Tim James shares why simply having video content isn’t enough in this first video blog of a series.
When I talk to dealers about video marketing, one question I get asked a lot is “What about social?” In particular the marketing folks want to know what types of videos they should make to post on their social media platforms, which social media platforms drive the best results and how best to engage their social audiences.
These are all valid questions for advanced video marketers. But if you are just starting a video marketing strategy these are the wrong questions to be asking.
The primary goal of your video marketing strategy is to increase lead conversions on your website. For the first six months to a year, that is all you should be focusing on.
A secondary goal for your video marketing strategy may be to drive more customers to your website, or increase engagement with your social media followers. But you should not even attempt these goals until you have mastered the fundamentals of your primary goal.
After all, what is the point of driving traffic to your website if you are not converting visitors to leads once they get there?
Let’s say you post a funny video on your Facebook page and someone clicks through to your website. When they get to your website, all they see are static photos and Vehicle Details Pages (VDPs) with text only. That’s not what this person is expecting! You caught their attention with video, you got the click-through with a video, but when they get to your website there’s no videos!
When it comes to video marketing, I always recommend wading in slowly. Start with your inventory videos and master the fundamentals before you do anything else. That’s not to say the branding and fun stuff isn’t important. It is, but the goal of those videos is different than the goal of inventory videos.
With inventory videos, your goal is to present your inventory to a potential buyer just like the best salesperson in your store would. Your goal is to create emotional desire in a car shopper, so they take the next step and reach out to you.
How to Master Inventory Videos
Inventory videos are powerful because they have the potential to change a car shopper’s mindset. Most consumers visit your website hoping that your dealership has the vehicle they want. A dynamic inventory video can change that paradigm to make the consumer want and take mental ownership of a vehicle that you already have.
This paradigm shift is backed up by metrics. Overall engagement on a VDP featuring a live walkaround video jumps an average of 600 percent versus engagement on a static VDP. This translates into an approximate 30 to 35 percent increase in leads, according to feedback from our dealer customers.
The first step in mastering inventory videos is to come up with a process for creating them. You could assign someone internally, or use an outside lot services company or a video production company. Come up with a template for what should be included in each video, such as:
- Front, side and rear view shots of the vehicle
- Interior shots of the dashboard and infotainment systems
- Interior shots of the front and rear passenger seats
- Close ups of tires
- Shots of special features, e.g. roomy trunk, video screens in the back, back-up cameras
Additionally, try to add one or two “why buy here” value proposition statements, such as promoting your fast and easy financing options, or your no-hassle shopping experience.
Be sure to add in banners promoting special offers such as 0% down or cash back. Finally, don’t forget your phone number and a call to action! A car shopper should be able to click on the video and have the option to submit a lead, or if they are using a mobile device, click to call.
Once you have mastered the process of creating your inventory videos, the next step is to make sure these inventory videos get exposure.
In addition to posting inventory videos on your VDPs, distribute them on third-party sites such as Autotrader and Cars.com. Use them in your lead follow-up process and in email marketing campaigns. And yes, you can even post them on your Facebook page.
The next step in mastering inventory videos is to make sure you host your videos on a platform that can collect and use data. Technology exists right now that allows your dealership sales team to get real-time alerts every time someone watches one of your videos. Many times that ‘someone’ can be matched to a profile in your CRM.
Imagine getting an alert that a customer you haven’t spoken with in two years is on Autotrader watching one of your inventory videos. Imagine getting an alert that one of your regular service customers just watched an inventory video on Facebook. You have instant leads and you have their contact information!
There’s no more relevant time to call these prospects than right now, while they are engaged with your brand.
Once you have mastered the art of creating inventory videos, getting them seen and incorporating user data into your lead follow up and marketing processes, you will see an increase in your website and phone leads. Only then should you start thinking about additional types videos that you can create.
In addition to inventory videos, I typically recommend value proposition videos, customer testimonial videos and service department videos. These should all be displayed prominently on your website but they can also be posted on your social media platforms and used in email marketing and lead follow up campaigns.
But first, master the basics. Inventory videos are the best way to turn website visitors into leads, and these should be your primary focus.
Head of National Accounts for Flick Fusion Ted Dupuy shares the path for dealers wondering where to begin in video marketing.
In this series of video blogs, Flick Fusion COO Tim James shares Google’s 5 auto shopping moments that every dealership should know and how to take advantage of those moments to lead customers to your dealership.
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.
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.
by Tim James
While statistics may seem boring, they are certainly key when choosing a marketing strategy. They can highlight where you should direct your efforts in order to be the most effective and maximize ROI.
There are a ton of statistics floating out there and thousands of articles which – if you don’t believe me – should be sufficient to convince you that video content and marketing is THE most effective medium to engage consumers – both now and for the foreseeable future.
To illustrate this for you, I assembled seven statistics that caught my eye from this published list of 50 Video Marketing Stats to Help You Create a Winning Social Media Strategy in 2017.
I picked the seven I feel will be of particular interest, without overwhelming you with hundreds of statistics.
- “Online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020, according to CISCO.”
What does that mean for car dealers? Unless you have video content on your website, and all the consumer touchpoints, you may find your dealership falls into that sad 20% of internet traffic that misses eight out of ten car buyers.
- “73% of marketers plan on increasing their use of videos, according to Social Media Examiner”
I’m fairly certain there are some pretty smart people among the 73% of marketers that plan to increase video use. If such a large percentage of marketers chooses to increase their video strategies and budgets, they must be finding video an effective medium that produces revenue.
- “55% of people consume video thoroughly – the highest amount of all types of content, according to HubSpot”
If you’re going to create content to market your dealership and your inventory, why not create the best, most effective type of content that your customers (or potential customers) will actually watch? Makes perfect sense to me and, apparently, video is the content type that consumers want.
- “43%of people want to see more video content from marketers in the future, according to HubSpot.”
Again, if consumers want more video content, the only possible reason is that video is how they want brands and businesses to engage with them. It’s much easier, more engaging and memorable to present your message in a way that engages all the consumer’s senses – and that’s what video does (and probably why consumers want it.)
- “4X as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than reading about it. 4 in 5 millennials consider video content when researching a purchase decision and 70% of millennials are likely to watch a company video when shopping online, according to Animoto.”
I lumped these together because these statistics illustrate that consumers want video content, are watching company-produced video content and are using it to make purchasing decisions. That certainly sounds like something I would be interested in if I were a car dealer trying to attract buyers – especially the anonymous buyers who are shopping your inventory online without your knowledge.
- “Companies which use videos in their marketing grow revenue 49% faster year-on-year than those which don’t, according to the Aberdeen Group.”
I think it’s safe to say that any business – including car dealerships – is interested in revenue growth. If having a video marketing strategy in place can increase revenue by 49%, it should certainly be common-sense to implement one. Of course, it’s not just about USING video, but about using it RIGHT with a strategy in place. And what happens when you have a strategy in place…
- “Companies which use video in their marketing enjoy 27% higher CTR and 34% higher web conversion rates than those which don’t, according to the Aberdeen Group.”
I don’t know about you but the whole POINT of having a website, investing in digital marketing of all types, and merchandising your inventory through third-party sites and all the other touchpoints, is to engage the customer and, ultimately, have them engage you back by contacting you or submitting a lead. If using video will increase click-throughs and conversions at that level, why wouldn’t you want it?
I hope these seven points I chose provide food for thought to help prove the point that any time and effort spent implementing a strategic video marketing strategy will produce ROI. And believe me when I tell you that it’s not as hard or time-consuming as you may think. Chances are you have the essentials to get started right in front of you– heck, you may even be reading this blog article with it – a smartphone.
Video marketing can be easy and take little effort and time. Sure, you can also spend more time and money and produce even more slick videos with sets and expensive equipment, if you should desire. The point is that it shouldn’t be a question of whether you SHOULD be doing video marketing, but rather WHEN are you going to start?
by Tim James
While I often talk about “basics”, that’s simply because many dealers are still not reaping the benefits of video marketing. But let’s say your dealership is doing video marketing. Perhaps you’ve made a commitment to conduct live video walkarounds for every vehicle. Maybe you’re engaging your customers via personal video e-mail. And perhaps it’s working well. Most people would advise a marketer that is having success to follow the old saying “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Well, sometimes that may not be the right answer.
Consider the “Red Bull” brand. They are widely known for producing some of the most successful viral video marketing pieces ever – including setting a record for the most live concurrent video views, with 9.5 million users watching their space diving video. The brand focused on creating video content that illustrated daring and astonishing feats of athleticism. As a result, it earned the respect and attention of many major brands across the country. But then… they changed their strategy. And everyone gasped.
Why would any company change a video marketing strategy that is considered (and measured) as the bar to achieve? Why change something that is working so well?
We may never know why Red Bull decided to change their strategy away from big time, exciting event videos that consistently went viral. What we do know is what they changed it to: Consistency.
Red Bull decided that producing regular, consistent video content (more quantity) would pay off over producing less video content — even if the videos as a group are not as “epic.” And what did this achieve? In the last year, Red Bull has created 639 videos that each have more than a million views, with a combined total of 1.7 BILLION views, and almost 33 million engagements.
While each individual video itself gets less engagement than one of the EPIC videos, overall the brand is achieving more views and engagement at less expense. Red Bull’s gamble on a consistent stream of video content, over occasional highly produced epic videos payed off.
What does that mean for your dealership?
Creating consistent content – walkaround videos, creative commercials, etc. – will absolutely engage consumers. But it’s not all about following some straight line on the road to your destination. Creativity will pay dividends – it’s a matter of regular content but also doing something to catch attention and set you dealership apart from the competition.
Take a step off the line and be a little adventurous.
Take for example a dealership in Minnesota, White Bear Mitsubishi. They adopted a white bear as their mascot and have created countless commercials and content including a person dressed in a giant white bear outfit. (If you’ve never seen them, they’re great!) But it isn’t the commercial that shot them to stardom, it is the OUTTAKES from the commercial. On their Facebook page alone, these commercial outtakes have had 6.9 million views, over 35,000 likes and over 100,000 shares!
It’s also been syndicated, made into memes and featured on television news reports! Did they expect this kind of exposure by simply posting some silly outtakes from a commercial they did to support their local hockey team? No!
The point is that they continued to produce content. They stepped outside the box. And because of that, the world is now talking about them. Had they never tried, they’d never have succeeded.
Wouldn’t you like to have those kind of results and exposure for your dealership? The only way that’s ever going to happen is to go out and start making video – and never stop.