lead management

Should You DIY or Outsource Your Video Marketing?

By: Tim James

So you’ve decided it’s time to differentiate your dealership from the competition, and that video is the way to do it. Your next probable question is, do you produce, distribute and market the videos yourself, or outsource some, if not all of these functions?

The answer to this question is, it depends. We’ve got dealers who are successfully doing both. In my experience there are three factors to consider when making this decision.

1) Motivation

If your decision to implement video marketing was arrived at rather reluctantly, then you should probably outsource. Motivation requires passion. It requires an understanding of the rewards that will be reaped from putting your time and effort towards this undertaking. It requires buy-in and excitement from your staff. It requires commitment.

I’ve talked to many dealers who spend time waffling over whether they should go the DIY video route. Here’s what I ask them: If not you, who? If not now, when?

Video is not a trend. Remember the music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star?” The actual song was released nearly two years before the music video debuted on MTV in 1981. Hardly anyone heard of the song, but once the video aired, the song became a huge hit. That was 35 years ago. Online marketing video is here to stay, and it’s just a matter of time before it kills the static Vehicle Details Page (VDP).

2) Internal Resources

The second factor to consider is what your internal resources are. Even if you’re highly motivated to launch a video marketing program, someone has to take responsibility. Someone has to take ownership to make sure it’s successful. Someone has to learn how to shoot videos, how to get the videos on the right touch-points and how to measure whether the program is successful or not.

The ‘pros’ of producing videos internally are that you already have staff at your disposal. With an established process, inventory videos should take less than 24 hours to upload.

In addition to inventory videos, it’s important to create value proposition videos, customer testimonial videos and service videos. Internal employees are in a better position to spontaneously capture a glowing customer testimonial video, and may have a better handle on how to sell your dealership’s unique value proposition than an outside entity.

However, when analyzing internal resources, be brutally honest. Are your current employees already struggling to keep up with what’s on their plate? If they are, adding new processes may be too much of a burden.

It’s possible to split the responsibilities between internal and external resources. If your in-house staff is currently tasked with taking inventory photos, it’s not much of a stretch to task them instead with shooting a walk around video. Photos can be easily extracted from video, so there is no need to do both. If you use a lot services company to take your photos, task them with shooting a video in addition to taking your photos.

If you decide to use internal resources, distribution and marketing are two important areas to be addressed. Who will be tasked with ensuring that your videos appear not just on your website, but distributed to as many touch points as possible; including third-party auto shopping sites and social media channels?

Who will be in charge of incorporating video into your digital ad and/or email marketing campaigns? Who will be in charge of collecting viewer data and using that data to increase the relevancy of your videos? Meaning, it’s important to ensure that the right video is shown to the right car shopper at the right time.

Another question to ask when evaluating internal resources is what the turnover rate is in your dealership. Are you confident that your Internet Manager or the staff in that department will be with your dealership for a long time? A potential pitfall of producing videos internally is that you’ll have to constantly train new staff.

3) Dealership Volume

Last but not least, volume is another factor to consider. How many units does your dealership move per month? The greater inventory turnover there is, the greater time investment involved and the greater commitment there must be to the video marketing process.

The good news is, a successful video marketing program will increase your overall sales volume, but for some dealers this can present its own challenges. Kia of Puyallup in Washington saw a nine percent uptick in sales after implementing a video marketing program. How many more units can you handle moving per month?

Now, is everything as clear as mud? Good! The fact is, only you can decide what’s best for your dealership. It’s easy to get excited about the idea of video marketing and want to do it yourself. But it’s important to be able to objectively analyze your motivation level, internal resources and overall volume.

I’ve seen too many instances where dealership salespeople will produce a few videos, upload them to YouTube and don’t see any increase in leads or sales. The dealer points to these paltry efforts and claims that videos don’t work.

Well, of course that level of effort doesn’t work! Producing a few videos is nowhere near the same thing as having a comprehensive video marketing program. It’s like deciding that you want to go into space so you build a shuttle in your backyard. Without an actual space program, with testing, logistics, a launch pad and experts to tell you when and where to go, you’re not likely to get very far.

Outsourcing some (or all) of your video process may involve investing a little more in your merchandising budget than you currently spend, but the end results will be well worth the investment.

No matter which direction you choose to go, the important thing is that you start now — Not next week or even tomorrow. You can start slowly if you need to, but you must start in order to find the process that works best for you and your dealership. The end will justify the means.

To Sell More Cars, You Need to Get Personal

The chances are pretty good that any email lead YOU receive is also sent to competing dealerships. That means the car shopper will get emails and phone calls from other salespeople looking to sell that customer a car. Unless the lead is on a unique used vehicle, your competitors have the same new vehicles in their inventory.

Therefore, reaching that customer quickly and effectively, while at the same time standing out from your competition, is vital in winning that customer’s business. The easiest way to do that is to build a personal relationship quickly – something every successful salesperson learns. While that may be easy in person, it becomes more of a challenge when the customer’s email inbox is barraged by auto-responders and other generic emails.

So, how do you stand out?

Well, personal video email responses are a very effective way to separate yourself and transform your email from just plain old text into a more dynamic, eye-catching and personal introduction.

Something you did on your VDP got their attention, whether that was on your website or a third-party listing site (hint: If you have video included in your listings, you’ll attract more customers). If that customer were in front of you and inquired about a vehicle, you would proceed to sell the dealership, then sell yourself, and then sell the vehicle. You would work to build a trusting relationship with the customer from the beginning. But, how do you sell your vehicle to a customer that’s not present?

The same, exact way!

The great thing about selling cars today is all of the technology that is now available to assist salespeople in facilitating a better online buying experience for the customer. Because of the Internet, customers are visiting less dealerships than ever – it’s now down to just about one dealership visited before the customer purchases, because now the customer can browse inventory in their pajamas at home.

Today, when you receive an Internet lead, video enables you to literally walk the customer around the vehicle explaining its features and benefits in a personalized way .This video can then be delivered to the customer on a landing page that contains your Value Proposition (Why Buy); and testimonial videos to sell the dealership; as well as your own introduction video to simultaneously sell yourself – all while you are selling the vehicle — just as if they were on your lot.

Dealerships that do take the time to shoot personalized walkaround videos for Internet leads see a 20-40% increase in re-engagement, lead to appointment and lead to show rates. Car shoppers love them. They show a customer, whom you have not yet met in person, that you care about earning their business and will make the effort to get them the information they requested over and above the standard “when can you come in” message that exists in most first responses.  Combining personalized walkaround videos with the value proposition, testimonial, and your personal introduction video, will then multiply the emotional impact of your communication and significantly enhance the “trust relationship” that you so greatly covet.

Being forthcoming, providing information and doing so in a personalized way with the use of video, allows you to “sell” the vehicle, build rapport and make the customer feel more at ease and amenable to coming into the dealership.

The customer will still want to inspect, touch, feel and drive the car and they can only do that in person at your dealership. Video, however, can whet their appetite and grab their interest and attention in ways that pictures can’t.

It may sound like a lot of work. Perhaps you are thinking you don’t have the right equipment. But hold on a minute – the fact is that you can use your existing inventory videos and personalize the audio — all from the comforts of your office and without even having to walk out to the vehicle each time you need to shoot a personalized walkaround. You’ll quickly find out that the few minutes it takes you to personalize the audio of your existing video will pay dividends in increased sales and bigger paychecks.

You don’t have to be content with closing rates on Internet leads hovering in the 8-10 percent range. Maximize each and every opportunity you receive, blow your customers away with your responses, and put your competition out of the race by sending Internet leads personalized emails that use the power of video to sell your dealership, sell yourself, and truly sell the vehicle– then sit back and sell cars.

Forget MORE Leads. Focus On More QUALITY Leads.

by Tim James

In the world of automotive retail, dealerships are always searching for ways to increase leads. Whether they choose to pursue that goal through third-party lead providers, increase page rankings through better SEO, or various other ways, if there is a customer in their market who wants to buy a car, dealers want an opportunity to earn their business.

When a shopper shows up to the lot, the sales team is trained to engage the shopper and ultimately get the shopper emotionally attached to a vehicle, even if it is not the exact vehicle the shopper was initially inquiring about. In other words, your goal is to make the shopper want a vehicle the dealership has in stock, regardless of which vehicle the customer came in asking about. This is accomplished with the walk around.

This sales technique doesn’t have to be limited to physical customers at your dealership. Online, a good video will accomplish this same emotional process. A video is the best way to engage a consumer on your VDP Pages and showcase your vehicle. This highly visual medium allows you to deliver the most information while also selling your dealership and the vehicle at the same time.

Getting the consumer emotionally attached to the vehicle and MAKING them want a vehicle you have versus simply HOPING they will want a vehicle you have is how you produce the MOST & BEST leads you can get. They are more likely to re-engage after their initial communication (answer your phone call or respond to your email); more likely to set an appointment; more likely to show for that appointment and they are more likely to purchase.

This whole process is less about the information you have available on your site and more about how you deliver the information.  You could have tons of information and all kinds of pictures, but today’s consumer wants their content delivered via video…which is a “win/win” because with a video you can deliver the information and “sell” the vehicle at the same time.

Make good use of video and ensure that you have full and complete vehicle descriptions. You end up with more quality leads which should translate into increased responses and more productive engagement (less haggling over price), leading to the ultimate goal of increased sales.

How Social Media Drives New Business: Six Case Studies

Businesses both big and small are flocking to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Foursquare. The fact is that a presence on these platforms not only allows companies to engage in conversations with consumers, but also serves as an outlet to drive sales through deals and coupons.

And while major brands like Starbucks, Virgin, and Levi’s have been participating in the social web for some time now, the rate of adoption among small businesses is increasing too. According to a recent University of Maryland study, social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year. But as these businesses look to Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers, many are finding that some strategies work and some do not produce results. We’ll be exploring these questions at a panel on Social Media and Businesses at our Social Currency CrunchUp on July 30. We’ve found some local and national businesses using social media effectively, ranging from Levi’s to a creme brulee cart, whose case studies are below.  Some of these businesses will be sharing their experiences at the CrunchUp (You can buy tickets to the CrunchUp here).

Via: Techcrunch

Check out these great case studies they are quite interesting.

Dynamic Internet Marketing

From Dealer Marketing Magazine
December 18, 2007

Unlike other forms of advertising, Internet marketing is nearly 100 percent trackable. You not only know what you are getting from your efforts, but you can evaluate and adjust to improve your results. Unfortunately, there are trends that make this space an increasingly difficult place for a dealership to succeed.
1. Internet traffic is increasing which drives up the cost of Internet marketing.
2. The number of your competitors jumping onto the Internet marketing bandwagon is growing, making it more crowded and more expensive to compete.
3. Someone is doing Internet marketing better then you, generating a better ROI that is reinvested into future Internet marketing efforts.
4. Someone is collecting better data from their Internet marketing efforts than you, and gaining more knowledge to use in the future.
Dealers can address these trends, however, by recognizing the value and power of their own customer data. A strong Internet Lead Management (ILM) tool best captures data. The real benefit comes when that ILM tool works hand in hand with a strong customer relationship management (CRM) solution, to close a significantly higher number of Internet leads.
Internet marketing is maturing. Don’t be satisfied by saying, “We have a Website.” Do not confuse having a Website with having a true Internet marketing plan. Dynamic Internet marketing built on customer data is here to stay and will only grow in importance
by Bryan Anderson

“Top Ten” signs a dealership is not serious about the Internet

10. They have AOL or Hotmail email address.
9. They still have the Field of Dreams mentality (Build it and they will come)
8. The Internet Manager spends more time integrating that new flying airplane on the site than making sure leads get followed up.
7. They switch website providers every year trying to find a site that will sell cars for them.
6. The Internet Department thinks they can take the same number of smoke breaks as everyone else in the dealership.
5. Policies, Procedures, and Accountability don’t pertain to the Internet Department.
4. The newspaper is their primary advertising medium, where the average reader is 55 and the new generation doesn’t even pick it up.
3. They use Cobalt or Reynolds as their primary web solution because they were told to (can you say brainwash).
2. The GM/Owner doesn’t use the Internet so why would anyone else.
1. The dealership has handed over a multi-million dollar profit center to Internet Guru they wouldn’t trust to baby sit their 8 year old daughter.

Brian Cox
President, Dealer Impact Systems
www.dealerimpact.com

Websites Can’t Create Leads

Your website has never created a single lead. There, I said it. Long lauded as the be all, end all of internet marketing, the website will always remain a limited, albeit powerful tool. Why is that, you ask? Well it’s because your website will always be a reactive marketing tool.

Your website sits out there in cyberspace, all shiny and glowing, whirring with multimedia and powerful data support. But until a consumer comes along, it’s worthless because it can’t go out and find leads. The best your website can hope for is to upgrade leads (turning a warm lead into a hot lead) and capture leads. You still need other tools (search marketing, email marketing, mass advertising, etc.) to drive leads to your site.

So, is your website important? Yes, it can be the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. But it can’t function in a vacuum — it’s the most important piece of a complete, integrated digital marketing presence.

D. Jones
Marketing Strategist/Creative Consultant
SmackDabble, LLC