Why Producing Your Own Online Videos Is a Great Bet

Big e-commerce players such as Amazon and Wal-Mart have dedicated untold resources to search engine optimization, ensuring they’ll always come out on top in online searches. But there’s one medium that’s still (somewhat) up for grabs on the Internet: video.

According to video marketing expert Jessica Brace, videos have a 53 percent higher chance of landing on page one of a Google search than websites or non-video. Video “really is worth it when you look at the numbers,” she says: “76 percent of consumers are more apt to buy a product if they’ve seen a video.”

And because producing videos for the Web can (and should) be free, it’s practically risk-free. “The biggest mistake retailers make is assuming it’s going to be expensive,” says Brace, who uses an iPhone to make most of her videos and recommends the free photo slideshow-creation tool on YouTube to create photo videos—the perfect platform for showcasing new inventory.

When conceiving content for an online video, consider how you can be of service to consumers. Because, as tech consultant Jim Spellos recently said in a conference, “YouTube is the world’s new instruction manual.” It’s where people go to figure things out. “People are looking for answers,” agrees Brace, who suggests focusing on content that “shows how your business helps.”

And remember that a clever how-to video can go very viral, very quickly.

Since 2000, New York City ­jewelry designer Tina Tang has been making instructional YouTube videos such as “How to clean jewelry with stuff in your kitchen” and “The difference between gold-fill, gold-plate, and vermeil.” She initially dove into the medium to help drive traffic to her website, but says it also helps potential clients get to know her and her brand. “People aren’t just buying your product; they are buying your personality,” says Tang, who puts the link to her latest video on her home page and at the bottom of emails.

When posting any video online, consider YouTube your ground zero—then repost content on all your social networks. YouTube is owned by Google, so it’s extra search-friendly, Brace says.

Of course, before YouTube, there was the boob tube. Even in the DVR era, many jewelers still swear by TV advertising. Howard Knopf, CEO of Robert Irwin Jewelers, a four-location business based in Memphis, Tenn., has been running TV ads for 10 years to “keep our name out there.” He says while the brand awareness that TV ads stir up is incalculable, it’s also invaluable.

Cable providers that offer affordable packages, turnkey video crews, and the ability to target cities and neighborhoods are a great entry-level option for retailers looking to get into video,  Knopf says. “It’s important to know your target market and figure out what stations and networks you want to be on.”

Be patient when it comes to consumer feedback, he warns. “See how it works in a year. If you do it for only one month, you might get discouraged.”

And, of course, post every ad you produce on your YouTube page. It’s a multichannel world, after all.