digital marketing

The Importance of Inventory Walk Around Videos

The popularity of inventory walkaround videos has grown, and I love seeing it. What I don’t understand is this—why aren’t those same videos on your website, AutoTrader, Cars.com—all the other touchpoints that you are paying money to market your inventory, and where “in-market” shoppers are looking?

The reason you are taking the time to walk out to the car, complete your walkaround, and upload your video to Facebook is that you know people on Facebook will love the video and want to come down to your store and see the car for themselves. Isn’t that your goal with your website and ALL your online marketing touchpoints? That is called Merchandising. But your Merchandising strategy should be to have the BEST, most emotional presentation for your inventory…on every touchpoint where you show it.

Many dealerships are attempting to evolve their business model to compete with online disruptors such as Carvana. Did you know that Carvana attributes much of its success to how it merchandises its cars?

A great quote that resonates with me and covers this subject well is from Ernie Garcia… the CEO of Carvana. He stated, “The number one reason always given why cars couldn’t be sold online was that people needed a test drive. We said is there a way to use technology to let a customer take themselves through the whole experience? Is there a way we can merchandize the car where they can experience it online and get as good a feel for what the car is about as if they would have got it in person?”

Right from the beginning, Carvana knew that if they were going to get a shopper to purchase a vehicle without test driving it, they had to merchandise at a strong enough level that the shopper would get emotionally attached to the vehicle online…and want to buy it…without test driving. Shouldn’t that be your goal as well, not just on Facebook, but on your website and all of your online touchpoints?

The good news is that today’s technology will let you shoot one walkaround video, post that video to your website and numerous online marketing partners, create an interactive 360 spin, and post the video to Facebook…all with one video and one-click to upload.

You can even extract your still images from that video and re-use that video over and over to send personalized walkarounds to your leads, all from the comfort of your office, so you don’t have to worry about it raining, snowing, being crazy hot, etc. 

So, what are you waiting for?. It’s time to jump on the inventory video bandwagon and offer your customer a better experience on your website and all of your other online marketing touchpoints too (not just Facebook). Do this before the disruptors and other forward-thinking dealers eat your customers for lunch!

I’m presenting at Digital Dealer Tampa 2022 and hope that you’ll join me for my session, “Increase Service Revenue by Bringing Video to Your Service Department.” This session will give you best practices and actionable insights to utilize a video strategy in your service department to create a transparent customer experience and increase sales.

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.

The Right Way to Include CTAs in your Videos

By Tim James

Video marketing has come a long way over the last few years. However, an increasing number of dealerships are creating great video content but then wondering why it isn’t delivering the desired reaction it was created to achieve.

I get a lot of calls asking if I can provide some insight into why this great content sometimes seems to go unnoticed. More often than not, it is because the videos are missing one key fundamental element of marketing: a Call-to-Action (CTA). As with all your other marketing mediums, you can give a consumer information, but without having an effective call to action, it isn’t likely you will get the desired response you are looking for. And as with all your other marketing mediums, your CTA needs to clearly communicate not only HOW to take the action you want them to but also WHY they should. The fundamental rules of marketing do not change or cease to exist, just because you are delivering your message via a video. 

The problem with CTAs is that when they are included, too often the CTA fails to tell the customer exactly what they should do. Or, if it does, it is too late in the video to get the desired result. The oldest rule in marketing (which is still used today) is that a customer needs to hear (or see) that CTA at least three times before they can remember it. Think about the last radio, TV, or online commercial you saw or heard. How many times did the commercial display their website address and phone number while also telling you WHY you should act? If you don’t know off of the top of your head, go and watch or listen to a couple and count.

Next, your CTA should be memorable and convince a viewer that doing what the CTA suggests will benefit them. And remember to include it early enough to create action. You can’t just wait until the end of the video to ask a customer to take a certain action. You have to repeat it several times in the video to influence a customer. I’m not talking about interrupting your video message or making it intrusive. Let’s say that you are making a video walkaround of a vehicle for a customer. Many salespeople will only include a CTA at the very end, such as “Call me to make an appointment,” (or whatever). There are many more opportunities in these videos for CTAs. A salesperson has many opportunities to subtly include a CTA: “Mr./Mrs. Customer, this car is very clean. This video doesn’t do it justice but if you saw it in person, you would see for yourself.” Or something such as, “I can give you a virtual test drive. It’s not the same as driving it for yourself, but it will give you an idea of what it would be like.”

Little things like that interspersed into your videos can influence a customer to WANT to come in and see the vehicle in person. They end up KNOWING this is the vehicle for them. Even if it isn’t the exact vehicle that fits their needs, the bottom line is that you create an action and they come into your dealership. Then you have the opportunity to show them other vehicles that may fit their needs or that they like even better. And we all know that it is much easier to sell a vehicle to someone in person.

Start including multiple CTAs in your videos. Not outright sales pitches but ones that may influence a customer, pique their curiosity, and make them want to come to the dealership. Video marketing is a tool that engages a customer. You are too. By combining you and multiple CTAs into your video marketing strategy, you are more likely to get the customer to choose you, your vehicle, and your dealership and convert those customers into more sales.

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!

Video Experience Landing Pages: Sell Your Dealership, Then Sell the Car

By Tim James

Most automotive sales professionals are familiar with the road to the sale. Steps vary in details from dealer to dealer, but everyone agrees on the importance of the meet and greet, the vehicle presentation, and selling the dealership. The purpose of the “sell the dealership” step is to build trust and rapport with the customer.

Considering the large number of commercials that are being aired by the online retailers attempting to convince the consumer that they will have a terrible experience if they shop with you, these steps have never been more important than they are now.  Selling your dealership lets the customer know that they are at a dealership that they can trust – one that respects their time and has a knowledgeable and informed staff that the shopper believes are there to help, without pressuring them into decisions that they aren’t ready to make. Selling your dealership starts with breaking down barriers to inspire trust between the customer and whoever they will come in contact with at your dealership throughout their buying process.

On the lot, sales professionals are trained to sell the dealership first, then sell yourself, and then sell the car. Unfortunately, most online dealerships only focus on selling the car, forgetting that building a trust relationship with your shoppers by selling your dealership is still just as important in the online marketplace. Most consumers still need to learn more about the dealership and the sales professionals before engaging with their initial contact. In fact, Google tells us that “Where Should I Buy It” is even one of the most important micro-moments in the online buying cycle. So, how can you ensure that you are still selling your dealership when engaging with a customer online early enough in the buying cycle for it to have the largest impact?

The key is to implement an online video marketing strategy that duplicates your physical strategy and assures you are getting the right video content in front of your shoppers at the right time of the buying cycle. This can be easily accomplished by adding a landing page to your website that provides a complete Video Experience, containing all of the Why Buy videos that your shoppers will seek throughout the entire buying cycle. Displaying all of these videos in the same place on your landing page via itemized menu tabs, and making that landing page accessible from every drop down on your site’s main navigation, allows you to seamlessly guide shoppers down the buying cycle.

Here’s an example of what this tabbed video experience on your landing page might look like:

From your site’s main navigation, include links to a specific tab on the above menu that displays the most relevant information when they land on the page. The good news is that you already have all of the video content that will be on the landing page, you are simply offering it to your shoppers in a different manner.

Here are some examples of videos that can display on every menu item on your landing page, according to the main menu navigation dropdown that they should be found in:

New Inventory Dropdown: Pointing shoppers to New Model Test Drive Videos from the Research Pages dropdown in your site’s main navigation will boost consumer engagement and dealership trust dramatically. Without videos on these pages, you are forcing your shoppers to either find new model information OFF of your website, or forcing them to read text descriptions while browsing a handful of photos. Adding New Model Test Drive videos will not only drive more organic SEO to your website and keep shoppers on your site longer, but will also prevent them from leaving your site to find information on new models (and possibly ending up back in the marketplace as they look for that information).

Now that the shopper is on your website and researching your various brands, include your dealership Value Proposition and Testimonial video content as additional video content on those same pages. This helps to transition consumers from top-funnel video content to mid-funnel video content, where you are now selling the dealership just like you do when a customer physically walks onto your lot. Adding a New Model Test Drive Videos option in your New Inventory dropdown is also recommended.

Pre Owned Inventory Dropdown: Every dealership should have inventory videos for their used inventory, on both SRPs and VDPs. However, on the Pre Owned dropdown of your site’s main navigation, you should also include a link directing shoppers to the Pre Owned Inventory Standards section of your video experience landing page.

Pre Owned Inventory Standards videos build trust by informing shoppers that you care about the quality of the vehicle that they are purchasing from your dealership, and that you are committed to giving them the best experience possible. These videos outline the process that you take to clean and inspect every vehicle, from engine degreasing to deep carpet cleaning. They also give the perfect opportunity to promote returning for service whenever the buyer may need detailing or something on their car looked at. Build trust with your shoppers by showing them that your dealership cares about the quality of your inventory, and put your reliable vehicles and service at the forefront of your shopper’s mind.  Then be certain to include these same video, along with your dealership value proposition and testimonial videos, alongside the VIN specific inventory videos on your SRP and VDP displays.  This puts them in front of your shoppers at a stage of the buying cycle when they will have the biggest impact, selling your dealership at the same time you are selling the car.

Finance Department Dropdown: Many consumers enter the automotive shopping process with several concerns regarding finances, such as: the impact that their financial condition will have on their ability to purchase, the final price of their purchase, and how they will purchase. Make it easy for your online shoppers to get their questions answered long before they contact you by having various Finance FAQ videos on your Video Experience Landing Page. With these videos on your landing page, customers can find them both by seeing them while watching other videos on your page, as well as by having that specific section linked to in your sites Finance Department Dropdown.

These videos can vary anywhere from “Can I get a loan after bankruptcy?” to “How can I get the lowest car payment?”. The goal and end result with having these videos readily accessible and linked to from your main dropdown is to display that your dealership is transparent and is there to guide your shoppers through this process – while giving them valuable financing information.

Service Department Dropdown: To continue efforts on getting buyers to come back for servicing their vehicles, you should also feature a Service FAQ tab in your Video Experience Landing Page. These videos should answer the most common questions asked when it comes to your dealership’s service department, doing it in a much more engaging way than text on a screen and giving your shoppers the chance to navigate to the other tabs and videos on your landing page. These videos can include how to make a service appointment, current service offers you have, etc.  

About Us Dropdown: On the About Us portion of your site’s main navigation, linking to dealership specific videos on your Video Experience Landing Page is a great way to humanize your store to your shoppers. When a customer clicks on this link and is directed to videos in your About Us page tab, they are specifically looking to find out if your dealership and your staff are people that they can trust with their purchase. Your goal with videos in this section should be to inspire emotion and guide shoppers toward contacting your sales team. Let the consumer know that they will gave a great experience doing business with you, contrary to the message being presented to them by the online retailers.  These videos can include topics such as your mission statement, your community involvement, staff biographies, customer testimonials, etc. – anything that shows what makes your dealership different and trustworthy.

In the online marketplace, many dealerships forget about selling anything more than just the car. The fact is, shoppers still need to be sold on your dealership and your online strategy should not be all that different from your in-store strategy. The best way to accomplish this is to provide your shoppers with a Video Experience Landing Page – a place that contains all of your Why Buy videos and is linked to from your sites main navigation menu. Having these videos consolidated allows you to build trust and guide customers through the buying cycle all on one page, while giving them a one-stop-shop for all of the information they could need regarding why they should buy from you over your competition.

Make Your Videos Talk, Even When They’re Silent

by Tim James

When it comes to marketing, video is the most effective, engaging, and preferred medium by consumers. Every social media platform has preached this for years and statistics support this fact. Streaming video is beginning to outperform cable and consumers increasingly choose video online over all other mediums.

There are ways to supercharge your video content by using the videos you are already making to further benefit your marketing strategy – specifically by adding subtitles to those videos.

According to an article on Marketing Week, adding subtitles to your videos produces multiple benefits. Similar to I-frame content or widgets added to your website, Google cannot always “read” video content when crawling your website, and so it has no benefit to search results. But Google (and other search engines) can read videos that have subtitles included. Why? Because by including the text, it transitions your unreadable video into a readable one. This adds incredible value to your video content from an SEO stance.

Have you ever scrolled through a social media platform, seen a video without the sound on, and kept scrolling? By adding subtitles to your video, consumers can not only watch the video but also see what you’re saying. The Marketing Week article shares statistics from Verizon stating that a full 50% of consumers watch video content with the sound off. This percentage increases to 69% when consumers watch a video in public. Subtitles allow those consumers to watch your video content and get the words, thus increasing the percentage of people who see and continue to engage with your video content by simply allowing them to absorb the content and keep engagement on their terms.

Google (and others) penalize websites that aren’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many OEMs and website providers are also requiring ADA compliant videos and more are soon to follow. Plenty of car shoppers are hearing impaired and, while a video is great, if a potential car buyer can’t hear your video, it’s useless to them. By adding subtitles, those consumers will be more attracted to your dealership in the same way that having a salesperson that knows sign language, speaks Spanish, Korean or any other language makes those customers feel more at ease. Consumers feel more comfortable when dealerships (or any business) communicate with them on their terms.

While all of your videos should be ADA compliant, there are some videos that would benefit the most if they can be watched in any setting. Customer testimonials, value proposition, finance & service, FAQs, and other “Why Buy” videos all benefit by having great subtitles. If your shoppers are in a situation where they need to watch your videos without sound, these informative and emotion-inducing videos must have subtitles so they can still make an impact no matter the setting.

Competition between dealerships for consumers is hyper-competitive from acquisition to retention to brand loyalty. Anything you can add to your arsenal gives you an advantage over your rivals. Making your videos ADA compliant and available to watch in any setting gives you an edge over dealerships whose videos can’t evoke emotion or transfer information when customers have to watch silently.

Consider adding subtitles to your dealership’s video experience so your videos stand out and shout even when they’re silent.

Interactive Video: The Power of Story

by Tim James

Video has taken over as the preferred form of content for consumers. According to an infographic on The Drum, in 2017 only 63% of businesses used videos in their marketing. Fast forward to 2021 and that statistic has exploded to 86%. In addition, 85% of consumers stated that they would like to see even more video content from businesses. But forget about these statistics for a moment and just think about yourself and your habits. Would you prefer to read a bunch of words about a product you are researching, or watch an informative video on it?

In my past blogs I have shared various ways you can use video to engage your customers — but here is another idea:

Most dealerships hold new car-owner clinics designed to welcome shoppers who just purchased a new car to the dealership’s family, introduce them to service, and answer any questions they may have after owning their vehicle. These clinics handle a variety of things from how to set the seat memory function, to how to pair their iPhone with the vehicle’s entertainment system. The clinics are designed to invest the customer in your dealership while encouraging them to continue to do business with you as well as refer their friends and family.

If run well, the clinics show the customer that you care and that they are important to your dealership. This sort of service builds tremendous trust with your dealership’s new customers. The problem is, especially now with Covid, many new car owners don’t show up. Whether that’s because of a scheduling issue, or a feeling that it is not important, varies from customer to customer. What if you could offer a similar experience to your customers through video? It’s quite simple!

Think of an interactive video similar to a choose-your-own adventure-type experience. Do you remember those books? You read a page and then, at the end of the page, decide what you want to do next. How about creating a similar experience for your customers, but with video? As vehicles become increasingly more sophisticated and technology-infused, these questions will become more frequent, and your customers will go online to find the answers to their questions rather than come to you. Why don’t YOU become their go-to resource?

Start with what you want them to see and learn, along with the people you want them to meet, and make videos of those things. Typically, at these events, salespeople answer the customer’s vehicle-specific questions such as how the memory seats work, or how rain-sending wipers are set up.

Then, you need to put these videos where your customers will see them. The best way to get these videos seen is to use video email/text to follow up with your new customers. First, create a video introducing how your process works. Put this video on a landing page that includes videos covering the car-specific topics that you think the customer should see, whether it is features of their vehicle’s infotainment system or unique settings on their seat adjustments. This allows customers to guide themselves through your educational process at their own pace, using the power of video to retain more information and come back to watch whenever they need to.

Finally, offer each consumer the opportunity to Live Stream with you on the fly. I know that we all have become familiar with many live streaming services like ZOOM or Facetime. The problem is that not all live streaming services work on all devices (Apple, Android, Desktop, Mobile, etc.) and scheduling set times to live stream often leads to consumers ditching because something came up at that time. Utilize the new “one-click” live streaming technology that places a “Video Call” button on your landing pages (or any designated page) that the consumer can engage anytime at their convenience. This button will call into your dealership’s system and ring any designated team member who is online at that time. When the call is answered by a dealership employee, the consumer and employee are instantly placed in a live streaming call, and it all happens at the consumer’s convenience. Now your employee can walk through the various features with the consumer, just as if they were at a live event. 

Interactive, personalized video engages your customers. It also makes you their go-to resource, helps the customer gain more familiarity with your dealership and staff, and starts the process of building brand loyalty which, hopefully, culminates with a brand advocate. And there is no better, or more profitable, customer than that!