Wednesday, 25 July 2012 18:54

YouTube is a Valuable Sales Tool for Body Shops

Many body shop owners who have already embraced social media are reluctant to use YouTube to promote their businesses. They feel likes it’s too expensive to produce videos and many claim they don’t have anything to say to their customers. But, once they try it, body shops are reporting positive results via YouTube, with increased traffic to their websites, blogs and other social media sites.

They’re tracking new customers from their YouTube videos and discovering the value in these short, informational clips—ranging in subjects from “How to Spray Waterborne” to “Online Estimates” and all the way to things such as humorous TV commercials and interviews with customers, painters, body men and even front desk people.

 

The simple fact is that most successful YouTube videos aren’t professionally produced and involve just one person talking to a camera. They’re shot with inexpensive equipment, without special effects, high-tech sound or any lighting more than sunshine or the artificial light emanating from the light bulbs in your shop. Shop’s normally use employees and friends in their videos and usually the pay is: 1) Continued employment and/or 2) A free lunch.

Here are five main things to consider when producing YouTube videos to promote your business:

1) Know the Market
Spend a few minutes going through YouTube to see what other collision repairers, vendors and jobbers are doing on the site. You will find the videos that do the best are generally funny, upbeat and/or offer useful information. Think either comical or instructional or maybe even a combination of both. Find out what videos in your market have attracted the highest number of views, favorable ratings, most subscribers and best comments and try to figure out what they’re doing right.

2) Use Keywords Galore
The easiest (and cheapest) way to direct potential customers to your videos on YouTube is by incorporating carefully selected keywords and inserting them in the title, description, and tags of your videos. To find new keywords, use the Google Keyword Tool to devise variations of your keywords for additional tags.

3) Create Your Own Channel and Make Playlists
Prior to uploading your videos, setup your own YouTube Channel, including a profile and a graphic look you devise. Always include a link to your web site, blog, Facebook page and Tweeter hash tag. Playlists are a great way to get your videos watched by a lot of people. To assemble one, add your videos to a new playlist and incorporate other peoples’ videos dealing with the same topic. Then, select a catchy name that will help people to find them through a search. By assembling a library of videos, you can attract more people and hopefully keep them engaged longer.

4) Use Multiple Calls to Action
If you don’t ask, you won’t get it. Sure, they like your video, but how can you get them to respond? Here are some calls to action that are all available on YouTube and can be used to get your visitors more involved:
•Please rate this video.
•Follow me on Twitter.
•Find me on Facebook.
•Subscribe to my videos.
•Visit my blog for more great videos.
•Embed this on your site.
•Please post your comments.
•Send this video to your friends.
•Check out my channel.

5) Promote Your Videos
Uploading videos to YouTube isn’t enough. You need to promote them. These are some ideas:
•Ask people you know to share their lists and contacts.
•Embed your videos in your blog.
•Email your YouTube link to your friends and contacts.
•Write an article about your video and post it to article directories and forums.
•Post your video on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media forms.

So, now you’ve done a few or all of these things and here is the million dollar question—will you get any results and most importantly, will you attract new customers? Well, rest assured, because the final answer is an emphatic yes. I recently sifted through a wide range of YouTube’s body shop-related videos and was able to find several shops in different parts of the country that have garnered a ton of views and comments. But, have they led to new business and increased revenues?

“No doubt,” Rich Villaneuva, the marketing manager at Michael J’s Body Shop in San Jose, CA said without hesitation. “Doing things like Facebook and YouTube have taken us to a whole new level. We know we’re one of the only body shops in this valley that’s doing things like YouTube as intently as we are, and that’s why our organic search results put us right at the top of all the search engines’ rankings. And by polling all of our customers, we know that YouTube is working for us.”

By hiring an outside company to help them, Michael J’s Body Shop has been able to attract a lot of direct, non-DRP work, Villaneuva explained. “We’ve been working with a company called Reach Local and they’ve been excellent in teaching us and pushing us in the right direction. Lots of shops get a few DRPs and get complacent, but by doing things like YouTube and linking them to our Facebook page, blog, Twitter, etc.—we’re able to get a fair share of direct business. We never want to put all of our eggs in one basket, so we’re always looking for that ideal combination of walk-in customers and DRP repairs.”

Michael J’s Body Shop has produced four videos and is currently producing more, showing their repair techniques through a series of do-it-yourself online tutorials. Villaneuva is pleased to report that making the videos is virtually free, he said. “I do it all myself with a Sony camera and some very simple software to do the editing. I narrate them and don’t let them go over three minutes in length. In today’s society we know that not all of our customers will embrace this form of social media, but we want to attract those who do.”

Steve Kendrick Jr., 36, is the owner of Kendrick Paint and Body with three locations in the Atlanta, GA area. He has been doing social media since day one, he said, and doesn’t understand when he hears that most body shops see little or no value in it.

“My grandfather started this business in 1952, and I think a lot of shops in this country are still operating with that ‘50s mentality. In the past, if you worked hard and did quality repairs, you’d succeed. But now, with all the competition and technology out there, it’s a different world. If you’re not into social media, computerized systems that help your business and things like YouTube, you’re already a step behind the competition.”

By producing 16 videos, Hendrick Jr. is dominating YouTube, especially in Georgia. “When people search through YouTube for a body shop in Georgia or Atlanta, they’re going to find us first and that’s so important. We hired a person on a part-time basis to handle all of these things, from Facebook to Twitter and creating a YouTube Channel and it’s paid for itself many times over.”

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