Reach Out with Video

Utilizing technology to maintain customer contact
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With the end not yet in sight, aggressive dealers are looking for ways to navigate their business through the coronavirus chaos and maintain customer relationships. The answer is to take advantage of the stay-at-home situations and increase online activity.

More specifically, we’re talking about two things: content marketing and interactive content. While many dealers have utilized email and social media to some degree, the advantage of purposeful content marketing is that it speaks with customers, not at them. And that’s become more important today than ever before.

Once dubbed a future biggie in content marketing, video is now accepted as thebig thing. Surveys show recipients are far more likely to spend time viewing a video than reading straight copy emails. In fact, in the latter case, they’re most likely to read a little and quickly move on, never getting the entire message.

It also explains why Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others are putting money and time into improving their video capabilities — that’s where the action is. In fact, according to the website Social Media Today, a whopping 81 percent of businesses are now reportedly using video as marketing tools.

Deciding and producing video content may seem daunting but it really isn’t complicated or mysterious. No one expects you to send out a Golden Globe production. Short videos — and short is important — can take several easy forms. Some examples: new product presentations; interviews with dealership personnel; videos of work being done in the service department; tips from a staff member on getting ready for spring launch; maintenance tips for the boat owner; new additions or improvements to your marina; introducing any new personnel; showing a new accessory that’s just come in; or even just saying on screen “you can depend on us even in these unsettled times.”

As an avid angler, when I get a message that a new video has been posted on one of the fishing websites I enjoy, I go right to it. These are not sophisticated productions by any means, just good information. Just this morning I watched a video from Salt Strong on how to rig planers for kingfishing. These game fish migrate up Florida’s Gulf Coast in the spring and I plan to tangle with some.

Here’s the thing: this video featured one man, one camera angle, simply walking me through rigging his planer harness. It could have even been shot with an iPhone. Simple, no fancy production, no professional voice, just a fellow angler giving me solid information I readily consumed. I’m ordering two planers!

Finally, people are consuming more video than ever, particularly on smart phones so shooting your own makes sense. Ignore the latest technical jargon like 4K, DSLR and 360-video. You don’t have to be a Stephen Spielberg to make and use simple video to reach your customers.

Here, thanks to Brian Pittman, a consultant and webinar manager at Ragan Communications, is a quick breakdown of four steps that can start you being a producer:

1. Keep cameras simple — don’t drop big bucks. Your video camera might already be in your pocket. That right, your smartphone or tablet is really all you need to create a YouTube video.

2. Sound is most important. Microphone selection will depend on your camera set-up. For example, if you’re doing a talk from your desk or seated on the stern of a boat, getting a Blue ‘Yeti’ USB mic will do the job well ($150). Or, a simple lavalier mic, like a Rode smartLav+ ($75), is even cheaper and easy to hide for video interviews.

3. Dip into a little video editing — start free and upgrade later. This really is easy. Use WeVideo. It’s simple and user-friendly for any skill level. “It’s online and initially free. You can upgrade later.

4. Have some fun - experiment with live video starting with Facebook AMAs. It’s not that complicated and Facebook Live is an informal video environment. Customers and friends will be quite forgiving since you’re not a TV pro. It’s a safe place to experiment. Why, you can even ‘go live’ to only yourself by adjusting your privacy settings. The real magic of Facebook Live is in the interaction and community building -- you can actually interact with a live audience. Use tools like BeLive.tv. It allows you to display viewer questions in real time and even bring guests on camera right into the livestream. It could be loose and fun.

Bottom line – you have lots of interesting short videos that customers would enjoy. They’ll watch your video with little regard to how fancy your production may or may not be. And, since video is so prominent in today’s digital world, and with the current need to find ways to remain customer-focused, it will be worth your effort. Or, you can always seek some local help from a Generation Z teenager that’s grown up in the digital world. Seriously.

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