Dealer Video Marketing Profile—Smart Motors


Video key on the computer keyboard

For this month’s dealer video marketing profile, I interviewed Tony Thorstad, internet sales director for the Smart Motors, a 105 year old, family-operated dealer located in Madison, WI, home of the Badgers; on Wisconsin! Smart Motors is Wisconsin’s #1 Volume Toyota/Scion Dealer. Tony’s automotive career started back in 1988 in Fremont CA. Below is a transcript of our conversation:

AJ-Can you give us a brief overview of your basic marketing strategy and

TT-We focus on two primary strategies:

1. Community and social events: we host a lot of events in house. Our events cover the gamut from Susan G. Koman dinners, Boy Scouts Pinewood Derbies, hosted the breaking of a Guinness World Record, Jungle Jack Hanna brought his menagerie in for a Zoo fund raiser, and of course we never miss a parade.

2. Online marketing including SEO, SEM, Video SEO, website plug-ins, third-party sites, and paid leads; less than 10% of our advertising goes to traditional media (print, radio, TV).

Tony Thorstad, internet sales director for the Smart Motors

AJ-Why is it important for a dealership to have Video SEO as part of an overall marketing strategy?

TS-More is better; Video SEO is a great branding tool. We want to be everywhere a shopper is looking online. We use it for a variety of strategies; including conquest (brand), service, parts and certified used. We partner with vendors who are the best of the best using automated systems. In addition, we produce videos in house.

AJ-Can you explain what Video SEO does for your dealership?

TS-It keeps us top of mind and is somewhat measurable. Ultimately driving the prospect from the click to our bricks and has completely replaced our billboard advertising.

AJ-How has a Video SEO strategy impacted your websites’ visibility on search engines?

TS-As a result [of Video SEO] a person shopping online for anything Toyota/Scion sales, service, parts, or body shop, we are on their screen page one every time.

AJ-How do you measure the effectiveness of your Video SEO strategy?

TS-Video views and views per video.

AJ-Lastly, when did your dealerships implement a Video SEO strategy and what is the average increase your group’s stores have seen in sales/market share since implementing this strategy into your overall marketing plan?



TS-We first implemented Video SEO in 2010. Since then we have been the number one Toyota Volume Dealership in Wisconsin. Just last year we had ten record used car months including four all-time records, Our service department is booked solid producing on average over 6300 RO’s per month. Our parts and at the body shop(s) performance is through the roof.

Start using video marketing today to help your dealership gain additional exposure online to in-market automotive buyers.

AJ LeBlanc is the managing partner of Car-mercial.com and Carbuyersengine.com. Email aleblanc@dealermark.com for more information.

Michael Bowen

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