Although a music retailer’s brick-and-mortar storefront will always be its bread and butter, it’s crucial to understand the importance of a robust online presence. A healthy e-commerce business is not only a significant additional revenue stream, but also an essential part of being a well-rounded retail operation in today’s multi-channel world. That means retailers in the musical instrument industry must have a marketing strategy that includes an online component. One piece of that strategy must be video marketing.

As consumers’ newsfeeds and inboxes become increasingly inundated with marketing messages, video has steadily become one of the most impactful ways to grab the attention of an online audience. In an industry built on relationships and meaningful interactions, video is no longer an “up and coming” or “nice to have” marketing tactic. It’s the next best thing to a face-to-face interaction with every one of your online customers.

Text, graphics and audio will always have an important place in your marketing strategy, but video can do what most other online tactics cannot: give your audience full immersion of sight and sound. In other words, it has the ability to show your audience rather than tell them. Particularly in an industry where the products being sold are so full of life and sound, it can be difficult to portray your products and services accurately through static text and photos.

Still not convinced that video is essential? Here are five reasons why it must be part of your online marketing strategy:

1. Videos are what people spend time online watching.

At the most basic level, you should consider creating videos because people are watching videos. Consider your own online habits. If you kept a running tally, you’d likely find that you watch an online video—a demo, an interview or something else—at least once per week. YouTube alone has more than a billion users; that’s nearly one-third of the people on the Internet. And, according to YouTube, each day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on the site, generating billions of views. How do you take advantage of the widespread reach of a popular video-hosting Web site like YouTube? Create and upload a video. You’ll instantly gain access to an entirely new audience.

2. Videos improve your search results.

In today’s competitive online market, search engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever. Simply put, SEO can put you ahead of your competition…literally. If a consumer searches for “musical instrument retailers in Columbus OH” and two retailers offer the same products, the search-engine-optimized Web site will beat out the competition. Convinced that SEO is important? Now, consider this: Web pages that include video are more likely to rank on the first page of Google searches, according to Forrester Research. That’s because the goal of a search engine is to show users the most relevant results, and videos are considered high-quality content. Additionally, videos tend to increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site, which also improves your credibility in the eyes of a search engine.

3. Videos inspire action.

A great video has the ability not only to capture a visitor’s attention, but also to maintain it while you communicate the most important information about your store, your products and your services. If you can increase the amount of time that consumers spend on your Web site, you’ll see increased conversions and sales. According to Forrester, including a video in an e-mail can lead to a 200-percent to 300-percent click-through-rate increase. Another study by Unbounce reported that including a video on a landing page has the potential to increase conversion by 80 percent. Humans are visual creatures; if they can see your product or service, they’ll feel more confident and prepared to take action.

4. Videos build trust.

Even in today’s increasingly digital and technology-enabled world, some consumers remain skeptical about buying products and services from a new or unfamiliar Web site. Even a simple “About Us” video can give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to your potential online customers and increase their confidence in both your store and you. Videos also enable you to showcase your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert on the music gear you’re selling. The ability to demonstrate your expertise allows you further to establish trust and, eventually, build customer loyalty online. When it comes to products, a study by visual commerce company Invodo found that more than half of consumers who watch product videos say those videos make them more confident about online purchases.

5. Videos humanize and build your brand.

In a world full of auto-response e-mails and Internet bots, a video proves that there are real, knowledgeable people behind your company and Web site. Further, in an industry where your competition might offer similar products and services, video can help differentiate your store by showcasing staff personalities and a unique brand identity. As a retailer, you work hard to create an atmosphere and persona for your brick-and-mortar location. Video allows you to extend that connection to a global online audience.

A study conducted by Microsoft in Canada found that the age of the smartphone has reduced the average human attention span from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds. That’s shorter than the average attention span of a goldfish. Luckily, as technology advances, creating quality, engaging videos is becoming more viable for retailers of all sizes. Although not all videos will become viral sensations, many will allow you to connect with your online customers on a more personal and meaningful level. By boosting consumer confidence and engagement, you’ll increase trust and, eventually, customer loyalty and sales.

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