A powerful way to sell your used car is to create a simple video "walkaround" of your vehicle. It's what car salesmen do with potential buyers: walk them around a vehicle as they point out various features and options. You then post your video on YouTube, a site that's visited by millions of viewers each day.
Now that most digital cameras can record video, and you have a free, heavily trafficked place to upload videos, it makes sense to have a video ad in addition to an online classified. Put the video link in the classified ad and the classified link in the video to reach different types of buyers.
A video ad gives shoppers the sense that they are standing beside your car, listening to you describe the key features and options while they enjoy total anonymity and no risk. They don't have to drive anywhere to see the car you're selling and have no sense of obligation about purchasing it. Clicking on a video link is a lot easier than picking up the phone and calling a seller they don't know.
According to Dealer.com, 59 percent of shoppers reported that they would choose a dealership with video product descriptions over one without, if they were to find similar vehicles on both sites. Meanwhile, a YouTube spokesperson said that online video ads are growing, pointing to the fact that a search for the term "used cars" produces 256,000 hits on the site.
If video advertising works for car dealers, it can — with a little modification — work for you. All you need is an Internet connection and a camera that digitally records video.
Here are some tips on creating your ad:
- Park your car in an attractive location that's free of noise or traffic.
- Briefly rehearse what you want to show and say in the video.
- Start your walkaround facing the front left headlight and move clockwise around the vehicle.
- Provide basic information, including the vehicle's year, make, model, approximate mileage and any special features or damage.
- Don't try to hype the car in your narration, so shoppers know they won't be dealing with a high-pressure seller and will feel more comfortable calling you.
- Keep the video short — under 2 minutes — and create one continuous take to avoid the need for editing.
To improve the quality of the video:
- Shoot several versions and review them all to see which is best.
- If possible, record the video just before sundown, when there are no shadows and the light is most attractive.
- Watch out for harsh reflections from the car's chrome, which will streak the video.
- Try to keep your shadow and reflection out of the shot.
- Don't mention price in the video, since that might be changing. You don't want to have to re-record the video.
Once you're satisfied with your video, post it on YouTube first. (If you've never uploaded to YouTube before and need help, watch the channel's YouTube 101 video, How To Upload.) Make sure to include appropriate keywords, such as year, make and model, for easy searching.
Then, create a free classified listing on Craigslist or eBay Motors and link to your video ad. (Unfortunately, AutoTrader, which is an effective site for selling a car, does not permit actual links to be included in its ads.) Remember that most of your traffic will come from the classified ad, rather than the video, so it's best to list your contact information there. And it's a good idea to shoot close-up still photos of the vehicle's details and put these into your classified ad. That will whet buyers' appetites for your video.
Once all the ads are posted, check back every day and watch the number of views grow as more shoppers watch your video. And don't forget to take down the video once you've sold the car.
To find a dealership that knows how to treat shoppers right, please visit Edmunds.com's Dealer Ratings and Reviews.