Don’t be stale and predictable; make sure to post product, value, salesperson and testimonial videos. BY LAURA MADISON
The digital movement has transformed automotive marketing. A shift in how customers research and shop for vehicles demands a strong digital dealership presence. However, one of the strongest digital marketing platforms – YouTube – has largely been ignored by the automotive industry.
Despite all of the discussion in the industry about effective videos, the average dealership’s YouTube channel actually is pretty pathetic, barren, more desolate than the Arizona desert. For most dealerships, this channel isn’t converting, from a marketing standpoint. It’s collecting dust in a corner of the Internet. On a test, it would receive an F.
Enough of the analogies. A failing YouTube page is a truly a tragedy, because dealers enjoy incredible opportunity for visibility and conversion. YouTube has more than 1 billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day hundreds of millions of hours of video and billions of views are watched.
Perhaps even more impressively, YouTube reaches more people ages 18 to 34 than any cable network in the U.S. Training these millennial eyeballs on your showroom floor by uploading simple videos to YouTube is a powerful way to leverage digital and sell more cars.
In this article, I want to give a basic framework for what I consider to be an effective YouTube page for a dealership.
Variety, Freshness In Content
Here’s my grading system for YouTube:
A – A channel that includes variety in videos and is clearly and consistently updated.
B – A channel that offers some variety in videos uploaded and shows some recent activity.
C – A channel that is populated mostly by dealership commercials.
D or F – A channel that is empty or abandoned, and does not convert.
The higher the grade and the stronger presence your dealership commands on YouTube, the better conversion you should enjoy from this channel. As you can see, a high-grade YouTube channel is characterized by two key elements: variety in videos and consistency of uploads. Under these standards, I feel most dealerships would presently receive a D or F.
The strength in YouTube’s ability to convert customers from watching videos to standing in your showroom lies in its organic search engine favoritism. YouTube is owned by Google, and YouTube videos are favored for first-page Google results. Thus, video is a great opportunity for your dealership to become visible to shoppers who are in the early stages of looking for a vehicle. YouTube makes it easy for people who are researching online to find your videos, which hopefully motivate them to visit your dealership
Dealerships that earn an A for their YouTube efforts are consistent with their uploads. Your dealership must determine how frequently it will update its YouTube channel, whether that frequency is twice a week or twice a month. Whatever frequency you choose should be manageable and not difficult to sustain, and your dealership should adhere to it strictly.
The Kinds Of Video You Need
The other key component to an A grade is variety in your videos. Here are the categories of video that should populate your dealership’s YouTube channel, in order of importance:
1) Product videos. These focus exclusively on vehicles. The videos can announce a redesigned model, showcase a new color or highlight a popular feature. Product videos don’t need to last for long; in fact, they are most effective when they focus on one simple, digestible topic.
2) Value videos. These are almost as important to a YouTube channel as product videos. They can cover any topic that may be valuable to clients during their car shopping process – how-tos, tips, advice, competitive comparisons.
Such videos often pop up as a choice when a consumer is using a search engine to find the answer to a car-related question. In other words, if dealerships create videos that anticipate and answer questions for shoppers, your dealership becomes more visible to them.
3) Salesperson videos. Next, a healthy YouTube channel should show off a few relevant faces. Leveraging employees to boost your dealership’s YouTube presence is an excellent way to introduce a human element and let would-be customers begin to connect with your employees.
These videos can be quick personal introductions – maybe 45 seconds long – in which a salesperson simply introduces himself or herself, includes a personal detail or two, and encourages viewers to ask for him or her when they come to the dealership. As a bonus, these videos can also be placed in the signature lines of e-mails, to let customers become more familiar and more comfortable with their salesperson.
4) Customer testimonials. Lastly, a strong YouTube channel will feature some customer testimonial videos. A short video of an excited customer who compliments the dealership and his or her new vehicle can give a powerful boost of confidence to prospective buyers.
How Many Videos, How Often
But, don’t overdo it. Upload one or two customer testimonials for every four or five of the other video categories. Product, value and salesperson videos should account for the majority of your YouTube channel.
That said, the number of videos in each category will depend very much on your dealership’s timetable. For dealerships just getting involved with YouTube, it may take a few months to build up a library. An early channel might show five product videos, four value videos, a varying number of salesperson videos and two customer testimonials.
In each category, video content should be updated regularly, at the time interval you’ve decided to follow, and in the order of importance. For example, if your dealership uploads one video every two weeks, perhaps you should begin by producing one video for each category and uploading them over eight weeks. For the following month, you can focus on adding to the product and value video categories. Salesperson spots should be posted or removed as new people join or leave your team.
Get Started Now
If your YouTube channel has not yet earned a passing grade, don’t fret. Again, the automotive industry generally lags in video marketing, so simply getting started can gives your dealership a huge advantage. Keep in mind that an A grade doesn’t necessarily go to the dealership with the most videos; it’s earned for variety of videos and consistency over time.
Once you’ve begun uploading them, be sure to let all videos linger on your channel. As you build your dealership’s video library over time, your newer videos will naturally be the most visible to visitors, so there’s really no need to ever delete an old spot. A video of a 2015 redesigned model will be as valuable to a used car shopper three years from now as it is to the new car shopper today. Your goal is to build an impressive library of videos over time by regularly adding new, relevant content.
Something important to note about execution with video is that equipment does not need to be expensive or professional. YouTube viewers typically love simple and authentic video, so a simple segment filmed with a smartphone is a great way to get content onto this platform. My YouTube channel garnered more than half a million views on videos filmed from my iPhone.