beginner video

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!

Video: The Content that Rules them All!

by Tim James

According to a recent study published by Wistia, consumers watched more than 23,000 YEARS of video in 2020 alone. This means more video was watched last year than the entire history of modern civilization! And it’s almost certain to continue to break records. Why? Because video transfers more information to a consumer in the least amount of time, while also creating the greatest amount of emotion when compared to any other visual medium.

Perhaps even more interesting is HOW consumers are watching video content. According to an article in Forbes, about 72% of consumers watch video content solely on their smartphones. More so than on a movie screen, their desktop, or anywhere else. New video apps and features are infiltrating the current market offering an increasing number of ways for consumers to view this content. Even Pinterest, which has historically been a single image-only site, has started to adopt video into its platform. This is why your dealership must understand that video isn’t just the future, it is the NOW.

Every industry has either begun the transfer to video or is fully engulfed in it, and the automotive industry is no different. Moving forward, high-quality and innovative video experiences on your dealership websites and in the different stages of the buying cycle will set your dealership apart from the rest when it comes to building relationships with shoppers.

Why do you think that nearly every business is scrambling to include video in their marketing strategy? Because it works, and the data is there to back it up!

Entrepreneur magazine recently featured an article stating that consumers want to, “See, Watch and Buy. In that Order.” How does this apply to your dealership website? When a consumer lands on your SRP or VDP, they are “seeing” your inventory. The next step is to “watch” the vehicle via a video. Whether that is a stitched photo video, a live video walkaround, or an interactive 360 spin, video content engages viewers and saves them from clicking through uninteresting photos and from having to read a large amount of text.

Consumers want to feel empowered to gain as much information about a vehicle as possible, as quickly as possible. Why has the test drive and product demonstration been a part of the basic steps to selling a car for decades? Because it works! And now, the technology exists to accomplish the same thing online.

The point is to make content consumers like, while also making that content in the form consumers want to consume. Then make it even better! Watching a video of a vehicle is great, but if you personalize that content and make it resonate with the customer in front of you, then you can move them further down the funnel.

It also helps to have trackable data you can use for your marketing. Use personalized videos on platforms that provide useful marketing data, and which integrate with your CRM for ease of follow-up. “Easy” doesn’t have to mean that quality suffers.

Make it easy to create videos that consumers desire, that they can view on their mobile phones, with data that integrates into your CRM so you can follow up with them appropriately. This will help turn your dealership into a marketing powerhouse that rules over any competition!

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

by Tim James, COO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Place Video Below the Email Message

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

4 Do not Send an Image Only Email

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

5. Include a Call to Action

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

6. Be Professional.

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

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

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

8. Leverage The Shopper’s Data

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

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

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.