When it comes to video marketing, I see a large variety of strategies within the automotive industry. Some dealerships are hyper-focused and create their video content with a defined purpose and strategy, some have a good idea of the “type” of video content that they need to capture but no defined strategy for maximizing the value of that video through touchpoint distribution, and some dealerships simply bring out a cell phone and start aimlessly wandering around their lot, with employees capturing video of whatever they want to. While these actions are certainly a start, it is far more effective to have an overall video marketing strategy. Start by thinking about what video content will have the biggest impact on your shoppers throughout the entire buying cycle. And then figure out how you plan to distribute your content across the various touchpoints to be seen by the right shopper at the right time.

 

An excellent article in Rolling Stone magazine showcases advice from eight video marketing experts. All of the panelists give solid advice. But the one that stuck out to me the most was by Brian Chin, Co-Founding Partner of p3 Maine, a video production company. His advice was as follows:

 

I run a video agency, and far too often we see companies waste money on ineffective video content because they’ve just been told they “need video.” Put in place the correct strategy for your needs, targeting the correct audience with the right message. And if video is the way to go, create beautiful and engaging content that inspires people to take action. But strategy first.”

 

I’ve always believed in a “strategy first” approach to all marketing, not just video. You can save yourself so much time and money by “starting with the end in mind,” and understanding what content you need, as Brian Chin mentions. Also, by understanding the technologies that are available to you to help maximize your efforts. It’s not simply about taking video. Shooting videos is great, and it is something that data shows every dealership needs to be doing. However, videos need to be seen by the right audience at the right time to maximize their true value.

 

Here are three simple points to consider that can help your dealership when creating a highly effective video marketing STRATEGY:

 

  1. How and where are you using that video?

 

Before making any video, it helps to know exactly how you plan to use it. Ask yourself the following questions: “Is the purpose of this video to inspire an emotional response and increase engagement on a social media campaign? If so, where else would it have that same emotional value? Should it also be displayed with a specific Make or Model (or even a specific vehicle) on my VDPs?” “Is it to build trust with high, mid, or low funnel shoppers? If so, what are the touchpoints where I know my shoppers will be throughout the buying cycle and how do I make sure that all of my shoppers are presented with this video content (without them having to look for it.) "Am I trying to increase recommended service repairs?” Having solid answers to the question “how and where” is a great way to start formulating a strategy.

 

  1. What outcome do you desire for each video?

 

Once you’ve determined the purpose, now ask yourself what outcome you want from each specific video. Is the video designed to increase sales? Is it to increase conversion from an ad and drive more traffic to your website or landing page? Get leads to engage with your BDC or sales team? Brand your store? There are a lot of outcomes you might expect from a video marketing strategy. But, you have to know what to expect and how to make certain that your video content is presented to your shoppers strategically before you can measure it.

 

  1. How can you use data to improve the effectiveness of each video?

 

Many video platforms only show rudimentary data such as views or likes, but fail to provide valuable information about the HOW, WHO, or WHEN. And that is what is needed to make your video marketing actionable.

 

Everybody gets excited about having thousands of video views. Of course, if it a branding video and that was the purpose and desired outcome, that’s great! But sometimes it is just that one view that turns a video into a sale. The point is that it’s not just data, but detailed and actionable data that matters.

 

If you make a video specifically for Mr. or Mrs. Smith, knowing that they watched it, when they watched it, and how many times it was viewed, and being able to see what OTHER videos they watched is invaluable information for creating a correctly targeted sales strategy. Having this valuable data allows you to get the right video in front of the right shopper at the right time of the buying cycle, while also allowing you to know the exact second that one of your leads or customers is live on a touchpoint and watching one of your videos. This provides you the most strategic opportunity to reach out to them with a follow-up call.

 

Make sure you use a platform that allows you to capture that data and archive it in case Mr. and Mrs. Smith are not ready to buy NOW. Then you are prepared for them when they are.

 

These are just a few quick tips designed to show you some of the basics of how to start to incorporate a strategy into your video marketing efforts. Having videos is great but, as Mr. Chin said: Strategy first.

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