It all started from a five-minute YouTube video (see below), uploaded in 2007, featuring Di Pippo fishing with his newly manufactured compact rod and reel. That video went viral and helped launch Di Pippo’s business, Penfishingrods.com, and a craze in ultra-light fishing.
“When the video was first posted it was uploaded by a friend because I was still on dial up . . . when I tried to upload it the message I got was ‘Estimated Time Left: 31 hours’—I nearly fainted,” recalled Di Pippo. “Not five days later I was getting requests from interested anglers and companies from all over the globe. I started a distribution business and pretty soon business picked up.”
Di Pippo had tasted the power of video marketing and knew he couldn’t stop there. He started a video marketing campaign, tapping into his base of passionate customers to help spread the word on his products.
“I sent the message out through my directional and tracking email that I send out to each customer once their package is shipped, and in the actual package itself,” he explained. “Each had a few words reminding customers of the opportunity to get a free reel of their choice if they create a video of themselves using and promoting the product while actually catching fish.”
Customers who create videos are also entered into the company’s annual $5,000 contest to see who can reel in the biggest catch with a Pen Fishing Rod. The largest catch to date is a whopping 18-pound carp in 2009 (see video here). Di Pippo also awards clothing and tackle prizes, even to those who aren’t contest winners. “With my company, everyone is a winner,” he said.
Rather than collect customer videos and feature them on his company’s channel, Di Pippo asks his customers to create their own YouTube channels, and upload their videos with short, unique titles that end with “Penfishingrods.com.” (Check out some customer videos: video one and video two.)
“The reasons for this was so that when my master plan of hundreds of videos were finally made . . . they would all load together like dominoes on YouTube in sequence when my product is queried,” he said. “The other benefits of my program range from financial, to brand recognition, and to even inflate the actual appearance and size my company projects to viewers.”
Currently, there are over 100 customer videos showcasing the company’s line of rods and reels in action. Di Pippo encourages children to participate, after they’ve received signed permission from their parents.
“As much as I wanted to create a viable and profitable income from this campaign, I wanted the kids to have fun as well. They got to create their own YouTube channel and be a part of a bigger picture in life. They created their own fan bases with like-minded peers while interacting with and learning from each other,” he said.
Anglers who exhibit a mastery of ultra-light fishing with the company’s products, are elevated by Di Pippo to his “Pro Staffer” level. He personally sponsors these die-hard enthusiasts, located around the world.
Small business owners interested in video marketing should first create a video marketing strategy, according to Di Pippo. For promotional company videos, he explained the script should be convincing and well-rehearsed prior to shooting; and video titles and descriptions need careful crafting so viewers can find one’s videos easily in search engines.
Of course, there’s no guarantee your best-produced videos will become viral. But if your passion comes through in your videos, there’s a good chance like-minded viewers will decide to jump in the boat with you.
By Joseph Mutidjo, Reporter, Smallbiztechnology.com