“Over the next three years, the biggest trend in our products will be the growth of video.”
If you’ve heard the news, many are proclaiming that Facebook is now even more pay-to-play than it already was. What do I mean? At one point, Facebook was raw and not filtered – you could view all content from everyone, just as with other sites, such as Twitter.
Then brand pages came along, interjecting branded messages if you liked their Facebook page. As more businesses hopped aboard, the user experience became more cluttered and viewers were presented with less of the content they really wanted to see.
With the introduction of boosted posts and Facebook ads, this paid-ad model has allowed Facebook to monetize the platform while giving advertisers a way to increase exposure. However, on January 11, Facebook that it will decrease brand exposure – even for paid advertisers – in order to “bring people closer together.” And marketers are scared.
Okay, so does this mean you as an advertiser should drop everything and abandon the platform as your content will now get less attention?
No, and here’s why: There’s a tip that came straight from the man himself, Mark Zuckerberg. Somewhat recently, Facebook began pushing publishers and businesses to post more video content – even going so far as to recruit celebrities and influencers to post their content natively to the site – and rewarding those that did with extended reach in newsfeeds. In fact, the preference for video continues to this day. And, as stated in the quote at the top of this blog, Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook’s Q3 Earnings Call.
I would highly recommend that if your dealership is not yet regularly making and producing video content, you should make real plans to do so. Of course, if you are already spending money on Facebook to promote your content, you could continue to pay to promote that non-video content, but you’ll soon be paying more money to reach the same amount of people. Think of it this way, promoting non-video content on Facebook is like putting your newspaper ad on the TV as a 30-second static image!
The equalizer, it would seem — or at least a competitive advantage — is to utilize Facebook’s algorithm preference for video in your marketing and social content. It could be that video content – especially video that is engaging and prompts interaction – is a lifesaver when it comes to connecting with your Facebook audience. If your dealership chooses to combine that video content with some sponsored posts, you could further increase engagement.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Facebook wants to be a platform of video content. They’ll reward you for doing it with increased exposure and, according to Mark Zuckerberg, it is the company’s focus for the next three years.
if you want to succeed in getting eyeballs on your message and engagement with your audience, video is no longer optional. So, go out and start making videos. That’s what your audience wants – and that’s what Facebook wants. Or become invisible. The choice is yours.
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!”
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.
By: Tim James
So you’ve decided it’s time to differentiate your dealership from the competition, and that video is the way to do it. Your next probable question is, do you produce, distribute and market the videos yourself, or outsource some, if not all of these functions?
The answer to this question is, it depends. We’ve got dealers who are successfully doing both. In my experience there are three factors to consider when making this decision.
If your decision to implement video marketing was arrived at rather reluctantly, then you should probably outsource. Motivation requires passion. It requires an understanding of the rewards that will be reaped from putting your time and effort towards this undertaking. It requires buy-in and excitement from your staff. It requires commitment.
I’ve talked to many dealers who spend time waffling over whether they should go the DIY video route. Here’s what I ask them: If not you, who? If not now, when?
Video is not a trend. Remember the music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star?” The actual song was released nearly two years before the music video debuted on MTV in 1981. Hardly anyone heard of the song, but once the video aired, the song became a huge hit. That was 35 years ago. Online marketing video is here to stay, and it’s just a matter of time before it kills the static Vehicle Details Page (VDP).
2) Internal Resources
The second factor to consider is what your internal resources are. Even if you’re highly motivated to launch a video marketing program, someone has to take responsibility. Someone has to take ownership to make sure it’s successful. Someone has to learn how to shoot videos, how to get the videos on the right touch-points and how to measure whether the program is successful or not.
The ‘pros’ of producing videos internally are that you already have staff at your disposal. With an established process, inventory videos should take less than 24 hours to upload.
In addition to inventory videos, it’s important to create value proposition videos, customer testimonial videos and service videos. Internal employees are in a better position to spontaneously capture a glowing customer testimonial video, and may have a better handle on how to sell your dealership’s unique value proposition than an outside entity.
However, when analyzing internal resources, be brutally honest. Are your current employees already struggling to keep up with what’s on their plate? If they are, adding new processes may be too much of a burden.
It’s possible to split the responsibilities between internal and external resources. If your in-house staff is currently tasked with taking inventory photos, it’s not much of a stretch to task them instead with shooting a walk around video. Photos can be easily extracted from video, so there is no need to do both. If you use a lot services company to take your photos, task them with shooting a video in addition to taking your photos.
If you decide to use internal resources, distribution and marketing are two important areas to be addressed. Who will be tasked with ensuring that your videos appear not just on your website, but distributed to as many touch points as possible; including third-party auto shopping sites and social media channels?
Who will be in charge of incorporating video into your digital ad and/or email marketing campaigns? Who will be in charge of collecting viewer data and using that data to increase the relevancy of your videos? Meaning, it’s important to ensure that the right video is shown to the right car shopper at the right time.
Another question to ask when evaluating internal resources is what the turnover rate is in your dealership. Are you confident that your Internet Manager or the staff in that department will be with your dealership for a long time? A potential pitfall of producing videos internally is that you’ll have to constantly train new staff.
3) Dealership Volume
Last but not least, volume is another factor to consider. How many units does your dealership move per month? The greater inventory turnover there is, the greater time investment involved and the greater commitment there must be to the video marketing process.
The good news is, a successful video marketing program will increase your overall sales volume, but for some dealers this can present its own challenges. Kia of Puyallup in Washington saw a nine percent uptick in sales after implementing a video marketing program. How many more units can you handle moving per month?
Now, is everything as clear as mud? Good! The fact is, only you can decide what’s best for your dealership. It’s easy to get excited about the idea of video marketing and want to do it yourself. But it’s important to be able to objectively analyze your motivation level, internal resources and overall volume.
I’ve seen too many instances where dealership salespeople will produce a few videos, upload them to YouTube and don’t see any increase in leads or sales. The dealer points to these paltry efforts and claims that videos don’t work.
Well, of course that level of effort doesn’t work! Producing a few videos is nowhere near the same thing as having a comprehensive video marketing program. It’s like deciding that you want to go into space so you build a shuttle in your backyard. Without an actual space program, with testing, logistics, a launch pad and experts to tell you when and where to go, you’re not likely to get very far.
Outsourcing some (or all) of your video process may involve investing a little more in your merchandising budget than you currently spend, but the end results will be well worth the investment.
No matter which direction you choose to go, the important thing is that you start now — Not next week or even tomorrow. You can start slowly if you need to, but you must start in order to find the process that works best for you and your dealership. The end will justify the means.
It’s widely known that video walkarounds, email responses and other types of video attract more attention from car buyers and better engage them once they reach out to you. But, one of the biggest mistake I see most dealerships make is to neglect the service department in their video marketing efforts.
Most importantly, utilizing video in your service department is a key part of a complete Video Marketing Strategy, and an easy way to capture your service customer’s viewer profile (data) to match with your CRM records. In other words, you can know if your service customer is also watching your inventory videos on touch-points such as AutoTrader or Cars.com, in addition to your own website, Facebook pages, Email Campaigns, Blogs, etc. You can then leverage this knowledge by sending targeted messages to that service customer that include videos with offers specific to their vehicles of interest, while passing that data to your CRM to queue the customer up for Sales Follow Up. Essentially, the targeted messaging occurs via your existing videos in “real-time,” based off the data gathered from your video views. It’s re-marketing just as you would have through a Google Ad Campaign, except you are using your own videos and your own data.
Video can dramatically increase the service department’s footprint on your website and serve as a useful resource for your customers. It is also an excellent way to educate customers and increase service recommendation acceptance.
When customers drop their cars off for a scheduled repair, one of their biggest fears is an unnecessary upsell. Unfortunately this fear can create resistance to any repair recommendations. A short video created by the service adviser can help to alleviate this fear and provide “visual proof” that a repair is really needed.
Videos are far more effective than photos because the service adviser can explain how the old part is worn and compare it visually to the new part, along with an explanation of how important it is to get the repair done now. Additionally, advisers can mention the potential impact and costs of related problems that could be caused by not completing the service now.
Creating an upsell video simply involves two parts: the “why you need it” and the tutorial. The “why you need it” portion of the video plants the seed in the customer’s head that they had better get this taken care of soon or they are likely to end up with a more expensive repair, stranded on the side of the road, or possibly even in an accident. The tutorial section shows how much work it really is to fix this issue, the cost of the parts, and the time involved with the fix; thus, justifying the cost of the repair.
Once the upsell video is created, the adviser can text it directly to the customer so they can see the video on their mobile device and make a quick decision. You can remove additional fear and the “oh they’re just trying to up-sell me” mentality from the customer by delivering each video on a landing page that contains your Value Proposition Video, Service Manager Introduction Video, and a couple of Testimonial Videos so that the customer can quickly see that you have their best interest at heart and can be trusted.
If the customer refuses the additional service, send them a “how to” (on the same landing page) so that they can appreciate how serious you believe this service is, and that it needs to be completed ASAP (even if they prefer to do it themselves). The more you can help the customer understand that this about “their safety” and that you aren’t just trying to sell repairs that aren’t necessary, the more likely the customer will trust you and approve the additional repairs.
These type of videos also create content on your website and increase the odds that your dealership will show up in service related searches (VSEO). You never know when someone searching for an answer will stumble across your service video and make the decision to choose your dealership for their service repair.