By Timmy James
By nature, humans are social creatures. Need more proof? One of the worst punishments our legal system has come up with is solitary confinement. Not only is this dreaded by inmates, but it can also affect their mental health. Whether an introvert or an extrovert, we all crave personal interaction.
Like many of you, I am currently working from home. And, at the end of one day last week I had an impromptu meeting with one of my customers. The meeting started on the phone but, after 15-20 minutes of the call, we decided to switch to a live-stream one-on-one video call. While we continued talking about the business matter, the conversation quickly changed into a personal chat. Just two people who have been working from home for many days now. While we both interact with people throughout the day, most interaction is via the phone or text. When we switched to the live-streaming video call, emotions changed into joy and excitement that we were having a personal, live, face-to-face interaction with an individual outside of our homes.
Even before this health crisis, people wanted to have live interaction. That’s exactly why sales managers are renowned for telling salespeople to “Just get them in.” Of course, at the moment, we have a quandary. Many salespeople are out of work, CRMs are still spitting out the same messages and consumers are still shopping for vehicles… but nobody is answering them.
We’re dealing with a situation unlike anything seen since the measles or polio breakouts decades ago. The entire country is hunkered down, sitting at home with their families. And many are very bored. What do people do when they are bored? They tend to accomplish tasks they’ve been meaning to but have not yet found the time for. And guess what? This could very easily include researching a vehicle purchase. 33 states have either halted or limited vehicle sales forcing salespeople to stay at home. However, in many cases, their CRMs are still receiving leads. OEMs are offering aggressive incentives and interest rates are low.
Car sales are all about emotions. That’s why the standard has always been to get the customer to test drive, kick tires, breathe in that “new car” smell and take mental ownership. However, before any of that can happen, a salesperson or BDC agent needs to create rapport to get that specific customer to choose their dealership.
Customers currently don’t have the luxury of visiting the dealership. But you can approach that level of face-to-face contact with live video chat. It builds the rapport needed for the customer to decide who to buy from and what to buy. Your dealership can interact with these customers in a personal way while building that emotional relationship with the salesperson, the dealership AND the vehicle. And what do those interactions produce when doing this via live-streaming video calls? The same as it produced for me and my customer — Joy and excitement. It helps move that customer down the line to the sale.
Many dealerships are experimenting with virtual test drives and video calling to provide that in-store face-to-face experience right now and having amazing success. But like all sales processes, it must be done right to have the most effective impact. Many of the popular video calling platforms out there require both users to install plugins or download the same apps to assure cross-platform and cross-operating system compatibility. These platforms are great for organized meetings, entertainment, or educational purposes. But when you need to engage a customer or a lead from your website, or for email/texting communications, the best video calling technology to utilize is one that allows a “one-click” audio and video communication to work inside web pages through direct peer-to-peer communication. This eliminates the necessity to install plugins or download apps and ensures an instant video connection; no matter what device or platform the customer or lead is utilizing. This could alter the entire experience completely and make the difference between a GREAT video experience, and no communication or experience at all (another lost lead).
So, consider using live video chat to have that face-to-face interaction with your customers that is very much desired, especially right now. Combined with good storytelling through strategic vehicle and dealership marketing videos, it could easily slingshot your dealership into a consumer’s first choice. Not just in these times when it is even more crucial to communicate this way, but also when everything goes back to normal. And now is the time to start planning for the future. You don’t want your competition to beat you and take your customers away! Get that competitive edge and create those loyal customers now!
By Tim James
With all the worry and concern out there regarding the Coronavirus and the impact it will have on public health and business, this is a great time to talk about video communication. It has always been the perfect tool for connecting with consumers without having to be fact-to-face.
To be really effective your video communication platform should integrate New Model Test Drive videos, Inventory Videos, Video Calling, and Real-Time Notifications.
Google estimates that approximately 70% of all automotive shoppers are searching for New Model Review Videos early in the buying cycle. Stand out from the competition by offering shoppers video content, rather than the standard pictures found on common dealership websites. Using the right platform, it is easy to add New Model Review Videos to your website and deliver information in an emotional video presentation for those customers that prefer not to visit a showroom, and still effectively move them through the buying funnel.
Automated Inventory Videos are also proven to transfer more information and inspire more emotion from your VDP Pages than pictures or words alone. They are a great addition to internet and phone lead follow up.
Another critical tool that can win over car shoppers is New Model Test Drive Videos and Full Motion Walkaround Videos. These types of videos are great for car shoppers early in the shopping journey. Inventory videos are then the next logical touchpoint.
During a time when fewer people will chose to visit the showroom, wouldn’t it be nice to know if your leads are still shopping or not? They may not be coming into the dealership, or returning your calls, but what are these folks stuck at home actually doing?
Our platform offers real-time notifications and sends an alert every time one of your prospects is live and watches one of your inventory videos – whether on your website, AutoTrader,Cars.com, or other third-party marketplaces. You then know exactly when you should attempt to contact them. Even if you cannot reach them at that moment, you can see exactly how active that prospect still is.
Speaking of lead management, one of the easiest ways to increase shopper interaction and convert more website traffic into on-the-lot shoppers is to enable your shoppers to talk to one of your professionals “live” from the comfort and safety of their own home. Live Video Communication is quickly becoming the preferred means of communication.
You can increase the humanization and personalization of your communication touchpoints dramatically in both sales and service by utilizing live video and texting. Live communications make it easy right from that start, and you can scale your video calling strategy throughout your entire dealership, regardless of size. Encourage your customers to video call you and get that face-to-face interaction without actually being face-to-face – something that would certainly appeal to car shoppers nervous about coming into the dealership.
If customers are spending more time at home, they probably have more time to shop online. Provide stimulating and emotional product information to keep your dealership top-of-mind not just now – but in the future once life returns to normal.
In this period of social distancing, video can help your dealership continue to respond to and communicate with car shoppers while moving them down the sales funnel while your competition is waiting.
By Tim James
Video has historically played a major role in car dealerships; from training with VHS tapes, to video messaging, text and Live Video Calling. As 2019 draws to a close and we approach 2020, it is clear that when it comes to consumer engagement and digital marketing, video is center stage.
There are many video marketing statistics and trends floating around currently. It is easy to get lost and it can seem a daunting task to stay head of the trends. In this short blog I have put together 3 practical ways to successfully incorporate video into your 2020 marketing strategy.
Why struggle wondering if your emails are opened and read? According to multiple reports an engaged audience will drop what they are doing to watch a video. In fact, email open rates increase by 7% if you include the word “Video” in the title.
Focus on quality! I always hear people saying, “keep your video short”. The fact is you should put your stopwatch away and focus on delivering high-quality information in an upbeat and emotional presentation. Too often people try to rush their presentation and simply don’t provide an educational or emotional presentation.
Nothing will lead to someone closing your video sooner than if you sound like you are just trying to rush through it, versus truly trying to assist them. If you are providing a great experience in your video message, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Yep…someone stops watching. But what about all of those who are truly interested in your message? If you are providing good (relevant) information, and delivering it in an emotional manner, the numbers show that a significantly high percentage of your email (and text) recipients will watch 100% of your video message.
Another good statistic to know is that adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%.
Vehicle shoppers appreciate the informational and emotional value of video. Live video calls and video chat are effective at increasing engagement and convert more website traffic to lot traffic as shoppers can now talk to one of your professionals “live,” from wherever they may be.
This does wonders for customer experience by offering a truly unique perspective of transparency. Consumers don’t need to wonder about availability if they can see the vehicle in a video behind you in real-time.
Users spend 88% more time browsing a website if it has video. Video content humanizes your dealership, builds trust, and inspires higher funnel shoppers to actually pick up the phone and call you with their questions. Video on your landing page or VDP will increase conversion by 80%.
Inventory videos transfer more information. In addition, they help your VDP pages create more emotion from potential car buyers, much more than pictures and text alone. Website videos increase organic search traffic by 157%. You are then far more likely to appear on Google’s page one, driving more online shoppers to your website and into your sales funnel.
For all social platforms , video has 12 times more shares than text and image alone and engagement is 13.9% higher if your posts include video. How long should your videos be on social media? 30 to 90 seconds is the ideal length for social video marketing. But again, remember that this is because the viewers aren’t there just for your video. They are socializing and have a short attention span (oh look, a squirrel). But you still don’t want to sacrifice quality for time. The quality of your content always comes first.
What about the future? 360 degree interactive presentations and Augmented Reality are predicted to be areas with the most growth as marketers enjoy the ease of creating this type of content and it is becoming less expensive.
If your dealership isn’t using video in its vehicle merchandising or customer interactions, you could be missing out on opportunities. Let the consumer experience your inventory they way they want to experience it. If you limit their options, you will also be limiting your leads. It’s all about selling more cars and increasing service revenue. Video can help any dealership accomplish both with very little time, effort and cost.
If you don’t believe me, give it a try. I promise you will see the results and will continue to use video marketing at every possible customer interaction opportunity.
Consumers have grown tired of the countless vanilla marketing messages many companies keep sending (and yes, that includes OEMs and dealers.) However, the marketing tactic that is enjoying success is relevant marketing directly aimed at a specific individual. Relevance is the key to winning today’s consumers. But, it’s not only about relevance, it also involves delivering that message in an engaging manner. Well, how do you best do that?
A recent article in Forbes shared that while ad spend is up 22%, the majority of marketing channels and methodology often produce an open rate of less than 19% and a click-through rate under 3%. Video, however, performs much better. The article shares a story about a business that decided to shift its budget away from traditional marketing messages and instead use personalized video messages. The videos are personalized and available to the consumer on any platform. The results are incredible, with a 98% open rate and a total transformation in terms of reduction in early churn.
Personalization is vital to capturing a consumer’s attention. And there is no more effective way than through the medium they prefer: video.
There are many pieces to each dealership’s marketing puzzle. If your dealership is looking to cut its marketing budget because of a downturn in sales, first consider which pieces of that puzzle produce sales that can be tracked versus those that are shiny objects.
The great thing about sending personalized videos to prospects and current customers is that consumers tend to engage, and it is also one of the easiest types of marketing content to produce, the most affordable and performs the best.
It doesn’t matter which platform your prospective car buyers choose to engage with your dealership; videos perform the same regardless of platform. Videos emotionally connect with people and make them feel more special than an automated template shooting out from a CRM. Consumers can smell those a mile away. A personalized video, however, addresses them by name and shares the exact information they are seeking on the exact vehicle. Which is going to get a warmer reception and build rapport faster?
People like to do business with businesses (and people) that they like. As long as the customer is hiding behind an email address, or ignoring your phone calls, you are simply more noise that is not specifically relevant to them.
There is a reason personal videos made relevant to each individual customer perform better than other forms of communication. The biggest one being that the consumer recognizes that, while they may receive similar auto-responder templates both at the beginning and during the follow-up process, YOUR dealership chose to take the time to address them on a personal level with a video that answered their questions and welcomed their business.
Stop shooting for 3% response rates and think bigger. Video not only engages more customers; it generates more sales and builds loyalty as an excellent side benefit.