Do You YouTube?

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Raise your hand if your business has a YouTube page.

According to Dave Doornink, marking director at Oregon Hot Tub in Beaverton, Ore., YouTube — the 3rd most popular website on the planet — is more than a hotspot for viral videos of cats playing piano: it’s a vital component of your business’ web presence.

“It’s absolutely important — I would almost say critical for a business, if you have the means — to do YouTube,” he says.

Oregon Hot Tub joined YouTube in September 2009. Now, they have 47 videos on their page, more than 23,000 video views and, best of all, a new way to impact their ROI.

While the business opportunities are attractive, Doornink offers one caveat: you must have a concrete plan.

“You need to figure out how it’ll fit into your overall strategy,” Doornink says. To this end, Doornink and the staff at Oregon Hot Tub have cultivated a unique strategy that uses YouTube as a catalyst for email acquisition, improved website traffic, boosted engagement rates and even extra sales.

Here, Doornink shares the strategy in detail and his advice for similar success at your dealership.

The Idea

The plan at OHT hinges on providing videos that address common customer questions. Therefore, the strategy changes on a case-by-case basis depending on the customer’s needs. One of the most popular videos on Oregon Hot Tub’s YouTube page explains how to measure for a spa cover. Here’s an example of how the strategy works with that video:

  • A customer calls with an inquiry about a hot tub cover. If Oregon Hot Tub doesn’t carry a cover for the caller’s model, they’re happy to help order a cover but need the sizing details first.
  • The store’s employee says, “We actually have a YouTube video that shows how to measure your spa for a cover. Would you like me to send that to you?”
  • The customer provides his email address and the coordinator sends the YouTube video. The customer’s email address is then kept on file.
  • Frequently, the customer calls back with the details needed to order the cover. At some point in the conversation, the coordinator mentions the company’s email newsletter: “We have specials from time to time, would you like to be added to our list and we’ll send them to you? We don’t send out a lot, just once or twice a month to let you know about the new specials.”
  • If the customer agrees, the email address is added to the database for future marketing emails.

Other videos on Oregon Hot Tub’s channel include “Checking and Cleaning Your Filters,” “Changing Your Silver Ion Cartridge” and “Maintaining Hot Tub Chlorine and pH,” among others. These videos are dispersed among customers in a similar manner.

Behind the Scenes

As innovative as their strategy is, it took time for OHT to develop its YouTube strategy into what it is now.

“Most of the videos that were first posted were either commercials that were shot for Oregon Hot Tub for TV use or promotional videos from Hot Springs,” he says.

Views of such videos were modest. When he joined Oregon Hot Tub in August 2010, Doornink sought to change that by uploading more engaging content.

“I think since I’ve been here, we’ve gone a little deeper in personal connection videos that get customers the information they want,” he says.

That’s why Doornink dove into how-to videos, and judging by the view counts, they’re a definite success. The video explaining how to measure for a spa cover has nearly 450 views, while a video about maintaining chlorine and pH levels has nearly 2,000 views. The most popular? “How to Clean a Hot Tub Ozonator Injector,” which boasts more than 5,300 views.

The secret behind the company’s success: careful research. Before diving into any video project, Doornink first consults with Oregon Hot Tub staff to gauge what videos would benefit OHT’s customers most.

“I’ll typically go to our service guys and ask them, ‘Hey, what questions are customers asking when you go out in the field?’ And then I ask our coordinator here, ‘Hey, when people are calling, what kinds of questions are they asking? Are there things you tell them that they can do on their own that we can make a video of?’”

The most common responses, like how to measure for a spa cover, make great video subjects. From there, Doornink writes a script, confers with the service technicians and coordinators to determine who is best to “star” in the video, films and edits. While the video-making process is stretched out over time, Doornink estimates the entire process takes three or four hours total.

Yet these videos don’t just sit on a YouTube page. After the latest upload, Doornink spreads the video on other channels by including it on the company’s social media pages, embedding it into the website and, most importantly, including it in email newsletters.

“If there’s a video in our e-newsletter, the engagement rate doubles and sometimes triples,” he says.

For Oregon Hot Tub, YouTube videos pull in customer email addresses to boost marketing, raise the company’s profile and help drive sales. It’s no wonder that in the grand scheme of social media trends, Doornink recommends YouTube the most.

“I would say of all the social media platforms out there, YouTube is the most beneficial for us, and is the one we would spend the most time on,” he says. “It’s just a different avenue of communication. It’s just one more touch that’s more personal than an email — you see a person, you see their face, you hear them talking, it makes the company a little more human and real. And it’s a way to take something that would take three pages to write about and instead paint a picture.”

Video Dos and Don’ts

Oregon Hot Tub’s Marketing Director, Dave Doornink, shares his tips for your next video project.

Do keep it short. Doornink says two to four minute videos are best. “Keep it short, sweet and to the point. Anything beyond that and people are going to tune out.”

Do your homework. “Don’t just make a video because it sounds like the cool thing to do at the time or because you need content,” Doornink says. “Get content up there with the information people are looking for.” Doornink achieves this by talking with service technicians and front desk staff about common questions they hear from customers — these suggestions make ripe video subjects.

Don’t give away too much. Don’t try to teach viewers something that’s complicated. Also, definitely don’t teach them to do something your technicians typically do, lest you hurt your revenue stream.

Do go for HD. “That’s where everything’s going,” Doornink says. HD cameras are inexpensive, and many web surfers who browse on newer retina display screens may be turned off by a standard-definition video.

Don’t overdo it. Doornink suggests staying away from super glossy video editing software. Not only is it expensive, but it’s also alienating. “The videos that are really raw and look like you shot them in your service center or your showroom have a human element,” he says. “People are going to interact with that a lot better and receive that a lot better because it doesn’t look like you’re trying to be something you’re not.”

Don’t forget to promote it. “Just because you made a video, that doesn’t mean people are going to find it,” Doornink says. Post it to your other social media networks, include it in your e-newsletter, embed it on your website and verbally tell your customers it exists.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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