by Tim James

When dealerships first dabble in video the logical place to start is with inventory videos. Posting inventory videos on your Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs) is an easy and inexpensive way to engage customers and increase time spent on your website.

However, most dealers do not optimize their video content to guide the consumer through these next steps. When a car shopper views one of your inventory videos, what do they see after the video is complete? Do you leave them on the VDP, wondering where to go? Or, are you guiding them with the answers to their next questions, such as “Is this car right for me?” or “Can I afford this?”

Google’s groundbreaking report “The 5 Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own” lists the critical stages in each car shopper’s buying cycle:

  • Which car is best?
  • Is it right for me?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Where should I buy it?
  • Am I getting a good deal?

The one thing Google does not mention in this report is how long the average car shopper stays in each moment. The Google team probably doesn’t know that, but I do. The consumer stays in each moment for as long as you force them to stay there.

You see, most of your websites are set up in a manner that makes the consumer “search” for content that would satisfy the next “moment”, if you even have that content at all.  But if you optimize your content to walk the shopper from one moment to the next, well then, you are actually moving the shopper through your buying cycle, without them having to do any additional work, and they don’t even know it. You’ve made it easy for your shoppers to move from moment to moment.

Let’s review each moment and the types of videos ideal for each moment.

Step 1: Which car is best?

When a consumer enters the awareness stage they initially research various models and pricing. At this stage they are ‘browsing’ to see which styles appeal to them in a general price range.

The most-watched types of video during this stage include the new model test drive and vehicle walkthroughs. New model test-drive videos are available from a variety of providers and are very affordable. Vehicle walkthrough videos are available for different trim levels, and do a good job of explaining the differences in trim to the consumer.

Ideally these videos will be visible and accessible from the home page and New Model Research pages of your website in a ‘video showroom.’ It’s also important to host your videos on a platform that allows you to create a landing page for each video. This way you can use them as target pages for your promotional campaigns and maximize your organic SEO searches as well.  More importantly, this makes it easy for you to include (and automatically update) additional video content on your landing pages that will take them to the next moment in the car-buying process.

Step 2: Is this car right for me?

At this stage the consumer does a deeper dive into features and options, and starts looking for actual inventory. This is why it’s important to have inventory videos.

One mistake I see on many VDPs is that the videos are difficult to find. There may be a very small button that says “video” underneath the photos. These buttons should be prominent, or better yet, embed a large graphic of the vehicle with a “Play” button that clearly indicates this is a video. When the customer clicks on the play button, they are taken to a landing page that features that video, along with additional video content that Google tells us is critical for the next micro moments, such as: Can I afford it? Where should I buy it?

Once again, you are making it easy for your shoppers to find and view the content that we know they are going to be looking for next. The easier you make this transition, the more likely it is that the shopper stays in your funnel throughout the entire buying cycle.

Step 3: Can I afford this?

The great thing about this moment is that, if you’ve followed the first two recommendations above, you have already addressed this before your shoppers even decide which car they want.

Questions on affordability can be answered in either a value proposition video or a specific FAQ video created for this purpose. By having your New Model Test Drive from the first micro moment displayed on promotional landing pages that show your current incentives and rebates, many shoppers will already know what their payment ranges will be should they purchase your new model.

Additionally, your value proposition videos should explain your easy, fast financing options, along with a Lease vs. Purchase FAQ video that’s visible to your shoppers the moment they enter your website. And of course, if you have a financing tool on your website, embed a link to that in your video.

With this strategy your shoppers will have the opportunity to view these videos long before they ever decide on which vehicle to purchase, because you made it easy.

Step 4: Where should I buy it?

If you’ve followed my advice on steps One through Three above, you’ve already satisfied your shopper’s needs for this moment. You began presenting your shoppers with “You can trust us” and “We’re the good guys” content from the moment they first entered your website.

One reason why value proposition videos are so powerful is because they allow you to humanize your dealership brand. People tend to buy from people they like and trust.  For today’s online consumer, selling your dealership is as important as selling the car.  Unfortunately, this is where many dealerships lose the shopper simply because they don’t do a good job selling themselves and why each shopper should take the next step with them.  This is why it is so critical that you provide shoppers with both Value Proposition and FAQ video content, as early in the buying cycle as possible. You will be amazed at how many shoppers watch these videos during Moment One and Moment Two and continue through the moments already liking and trusting you, and having no doubt in their minds that when they do decide on which car they want, they will be buying it from you.

Step 5: Am I getting a good deal?

This is the final stage that can take place both before the consumer decides to visit your dealership and while they are on your lot. At this stage they want to know what the price and payment will be, and they will often “showroom” and visit another dealership’s website to compare your price against theirs.

If you’ve done a good job with your Value Proposition and FAQ videos up to this point, and your shoppers truly trust you, they will be less likely to showroom while they are at your store. After all, showrooming takes work and as a shopper, the less work involved the better.

Additionally, your competitor’s shoppers are showrooming at this stage as well. So you can easily include geo-targeting on your videos that can detect when a shopper is watching one of your videos from a competitor’s lot, and instantly update the content of that video to deliver your competitor’s shoppers a message that they will get a better deal from you.

Not every customer will follow this car-buying process in a linear fashion, so it’s important that your landing pages be organized in a way that allows customers to re-watch videos they previously viewed, and to stay in one stage as long as they feel comfortable. The critical thing to remember is, when the consumer is ready to move forward, do you have the video content for them right there on the page they are currently visiting, or will they have to search your website—or go another website—to find it?

Optimizing your video content keeps car shoppers on your website longer and guides them through the buying cycle, step by step. When they make their final decision, your dealership will be the logical and emotional choice.


Tim James is COO of Flick Fusion Video Marketing. James is a dynamic sales and marketing strategist with more than 20 years of success in driving revenue growth for auto dealers. He is one of the auto industry’s leading authorities on the use of video marketing strategies throughout the entire online merchandising and sales process.



Related Posts

Customer retention strategies depend on relationships - image of two men's hands being shaken in front of grey car
Customer Retention Strategies for BHPH Auto Sales
PPC for auto dealerships - image of laptop with revenue information
Pay Per Click for Auto Dealerships on a Budget
dealership sales team - white and black man shake hands over table
Building a Dealership Sales Team: Who to Hire and Who to Avoid

Leave a Comment or Review. All reviews will be verified.