In September, Thinkwithgoogle.com published the article “3 Ways YouTube Is Steering the Car Buyer’s Path to Purchase.”
It’s a great primer for how valuable video has become to the purchase decision of a customer.
The article points out that dealers in the last year have spent less money and sold more cars by embracing video. Simply talking to their YouTube audience and spending a bit on paid media, dealers saw some very impressive in-store traffic increases and internet leads. Google reports the same trend overall with online video, showing over 75 percent of auto shoppers being influenced by video1.
The three ways they cover video working for the dealers who use it are:
1. Driving discovery and awareness of vehicles. Increasingly, shoppers are relying on video to help them narrow down and learn about different vehicle makes and models while at the top of the purchase funnel.
2. Allowing shoppers to compare and contrast their options. Part of the research process has always been the ability to compare features, options and price ranges. Online video offers not only details about the vehicle, but offers things you can’t get from reading and pictures: motion, sound and sight.
3. Getting shoppers to the lot. Video also encourages shoppers to visit a dealership or their website for vehicle consideration.
A few years ago, you could get away with only photos of new cars on your website and social feed. There is a need for self-branding by the customer-facing staff at a dealership and there is no stronger medium than video. But what can you do with it to make the most of it?
Here are some video strategies that have started to help stores and staff:
• Test drive every new vehicle. Yes, the OEM will have videos of the latest model driving on winding roads to show it off, but they do not always help a consumer truly get the feel for a car. Search any model on YouTube and you’ll find a wealth of professional vehicle reviewers making test-drive videos. If you make your own each time and let your customers hear your thoughts on the new model then you will show up in those searches, too.
• Walk-arounds are one of the easiest videos dealers can make. As a new model comes onto the lot, create a brief presentation for each vehicle.
• Monthly incentive videos that cover the latest offers are also a great way to do a quick 15-30 second video. These work well as paid media before videos that show off the same vehicle brand. It will help to plant the seed with the shopper that your store is where they can look next if they want to purchase.
• Running a contest socially is a normal dealer activity these days, but recording a quick video about it, even if it’s on your phone, helps bring excitement and details that a static post just can’t deliver.
• It’s not always about sales. F&I, service, dealership tours, company events and sales events in general all benefit from video. A lot of money is left on the table each month from your current customers who may not even think about service with you unless you tell them the latest offers or build trust with a tour of your service bay.
• Ask for loyalty. If you are using YouTube, you will need to remind your viewers to subscribe to your channel and click on the notification alert icon each time to grow your audience. If you have some basic video skill, you can prerecord that clip and attach it to each video. If not, then just remind yourself to ask the viewer before or after the video. Try to do this on longer content videos only.
• Spread them out. Videos live well on YouTube, but you can repurpose them into digital ad campaigns to target shoppers farther down the funnel with a small spend. You can use them in bumper campaigns to target key prospects and current customers to give them more valuable content. Share them on your other social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and turn them into sponsored posts to make sure they are seen. Load YouTube videos onto your website to leverage traffic. Embed them in Facebook messenger conversations with your customers.
• Keep it simple. Shoppers don’t want a polished commercial when they are researching. They want facts, truth and excitement. All you need is a basic SLR camera or your own smartphone and a tripod or selfie stick and to start. Once you start and get into the habit, you’ll find regular video can be your most effective weapon in a world that is growing in video consumption.
Whether you are doing a test drive, walk-around, offer, contest, service promotion or a lot walk, letting your customers see you and hear you is just as important as the metal you are showing off. Relevant video has a proven ability to grow your business. Your personality and your ability to communicate sells more cars and ROs. So, when they see you again in photo posts or when they walk in the store, there is a sense of trust and connection.
In a people-pleasing business, there is no stronger connection to make to improve your success.
1 Google/Ipsos, U.S., “How People Shop with YouTube” study, 18–64 year olds who go online at least once per month and have purchased a car in the last year (n=400), July 2018. Todd Lawson