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Aug. 9, 2010 – A different approach to vehicle marketing

August 9, 2010
Filed under Features

Due to the success of its online marketing, Skagit Powersports stopped all its TV advertising and does very little radio.

Among the Washington state dealership’s online promotional avenues, videos have done exceptionally well in attracting additional floor and Web site traffic, sales, testimonials and credibility for the business.

The videos, however, are not just being thrown up on YouTube or another video sharing site. They’re embedded into Skagit Powersports Web site through a layered Web site. What that means is the dealership had another Web site built specifically for the videos, but it matches the look and feel of its regular Web site, says Kevin Conner, owner of Vidfluence, provider of sales and marketing video platforms.

“The dealership doesn’t have to forgo their existing Web site,” he said. “We marry the look and feel of their existing site and build an additional video site. To the visitor, it’s one site.”

On Skagitpowersports.com, there’s a video page that hosts some of the videos, including the most recent, most views and unit walk arounds.

To see all the videos, there’s a large, clickable button on Skagit Powersports’ homepage that reads, “Check out our new video site. Click here now.”

When clicked, it takes the visitor to Skagit Powersports’ complete video library, www.skagitpowersports.com/videolibrary.asp.

Types of videos

Skagit Powersports’ Web site carries different types of videos, including dealership and racetrack tours.

“We have tours of every race track in the Northwest,” said Bill Cameron, owner of Skagit Powersports. “You can go (to the road racing section of the Web site) and see what the track is like before you go there.”

The track tours are fairly labor-intensive, Cameron says, but right now, it doesn’t matter because sales have slowed way down for the dealership.

“It’s tremendously labor intense,” he said, referring to the track tour videos, “but if you’re not sitting in your chair all gloomy and depressed (because of decreased sales), you really have time. We’re not busy selling 16 bikes in a day; now we’re selling two.”

Less time consuming and more beneficial in terms of sales are walk-arounds of used and new units.

“Walk-arounds take a couple minutes to film. That’s really effective,” Cameron said. “The e-mails and calls come in, in 24 hours. It’s unbelievable, and it’s free.”

Skagit Powersports and Cameron have been “a dualing crown in using video to get sales,” said Conner.

“We’ve had some astonishing results. Once Bill did a video walk-around of 17 used dirt bikes that he had in stock for nine months gathering dust,” Conner continued. “He put up a short video on each bike. He blew out 14 of the 17 bikes in a week.”

The videos typically get a couple hundred views, says Cameron. The current most viewed video has nearly 350 views.

Through Vidfluence, the videos also are pushed out to other video-sharing sites, like YouTube and Daily Motion, says Conner.

“We don’t think for a second anyone is going to be on YouTube or Daily Motion trying to buy a bike,” he said, “but it’s sure going to help them in their buying decision.”

$150 worth of equipment

With the quality of flip cams, a $150 camera does the job, says Cameron.

“We’re using all kind of inexpensive stuff,” he said. “The new HD equipment is really good quality. They’re just like TV.”

There are five cameras at Skagit Powersports, including two in sales, two in parts and one in service.

“That way you can make something on a whim. If it’s any good, you can post it. If not, you can throw it away,” Cameron said. “With a push of a button you plug it into the computer, and it downloads the video. It’s handy.”

Some of the videos are edited, but it’s not necessary, says Conner.

“About 80 percent of all videos are a one-take flip cam with no editing,” he said.

Another expense is time, says Cameron. A while back even though his staff had the cameras, they weren’t doing much with them because it interfered with them making money.

“I took my F&I manager and I said, ‘What if I supplement your income and I pay you to be the Web site manager?’ Now I pay him on top of F&I sales. It’s slow enough where he can spend a couple hours doing video stuff. It’s an expense, but so are phone books and radio ads.”

The dealership also gets quite a few videos from its customers. A couple years ago, Skagit Powersports hosted a film festival.

“We had people submit videos from across the world,” said Cameron. “We voted on the winners and gave away prizes.”

For events like that, the Vidfluence software allows the user to determine where it appears on the Web site, when it should be playing and when it should be deleted.

New videos go up nearly every day, says Cameron, and it’s a promotional avenue he plans to continue. PSB

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