Lehel Reeves shares why consumers prefer video and how dealerships can lose sales if they fail to provide it.
Consumers increasingly use mobile devices to view content online. Study after study cites the fact that mobile devices are on a continued rise as the preferred medium for content. They surpassed desktops not too long ago and will undoubtedly continue to rise in dominance.
Mobile devices are always at hand, can be used almost anywhere, and are a convenient way to consume content. Because of this, marketers are on the lookout for the preferred type of content consumers want to view on their mobile devices.
What’s easier to do on a mobile device? Reading an article or watching a video? If you answered watching a video, then you’re in the majority. Video ad spend is expected to reach over $100 billion by 2023, accounting for 80 percent of all Internet traffic according to a recent article on MarTech.
Facebook was the first to tie “mobile first” to “video first” as a strategy for brands. Why? Well, think about the billions of Facebook users and its unlimited content. Facebook knows where people browse on their site and, more importantly, what type of content they pay the most attention to. And that content is video.
Just look at the evolution of video. Why do you think we’ve progressed from stitched photo videos to real-time video and now 360 degree, augmented and virtual reality video? It’s not because marketers want it. It’s because consumers want it. There is simply no other reason to create a strategy and invest the time and effort into content production.
Look at Netflix. It went from a small mail-order movie rental company into one that dominates consumer’s televisions with streaming content. It is now one of the fastest and most prolific producers of original content in the country. Why would it choose to make that investment? Because that’s what consumers want! Netflix knows that the more eyeballs it can get, the more money it can make.
And that’s precisely how you should be viewing video content.
Video continues to dominate every form of content delivery. It takes less effort to consume and is more immersive. It’s easier to consume on mobile devices and captures more details in a way that text can’t. A consumer can’t really “see” a car by reading a Monroney sticker. They can, however, kick its virtual tires online and cruise through and around it via video.
Video content is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but marketers that fail to use it – and fail to have a robust mobile and video strategy – will quickly find themselves left behind eating their competitors’ dust. And, more importantly, left behind by their potential customers.
Decide now to increase your video content production efforts and include mobile in your strategy. You will quickly find that not only do your customers like it… but so does your bank account.
When making videos for your dealership, it can be easy to get so caught up in the “What should I say?” that the video never gets made.
Some video marketing experts advise that scripts are the way to go as the person on camera then knows what to say. But that may not be best for everyone.
The person that is making the video, doing the talking and/or the subject of the video, ultimately is representing the dealership. Of course, everyone wants their videos to be professional. But you should also want them to be genuine (sincere) and engaging to the customer. Have you ever seen a video where the person speaks in a monotone or without emotion because they are reading from a script? It’s not very engaging, is it?
To that point, in this blog, I’d like to cover a couple of best practices that can help when executing different types of videos for your dealership that will more effectively engage your customers.
1. Walkaround videos – Whether for general merchandising or personalized emails, it is essential to be knowledgeable about the vehicle. Managers expect that their salespeople know their product. If your salesperson has to read a window sticker to do a walkaround in person, that certainly is not acceptable.
Well, the same holds true for video walkarounds. Customers get excited about vehicles when the salesperson is excited. If a salesperson can knowledgeably explain to a customer while emotionally engaged why a vehicle is excellent and/or why it’s right for the customer, the customer is much more likely to trust and engage with the salesperson. This is especially important when a customer is still in the “Is this vehicle right for me?” stage. If a salesperson can’t correctly show a car without a script, they should not be showing cars period — much less doing walkaround videos.
2. Personal email videos – The whole purpose of a personal email video is to convince a customer who inquired about the vehicle that your dealership cares about them on an individual level and that they should do business with you. Scripted videos can take the personality out of the equation, come off as dry and uninteresting. Ultimately, they could even be counterproductive to the primary goal – getting the customer to like the salesperson or BDC agent.
While it is OK to train employees on what they should say in general, to engage the customer, employees must be able to take those basic talking points and integrate them into the message using their personality. Just as customers can tell whether an email response is a template or an actual communication from a person, customers can also determine if a video response is genuine or just someone reading from a script.
It is definitely okay to write your thoughts down on paper and organize your thoughts to prepare for your personalized video. But when the camera starts rolling, put the script down, make eye contact with the camera, and let your personality shine.
Ensure that your salespeople and BDC agents are knowledgeable enough to make personal videos for customers without having to read a script. They should display who they are and showcase their own individual skills and personality. Customers will be more engaged, the message will come across as genuine and, ultimately, your dealership will see more success.
While many dealerships agree that video is important and worthwhile, at the same time some think it’s time-consuming and lack the resources to put a video marketing strategy in place.
What if I told you that acquiring and scaling a well-planned video marketing strategy which leverages video content for shoppers throughout the entire buying cycle can be automated AND cost less than $5.00 per unit a month? Or that this same video content can help in search engine optimization for your website at no additional cost? And, how about this: that same video content can also build customer rapport — AND attract new buyers you don’t even know exist? Would it then appear to be worth it?
According to NADA, the average dealership runs a marketing cost per sale of $640 per unit. Dealerships spend a ton of money between all their marketing sources attempting to attract attention to their inventory.
And how about this for a statistic? 93% of marketers say video brought them new customers — Interested now?
There is a case to be made that social media can help sell more cars. In fact, according to a study by leading video research company Animoto, 73% of consumers responded that their purchase decision was impacted by a company’s social media presence.
And what is the most popular type of content across all social media properties?
The best part is that with a scalable video marketing strategy you can use all of the same automated video content for your social media strategies as well, dramatically increasing the return on investment from all of your digital marketing. Would you rather spend $640 per unit — or much less? It makes sense to look at what moves units and acquires new customers for the least amount of money. That’s how you increase profitability.
Still need convincing? How about this: 57% of millennials watch more video ads on social media than on television, and 45% of consumers discover brands through video ads; more than recommendations from friends, which is at 31%.
When it comes to discovering brands, word of mouth is still king. But, increasingly, consumers get recommendations from friends and then check out the dealership via social media such as Facebook or online reviews.
Having a healthy and robust presence on social media with video content can influence car shoppers and bring you sales from shoppers you didn’t even know were in the market.
Video content is here to stay and will increasingly dominate all platforms as the preferred type of content influencing sales. If you don’t already have a strategy in place to produce video content to market your inventory, your store’s value propositions, your monthly promotions, your employees, and your brand, you’re behind the eight-ball.
It really doesn’t take as much work as you think. And, the rewards you will reap are well worth the effort.
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.
Interpreting meaning through communication can be hard.
For example, the simple statement “Fine.”
What does that word really mean? Ultimately, it depends on the context and, more importantly, how it’s said and the body language which happens in that exact moment.
When your significant other says “fine,” you darn well better know what it means, or you can be in a whole world of trouble! Or, if you tell a teenager they must clean their room before they can go out with friends, play video games or whatever they want, there are many ways “fine” can be expressed. If they say it loudly while slamming the door in your face, that has a much different meaning than if they say it in a low submissive but agreeable way.
Humans are masters of perception. We all communicate, and that communication comes across in different ways – be it vocal, physical, or via some activity.
But what does all this mean as far as your dealership and communicating with your customers?
As marketers, with all the data available to us today, we can better interpret customer interactions and more effectively communicate with them than ever before.
An argument could be made that a customer’s digital activity can tell us more about their intent than a face-to-face conversation. Ultimately, the digital footprints a customer leaves throughout their car buying journey are, in fact, a conversation. You may not be able to see the customer, but they express their intent through their online activities.
That customer looking at your website and bouncing through your entire used car inventory, who also jumped around on third-party listing sites, is much higher in the sales funnel. They are having a conversation with you. Something along the lines of, “I’m in the market for a car but I don’t know what I want.”
A customer visiting your website, viewing every Honda Civic in stock, is not only telling you they want a Honda Civic but, if you want to get granular, also which trim level, price range and mileage restrictions they value.
Whatever they spend the most time viewing is probably the best fit for what they are searching for. An unlimited amount of data is out there to help you identify, define and motivate customers. You must just take the time to look at it.
Now that you know the customer’s intent, where they are in the funnel and what they are interested in, what’s the best way to communicate with them?
While you have the secret-agent advantage of all this relevant data showing the customer’s intent, the customer still wants good old face-to-face interaction when it comes down to the sales process. Simply sending a templated email accomplishes nothing. It’s not personal, is not directed to them, fails to really interact on an emotional level, and usually has little relevance.
Of course, you “could” take the creepy road and tell them everything you know about them — but that would likely be counterproductive.
The best way to engage a customer is through a personalized video response. They can see you, hear you and read your body language. If you’re sincere, friendly and engaging, and use the data you have about the customer’s digital journey to craft a personal response, the customer will be able to relate; rapport will be established infinitely better than any “Buy from us because we love you” e-mail template.
Don’t be afraid to send video email responses to your customers. Most of your competitors simply send those canned templates from their CRM with ZERO impact – if they even make it through the customer’s spam filter.
Make an impression and win business using technology that allows you to interact with customers the same way business has been won for decades… in person. With video you can now interact in person, without the customer even being in your showroom.
The statistics show that customers respond to video. They can read your personality and intentions more clearly via video than a written communication, because emotions are more clearly illustrated. And, more importantly, as a result they will connect with you better and choose your dealership to buy or service their car. Then everything will be just “fine!”
I was recently in need of a moving company. There was one in my community that had done such a great job of branding and building consumer awareness that I decided to give them first shot at my business. I WANTED to do business with them because of their brilliant marketing.
When I was ready to pull the trigger, I Googled their business name and went to their website searching for an email address so I could interact with them and get information via email. However, when I landed on their website, the only contact option offered was to call them.
Well, I had seen their number all over the place already, on signs throughout the neighborhood, on the side of their vans, through paid search ads, organic search ads and their organic search listing. But that’s not how I wanted to communicate with them! I wanted to email them, as that is what I prefer, but they didn’t provide that option. So, guess what? I bounced from their website and searched for other companies that would allow me to communicate with them the way I felt comfortable communicating.
This is an interesting analogy as the same problem is so prevalent in our industry — Do you know how many times potential car buyers have moved onto your competition as you do not allow them to interact with you by their preferred method of communication?
If you aren’t offering every form of communication possible, or fail to clearly post all methods of contact throughout your website, you are probably losing potential vehicle sales and service opportunities more often than you think. Consumer preferences for how they wish to contact and interact with a dealership can vary greatly. Some want to call and talk to a live person. Some want to text. Some want to email. And now, with today’s technology, the younger crowd wants to communicate via live video stream – something most dealerships aren’t prepared for.
Regardless of how the customer wants to interact, my guess is that you want to sell them a car. If they are of the same mindset that I was, you could easily lose that opportunity by failing to provide the form of communication the customer wants to use. And therein lies the problem.
There are many generations in the market today buying vehicles – and each one (not just generations but people) prefer different forms of communication. They may even prefer a different sort of communication at different times, or with different businesses. Imagine if I wanted to communicate with that moving company at 1:00am. I couldn’t even send them an email because all they had was a phone number!
Our goal shouldn’t be just to move shoppers through our sales funnel, it should be to make it easy for shoppers to move through our sales funnel. To accomplish this, you must ensure that all your bases are covered when it comes to providing your customers – or potential customers – their preferred means of communicating with you.
If you are like most dealers, I am sure you try, unsuccessfully, to communicate with customers that submit lead forms all day long. Why make it difficult for them to engage with you when, in fact, they may really want to?