mobile

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.

YouWho? Why YouTube May Not Be Your Most Effective Video Marketing Option

As consumer touch-points in the car buying journey continue to increase, it’s ever more important to ensure that your video content is available at each and every one of those pit stops the car buyer takes. Your digital touchpoints are in essence your brand’s points of customer contact, from start to finish. For example, customers may find your business online in an ad, see ratings and reviews, visit your website, or receive an email, to name a few. Often, the problem is getting your videos on all these touch-points.  It may be very time consuming to upload each of your videos to each touch-point.  For that reason, many choose to “host” their videos with a hosting service and then hyperlink or embed their video URL’s to get additional exposure and visibility.

YouTube has long been the king of video hosting platforms and may seem to be the obvious choice. However, there are some things that you should consider when developing your video marketing strategy that may or may not make YouTube the best option for you and your marketing partners. “Self-hosting” or using a “3rd party host” that specializes in the automotive marketplace may be a better option for you.

If you are spending a lot of money to rank your website, certain pages of your website, landing pages, etc., then embedding a YouTube video on those pages may not be your best option.  You see, when you upload a video to YouTube, YouTube claims the metadata and SEO value of your video. So, if a consumer were to find that content via a Google search, they will most likely be taken to your video on YouTube, versus to the page of your website that your video resides on.

However, if you self-host, or utilize a third party host that allows you to claim the SEO value of your videos, then you can apply a meta tag and video sitemap strategy on your web pages that can create the same (or better) visibility for your video on Google, but bring shoppers, when engaged, back to YOUR website, or the webpage that the video resides on.

One of the most powerful advantages of self-hosting or utilizing a hosting platform within the auto industry is that you now have real-time access to your data. You can also integrate that data into your CRM. For example, you can follow the customer along their path as they watch your video on a third party listing site; and again, as they view a video email you sent them; and later, when they start viewing inventory videos on your own website. All of this behavioral data provides clues as to where in the funnel – and what vehicles specifically – these customers are considering. This enables the delivery of precise messages that are extremely relevant to the consumer, at the exact right moment in their buying process. Because this video content is hyper-relevant, consumers will engage with it more. In addition, the ability to follow the customer on their path (and see the vehicles they are interested in and where they are watching your videos from), enables video remarketing opportunities in real-time via the video the consumer is watching, such as geo-targeted messages for shoppers who are showrooming from your competitor’s lot.

Utilizing a hosting service that specializes in the automotive industry could also open up tons of advantages such as automating the process of getting your video content on many of your most valuable touch-points. Now you can control how and where the video is delivered. Industry-specific companies also allow you to integrate third party conversion widgets straight into your video. Because you have this level of control, you can generate dynamic rule and behavior-based content in real time. This transforms all of your videos into content that has greater informational and emotional value.

Don’t misunderstand me — YouTube and other video platforms are also touch-points on a consumer’s journey and can provide video search engine optimization benefits. You can absolutely upload your video content to YouTube as well, to maximize your exposure on their network.

Chances are your automotive specific host could automate that part of your strategy for you as well. That being said, those VSEO benefits from YouTube, while valuable, cannot trump the level of personalization and customizability that an industry hosting service can provide. So, rather than relying on YouTube to host your video, take your content back under your control by leveraging all of the benefits an industry specific hosting platform. You’ll find out very quickly that you can implement a more effective video marketing strategy.

Jameson Irish Whiskey Takes Video Marketing to the Next Level

by Brian Cox

Jameson Irish Whiskey has taken video marketing on Instagram to another level – “the first brand to successfully utilize 3D video for advertisements on Instagram and Facebook,” according to a recent article in the Independent.

The video itself is very simple, and suggests that you slide a shot to your friend. It then proceeds to slide a shot glass of whiskey towards you, the viewer, which then appears to come off the page. It’s rather clever how they were able to create the illusion of 3D on a non-3D platform.

 

 

According to many studies, brands are increasing their content marketing budgets to include more video marketing. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are going to war to become the World’s premier video platforms, something that YouTube has enjoyed for years.

As is the case with any marketing, the ability for advertisers to cut through the noise with video marketing will continue to increase in importance. In addition, marketers should not rely on a single platform to host their videos. Regardless of who ends up winning this battle for viewership, consumers will still have their preferences. Believe it or not, some people still use MySpace, and other platforms that many abandoned long ago. This is why it’s important to ensure that your content is on all of the sites YOUR consumers visit. You never know where your next sale will begin their journey. Bear in mind, however, that to accomplish this you will either need spend a lot of time posting your video to each individual site. Or you can go the route of automation to get it done more efficiently.

Successful video marketing today demands entertaining and creative video that engages your audience. It’s not simply about having video content; it’s having the right video content. That can only be accomplished with a solid strategy that’s executed consistently.

Even a micro-video should have the same concepts behind its creation – creative, outside the box thinking – it should be engaging. What makes these type of videos a success is not any different from the winning formula for any videos — whether it be a “Why Buy from Me,” company culture-type video, or a vehicle walk-around video.

You only have a short period of time to catch and keep a consumer’s attention. Make sure that you use that time wisely and you’ll find an increase in views and conversions.

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan

by Brian Cox

There’s no doubt that video marketing, in general, has become increasingly important in today’s world. Google has the search market cornered which is why, as marketers, it is important to pay close attention to the changes they make. However, did you know it’s even more important to pay attention to the second largest search engine in the world? You might think that I’m referring to Bing but, in fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube. Thus the importance of video for SEO.

Dealerships have increasingly embraced video in various degrees for years – from simple stitched videos to professionally created live walkarounds. There’s no doubt that consumers love video. In fact Google’s recent automotive study indicates that over 80 percent of car shoppers will watch a vehicle video and then take immediate action.

The challenges that face car dealerships when it comes to creating videos are the same as they have always been – time and money. There are many solutions that exist for car dealerships in video marketing. I’m fairly certain that you would agree that ANY video is better than no video. And you may even believe that all video is equal. Well, with this blog, I hope to help dispel those erroneous thoughts.

Let’s start with the fact that live video is the most effective (which it is). I don’t think any dealer would deny that, in a perfect world, they would have video walkarounds for every one of their vehicles. The infrastructure and format of your video is just as, if not more important than the quality of it. Some providers use flash-based video which allows them to offer video services to their dealer clients at a lower price point… and, on the surface, there is no visible difference between a flash video and a real video. In reality, however, there are huge differences.

Flash videos are self-contained videos that require a player (like Adobe Flash Player) or a compatible web browser with a plugin. It wasn’t too long ago that flash video was the de facto standard. Technology, however, has changed. Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet and websites using mobile devices. Guess what’s not compatible with those? You got it, flash video. In fact, in mid-July of this year, Google itself announced that it would start issuing warnings to people attempting to access websites containing flash with the statement “Uses flash. May not work on your device.” Chances are really good that a consumer coming across a website or video that receives this message will probably not continue, but rather seek their answers elsewhere.

Your website will certainly not benefit from video if your audience is not viewing it. In fact, flash video isn’t supported by any Apple device, nor Android versions 4.1 or higher, according to Google. These devices account for a HUGE share of the mobile market. Flash video is also not compatible with some third party inventory sites, and it also has problems with syndication to social networks and other touch points that consumers are on.

Real video, on the other hand, offers a few very important distinctions as web developers gravitate towards such things as HTML5 with mobile capabilities and syndication. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Nearly half of the U.S. population has a mobile phone with Internet access, and one out of five page views on the web happen on a mobile device – a number that is growing every month.” Needless to say, if you are using flash, you are already costing yourself 20 percent of potential traffic.

As a dealer, how do you know what kind of video you have? The answer is if your videos are syndicated across the web, viewable on a mobile device or tablet and the search engines can see them, you are doing the right thing and have real video. If not, you most likely have flash.

One of the largest advantages to real video is semantic search. Search engines don’t have the capability of indexing flash video. Real video, properly tagged and built using a semantic structure, can be indexed. Not only can they be crawled by search engines, but the search engines will read each video as an individual web page. This increases your page rankings. Last, but certainly not least, real video has the ability to be syndicated everywhere. All of those touch points that consumers use when vehicle shopping can display your video and increase the reach and impact of your video marketing. Of course more exposure brings more traffic viewing your inventory. And the more traffic your inventory receives, the more leads, conversions and sales you’ll see.

The bottom line is that flash video is a bad solution for video marketers. Flash video may be cheaper than real video, but what are you losing in the end? Just because it’s a shiny object and looks pretty, doesn’t mean that you should be using it. Real video offers businesses the ability to have a bigger footprint with their video marketing. It increases the effective of any marketing and the likelihood that a consumer will want to AND have the ability to watch it. This is the whole exposure aspect of real video plus real syndication. It equals more traffic, which equals more leads. The few dollars you may save by going the flash video route will pale in comparison to the profit you’ll lose from customers who never see your video or visit your dealership.

KiNETiQ™ Mobile 1.0 – Platform Updates

Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, now account for over 10% of all web browsing. With the growing demand for mobile content in mind, we have completely rethought, redesigned and re-engineered our mobile sites to provide users the best way to view your content and inventory.

Design Refresh

Our layouts have been retooled based on usability standards and real-time user data. Our mobile sites now offer the best experience both for our clients and their customers.  New features include:

  • Modernized Layout and design
  • Quicker load time
  • Decreased user bounce rate
  • Clean and simple user interface for faster browsing and effortless decision making

Increased Customization

Our new mobile layout gives you more power to customize your mobile site. The design offers several ways to completely personalize your site:

  •  Brand mobile sites with custom logos and color schemes
  •  Automatically include custom links and navigation items on all content pages
  •  Easily add inventory items, specials and promotions
  •  Create custom content across all pages

Promotion Slider

Our PASS system is now available for mobile.  Your promotions can now be shared across all mobile devices with our new mobile PASS system. Our mobile PASS system offers users a touch-friendly way to view offers and specials right from their mobile device.

Information: http://dealerimpact.com/mobile-website.php

Demo: http://dealerimpactmotors.di-mobi.com/

New Formatting for Text Lead Emails Released

Text-based lead emails have been updated to provide a more structured output of the lead data that is submitted to you through the forms on your website. The lead data has been organized into sections to help you quickly view your lead information in a consistent fashion.

The first two lines of your lead emails will state what Form was submitted, and what Website it was submitted from. The customer data will populate the sections according to which Form was submitted, with common Contact Information and Comments first, followed by Lead-type sections.

We hope this new consistent format will make it easier to read and manage your text-based leads.

Other Platform 2.0 Features and Fixes
Now that migration to our new system is complete, we are working hard to improve and expand the system on a daily basis. We love to hear your new ideas AND constructive criticism. It is your requests and feedback that will determine our future enhancements, so keep those suggestions coming!

Here is Just a Small Sample…

  • Addition of several new data exports – to get your inventory out to more places!
  • Secure Employment Apps viewable within VOCC
  • Improved decoding to provide more details automatically as they become available
  • Improved Listing Subtype filters adds more possibilities for inventory grouping
  • Improved Listing Subtype processing to auto add and remove vehicles on every import
  • Increased types of pre-configured inventory groups for display in vehicle feature widget
  • Added Pending status for manual temporary override of inventory auto-processing
  • Hundreds of bug fixes and minor system and customer-facing tweaks

Are you ready for the Mobile World?

October is the month of the tablet! Apple iPad mini, Microsoft Surface, has amazon kindle fire couple months ago possible new 10in Google Nexus tablet. With all these devices and smart phones there is an exponential amount of people using these devices, it’s time to ask yourself. Are you ready for the mobile market?

Think about when you’re out running errands or shopping and you decide to find a restaurant. You grab your phone and do, what you expect to be, a quick search.  Typically, you pick something you’re in the mood for then look for a place relatively close. Lastly, you look at the reviews. If a restaurant has bad reviews you’re probably going to move on to the next one.

Put that in perspective of your dealership. Mobile traffic can make up to 15% of your dealerships traffic. That may not sound like much but that 15% is HOT leads. They may in fact be on you lot at that very moment! If you don’t have a well-functioning mobile site you are going to have a harder time converting that lead into a sale.

Dealer Impact can equip your dealership with a conversion friendly mobile site. Your dealership will have:

  • Quick load capabilities
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Accurate Inventory
  • Video of your vehicles
  • And so much more!

Tell us your thoughts of the mobile world. Are you utilizing a mobile application? If not, if you have any question or to find out more information emailing us at sales@dealerimpact.com.

Making the Move to Mobile

Create Online Connections that Count with Your On-The-Move Customers

There are more than 80 million smartphone owners in the United States—and that number is expanding by the second.  Mobile is becoming the preferred channel of engagement for consumers.  Having a mobile-friendly website is an absolute must to make your dealership instantly accessible to your customers via any mobile phone or device.

Just because a dealership’s main website can load on a mobile phone doesn’t mean that it’s mobile-friendly.  However, with certain conversion technologies, your existing main website can be optimized for use on any new or older mobile phone that offers Internet access.  When your dealership’s web address is entered into a mobile browser, the technology automatically recognizes the phone and converts the site to a phone-friendly interface, allowing visitors to quickly navigate your site and find information in seconds.

If you opt to have a website developer help your dealership go mobile, you’ll want to make sure that your mobile site is specifically tailored to the needs of your customers and the capabilities and format of their devices.

Keep the following in mind when planning and building your mobile website.

Write for the small screen.

With the pint-size phone screen in mind, choose fonts that are easy to read in this smaller format.  Create readable content that fits the phone screen, and contrast the text against the background to help it stand out for your customers.  Boil your content down to easy-to-scan bullet points.

Be nimble and quick.

Your customers expect your mobile site to load within a few seconds—so keep images small so they load faster.  Keep your custom inventory videos short and to the point to engage your customers, and keep their attention.

Make navigation easy.

Keep the number of vertical links on each page to less than 10.  Help customers move throughout your mobile site with easily identified buttons.  Use large buttons to help your customers precisely make their selections—without making any unintended clicks.

Show and tell.

Use your mobile site to showcase your auto inventory, specifications, photos, videos, and specials to make it easy for your customers to learn about your dealership’s latest offerings—and then act on their impulse to contact you and come by for an in-person look.

Give directions.

Make it easy for your customers to find your dealership and the vehicles they’re interested in.  Have your address on the landing page of your mobile site.  Include driving directions for your customers with a detailed map that pinpoints your location.

Make contact simple.

Build in fields for your customer to enter his/her contact information and submit requests to your dealership.  Utilize one-click dialing functionality so your customers can instantly call your dealership—and also save your number in their contact list for future reference.

Learn and evolve.

Understand how your customers are using your mobile site by evaluating its analytics—and use this insight to continually improve your site and your customers’ mobile search experiences.

A well-designed mobile website will put your dealership in the palm of your customers’ hands—wherever they are.

For more information on creating or enhancing your dealership’s mobile website, please call Dealer Impact Systems at (877) 334-9638.