Today we want to feature the stores that are doing Youtube marketing right. These are the online stores and small businesses that mastered these tactics to build a real following around their products.
They’ve built their audience in one of two ways. In this post, we feature stores with amazing channels and great videos, and also discuss their video strategies.
These are not the slick ads you saw during this year’s Super Bowl (though there’s one exception!). And these are not from the major retailers you’ve known all your life. Instead, these videos are from small businesses just like yours.
They are the stores that have created consistently great video content around their products without spending fortunes on production. You too can match the quality of most of these videos using a good camera and a steady tripod, or with a single videographer.
If you have a good video marketing strategy, it’s possible that you too can build a seven-figure business based on Youtube marketing. For the stores we feature below, a branded channel consistently filled with new content is already a given. Each of them excel in other ways.
We present them as organized along two tracks: the stores that create amazing tutorials to their products; and the stores that are outstanding at story-telling with their positioning videos.
Amazing product videos and tutorials
These stores have created the videos that people use to consult whether or not they buy these products. Need to figure out how to properly brew coffee? Watch the videos of Transcend Coffee. Need to know how to prune a fruit tree? Check out the videos of GrowOrganic Peaceful Valley.
Here are some stores with terrific instructional videos.
We want to start with our absolute favorite example, Mirabeau Wine.
Mirabeau Wine was founded by Stephen Cronk, who left the corporate world after 15 years to take his family from the suburbs of London into the heart of Provence in France.
Mirabeau Wine has uploaded hundreds of videos about not just about winemaking but also life in Provence. That includes things like olive harvests, cheesemaking, and truffle hunting.
It’s also full of recipes of Provencal cooking.
Mirabeau Wine’s most popular video is a 50-second clip that has gone viral with over 5-million views. You’ll never have to worry about being caught without a corkscrew again.
You can also check out this 40-second video to understand the importance of vine rubbing.
Not everyone gets to pursue the dream of starting a vineyard in France; the Cronks have generously uploaded videos so that we can all get a taste of what it’s like.
Videos produced by bike stores typically feature one of two things: action shots of professionals doing crazy tricks; or interviews with celebrity cyclists about their experiences.
That’s not what Performance Bicycle is about. The most popular videos of this bikes and biking accessories seller are all instructional, like “How to Dress for Bike Riding in Cold Weather” and “How to Clip In and Out of Road Bike Pedals.”
They’re enormously popular because they’re filled with instructions that all cyclists can use. Its How-to guides are among the most popular of all cycling videos. And of course, once people view these How-to’s, they can conveniently view the videos of the products that Performance Bicycle sells.
Best of all, they’re all produced simply. The hundreds of thousands of views aren’t attracted by a world-famous cyclist. They come for the good advice.
Transcend Coffee offers ethically-sourced coffee from Central America, South America, and Africa, as well as equipment including grinders and brewers.
It is a small operation run out of Edmonton, Alberta, by Poul Mark. Poul got into coffee only a few years ago, and has picked up the craft very quickly – he is one of only 16 Canadians who are certified Q-graders, an international professional accreditation that evaluates roasted and green beans.
We picked up Transcend Coffee based on the quality of its particular series of videos: “Becoming a Coffee Connoisseur.”
Poul is a master explainer – and his videos are all shot in his kitchen with a stationary camera. These videos are only lightly edited.
Linda is a professional caterer in West Sussex, UK. She’s not a celebrity chef whom you’ll catch on TV. She doesn’t have a live studio audience to ooh-and-ahh at her creations, and she doesn’t have a professional staff editing her videos endlessly.
Nevertheless, her recipes have been hits. Organized into categories including “Poultry” and “Appetizers,” her videos regularly get thousands, often tens of thousands of views.
Linda is a chatty host, and explains everything she cooks in detail. The camerawork isn’t fancy: there are closeups only when it’s called for, and the view is immobile most of the time.
WEBS Yarn is an ideal example for tutorials and product promotions.
Its channel features knitting techniques in short videos that are useful both for beginners and for advanced knitters. Our favorite: “Learn to Knit a Latvian Braid,” a 3-minute-and-30-second video.
It also features new yarns and products. The tutorials and products feed each other so that interested knitters can buy and learn all in one place.
Doucette and Wolfe
Doucette and Wolfe is made up of a pair of furniture makers based in New Hampshire. Matthew Wolfe and Moriah Doucette make handcrafted traditional American furniture of the type you’d see in the period room of an art museum.
The pair are experts at what they do, and they don’t mind filming significant parts of how they create beautiful furniture.
Their videos are a hit. Take a look at this short clip on how a craftsman turned a rectangular tube of wood into a round Windsor chair leg.
These videos are very simply made. They’re little more than a light soundtrack set amidst shots of production. If you’ve got a cool production process, you can film it too: all you need is a camera at the right angle and some video editing software.
GrowOrganic Peaceful Valley
Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply is an organic farm in Nevada City, California. It sells a variety of produce and organic garden accessories.
Pattie Boudier, who with her husband has been operating PVFGS since 1996, is a tireless advocate for the organic movement, and stars in videos that offer lessons in organic farming.
How many of us know blueberries grow before we watched that video?
Why are they effective?
These stores aren’t always selfishly plugging their products. They’re not constantly praising the products to the skies. Instead, they’re sharing tutorials and tips that have independent value and lack an immediate sales pitch. And in the process, they’ve generated videos that people want to watch as trustworthy pieces of advice.
Think about it.
Starbucks would love it if everyone would drink more coffee; yet Poul of Transcend Coffee isn’t afraid to encourage people to appreciate it as much as he does, even if Starbucks benefits along the way.
The Cronks in Provence don’t need to share their experiences living on a vineyard in France, and can keep the secrets of fine living to themselves. But they love their experiences so much that they want the whole world to learn about wine and truffle hunting.
Doucette and Wolfe doesn’t need to show how they make handcrafted traditional American furniture. But they’re proud of their work, and eager to showcase a craft that’s becoming more rare.
We can go on and talk about all of these examples. But you understand the principle. When customers depend on your advice for trustworthy tutorials, buying from you is an easy next step.
The next set of videos we feature are outstanding story tellers. Through these videos, they’ve positioned themselves as unique stores.
Beardbrand was the one company we featured in our discussion of channels that are leveraging Youtube to improve sales. It is an exemplary store to learn from, in more than one way.
Beardbrand features three sets of videos: How To’s, as product tutorials as well as tips for encouraging social acceptance of beards; reviews of grooming products; and personal declarations on libertarian living.
The last part is most interesting. The owner of Beardbrand, Eric Bandholz, has strong personal views and isn’t afraid of sharing them. Take a look yourself for his approaches to attaining personal freedom. Far from alienating people who are looking to practice grooming, they’re helping Eric to connect to an audience that knows that his views are authentic.
When you need to feature the motivations that drive your company, there’s no one better to learn from than DODOcase.
DODOcase makes handcrafted cases for iPads and other devices. DODOcase is distinctive for its blend of technology and tradition: its cases are made of wood and crafted with traditional bookbinding techniques to look like a book or a journal. It’s a beautifully-designed product that has cultivated an enormous following.
DODOcase wants the centuries-old tradition of bookbinding not to end up like the extinct bird it’s named after. Its videos feature shots of craftsmen working with their hands as its founders talk about why they founded the company. It’s a stirring talk on what might be lost.
If you’ve got an inspiring story behind your business, don’t hesitate to share it.
We said that we’d keep the Super Bowl ads to a minimum. This is the only one.
Ads from Goldieblox, a store that sells engineering toys for girls, are too good to pass up. They’re great products from a team that’s driven to put toys into the hands of children to encourage them to be future innovators.
Goldieblox features behind-the-scenes explanations of their gorgeous ads, interviews with young girls (and future innovators), and updates for their Kickstarter funders.
And this is the video that aired very recently in the 2014 Super Bowl.
Take this as an example of a store to aspire to.
Why are they effective?
Video is an incredibly powerful form for telling stories. When you’ve got fascinating history, or when you have irrepressible personalities, sending a few tweets and a Facebook post won’t do. Video creates a visually engaging story that adds emotion to your products.
We’ve written before on the power of stories. Researchers from WUSTL have found that people rarely consume stories passively; instead they live through them vicariously.
When you have a story, you got to tell it. And nothing beats video as the perfect format for delivery.
To be sure, all of these videos are well-produced. We’re not saying you’re going to drive sales by talking to a webcam while turning your product in your hands. If you’re serious about internet marketing, invest in a good camera and try to find a professional videographer, on a full-time or a contractual basis.
Most of these videos really are simple, though. These stores have created compelling videos without huge budgets spent on featuring celebrities and creating special effects. They’ve created their audience instead by pour their heartfelt love into their products and by sharing advice for how their products can be used, or by sharing their stories – and in the process generating a unique marketing position.
Storytelling and teaching work to build your business much more powerfully than mere marketing. That’s the lesson that these stores have mastered.