Tapping the ‘awesome’ value of video
Here’s a “Wilker Do” video about how the woodworker made a liquor cabinet, with some cool technology she put into the build. Watch the entire How-To video and notice how she provides DIY tips, blueprints and engages the viewer all along the way. Also, notice how she cleverly works in branding during the step-by-step construction, in an organic way related directly to the project. Hardware store owners get ready to take notes: There are plenty of ideas here for making How-To video technology work for your business. Now watch: Bar Cabinet With a Secret.
“Be real, be helpful,” she said. “Professional production and on-camera talent are great things, but they don’t matter half as much as providing the answers, inspiration or confidence the viewer is looking for.”
Viewers will overlook amateur production or an awkward host, she said, if they get the help they need. “Some of the most helpful videos I’ve ever seen were pretty badly done.”
Don’t waste the viewer’s time. She said, “if providing the answer takes only two minutes, that’s fine. Never add minutes, or even seconds, of useless fluff. Viewers are impatient.”
Wilkerson also advised using the soft sell.
“Your first goal is to inform and help. That builds trust. An audience that trusts will also buy. But if you make self promotion your first goal, people won’t trust you and will click off before they even consider buying something,” said the maker.
If you’re doing a How-To DIY video, she said, you really have to encourage confidence.
“Most people are afraid to try doing things themselves,” she said. “It’s great if you can be reassuring with phrases like: You might make a mistake your first time, everybody does. But all mistakes are fixable.”
This woodworker and YouTuber has seen a lot, both humorous and touching, in her years of making videos.
“My most memorable experiences are with kids. When I make public appearances, kids often tell me the How-To videos inspired them to make something, and they show me a photo,” she said. “Even if all they did was nail two boards together, I’m so happy that my videos made them want to grab a tool.”
You and technology
How-To videos can help to better promote a hardware business. Embracing the technology isn’t hard, it just takes that first step. The YouTube maker has some advice.
“I’d start by asking what’s your competitive advantage? Then stress that. Then stress it again,” said Wilkerson. “My local hardware store has three key advantages: Convenient location, quick service and real expertise.”
When she began, her videos competed against maybe a dozen others. Now each video competes against hundreds or even thousands, she said.
“Lucky for me, my channel is established, so I can break out of the pack.”
But if you’re just starting, you’re in danger of getting buried. You need some way of standing out, she said. “The best way to do that might be to focus on local needs.”
For example, she said, grass in her county has to survive in shallow, rocky soil – and dry, hot conditions. “It took me a long time to find a seed variety that thrives here,” she said.
“A video would have been super helpful.”