Over at Hurricane Images we've been doing some expanding. Over the past year I've had an increasing number of clients ask for video. So a couple of months back we launched a full service video production company. One of the challenges to starting a new business is maintaining your focus. I've enjoyed working with a wide range of clients-- but none more than the artisans and artists. I'm reaching out specifically to boutique shops, artisans, non-profits, and start-ups. People with exciting new ideas and vision. So you'll be hearing more about video production, and how small businesses can use video to connect with customers, supporters, and fans.
One of the most exciting new developments on Etsy this year is the ability to upload video to your “About” page (profile?). Video and Etsy are natural partners because both emphasize the personal. Etsy customers want something unique, and they want to feel a connection to the creators. It’s not simply a purchase, it’s about being part of a community.
Five years ago I bought my wedding ring. I visited dozens of local shops, but I bought my ring on Etsy. I surprised even myself with that decision, because a wedding ring is something you really want to see on your finger. It’s intensely personal, and it takes an enormous amount of trust to buy something like that based only on a picture. In reality, I didn’t. I bought it because I was able to email the maker and ask my questions. The ring in the pictures was exactly what I wanted, but I didn’t know what would happen if it didn’t fit. I didn’t know if the color would fade. I didn’t know how I should take care of the metal. If I hadn’t emailed him, I would never have bought the ring. He couldn’t take the initiative and email me.
Your video is that email. It’s an opportunity to reach out to your customers without them having to contact you first. People who buy on Etsy want to know how it’s made, who you are, and why you make the art you do. It’s the very essence of Etsy.
So how do you make the most of your Etsy video? Here are 10 tips to create the best video possible and get it seen.
- Focus on who you are, the process of creation, and what’s unique. Video is a story-telling medium. Let your pictures sell the your products; have the video sell what’s behind them.
- Match the tone of your video to the “tone” of video. What music describes your product? Is it relaxing and elegant? Punk? Heavy metal? In video tone is conveyed not just in music, but it editing style and color tone. Your video should reflect you.
- Keep it short. The biggest mistake people make when they create their video is making it too long. We live in a fast-paced world. Your video should be between 1 and 3 minutes in length. Anything over 90 seconds needs to have “two acts.” What does that look like? Well, Act One could be what made you decide to be an artist; Act Two would then be how you create your pieces. Or Act One is how you create, and Act Two customer appreciation. If it thinking in terms of two acts is daunting, keep it under 90 seconds-- or find a writer friend or professional to help.
- Don’t try to tell everything. Clearly define 2-3 things you want to convey and keep your message focused. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything is equally interesting (it isn’t). Or that people will pick and choose what’s of interest to them. They don’t. They switch channels.
- Answer the questions that are asked the most. For every customer who contacts you to ask a question there are probably 10 who didn’t because they were afraid of starting a conversation. Weave the most common questions you’re asked into the narrative of your video.
- Upload on multiple platforms. One of the great things about video is it can be your “brand ambassador.” It can be out there working for you when you’re asleep or in your workshop. Post the video on Youtube, Vimeo, and your website and blog. Link to it on Facebook and Twitter. You can even post video on Google+ and Pinterest. Good video isn’t just a way to communicate with customers who have found you. It can reach out to potential customers who haven’t. Remember that each post is also a backlink to your Etsy page, increasing your visibility on search engines.
- Promote your video. Just like it was your work. Tout it on Facebook, and Twitter. Email it to your friends and contacts with a simple note.
- Give them a deal. Consider using the “unveiling” of your video to offer a 15% discount to people that mention it. It’s not just an “about” video, it’s a marketing tool.
- Keyword it. Just like your images, you should keyword your video files. But don’t over-keyword. Keywords are treated equally, so too many of them that aren’t exactly what people are looking for can be harmful.
- Work with a professional. Realistically, professional quality video is difficult to make. Poorly made video can discourage potential customers from making a purchase. As TV and movie consumers, we’ve become accustomed to high quality work, and even bad movies have excellent production values. Your video will promote your work for years to come, so make it an investment. Choose your video production company wisely. They should do more than just bring a bunch of fancy equipment and hit “record.” A “canned” process will produced a canned video, and they often reek of inauthenticity. Your production company should take an interest in your work, your aesthetic, and your goals. They should see you in action before they bring out the gear. They should be able to help with scriptwriting, music, and provide options for review. And they should be able to show you a budget that makes sense.
It’s not impossible to make your own video. What’s most important is that it is clear, authentic, and compelling. For many Esty vendors, self-producing is the only reasonable option for their budgets. But be conscious of the benefits of working with professionals, and the drawbacks involved in self-producing. We see over 3,000 advertisements a day. That’s a lot of noise. Your Etsy video may be the best investment you make this year.