customer

Think Virtual Reality is a Fad? Think Again.

by Tim James

Virtual Reality has been quite a craze recently with video gaming and other consumer electronics. However, the high cost of entry and expensive units limited its reach. Even Google’s cardboard VR glasses required smartphones that cost upwards of $700. The Oculus Rift Goggles were even more expensive and required high-end computers to work.

Now, however, Sony has provided a more cost-effective way for consumers to experience VR with the release of VR glasses designed for use with the Playstation 4 game console. With an installed base of 44 million Playstation 4 owners, the glasses instantly sold out on pre-order and are still hard to acquire, which illustrates the high demand for VR experiences. This release immediately made Virtual Reality readily available for mass consumption.

But if you think 44 million is a lot, what about rolling out Virtual Reality to over 2 billion consumers?

Well, that’s about to happen!

In a recent article, Facebook’s CTO revealed a roadmap for the future of Virtual Reality. As you may or may not know, Facebook owns Oculus Rift. However, according to Facebook, their plans for the future of VR for Facebook users do not include Oculus Rift. Instead, Facebook is working on a standalone product that will make Virtual Reality glasses which are integrated with Facebook “cheaper, easy to use and highly distributed.”

The project, named StandAlone, could instantly thrust Virtual Reality into almost every consumer’s hands, transforming it into common use in all areas including conversations via messaging (both audio and video), marketing and content on Facebook’s platform. Imagine experiencing all of the content posts and marketing messages in a VR setting.

Many automakers are currently implementing or actively working on their own VR experiences. And a few already have VR content in place. Virtual Reality is here and consumers are pursuing and embracing this technology. With the cost of entry decreasing and consumer adoption increasing, Facebook’s VR glasses could instantly change the game.

Dealerships that aren’t prepared or that have not already implemented VR experiences with their inventory merchandizing may find themselves scrambling as this technology is increasingly in the hands of consumers. VR isn’t going away, and it is not a fad. It’s also not the future. It’s the now.

Are you prepared?

How to Create Emotionally Appealing Inventory Videos

by Gina Reuscher, Director of Marketing, Flick Fusion

For dealerships that are considering video marketing, or in the early stages of developing their video marketing strategies, we recommend starting with inventory videos. Inventory videos are a great way to attract and emotionally engage car shoppers. According to a recent Gallup study, “businesses that optimize this (emotional) connection outperform competitors by 26% in gross margin and 85% in sales growth.”

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.

So how do you create emotionally appealing inventory videos? Visually, most inventory videos are pretty straightforward. Typically they’re two to four minutes in length and show the interior and exterior of the vehicle. They should also highlight popular features such as infotainment systems, cameras or hands-free tailgate openers.

Although these visual features by themselves do stimulate some emotion, let’s face it: there’s only so much you can do with lighting or mood effects without getting cheesy. It’s an inventory video after all, not a Hollywood movie.

The best way to make your inventory videos emotionally appealing is to create a custom, unique voiceover track for each vehicle. Most inventory videos, including virtually all automated voiceover videos, simply recite the features and data that the consumer can already see on the Vehicle Details Page (VDP).

To differentiate your dealership and generate a powerful emotional response in viewers, create inventory videos with voiceovers that focus on how owning the vehicle will make the buyer feel.

For each video, identify one or two emotional opportunities that you want to tap into. The emotions will be different depending on the type of vehicle. Then, decide on a specific call-to-action that you want the car shopper to perform during or after viewing the video. Include hyperlinks or an audio prompt for the call-to-action in the video along with phrases designed to generate emotion.

In Barry Feig’s book Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons That Get People to Buy, he uncovered 16 emotional opportunities that drive conversion:

  1. Desire for control
  2. I’m better than you
  3. Excitement of discovery
  4. Revaluing
  5. Family values
  6. Desire to belong
  7. Fun is its own reward
  8. Poverty of time
  9. Desire to get the best
  10. Self-achievement
  11. Sex, love, romance
  12. Nurturing response
  13. Reinventing oneself
  14. Make me smarter
  15. Power, dominance and influence
  16. Wish-fulfillment

To get you started, here is a list of emotions and sample phrases that you may want to incorporate into inventory videos.

Emotion Phrases
Sex Appeal/Desire Imagine how you’re going to look in this car, you’re going to look so good driving this car, this is a sexy car and you’re going to look sexy in it, you’re going to be the envy of your friends/family.
Admiration Your friends are going to love it, your kids are going to love it, your dog is going to love it! You are going to love yourself in this car.
Family Values Imagine your entire family on a road trip in this spacious SUV, imagine how much fun you and your family will have trekking in this vehicle, this is the perfect vehicle for creating that special family bonding time.
Discovery/Excitement Imagine the places you can go in this vehicle. Explore, discover and escape the ordinary, enjoy unparalleled freedom in this adventure ride, imagine escaping into the great outdoors, you’ll forget all your worries the moment you get behind the wheel.
Humor Imagine all the stuff you can fit in here; kids, dogs, hogs, farm animals, circus props, all your wife’s/husband’s old junk. Lots of stuff, you’ll never have to go anywhere without your stuff again.
Smart Buying this car will be the smartest decision you ever made, with this deal/rebate you’ll be walking off the lot feeling like Einstein, buying this vehicle is one decision you’ll never regret, this one’s a no-brainer folks.
Confidence Don’t worry, worry-free, satisfaction guaranteed, no-hassle buying experience. Imagine all the money you’ll save with this fuel-efficient vehicle; imagine all the things you can do with that money! You can go out to dinner, you can go on a trip, you can buy new clothes.
Desire for the best Rest assured with this vehicle you’ll be getting the best in class, highest quality, top of the line, best value, best looking, etc.
Fear of missing out Isn’t she a beauty? We haven’t seen a make/model in this primo condition for a long time, this one won’t last long folks, this vehicle is going to fly off this lot, this vehicle is in high demand, if you want this, don’t delay, this won’t be here more than a few days
Pride You’ve worked hard, you deserve this car, you know you deserve it, you’ve earned it and you’re going to feel so proud every time you slide behind this wheel.

These phrases are just suggestions. Feel free to brainstorm and come up with your own! It will take some practice to feel comfortable producing custom inventory video audio tracks, but with time it will become second nature.

One thing is certain: creating inventory videos with emotional appeal will be worth the effort. Emotion plus a call-to-action will convert more shoppers into buyers because emotion sells.

 

How to Make a Value Proposition to Die For

by Tim James

The first thing most people do when meeting someone new is to introduce themselves. This first meeting can quite easily dictate the future outcome of the relationship. If you come off as insincere or indifferent, the other party will probably not engage you again. However, greet someone with genuine interest and sincerity and you just might make a friend for life.

The same exact principal applies when introducing yourself to a customer that submits a lead or visits your website — except for one small thing – you can’t see them.

Most dealers nowadays have some sort of value proposition content that they put in front of customers. It typically appears in the form of an e-mail template or written content on the website (your “About Us” page, for example). While this is better than nothing, it is certainly not the most effective way to meet someone. Human beings are driven by their emotions. Heck, oftentimes the simple act of buying a vehicle can be emotional. A value proposition done with video has a distinct advantage over any written message – the customer can see you. Humans communicate in more ways than just speech. We use our eyes and ears and monitor everything from body language to facial expressions. These subtle cues can sway whether we believe someone is sincere, sarcastic, lying or joking. Written content cannot as effectively project any of these on to a customer. And, since you cannot see or even know who you will be meeting with these online leads — you should strive to create the best value proposition video possible.

What is a value proposition video, really? There’s a very simple answer to that question. A value proposition video is your dealership’s opportunity to convince a customer to choose to do business with you. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that in any interaction someone is being sold. This is no different. You are trying to convince (sell) the customer of the fact that you are a good choice for them. If, when creating a value proposition video, you approach it as if you were tailoring the perfect elevator pitch, you’ll have a better idea of what you should say.

Here are a few tips about what a value proposition should and should not include, along with some techniques on how to interject a little personalization into these videos.

Make it short. – No customer is going to watch a 5-minute video about how great your dealership is. Plain and simple: If you can’t describe what you do, the problem you can solve for the customer, why you are different and why they should care, in 60 seconds, you should re-evaluate your value proposition.

Stop making it about you! – Most value propositions inevitably include statements such as “We’re the best!”; “We have the lowest price.”; “We’ve been in business for 187 years,” etc. Stop that. The customer is NOT meeting you, they are in the process of deciding whether they WANT to meet you. Do you see the difference? The more you can avoid using the pronouns “We” and “Us” and “Our” the better.

While most value proposition videos try to talk to EVERYONE, make yours more personable as if you were talking to an individual. Use pronouns such as “I” and (even better) “you.” The only person that matters at that specific moment in time is that one single customer. Craft your value proposition as if you were making it for that one person. And then proceed to make your video about them. If the video is going to be displayed on your website, your dealer principal or general manager should deliver the message. If the video is designed to be sent to a customer that submitted a lead online, the message should be delivered by the person sending the e-mail. This transforms the video from a generic, impersonal piece of content to one which will have greater meaning to the person watching.

I’m not saying that you have to make an individual video for each internet lead (although that would be a very powerful tool in your sales process), rather you should have one created for each dealership employee – whether that’s a manager, salesperson, internet manager or BDC rep – that responds to and interacts with customers who submit leads. Remember, this video is NOT a “Why Buy from Me,” that’s another topic. This is a “Why Buy from Us.”

An example of a “Why Buy from Us” word track delivered in a personal way is as follows:

“I can assure you that you’ll have a great buying experience here. You’ll find a great selection of vehicles and knowledgeable sales consultants who can assist you in finding the vehicle that best fits your family’s needs and budget. Just as my other customers have, you’ll want to keep coming back after you buy your vehicle here.”

That’s one great way to deliver a dealership value proposition in a way the customer feels as if you are talking to them, and that it is not all about the dealership.

Quality counts – If you are going to make a single video to be repurposed, ensure that the video is filmed, edited and presented in a high-quality and professional manner. Simply filming a selfie while standing against a wall is like showing up to a job interview dressed in shorts and flip flops. First impressions matter — and you only get one chance to make one. So, make this one count. These may very well be the most important videos you make. Deliver them in a proper, professional way, and you’ll find that customers watch them and that they make the impact you’re searching for.

In the end, a value proposition video is not a commercial. It’s your first opportunity to convince a prospective customer why they should choose your dealership over your competition. Pulling this off successfully will start to build a relationship and trust in you and your dealership. And, once you have those, the odds of you winning the business increase exponentially.

Win Business by Helping the Customer On Their Journey

In my last blog I discussed micro-moments – the critical moments, as defined by Google, in a customer’s car buying journey. I also covered the importance of having a strategy that caters to and attracts a customer’s attention at each touch point.

The 5 moments Google defines as important are: Which car is best? ; Is it right for me? ; Can I afford it? ; Where should I buy it? And, Am I getting a deal?  

In this blog, I’d like to share exactly which types of video you can create to cater to buyers at each of those critical moments. More importantly, I want to share the secret to “mastering the moments” using video content.

As you know, a successful marketing strategy isn’t about simply providing a car buyer with content, it is using the content that the car buyer is looking for to attract them into your sales funnel while moving them from stage to stage throughout the entire buying cycle. This is no different with Video Marketing.

One of the biggest mistakes I see dealerships make is to satisfy the consumer’s quest for a particular type of information (moment) in a video and then leave it up to the consumer to search and find the information that is now critical to the next moment.

The secret to “mastering the moments” is to make certain to provide the content (or quick access to the content) for the next “moments” at the same time you are satisfying the current moment. In this way, you make it easy for the shopper to move from one moment to the next, become a trusted source of information to the shopper and keep them in your sales funnel.

 

  1. Which car is best? – This phase is typically the beginning of any car buyer’s journey. The moment can be as quick as seeing a car they like and deciding they want it; to as long as knowing they need a new car, but having no idea which will work for them. Of course, consumers have many choices in vehicle brands and your objective at this point is to convince a shopper that your brand is the best decision for them.

    This moment is heavily dominated by OEM advertising, as brands compete for return and conquest buyers. Unfortunately, you aren’t just competing against other brands, you are competing against other dealerships that offer the same brands that you offer as well.  This means that you must provide the same (or similar) content as your OEMs so that you will attract the car buyers to your “path to the sale.”  To help the customer make that decision about “which car is best?” be sure to market your own Model Review and Model Comparison videos.This phase is also heavily influenced by the shopper’s peers and automotive experts, so Review Videos and video content containing “user experience” from “other shoppers” are great types of videos to market at this phase as well. Shoot a couple of quick videos of a new customer talking about their experience with a previous brand and why they chose you (your brand) this time, versus the brand they were driving.Most importantly, now that you’ve satisfied the shopper’s quest for information at this moment, make it easy for the shopper to move on to the next moments by having your “Is it right for me”; “Can I afford it”; “Where should I buy it”; and “Am I getting a good deal” content available at the same time and from the same location as your “Which car is best” content.  Another important trick at this time is to also ask the shopper if they would like a “personalized walkaround” of any particular Model, Trim, or a specific vehicle from your inventory.

 

  1. Is it right for me? – Now that a shopper is feeling confident about their direction after their research in the previous moment, they need to start looking at specific vehicle features to make certain that they match their wants and needs. You can easily move the shopper from the “Which car is best” moment to the “Is it right for me” moment by having New Model Test Drive, Trim Specific Features & Options, and VIN Specific Inventory Videos available for the shopper to watch at the same time they are watching their “Which car is best” video content.This is another great time to utilize the “Request a Personalized Walkaround” call to action, as mentioned above. It is at this moment that the shopper will start having some very real questions that only the dealership can answer.

 

  1. Can I afford it? – Now that you’ve moved the shopper through the “Is it right for me” moment and they can visualize themselves owning a particular vehicle, you can make it extremely easy to move the shopper to the “Can I afford it” moment by having content such as Rebates, Incentives, and Special Pricing dynamically display on each video that is relevant. Make certain that this content is able to update in real-time so that it can be continually updated without having to create new video content.You can include quick access conversion widgets on your videos such as Get Pre-Approved, Receive a Lease Quote, Value Your Trade, etc., so that the shopper doesn’t have to leave the video of the vehicle that they are interested in to go searching for their “Can I afford it” answers.  The easier you make the process for a shopper, the more shoppers will stay in your pipeline, trust you for their information, and will not have to venture off to go looking for the information they are seeking.

 

  1. Where should I buy it? – Now we get into more familiar video marketing territory. This stage is where “Why Buy from Us”; “Why Buy from Me”; and “Why Buy from Them (Testimonial) videos become extremely important. We know that people buy from people they like, and you have the ability at this moment to make a real emotional connection with a customer via video. Rather than simply being a website, or generic dealership, a good video can easily sway a customer into giving you the first crack at their business. Remember, this moment doesn’t necessarily start at the end of the buying cycle, the shopper is looking for someone to trust throughout the entire buying cycle.  Each of these videos should in fact be included for each moment, along with all of the previously mentioned videos.Again, don’t make the consumer think about what they want to do next and then have to go find the content. Have the content there and lead the consumer from moment to moment.Once the shopper does reach out to you with any question throughout the entire buying cycle, the use of Lead Response and Appointment Confirmation videos will have a huge impact on building that trust relationship with the shopper and satisfy the “Where should I buy it” moment  through the relationship that you’ve built.

 

  1. Am I getting a deal? – If a customer has followed your lead throughout their car buying journey, the answer to this question, while important, almost becomes insignificant. People are willing to pay more for a vehicle if they feel comfortable with the business, like their sales person, and have a great customer experience.If, at this stage, you have provided the shopper with an excellent experience; and you focus your efforts on reassuring a customer that you will continue to provide them with an excellent experience after their purchase; you should be able to win their business — even if a competitor is slightly less.That said, Google states in their study that 50% of shoppers with mobile while standing on a competitor’s lot. So, not only is it important to have your Inventory Videos (as well as Testimonial Value Proposition videos) on your VDP Pages. It is also important to have your competitor’s Geo-Targeted so that you can present a “last chance” offer to a shopper when they watch your videos from one of your competitor’s lots — and even receive an alert from your CRM if your video data is integrated with your CRM.

 

While not all-inclusive, this list should get you off to a good start as far as having content available that helps consumers answer the questions posed in these five moments. And this will help to position your dealership at the top of the food chain for their business.

Will You Be There Whenever Your Customers Need You?

In video marketing, many people think that to simply start making videos is enough. While it’s certainly a great start, there’s actually a lot more to it. In fact, I’d even go so far to say that simply beginning to make video at your dealership is more like showing up for your first day of football practice. The coach didn’t simply split everyone into two teams and have a game — chances are good that you did a whole bunch of running, pushups and other physical exercise until you threw up. You may have even done this twice a day — in the summer — and who knows how long it was before you actually — wait for it — touched a football! Do you think this practice, which happens every year on countless high school, college and professional football fields across the world doesn’t work? Of course it does. The point is that to be effective at the game, you must be in shape AND know the game plan!

I talk all of the time about the importance of having a strategy in your video marketing. That strategy includes multiple pieces — only one of which is actually picking up a camera and taking video. You have to know the game plan for the video before you can ever make an effective one. Just like you need to know where your wide receiver will be before you throw the football.

An article by ThinkwithGoogle.com perfectly captures this strategy. The article discusses micro-moments and describes them as Want-to-Know moments. Want-to-go moments. Want-to-do moments and Want-to-buy moments. These are the critical opportunities for brands and, according to the article, are the new battleground. In these moments consumers take immediate action, demand quality, relevance and usefulness. And will give their business to the brands that accomplish this the best.

So, what’s the strategy they recommend brands follow to win with consumers?

  1. Make a moments map. This means to simply identify the set of moments that your customer’s have in their journey. In a study released earlier this year by Google’s Automotive Division, the magic 5 moments are – which car is best, is it right for me, can I afford it, where should I buy it, and am I getting a deal. Keep in mind that these are only the buying moments. There are plenty of other moments. The buying journey is only one journey that leads them to your dealership. Service is another.
  2. Understand customer needs in-the-moment. While this is very basic, it is also one of the most important parts of the strategy. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes at each phase that you identified in your moments map and ask yourself what they want to know or what would be most helpful. Remember that to win the game, you need to provide quality and relevance. And, above all, be useful!
  3. Use context to deliver the right experience. Wherever possible, integrate context through geo-location or time of day to deliver experiences that feel as if your message was made just for them.
  4. Optimize across the journey. It is important to have a presence at each phase of the customer’s journey. And also ensure that your content is optimized for whatever device they are on. It’s very possible that one moment is visited on a mobile device, while the customer may continue their journey on a desktop. Make sure that wherever they are, your video content is optimized to deliver the best customer experience.
  5. Measure every moment that matters. This is one of the most important things in any marketing strategy, not just video. Inability to measure the successes (or failures) in your activities will inhibit you from discovering what actually works and will prevent you from increasing your effectiveness.

Don’t let the term micro-moments distract you. Each of these phases in the customer journey have always existed. The difference is that now almost everyone has the ability to access this information instantly from anywhere. So, the timelines have decreased exponentially. While it could take one customer months to get from the beginning of their journey to your dealership, it could very easily take another customer minutes to navigate through their whole journey.

Once you’ve created a strategy, the two-a-days are over. Now let’s pick up that camera and play some football!

A Super Nifty Trick to Make Your Facebook Videos More Effective

Social media is a great place for brands to get their message out to the masses using video. Not only are more people watching video on Facebook, but the platform itself is also giving it extended reach in order to entice marketers to publish more video on Facebook. Another really great (for marketers) feature of video on Facebook is that it autoplays in a user’s newsfeed. The problem is that it autoplays with no sound, so a user actually needs to engage with the video in order to hear it. If the user is scrolling through their newsfeed, you literally have seconds to capture their attention. So, how do you maximize the effectiveness of your Facebook videos knowing that users aren’t going to hear it, but only see it?

A recent article in Inc., shared that at the Salesforce Connections conference held in June, Facebook’s CMO Gary Briggs revealed a new trend that brands are beginning to use in their video marketing efforts on Facebook. Knowing that they’re pretty much at the mercy of a user when a video is presented in their newsfeed, marketers have started introducing text into the first 5-10 seconds of the video, so as to pique the interest of users and bypass the need for audio to capture attention. Similar to subtitles, this text is actually rendered into the actual video itself, allowing companies to use creative text in unison with their video to capture the user’s attention and get them to engage.

Facebook video marketing can be highly effective for dealerships, especially if it’s targeted properly. Video ads are one of the most effective means of advertising on the platform. The ability for dealerships to utilize various data sources and identify in-market car shoppers within their geographical area offers amazing opportunity. Consider incorporating video into your social media marketing on Facebook and, if it’s in the budget, utilize the precise targeting features that Facebook offers.

The most effective form of video marketing on Facebook for car dealerships would be more in the area of company branding, fun and random entertainment videos, customer testimonial videos, and occasional inventory walkaround videos.  Of course, you should have an entire Inventory Videos page available from your Facebook Menu, making it easy for anyone visiting your Facebook Page to quickly see videos of your inventory (since you actually do sell cars).And, if you have a very rare or unique vehicle, and target it properly, a video ad for that vehicle on your wall could also help the vehicle sell faster as well. However, for the most part, the ability to expose your dealership to potential new customers through well thought out, creative and engaging video can keep you top of mind.

A successful video marketing strategy will ensure that your dealership is present at each and every touchpoint that a consumer could visit on their car-buying journey. It will also take advantage of any unique features of the platform to optimize the chances that consumers engage with the video. This super nifty trick will allow you to relay a quick message (a hook, if you will) to consumers without them having to engage with your video, and could make them stop and listen to what you have to say.