service

What Do You Do When Car Buyers Aren’t Coming into Your Showroom?

By Tim James

With all the worry and concern out there regarding the Coronavirus and the impact it will have on public health and business, this is a great time to talk about video communication. It has always been the perfect tool for connecting with consumers without having to be fact-to-face.

To be really effective your video communication platform should integrate New Model Test Drive videos, Inventory Videos, Video Calling, and Real-Time Notifications.

Google estimates that approximately 70% of all automotive shoppers are searching for New Model Review Videos early in the buying cycle. Stand out from the competition by offering shoppers video content, rather than the standard pictures found on common dealership websites. Using the right platform, it is easy to add New Model Review Videos to your website and deliver information in an emotional video presentation for those customers that prefer not to visit a showroom, and still effectively move them through the buying funnel.

Automated Inventory Videos are also proven to transfer more information and inspire more emotion from your VDP Pages than pictures or words alone. They are a great addition to internet and phone lead follow up.

Another critical tool that can win over car shoppers is New Model Test Drive Videos and Full Motion Walkaround Videos. These types of videos are great for car shoppers early in the shopping journey. Inventory videos are then the next logical touchpoint.

During a time when fewer people will chose to visit the showroom, wouldn’t it be nice to know if your leads are still shopping or not? They may not be coming into the dealership, or returning your calls, but what are these folks stuck at home actually doing?

Our platform offers real-time notifications and sends an alert every time one of your prospects is live and watches one of your inventory videos –  whether on your website, AutoTrader,Cars.com, or other third-party marketplaces. You then know exactly when you should attempt to contact them. Even if you cannot reach them at that moment, you can see exactly how active that prospect still is.

Speaking of lead management, one of the easiest ways to increase shopper interaction and convert more website traffic into on-the-lot shoppers is to enable your shoppers to talk to one of your professionals “live” from the comfort and safety of their own home. Live Video Communication is quickly becoming the preferred means of communication.

You can increase the humanization and personalization of your communication touchpoints dramatically in both sales and service by utilizing live video and texting. Live communications make it easy right from that start, and you can scale your video calling strategy throughout your entire dealership, regardless of size. Encourage your customers to video call you and get that face-to-face interaction without actually being face-to-face – something that would certainly appeal to car shoppers nervous about coming into the dealership.

If customers are spending more time at home, they probably have more time to shop online. Provide stimulating and emotional product information to keep your dealership top-of-mind not just now – but in the future once life returns to normal.

In this period of social distancing, video can help your dealership continue to respond to and communicate with car shoppers while moving them down the sales funnel while your competition is waiting.

Five Videos Every Service Department Needs

by Tim James

As more dealers turn to fixed ops to grow profits, it’s important not to overlook the power of video. Video is a great tool for building customer trust because it allows you to address the perception that dealerships charge too much or try to sell customers unnecessary repairs.

An effective video marketing strategy for your service department includes the following five videos:

1) Value Proposition. This video answers the “why trust us?” question. Many customers are afraid if they bring their vehicle into a dealership service department, the repair will be expensive or they will be taken advantage of.

In this video, address your customers’ fears by featuring friendly service personnel, focus on how your technicians are trained, the quality of your repair work and most of all, emphasize your trustworthiness. Be certain to mention any awards you’ve won and your positive BBB Rating.

2) Service Department Testimonials. Identify several of your most loyal service customers and offer them an extra perk like a free loaner car or free oil change if they agree to make a customer testimonial video.

Before shooting the video, prompt your customer to talk about how long they’ve been servicing with you, what they like about your service department and to comment on the quality of the repair work.

3) Service Personnel Introduction. Similar in tone to a value proposition video, this video introduces the service manager, service advisors and technicians to customers. People choose to do business with people they like, so create videos that display the likeability of your manager, advisers and technicians. Don’t be afraid to brag about their years of experience and awards they’ve won.

4) Service Department “How To.” Select a dozen of your most common and profitable services. Create videos that talk about why these services are important for the health of the vehicle and customer safety. Show a quick tutorial of the work involved with the repair. Discuss the costs of parts and the estimated amount of time it takes to complete the service. The purpose of these videos is to educate customers so they feel more confident they are making the right decision to get the repair work done.

5) Recommended Repairs. 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 at doing this than photos because the service adviser can explain how the old part is worn and compare it 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 cost of related problems that could be caused by not completing the service now.

Recommended repair videos don’t have to be professional. Just use your smartphone with an app that allows you to text the video to the customer. Another option is to have a live streaming video call where the service advisor can show the worn part and explain the repair while talking to the customer live on their smartphone.

All service department videos (with the exception of recommended repair videos) should be featured on your dealership’s website. Additionally, these videos can be used in email campaigns, uploaded to your YouTube channel, featured on your social media profiles and used in digital advertising campaigns.

To get started, find a reputable video marketing host and hire a professional video crew (or find one among your employees). Service department videos are an inexpensive and highly effective way to build customer trust and give your dealerships a competitive edge.

If a Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words, How Many Is a Video Worth?

If you haven’t drunk the video marketing Kool-Aid yet. Or, perhaps are overwhelmed by the thought of creating and distributing videos, it’s time to consider the advantages of having a video marketing strategy.

There was a time in my career when dealers used to complain about having to take multiple PICTURES of a vehicle. Now, however, most dealers include as many as 40 or more for each vehicle. Why? Because buying a vehicle is an emotional purchase and your online merchandising must transfer information while inspiring emotion. By providing more photos (and a good vehicle description) dealers give shoppers more information and help to facilitate them in becoming emotionally attached to a vehicle.

Once dealers understood that with multiple pictures customers would be more interested and they’d receive more inquiries, that’s all that mattered. And then along came video….

Look, technology is rapidly advancing and consumers are advancing with it. If video marketing didn’t benefit you in the only way that matters — which is to help you sell more cars — I’d be the first to tell you not to worry about it. But, the facts are the facts.

An excellent article published on Business2Community shared a wealth of statistics on the benefits of video marketing for businesses in general. While all of them are impressive, here are some highlights from the article that I thought applied specifically to an automobile dealer:

  1. Including video in an email leads to a 200-300 percent increase in click-through rate.
  2. 90 percent of people say that a video is helpful in the decision making process.
  3. Including a video on a landing page increases conversion by 80 percent, while including one on your homepage can increase conversion by 20 percent.
  4. Video ads increase purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent.
  5. An introductory email that includes a video receives an increase click-through rate of 96 percent.
  6. Video increases organic traffic from search engines by 157 percent.

Think about these statistics. The highest converting (as in sold) leads come from your dealership’s website. Why then, would it not be prudent to increase conversions on your home page by 20 percent? Or how about an 80 percent conversion increase on a landing page (like a VDP)? How many leads are you getting per month from your website and inventory? You do the math. These leads are gold waiting to be mined.

And what about your salespeople sending follow up e-mails to customers? Or replying to leads for the first time which get no response at all? Don’t you think that increasing click-through rates by 97 percent by having the customer watch an introductory video tailored specifically for them would increase engagement?

Give your sales staff (or BDC) an edge with video. The stats are there to prove that you’ll interact with more people. Think of it this way. If you had a lot full of customers, but your salespeople weren’t allowed to interact with them until the customer interacted first, you’d probably sell less cars. Of course, you wouldn’t allow that to happen! But that’s what’s happening with all of those people on your virtual lot!

People can be lazy. Most people would rather watch the movie than read the book. Why? Because it’s easier. We enjoy it more. The same applies to your marketing and follow-up efforts.

Want to increase views, conversions and engagement? Send your customers a video. You’ll see how powerful video content is.

And, before I forget, I’d be neglectful if I didn’t answer the question I posed in the title of this blog. According to Forrester Research, one second of video filmed at 30 frames per second (which means that it has 30 pictures per second) is the equivalent of 10,000 words. This means that a 60-second video is worth 1.8 million when it comes to the amount of information that you can deliver with a video, versus static photos. However, you can’t even begin to measure the increased emotional impact that a video will have versus the static photos…and emotion sells.

Want to make an impression on your customer? Seems as if video says – and produces – more than a picture by far. Take advantage of video marketing. The results will speak for themselves.

Use Video to Increase Service Upsell

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.

They Watched Your Video. Now What?

by Brian Cox

There’s no doubt that video marketing is exploding in popularity with businesses and consumers. Both Facebook and Twitter are investing heavily in video and, in the case of Facebook, rewarding those who upload their video straight onto its extended reach advertising platform.

The days of reading long text descriptions and features of vehicles on websites are quickly fading. Manufacturers and dealerships are putting more effort and bigger budgets into video marketing. However, no matter how creative, funny, informative or compelling a video is, if it’s missing one simple ingredient, it will not help you sell more of anything – whether that’s a salesperson, the dealership or a car.

What is that simple ingredient? – It’s a call-to-action.

In terms of functionality and conversion, all websites typically contain calls-to-action. Customers that visit a dealership’s website can gather the information they want and, most of the time, there is a call-to-action on the page they’re viewing; be it the home page or a vehicle description page. Many videos, however, have no call-to-action. An online car shopper will visit multiple touchpoints when researching vehicles – Think of all of the sites your videos are on that the consumer could visit. You may control the content and call-to-actions on your own website, but it’s not always the case on every touchpoint.

Many dealers incorporate personalized video e-mail responses and walkarounds and introduce staff on their “About Us” pages. These are all great but, in many cases, they neglect to incorporate the single most important question that a consumer will ask after watching:

What do I do now?

Even if you have a call-to-action on the actual webpage that the consumer is on while watching your video, include a call-to-action within the video itself. It doesn’t have to be long or confusing. It should be simple. Something like:

  1. Call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or email us today at XXXXXX
  2. Make sure to mention this video to claim your special offer
  3. Make sure to visit our website and get the exclusive Internet pricing only available on our website

If you’re not asking viewers of your video to do SOMETHING at the end of your video, they won’t do ANYTHING and you’ll be missing out on conversions. Guide the consumer through the funnel in relation to the video content they just watched. If the video was a “Why Buy From Me” sent by a salesperson, include their contact information at the end. Another thing that can be very beneficial is to incorporate a call tracking number on your videos.

If it’s a vehicle walkaround video, direct your customers as to what they should do next. Create a video explaining how your dealership assists people with challenged credit then direct them to your online credit application to get started. If you produce service videos, make sure to include an offer, coupon or, at the very least, an invitation to the dealership or to schedule an appointment.

It’s really not a difficult concept. Almost every other form of marketing will have calls-to-action (if they’re any good). So why shouldn’t you also include them in your videos? It’s up to you to tell your customers what you want them to do. If you guide them properly and with relevance, you’ll find that more of them follow the path you’re leading them down and will see more conversions.