YouTube is one of the most popular social networks with auto parts buyers – if not the most popular network – and the reason is simple: it’s the best place online to find videos explaining how to complete repairs, add accessories, etc. Therefore, if you want to sell more parts you want to create installation videos.
The Power of Online Video
It’s no secret that online videos are kind of a big deal:
- Online video is wildly popular with younger consumers. Research shows that millennials and even Gen-Xers are using online video considerably more than older customers. There’s also data to show that millenials are more likely to watch videos online than they are to watch television(!).
- 85% of adults in the United States are watching a YouTube video at least once a month; They’re also viewing videos on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms
- Last but not least, Google and YouTube have suggested that purchase behavior and how-to videos are closely related…people who watch a how-to video are very likely to buy a product afterwards.
Which brings us to our marketing idea: produce an install video (or series of install videos) and sell more parts.
Elements of a Good Product Installation Video
Before you fire up the family camcorder and start making videos, it’s important to understand what makes for a “good” install video vs a bad one.
|Carefully planned and “storyboarded out” before anyone pushes the record button||Shot without any sort of storyboard or plan|
|Utilize a quality microphone, which usually requires investment in a video camera that supports an external mic||Use the microphone that’s built in to whatever camera you have, resulting in low quality audio|
|Well-lit and shot with a quality HD video camera||Poorly lit and shot in standard definition and/or with a cheap camera (like the one on a typical smartphone)|
|Professionally edited to utilize b-roll, music, and transitions||Shot in one long take with no changes in camera angle, no transitions to keep the viewer engaged, etc.|
|Include “signposting” – aka an explanation of the video’s purpose in the first 10 seconds of footage||Make the viewer wait 10, 20, or even 30 seconds without telling them what the video is about|
|Summarize what’s happening along the way with text on the screen, making it easy for viewers to skip back and forth to find the segment(s) they’re interested in||Do not offer any sort of summary on the screen, forcing viewers to watch beginning to end|
|Include video/images of what’s important and skip showing video/images of things that aren’t important||Give viewers either far too much detail or not enough|
|Don’t take themselves too seriously and appear very casual||Feature people who don’t smile, act stilted, and seem like they’re being forced to make an install video at gunpoint|
Summing up, good product install videos require considerable effort. If you make a good video, people will watch it closely, believe what you say, and buy your product. If you make a poor video, they might not trust or believe you, and odds are good they just won’t bother to watch.
Planning and Producing An Automotive Instruction How-To Video
We’ll be honest: video production is hard. While it’s certainly possible to produce good or great how-to videos on a shoestring budget (companies do it every day), it requires skill and practices – and considerable time – to pull off. If you’re looking for advice on creating videos on a budget, there’s a great tutorial on TutsPlus that will help you get going. You can also search Google for “budget video production tips” and find about 1,000 articles offering tips and advice.
However, the best budget video production advice is this: Get yourself a camera, an external mic, create a basic storyboard, and then practice, practice, practice. Don’t plan to produce any videos you’ll want to show to the general public until you’ve made a few practice videos.
If your company is open to spending some money on video production, there are a lot of options:
- Many of the companies that produce popular automotive television shows – like Brenton Productions and RTM Productions – offer packages that include how-to video production and advertising
- Many of the media companies that exhibit at SEMA offer video production services
- There are local video production companies large and small in most cities
- Sometimes, you can hire a video production person on YouTube that will do a great job
In terms of costs, they can range from a few hundred dollars to produce a video in-house (assuming you assign a moderately salaried employee to video production), to tens of thousands of dollars to have a high quality install video that features a recognizable television actor.
1. There’s No Shame In Mimicry
When it comes to planning out a how-to/install video, don’t try and reinvent the format. Find a popular automotive how-to/install video on YouTube that’s similar to what you want to produce (or better yet, a handful of popular videos), and then follow their format. There’s no shame in doing what works.
2. Write a Script, but Let The Actor Ad-Lib
Start by scripting out the information you want to convey in the video, timing it out, and then storyboarding from the script. But when it’s time to shoot, let your actor ad-lib. They need to look comfortable and casual, so they shouldn’t be reading from cue cards or straining to repeat lines from memory.
3. Get a Release From Everyone
Whether it’s a professional actor, a family friend, or an employee, pay them to be in your video and get them to release any claims to video rights in the future. Same goes for any contractors or vendors you hire to help you make your video.
While it might seem a bit paranoid to get a release from everyone that touches your video, it’s the smartest way to protect yourself from problems down the road, as copyright laws favor the people that actually create the video, not the people that pay for that right. The good news is, boilerplate releases are easy to find.