Designers Discuss the Benefits of Video

"We made our first YouTube video about two to three years ago, which we have posted front and center on our Web site. It’s about two minutes long and offers a basic introduction to the company featuring our president and one of our designers who talk a little about the business and the design process. We also have a link to video of a television ad, as well as some MP3 clips of customer testimonials in our portfolio galleries. Right now, the Internet is king for us, in addition to quite a few radio ads we do.

It’s easy for people to read about a business, but when they hear what people are saying, I think that’s helpful. I also think it’s important for people to know who they’re dealing with. Video gives us a bit of credibility, with more interaction and more content.

We’ve had good success with the video, and I expect we’ll continue to have it on the site.

In conjunction with the videos, we also have added a live webcam to our showroom. We set it up when we did our recent renovation so vendors could see how it was coming along. We added an area for design seminars and cooking demos and we’ll eventually add two more cameras. It will essentially be like a closed-circuit broadcast of a cooking show.”

William Burke, senior designer

S & W Kitchens

Longwood, FL

I’m very new to video but I did create one for a TV show audition earlier this year. I bought an inexpensive video program, and like any other program, am testing the waters. The video I put together was developed using still images of remodels we’ve done and combining them with some background music. We’ve posted it on YouTube.

I do think video has a place in the market. People are using YouTube for a lot of different reasons, including for marketing as well as for education. Creating video is minimal cost compared to what we used to spend on advertising. Our marketing budget four years ago was $40,000+ a year, and now we’re only spending about $5,000. Video is a whole new way to market our business.”

Bruce Chapman, president/owner

Kitchen Planners

Rockville, MD

I decided to upload some videos on YouTube after attending a seminar about search engine optimization (SEO), where I learned it can help increase my ranking on the Web when people do a search for my type of business. I do think it has improved my ranking, and it’s a great way to showcase my work in a more dynamic way.

I have portfolio images on my Web site, but due to some limitations, I’m not able to upload video. But YouTube gives me another avenue to describe my business, add keywords for SEO and include some information about each project. I also have a link that directs people to my site.

I think it has helped sell people on my business. It gives them more familiarity with me and my work, and it’s more dynamic.

I hope to add more videos in the future. I think they can give me a competitive edge. I found them to be very effective and a low-cost way to promote my business.”

Adrienne Dorig Leland, CKD

Dorig Designs, LLC

Eau Claire, WI

We actually have two videos on our Web site. One was taped for the opening of our site and is available on our home page. [A portion of it] was taped at one of our customer’s homes. We feel it grabs a little more attention with real kitchens and real customers.

Our second video is made up of testimonials with six of our clients, again taped in their homes to show the actual kitchens and baths, before and after. In addition to being on our Web site, we made CDs of the video to hand out at a local home and builder show earlier this year. We also included a coupon.

We worked with a videographer to make the videos. It was very cost effective because we split the cost with one of our major vendors. There is a time investment, though, but we are fortunate to have customers who were very generous since it does take time to set a date and get everything lined up. We also created a list of about 10 questions that we gave them beforehand.

I think it’s so much more powerful when a customer says you’re a great designer, that you did a good job, that the project was on time and on budget, etc.

It was fun doing something we hadn’t done before…to step outside the box. Since the Yellow Pages are circling the drain, we don’t have that money tied up. It’s become an issue of how do we best place our investments so we can target the clientele who need us.

We feel it was a great investment and I’d love to do it again. It’s been extremely effective.”

Darlene H. Weaver, CKD, CBD, ASID, NCIDQ, CAPS

Distinctive Designs for Kitchens and Baths

Springfield, IL