One of the trends that came across loud and clear in several of the sessions at this year’s VinWorx user summit is that video is an increasingly useful way to reach customers. In his keynote, Tim Mueller, Automotive Retail Strategist at Google (which owns YouTube), reminded the audience that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
The amount of time that people spend watching auto videos – including test drives, features and options spotlights, and walkthroughs – has doubled in just the past year according to YouTube stats. And the demographics of these watchers are a definite sweet spot for auto dealers, representing 110.5 million people ages 18-54 who drive a thousand or more miles per year. Of that group, 45.5 million are either light TV viewers or don’t watch TV at all, which makes online video a useful medium for reaching them.
Content is key
VinWorx speaker Glenn Pasch, CEO of PCG Companies, pointed to video as an ideal medium for providing useful information to customers with the goal of positioning your dealership as a helpful resource. Videos can be your opportunity to show people what makes your dealership different and why customers should buy from you.
What should your videos be about? Pasch says to let the manufacturers take care of content about the details of the cars. That leaves you open to cover the things about your dealership that set you apart. Here are some things you could feature:
- Things your competitors don’t offer. Think about what sets your dealership apart from others in your area. Maybe you offer overnight test drives or some special “surprise” services when someone buys a car as a gift. Use video to show what makes your services special for your customers.
- Answers to questions. Ask your frontline salespeople the top five questions people ask all the time. Use video to answer those questions, preferably one by one in separate videos. Take some time to think through why those questions are common and see how you can expand on your answer to set customer expectations.
- Useful tips. This is an area where you can get your service team involved. A lot of customers could benefit from learning how to handle certain easy, but slightly tricky, maintenance tasks at home.
- Local spotlight. You know the inside scoop about the best places for food and entertainment near your dealership. Why not take a drive there in one of the vehicles you have for sale and show people some area highlights?
- Vehicle feature comparisons. What better medium than video to compare, contrast and demonstrate the features of sets of vehicles that a customer might be considering? How much can you load into various hatchbacks, SUVs and pickup truck beds? How easy is it to reach the back seat to put an infant car seats in various vehicles?
The technological barrier to entry for video production is increasingly low. Most mobile phones can record a perfectly acceptable video, especially outdoors or in a well-lit dealer showroom or service bay. You can probably do most of your editing on a phone these days as well.
If you already work with an ad agency or other marketing resource, it’s worth inquiring about adding video to your promotional mix. This can include pre-roll or mid-roll video ads, videos for your website, and video optimized for search on YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram and other sites.
It’s inexpensive and simple enough to make videos that it’s worth testing, even for small dealerships. You may not go viral, but you’ll have another tool in your marketing arsenal for building relationships with customers.