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Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan – Automotive Digital Marketing

Brian Cox

Brian Cox

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan

 

There’s no doubt that video marketing, in general, has become increasingly important in today’s world. Google has the search market cornered which is why, as marketers, it is important to pay close attention to the changes they make. However, did you know it’s even more important to pay attention to the second largest search engine in the world? You might think that I’m referring to Bing but, in fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube. Thus the importance of video for SEO.

Dealerships have increasingly embraced video in various degrees for years – from simple stitched videos to professionally created live walk-arounds. There’s no doubt that consumers love video. In fact Google’s recent automotive study indicates that over 80 percent of car shoppers will watch a vehicle video and then take immediate action.

The challenges that face car dealerships when it comes to creating videos are the same as they have always been – time and money. There are many solutions that exist for car dealerships in video marketing. I’m fairly certain that you would agree that ANY video is better than no video. And you may even believe that all video is equal. Well, with this blog, I hope to help dispel those erroneous thoughts.

Let’s start with the fact that live video is the most effective (which it is). I don’t think any dealer would deny that, in a perfect world, they would have video walk-arounds for every one of their vehicles. The infrastructure and format of your video is just as, if not more important than the quality of it. Some providers use flash-based video which allows them to offer video services to their dealer clients at a lower price point… and, on the surface, there is no visible difference between a flash video and a real video. In reality, however, there are huge differences.

Flash videos are self-contained videos that require a player (like Adobe Flash Player) or a compatible web browser with a plugin. It wasn’t too long ago that flash video was the de facto standard. Technology, however, has changed. Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet and websites using mobile devices. Guess what’s not compatible with those? You got it, flash video. In fact, in mid-July of this year, Google itself announced that it would start issuing warnings to people attempting to access websites containing flash with the statement “Uses flash. May not work on your device.” Chances are really good that a consumer coming across a website or video that receives this message will probably not continue, but rather seek their answers elsewhere.

Your website will certainly not benefit from video if your audience is not viewing it. In fact, flash video isn’t supported by any Apple device, nor Android versions 4.1 or higher, according to Google. These devices account for a HUGE share of the mobile market. Flash video is also not compatible with some third party inventory sites, and it also has problems with syndication to social networks and other touch points that consumers are on.

Real video, on the other hand, offers a few very important distinctions as web developers gravitate towards such things as HTML5 with mobile capabilities and syndication. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Nearly half of the U.S. population has a mobile phone with Internet access, and one out of five page views on the web happen on a mobile device – a number that is growing every month.” Needless to say, if you are using flash, you are already costing yourself 20 percent of potential traffic.

As a dealer, how do you know what kind of video you have? The answer is if your videos are syndicated across the web, viewable on a mobile device or tablet and the search engines can see them, you are doing the right thing and have real video. If not, you most likely have flash.

One of the largest advantages to real video is semantic search.
Search engines don’t have the capability of indexing flash video. Real video, properly tagged and built using a semantic structure, can be indexed. Not only can they be crawled by search engines, but the search engines will read each video as an individual web page. This increases your page rankings.  Last, but certainly not least, real video has the ability to be syndicated everywhere. All of those touch points that consumers use when vehicle shopping can display your video and increase the reach and impact of your video marketing. Of course more exposure brings more traffic viewing your inventory. And the more traffic your inventory receives, the more leads, conversions and sales you’ll see.

The bottom line is that flash video is a bad solution for video marketers. Flash video may be cheaper than real video, but what are you losing in the end? Just because it’s a shiny object and looks pretty, doesn’t mean that you should be using it. Real video offers businesses the ability to have a bigger footprint with their video marketing. It increases the effective of any marketing and the likelihood that a consumer will want to AND have the ability to watch it. This is the whole exposure aspect of real video plus real syndication. It equals more traffic, which equals more leads. The few dollars you may save by going the flash video route will pale in comparison to the profit you’ll lose from customers who never see your video or visit your dealership.

Google and Apple Catch Up To Ford In Auto Industry Influence – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Google and Apple Join Ford as Key Influencers in the Auto Industry

Ask average consumers or professional marketers who is most influential in the automotive sector and their response would most likely be Scott Monty of Ford or Ralph Paglia from Automotive Marketing Group (AMG).

Alternatively, they may point to popular industry publications such as CAR and DRIVEREdmunds or Auto Trader. Certainly, all are very popular people and media outlets. In fact, a Social Media Today report lists them among the top auto industry influencers on Twitter. However, does social media amplification make one influential? Most social influence scoring platforms use amplification as major metric in identifying influencers but is that enough?

A lot of focus has been directed towards influence marketing this past year by car dealers and other businesses seeking to sway public conversations and advocacy in their favor.

In response, there’s a growing list of social influence platforms and strategies professing to hold the key to identifying and measuring social influence. One of the leaders in this space is Appinions, an opinion-based influence marketing platform that identifies and measures the opinion leaders in various industries that form online conversations around products, brands and businesses.

During the 2013 New York Auto Show, Appinions released a study entitled “Is Tech Swallowing Auto?”, which offers some surprising insights.

The report explores what is shaping influential conversations at the intersection of new vehicle purchasing and technology and identifies the major players in each category. The results confirm what many already know; luxury, safety, design, value and performance are all hot buttons in any discussion around marketing automobiles. What’s surprising is the role that auto technology has played in shaping influence and who is driving that influence.

Apple Catches Up to Ford as Auto Industry Influencer

Apple Computers has made its mark on history as a market disruptor and, thanks to SIRI’s “Eyes Free” mode, it’s continuing that tradition in the auto industry. The report identifies other technology players who are joining the ranks of key influencers. Google, because of Google Maps and the data it collects on driving patterns, has become a major player in generating opinions in this market. As of Dec 2012, Google Maps was the second most popular mobile app, just behind Facebook. Microsoft, thanks to the SYNC technology installed in Ford vehicles, and AT&T with partners GM and OnStar round out the top influencers.

Tech Trumps Performance

Given that these technology companies have become as influential in the auto industry as car manufacturers, it’s no surprise that the topic of auto technology represents the lion’s share of interest in online conversations. Technology represents 35% of the share of influence, followed by performance at 22%, value at 19%, design at 12%, safety at 8% and luxury at 4%.

The Appinions platform and research team identified that fuel economy (44%) and connected cars (32%) were the dominant topics driving opinion and influence with discussions on automotive technologies.

People over Brands

Another interesting insight was how highly GM executives ranked as influencers even though Ford, Toyota, Audi, Google, and Telsa all ranked as more influential brands. Appinions identified that GM’s executives were more outspoken in sharing their opinions publicly, especially on the topic of innovation.
This study highlights the importance of identifying the opinions being shared by people and businesses, and measuring their impact on public conversations. The opinions of these market leaders are generating public dialogue, which creates social proof that impacts the purchase decisions of consumers. Further, the source of those opinions and eventual influence may be generated from unlikely and unexpected sources.

“Clearly, influence has become a powerful currency for brands when properly understood, identified and managed.”
–Sam Fiorella

  • Share your thoughts… Has social influence become a new currency for brands?
  • Are you surprised at Apple and Google’s surge in influencing this market?
  • Or that GM’s executives rank so highly on automotive influence?

Follow Sam Fiorella on Twitter: www.twitter.com/samfiorella

Lifting Service Revenue With Showroom Demos – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Recently passing my hometown fire station, a new billboard caught my attention. “Car Seat Demos” illuminated the dark sky.

My childhood fire station is reaching out to the community to educate drivers about car seats, and dealerships can too!

Winter is an especially critical time for hosting safety demos. Maintenance needs to change as driving conditions and temperatures worsen – and demos give fixed operations staff opportunities to engage with buyers in your area. While these buyers may not need a new car today, if they attend a helpful “how to” session in your showroom, you begin to build brand recognition for upcoming automotive purchases and expand your reach to attract repeat business.

 

In addition to contacting your nearest fire station to run a car seat installation class, here are two other time sensitive ideas to capitalize on during winter months.

 

 

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that car owners check their tire pressure once per month. Have your service manager instruct on how to gauge tire pressure and make sure gauges are available to purchase from your service counter. You can increase the reach of your demo by filming it and uploading to your store’s YouTube channel and website.

 

  • The nights are getting longer, and according to Weather.com, traffic deaths are three times more likely at night. The site also argues that depth perception and color recognition are impaired in the dark.  Your service team can compile a PowerPoint deck to present regarding night driving tips.

 

During my driver’s education course, my instructor emphasized the importance of functioning taillights and head lights, looking to the fog line of the road when an oncoming car is blasting its high beams, keeping a safe following distance, and signaling with plenty of yardage to spare. Other prudent night driving recommendations can be found via AAA and Department of Motor Vehicles. Consider personalizing your presentation by including local gas stations where drivers can go to seek help if needed.

 

Earlier this year, one of the dealerships that I work with in Ohio placed a link to tips for driving in the fall and at night. My Business Development Coordinator has stated that buyers are viewing and have appreciated the information. Take this idea and make it even more powerful by inviting buyers into your store for a formal demo, and then post the content in your digital channels (e.g. website, social media, e-blasts).

 

As stated in our eBook, Multichannel Marketing: Coordinating Existing Media for Maximum Con…, “Aberdeen’s “July 2012 Customer Experience Management: Using the Power of Analytics to Optimize Customer Delight” research, businesses who engaged in multichannel marketing saw growth in key performance improvements across the board, such as: a 6.8% increase in customer retention, a 5.1% increase in customer lifetime value, and a 4.0% increase in customer satisfaction.”

Not only will running a service demo this season get new buyers into your store, but you’ll show them the value of your desire to educate while boosting your service bottom line. Schedule an event today!

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About the Author

Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Cobalt Account Advocate Marissa Dogeagle Smith is an Account Advocate at Cobalt, working primarily with Hyundai and General Motors stores. Marissa and her teammates provide and implement ongoing website optimization strategies that help dealerships distinguish themselves and drive qualified showroom traffic. Marissa is extremely passionate about the value of using website data to formulate and employ powerful strategies. Like many Toyota owners, Marissa learned to drive in a Camry and now owns a Corolla. Marissa holds a Business Administration degree and Marketing Management Certificate from the University of Washington. Feel free to reach out to Marissa directly at msmith@cobalt.com.

You Have A Lot of Work to Do.. – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

 

You Have A Lot of Work to Do..

Last month, my focus for the article was on “why” today’s automotive professional needs to build a personal brand.  Now that I’ve convinced you that it’s an amazing idea that will help you dominate your marketplace, I’m going to go into more detail on how to develop yourself into the recognizable, reliable name that people can count on.

First thing’s first:  GOALS. What are your goals? What are you looking to accomplish with your brand?  Of course you want to sell a lot of cars – there are a million ways to sell a lot of cars without committing to investing a large chunk of your time and money into a personal brand.  For example, my goal is to be the name in my area (target marketplace) that people think of when they hear words like Hyundai, new car, great customer service, educational, quick and hassle-free, car shopping experience, etc.  They have no choice but to think of me.  I want my brand to be stamped into their brain from an exceptional experience that they personally had with me, or someone they know told them that they had with me.  They could have read about great experiences with me on the internet, or social media platforms.  I want my name – my brand to be everywhere that those key topics are discussed.  You with me so far?

Next.  AUDIENCE.  Figure out who and where your audience is.  This is also called your target market place. (our geeky internet terminology)  Where do the people live that you are selling yourself as a brand to?  What are they looking or shopping for?  Who are these people?  What is their age range?  Are they male or female? All of these answers should be readily available to you with little effort.  This should be pretty self explanatory.  If you know your product and know what you are selling then obviously you know who you are selling to.  We’re in the car business people.. our manufacturers spend ridiculous amounts of money and consult experts in this field figuring out the majority of our target marketplace FOR US.  Tap into these resources.   This one is kind of a no-brainer.  In order to sell your brand to the right kind of people you need to know your brand and yourself.

Which brings me to number three.  KNOW WHO YOU ARE. What makes you unique?  What do you bring to the table (or can you bring) that is going to set you apart from the rest of the sales associates in your area?  Lyndon B. Johnson once said “What convinces is conviction.”  You have to believe in yourself, your goals, and most importantly – your product.  You can’t be the milkman delivering pizzas.  BE REAL.  If you’re not driving what you’re selling, I’m not sure who you’re trying to fool.  Wake up.  If you don’t personally want to own what you’re selling buddy  you’re in the wrong business and you definitely can’t be the expert.  If you can ‘t close yourself on a payment that you supposedly can’t afford, how do you ever expect to convince your customers to do the same thing?  If you truly believed inside of you that your product was the best overall value YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY WOULD HAVE ONE IN YOUR GARAGE!  Why are people going to come to you, across town, instead of someone who is right across the street?  You need to know exactly what you are offering.  Sit down and make a list!  What can you consistently deliver over and over again that will set the bar just a little bit higher; however – most importantly- is GENUINE and REAL.

Once you set your goals – know who you are selling to and what you truly are selling – you need to BUILD YOUR PERSONAL VISUAL IDENTITY.  Some of you may refer to this as a logo.  As I mentioned before, logos are not necessarily imperative; however, they are strongly recommended.  What is the first thing that you see in your head when I say “Apple?”  THE LOGO.  If you can successfully and consistently complete the previous steps, then you need a visual aid to add to the value of your consistent and genuine brand name.  Like I said before, KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  What is a symbol of who you are?  It can be simple.  It can be complex.  All that matters is that it represents you and your commitment to being the brand that you have made for yourself.  For example:  Look at my stunningly handsome headshot above.  I wear glasses.  I make them look good.  I have several different shades, shapes, brands, and styles of geeky, thick-framed glasses that are as much a part of me as the service that I offer to my customers.  When anyone sees the logo on my cards, mailers, pens, brochures, websites, stickers, magnets, etc., they always make a comment about how amusingly it reflects who I truly am.  Nobody knows the real you better than you…well, or at least they shouldn’t.  Anyway, the point is:  Spend some time thinking or consulting with others (who know you very well and their opinion is valued) before you decide on a logo – should you decide to embrace this part of your own brand.

Ok, I know this all sounds like  A LOT of work.  Not gonna lie to you – it is.  Keep chasing pavement on that lot if that’s your choice.  If all of this sounds overwhelming, you haven’t seen anything yet.  I’m just getting started!!  We haven’t even touched on how you market this brand that is essentially, basically and most importantly, YOU.

 

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The following list showcases an independently produced and ranked directory of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs selected for recommendation to visit, subscribe, join and follow them in 2013…

When the author (Ron Mays) who assembled and created the ranking for this list of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013 first contacted Ralph Paglia, we did not know what to expect. Ralph provided Ron Mays with the information he requested. When the list was announced and the below Infographic published, all of us associated with the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community were pleasantly surprised to see that the ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 out of 100 sites that were selected. The infographic Ron Mays and the CouponAudit team created to display this ranking of auto industry and car business networking UGC sites is available below.

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

In above infographic, you can view the Top 100 Auto Blogs to follow in 2013. The team at CouponAudit ranked the sites shown according to quality of posts.

Which Presidential Candidate is Right for Automotive Dealerships? – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

The social media sites were hot last night during the presidential debate between Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and current President Barrack Obama.  Since the election of former President Bill Clinton, our nation has been evenly divided over which man is the best person for the job of leading our nation amongst the world.

As a small business owner who helps companies, specifically automotive dealerships, build their business and “Win Customers for Life”; I have some very strong opinions about who I feel should become the next elected President of the United States of America.  However, I will let the reader research and decide who I am for, and who I am against.  (James Schaefer) This blog is meant to encourage voter participation and look at one philosophical point of view of each candidate and who is the best person for business.

I will try to take a simple common sense approach and put forth the facts as if I were hiring for an executive position within my own company.  This essentially is what Americans will be doing in November when they go to the polls.  However, just like in the real world; some people would not make good business owners or managers, and some people need to reevaluate whether they are making the right decisions when they vote.  Now remember, I am writing this blog about one of the many issues that is very important to me and my company.  I am not writing this issue concerning healthcare, defense, or government sponsored programs.  Therefore, a truly informed voter should look at all of the issues individually and way them to how their interest would be affected by the outcome of this year’s election.

Dealer Marketing Magazine and Automotive Digital Marketing Form Partnership

“We are proud to be associated with the ADM community,” says Brett Stevenson, Publisher of Dealer Marketing Magazine. “There are a number of social networks out there for auto dealers, but this is the Granddaddy. They have a large influence in the auto industry and have always helped dealers learn from one another.”

Source:  Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.