The average consumer is bombarded with approximately 5,000 advertisements a day. These ads hit consumers from every angle, whether it’s online, in their car, at work, eating in a restaurant, or simply relaxing at home in front of the TV.
Advertisers are coming up with different strategies daily on how they can make their product stand out. It’s no different with advertising in the automotive retail industry. Car dealers are constantly trying to set themselves apart from their competitors, but the advertising message most dealerships are sharing is the exact same message as their competitors’. That message contains the same three points:
OUR DEALERSHIP HAS THE LOWEST PRICES
OUR DEALERSHIP HAS THE MOST INVENTORY
OUR DEALERSHIP IS TRUSTWORTHY AND WON’T SCREW YOU OVER
This message may have worked 30 years ago, when advertising platforms generally consisted of radio, TV, and print, but it doesn’t cut it today. Traditional advertising was sold on the foundation of “Top of Mind Awareness,” meaning, for example, that your dealership would come to mind first when consumers think of a car dealership.
In the past, the most “top of mind” dealership was generally the one that spent the most advertising dollars. Today, however, competitiveness for the distinction has increased, and the time spent at the top of consumers’ minds is merely seconds, compared to days in the past, due to all the ways consumers are exposed to advertising.
So, the questions dealerships should be asking themselves are:
What message can my dealership advertise that is different than my competitors’? What type of content should I use to broadcast that message? What platform should I use?
Dealerships can set themselves apart from their competitors – and at the same time grow an emotional connection with consumers – with video. When someone says “video” in the automotive retail industry, the first thing we think of is either walk-around videos of inventory or salespeople walking the lot telling their Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube followers about the great deal they can get them on a car. But what if we looked at video in a different way? In a way that promotes the people and culture of your dealership instead of a sell, sell, sell strategy?
Here are three video strategy ideas dealerships can implement now to start growing a top-of-mind awareness with consumers as well as an emotional connection.
Charities your employees care about, not just the charities your dealership supports.
I would bet that every single employee at your dealership has a passion for a particular charity or nonprofit organization. Most people support a cause because it has touched their personal life somehow.
Interviewing an employee about a cause they are passionate about shows the human side of your dealership and promotes a charity or nonprofit you might never have thought about bringing awareness to in the first place. Simply record an employee talking about their passion and upload on your dealership’s digital platforms, tagging that organization. You can even create an area – the “About Us” section on your website is a great place to start – to display these videos with short write ups and links to the organization.
Behind the scenes.
Let’s face it. Most people are at least somewhat intimidated when they go to a dealership to buy a car. It’s like walking into a party where you know absolutely no one, but at the end of the party someone is going to take $30K of your money.
When a consumer googles your dealership, we know they’re looking for reviews, but what if they also came across videos showing fun behind-the-scenes footage of your employees? Consider having the jokester of your dealership in short videos telling his or her favorite clean jokes. Or make videos of that service tech who has an amazing voice and loves to sing while he works.
Showing the personalities of your employees can really go a long way when building trust with consumers before they even set foot in your dealership.
Vehicle tips, tricks, & best practices.
It is possible to promote a vehicle without selling it? Walk-arounds are popular, but what if you addressed each feature of the vehicle separately?
Explain details of the sound system. Show off the cargo space in an SUV and fit different loads inside: lawn mower, chair, or fit as many employees in the cargo area as you can – a lot like they did with phone booths back in the ’60s. Make it fun and educational. Maintenance best practices from a service tech make for great content as well.
Show off the knowledge of your employees and build trust with consumers.
When it comes to separating your dealership from your competitors, your employees are the key. People buy from people, so make people want to buy from your people.
Video is easy. The strategies I shared can be shot with a cell phone. The point is to start highlighting your employees in your digital advertising today. Be original, be unique, be real.