As an automotive digital marketer, have you ever been told “we need more videos” and then had the conversation stop there? Car dealers know video is an important part of their digital strategy. So why don’t more use it? Video is an important element of the car shopping and buying process. A recent study by Google reports that “75% of auto shoppers say that online video has influenced their shopping habits or purchases.”
So, why don’t more car dealers use this valuable tool in their marketing tool belt?
As marketers, we give lots of reasons:
Doing video is hard
Doing video is expensive
Doing video takes too much time
I don’t know how to edit video
My team is too small and we can’t outsource
Adding anything new to your workload can seem like an impossible feat, but don’t fear. We’ve come up with 6 quick tips for beginners who want to get started with video.
1. Start small and start somewhere
A common misconception of starting out with video is that you have to “go big or go home”. This is not true. You don’t need a big video production team, to outsource to an agency or to have every video be a cinematic masterpiece.
“Make it feel real. Video test drives and highlight films give people the opportunity to experience any car they want in different situations, including those that best fit their lifestyle.”
Make your content “exclusive and unique”, meaning do test drive videos or walk-around videos of the inventory on your lot. This makes it more personal and builds trust in your dealership.
“Invest in longer form content.” Longer form content again includes things like test drive videos, walk-around videos, etc.
Nowhere in these recommendations does it say you need to hire a fancy production team or buy expensive video production equipment and software. It also doesn’t say that you need to take a video of every vehicle on your lot. If you have the time and resources, having a video of every vehicle is great! However, if you don’t, don’t let that stop you from doing any video at all.
That’s why we recommend starting small and starting somewhere.
For example, you could take one video per make and model on your lot, rather than taking a video of every vehicle in inventory. If you have a certain type of inventory that doesn’t move as fast as others, only make videos on the slow moving inventory and highlight the reasons why that vehicle is a great buy compared to others. If you know there is a certain vehicle that is moving in your market but you aren’t selling a lot in your store, make a video that highlights the vehicle and the benefits of buying from your dealership.
When starting out with video, it may take some trial and error. You know your market best, and what works for one dealer might not work for another. Personalize your videos by including items that make your dealership unique, for example:
Employee interviews (Salespeople, service staff, managers, etc.)
Customer testimonials (Q&A style, inside their new car, during delivery, etc.)
How-to videos (How to sync your phone to an infotainment system, explain unique vehicle features, how to install popular after-market parts, etc.)
Explainer videos (Service staff explaining service work, F&I staff sharing financing tips, used car manager describing the trade-in process, etc.)
Events (Tent sales, special guests, new car reveals, live-streams, etc.)
Time-lapse videos (Event crowds, building construction progress, car detail process, etc.)
2. Set a goal and allocate a time slot for working on videos
Whenever trying something new, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself. For example, if you are the only marketing person at your dealership, taking a video for every vehicle in inventory may not be a reasonable expectation for you.
By comparison, a more realistic goal may be to take new videos at the start of each new model year. Or if you are a used car dealer, it may be more realistic to evaluate your needs monthly. If there are vehicles older than 30 days, perhaps it’s time to highlight why this vehicle is a great buy with a walk-around video. If you want to take videos of your entire inventory, set aside time on your calendar every week or every month to do the videos in bulk.
3. Your smartphone can be your best friend
Don’t be intimidated by lack of video equipment or video editing knowledge. If you or someone in your dealership has a smartphone or a tablet, you have all the tools you need to get started with video! Most smartphones have a camera that can capture high-quality, HD video. This is sufficient. If someone watches your video on their phone or their computer, the final video doesn’t need to be television commercial-quality.
Again, if you have the resources to create highly cinematic videos, great! But if you don’t, don’t let it stop you from trying video.
There are many free or low-cost / easy-to-use video editing software options available (for example apps like iMovie for Apple devices). It only takes a quick search to find the best apps for your type of smartphone to find some options.
Another option would be to shoot the video under the premise that you don’t plan to edit it. For example, a simple walk around video may not need any editing if you plan what you want to say and work off a script or cue cards.
4. Publish then share!
If you don’t already have one, set up a YouTube channel. As the number 2 on the list of top visited sites, behind Google as number 1, YouTube is by far your best bet for showcasing your videos at this time.
Even if you don’t think people will be searching for your dealership on YouTube, it is still a good idea to post your videos there. Your videos can show up in Google searches if people are conducting searches related to the content of your video based on the description, title, tags, closed captions and historical performance attached to it.
Once posted on YouTube, you can easily embed the video onto your site or share a link to the YouTube video by email, on social media or even run YouTube ads based on the content. Posting / sharing your video gives your content more exposure and more opportunity to build up views. More views on your video tells YouTube and Google that your content is relevant, giving it even more opportunity to show up when people make related searches.
The basic steps to share or embed a video are below:
1. Click the “Share” option below the video when you are watching it on YouTube
2. Select how you want to share: i.e. copy the link to simply share the video, copy the embed code so you can embed the video on your website, etc.
3. Copying the video link, the video ID at the end of the URL or the embed code with this method are most likely your first steps needed prior to editing a page on your site. The process to embed video on your website will vary by provider.
5. Post to other social media channels
After posting to YouTube, you may want to consider uploading the video file to other social channels directly as well. For example, sharing videos on Facebook tend to go over better when you directly upload and share within Facebook.
When you post a YouTube link on Facebook, the videos don’t autoplay because Facebook posts links to YouTube videos as if they were any other link.
If viewers watch the video, it takes them away from Facebook. Also, research shows that videos posted and shared within Facebook have better organic reach and engagement.
6. Use more videos on your website with the MPOP®
MPOP® users get the added benefit of further placement opportunities for video across their website.
The first and easiest place to extend the reach of your videos with our technology is on your dynamic landing pages. Each new vehicle, used vehicle and vehicle specials landing page that we provide comes standard with video. This video is typically relevant OEM stock footage, but it is customizable to your dealership if you have your own videos that you want to showcase. Having video on your landing pages is a great and easy SEO boost for your site.
The second way the MPOP® helps dealers expand the placement of videos across their site is directly in MPOP® specials and offers. A YouTube video can easily be swapped out for the image on any offer created in the MPOP®. Watch our quick tip video or follow the step-by-step instructions below:
1. Copy video ID from the end of the video’s YouTube link that you want to embed into your special offer.
2. In the “Vehicle” tab, expand the “Image/Video” section.
3. Select the radio button on for the second option labeled “Youtube Video ID” and paste the video ID into the field directly below.
4. Publish the offer: preview the video if you’d like, select the Inactive/Active checkbox to “Active” (if applicable) and exit editing the special by clicking “Back to offers”.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to start leveraging video, these tips are a great starting point! And, if you want to see more of our MPOP® platform in action, sign up for a live demonstration here.