PRODUCING A VIDEO TO PROMOTE YOUR PRACTICE IS ALMOST AS EASY AS PICKING UP A CAMERA. BUT FIRST, MAKE A PLAN.
Every schoolchild knows what show-and-tell means. So why is showing and telling so hard to do when you’re an adult, when all you want to do is to show customers your products and tell them about your services?
One way to show and tell: make a video. Opticians are grabbing video cameras and smartphones to make their own promotional videos. Some are even hiring professional production crews to create slick visual promos to send out to the world and hopefully draw in new customers.
But with all the video noise and confusion—more than 300,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube every day—how do you get potential customers to find and click on your message? How do you rack up those valuable views? How do you even get started?
Here, three different video-minded opticians offer advice on how they made successful videos that not only show-and-tell their message but also scored thousands of views—and how you can do it, too.
When making a video, you can go big (by hiring a video crew), go small (by doing it yourself) or go niche (by targeting a very specific customer).
Pierce Voorthuis of Georgetown Optician, in Washington, DC, went very big.
Concept: Georgetown Optician hired media agency Design Army to create a visually compelling and highly unique concept that AdWeek described as “Wes Anderson meets the Addams Family.” The quirky video (or fashion film), titled “Our Family Knows Glasses,” tells the fictionalized story of the Voorthuis family and their obsession with fashion eyeglasses. Go here (vimeo.com/140671948) to watch the video, and go here (vimeo.com/191090532) to watch the sequel, the “Eye Ball.”
Goal: “Our marketing strategy for the last few years has had one goal—to stand out from the crowd and showcase what we believe makes us special,” Voorthuis said. “Our design firm really executed the creative vision perfectly. Design Army came up with a vision, sold us on their ability to craft a creative campaign unlike any other optical—and to some extent, unlike any small family retail operation—and helped bring our story to a larger audience.”
Views: More than 88,000 views on Vimeo.com—about 70,000 views of “Our Family Knows Glasses” and more than 18,000 of the recent “Eye Ball.” But why choose Vimeo over YouTube? “Vimeo allowed the perfect integration with our website, seamless social media integration and no ads or unwanted branding,” Voorthuis explained.
Costs: More than $40,000 per video. “From start to finish, the concept to the final launch of each video took about four months, and editing took about six weeks,” Voorthuis said. “The first film was a very ambitious shoot, with about 16 hours filming at two locations. The second film had an even more ambitious shot-list. But we added a second day of filming to capture several 15- to 30-second clips that supplemented our social media strategy.”
Success: The investment in time and money has translated into more than just clicks and page views. “We measure the success in a variety of ways,” Voorthuis said. “The most exciting thing was when a new client from North Carolina came in and purchased a great looking pair of Theo glasses. When we asked what drew her here to look for eyewear, she remarked that after seeing the video she knew she had to plan a trip to Washington, DC, to coincide with some business nearby.”
Few optical practices are willing—and able—to undertake a promotional effort costing tens of thousands of dollars with an uncertain return on investment.
But just about anyone can afford a camera and a couple hours—as long as the end result is authentic, noted Daniel Brunson, ABOC, of Hicks Brunson Eyewear in Tulsa, OK.
Concept: The short, documentary-style video, “I Am an Optician,” follows Brunson around the office for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of an optician’s work day.
“We are living in a time where some consumers are turning to poorly made online eyewear to try to save money,” Brunson explained. “I wanted to educate the public on the importance and value of having your glasses measured, made and fitted by a real live optician.” Go here (bit.ly/2rQM6Wr) to watch the video.
Goal: “My first goal was to reach an audience beyond my client base. I wanted to give the public a taste of what it is like to come into my store and to get fitted for eyewear. Creating a video and posting it on social media allowed me to share that experience with thousands of people,” Brunson said.
“My second goal was to share this experience with opticians around the world to hopefully inspire them to be creative with the way they design their own customer experience,” he added.
Views: Nearly 5,400, including more than 3,100 views on YouTube and 2,200 on Facebook. “We also have it running periodically on our in-store, wall-mounted TV,” Brunson noted.
Costs: The only cost to make the video was time. “We probably spent about two hours shooting video and about three to four hours editing, which I did entirely on my iPhone,” Brunson said.
“My brother [Derek] and I filmed the piece using a GoPro camera, and we kept the message authentic,” he explained. “The camera is shaky at times, and the video is obviously not of commercial grade production, but people will overlook that stuff if you are real.”
They also kept it real short—only 1 minute, 32 seconds. “I’ve heard filmmaker Morgan Spurlock say that pretty much anyone will watch a video if it is under three minutes,” Brunson remarked.
Success: “It’s hard to measure the success of a video like this in dollars. In the first few months I had customers telling me every week that they saw it and enjoyed watching it,” Brunson said. “I wanted people to know exactly what they would experience when they walk in my store—that we are on the cutting edge of eyewear style and lens technology—and from that perspective, the video has been a success.”
There are thousands of eyewear and optical videos out there. How can you get yours found, viewed and even shared? Do something unique—something no one else is doing.
“It’s important to stay ahead in business by having a niche product,” said optician Bill Curran, owner of William J. Curran & Son Opticians in Drexel Hill, PA.
Concept: The title of the video speaks for itself: “Custom Made Billiard Glasses.” In this short video, Curran describes and demonstrates glasses that are specifically designed for playing pool and billiards—a pastime that Curran himself enjoys. Go here (bit.ly/2s0i2IS) to watch the video.
Goal: “Our goal was to make an introduction video that explained the concept of our billiard glasses for others to watch and share and have them help spread the word about us,” Curran said. “Even if someone who watches our video doesn’t have a need for our product, they can still share it with someone who does via social media.”
Views: More than 2,800—but remember that these are targeted views from highly interested consumers.
“I like to believe that viewers will be more likely to watch a video that has a high view count—thinking it’s popular—than a video that has five views, for example,” Curran noted. The trick is to know how to raise your five views to more than 2,800, he added.
Cost: “Besides the initial cost of the laptop [for editing], the video itself cost $0,” Curran said. “We filmed, and [my son]Adam edited the video and posted it on YouTube the same day.”
The hardest part? Reading the script off the laptop screen—a makeshift teleprompter. It’s harder than it looks, Curran warned.
Success: “This particular video was very successful because we had important keywords within the video title, description and links to our website,” Curran said.
This kind of search engine optimization made it easy for billiard players and professionals to discover the video and then go to the practice’s website to order a pair of custom billiard glasses, Curran explained. They also shared the video on social media, which led to more internet traffic. As a result, sales of the practice’s billiard glasses have tripled each year for the past three years.
GO DO IT
If these success stories haven’t inspired you to pick up a camera, perhaps these words of encouragement will:
“Make your video today. Don’t get too caught up in making it perfect—just make it,” said Daniel Brunson. “Be genuine in your message and share it across your social networks. It’s not as hard as it sounds because there are video editing apps you can use to edit and produce the finishing touches all on your smartphone.”
Pierce Voorthuis said, “My best advice would be to set a goal: what is your marketing message and what is the best medium to share it?” His practice chose video because it complemented the marketing strategy, he explained.
“Make it interesting, short and on-point,” Bill Curran advised. “And make it fun to watch!”
John Murphy is a freelance healthcare writer based in Pennsylvania with more than 15 years experience as an editor in the optical field.