Top 100 Update: Driving business with how-to videos
The staff at Hampton Watercraft and Marine hears a lot of the same questions from their customers throughout the year. While the Hampton team is always happy to answer those queries, vice president Joe Villareale realized there might be a better way to deal with them.
“We constantly are getting asked the same questions over and over again on some simple things that have to do with either boating or the watercraft that we sell,” Villareale says. “So we thought, let’s do some walkthrough videos to explain to people how to do some of these things.”
The Hampton Bays, N.Y., company was already producing video walkthroughs of new and used boats it had for sale, so this was a natural extension of that idea. Topics have included how to flush out a WaveRunner or how to navigate the locks on the Shinnecock Canal. That video, produced in April, has been among the most popular because it tackled a major problem for local boaters.
“The Shinnecock Canal, around our neck of the woods, is the thing that boaters fear the most,” Villareale says. “They’re only doing half the boating they can do in our area because they’re afraid to go through the canal. We get asked that question a lot, so it was very important to me to try to make it seem like it wasn’t that difficult of a thing to do.”
Hampton had started out shooting the videos with a small Flip camera, but recent ones have been shot on an iPhone. The company had considered investing in a high-end video camera, but the iPhone delivers good enough quality for online videos and the editing software is simple to use, Villareale says.
The average video takes two to three hours to shoot and edit, with more time spent coordinating and scheduling the shoot. The videos are then posted on YouTube and promoted through the company’s Facebook page and e-newsletters.
Future plans include producing orientation videos for the boats Hampton sells so if somebody has a question on their new boat, they can go to the website, find the video for their boat and get a refresher course. Villareale would also like to add more topics, such as what to do you if you run aground or how to jump a battery.
This is part of a series of updates on initiatives from last year’s Top 100 Dealers. As determined by Boating Industry magazine, the Top 100 is an annual list of dealerships that are unsurpassed in overall business operations, customer service, professionalism and all the characteristics that go along with them. Applications for the 2012 Top 100 Dealers Awards Program are currently being accepted online. The deadline for applications is July 15.