Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

Make Your Own Videos To Promote Your Ruby Lane Shop

If there's one thing we love about the advent of computers and the Internet, it's what they can do for your business ... especially if you use the tools i.e. software that generally comes pre-installed in your computer, like video-editing programs.

Now don't groan and head for the next blog just yet! I know ... there are probably many of you reading this who think it's all you can do to master uploading photos to your Ruby Lane shop, let alone putting together videos to promote your wares. But stay with me for a few minutes.

For starters, if you're able to edit your own photos to show off your pieces, then putting them into a video your customers will enjoy only takes a few more steps. Most computers today come with video editing/making software built-in. Windows generally provides you with WinDVD. Apple uses I-movie or Quick-time. And all of these programs have instructions on how to use them. Not sure? Just click on "Help" and type in your question. It's all there!

To showcase our rings a little while back, I decided to "throw" together a video on them, and I do mean "throw". I think it took me less than 2 hours to do up the video we've now uploaded to YouTube at this link:

Creating the video was easy. I used my 5-year-old PC that came with its own program called "InterVideo WinDVD creator". If you're using a PC, you probably have this one on yours too. It's not a fancy program but it's easy to use. Once you open it up, it offers you several choices, one of which is "Create New Project". When you select that option, the new screen shows a little video screen, along with a menu from which you can choose to add files from your video, photo or music library. Since you're most likely going to use a selection of photos for your video, you click on "PHOTOS" and start choosing the pictures you want to use from your computer files, just like you do when you're uploading pictures to Ruby Lane. You import the pictures into the top plane, and then simply drag them, in the sequence you want them to appear, onto the "story board".

When you have all the pictures you want in the sequence you want, you can "test" how it's going to look by clicking "play". Simple! You could save the movie at this point and use it just like that, but since you're using it to promote your items, you'll probably want to give your viewer just a bit more, especially some info on who you are and where to find you ... you know, the really important part!

So you go back to the menu, choose "TEXT" and again you'll be offered all sorts of options, from text that just appears on the video, or text that flies in and out, slides up and down. It's fun! Experiment! Then when you know what you want, insert a TEXT pane at the beginning of your video and anywhere else one might belong e.g. when you're changing from one designer to another, or one period to another. And of course, you'll want a Text pane at the very end to remind your viewer just whose wares they've been looking at and where they can shop for them.

Just about all the cheapest, simplest, built-in programs offer you this simple way to create your video. And most offer even more so you can make your video more effective. In our case, after we put the photos and text into the video, we selected "MUSIC" from the menu and located music files already in our computer. I selected an unpublished instrumental piece that I knew wouldn't intrude on my viewer's thoughts as they looked at the jewelry. Worth noting here: your music selection is important: it should suit what you're selling but should never be more noticeable than what you're selling. It's a bit like having "mall music" play as you stroll the shops. It's there, but secondary to establishing a mood. That said, once you've found your music piece, select it, position it on the video where you want it to come in (consult HELP) and hey presto, you've now added music to your video.

Another feature most video programs have is called "TRANSITIONS". These are such fun to experiment with. When you select "Transitions" from the menu, you'll see all sorts of icons swirling, twirling, opening and closing, inverting, flipping etc. The programs all have a preview feature so you can see what they do. Select a "transition" and park it between two photos. Then hit "play" and watch your little video screen. You'll see one photo "transition" to the next photo. Some "melt" into the next picture. Some twirl ... it's all very cool!

Still with me? Well when you've done all this, your video is 90% done: you've selected the photos, put them in sequence, added some titles and words here and there, spiced it up with some transitions and tied it all together with some music. All you have to do now is "save" it.There's a term we all know! Generally your program will have other features like creating themes, titles etc. etc. to turn it into a full DVD. You don't need to do that for uploading to a website. Just consult the HELP again and see how to save it as a WMV (Windows Media Video) or Quick-Time Video (Apple) and "Save". Your program will put it all together for you and save it in a small file suitable for uploading to the net. You will be offered other options, but those are for large file formats and not suitable for posting to websites. Just choose the smallest one for quick uploading. The quality won't be as fabulous as the large formats but as long as your original photos are high quality, your promo video will be most satisfactory.

A word of note here: I can only explain so much without you sitting beside me watching what I'm doing in that program. So use your HELP button and follow the prompts provided in your software.

This might all seem like a lot of work. Well initially it is as you find your way through the program, experiment, make mistakes, edit and learn by trial and error. But there's an old saying that applies here: "No pain, No gain"! Is getting more business worth some effort? You bet! With a promo video on the Internet, you reach thousands, millions. You'll never reach that many no matter how many fairs and shows you do or on how many websites you list your items. If a picture's worth a thousand words, a video that's shared world-wide speaks to millions. Jump in! Embrace the new technology. Get with it and help your business grow with video!

(Important Note from Ruby Lane: To drive traffic to your video once you have uploaded it to YouTube, you can link to it from your shops Favorite Links section of your shop, Twitter it, post a link to it on your Facebook page, and/or your blog if you have one, and send it out to your customer list with a link to it.

In an upcoming issue we will cover more easy ways to make videos to promote your shop.)

Here are two more videos by Ruby Lane shop owners, currently on YouTube. These happen to showcase jewelry, but you can do this for virtually any item in your shop:

Contributed by:
Viga Boland