Has anyone perfected video emails?
Are you interested in finding a well balanced system that includes content and the lead management tools needed in an integrated package for video email responses and marketing campaigns?
There are several well known Vehicle Inventory (pan and zoom) or custom made video providers (see DriveTheBest.com) selling various “Video Marketing” packages to dealers, but do they offer the "complete package" that dealers REALLY need?
Should dealers use canned multimedia messages?
Is it effective to have custom produced videos featuring each salesperson?
What about using inexpensive equipment and free online hosting to generate freshly recorded video responses that include the salesperson addressing the customer by name in response to every inquiry?
Is it effective to use repurposed TV commercials?
What are some of the ways to leverage increased consumer bandwidth and their seemingly insatiable appetite for video content played on their computers?
Jeremy’s Forum post was one of those where I wanted to answer with the description of a product that the company I work for (ADP Dealer Services) has been providing to dealers for about 5 years. A multimedia presentation system that relies on email distribution and which has been adjusted, tweaked and updated to the point where it is bullet proof from a technical quality perspective... However, it does face one technical challenge that effects all dealership email marketing that is sent from the dealership itself... A challenge that is both hidden and most likely not even known by the people running the dealership's email marketing systems. Yet, this same challenge can be easily resolved to a degree, or mitigated by combining the Buzzmail technical competency with another email based solution that has overcome the challenge of delivery into each customer's inbox.
Before ADP Dealer Services bought BZ Results in early 2006 (3 years ago) the original BZ Productions product development team created what has been sold to many dealerships as the "Buzzmail System". When I came on board with ADP Dealer Services April 1, 2007 I had been using BZ Results while working at Courtesy Chevrolet for about 2 years. I had not chosen BZ Results, and in fact had purchased Reynolds Web Solutions and Cobalt Group web sites during my first few months at Courtesy to implement strategic capabilities that I had believed were not available at the cost point I needed from BZ Results. After starting at Courtesy Chevrolet I quickly realized how much the owners liked BZ Results and that although I felt the monthly payments were too high, the dealer had renewed a 3 year contract the month before I started. So, I set about doing what I still advise Internet Directors in similar situations to do... Find out what was included in the cost of the contract and exploit the supplier as much as possible for benefits to the dealership.
One of the features I discovered was the BZ Results Buzzmail system, which had become the source of about 25% of all the leads the dealership received from their BZ Results website, which I figured out by looking at the reports in Omniture for Referring Domains by Web Forms Submitted (leads). I later learned that the phone call volume generated by these Buzzmails was about 500% of the leads submitted, but that's a whole other story. So, anyways, I began to investigate what the heck these Buzzmails were and how they worked because I wanted to find a way to leverage them for an even higher level of sales results for the dealership, possibly utilizing them in ways the BZ Results had never considered. And that is when I discovered that the most effective Buzzmails were the ones that had been set up within Courtesy Chevrolet's BuzzTrack Lead Management/CRM system to go out automatically as the Internet Sales Specialists changed the status of the original lead, or the system changed the status based on actions taken, or not taken by the ISS's.
When I studied these automated Buzzmails, I discovered that they were all based on animation, multimedia presentations including video and animated instructions and guidance to the consumer on a variety of topics including how to configure a car for the best value and customer needs, conventional financing versus leasing, how to get the best deals on car insurance, why a 1 year old used car can be a great alternative to brand new, when to consider a service contract, how to get the best price, how to use the dealership's web site, and many more... Again, the Buzzmail Video email that was sent was determined by the stage of the buying process the customer was in... Sold customers continue receiving these multimedia emails for up to 5 years after their purchase with messages starting out explaining the value of using the dealership's service department, coupons for after sale accessory purchases, and then leading up to why the customer will get the highest trade-in value by bringing their car or truck back to the store where they purchased it.
I was struck by the multimedia intensity of each Buzzmail and wondered how they could get into consumer inboxes without clogging up the customer's email download pipe, and/or being filtered out by Spam Filters... That's when I learned that the Buzzmails were actually templates that used an HTML loading of an image that was basically a screen shot of the multimedia based menu, which opened up a web site in the customer's web browser that only THEN triggered the start of the video... It was a Eureka moment for me, because as anyone reading this knows, I am the King of Microsites! Just go to www.MicrositeKing.com to find out...
Anyways, once I discovered that the "Secret Sauce" in Buzzmails was that they were actually cleverly constructed multimedia web pages, I then knew how to solve another problem... Blacklisting of our email server because like most stores we had sent out enough broadcast emails to have been picked up by several ISP's as a source of spam and getting off those Blacklists from Spamhaus and others like them was next to impossible... We had been using a White Listed monthly eNewsletter service. Although not as effective as the customized Buzzmails sent to just the right customers at the right time in their ownership or buying cycle, with just the perfect multimedia message for their situation, placing links to the Buzzmail Microsites in our eNewsletter allowed us to take an element from what was essentially a pre-built and custom configured video email service and extend those capabilities to enhance our white listed eNewsletter and get the video email content to more customers. I would like to think it was sheer genius based on the volume of leads and sales that resulted...
By the way, the most effective use of the Buzzmail multimedia emails was when they were sent to customers who had submitted leads through one of our 3rd party lead suppliers and who had never been to the dealership's web site. When they received their automated multimedia emails, they would click on one of the Microsite’s links and then be brought into our main web site, which they had never been to before. We saw this in the high volume of additional leads that came into our BuzzTrack lead management system from customers who had previously submitted leads from source like Dealix, Autobytel, AutoUSA, Cars.com Newleads plus and others.
Shown below are several examples of what some Buzzmails look like, and I have linked each image to open a new window or tab with the corresponding multimedia presentation Microsite that supports each them. This allows you to see and hear the multimedia presentations... Make sure your speakers are turned on!
The first three are based on multimedia email campaigns for ADP Digital Advertising and BZ Results. The very first one is the Buzzmail I had our guys create to send to our existing ADP Digital Marketing dealership customers when we launched the ADP Digital Advertising solutions:
Here's what a Buzzmail looks like in the customer's email application, in this case I opened one up in Outlook that was sent to me by Sanderson Ford in Glendale, AZ. When you click on it, a new window opens to play the Multimedia (or Video) email, just like it would for the customer:
Here's an example of a Buy versus Lease Multimedia presentation from a Sanderson Ford email... The email is shown as it appears in Outlook, when you click on the image below, it opens the multimedia presentation just like it does for the customer:
The Buzzmail below, as it appears in a customer's email application, is a different multimedia tutorial regarding Financing than the one above. Click on the image to pen the multimedia presentation in a new window:
The Buzzmail below invites the customer to learn how car dealers appraise trade-ins, and where dealers "get that number". Go ahead and click on the image below to open the same multimedia presentation that the consumer sees:
In another variation of Videos being used to engage customers via email, the screen shot of an email I received below from Courtesy Chevrolet in San Diego, CA shows a link inviting the customer to see the 2008 Chevy Malibu Video... This points to a Microsite at www.2008ChevyMalibuSD.com that Alvin Newton built and embedded the GM official Malibu Video into from GM's YouTube Channel... Click on the image below to open up a new browser window that shows a great example of using the OEM supplied creative and video to generate marketing activities without increasing expenses by anything more than monthly chump change!
All of the Buzzmails shown above, as well as the dozens of others that come stock with their own Microsites can easily be videos instead of multimedia presentations. The Buzzmail multimedia Virtual Test Drive web pages also serve well as online advertising landing page "Microsites" when featuring a specific model in an advertisement. The image below is from a Sanderson Ford Buzzmail Multimedia email and also serves as the 2009 Ford F-150 Microsite for online Search and Display Advertising campaigns... Click on any of the Buzzmail links to open up a new window with the multimedia presentation:
I apologize for the length of this comment... I just got carried away in preparing it. I think what is important to consider when developing an automotive digital marketing strategy that will include online videos and email videos, that you should look at how you will leverage your various multimedia assets in multiple ways... Just like the way Alvin Newton used Microsites to embed videos he got from the OEM and THEN featured those videos in his email templates and broadcast emails to entice consumers to watch the video by clicking on the links... Or, the way the BZ Results Virtual Test Drives are created specifically to be used in automated email campaigns and by the dealer in their email responses to new leads... Or, as a landing page Microsite for model specific advertising campaigns... These are all ways to extend the investment of time and money into creating, placing and marketing the dealership using videos across multiple customer engagement models, including email. Now, that's what I call Automotive Digital Marketing Synergy!
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