Video Can Boost Your Business

I tried an interesting little experiment recently. I sell used books on as a part time hobby. It’s a lot of fun, I make a few bucks and it pays for my reading habit. A few months ago I cam across a truly valuable book, “Man Ray Photographs 1920-1934 Paris.”

Man Ray was an important artist/photographer through the 1920’s to the 1960’s. The book above was his first, and only about 3000 were printed.  Many copies were destroyed during WWII. Man Ray lived in Paris from about 1920 to just before the war. His book sold mostly in Europe.

I decided that, instead of trying to sell the book on Amazon, I would just use my marketing knowledge to try and get noticed on Google, and sell the book personally.

If you go to Google and type Man Ray Photographs 1920-1934 Paris into the search field, you can see how successful I was. I recorded two videos, optimized them, built some backlinks and did all of this about two weeks ago. As of just now, I have my videos ranked in the number 6, 7, 8, and 9th spot on page one for that particular search. They also take up the first two spots on page two of Google. Then the website I built takes up spots 5 and 6 on page two while I also have the 10th spot with a presentation I posted on slideshare. I then have a spot on page three and two spots on page five.

For a phrase that returns 6,620 results from the Google search, I consider this to be not bad for about 8 hours work.

My point isn’t to brag about being able to rank. If you look at the Google search you will notice that the videos rank higher than the website itself. Google owns YouTube and people love videos, so Google returns applicable videos when a search phrase is entered.

If you watch the videos, you will see that they are pretty simple. You could probably create videos like this yourself. And your videos could rank higher than your website. If they have useful information, people might then click through to your site for more info.

Give it a try and see what happens.


How’s Your Reputation?

Every business either loves or fears “word of mouth” advertising. They love it if they do a great job and have plenty of raving fans, and they hate it if they are constantly upsetting their customers. These days, word of mouth travels at the speed of electrons flowing down a wire, and the mouth that customers are listening to doesn’t even have to belong to someone they know or have ever met.

I am talking about online reviews. It doesn’t matter whether you have a website or not, if somebody looks up your business online in a search, Google will serve them up a heaping helping of info on you. Google has scraped information about your establishment from wherever it can and has created a listing for your store or service. And they are encouraging customers of yours to leave reviews.  Look at the example below.

Bad Reputation = Marketing Dollars Wasted

This review has been sitting there for a year. The only good thing to say about this is that the listing appears on page three of the Google results, so not many customers are likely getting to see it. Now compare that to the likely feeling the following review creates.

Review for Springbank Cottages

Reputation Marketing the Way You Want It

I have written a little more extensively about how to market your reputation, and what the recent changes, in how Google shows your business search results, can mean to your business. Check out my Reputation Marketing post at my Bootstrap Local Marketing web site.

Campbellford Workshops in November (And Maybe Hastings & Warkworth?)

I have tentatively arranged to do a 

workshop in Campbellford sometime in mid to late November. I am quite excited because I intend for this workshop to use case studies involving local businesses. More on that later.

One of the most underused avenues for marketing, available to local businesses, is video. Video is a huge part of the internet now. People use it to learn, inform, amuse and wow their friends almost every day. Businesses who use video are ecstatic with the results. Even a couple years ago, retailers were starting to take notice: “Retail site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.” (Comscore, August 2010)

Video has a way of boosting consumers confidence in their purchase. They have a chance to see a product or service in actual use.  “According to Internet Retailer, 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their online purchase decisions. When a video is information-intensive, 66% of consumers will watch the video two or more times.” (Internet Retailer, 2012)

Still, is video of any use for small business? Absolutely. People are so used to user generated videos now that high production levels are no longer critical to video success. While it is true that professionally produced videos get more and longer views, many people are just looking for information, and will overlook the fact that some videos are obviously home made.

In the workshop I will be showing attendees how they can create their own good looking videos, and also what to do with them once they are made. I have asked Schelle Holmes of The Holmestead Print & Business Services, and president of the Trent Hills Chamber of Commerce, to find me two volunteer businesses to use. I am going to make one or two videos for each business and then set them up to drive traffic to the businesses websites and stores/offices. There will be a modest charge to the volunteers, to cover my costs, but they will only have to pay $125.00 each. A lot cheaper than an ad on local TV, and the videos will stay up and continue working for years.

I have contacted the Hastings Chamber and the Warkworth Business Association to try out the same thing with each of them. So anyone that wants an up and close look at the process of video marketing, keep your eyes open for announcements, or contact me for details.

Local Events Can Boost All Businesses

This weekend there is going to be a huge book sale at the Riverside Auction Hall in Hastings. Over 30,000 books for sale from $0.50 – $1.00. Friday, July 27th. 12:00 – 5:00, Saturday, July 28th, 9:00 – 5:00 and Sunday, July 29th, 12:00 – 3:00. Sunday is Bag Day. Bring your reusable shopping bag and fill it up for $5.00.

Lots of fiction, non-fiction, new and used books including antique and vintage from before 1900. Covers do-it-yourself, exercise, cooking, travel, self-help, sports, history, crime, nature, science, philosophy, religion, crafts and hobbies. Some reference and university level texts.

Any local business can make an effort to work with others to promote this type of “for profit” happening and see some real benefits for themselves.

Any large sale is going to attract potential buyers. And anything that draws people into town has a chance of spinning off ancillary sales for other businesses. Certainly a town like Hastings, that counts on summer visitors and tourists, will get a boost every time folks venture into the village.

People who frequent book sales will often make large purchases, thinking nothing of buying 10, 20, or 30 books to feed their habit. And when books are selling for $1.00 or less, they don’t think twice about picking up interesting looking titles for friends and family members who aren’t at the sale.

The auction hall, situated as it is on the river, is in a perfect location to more or less force visitors to drive past the local picnic/swimming areas along the waterfront. Folks coming from the south have to pass the gas stations (with their pleasantly lower gas prices), several restaurants, a gift shop, legions of people fishing from the bridge (and the Ultimate Fishing Town sign), the Liquor and Beer stores, and a few B & B signs to get to Al’s Auction Hall. Anyone who hasn’t been in town before will have to be exposed to several reasons to stop for a while, and come back again.

It makes sense for local businesses to support such an event with posters in their windows and also to mention it to customers who are visiting cottagers or tourists.

The more reasons people have for coming to Hastings,  the more reasons they may return, and the more they will boost the local economy.


Effectiveness of Facebook

I just finished presenting a workshop on Facebook for the Warkworth Business Association. There were questions about the usefulness of Facebook. Facebook is a “community” communication device. A business wants to develop a “community” of buyers, or potential buyers that it can keep engaged. It does this by presenting useful and/or entertaining information/applications and fostering a back and forth through posts and comments. Links can be shared, images put up to view. As I told the attendees at today’s Social Media workshop, think of meeting some friends at a coffee shop and the kind of conversation you can have.

A great example of how effective Facebook was seen tonight at the Hastings Legion, when Hastings successfully won the “Ultimate Fishing Town” designation in the World Fishing Network contest for Canada. Much of the excitement around this contest was generated through regular posts on Facebook, in which people could automatically send a notification when they voted for their town. I am sure that the regular posts encouraged regular participation by participants. While a Facebook page might not generate that kind of excitement around your business, it might generate some conversations, some sharing and is a great tool for customer feedback.

A business Facebook page is free, fills much of the same duties as a website, and is fun besides. You should consider one.