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Video Marketing: Sell, Don’t Tell.

by Tim James

Why are we obsessed with television and movies? Because, just like books, they have the ability to capture our attention and transport us into fictional situations and universes.

Regardless of whether the movie or television show is fiction or non-fiction, this is an engaging way to tell a story that we’re interested in hearing and also seeing. TV, movies and video make stories come alive in ways that connect with our emotions – whether through fear, sympathy, action or drama.

But what if you went to a movie and rather than watching the story of a young farm boy transforming into a hero by blowing up a huge space station, you were presented with only the facts. Just an outline or bullet-points. That wouldn’t be very engaging, would it?

Video marketing is no different. It’s really easy to forget that in order to engage the viewer, you need to connect with them. Telling them how great your product is with facts alone would be like doing a walkaround for a customer, simply reading the information on the window sticker.

That is certainly not very interesting, engaging or creative.

In car sales, salespeople are trained to do vehicle walkarounds by first identifying any attributes of importance to that particular customer. The salesperson then shows and explains any features and benefits in the vehicle which fulfill that individual customer’s interest. To put it plainly, great salespeople tell stories about their products that put their audience “in the story.” They don’t just present facts, they generate a desired emotional response by focusing on “why” a product is needed, not just what the product is, (sell “why,” not “what”).

Effective video marketing – including walkarounds, personal video messages and any other kind of video you can think of – is no different. That’s why so many consumers love Super Bowl commercials. It is also why some commercials make us smile, laugh out loud, or even bring a tear to our eyes. They are effective because, in most cases, they manipulate our emotions to connect those products and services with us on a personal level and make us want to engage.

You can do the same thing with your video marketing efforts and, by so doing, establish more of a bond with the customer. Show your customers that you are interested in helping them with THEIR needs (not just selling them a car) and it will increase the likelihood they will engage with you, or reach out to you, should they simply come across a video on a VDP.

Video marketing isn’t rocket science. BUT you still need to have a strategy to do it effectively. Try changing your focus from trying to talk to everyone, to talking to a single person. Tell your story, the vehicle’s story, or whatever story you wish to relay with your video, as if that person is standing right in front of you. These types of videos resonate with individuals more than any other tactic. Why? Because the viewer feels as if you’re talking directly to them, rather than to some generic mass audience. And those are the types of videos that both engage and connect with the viewer.

Most advertising attempts to connect with as many people as possible. Sure, it may be segmented so that the message is demographically or geographically targeted. But, in the end, people can tell the difference between if you are speaking to them directly, or to a generic, random group of people. Yes, they may intuitively know that some video on some random VDP page wasn’t made specifically for them. But, EMOTIONALLY those videos will have a more impactful influence on them. And that’s the whole point of video marketing. Facts may provide details about your product, but an emotional story will sell it.

Video Isn’t Only for Marketing

When it comes to video, most dealerships tend to think of it for purely sales department use, and sometimes in service. From communicating with customers via personalized emails, to live video walkarounds, video is certainly an excellent way to engage customers and increase VDP views. It is also a great tool for the service department to better explain and illustrate service recommendations and educate customers on the necessity for any needed repairs.

However, there are a couple of other powerful uses for video that tend to be overlooked when implementing a video strategy.

  1. Human Resources – Every time your dealership hires an employee, a typical onboarding process likely involves lots of paperwork and a significant amount of time spent reviewing manuals or other materials that tend to be rather dry, boring and hard to get through. Video can be a highly effective tool in these instances. Use it to pre-record important company policies and other onboarding information in a more engaging manner that new employees will find easier to remember and will tend to pay more attention to.

    Video can also be used by your human resources department in recruiting and hiring. Video resumes have become increasingly popular. They are much easier for human resources to review and get a real feel for an applicant. They also offer more insight into the personality of the applicant. This works especially well when considering a salesperson. If you think about it, a video resume is simply a candidate selling themselves to you. In addition, it shows effort on the part of the applicant and weeds out those that may be applying but have no real interest in a career in retail automotive. This saves human resources and management staff time in the selection process and can bring in better potential candidates for interviews.

  2. General Questions / FAQ – Another great use for video is to identify general questions that customers ask and then create video content for your website. Examples could include: “Why does it take so long to buy a car?” or “Why an extended warranty or service contract should be considered.” These videos provide rich content that engages your customers. It also serves to show those visitors that are on your website – but who have not yet contacted the dealership – that you are helpful and willing to provide information.

This type of information is exactly what customers search for during their journey along the many touchpoints in the car buying process. Ask your salespeople, service advisors, F&I managers and receptionists which questions tend to be asked repeatedly. The customer probably already tried to find the answer on your website and, had you offered the content, it could have swayed that customer towards choosing your dealership over your competitors. By providing this content, it helps keep customers on your website longer, engages them, and has the hidden benefit of increasing search engine optimization.

We live in a society with short attention spans. These days, for the majority of consumers video is THE preferred method of communication. Regardless of generation, most people simply would rather watch a video than read a long article, blog post, or technical description.

Save your dealership time, increase exposure, recruit more efficiently and make the onboarding process more engaging by making your video strategy more comprehensive… I promise you it will soon pay dividends.

To Sell More Cars, You Need to Get Personal

The chances are pretty good that any email lead YOU receive is also sent to competing dealerships. That means the car shopper will get emails and phone calls from other salespeople looking to sell that customer a car. Unless the lead is on a unique used vehicle, your competitors have the same new vehicles in their inventory.

Therefore, reaching that customer quickly and effectively, while at the same time standing out from your competition, is vital in winning that customer’s business. The easiest way to do that is to build a personal relationship quickly – something every successful salesperson learns. While that may be easy in person, it becomes more of a challenge when the customer’s email inbox is barraged by auto-responders and other generic emails.

So, how do you stand out?

Well, personal video email responses are a very effective way to separate yourself and transform your email from just plain old text into a more dynamic, eye-catching and personal introduction.

Something you did on your VDP got their attention, whether that was on your website or a third-party listing site (hint: If you have video included in your listings, you’ll attract more customers). If that customer were in front of you and inquired about a vehicle, you would proceed to sell the dealership, then sell yourself, and then sell the vehicle. You would work to build a trusting relationship with the customer from the beginning. But, how do you sell your vehicle to a customer that’s not present?

The same, exact way!

The great thing about selling cars today is all of the technology that is now available to assist salespeople in facilitating a better online buying experience for the customer. Because of the Internet, customers are visiting less dealerships than ever – it’s now down to just about one dealership visited before the customer purchases, because now the customer can browse inventory in their pajamas at home.

Today, when you receive an Internet lead, video enables you to literally walk the customer around the vehicle explaining its features and benefits in a personalized way .This video can then be delivered to the customer on a landing page that contains your Value Proposition (Why Buy); and testimonial videos to sell the dealership; as well as your own introduction video to simultaneously sell yourself – all while you are selling the vehicle — just as if they were on your lot.

Dealerships that do take the time to shoot personalized walkaround videos for Internet leads see a 20-40% increase in re-engagement, lead to appointment and lead to show rates. Car shoppers love them. They show a customer, whom you have not yet met in person, that you care about earning their business and will make the effort to get them the information they requested over and above the standard “when can you come in” message that exists in most first responses.  Combining personalized walkaround videos with the value proposition, testimonial, and your personal introduction video, will then multiply the emotional impact of your communication and significantly enhance the “trust relationship” that you so greatly covet.

Being forthcoming, providing information and doing so in a personalized way with the use of video, allows you to “sell” the vehicle, build rapport and make the customer feel more at ease and amenable to coming into the dealership.

The customer will still want to inspect, touch, feel and drive the car and they can only do that in person at your dealership. Video, however, can whet their appetite and grab their interest and attention in ways that pictures can’t.

It may sound like a lot of work. Perhaps you are thinking you don’t have the right equipment. But hold on a minute – the fact is that you can use your existing inventory videos and personalize the audio — all from the comforts of your office and without even having to walk out to the vehicle each time you need to shoot a personalized walkaround. You’ll quickly find out that the few minutes it takes you to personalize the audio of your existing video will pay dividends in increased sales and bigger paychecks.

You don’t have to be content with closing rates on Internet leads hovering in the 8-10 percent range. Maximize each and every opportunity you receive, blow your customers away with your responses, and put your competition out of the race by sending Internet leads personalized emails that use the power of video to sell your dealership, sell yourself, and truly sell the vehicle– then sit back and sell cars.

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.

 

Why Real Video Engages Consumers

by Tim James

Digital Marketing plays such an important role in a business’s success today that it is easy to forget how young this medium truly is.  It has, in fact, experienced a growth explosion that is historically unparalleled.  A new innovative marketing product seems to emerge almost on a daily basis. And everyone promises that if you use this new “insert buzz word here,” then you will get more leads.  With this explosive growth, and all the new products and features that roll out, it is easy to get caught up in chasing “the next big thing,” and forget about some of the basic fundamental rules of marketing that must be followed.

Rule 1: Emotion Sells

There is no technique in the world that can sell as well as emotion. It’s the exact reason why every sales process includes a test drive to get a shopper sitting in a vehicle, their hands on the steering wheel, and their mind taking mental ownership as they drive down the road. The problem with online car shoppers is that, unlike the customer standing in front of you, you can’t open the driver’s door and slide them in. However, you should be using your VDP Pages to duplicate this emotional experience the best that you can.  Having good quality photos and a good quality vehicle description is a good start, but the very best way to generate the most emotion possible in the virtual world is by creating live walkaround videos. Encourage your staff to interject personality into that walkaround. Another great way to use a walkaround is to personalize the video response for customers who have inquired about a specific vehicle. The customer will feel special and you can then begin to develop trust and rapport with them before they even step foot in the dealership.  The more emotion you can add to the overall experience for a shopper, the more leads you will get — with more of those leads actually showing up at your store to take a real test drive.

Rule 2: Be Relevant

In marketing, relevancy is one of the most important things, no matter what the media source. The first basic fundamental of marketing is to analyze your message and determine if the content you are trying to deliver matches the audience it is being delivered to. The ability to understand the consumer’s motivation at significant points in the buying cycle, and to then deliver relevant content to that specific consumer, is key to converting car shoppers. Different videos impact different shoppers at different times in the buying cycle. For example, you may want to give a different message to a shopper watching a video on your dealership website versus a shopper watching your video on AutoTrader. Or a shopper that is standing on your competitor’s lot while visiting your website (showrooming) to check out your inventory to see how your vehicles compare.  These are just a couple of the many examples of how you can utilize technology to increase the relevancy of your marketing message. One of the best aspects of using videos in your marketing strategy is that your videos can dynamically update your message based upon the relevancy to that particular consumer.

Rule 3: People Buy From People They Like (Trust)

Quite frequently, a customer browsing your website or VDPs does in fact have an interest in a vehicle, yet they do not submit a lead. In many cases, the underlying cause is that they simply do not trust car dealerships. Your dealership itself may not have done anything wrong to this person, but some past experience has perhaps infiltrated their thoughts. Address those fears in your videos and reassure the customer that your dealership won’t treat them poorly. If you make it clear that they will have a great car-buying experience, it can help entice them to fill out the form and click the submit button.

Rule 4: Call-to-Action

Make sure that you are very clear in your videos about the next steps you want the consumer to take. Having the video is great. But if you don’t tell the customer what to do next, you may find that they leave your website or VDP solely because they don’t know how to proceed. Be sure to lay out out a clear path for your customers to follow. Don’t rely on all of the widgets on your site, or third party VDP listings to do this for you. Include the call-to-action verbally in your video. This then helps to guide the car shopper to take the actions you want them to take. Make the process easy for the customer – don’t force them to guess. You could run the risk of the customer leaving your site and then getting overwhelmed by the many different calls-to-action that are present on most other websites.

All dealerships want more leads. The common thought process is usually along the lines of “If I get more leads, I’ll sell more cars.” However, if you rely solely on adding the latest gizmo to the numerous other ones already on your website, this is not the best process. Use these basic fundamental rules of marketing and you’ll see an increase in leads and end up with car shoppers further down the funnel, with a genuine interest in a specific vehicle, ready to engage with you. This will produce a higher closing ratio with less effort on your part.

Don’t Be So Serious!

by Brian Cox

A little over a month ago, a couple of employees at a car dealership in Illinois published a music video on YouTube titled “Keys In A Box,” which parodied a sketch from Saturday Night Live. These two individuals proceeded to have a great time and showcased their dealership in a creative and fun way. Their reward? Over 67,000 views in just one month, as well as compliments from Jalopnik, Edmunds and AdWeek. I wouldn’t be surprised if this helps place the dealership top-of-mind when a local customer is ready to buy their next vehicle.

 

 

Having fun with your branding and being creative with any videos can help you stay top-of-mind with your customer base. Think of the Volkswagen commercial that debuted a few Super Bowls ago – the one where the little kid dressed as Darth Vader and ran around trying to use the “Force.” It was a huge hit and created a lot of media interest and created quite a firestorm on social media.

But why do videos like these stay in our minds while other types don’t?

The answer is simple. They tell YOUR story. The buzz this fun and creative dealership video created is very likely worth more than any print or television ad they could have purchased. And my guess is that all it cost was a little time investment.

Videos are a powerful way to connect with customers. They allow you to share your unique personality. Whether you develop inventory videos for your website, or personalized videos destined for a specific person, take advantage of this opportunity to connect with your customers online. Create a lasting and memorable impression.

Think about perhaps finding the fun, creative people in your dealership and let them do a little outside-the-box thinking. Yeah you’ll probably have to nix a few of the crazier ideas. But I bet you get some great stuff out of it. Consider stepping outside the box a bit and share what is unique and different about your dealership. I am willing to bet you will notice the difference in customer response.

Can Anybody Find Me Somebody To Love?

By Tim James

That classic line from the song “Somebody to Love” by legendary band, Queen epitomizes the destination for consumers and the goal of all salespeople. There’s not a doubt in my mind that you’ve heard the phrase “People buy from people they like.” In the past, a consumer had to come into a dealership to start the car shopping process. This is where the important skill of “building rapport” came into play for salespeople. Great salespeople learned quickly how to find common interests and develop relationships with their clients, while assisting them to find the right vehicle.

Fast forward to today. Consumers now have the option of car shopping anonymously. Dealership Internet and BDC departments are inundated with leads arriving from countless sources. Consumers chose to share some or all of their information after narrowing down their online research. They’ve engaged with you to some degree and have given you the opportunity to earn their business. You must remember, however, that to the consumer, you are only a car dealership. Chances are also good that you are not the only car dealership who they (or a third party) has given this opportunity to. All dealerships have auto-responders and the standard “Why Buy From Us” email templates are sent to leads pretty quickly. Because the consumer is inundated with these templates, they are meaningless.

The fact is that people buy from people they like. So, how do you make that emotional connection with a lead? It’s certainly not through e-mail templates.

Consumers like to be treated as if they are special. They can smell an e-mail template before it even hits their in-box. While it’s fine to tell your dealership’s story, don’t forget the importance of building rapport — it will go a long way towards winning the sale.

Highly successful dealers have started sending out individualized “Why Buy From Me” type videos in their e-mails. These videos are personalized to each and every customer. These are not just a homogenized blanket “one size fits all” type of message. The reason this works is because of a very simple concept known to salespeople. By saying someone’s name, you recognize them as a person… and individual. No longer is your video message “My name is Tim. And I would like to earn your business… Mr. Blank.”

Instead the message is directed to the individual as … “My name is Tim and I want to earn YOUR business, Mr. Smith.” — That’s a very different message.

What do you do if you see someone you know walking nearby, but out of reach? You yell out their name! Why? Because it gets their attention! And that’s exactly what personalized video responses accomplish.

The bottom line is that the possible touch points on the consumer’s online car shopping path are increasing at an incredibly rapid pace, almost daily. It is becoming more and more difficult to stand out and claim a customer’s attention. This very simple technique can make your interactions more personal and help to gain the customer’s attention. I am sure you will find that more people appreciate, respond and give you the opportunity to earn their business.

After all, we all simply want to find somebody to love. Make sure that somebody is you.