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.
Assuming your dealership has a video marketing strategy in place and that you’re getting good results, you may be ready to take your video marketing to another level.
To quickly review, the fundamental basic blocks of a video marketing strategy include:
- Content. Start with what you sell…your inventory. Next sell them on your dealership with value proposition videos, customer testimonial videos, and service “how to” videos. Also, sell them on your staff with personnel introduction/profile videos. All of these content videos build trust with the shopper.
- Exposure. In addition to your website, your videos should be on multiple touchpoints like Cars.com, Autotrader.com, Facebook, and any other distribution points video is accepted to display. Also using video in email marketing and in the lead follow-up process garners great results when compared to traditional e-mail and phone calls.
- Actionable Data Collection. Where you host your video plays a very important role in the success of a video marketing strategy. Using public hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo do not help your SEO nor guarantee to keep your shopper on your site. Your dealership’s video should be hosted on a platform that allows your website to claim the SEO benefits of your video, and also has the ability to collect actionable data from your video viewers so you know who’s watching which video from where and with what.
- Data Utilization. Use the actionable data to create relevancy, to create or adjust your marketing endeavors so you are able to serve up the right video to the right customer at the right time.
Now that we have reviewed the core elements to a successful video marketing strategy, let’s take a look at kicking it up a notch.
Here are some additional elements to add to your strategy designed to even further increase your engagement, conversions and leads.
Empower Your Customers with Information
Today’s consumers want to be in control of the purchase process. Videos can have a significant impact in that process, with up to 90 percent of people claiming that video plays a role in their purchasing decisions, according to one report.
Although customers want to be in control, they still need information and a trusted resource to guide their decision. Why not become that trusted resource?
When it comes to car shopping, most dealers don’t have a lot of information on their website to help prospective buyers in their research and decision-making process. Why leave that up to the OEMs and third-party sites?
Part of this process involves deciding where to buy. Customers want to buy from a dealership they trust. One of the best ways to gain that trust is to provide the car shopper with information in a transparent way.
If you don’t already have a video showroom on your website, it’s time to add one. Then, create and add the following types of videos:
- Explain the difference between your brand’s trim levels
- Explain the difference between your brand and your top two competing brands
- Explain new features in a newly introduced product/brand
- Explain the sales process/what to expect at your dealership
- Explain the F&I process and products
These videos should focus on educating the shopper. Their purpose is to gain customer trust, so the videos should be focused on your customers’ needs and your dealership’s expertise.
Virtual Reality Video
Virtual Reality (VR) is already mainstream. The good news for dealers is that creating VR videos doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or time. You can create VR videos in approximately the same amount of time as you can a regular video.
VR videos are highly engaging and will differentiate your brand, at least until the rest of the Jones’s on the block catch up. If you want a captive audience, start by creating and posting a few model review videos on your website in VR first as these will be more relevant longer then an inventory specific video. To get even more engagement you can then distribute them through email and your social media channels.
Watching a VR video is a completely different experience than watching a regular video; if you haven’t tried it yet, you should! The experience is completely immersive, memorable and emotional.
You don’t have to start doing VR videos for every piece of inventory. Focus on creating a VR video for your new models and make them both educational and fun, if possible. As the customer is sitting in the front seat, guide them through what they’re seeing, touching and feeling.
Consumers can experience VR videos if they own a smartphone and a pair of VR goggles or headsets. All that’s required is downloading an app that can play virtual reality videos.
Live Streaming Video
Today’s consumer demands instant information and transparency during the car-buying process, and live-streaming video calls are a great way to establish a connection, build trust and provide information in an immediate and transparent manner.
Live streaming is another technology that you may want to consider incorporating into your sales process. Allow your shoppers to connect in real-time with your team. It’s not just Millennials that want their information now…Boomers do too!
Are you ready to take your video marketing game to the next level? Try these three video strategies designed to engage customers and increase conversions and leads.
I’ve spoken many times about the types of video a dealership should produce outside of inventory videos to create an emotional connection to your brand, dealership and employees. However, there is one thing I have touched on in the past that needs more attention. It is, in fact, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give:
The car should always be the star!
What do I mean by that? Regardless of the type of video you produce, the sole focus of each is fundamentally to excite and persuade a potential customer to choose your dealership and come in to buy a vehicle. But what about personalized walkaround videos, personal e-mail responses, why buy videos, or customer testimonials?
If you’re creating video content for your dealership and only take one piece of advice from me, let it be this: Make sure that the brand you represent, and/or the vehicle you are trying to sell, is visible in every video.
It’s great to send a personalized video email response to a customer. It’s certainly engaging and puts a face behind the name. But, while the personal video e-mail response will do that, the customer ultimately is considering purchasing something you sell.
Imagine how much more powerful a personalized video response would be if, instead of filming in front a background consisting of a white wall or other desks, it was filmed in front of the exact vehicle the customer inquired about. I’m not talking about a walkaround. Simply a little product placement. There’s a reason major brands pay big money for product placement in movies, television shows and video games. That’s because it pays off! That Pepsi can that the actor is drinking out of may never be mentioned or referred to — but I can guarantee you one thing… it was noticed.
Make sure that, when making a personal video response, why buy video, or while filming a customer testimonial, the background contains either a vehicle that you sell, the specific one the customer is interested in, or the vehicle they already purchased.
Video content is evergreen in that it doesn’t expire. It can float around the digital universe for an eternity if you want it to. Ensure that as many videos as possible promote not only your store and employees, but also the vehicles that you sell. You never know when someone will come across it and be impacted by it.
Many times, those accidental or unintended video views lead to relationships that span a lifetime. Make sure every piece of video content displays your vehicles – even if that’s not the video’s intent – and you’ll take your engagement and connection to the next level.
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.
For professional marketers across all industries, the top priority for 2018 is to convert leads into customers, according to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017 report. Sound familiar? Most auto dealers I know have the same goal.
In order to accomplish that goal, 48 percent of these professional marketers will be adding video to their marketing strategy this year. In fact, video is their number one strategy, far above social media, email and other traditional forms of marketing.
The reason for this is simple: people love watching videos! Even those die-hard readers out there have to admit there is a time and place for video. There’s a reason why video is the number one type of content consumed globally.
Actually, there are several reasons why video should be your auto dealership’s top marketing priority in 2018:
1) People Trust Video
Trust is an important factor in the decision-making process. How can you get potential customers to trust you? Being likeable helps, but even more important is to have a brand that’s known for integrity and product expertise.
Videos are the ideal method for building a trustworthy brand image. You can post words on your website and broadcast them on radio, but the combination of video and audio delivers a far more powerful impact.
That’s because video conveys messages with both verbal and non-verbal cues. Remember that communication is:
- 7 percent the words that you say
- 55 percent body language
- 38 percent the tone of voice
For consumers, finding a trustworthy brand is an important step along the car-buying journey. Another study found that a user’s positive experience with a video increased brand association by 139 percent.
2) Video Creates an Emotional Response
Emotion sells because it happens on a very instinctive level. People may not be aware of why they’re buying–they just know they feel good about it.
To differentiate your dealership and generate a powerful emotional response in viewers, create inventory videos with voiceovers that focus not just on the features, but on how owning the vehicle will make the buyer feel.
According to a recent Gallup study, “businesses that optimize this (emotional) connection outperform competitors by 26 percent in gross margin and 85 percent in sales growth.”
3) Video is Memorable
When was the last time you heard someone talk about a great newspaper or digital ad they just saw? When was the last time you heard someone mention a great video they just watched?
The reason why videos are memorable is based on science. People remember only 10 percent of what they see, but 50 percent of what they see and hear. A great video can touch people’s emotions like no other form of media can.
The right combination of music, narration, visuals and motion invites viewers to experience your product and your brand, instead of just hearing about it.
According to the Online Publishers Association, 80 percent of Internet users recall watching a video on a website they visited in the past 30 days. Of that 80 percent, 46 percent took some action after viewing the video, including looking for more information, visiting the website, visiting the company and purchasing a product.
It’s pretty simple: use video to make your brand memorable, and consumers will remember your brand.
4) Video Saves Time
A two-minute video can deliver a lot of information. From the consumer’s point of view, watching a video takes less effort and time than reading text and trying to decipher which product or service is best for them.
Try viewing your Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs) from a car-buyer’s perspective. Do you think most people read all the specs listed there? A consumer may scan the text but unless they are looking for something specific, they won’t remember much.
Static photos don’t convey a lot of information either; only what the vehicle looks like. Video on the other hand, can present rich visuals along with a voiceover that helps to educate and excite the consumer.
In a sense, videos remove the burden of research, reading and decision-making on the part of the consumer. If all of that information can be delivered in a video, people will choose to watch the video, every time.
Is video on your 2018 marketing priority list? Consumers love video, so if you’re serious about giving your customers what they want, give them video.
All too often marketers find themselves with writer’s block, if you will, when it comes to new ideas. Short of spending a ton of money for an ad agency, businesses can still find opportunities to insert themselves into trending stories for little money… IF they act quickly.
Case in point: On Nov. 2, 2017, a young aspiring videographer decided to use the power of video to help his girlfriend sell her car. What was so special about it? Nothing! It was a 1996 Honda Accord. But he created this incredibly clever, well filmed video advertising the vehicle. In fact, it was so clever that, to date, it’s received over 6.2 MILLION views. Yes, a video merchandizing a car went viral. Surprise! Videos sell cars.
You can watch the video here:
CarMax heard about this trending video and quickly jumped into action. They created a response video integrating the features and items for the 1996 Honda Accord and offered $20,000 for the vehicle (We all know that a 1996 Honda Accord with over 100,000 miles is not worth $20,000). This video also went viral because outside observers joined the ongoing story to see what would happen.
Here is the response video by CarMax:
At the end of the day, the videographer accepted CarMax’s offer and his girlfriend sold the car to them – minus the cat.
Why did this work so well for all parties involved; and why did anyone care?
When making the video of the1996 Honda Accord, the aspiring videographer took the time to tell the vehicle’s story. He created a high-quality video walkaround that was over-the-top in personality. The seriousness of his tone in the video essentially became its own character.
Of course, people loved it. But why? For someone to even take the time to make a video like this is itself entertaining. But the character and personality injected into the vehicle throughout the video captured a lot of people’s attention – and for something that’s normally not that attention-getting.
Video has the power to engage and hold an audience when it’s done right — and this videographer did it perfectly.
CarMax saw an opportunity to capitalize on a trending video in a humorous way. But, more importantly, in a way that supports their brand message – namely, that they buy cars. The video had a tongue-in-cheek style that was appreciated by the Internet citizens paying attention. While their video didn’t go quite as viral (only around 350,000 views), that is certainly more views than they were used to getting on any vehicle inventory video.
In the end, the lesson to be learned is that every car has a story, something that makes it unique, special, and desired by “someone”. But that story can only be told by making videos in a way that engagers viewers. Your video doesn’t have to reach 6.2 million people. It only needs to engage one. And when it does, you’ve done your job right.
Make videos infused with personality, which are also high quality, regardless of if you’re selling a Ferrari supercar, or a 1996 Honda Accord.
The second lesson to be learned is that there are marketing and branding opportunities all over the place. You can capitalize on these without much expense, and little effort. While you certainly shouldn’t try and jump on every trending piece of social media that’s gone viral, you should identify those that fit well with your dealership and brand message. The Internet can be very critical if it senses you’re out of character, or solely trying to get attention. Your Internet audience can, however, appreciate a clever response that’s in-character.
Take this as an example of how two videos of a 1996 Honda Accord engaged millions. Consider any opportunities you have at your dealership to improve the quality and engagement of your vehicles through video marketing. You may start seeing more engaged buyers — which will translate into faster inventory turn and higher front-end revenues. And that’s what video merchandizing is all about.