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Video marketing is easier than you think

At the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference this week, the Marine Marketers of America presented their Exhibitor Video Awards for the year’s best product and company videos. And while those videos are truly professional-grade, video use is not just for the big guys. Budget-conscious dealers can easily make videos a part of their content marketing program, too.

Are you familiar with the term “content marketing?” It’s just a digital-age label for the way we can provide information to our customers. If you spend any time online, you see lots of content marketing. If you have a website — and every dealer should — you are already in content marketing, because it includes written materials, photos and links on your website. But we’re focusing on video here.

I’m not talking about just incorporating some manufacturer or Discover Boating videos, although the latter will give you excellent videos for free and I urge you to get them. Rather, I’m talking about original videos that any dealer can produce.

Virtually everyone watches videos today. People love them. In fact, YouTube is reportedly the second-highest search engine behind Google (which owns YouTube). And you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to have a professional video produced. Armed with anything from your smartphone, laptop camera or an inexpensive digital camera that shoots video, you can easily create short “hot news” videos showing some customer interviews, hyping owner activities, depicting on-the-water demos and so on. Those can easily be embedded on your website, shared on YouTube, sent email to customers, and used in social media.

By providing simple video content, you can educate customers on how to use and/or maintain their boat and accessories. For example, a short video with the service manager showing easy-to-follow steps to properly clean and protect clear vinyl windows or remove stains from seat cushions or desalt an outboard. Just ask customers what they’d like to know and you’ll have lots of content ideas.

It’s important to note that good content is not an ad or commercial. Rather, it answers common questions and provides added opportunities to engage and direct customers and prospects to boating benefits. Meaningful content (whether written or video) positions a dealership as having broad expertise. It provides value to customers for free. It can positively impact prospects.

Although dealer-produced videos aren’t fancy productions, they will still convey a culture of quality and service. That leads to more customer loyalty and even new customers. It also leads to a higher frequency rate of appearing in Google searches done by potential new customers.

“Video content is cheaper than ever to implement and really adds a ‘wow’ component to your campaign,” says John Chiles, one of the judges at IBEX and owner of Engaged, a marine industry social media manager. “Videos really put a face on your brand and set you apart from the crowd. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 10,000.”

So it’s time to try it. Grab a smartphone or a tablet and make a short (1-minute max) video of, say, the owner standing in front of the store or at the helm of a boat, welcoming viewers with a short talk about their years in business and their reputation for high-quality products and services. Then, complete the trial by embedding it on your website and posting it on YouTube. You’ll see how easy it is to make video a part of your content marketing.

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