As consumer touch-points in the car buying journey continue to increase, it’s ever more important to ensure that your video content is available at each and every one of those pit stops the car buyer takes. Your digital touchpoints are in essence your brand’s points of customer contact, from start to finish. For example, customers may find your business online in an ad, see ratings and reviews, visit your website, or receive an email, to name a few. Often, the problem is getting your videos on all these touch-points. It may be very time consuming to upload each of your videos to each touch-point. For that reason, many choose to “host” their videos with a hosting service and then hyperlink or embed their video URL’s to get additional exposure and visibility.
YouTube has long been the king of video hosting platforms and may seem to be the obvious choice. However, there are some things that you should consider when developing your video marketing strategy that may or may not make YouTube the best option for you and your marketing partners. “Self-hosting” or using a “3rd party host” that specializes in the automotive marketplace may be a better option for you.
If you are spending a lot of money to rank your website, certain pages of your website, landing pages, etc., then embedding a YouTube video on those pages may not be your best option. You see, when you upload a video to YouTube, YouTube claims the metadata and SEO value of your video. So, if a consumer were to find that content via a Google search, they will most likely be taken to your video on YouTube, versus to the page of your website that your video resides on.
However, if you self-host, or utilize a third party host that allows you to claim the SEO value of your videos, then you can apply a meta tag and video sitemap strategy on your web pages that can create the same (or better) visibility for your video on Google, but bring shoppers, when engaged, back to YOUR website, or the webpage that the video resides on.
One of the most powerful advantages of self-hosting or utilizing a hosting platform within the auto industry is that you now have real-time access to your data. You can also integrate that data into your CRM. For example, you can follow the customer along their path as they watch your video on a third party listing site; and again, as they view a video email you sent them; and later, when they start viewing inventory videos on your own website. All of this behavioral data provides clues as to where in the funnel – and what vehicles specifically – these customers are considering. This enables the delivery of precise messages that are extremely relevant to the consumer, at the exact right moment in their buying process. Because this video content is hyper-relevant, consumers will engage with it more. In addition, the ability to follow the customer on their path (and see the vehicles they are interested in and where they are watching your videos from), enables video remarketing opportunities in real-time via the video the consumer is watching, such as geo-targeted messages for shoppers who are showrooming from your competitor’s lot.
Utilizing a hosting service that specializes in the automotive industry could also open up tons of advantages such as automating the process of getting your video content on many of your most valuable touch-points. Now you can control how and where the video is delivered. Industry-specific companies also allow you to integrate third party conversion widgets straight into your video. Because you have this level of control, you can generate dynamic rule and behavior-based content in real time. This transforms all of your videos into content that has greater informational and emotional value.
Don’t misunderstand me — YouTube and other video platforms are also touch-points on a consumer’s journey and can provide video search engine optimization benefits. You can absolutely upload your video content to YouTube as well, to maximize your exposure on their network.
Chances are your automotive specific host could automate that part of your strategy for you as well. That being said, those VSEO benefits from YouTube, while valuable, cannot trump the level of personalization and customizability that an industry hosting service can provide. So, rather than relying on YouTube to host your video, take your content back under your control by leveraging all of the benefits an industry specific hosting platform. You’ll find out very quickly that you can implement a more effective video marketing strategy.
So, you’ve decided that you want to send video responses to internet leads, but you don’t quite know where to begin. Well, first, congratulations! You have made an excellent decision that will engage more of your customers, build rapport faster and elicit increased responses. Now to the nuts and bolts of how best to do this:
Technology – The simplest tool you need to create video is probably right in the palm of your hands. You may even be reading this blog on it, right this minute. I’m talking about your phone. These days, most smart phones have pretty impressive video capabilities. On the other hand, perhaps your dealership is willing to invest in a little dedicated video equipment. That is great as well. The biggest thing to understand is, regardless of whether you’re shooting video from your smartphone, or from an expensive camera, you need to ensure that you’re familiar with all of the settings that the camera offers and how to use them. Read your manual. And, In the case of an expensive camera, pay attention primarily to the Exposure Triangle (ISO, Aperture and shutter speed). Understanding these three features, and how to manipulate them, will help you produce great looking quality videos.
Deliverability – I am frequently asked about the best way to deliver videos to a customer via e-mail. Should the video be embedded in the e-mail or linked? Well, embedding a video inside an email sounds cool. But, “sounds cool” isn’t functional because only a few e-mail clients would actually play the embedded video. In addition, many spam filters flag e-mails that contain embedded video as spam. This means that most of your customers won’t even see them. A video is worthless if it doesn’t make it through spam filters. Because of this, your best option is to utilize a video landing page and insert a link to the video which is embedded in the landing page.
Creativity – Creativity is an important piece of any video marketing strategy. First, decide how you are going to utilize your video content. Are you going to build a library of stock video responses to send to leads? Or, are you going to personalize each one? Perhaps a combination of the two? Regardless of which strategy you choose, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. That being said, each one can be effective if it is implemented properly. Here are some fundamentals that apply universally:
- Use the word “VIDEO” in the subject line.
- Use e-mail to support your phone call strategy, not replace it.
- The focus (i.e. the call-to-action) of the video should be to get the customer to call you.
- SMILE! There is nothing worse than seeing a video with an unhappy face.
- Use a video landing page that contains the video you created for the customer along with additional supporting videos such as your dealership’s value proposition video, your salesperson’s introduction video and perhaps even some video customer testimonials. Sell the dealership. Sell yourself. And sell the car. All at the same time.
Hosting – One of the most important pieces of the puzzle for an effective video marketing strategy is where your video is “hosted.” All of your video content, including your video e-mails, should be hosted on the same platform so that you can track the viewing data of your shoppers across all touch-points and match that shopper with their history within your CRM. This also allows you to deliver “viewer specific” content to your shoppers based on their history and/or geo-location. Hosting videos on the same platform allows you to see if the prospect you sent the video email to watches another one of your videos on your website, cars.com, AutoTrader, Facebook Video pages, a blog, through another e-mail, etc.
Make certain that your video hosting platform knows what it is doing and can serve up real-time marketing/re-marketing content, or special offers, all based on rules that you can set, in order to return the best results. You can even geo-target your competitor’s lot. This means that if a specific shopper ends up visiting your competitor, but then decides to come back and watch your video e-mail just one more time (or any of your videos for that matter), you then receive a notice that they are on your competitor’s lot, while your video throws up a last chance offer to entice them over to you, before they buy elsewhere.
I hope this blog provides some useful data on the fundamentals of implementing an effective video marketing strategy. With the right tools and technology, you’ll find that it’s not that complicated at all.