It’s more important now than ever to let your customers know what’s going on at your dealership and what equipment you have to sell them. Ontario-based single-store Kubota dealer Chris Huckabone does that and more with his YouTube channel. At the 2023 Dealer Success Academy, he explained how to start your own channel, what to post and how it brings real revenue to his front door. Here at 8 key takeaways from his session:

1. Find an editor

A crucial part of uploading YouTube videos is finding someone — either in-house or contracted out — who can edit your video and audio into the finished product. Huckabone says your editor should have some background in working with YouTube so they can help grow your channel. Huckabone’s editor, for example, was a customer who had his own YouTube channel for equipment reviews and had approached the dealership about borrowing some equipment for a video. Huckabones Equipment ended up receiving calls from that customer’s viewers who had seen the review video, which featured one of their side-by-sides.

2. Prepare a script

A script is important to keep the video shoot on track. It doesn’t require minute details, but it should outline the key points of the video. Huckabone says to plan on multiple takes to get solid results; he personally spends 1.5 hours prepping for each video and 1.5 hours shooting it.

“You really want to know what you’re talking about,” he says. “If you look at some of our early videos, you’ll see that I'm struggling. The editor did a good job of making me look like I know what I was doing. Make sure you know what you’re talking about. You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to have an idea so that you can explain it to the camera.”

Huckabone recommends building an idea board for your video concepts, as certain video ideas may work better at different times of the year depending on seasonality or equipment availability. 

3. Not every video will be a winner.

Keep in mind that even if you believe one of your videos will knock it out of the park, it’s difficult to predict which will get the best response. Huckabone recommends dealers not get disappointed if the videos they like the most don’t do as well as they’d hoped. On the flip side, a video you feel isn’t particularly strong may be one of your best performers.

“You don’t know which one’s going to be popular and which one isn’t,” he says. “I can throw up a video about a Kubota BX series and know it’s going to have a few thousand views within a couple of months, but there are ones that come out of left field. Our most popular one is still talking about the Kubota GR and T series and what the differences are.”

4. Be consistent.

More important than predicting which videos will perform well is being consistent. This means sticking to a publishing schedule and avoiding long periods without publishing new videos. It’s also wise to avoid uploading too much content too fast. For example, Huckabone recommends posting 1 video per month over the course of 5 months vs. uploading 5 videos in one month, followed by a lengthy gap in posting. 

5. You’ll connect more with customers in your area.

Huckabone says his YouTube videos have led to customers traveling from other provinces in Canada to purchase equipment from him that their local dealers didn’t have. Having his face in the video leads to a more personal connection with the customer, who might feel they already know him from his channel.

“People do come in and say, ‘I saw your YouTube video on this,’” Huckabone says. “You don't get many people coming in and saying, ‘I heard your radio ad. I saw you in the newspaper.’ I would say here in an average month, we’re going to hear about our YouTube videos from customers 3-4 times.”

6. A key benefit is reaching a wide audience.

While reaching people around the world sounds exciting, it can be tempting to write it off as insignificant, since they aren’t local buyers. However, Huckabone says being people’s personal introduction to a particular product can translate into sales, no matter where they are.

“You’re not just going to be talking to your local customer,” he says. “We have lots of snow up here, but I’m talking to people down in California, down in Florida, all over Canada, too. Just today I got a gentleman looking for a front snowblower from Minnesota, and he was looking at one that we’d posted a couple years ago. Videos are forever. On YouTube, people are always searching.”

7. Don’t expect to make ad revenue from your channel.

One benefit you likely won’t see in the short term is financial return from YouTube itself. Huckabone says that each video costs their dealership around $500 to produce, and after several years, they have only just started to see some revenue come back from their channel.

“People ask, ‘You have a million views and 3,000 subscribers. What do you get?’ It’s pennies a week, dollars a month, hundreds of dollars in a year. It does add up, and it does help. But so far we’ve gotten about $3,000 over the 3 years. It’s not huge by any means.”

8. Find the fun in it.

Huckabone says it’s important to have fun with the YouTube process and make sure the employees you have working on your YouTube channel also enjoy it.

“It can be a grind, and I’m talking about doing a hundred videos a year,” he says. “YouTube is fun. Selling tractors is fun. Don’t ruin it. Don’t make it a job.”

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