Online Video: Tap a Super Bowl Sized Audience for Pennies

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Featured in Antique Trader Magazine

Do you remember the Super Bowl ad about the antiques dealer? Neither do I. At nearly $3 million for a 30-second ad, you won’t see any small retailers advertising during the Super Bowl. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing an ad for an antiques store on television – ever.

The Super Bowl attracted about 111 million viewers last year. The $3-million-for-30-seconds price tag breaks down to less than 3 cents per viewer. Not bad for a cost-per-impression.

Now hold on to your seats: 111 million viewers a year is a drop in the bucket compared to how many viewers YouTube is pulling in every month. According to a recent study by comScore, 147 million viewers watched 14 billion videos on YouTube in the month of May 2011. Add in the other video hosting sites, and the total views for online video was almost 34 million last May. That’s like having a Super-Bowl-sized audience every day, and the Internet delivers that many viewers 24/7, all year. Even in prime time, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, and all the television networks combined don’t reach that viewership level.

You can reach these viewers, and it won’t cost you $3 million to do so. Know what it costs to put a video up on YouTube? Nothing. Zip. Nada. And, you can make a video for next to nothing. The video creation site that I use charges $30 per year for unlimited videos. I can make a nice video in roughly half an hour using still photographs. Remember, the primary purpose of video is to drive traffic to your website or store, not to sell your item from the video.

When videos are properly tagged and titled, they can show up on the first page of Google in about a day. With proper optimization, a video is 53 times more likely than static content to show up on the first page of Google (Forrester, January 2010). So, you can access a massive audience for pennies a day. Or, you can opt for advertising on the Super Bowl. You choose.

Do you still have reservations about moving into video marketing? Consider three more statistics (I promise I’ll then lay off the statistics):

• Reckitt Benckiser, a consumer packaged goods firm, found that online video delivered a 6 percent increase in their in-store sales (Reckitt Benckiser / Nielsen, May 2010).
• Internet Retailer reports that visitors who view product videos are 85 percent more likely to buy than visitors who do not (Internet Retailer, April 2010).
• Video in email marketing has been shown to increase click-through rates by over 96 percent. (Implix 2010 Email Marketing Trends Survey).

Five ideas to get you started with your first video

  1. Take still photos of your shop, employees and key inventory items and turn them into a video.
  2. Make a series of videos on “points of connoisseurship” for selected inventory items.
  3. Arrange with a local auctioneer to take photos or a video of auction highlights, and share the credit with the auctioneer.
  4. Create your own version of “American Pickers” and shoot some video as you go shop at yard sales.
  5. Shoot video at antique shows, fairs, or other large events.

The important concept is to start getting your videos online. It won’t be long before all your competitors will be doing this, and if you want to build a following you should be an early adopter. Once you have a dozen or so videos you can create your own YouTube channel and build a subscriber list.

If you’d like to script a sales message to promote your shop you will only need six to eight photos with text slides in-between, for a total of 15 slides. Video speeds are adjustable, but in general 15 slides moving within the pre-formatted graphics display will result in a 1-minute 30-second “commercial” for your shop.

Scripting is easy if you follow this format for your text slides; just answer these questions, and your answers become the slide text. Keep the answers short.

  • What is your target looking for? Hint: It’s not “the best antique shop.” It’s a fun afternoon of shopping, or recalling their youth, or some other benefit.
  • Considering answer No. 1, what will the customer actually find at your shop?
  • What’s the No. 1 benefit of shopping in your store?
  • What’s the No. 2 benefit of shopping at your store?
  • What’s the “emotional hook” for the customer? What sort of satisfaction will they receive from shopping in your store?
  • What’s the decision you want them to make? Here’s where you put your “call to action.”
  • Predict the future: “They’ll be glad they came” or “They’ll find the perfect gift” or whatever fulfills the promises made in your presentation.

Be sure to list your contact information in the final text slide, and maybe a Google Map of your location.

When you tag and title your project, use keywords so that Google can find and index the video. Keywords are the words that searchers type into the Google search bar when they’re looking for something. If your title reflects what consumers are typing, then Google will know that your video matches the consumer’s interest and will bring back your video in the search results. You can target the number of consumers that enter a particular keyword by using the Google Keyword Tool.

For example, a recent search of the keyword tool showed that the phrase “antique jewelry” had 74,000 specific searches in one month, whereas the phrase “antiques and collectables” only had only 9,900 specific searches. If your shop carries antique jewelry, choosing the former over the latter will give you a potentially larger audience.

Here are four video creation sites that can process your videos; most of them have simple drag-and-drop features that enable you to make a video without any special equipment or expertise. Some have the capability to add music and text, and provide direct upload links to YouTube. I personally use Animoto and Google Search Stories. Both are easy to use.

You may not become the Martin Scorsese of antiques videos, and it’s unlikely that your videos will attract Super-Bowl-sized audiences. But your mailing list will grow, and you will become somewhat of a local celebrity.

More importantly, your shop and your offerings will be prominently displayed on Google, Bing and Yahoo – that’s got to be good for business.

Previously published in Antique Trader Magazine


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