In our articles, we spend a considerable amount of time talking about the value of in-market buyers when they are on your VDP. However, that is only half the battle. If your VDP isn't enticing or engaging enough, then bringing them to your VDP may not result in as many conversions as it could. It's time to use mobile, live-streaming video to up your VDP visitor engagement game.
One of the most engaging mediums in the auto industry is videos. Yes, plenty of you have shot many of these before, but I'm sure not many of you have used interactive live streaming technologies to showcase your cars.
According to Google's research, Test Drives, Features & Options and Walkthroughs are the big three when it comes to what types of produced videos in-market buyers are watching. Time spent watching these videos increased 2x in the last year. If these consumers are spending twice as much time watching videos, then imagine how engaged they would be with your sales team live, on-demand and going from watching to buying right from their device!
Mobile should never be discounted either when deciding on what avenues to explore when trying to boost engagement. With the population of the United States of America at 322.9 Million as of January 2016 there is an astounding 342.4 Million registered mobile connections (106% of Population). What that should be telling you is, if you want to reach people you must also learn to communicate effectively with them on their smartphones.
Armed with these statistics, let's take a look at the apps that could make live broadcasting this type of vehicle viewing possible for your dealership and with a simple embedded button on your VDP (like the examples below), it will be easy to have your buyers contact your dealership or sales team directly.
Some of the Apps to get you Live Broadcasting
Skype (Personal or For Business):
Let's start with the very familiar face of good old Skype. Not only is Skype a great conferencing tool for meetings, interviews and keeping in touch with the family but it could also be just the familiar tool you want for taking an in-market buyer through a tour around the car of their dreams.
The benefit of Skype is its familiarity. Everyone knows Skype. Also, it's a private, closed network that only the people with your Skype profile name and connection can message or video chat with you. Skype is an ideal solution if you aren't super comfortable just putting your dealership out there to broadcast to the world.
The drawback to Skype is that it's a closed network. Before you can talk to people, they have to be a contact, which is prohibitive if you're trying to bring in new buyers. Also, you can't capture a Skype chat and post it for future playback. Maybe you don't want to do the walk-through of the new cars more than a few times. Perhaps your potential buyer would just rather watch a playback at 3:00 AM. Regardless, the ability to capture a feed and post it for future is great, but not a fundamental feature of Skype.
There are more modern, more social and more feature rich apps out there than this old standard. Since Skype has been around for many years and was the first app of its' type, it had to be included as an option for connecting your dealership to mobile video savvy users.
Periscope is the new kid on the block, but this kid has already chased some of its' predecessors out of town. Periscope is owned, developed and supported by Twitter. That's right! If you can't get the rant out in 140-characters or less, Twitter has now given you the ability to make your personal TV station.
Now if all that just sounds like a lot of noise further clouding up the interweb, take a close look at how some dealerships are already taking advantage of Periscope's abilities. Some dealerships have already set up their channels for launch events and send out automatic alerts to their "followers" so they can follow along via their smartphones, tablets or even desktops. Their followers can also ask questions and whoever is running the feed can answer back. The viewers can express likes or loves for a given topic, and it's all stored on the server for 48 hours for anyone that missed it.
The best part for a dealership, if they did a great walk through or just wanted to make a video, the entire broadcast can be saved and repurposed so anyone can download it and watch later.
Some dealers have even taken it a step further and had each of their sales team start a channel to offer walk-throughs, test drives and consultations with interested buyers from a button click on their website.
Now picture your sales team getting a buzz on their smartphone, engaging with a buyer they've never met before, taking them for a tour of the car they were interested in all before the customer even arrives at the dealership.
Obviously, there will be cons to every tool. Video streaming uses a lot of data on a network for starters. Another drawback initially is how "social networking" apps operate, well, socially. The networks may be full of not-automobile dealership related content. Avoid this noise by providing your potential buyers a direct link to your page, channel or sales team. Lastly, is where to start (in selecting broadcasting apps) and how to do this right.
While this one may look like something your pre-teen kids would use, don't let its looks fool you. Streamago is a full featured broadcast platform that can incorporate well into your business.
Not only can you choose between Public and Private casting but you can select the video quality as well. Like many social apps, there are smart ways to interact without saying a word such as sending hearts and candies to the broadcaster as well as typical text chat over the video window.
The big plus for apps like this is you can share your broadcasts over your pre-existing social channels like Twitter and Facebook or popular chat applications like What's App.
Although not one of the bigger names, it's available for both Android and iOS so regardless of your smartphone of choice, you can run the application.
Another app to consider is Stre.am because it's available for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
Stre.am is one of those great tools that the developers decided not to limit themselves as far as the platform. Not only can you run this from a smartphone but you can also stream live footage from your GoPro Hero4! If you reside in an area where having a phone in your hand while driving a car can net you $200+ fine, then maybe having an app that can stream a test drive from a dash mounted GoPro is just the thing your dealership needs!
Another nice feature is the ability to save your streams to something called a Reel, which you can download at a later time and share on your Facebook business page, Twitter account or website.
As always, there are typical downfalls. With a little diligence, you can avoid them and incorporate new technology into your dealership's engagement arsenal.
The big drawback for any of the "social networking" video applications is there is a lot of unrelated content on these networks. With some planning and marketing your particular channel to your prospective buyers, they can avoid a lot of this content.
A huge advantage to these apps is the initial cost; the apps are free. Your availability can be promoted through channels your dealership already has a profile on, like Twitter and Facebook. Finally, not a lot of dealerships are using these tools yet which could make you the pioneer in your community.
We've gone over just a few of the many apps for video out there. The ones I've covered are for streaming live video broadcasts, running an interactive Q&A, taking a buyer for a walkthrough or test drive. Are these apps appropriate for filming a commercial or podcast/ video blog? No, not really. But, consider these apps like a face-to-face meeting with a customer at your dealership.
As a lot of these tools become more business specific, your dealership will already be ahead of the curve having had a ton of experience implementing the new tools. Your experiences may be the benchmark being quoted in future articles.Let us know what your favorite streaming tools are and how you plan on incorporating them into your dealership's in-market, buyer engagement strategy.