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Page 78

R E TA ILER R E B E L

NICHE ITEMS UNDERSERVED INDUSTRIES CREATING CONTENT FOR AND By Gabriel O’Brien

When talking about content creation, I spend a lot of time referencing guitars and other combo side items, mostly because that’s the world I spent the most time in as a retailer. However, that doesn’t mean these are the only viable options for such content. In fact, in some other MI product segments, regularly producing content that features these products can be far more likely to have a substantive impact on consumers. While recording an episode of my friend Donovan Bankhead’s “Music Retail Podcast,” I was discussing the concept of using video content in multiple ways to maximize returns on a single video. As an exercise, I had Donovan suggest a product off the top of his head so I could illustrate potential uses. While most would pick a more commonplace item, such as a guitar, he interestingly selected a marching band brass instrument, which makes sense as he’s a brass player. That exercise inspired me to take a look at content in other MI product segments, and what I found was pretty revealing. When you look at the amount of guitarrelated content on YouTube, you’ll likely see hundreds or thousands of reviews of various MI retail products, particularly anything in the combo market, such as guitars, amps, pedals and accessories. However, you’ll find shockingly little quality content on woodwind, brass, pianos and various other items. If you search “best marching trumpet,” the closest match is from 2018, and it isn’t from a music store. Of the videos you do find, hardly any of them are produced by U.S. sources. Much of what’s available is years old and produced by individuals in what we’ll call a “guy-in-a-basement” style. Almost none of it is made by industry professionals, particularly from the retail store side. When it comes to model comparisons, how-to videos or brand overviews and history, there is very little professional, decent-quality, or even current content. There’s so much opportunity here to create an online following and build up your business by using expertise someone in your store likely already has. 78

Even less information is available for piano brands, many of which have no content available anywhere. If you search “Baldwin piano,” nearly ever ything is seven to 12 years old, and anything produced recently is from a single for ward-thinking California store called Living Pianos. Hardly any piano manufacturers had a dedicated YouTube channel, and of those that did, only a few had anything recent on them. Steinway was the one major exception. Yamaha’s large YouTube following of more than 175,000 subscribers on its channel is seeing content that is almost entirely related to digital products, plus a few performance videos. Instagram produces similar results. Most piano manufacturers have similarly disappointing websites. Many don’t even feature decent-resolution photos of every available finish. Furniture companies are developing augmented-reality apps so you can see what a rug that you might pay $5,000 for would look like in your room. For a piano you may pay $50,000 for, on the other hand, you can’t even see the various finishes or listen to high-quality sound clips of the piano being played. There isn’t even content detailing brand history, attributes, core models or the things that set these models apart. This lack of dedicated content presents a wide-open playing field that I can’t believe no one is capitalizing on. If I were in the piano business right now, I would be spending my free time — meaning time not actively with a customer — making content for every brand and model I carry. That way, if no one else is providing that content, my store’s YouTube channel would become the go-to resource for people who are interested in buying pianos. So many stores struggle with finding their place online and lament the idea that they’ll never compete with the big companies when it comes to followers and clicks. First, I don’t agree with that mindset when it comes to any given product line. Second, there are categories that are getting shockingly little attention right now that anyone could easily start producing a content library for. It wouldn’t take long to become the prominent source of information on these topics with some foresight and decent execution. There is plenty of opportunity to increase awareness of your offerings in underserved product categories through videos. As you build a library of content and share your content across social media platforms, people will want to engage with you and will contact you for information. Interacting with the followers you gain gives consumers more opportunities to get to know you, trust your expertise, and come to regard you as their source of information and the place they want to purchase from. Surveys have found that consumers are 70 percent more likely to buy something if they’ve watched a video about it. Think about that. According to one study by EyeViewDigital, video can boost your conversion rate by 80 percent. You can embed dedicated videos in the product listings on your website and Reverb page, and as a result, customers will be more likely to buy those products. What if you sold one more step-up trombone a month? What if you sold one more piano a month? How would that affect your bottom line? Seventy-two percent of people would rather get their information from a video than text. What if you could increase your school band instrument rental business five percent just by making a video explaining it, so parents can watch that on your website instead of having to read through the whole process or rely on their student to bring home a brochure? Like everything, content creation takes time, effort and even a little money. How much time and money are you willing to spend on local newspaper ads, radio promotions, billboards and other traditional kinds of marketing? What kind of return are you getting out of those? Is it time to try something new? Have questions about how you can use content to build your business? Want tips on making videos and leveraging those into sales? Write to me at gabriel@upperhandstudios.com. JANUARY 2020

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Music & Sound Retailer January 2020, Vol 37 No 1  

In our NAMM Show Issue, we offer an exclusive interview with Bernie Williams, a look at the reformative powers of music, a special Q&A with...

Music & Sound Retailer January 2020, Vol 37 No 1  

In our NAMM Show Issue, we offer an exclusive interview with Bernie Williams, a look at the reformative powers of music, a special Q&A with...