase prices on their lots, with few new vehicles to sell because of chip and parts shortages.

As Carvana and other disrupters are making a play to capture even more market share by running anti-dealership campaigns while willing to lose money buying vehicles high and selling them low, consumers are gravitating towards them.

There is a way, however, to overcome the marketing tactics that these online retailers are pushing so heavily: live video calling. The ability to follow up with your leads with a live video call humanizes your dealership. It gives a face and personality to your sales staff that builds the valuable trust relationship that these companies are trying so hard to break.

While vehicle description pages exist, there is no emotion for a consumer to connect with when they look at text on a screen. Your shoppers will almost assuredly seek more information, while also trying to decide if your dealership is a place that they want to do business with. Through live video calling, your salespeople can connect with their customers, show them the vehicle live and answer any of their questions in real-time.

It does not matter if the live video call is one-sided (where the consumer sees you, but you can’t see them) or two-sided (like a Facebook Live video call). You can build rapport with a customer through a live call, show them the vehicle they expressed interest in and reassure them that YOUR DEALERSHIP will be there for them for whatever they need during the car buying cycle.

As the market continues to lean more and more to the digital side, both dealerships and these industry disruptors will continue getting online leads. The good news is your dealership can still have an advantage over these online companies. Through live video calling, you can prove that you are a business that can still be trusted… much more than any multi-story “car vending machine” can.