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Online video a must-have for these four businesses

By Linda Melone
January 23, 2013 06:00 AM ET

An annual government affairs conference inspired the first streaming video. Many people from the state were unable to attend, so Adams and his team decided to take the video crew on the road and do a "live from the event" broadcast that could stream through the website. The live event proved to be such a success that they've done it for five consecutive years.

Another channel, the Credit Union Compliance Connection, offers 100 different vignettes dealing with compliance issues and has become CUBE TV's most popular channel.

   Dave Adams
Dave Adams, CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League, says he hopes to be able to sell his organization's videos as a way of driving revenue from ads, among other things.

The site currently has 128 videos available, up from 112 in 2011, and was on track to reach 150 by the end of 2012. Currently, two other credit union leagues, Georgia and Illinois, provide CUBE TV on their websites.

There's been a 200% increase in video views, from just over 8,800 in 2011 to 18,000 in 2012, Adams says. He admits, however, that the videos still need some improvement. "We're still working on the functionality in the streaming quality," he says.

Adams hopes to eventually leverage a national delivery system, which would involve selling the video service to state associations for a nominal fee. These other associations could plug the videos into their websites and potentially be able to share advertising revenue with the state associations in their markets, Adams explains. "If we build a national market within the credit industry we might be able to attract sufficient traffic to become an attractive advertising spot for certain companies as well."

Selling niche products

Jeff McRitchie, vice president of marketing for MyBinding.com of Hillsboro, Ore., jumped into video marketing in early 2011. As an online retailer specializing in binding machines, laminators and the supplies that go with them, McRitchie had a feeling that videos would set him apart from his competition.

"We're not the lowest price in our industry so we have to work to establish ourselves as experts," he says.

A MyBinding.com video posted on YouTube in April 2012.

McRitchie experimented with a number of different strategies before finding a formula that worked. Initially he posted his suppliers' videos with their permission. "It was the easiest way to get video on our channel," says McRitchie.

It took six weeks to post approximately 600 videos. In the end, though, this didn't produce what McRitchie considered to be "a MyBinding video," he explains. "Some were old and dated and others seemed overly promotional and more like a sales piece. Many of these videos were trying harder to sell the product when they were supposed to help the customer learn about it."

Unhappy with this result, the firm hired an overseas company to create short animated videos. It flopped, and the company pulled out of the deal after three months. "They looked good but our customers hated them and they weren't effective in driving sales," McRitchie says.

McRitchie then looked into video production services but could not justify the cost of $600 per video. He finally decided to set up his own studio. MyBinding set up the studio for about $1,000 with the goal of making each video at a cost of $50, an amount that provides a reasonable return-on-investment for the company.

   Jeff McRitchie
Jeff McRitchie, vice president of marketing for MyBinding,com, says video has been "game-changing" for this online retailer of binding machines. "It's helped set us apart from our competitors and allowed us to establish ourselves as an authority in our space."

Most MyBinding.com videos demonstrate how to use a machine after taking it out of the box. "Our products aren't really exciting, but when you want know how a binding machine works, chances are we're the only company that's made a video on how to use it," McRitchie says.

MyBinding currently creates an average of 10 videos per week and has posted approximately 600 videos at a $30,000 investment. The company has posted its videos on YouTube as well as on its own channel.

Video has become a huge branding tool, he says, with almost 3 million views on MyBinding's YouTube channel. "It's also helped us increase the conversion rate, average visit duration and average order value for our site, resulting in more revenue for the company."

All told, video has been "game changing for us," says McRitchie. "It's helped set us apart from our competitors and allowed us to establish ourselves as an authority in our space."

Linda Melone is a freelance writer based in Orange County, Calif. She specializes in consumer topics ranging from health to technology and business. Contact her at Linda@LindaMelone.com.

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