Authored by Erik Bergstrom, Senior Content Coordinator
Video can be a powerful tool to wield. According to Vidyard, 71% of marketers report that video content outperforms other content marketing because it’s more engaging, educational, and shareable. Using video puts a face to your dealership and ultimately builds trust with your customers.
With a few tips and a little knowledge, you can overcome any intimidation about video marketing and make the kind of content your audience truly wants. The first likely thing customers look for when browsing your website or email will be a video, and the best videos talk about one thing: You.
Let’s talk about how to get there with some general tips on the 3 types of video you’ll want to begin with.
This video marketing chapter will cover the following:
- Professional, Animated, and Guerrilla Marketing Videos
- Video Use of Website
- Video Use in Emails and Text
- Video Use on Social Media (Outside of YouTube)
General Tips: The Three Types of Videos
This section is broken out into 3 ways to create a video and the tips to help you complete a polished video for all purposes. Let’s start with a professional video.
Any professional video about your dealership should start with a plan. Especially if you’re limited with time—thirty seconds, for example—you’ll want to make sure to hit all the points you want to get across in a succinct, fluid manner. There are 3 steps to any great plan:
- Outline your goal: What is the purpose of this specific video? Is it to get your customers to try out a digital retailing solution? Or to learn about your service offerings? Always define any goal before moving on with your plan.
- Identify your audience: You know your community and customers best, and you know how to talk to them. But what if this video is for someone who’s never been to your dealership? Depending on who it’s for, your script and voice should remain flexible to make your viewer feel like they’re the only one watching.
- Use emotions: Don’t be afraid to let your personality show through your video. Have a good joke? A mascot? Get it in there! Need to communicate how your dealership is responding to a crisis in the community? Be honest, forthright, and sensitive.
After the plan, it’s time to decide where to shoot. Having a location like your dealership gives you a head start over other companies, as you can show what it’s like during a visit and how to make a customer feel at home. Give them a tour, show them the lot, and involve as much of your staff as you’d like.
When it’s time to shoot, all you’ll need is the camera on any cell phone. Take account of the lighting—if it’s sunny in the middle of the day, wait until an hour before sunset or plan to shoot an hour after sunrise the next day. If you’re inside, choose a room that gets a lot of natural light or use additional sources of lighting, like ceiling or table lamps. For sound purposes, it’s always important to use an external dedicated audio recorder for a simple and reliable way to capture audio.
Plan to film in short takes to help with remembering any lines or to quickly reshoot something you didn’t like. Your editors will thank you when you’re done.
You will need to know a few composition rules that guide most directors, which include:
- The rule of thirds: This age-old rule, used since the days of silent film, delivers an appealing aesthetic by applying an imaginary 3×3 “grid” over the frame. Put your subject at the intersections of these grid lines for the best results.
- Mind the head: In any frame featuring a person, be sure to limit the space above the head without cutting the top off, either.
- Except for close-ups: If you are going to perform a close-up of a person’s face, it’s best to cut off the top of the head (if necessary) versus the chin.
To level-up your video marketing, choosing animation is an effective way to get your message across in a clean, modern, and entertaining format. Animated videos have the advantage of being simpler and quicker to make than a live video, and in some cases they’re more engaging.
“Animation is an effective way to get your message across in a clean, modern, and entertaining format.”
With an abundance of animated video clients to choose from, skills for drawing or artwork are not necessary. Your main concern will be with the content. Here’s how to best plan your animated video:
- Don’t sell, explain: “Explainer” videos are the most popular form of animated video because they can be done in a step-by-step format. Use an animated video as a how-to guide for buying online or scheduling pick-up and delivery for vehicle maintenance.
- Write for animation: When you draft a script for animation, you’ll want to remember to keep it simple. Write simple phrases that can be explained by the context of the animation, since that’s what your customers are paying most attention to. In other words, let the pictures do the talking, rather than the other way around.
- Be picky about your production company: Don’t rush into working with an animation client that can’t match your brand just to get a video completed. You could end up confusing loyal customers or turn away prospective ones if the animation style is inconsistent with your way of doing business.
The process for creating an animated video is very similar to a live one, in that you’ll need to outline your goals first, plan your target audience, and consider emotions.
The only difference is finding an animation client that matches your style and brand, including options for music or voiceover narrators. Utilize trials and pilot programs until you’re comfortable enough to explore doing your own animation in the future.
If you find you’d like to apply guerrilla-style marketing to your videos, you’d be in comfortable territory; video is where the term “going viral”—which is the typical result for most guerrilla campaigns—originated in terms of online engagement.
Exploring a guerrilla format for your video marketing could be a great way to set yourself apart and shake your customers loose from the kind of stodgy, overdone marketing they see from a typical dealership.
To create an effective guerrilla style video for your dealership, you’ll need to keep in mind the 3 basic rules of creating a video listed above, along with the rules of a typical guerrilla campaign. These include:
- Knowing your audience’s pain: Guerrilla tactics work best when they highlight up front what a customer’s pain points are and how you, specifically, can address them—especially if you can make yourself come off endearing in the end.
- Making it clever: It’s important to remember that clever equals smart, not funny. As long as the campaign is smart in how it addresses a customer’s needs, the humor will be evident.
- Being subtle (and humble): Instead of focusing on selling a product, think of creative ways to advertise your brand—e.g., why it’s trusted. This may mean putting customers in your video instead of your staff.
Think of your guerrilla style video as your “big game” ad. What will get your customers talking the next day, or for days afterwards?
You don’t need the budget of a big-time ad slot, just the ingenuity and cleverness of one for an investment that pays off in big ways.
While a guerrilla style video may not work best for your website or email communications, it’s perfect for social media. In an industry that still lags when it comes to social advertising, having a curated social media presence will put you leagues ahead of your competition.
Use on Website
Once you master the art of video, you’ll quickly learn of its versatility for use on your website.
Placing a video on your homepage describing your dealership, your commitment to the community, and the value you provide is a great place to start. From there, you could use videos across all your landing pages. Consider uploading videos for:
- Featured inventory walkarounds
- Process how-to guides
- A typical service experience
- Previous customer testimonials
- Response to events nationwide and in the community
Soon it won’t be just a matter of “if” you should use video, but “how” and “where”. You may even find that the more well-placed videos you have, the longer people stay on your website and engage with your content.
“The more well-placed videos you have, the longer people stay on your website and engage with your content.”
Use in Email & Text
You’re likely already doing a lot of work just to retain your email and text subscribers. One simple way to keep them coming back is with engaging video content. In fact, just using the word “video” in a subject line is enough to increase open rates.
However, using a video in your email and text communications requires a few tweaks to how you otherwise might market your videos on a website or in social media. Most email clients do not allow embedding of videos, so you’ll need to include a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your email, including engaging thumbnail images from your video, to encourage a customer to take that extra step and visit your YouTube, Vimeo, or landing page for the video.
You will also need some text in your email; sending something out with only a thumbnail image and a CTA could get caught by a spam filter, as they don’t read imagery.
Along with the subject line, try to find a way to engage your subscriber, either with a question or a tease about something exciting they’ll see in your video.
Use on Social (Outside of YouTube)
In the competitive realm of social media marketing, nothing helps you more than an attractive video. YouTube now shows that more than 50% of video consumption comes from mobile devices, while social media videos generate up to 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.
So how does one shift their marketing efforts to become more “social”? The solutions are simple, though it’s important to understand the differences in your audience.
Many social media users scroll through their social feeds, looking for only the most compelling content, and they know that a video is more likely to reward them with something interesting and digestible in just a few seconds.
Here’s how to make the most of this challenging, yet highly rewarding, medium:
- Hook: Any video designed for your social audience needs to have a compelling hook right up front. You only have a few seconds to capture your viewers’ attention before they move on.
- Brevity: Social users are more likely than web users to continue scrolling if the video they’re watching doesn’t hold up to the initial promise. Be sure to only communicate the most important kernels of information before guiding them away from their social feed to your website or email subscription link.
- Don’t ignore headlines: Social media channels are becoming more like search engines, putting not just the most recent content, but the most relevant, in front of consumers. Headlines, short introductions, and hashtags go a long way in supporting your relevance on websites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Use the power of these websites’ analytics to understand and support your content’s relevance.
- Don’t ignore subtitles: Along with text to introduce your video, a text option in the video itself will immediately earn you relevance and trust. Accessibility is increasingly important to consumers, and offering an option for people to watch your video without sound will earn you more viewers.
- Tell one story: Keep from making your social videos a catch-all for conversions. Use the previous strategy of identifying your goal for any specific video and stick to one message. If your message is about service, avoid including any sales pitches, for example. At the end, include a way to reward viewers’ who watched the entire video by adding a call-to-action for a proper conversion.
- Follow best practices: Become knowledgeable in each of the social channels you use. Read their best practices and stay up to date on constantly shifting requirements. Understand analytics to learn more about your core audience, channel by channel. This will allow you to not only stay in their good graces and help your relevance, but also gain a leg-up by learning tricks about what times of day and how frequently you should post to gain the most engagement.
Now that you understand some of the strategy behind your social videos, it’s time to craft some ideas to set your content apart. Start with these popular and trending ways to differentiate your social content:
- 360 video tours
- Live videos
- Human interest stories
- Ties to pop culture
A video meant for your social media needs to operate by its own rules, but in the end, it could deliver the biggest gains for your investment.
Exploit the medium to its fullest potential and you may get as addicted to marketing on it as a consumer is to scrolling.
This chapter on video covered general tips for harnessing this important marketing medium, including how to shoot a video and put it in front your customers for the best engagement.
Strategies have been provided to give you a head start across various platforms, along with ideas provided for inspiration.
Videos are taking off like no other content, and there’s no sign of this tool slowing down. You don’t need to be an expert or have high-quality equipment to shoot your video, just a few of the tips and strategy hacks highlighted above.
Before long, you could be capturing sections of your audience who have never engaged before by showing a side of your business they’ve never seen.
About the Author
Erik Bergstrom, Senior Content Coordinator at Outsell
Erik Bergstrom has a background in both technical and creative writing and has published works across a variety of fields, from written work to audio dramas and short films.
Erik is a content coordinator for Outsell, specializing in writing and editing large amounts of automotive content on a monthly basis for dealerships across the country. He enjoys lending a unique eye and ear for both technical and creative writing to maximize a writer’s potential and deliver on-time, quality work for clients.
Senior Content Coordinator