Every client we work with has unique offerings that make them stand out from their competitors. We calls these “points of difference” or “unique selling propositions,” and part of our strategy is to spread these points via digital efforts. Video is a great way to do this. It’s real, unique, personal and most of all :: visual.
Standing Out In The Crowd
Points of difference aside, how else can you, as a local business, stand above your competitors? How can you gain the trust of your target audience besides just offering something others don’t? How about your national competitors who have more advertising money and resources – how can you stand above them in the process?
The answer is easy: be real, peel back the curtains, and give away your secrets.
Yup, you read that right – give it all away. Show consumers EVERYTHING you do, step-by step, and teach them how to do it themselves – on video, on YouTube, for all to see.
Stay with me now…
Let me introduce you to Drew Bussell of Drew’s Roofing & Home Repair in SouthPort, NC. I know about Drew because a good friend and fellow YouTuber, Steve Sherron told me about him a few years ago and said, “Watch this guy – he ranks for every ‘roofing and home improvement keyword’ anywhere around our area and further in some cases. He gets more work then you can imagine from YouTube, even during the down economy.”
Drew’s YouTube Success
Here are some of Drew’s local rankings: (these are his videos showing up in regular search)
“Southport NC Roofer” :: Positions #1-6 (yes, the top 6 are all his videos)
“Southport NC Home Repair” :: Positions #1-9 (yes, the top 9 are all his videos)
“Wilmington NC Roofer” :: Positions #1 and #2, and #4-10 (yes, all of these too)
Here are some of Drew’s stats: (as of 5/19/2013)
Joined YouTube :: July 2007
Videos Uploaded :: 558
Video Views :: 1,089,103
Subscribers :: 476
First Business Related Vid :: Deck Building Southport NC, January 2, 2008 :: 27,972 views
(Drew also uses the channel for personal videos)
Most Popular Business Related Vids:
How To Install A Skylight On Your Shingle Roof :: March 24, 2010 :: 47,451 views
Bathroom Mobile Home Repair Oak Island NC :: April 2, 2009 :: 41,758 views
Mobile Home Floor Repair :: January 6, 2012 :: 39,445 views
Leaking Roof, Roof Repairs Water Damage :: September 29, 2010 :: 36,479 views
How To Install A V-Lux Skylight Free :: September 22, 2010 :: 28,442 views
If you watch Drew’s vids, you’ll see that he is not a professional videographer :: he’s just a dude with a flip camera (and more recently a smart phone app). His video descriptions and titles don’t always follow SEO best practices either. So how is he getting this much attention?
He’s personable, believable, likeable and not afraid to show you EVERYTHING he does. On top of that, his content is uniquely from his professional perspective. In fact, in a couple of his videos, he shows “do-it-yourselfers” how to do their own roof installation and repair.
Why would he do that? Wouldn’t this lose him business?
Drew will tell you that he originally began posting videos because many of his customers were hiring him to work on their vacation homes many miles from where they lived, and prior to paying him, they needed to see the completed work. It’s not always convenient to drive 300-400 miles to your vacation home to check over work, so the quickest way to accomplish the goal was YouTube. Because of this, he had to be detailed in his videos – showing the client all the extra steps he took to ensure a long-lasting and quality installation.
After a while, he started getting calls from people who had found him through his videos and wanted to hire him. It was then that he realized the power of YouTube and began to post more and more. He did not, however, let up on the detail. In fact, he took that to another level, posting videos like this one where he shows DIYers exactly how to install a V-Lux Skylight.
So let’s break this down a bit here as this is really the crux of this post. In this video, Drew is showing us step-by-step exactly how to install this particular brand of skylight.
I consider myself a fairly handy home improvement type guy and feel like after watching this video, I could definitely do the job. So how does this video help Drew and his business?
Lift The Mystique, Reveal The Truth, Earn Trust
1) Teaching others how to do what you do builds trust. The term “Trust Agent” has been thrown around in relation to this concept online. Video builds trust, authority and influence online, 24/7/365. I doubt Drew has ever read the book or even heard the term, but he is living proof that it works. By showing you everything he does to install the skylight, you know he pays great attention to detail, ensuring a quality installation.
2) You get to know your contractor. Even though Drew is not in this video, you can hear him behind the camera complementing his employee as he does the job. To me, that reveals alot about his company – it seems like working for Drew is a rewarding experience. Happy employees will produce a better finished product :: it’s logical.
3) Doing a job like this is NOT easy, no matter what you see on HGTV, DIY Network or PBS. I know from my days in working in the landscape industry that this is true. So many times I see landscape retaining walls that crumble in the first year because some excited new homeowner saw a 30-minute show on TV that said “you can do this!”
I’ve also seen cooked lawns where the would-be homeowner grabbed the Round-Up to kill a few dandelions and ended up sterilizing his soil for 3-6 months.
So who do you call when you make a mistake in your landscape, lawn, or for that matter, when you get up on the roof to install a skylight and realize that an 8/12 pitched roof is scary as heck?
Or who do you call when you get the job all done and the first rainstorm reveals a major leak around said skylight? Well of course you call the guy who originally took the time to get you educated in the first place :: the guy you trust :: the nice fella who has great employees you saw working hard on video :: Drew!
Teach Them What They Can’t Do
You see folks, I’m a big proponent of “show them everything because they can’t do it as good as you anyway.”
This works for many types of businesses.
Auto Repair – show people how to change an alternator – go ahead. They’ll try but do they even have the right tools?
Real Estate – show people how to list their home “By Owner” – see what happens when their home doesn’t sell.
Insurance – teach people the in’s and out’s of insurance – educate them and see the time it saves you when they need it.
Dog Training – just watch that Caesar guy on TV and you’ll see why this is oftentimes best left to the pros. But go ahead and teach them how you do it anyway.
Photography – teach them everything from proper exposure to LightRoom effects :: have you ever tried to take a family portrait of your own family with you in the photo?
There are many more.
Now I’m not telling you to be foolish. If you own a restaurant, don’t give out the exact recipe of your award winning BBQ sauce. But, you certainly could show folks how to properly smoke ribs and then “take it up a notch” with your sauce. That certainly would make me want to taste what you been cookin’!
What About Nationwide Rankings?
Yeah, Drew ranks nationally quite often as well. You wouldn’t think that national rankings would help a local business like Drew’s, but they do. You see, he is located in a very popular vacation resort area and people all over the east coast own homes there. So it makes sense for him to rank outside of just the SouthPort area. Look at some of these impressive rankings.
Wouldn’t you expect the giants in the industry to show up here? … Maybe Home Depot or Lowe’s? This is just me guessing a bit (based on my past life in a big corporation), I can tell you that larger companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s have a lot more rules and regulations to follow before posting a video on YouTube. They have lawyers who review everything with a fine toothed comb. They also have multiple levels of vice presidents, marketing experts, consultants, c-level execs and a board of directors to answer to. If someone along these approval chains isn’t a believer or doesn’t approve of the message, the YouTube vids may never happen. And when they do actually make it through all of the approval levels, they’ve been “watered down” for fear of getting sued or giving off a message that conflicts with the corporate objectives.
These are not bad things necessarily – but they do slow or stop progress in an online world that is constantly changing. Meanwhile, the local guy with his flip camera and a trustworthy demeanor keeps plugging along, well past 1 million views and counting.
How Does Google Choose What Videos To Rank In Search?
First off, when you see videos showing up very high in regular search results like we do here, it’s because of two reasons.
- There are no regular web pages that Google has determined answer the question properly when compared to the vids.
- In some cases, Google has determined that no matter how many other quality search results there are (written or otherwise) video will tell the story better anyway.
In addition – Google is very good at understanding videos that offer unique info, and is getting better and better at separating them from ones that are “generally available or basic information.” (the watered down ones)
1) How a person arrived at your video (through a search, a share or a related video, etc) and
2) Can measure user engagement (how far into the vid did they watch, did they ‘like’ or ‘share?’)
Here is a screenshot from inside my own YouTube account – last 30 days (I obviously can’t see inside Drew’s stats) – notice the engagement that is tracked? (I only have 22 videos so my stats are not quite as impressive as his but the tracking points are the same.)
In my next blog post I will dive further into YouTube stats and what they mean.
3) Google also knows where the user/viewer is located – and can tie this into where the video was recorded and geocoded as well as any geo-signal keywords. (in YouTube you can specify manually where a video was recorded, but many of today’s smart phone apps do this for you)
4) What did the user do after viewing the vid? (watch other related vids? re-watch yours? Grab a link? Watch others of yours? Subscribe? Leave a comment? Send you a message?)
5) What device were they viewing the video on? What device to they typically view on? Where do they typically view? (office or home?)
6) What other videos and web history does the person have in their personal results and how do those relate to #1-4
7) What do other viewers with a similar demographic do in relation to #1-5? What about viewers who are connected to them on Google Plus?
8) Did you know that Google can also read the spoken words in your videos? It’s not perfect (as you can see in the attached screenshot) but it’s getting better and better.
So just for fun, here are just 3 national searches that Drew’s vids rank very well for:
How To Install A Skylight:
Ranks #2 and #3 (two different vids)
How To Fix Mobile Home Floor
Ranks #1 and #3 (two different vids)
Mobile Home Rubber Roofing
YouTube Video Ranking Takeaways & Nuggets
So are you ready to rank a bunch of videos for key terms in your area and see the leads start pouring in? It can happen, but not overnight.
The keys are:
1) Put out more and better information than your competition and present it in a believable and authentic manner. Giveaway your skill and secrets knowing that 99% of viewers can’t do the work as well as you, if at all – thus you win the trust.
2) First to the party often wins! Part of Drew’s success came in that he was the first to make videos about roofing in his area – he got ahead and has stayed ahead.
3) Put yourself “out there.” If you are the owner or manager of the business, put yourself in front and behind the camera. Show that your business is really about you and your people – gain trust – become a Trust Agent.
4) Big views are not the only success indicator – just because one video makes it big, don’t discount the others.. One thing we didn’t mention here is that the majority of Drew’s videos have under 100 views. However, those 100 views are very targeted to consumers in his area. The big videos with over 30,000 views are important, but so are the other 500 videos with less than 100.
5) Be consistent – just like anything on the internet, there is a “freshness bonus” that comes with producing quality videos often.
6) Respond to comments – make YouTube interactive. User generated content in the form of comments signals to Google that your stuff is good and when you reply you add human signals into the mix.
7) Be a good community member. Don’t just throw up videos and walk away. It’s important to participate in the community at large. Comment on similar vids, share them, like them, and subscribe to channels you like. All of this activity will also relate back to your Google Plus author profile bringing dividends into the future.
8) Have fun and take a risk. Sometimes being “out there” can be risky – if you feel that way, you are probably on the right track – just go for it!
I hope you’ve picked up a few good ideas here. If you’re interested in exploring this strategy a little further for your particular business, please give me a call at the office and I’ll set up a road map to success for you! We’ll brainstorm, plan, execute and measure – let’s get started!(in case you are wondering – Drew is not a client of ours – he’s a guy I have been following and watching for a few years, nothing more. The reason I talk about him like I know him is because that’s how I feel after following him – a noted lesson)