We recently got a chance to talk to Parker Severson and Stacy Perry of Very Pink. They make knitting instructional videos for YouTube, which leads viewers to their website, VeryPink.com, where interested viewers can go buy the patterns Stacy uses in the videos. The monetization of such a site is one that more and more businesses are learning about every day: provide knowledge in a subject you are an expert in, and sell your business based on your expertise. It's a model that many aren't too sure about, but it's all about providing and proving value before selling your products.
ReelSEO Interview with Very Pink
Recently Very Pink was named as YouTube Marketing Ambassadors, those who have used YouTube to promote entrepreneurship.
Here's the interview:
Very Pink started doing videos as supplements to knitting classes, but found a potential business model in online video. It goes to show that with your unique knowledge on a particular topic, there are a great many out there who would be interested to see what you can teach them. As we've mentioned many times, "How-To" videos are in tremendous demand.
Early on, Stacy sold patterns that were not being demonstrated in the free videos, and the idea was that people would pay to watch the video. She learned that by demonstrating knowledge on a specific pattern, people were more likely to buy the pattern from her, rather than pay to see the video instruction. Thus, the entire business is based on showing the pattern and sending people to the website to buy the pattern.
Very Pink does get some revenue from advertising, but most of it comes from driving traffic to the website, selling patterns and e-books.
They also use AdWords for Video, and the ads cost them up to 3 cents each. This is because they don't have much competition and are working in a niche business, something that Parker says, "I don't have to do any ROI to figure out that if we send 100 visitors to our website, that's going to cost us 3 bucks. Is it worth it? Yes."
As for the videos themselves, Parker says they don't have to be TV-quality, just adequate and gets the message across. It helps that Stacy is an expert in what she does, so shooting the videos aren't difficult at all. With over 200 videos produced, they have it down to a science. They are lucky in that way. But those just getting into video should realize that practice makes perfect and after producing regular videos, the process becomes amazingly easy.
Hey, this is Mark Roberson, with ReelSEO and I'm here with Parker Severson and Staci Perry of Very Pink.
You guys are a YouTube Ambassador; you've done a lot with YouTube. Can you just tell us really quickly about Very Pink and what it is?
We have a knitting instruction channel, where we have both short technique videos, as well as full knitting lessons available as tutorials.
And so you did this offline first, and then what made you go, "Hey, I need to some videos," and do online video?
I was teaching classes locally and Parker and I tried an experiment of putting a few videos out to supplement the classes I was teaching locally. And it caught on because he's really good at what he does, so they looked good. And that's what we started with and now we have a couple hundred videos out.
And you're a partner, I imagine you monetize that a bit, but the main business is in selling info products or training around knitting. Is that correct?
Right, people can follow along the lesson, and if they want to follow along with the pattern I'm using they click the link, jump to my website and instantly download the pattern.
So businesses can actually make money, even though they're on YouTube?
This is what I do full time.
Yeah, we have different revenue streams. We have advertising revenue stream, so we offer content for free and that free content is advertised against. And so we earn some money that way, but our biggest revenue stream is eBooks and PDF patterns that people download.
Right, and they're downloaded from your site, not from YouTube, but you're able to convert them from YouTube to your site?
We interest them in our product. We demo our product basically on YouTube and then through a link in the description, we send them down to our website.
Verypink.com, which is a really easy one to remember. I don't even need to spell it—it's pink like the color, and it's Very Pink. So if you could say maybe the top things that you guys did or realized that helped you get where you are, what would those be? If you could tell other businesses that are starting on YouTube make sure you do—?
I have a comment on that. Yeah, it's adequate production value; it doesn't have to be production for TV or anything, it's just enough to communicate the message. And it's a two camera shoot, what we do. It's just a simple face and hands camera, and that gets the message across. I work with an expert, right? She's been doing it for years, so we can set up the camera and we can completely go through an entire lesson in a half hour, and then I can edit it together in my sleep. And so we've got it down to a science, where we can produce this stuff. We have like, I don't know, two hundred and some videos.
And producing regularly. Every week we release a video every week. That's been really important in getting us to the top of the search results.
Oh, so search results. That's the next question, because info products, how-to instructional stuff, that's stuff that people search for. And so how much of your traffic—if you don't mind sharing—is coming from search, and then what are some best practices?
Well, you know I wish I could give you some more meat and potatoes on that. I can tell you that—
It's not a secret. We just don't know.
I can tell you we have a particular difficulty with tracking. It's a technical glitch that I won't go into, but we're working through that right now. We'll find that out eventually, but right now we use AdWords for Video, which is like the text based search that you get on Google, but this is on YouTube. And it's a little link that will link our audience to our channel.
So it goes from ad to channel, then from channel to our website—that's our sales cycle. But our ads currently, because we're in a niche and there's not much competition for ads, our ads are like one to three cents apiece. So I don't have to do any ROI to figure out: if we send a hundred visitors to our website, and they're going to cost us three bucks, is that worth it? Yes. I don't need to do an ROI, an analysis of that.
And so are there any things that you see businesses starting out on YouTube doing that you just go, "Aw, that's the biggest mistake," or is there something you guys did early on, where you realized later, maybe we should have done it this way?
I think yeah, early on we were trying to figure out how to monetize this whole thing, and so we were breaking some things up. There were some patterns that I was selling without video instruction. Like the videos are still to this day listed as unlisted. And so for less money they could do without the video instruction and they pay more and they get video instruction. We just have to like give everything away and get a lot of views and then enough people will want to buy the pattern, and nothing's private; everything's free, like that with the videos.
Well, that was the theory originally, which was we figured if we generated the audience first that we would reach a critical mass, where revenue would take care of itself, and it did.
What we predicted did happen.
And that's true of everything online, really. I mean you build the audience first and then you monetize. I mean the whole time you're thinking you're going to monetize it, but we've talked with Berklee Music, we've talked with you guys and one of the things that I've noticed is the reluctance to give away something because, oh gosh, then they're not going to buy it. But in reality with online, sounds like you need to give away some value, and they're still willing, and they're maybe even more willing to pay for it.
Well that's another thing, is that traditional knitting instruction and video is done with sold DVDs, and so we're going to have a huge audience compared to these people who are charging $50 for a DVD. No one's going to see them compared to the stuff that we give away and charge a little bit of money for, with a bigger audience. Does that make sense?
Yeah. Oh, yeah.
They get to sample the product. We demo the product and that's the free content. And then if we challenge them to knit something on their own and that requires a pattern that they would download from our website.
And people probably don't think about this, and I'm sure isn't the case with you, but if the watch the free video and they don't like it, at least they didn't go buy a product and return it. You know?
Right. Oh, yeah.
No, it doesn't happen. It never happens.
Well great! Well, thank you for your time. These have been good tips. For those of you that are new to ReelSEO's videos, we do these every week. We've got a subscribe thing here on YouTube, so subscribe to us. And actually your channel once again is it Very Pink, also, your channel?
The channel is Very Pink Knits. And the website is VeryPink.com.
Okay, so YouTube.com/verypinkknits? Excellent. All right, we'll see you guys soon. Thank you.