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In many dealerships across the US and Canada, reputation management is a very passive activity. While this topic is coming back around as a very important marketing tool, I have seen in too many cases, dealers are convinved that they should outsource this important task to a third party who will monitor review sites and alert them if something is said negatively about the company or respond on their behalf.
I want to speak to the dealers or marketing managewrs directly. To me, this is a disconnected approach to interacting with the feedback from your customers. This approach is only creating a level of comfort for you and your management that you are on top of the dealership's reputation. They have checked it off the list of items that they were told is important in this day of the Internet.
Where I differ on this topic is my belief that dealers should be looking at this part in terms of reputation marketing. This strategy is an active pursuit. It is taking control of the experience your customers receive and embracing it to fill the “influence” pool of information on the web for future consumers.
Why is marketing your reputation so important? Based on which reports you read, almost every consumer begins their car shopping experience online. Their quest for a new or used car or repair service includes researching not only the products you offer, but also what previous customers say about the experience they had doing business with you. That is where you need to insert yourself into the experience.
There are many different ways to market your reputation online, but I’ll use one of the most useful feedback tools for any company as my example: The Customer Testimonial Video. These videos are the golden ticket of feedback. They show emotion and allow others to watch actual people using your product or service. Plus you can use this video in many different ways.
There is no need to complicate the process as you can use a smartphone to record this video. Another option is buying a camera, tripod, and minimal lighting for under $700 that can be set up in a specific area of your business where a quick video can be shot. You could also ask your customers to send you a video of them using your product or letting you know how their shopping experience was.
Make sure to keep the videos short, 30-60 seconds max. Only ask five questions. Most people will not watch long videos unless they are really creative. The point of these videos is to confirm that your business delivers a great user experience.
Make sure to ask the customer’s name, where they came from (so you can optimize the video for their town), what product or service they came in for, how their experience was, would they recommend you to others and any variation of these questions that you feel show off your business in the best light.
Once you have the video, here are a few ways to use a customer testimonial video to market your reputation:
This active marketing strategy for your reputation is one of the key components for ensuring that your dealership is in multiple places where consumers do their research for products and services. More importantly, what your potential customers are finding are other customers vouching for your business versus just reading your marketing materials.
This is worth all your effort because you will stay on their consideration list longer which, in turn, will increase your sales.