In the August 2018 issue of the Music & Sound Retailer, I wrote a column called “Make Video Content a Priority Now,” which talked about the value of developing original video content as a marketing tool. That column was one of the most-responded-to columns I’ve ever written, and it’s a topic I have a lot to say about, so I decided some follow-up columns would be a good idea. Consider this a kind of Part Two to that.
Video marketing is the fastest-growing segment of content and the one most likely to engage viewers. If you’re paying attention, and I hope you are, you’ve noticed all of the biggest MI retail companies have been investing deeply in video for years. I know, you may be thinking, “Well if I’m already years behind, what’s the point?” After all, many retailers didn’t start investing time and effort into ecommerce until long after the market was being dominated by the Big Three. And then, let’s face it, many only gave it half an effort. But there’s a really good reason why this is a viable marketing option for small and medium-sized retailers who want to compete with bigger stores: It works.
Video marketing is unique in its ability to reach your audience on a deeper, more thought-out level than almost anything else. It differs from traditional print, or even other forms of online marketing, in that video not only allows you to tell people something, it allows you to show them, and has a far better chance at evoking a reaction with an emotional response attached A video allows you to control the story in its entirety. The setting, the words being said, the lighting, the music and the way it’s put together are up to you.
This is why companies like Reverb are investing so heavily in video content. Reverb was founded in 2013 and has more than 327,000 subscribers on YouTube. It produced a channel full of curated content on every category of gear. I reached out to Heather Farr Edwards, public relations and communications manager at Reverb.com, to find out why video is so important.
“When consumers are searching for musical instruments online and can’t touch or hear the gear firsthand, videos help bridge that gap,” she said. “At Reverb, we use video marketing to not only help buyers make more informed decisions about what they’re purchasing, but also to inspire them to pick up their instruments and try something new. Whether you’re a brand, a manufacturer or a retailer, videos also help you give buyers a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Showing off your unique personality through video is a great way to build relationships and brand loyalty online.”
Showing your personality and building loyalty among consumers is an opportunity not to be missed. Video content is also a great way to drive sales, and essentially evens the playing field for small retailers, as the YouTube and Instagram audiences follow you for your quality, not the size of your business. Alamo Music Center in San Antonio is a great example of an independent music store that’s smartly leveraged video content into sales. The chief architect and most frequent onscreen presence in its videos is Christopher McKee, Alamo’s product marketing specialist.
“Producing review videos on YouTube has allowed us to connect with an audience far beyond our city, furthering our influence, increasing sales and making new friends,” said McKee. “Most of our direct online sales are a result of the videos, so it does make a significant difference.”
Review videos aren’t the only way to engage or attract your customers. Creating video content to highlight the services you offer can give customers and potential customers an inside look at your expertise in other areas, such as repairs.
Ramsay Phillips owns and operates Ramsay Phillips Custom Guitars, a guitar repair service in Dublin, Ireland. Phillips specializes in high-end luthier work. He uses YouTube to showcase his repair and customization services.
“Video marketing has given me a level of street cred and helped me engage with a much wider clientele. It’s enabled me to gain a subconscious level of trust with clients, as they’ve gained insight into the way I work and how I treat their instruments. It’s become an invaluable part of my business model,” said Phillips.
Another way to harness the power of video content is 101-style videos pertaining to your business. Short, to-the-point videos like this can help consumers get the information they need to know in an easy-to-digest way that’s always available, instead of waiting to hand them a paper brochure at a rental meeting or sending one in the mail. I asked Brad Shreve, owner of Larry’s Music Center, about the appeal of using video as a tool to reach consumers. I used to work for Brad and just helped him make a video about his school band instrument rental program.
“Video is ubiquitous, and if all the big brands are using it and you aren’t, you’re missing out. We’re trained to respond to moving objects, and it’s a way to guarantee you’re engaging your customers. You have an opportunity to create a piece of content and deliver it on camera, and to hone your message in a way that’s different from traditional print or other media,” said Shreve.
Video content is a must-have for businesses, whether they be niche repair shops, small independent retailers, rapidly growing sales platforms like Reverb or even manufacturers. Taylor Guitars is at the forefront of the wave of manufactures investing deeply in video content. I’ve been creating video content for Taylor since June, when I visited Summer NAMM to chronicle the show in a series of video blogs (or vlogs) I did for them.
“The name of the game for Taylor is to provide value to each and every guitar player [buyer], regardless of skill level. Be it longer-form storytelling or shorter educational pieces, original video is the fastest vehicle to deliver compelling information to our market. Video is not the future of marketing, it’s the present,” said Jay Parkin, inbound content marketing manager for Taylor Guitars, and one of the stars of the Summer NAMM vlogs I made with Taylor.
How are you using video in your business? What questions can I answer about creating video content and how it can further benefit you?
(Originally published in The Music & Sound Retailer)