How to Make the Most of Your Marketing in a Down Market
Consumers have grown tired of the countless vanilla marketing messages many companies keep sending (and yes, that includes OEMs and dealers.) However, the marketing tactic that is enjoying success is relevant marketing directly aimed at a specific individual. Relevance is the key to winning today’s consumers. But, it’s not only about relevance, it also involves delivering that message in an engaging manner. Well, how do you best do that?
A recent article in Forbes shared that while ad spend is up 22%, the majority of marketing channels and methodology often produce an open rate of less than 19% and a click-through rate under 3%. Video, however, performs much better. The article shares a story about a business that decided to shift its budget away from traditional marketing messages and instead use personalized video messages. The videos are personalized and available to the consumer on any platform. The results are incredible, with a 98% open rate and a total transformation in terms of reduction in early churn.
Personalization is vital to capturing a consumer’s attention. And there is no more effective way than through the medium they prefer: video.
There are many pieces to each dealership’s marketing puzzle. If your dealership is looking to cut its marketing budget because of a downturn in sales, first consider which pieces of that puzzle produce sales that can be tracked versus those that are shiny objects.
The great thing about sending personalized videos to prospects and current customers is that consumers tend to engage, and it is also one of the easiest types of marketing content to produce, the most affordable and performs the best.
It doesn’t matter which platform your prospective car buyers choose to engage with your dealership; videos perform the same regardless of platform. Videos emotionally connect with people and make them feel more special than an automated template shooting out from a CRM. Consumers can smell those a mile away. A personalized video, however, addresses them by name and shares the exact information they are seeking on the exact vehicle. Which is going to get a warmer reception and build rapport faster?
People like to do business with businesses (and people) that they like. As long as the customer is hiding behind an email address, or ignoring your phone calls, you are simply more noise that is not specifically relevant to them.
There is a reason personal videos made relevant to each individual customer perform better than other forms of communication. The biggest one being that the consumer recognizes that, while they may receive similar auto-responder templates both at the beginning and during the follow-up process, YOUR dealership chose to take the time to address them on a personal level with a video that answered their questions and welcomed their business.
Stop shooting for 3% response rates and think bigger. Video not only engages more customers; it generates more sales and builds loyalty as an excellent side benefit.
Are Stitched Photo Videos Outdated? [VIDEO]
4 Reasons Why Your Customers Love Video
For professional marketers across all industries, the top priority for 2018 is to convert leads into customers, according to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017 report. Sound familiar? Most auto dealers I know have the same goal.
In order to accomplish that goal, 48 percent of these professional marketers will be adding video to their marketing strategy this year. In fact, video is their number one strategy, far above social media, email and other traditional forms of marketing.
The reason for this is simple: people love watching videos! Even those die-hard readers out there have to admit there is a time and place for video. There’s a reason why video is the number one type of content consumed globally.
Actually, there are several reasons why video should be your auto dealership’s top marketing priority in 2018:
1) People Trust Video
Trust is an important factor in the decision-making process. How can you get potential customers to trust you? Being likeable helps, but even more important is to have a brand that’s known for integrity and product expertise.
Videos are the ideal method for building a trustworthy brand image. You can post words on your website and broadcast them on radio, but the combination of video and audio delivers a far more powerful impact.
That’s because video conveys messages with both verbal and non-verbal cues. Remember that communication is:
- 7 percent the words that you say
- 55 percent body language
- 38 percent the tone of voice
For consumers, finding a trustworthy brand is an important step along the car-buying journey. Another study found that a user’s positive experience with a video increased brand association by 139 percent.
2) Video Creates an Emotional Response
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.
To differentiate your dealership and generate a powerful emotional response in viewers, create inventory videos with voiceovers that focus not just on the features, but on how owning the vehicle will make the buyer feel.
According to a recent Gallup study, “businesses that optimize this (emotional) connection outperform competitors by 26 percent in gross margin and 85 percent in sales growth.”
3) Video is Memorable
When was the last time you heard someone talk about a great newspaper or digital ad they just saw? When was the last time you heard someone mention a great video they just watched?
The reason why videos are memorable is based on science. People remember only 10 percent of what they see, but 50 percent of what they see and hear. A great video can touch people’s emotions like no other form of media can.
The right combination of music, narration, visuals and motion invites viewers to experience your product and your brand, instead of just hearing about it.
According to the Online Publishers Association, 80 percent of Internet users recall watching a video on a website they visited in the past 30 days. Of that 80 percent, 46 percent took some action after viewing the video, including looking for more information, visiting the website, visiting the company and purchasing a product.
It’s pretty simple: use video to make your brand memorable, and consumers will remember your brand.
4) Video Saves Time
A two-minute video can deliver a lot of information. From the consumer’s point of view, watching a video takes less effort and time than reading text and trying to decipher which product or service is best for them.
Try viewing your Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs) from a car-buyer’s perspective. Do you think most people read all the specs listed there? A consumer may scan the text but unless they are looking for something specific, they won’t remember much.
Static photos don’t convey a lot of information either; only what the vehicle looks like. Video on the other hand, can present rich visuals along with a voiceover that helps to educate and excite the consumer.
In a sense, videos remove the burden of research, reading and decision-making on the part of the consumer. If all of that information can be delivered in a video, people will choose to watch the video, every time.
Is video on your 2018 marketing priority list? Consumers love video, so if you’re serious about giving your customers what they want, give them video.
Don’t Use a Band-Aid When What You Really Need Are Stitches!
by Tim James
There is a lot of talk and buzz building about the importance of video marketing – as there should be. Video is quickly becoming the preferred medium for consumers. Don’t believe me? Literally thousands of articles exist on the Internet illustrating the benefits of using video in your marketing.
But for this blog I would like to take a step back for a minute. I’ve talked about using video in emails, virtual reality, etc. However, it’s time to get back to basics, because, despite the power of video, there are still some dealers who don’t even have videos of their vehicles on their websites.
Let’s get real here. You spend tons of money on your website. That website has one major purpose – to show off your inventory so that a car shopper can get emotionally attached to a vehicle and call you. And I am sure you also spend quite a bit of money driving traffic to your website and vehicle display pages. As well as a considerable chunk of change to get your vehicles on third party listing sites in order to influence and engage with car buyers there. Seeing as all this money is spent to market inventory and drive traffic to it in order to do the only thing that matters – sell a car – then it makes sense to ensure the greatest return on your investment by having the very best advertisement for your vehicle on that vehicle display page!
If you aren’t actually taking full-motion videos to merchandize your vehicles, the next best thing is stitched photo videos. Yeah, I have heard the naysayers that don’t see the value of stitched photo videos but, at the same time, are not doing any video whatsoever. Those dealers are missing out on customers. You don’t have to listen to me… but you should be listening to your customers – and here’s a nugget of data for you:
According to data, stitched photo videos on vehicle display pages have an average 75 percent completion rate.
Now let me ask you a question. Would stitched photo videos have a 75 percent completion rate if customers DIDN’T like them? Of course not. Most dealers have about 40 or so pictures of each vehicle along with a written vehicle description designed to provide information while simultaneously creating an emotional attachment to the vehicle. By presenting this same information with a video (even a stitched photo video), you increase both the informational and emotional value of the content, which means you get more leads.
Look, let’s remove our “opinions” from the equation and just focus on the data, which clearly shows that consumers like and are influenced by stitched photo inventory videos. Time and time again we see dealers go from NO video whatsoever to stitched photo videos — and very quickly realize a significant increase in some of their most important KPIs. We have seen122% increases in unique VDP views, 110% increase in total VDP views, 75% increase in return website visitors and lead form conversions of 95% or more. These are actual increases realized by your peers, just by adding stitched photo inventory videos!
If you’re NOT using video, don’t you want these performance increases from your website? And these are results from dealers that simply flipped a switch with their video provider and turned on stitched photo videos. This took no extra effort on their part whatsoever. The pictures are already being taken. The software does the rest.
Nobody ever said video marketing needs to be overwhelming. Sometimes you have to crawl before you can run. But what really matters is that the mere act of crawling will get you farther than doing nothing whatsoever.
There are many other reasons that inventory videos are critical to your Video Marketing Strategy, even if you only use stitched photo videos — particularly when it comes to the data capture and utilization power of inventory videos. The bottom line is that customers want to watch inventory videos and they will have a significant impact on your sales. If you don’t provide it for them, you may find them watching another dealership’s videos. And that probably won’t work out in your favor.
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:
- Including video in an email leads to a 200-300 percent increase in click-through rate.
- 90 percent of people say that a video is helpful in the decision making process.
- Including a video on a landing page increases conversion by 80 percent, while including one on your homepage can increase conversion by 20 percent.
- Video ads increase purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent.
- An introductory email that includes a video receives an increase click-through rate of 96 percent.
- 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.
3 Tips for Creating a Killer Testimonial Video
Ever since reviews have risen in popularity, dealerships have mostly focused on written reviews — they were the most prominent in search engine results and on third party sites.
This worked pretty well for a while. However, with the rise in the importance of reviews, some companies chose to act unscrupulously and falsely boosted their reputation by posting fake reviews. As word of this spread in the media, consumers became increasingly skeptical of ANY reviews. These days, if a consumer lands on a dealer’s review site and sees all 5-star reviews, they tend to discount those reviews as filtered, or perhaps solicited by the dealership. They feel they are not a true reflection of how the customers really view the dealership.
Well, in today’s digital age, there is a fairly simple solution to this problem. We have found that testimonial videos can help. In fact, they have a very powerful effect. Humans naturally tend to read a person visually. Body language and inflection can go a long way to convince a viewer of the sincerity of the customer giving the testimonial. And, the viewer can SEE that it’s a real live person.
Dealers who work with their customers and film quality video testimonials find that these videos are one of the most powerful influencing factors in convincing potential buyers that they should choose that dealership over any competition.
That being said, there is more to creating an effective and compelling testimonial video than simply pressing the record button.
Here are three tips that should help take your testimonial videos to the next level:
- First and foremost, remember that stories sell. Simply convincing a customer to allow you to film a testimonial may feel like a win. However, a customer testimonial which shows a monotone, expressionless customer, may not be the most effective. Consider prepping your customer before the video. Help them to get comfortable in front of the camera and ask them to tell a story. Perhaps they can describe a pain point in their car buying or service experience and talk about how your dealership solved it for them. Or they could compare the experience at your dealership to past experiences at other dealerships that may not have gone quite as smoothly.
In some cases, you may want to spoon feed the customer to keep them talking and to get the content that you want. So, an interview format, versus just asking the customer to talk, may work better Ask the customer what their fears were prior to service and how they feel now, post service. The questions part of the conversation can then simply be edited out of the video, leaving just the comments.
Also, it can take a ‘roll’ of perhaps 200 shots to get the one or two that you are looking for! So remember this when setting up your customer expectations for any interview. To keep it natural, take your time to keep the conversation going – assure the customer that they can take as many takes as needed. Then keep it short. It’s okay to edit down to the 45 seconds of gold. You can keep the customer conversation long, to keep them comfortable and talking naturally. But do keep the final clip short.
And a word of caution here: If the customer mentions that they had a better experience at your dealership, ask them not to name the dealership where they had a poor experience. Just as it is bad form to talk negatively about your competition, posting a review in which a customer does so would also be frowned upon by other customers.
- Another option is to have the customer share a concern they had about doing business with your dealership and then share how impressed they were or how you alleviated that concern. For example, statements such as: “I was concerned that the price would be too high but I ended up getting a really good deal.” Or, “I was afraid that bringing my car here for an oil change would take too long, but I was out of here in 30 minutes!”
- Last, but not least: As is true for all great content, make sure that you have a powerful headline for the video. Simply saying “Mary Jones Customer Testimonial,” really isn’t going to compel someone to click the play button. Consider headlines that address the pain point such as, “Mary was concerned that our prices would be too high…” Or, “Concerned that Servicing Your Vehicle Here Will Take Too Long?” These type of headlines will attract attention. Potential customers with similar concerns will be compelled to watch the video.
Customer testimonial videos are definitely something that dealerships should adopt in any video marketing strategy. The videos should be displayed prominently on the website and can be used for all sorts of purposes. Incorporate them into follow up emails for any Internet leads. Or edit into a compelling “Why Buy from Us?” video.
If your customers’ have a great experience, many of them will be willing to share that experience with the world. All you have to do is ask –and have your smartphone or video camera ready when they say “Yes!”
Make a commitment today to begin interacting with your customers and start collecting video testimonials. You won’t regret it.
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.
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 Get Distracted by Gadgets and Gizmos: Master the Basics to Succeed
by Brian Cox
For years, dealers have been inundated with technology. Salespeople from every vendor in the automotive space are continuously calling to present the latest and greatest product that is going to supercharge your sales. Great salespeople can convince a dealer or general manager to try products. Some of these products are excellent and could actually help … if you understand how to use them to their full potential.
There are some dealers that have both the time and expertise to devote to learning and using technology. But, sadly, that’s not realistic for many dealerships. To the vendors presenting their products, it may seem easy. However, if the product or service isn’t used to its full capabilities, chances are good that a dealer doesn’t stay a client very long.
If you are one of the rare dealerships or auto groups that has a tech-savvy employee who understands the products and services, and also has the time to use and implement them, you are ahead of the game. If, however, you aren’t in a position to hire or give someone these responsibilities, chances are that all of the gadgets and gizmos that sound wonderful will end up collecting dust. In any profession, continuous practice in the basics of your profession can assist you in growing and developing more advanced techniques.
As a dealership, there are certain basic services that are necessary. You need a DMS and CRM to track customers, vehicles and transactions. You also need a website that consumers can visit and gain information from. And, in order to capture the attention of online car shoppers, you must have the ability to distribute your inventory to your website and all your third-party sites, in a way that provides maximum exposure and appeal.
Technology continues to develop at the speed of light and is almost impossible to keep up with. It’s really not that long ago that many dealers did not see the need for a website, let along photo and video descriptions and a digital marketing strategy! However, the fact is that over time, the early adopters had a huge advantage over those who didn’t use technology to create exposure for their dealership and inventory.
The bottom line is there are a HUGE amount of gadgets, gizmos, who’s-its and what’s its available to help enhance your presence with today’s vehicle shoppers, both on and offline. It can be overwhelming to know where to start, and what’s important. If you want to do it yourself and don’t have the budget to hire someone internally, or an outside resource, take a step back and think about learning, practicing and mastering the basics before graduating to more advanced technologies. Otherwise you just may find yourself in a cave surrounded by thingamabobs wondering what they do!