Lehel Reeves shares why consumers prefer video and how dealerships can lose sales if they fail to provide it.
There are a huge number of travelers on domestic flights each year. Southwest Airlines, not unlike others, offers these passengers paid wi-fi, but, more importantly, in-flight entertainment. The standard of that entertainment has changed immensely over the years. In the not too distant past, flight attendants collected discarded newspapers and magazines and offered them up to the next group of fliers for ‘entertainment.’
Today is vastly different due to the mediums now available and advances in technology which has effectively changed people’s desires. Take a look at this image.
It is a current pamphlet in every Southwest Airlines seatback notifying passengers that there is “in-flight entertainment.”
Let’s do a quick dive into these. Five types of “free” entertainment are promoted– movies, on-demand TV, messaging, live TV and music. How many of these are video-related items? 3 out of the 5!
Guess what folks? Airlines have chosen video as the preferred method of entertainment. I bet that there were focus-groups galore before they decided what amenities they wanted to adopt and market. You better believe they did that before adopting the technology along with the related expenses!
Of course, some passengers bring their own newspapers and magazines (because the airlines don’t offer them anymore, except for their own in-flight magazines). Passengers also bring digital reading material and… surprise… iPads with movies (hint: videos)!
There are many things these days that can be used to entertain people while stuck in a giant tube 15,000 feet in the air –all looking for things to … God help me… pass the time. Personally, I prefer to sit in the first-row isle seat — I like to be the first one OFF the plane, rest my cowboy hat on my knee, and…watch movies that I’ve downloaded specifically for the flight.
If you are hesitant or uncertain about the impact video can have on your customers, just be observant on your next airplane ride and see what the majority of people are doing to pass the time… I would bet I know the answer.
If you ever travel with a cowboy hat, rest it crown up on the seat back tray to avoid any damage. Be sure to thank the flight attendants and, once you see that everyone is watching some sort of video content, take a break from any in-flight entertainment you may be enjoying, and look out the window once in a while. The Grand Canyon looks awesome from high in the air. The World is an amazing place to see!
Today’s consumers want marketing that is personalized to them. In the past, marketing has always been about broadcasting the same message to everyone. Attempting to catch as many “fish” as possible. That strategy no longer works in today’s modern world of consumer shopping behavior.
To truly capture a customer’s attention and win their business, you must focus on personalization. Many marketers utilize generic, bland, stock imagery, and video to tell their “story.” This practice is so bad that a poet even created lyrics parodying marketing in a video titled, “This is a Generic Brand Video,” .
Somewhat ironically, this video ended up being supported and promoted by a company that sells stock photos and video. While the video may be a little dated, the message and lessons it implies still hold true today.
Technology has made it possible to personalize every video to every individual customer without having to do a lot more work. In the dealership world, that means that every personal communication, service video, vehicle walkaround, or employee introduction can be tailored and personalized. Sadly, too many dealerships are failing to take advantage of this ability.
It is well-documented how video content is hugely desirable and highly influential to today’s consumers. If you can engage these consumers with relevant content and become a resource, you are a step ahead of the game. Take it to the next level by then personalizing that video content, and you can blow your competition out of the water!
Your customers don’t want to feel as if they are part of the millions. They want to feel as if they are the most important one among the millions. If you can accomplish that, you will earn their business, trust, and loyalty. Watch the video again and be honest… how many commercials have you seen that employ those same generic marketing tactics? This video struck a chord with marketers because it is hilariously accurate. It did, in fact, go on to win awards.
People don’t care about you or what you are trying to sell them if you don’t care about who they are. Use today’s technology to leverage the power of personalization in your video marketing effort. You will find that anyone you are trying to win as a customer will choose to do business with you because you cared about them.
Stitched photo videos have been around awhile. I’ve had many people ask me lately if they are still relevant, do consumers really watch them, and why dealers should have them when they already have a large number of photos and vehicle description on the VDP. My response is to remove personal opinions out of the equation and let the “data” do the talking.
The reality is that stitched photo videos can be the most important type of video content your dealership has. Consumers are video-oriented and, while it is good for a dealership to have a large number of photos of a vehicle on their VDP, consumers simply don’t want to scroll through all those photos or read all the text in the description.
If you aren’t going to invest in a full motion inventory video, then you must provide consumers with a stitched photo inventory video at a minimum. Consider this, the completion rate for a stitched photo inventory video is 70-75%! Think about that. If consumers did NOT like them, would they watch a stitched photo video for an average 1-1/2 to 2 minutes right through to the end?
The fact is, Google identified Inventory Videos as one of the most desired types of video content that today’s shopper is looking for. Dealerships who add inventory videos (stitched photo or full motion) traditionally see a 10-15% increase in total leads (all sources), appointments, shows, and sales. And when incorporated into an integrated video marketing strategy, these numbers can easily double.
Our lives revolve around video already. We watch video reviews, TV, news, Netflix… whatever. We don’t unroll the daily newspaper anymore. Everything is on demand. And that’s what consumers want.
Let me reiterate, just to be clear, I’m not saying that stitched photo videos are the BEST form of video marketing. But, for those dealers who have yet to make the commitment to full motion inventory videos, or who don’t want to pay a service to create them, my suggestion is that stitched photo videos are, at minimum, the most essential inventory marketing piece these dealers can have.
Because the data proves it. They increase VDP Engagement from your shoppers, raise your Time on Site (which Google loves), and they generate more leads than SRP’s and VDP’s that only have still photos. Is that enough reason? I would certainly think so, especially if your dealership is already taking those multiple photos of the vehicle. If that’s the case, stitched photo videos are the most straightforward solution and are very effective.
One last point that should be mentioned here: one of the most important reasons you need an inventory video (stitched photo or full motion) is to get your Value Proposition, Testimonial, and FAQ videos in front of the shoppers at that phase of the buying cycle. There is no other way to get this rich video content in front of the shopper while on the SRP/VDP, other than using the Inventory Video as leverage. This is the most critical time for that video content to be viewed!
by Tim James
As more dealers turn to fixed ops to grow profits, it’s important not to overlook the power of video. Video is a great tool for building customer trust because it allows you to address the perception that dealerships charge too much or try to sell customers unnecessary repairs.
An effective video marketing strategy for your service department includes the following five videos:
1) Value Proposition. This video answers the “why trust us?” question. Many customers are afraid if they bring their vehicle into a dealership service department, the repair will be expensive or they will be taken advantage of.
In this video, address your customers’ fears by featuring friendly service personnel, focus on how your technicians are trained, the quality of your repair work and most of all, emphasize your trustworthiness. Be certain to mention any awards you’ve won and your positive BBB Rating.
2) Service Department Testimonials. Identify several of your most loyal service customers and offer them an extra perk like a free loaner car or free oil change if they agree to make a customer testimonial video.
Before shooting the video, prompt your customer to talk about how long they’ve been servicing with you, what they like about your service department and to comment on the quality of the repair work.
3) Service Personnel Introduction. Similar in tone to a value proposition video, this video introduces the service manager, service advisors and technicians to customers. People choose to do business with people they like, so create videos that display the likeability of your manager, advisers and technicians. Don’t be afraid to brag about their years of experience and awards they’ve won.
4) Service Department “How To.” Select a dozen of your most common and profitable services. Create videos that talk about why these services are important for the health of the vehicle and customer safety. Show a quick tutorial of the work involved with the repair. Discuss the costs of parts and the estimated amount of time it takes to complete the service. The purpose of these videos is to educate customers so they feel more confident they are making the right decision to get the repair work done.
5) Recommended Repairs. When customers drop their cars off for a scheduled repair, one of their biggest fears is an unnecessary upsell. Unfortunately this fear can create resistance to any repair recommendations. A short video created by the service adviser can help to alleviate this fear and provide visual proof that a repair is really needed.
Videos are far more effective at doing this than photos because the service adviser can explain how the old part is worn and compare it to the new part, along with an explanation of how important it is to get the repair done now.
Additionally, advisers can mention the potential impact and cost of related problems that could be caused by not completing the service now.
Recommended repair videos don’t have to be professional. Just use your smartphone with an app that allows you to text the video to the customer. Another option is to have a live streaming video call where the service advisor can show the worn part and explain the repair while talking to the customer live on their smartphone.
All service department videos (with the exception of recommended repair videos) should be featured on your dealership’s website. Additionally, these videos can be used in email campaigns, uploaded to your YouTube channel, featured on your social media profiles and used in digital advertising campaigns.
To get started, find a reputable video marketing host and hire a professional video crew (or find one among your employees). Service department videos are an inexpensive and highly effective way to build customer trust and give your dealerships a competitive edge.
Interpreting meaning through communication can be hard.
For example, the simple statement “Fine.”
What does that word really mean? Ultimately, it depends on the context and, more importantly, how it’s said and the body language which happens in that exact moment.
When your significant other says “fine,” you darn well better know what it means, or you can be in a whole world of trouble! Or, if you tell a teenager they must clean their room before they can go out with friends, play video games or whatever they want, there are many ways “fine” can be expressed. If they say it loudly while slamming the door in your face, that has a much different meaning than if they say it in a low submissive but agreeable way.
Humans are masters of perception. We all communicate, and that communication comes across in different ways – be it vocal, physical, or via some activity.
But what does all this mean as far as your dealership and communicating with your customers?
As marketers, with all the data available to us today, we can better interpret customer interactions and more effectively communicate with them than ever before.
An argument could be made that a customer’s digital activity can tell us more about their intent than a face-to-face conversation. Ultimately, the digital footprints a customer leaves throughout their car buying journey are, in fact, a conversation. You may not be able to see the customer, but they express their intent through their online activities.
That customer looking at your website and bouncing through your entire used car inventory, who also jumped around on third-party listing sites, is much higher in the sales funnel. They are having a conversation with you. Something along the lines of, “I’m in the market for a car but I don’t know what I want.”
A customer visiting your website, viewing every Honda Civic in stock, is not only telling you they want a Honda Civic but, if you want to get granular, also which trim level, price range and mileage restrictions they value.
Whatever they spend the most time viewing is probably the best fit for what they are searching for. An unlimited amount of data is out there to help you identify, define and motivate customers. You must just take the time to look at it.
Now that you know the customer’s intent, where they are in the funnel and what they are interested in, what’s the best way to communicate with them?
While you have the secret-agent advantage of all this relevant data showing the customer’s intent, the customer still wants good old face-to-face interaction when it comes down to the sales process. Simply sending a templated email accomplishes nothing. It’s not personal, is not directed to them, fails to really interact on an emotional level, and usually has little relevance.
Of course, you “could” take the creepy road and tell them everything you know about them — but that would likely be counterproductive.
The best way to engage a customer is through a personalized video response. They can see you, hear you and read your body language. If you’re sincere, friendly and engaging, and use the data you have about the customer’s digital journey to craft a personal response, the customer will be able to relate; rapport will be established infinitely better than any “Buy from us because we love you” e-mail template.
Don’t be afraid to send video email responses to your customers. Most of your competitors simply send those canned templates from their CRM with ZERO impact – if they even make it through the customer’s spam filter.
Make an impression and win business using technology that allows you to interact with customers the same way business has been won for decades… in person. With video you can now interact in person, without the customer even being in your showroom.
The statistics show that customers respond to video. They can read your personality and intentions more clearly via video than a written communication, because emotions are more clearly illustrated. And, more importantly, as a result they will connect with you better and choose your dealership to buy or service their car. Then everything will be just “fine!”
by Tim James
Amazon and Google are engaged in a war. Both produce proprietary hardware that consumers can purchase and use to access content through various means — and the competition is getting vicious.
I recognize that, in terms of video marketing hosting platforms, YouTube is the 800-pound gorilla — it certainly has large market share in terms of search and users. But recently, YouTube chose to engage in a battle with Amazon that threatens the usefulness of their platform. Why? Well, as consumers have grown used to accessing YouTube in different manners – via mobile phone, browser, connected device or streaming hardware – they now simply expect the same access, regardless of where they choose to access that video content.
Why should dealers care?
As in all marketing, dealerships should expect to benefit from the fruits of their labors. While technology has made the path of entry to different solutions easier, as a dealer, it still takes time and effort to create your content and messages.
When it comes to video marketing specifically, regardless of whether you are shooting video on smartphones, or have an elaborate professional setup, most of you probably still make the effort because you realize the value and exposure video content brings.
But, what if you do all the work and miss out on customers because companies don’t like each other?
Ah… the million-dollar question. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “You get what you pay for,” right? Yes, YouTube is highly popular with dealers in the video marketing arena, for good reason. They are the 2nd largest search engine in existence and, more importantly, they are free.
Um, but hold on a sec… are they really, free????
What happens when a customer searching for vehicles gets blocked from watching that video you made of your inventory? What about when they get an “Access Denied” message when trying to watch that personal video response you made for them? Any of these scenarios could cost you a sale, which costs you money. Not so free then, right?Well, that ease of access is no longer the case, and it could get worse. What am I talking about?
First, in October 2015, Amazon pulled Google Chromecast and Apple TV from its inventory and no longer offered it for Amazon customers to purchase, presumably to encourage use of its own Fire Stick product as a streaming solution.
Then, Amazon expanded its voice-activated hardware, Echo, to include the Echo Show, which includes a screen and video capabilities. At first, YouTube was available on this hardware. But soon after its debut, YouTube pulled access from the Echo Show because of how Amazon implemented it, which excluded some features.
Moving on forward, just last month, YouTube again appeared on the Echo Show, prompting many to believe that the companies had made up. However, apparently that was not the case. According to TechCrunch, Amazon simply developed a workaround to allow Echo Show users to access a web version of YouTube without Google’s knowledge.
Next, on the 5th of December, Google once again blocked Echo Show users from accessing YouTube content. And it doesn’t seem like this battle is anywhere near the end.
On top of that, consider the data deficiencies, CRM integration or other workarounds staff go through to integrate inventory, or personalized video messages to your customers. The mere fact that videos hosted on the YouTube video platform could NEVER BE SEEN, even by those who TRY TO VIEW THEM on what’s arguably the most patronized company on the planet (Amazon), should concern dealers.
Neither Amazon (who is making inroads into selling cars on their website) nor Google particularly care about car dealers. There is much more revenue to be had in the marketing ad revenue world, as well as the cable-cutting trend that led them into the hardware business — and Amazon is working on coming after a share of the pie that Google has carved out.
As the war between the two companies’ heats up, avoid becoming collateral damage and consider the hidden costs associated with hosting your video on these platforms. “Free” isn’t always free. Make sure you have a video marketing platform that protects YOUR interests. Ensure that those valuable, time-sensitive messages are delivered and can be viewed by your customers, and remove yourself from the battlefield.