The automotive industry has evolved rapidly over the past decade. It is being shaped by the new generation of car-buyers; those brought up on social media and online shopping who are looking to make their car buying process as contactless as possible. With digital now more of a necessity than a choice, automotive brands and dealerships must commit to introducing and integrating digital technologies and strategies into their business.
It isn’t a secret that the Automotive industry is one of the most stubborn around. However, with the current pandemic, those that have been sticking their heels in the ground for already too long finally need to implement a completely contactless process or face going out of business.
Within the new guidelines for business’ that were released on Monday, it stated; ‘Car showrooms will not be allowed to reopen before June 1st.’ However, click-and-collect services for retail businesses WILL BE allowed’. Test drives are also now possible, since the DVLA confirmed that potential buyers can take solo test drives of cars to adhere to social distancing guidelines providing the car has trade plates on or the correct insurance is in place.
Even before these limitations were put in place a vast majority of customers were doing their research online before ever stepping foot in a dealership. According to Google, 95% of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information and it takes 65% of buyers just 3 weeks to research online and that is only going to have increased over the recent weeks.
When it comes to what content they consume, video research is seen as the most popular and effective format for encouraging brand consideration. Views on YouTube of test drives, features, and options, and walk-throughs have doubled in the past year, with 69% of people who used YouTube as part of their car buying process were influenced by what they watched.
Advertising doesn’t come cheap but most small YouTubers (under 20K subscribers) do not charge to create a video, meaning minus the insurance costs and perhaps a little fuel and an instant coffee (if you’re feeling generous), it’s FREE! With that in mind dealers must be tripping over one and other to use automotive YouTubers right? Wrong. In-fact, having battled my way through the digital automotive industry for the past year I have found quite the opposite. The past year I have left a trail of ignored emails and countless failed dealer visits. So, what is holding dealers back?
Having previously worked in sales I have been on the other side of the desk and know that too often enough dealerships are focused on what is going on inside the dealership. Making sure that every customer is dealt and focussing solely on what is happening inside of the showroom. But, with the previous statistics in mind how far are they truly going to reach those 95% of potential buyers currently researching at home? I would like to just take a moment, for any sceptical dealers reading this to counter-argue some top concerns that I have come up against.
‘I don’t want someone test driving a car with no direct sale.’
It is a fact that not every car review that you have conducted will result in a sale, at least not that you know about. Yet, how many times has a customer walked in and said; ‘I’m here because I saw an advert on a billboard’ and dealers continue to spend hundreds of thousands on this type of marketing. Despite dealers’ best efforts at qualifying customers, consumers test drive cars daily and do not end up purchasing the car. Having a small YouTuber review your car could result in impacting 500-100,000 potential customers as well as chatting about your car and dealership to all of their friends and family, and that in my opinion is priceless. It is also to be noted that not all videos will bring in thousands of views. YouTube is very unpredictable and sometimes taking chances and experimenting in showcasing different cars in videos may pay off. For example; not long into my journey on YouTube (when I only has a few hundred subscribers), I reviewed a Suzuki Jimny leant to me by Quest motor group in Maldon. Clearly it was what customers were searching for and the video now has 30,000 views.
‘I don’t want someone abusing my cars.’
It takes 10 minutes to check if a YouTuber is the right fit for your company. Just watching a few of their videos will give you an idea of the content they are creating. It takes on average 2-6 hours to create a review and all of this time will be spent making sure they have a video that they want you and their viewers to love. It is extremely unlikely that they are going to spend this precious time abusing your car and risking the chance of not working together again. On top of all of this; content creators have to adhere to the same rules as a regular test drive; taking on responsibility for any fines and facing excess for any damage caused.
‘I don’t want them to say negative things about my car.’
It is a fact that customers trust a balanced review more than one that is overwhelmingly positive, this being said you do have an element of control over the content that is produced. You are well within your rights to agree with the creator that you would like to see the video before it goes live. Most of the time it is likely they will pick up on things that are known online already and as long as they have balanced it out with plenty of positives it is not going to put any potential customers off.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with how YouTube works you may be wondering, ‘what is the catch?’ Because after all, why would someone want to spend 12 hours of their time (average 6 hours filming and 6 hours editing) for free? Well, in the wonderful world of YouTube once you reach 1 thousand subscribers you begin to make a small amount of money from adverts on your videos. More content = more money. Building a good relationship with your local YouTuber could end up very lucrative for you both. Times were already changing but with everyone know advised to stay home unless absolutely necessary it is important to start trying different forms of sales and marketing to reach your customers.
I hope that after reading this it has shifted your mind towards working with small YouTubers, perhaps you will consider replying to that email and inviting them in for a chat.
Below I have created a list of small YouTubers who do not charge to create content.
Natisha Chatten from Auto Social UK – New car videos based in Essex and Suffolk
Sam Worth from Worthreviewing – New and used videos based in Essex
Jack Irwin from Life In Motion – New and used reviews based in Berkshire
Dylan Freeburn from Dylans Car Reviews – New and used reviews based in Glasgow
Steph from Idriveaclassic – Classic car videos based near Leeds