Let's be honest, there was never going to be a good time for a global pandemic. But, we can all agree that a pandemic in 2020 is easier to live through than a pandemic in 1920.
This is largely thanks to the power of the Internet. Due to the constantly connected state of life in the modern world, many of us are talking to our friends and families through online communication and video calls nearly as frequently as before the pandemic. Sure, the experience of a chat over FaceTime is not "the same" as brunch and a coffee with our friends at the local Biggby, but the end result is similar. We're communicating, being social, and fulfilling our basic human needs in a way that is something of a compromise, but is temporary and decidedly better than the alternative of simply cancelling. This alternative seems to be the route favored by many businesses.
Indeed, despite the opportunities made availible to many regular people, American businesses have been slow to utilize this power and we've seen many events cancelled and businesses simply accepting dwindling sales and profits when utilizing video and online services could have been an easy way to avoid these problems. Let's talk about video during COVID-19, and how businesses should be utilizing it to maximize outreach and sales during this unprecedented global pandemic.
Selling Vehicles (and Any Other Product) During the Apocalypse
We had an existing relationship with Infiniti of Grand Rapids before the pandemic, and created several videos for them including an product explainer for their extended warranty and some additional work. Before the Michigan stay-ay-home order went into place on March 23rd, they had retained our services to create videos of some of their pre-owned vehicles to post online and draw more attention to their listings.
But as soon as the order came down, the sales manager at the dealership made a decision-- Instead of cutting back on video production, we doubled down and began creating videos for each and every one of the used vehicles that arrived on their lot. This way, they were able to show their cars to any customer without them having to visit the dealership, and the added outreach from the video listings helped to offset the limited work availible from their reduced-size sales staff. Thanks to their adoption of video right away, this dealership didn't experience quite as distinct a drop in pre-owned sales during the shutdown as some other dealerships in the area.
One area that wasn't covered by these used vehicle videos, however, was the brand's vast array of new vehicles that the dealership primarily works to sell. Infiniti of Grand Rapid's approach to new car sales is a very personal one, with indivual members of the sales team personally walking potential customers through all of the specific features and benefits of their cars, and accompanying them on a test-drive to demonstrate those features that are unique to the vehicle. Without customers being able to come in for these detailed and personal test-drives, new vehicle sales slumped. So, we worked with them to create Virtual Test-Drives.
To create these videos, we sat down with members of the Sales team and worked through their typical sales pitch. Together, we defined the key points in their pitches, and adapted it into to an easy-to-consume 3-5 minute video that covers all of the points the sales team would go through in a test-drive, and provide the information in a way that users will be more enthusiastic about consuming as compared to a document with pictures and bullet points or a generic video made by the manufacturer.
The personal aspect of their sales pitches is of huge importance to this dealership, however, and it was important to them that the videos were as personal and unique to their team as any in-person test drive. To accomplish this, we used personal language and featured sales team members throughout the videos, and shot as much as we could on-site in the local dealership that loyal and repeat customers would recognize. Combining this with manufacturer stock footage the dealership was able to procure allowed us to create a video that was both personal and unique to this dealership, featured a wide diversity of shots & footage, all in a turnaround of less than 2 weeks.
While these videos were initially created because of the pandemic, Infiniti of Grand Rapids intends to continue creating videos for all of their used cars, and has already retained our services to create virtual test-drives for the manufacturer's new special edition models.
Pre-owned and new car videos are a very specific example, but the same principal applies to any product any business could try to sell. Even as the local stay-at-home orders begin to roll back, many consumers are hesitant to return to stores and online shopping has surged. Offering an online guided experience to customers (such as the IoGR Virtual Test-Drives) increases engagement and opens your business up to customers who may not yet be comfortable venturing to your brick-and-mortar location. Even if the customers will eventually make their way to your physical store, many people are looking online first, and having an easy to consume video will help you stand out from the sea of online competition.
Live Events & Streaming
Selling products isn't the only thing that can be sustained through video in this trying time, however. Any event that would normally have live attendees and even audience participation can and should continue in an online format. Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference has moved entirely online for 2020, and will be complete with live streaming and engagement between Apple engineers and conference "attendees". And here's a fun fact about the availability of technology in 2020: If Apple can do it, then so can you.
Technology is widely available to stream and broadcast live video online to virtually unlimited attendees, and you can accomplish nearly as mush online as in person. Combine this freely available tech with a videography company that has experience in broadcasting and live event management (Ahem.), then you're in business. Conferences, auctions, presentations, weddings-- anything that you can point a camera at can be moved online with the same results as an in-person event.
Back in March, we announced that we were offering free live ceremony streaming for all of our wedding clients in 2020, and a large number of brides have taken us up on this offer. This has enabled anxious and at-risk family members to still participate without attending the big day in person. Our brides have also told us that the live stream enabled them to invite more people to their big day than they would have been able to do for a fully in-person event. If brides and grooms are able to utilize video to continue to hold their day, and in some cases have an even higher turnout, there's no reason businesses can't do the same for their live events.
Don't Just Accept Lost Business.
The world is in a tough place right now, but that doesn't mean we can't overcome it. A cancelled event is nothing more than a lost opportunity, and just accepting a reduction in sales is simply unacceptable when an alternative is available. Video has been proven time and time again to increase sales and business more than any other marketing tool, and it's highly versatile and customizable to your needs. There is a myriad of possible solutions to all of the seemingly endless business hurdles arising because of COVID-19, you need only a little bit of creativity and an investment of time to find them. Reach out to us today, and we'll work together to find a way video can help your navigate COVID-19.