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Dennis Wagner

Dennis Wagner Owner/CEO

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While most automotive Dealers, General Managers and General Sales Managers are aware of the incredible effect video can have as part of the marketing mix, I still see a lot of dealerships paying big for third party leads and calling it a day. This is a huge mistake as a worthwhile video strategy is the most powerful automated marketing tool available to a sales team and its mostly Free. How about that for ROI?

The good news is that it's not too late to right the ship. Some of the most successful dealerships are now using video marketing from initial contact through to post-sale customer follow-up, and this comprehensive approach has everything to do with how your customers consume information. Today’s customers go through more than half of the buying process independently, so it’s critical to have a complete video journey on your website to guide prospects in the pre-purchase phase in order to cash in when you close the sale.


What’s the Ideal Content Mix?  

Create video for the entire sales funnel, I know you’re wondering, “Dennis, how much video content should I dedicate to each stage of the sales funnel?” Based on what I’ve seen work for the most successful dealerships on YouTube, here’s a list of a highly functional video content mix I’d suggest as a rule-of-thumb.

Top of the Sales Funnel Content:

To attract prospects initially, you’ll need videos on high-level products with mass appeal. Collateral in this stage needs to have an authentic tone, and aim to help viewers make important buying decisions that matter to them rather than push your products. So what should you create?

I’d recommend you produce:

Introduction Video: You don't get a second chance to make a first impression so make it count (don't forget to smile). Tell the consumer a little about yourself, where you work, what you do as a profession, a little about your dealership, talk about your confidence in the product you sell and what makes you different from the man or woman down the street, and most importantly, your direct phone number, your email and website information. Be confident!

FAQ Videos: Showcase your expertise with a series of video about your new car line-up including a product knowledge session while recording each video. Show all of the safety features, fuel economy figures and other unique features that make your vehicle different from the one down the street. This helps improve your SEO, and your content ends up serving as your first line of customer education.

Repurposed OEM Content: Add any or all OEM videos to your YouTube channel. Lets face it, the OEM spent a huge amount of money to create, produce and edit each video they release, and they are usually considered WOW factor material for most YouTube Channels. They are pretty awesome!

Fun Content Showcasing Company Culture: Show off your unique co-workers, show us what the inside of your dealership looks like, ultimately show us why we should care about you and why you love to do what you do and where you work.

You can optimize content in this part of the funnel with video calls to action. For example you can prompt a viewer to watch another video with your video closing, have them check out your online customer reviews - if you want to coach viewers further down the funnel – guide them to your website for conversion.

Middle of the Sales Funnel Content:

After using top of sales funnel content to guide your viewers to your website, you’re now looking to help consumers evaluate and justify your product with more, in-depth or long-form content.

In this stage prospects are determining if you’re right for them, so you’ll want to produce:

Detailed vehicle videos (a great mix of makes and models tagged correctly)

Client testimonials (what your current customers are saying about you)

Try setting up a meeting or a call with a prospect in this stage by sending out a personalized video in an email. A targeted, personalized social message is a surefire way to impress a prospect.

In terms of optimization, mid-funnel content is where you can start introducing email gates for collecting viewer contact info. Leads at this stage have already shown an interest in your specific product and you can start to send them more targeted content based on what you know they’ve been watching already.

Content at the End of the Sales Funnel:

Videos can help you seal the deal when it comes to closing and they can help you post-purchase when you want to reinforce that you were the right choice before, during and after the sale.

Content in this stage can include:

Dealership Sponsored Campaigns or Functions Video: Create videos tied to specific dealership campaigns or functions and release them at exactly the right time. If you know your customer is going to be at an event you’re also attending, for example, create a drop-by-and-say-hi video to encourage a meet-up. Ask for referrals at this time!

Customer check-ins: follow up on your customers use of their new car; how have their first 2-3 weeks been with their new car? Do they have any additional questions? Ask for referrals at this time!

Instructional videos: Post-sale can often lead to more questions about your services, so create a video to cover any issues you note customers might have. (how to check the oil, where to fill the washer fluid, how to work that complicated navigation system..again) You could also showcase your friendly service & parts departments at this time. Ask for referrals at this time!

You’ll want to make sure you’re easy to contact. Because it can sometimes be difficult for an anxious consumer to set up a time to demo your vehicles, video assets can become the Salesperson that never sleeps for your dealership. You will have a 24 hour per day assistant working for you while you spend time with your family and friends.

A well-positioned and thorough series of why-buy / why-me and or how-to video can provide your customers with the information they need, so they won’t need to contact you with a huge list of unanswered questions about your product. As mentioned, 70% of the purchasing decision is made before your customer even communicates with the dealership and, for this reason, bottom of funnel content can also engage customers in the earlier stages. Every feature, nuance or function of your dealership and your daily work routine should be captured on video and available as a resource on your website.

Overall, video is a very persuasive medium; it’s engaging and consumers can use it to make their way through the entire sales funnel at their own pace – you just have to set up the content journey. Map your content to the funnel, set up your ideal content mix, and connect your video marketing to ROI. 

How did I do? Please leave any questions or comments below and I will respond in a timely manner, and please share this if you find this information useful.

Dennis Wagner
Alexander, I think the sales funnel is alive and well. It is still working for me and my dealers just fine. The ROI is impossible to overlook. No harm in trying at all.
Alexander Lau
No, you're right, but there's some evidence it's failing. It's not going to hold up in the future. "The traditional funnel is dead," said Brian Bolain, corporate marketing communications manager for Lexus. "We're still selling cars, and it's an emotional purchase. But top of mind is the best you can hope for." Russell Wager, vice president of marketing for Mazda North American Operations, said the model has changed to more of a "funnel cake, where everything is twisting, turning and inside out." Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America, mourns the passing of the sales model "because it was simple." Ignore that information, at your own peril!
Dennis Wagner
I would say it does not work quite as good as it once did, but I would say its far from dead. It will still put a sales professional in a league very few are in if done correctly. Long live the funnel.
Alexander Lau
But a big data purchase funnel doesn't work anymore because car consumer shopping habits are less predictable.
Alexander Lau
BTW, I like your infographic, buy it would help to be much more granular in your explanation of what dealers should be doing from a marketing / strategy perspective. I rely on this strategy from a digital marketing standpoint @ Essentially, what is your strategy dealers?

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