I found this example of selling via Internet video in the New York Times.
Not in an article about Internet video, but in a paid advertisement. An ad that took up one third of a full page of the newspaper .
I have no idea what a third of a page in the New York Times costs, but I know it ain’t cheap, but this company can afford to run one regularly because they’ve got a winning formula…
First, a little background.
The best businesses are ones where customers make continuous purchases, hopefully over their entire lifetimes. In contrast, trying to make a living from a series of one-time sales is tough.
For that reason selling wine is a very cool business and that’s the business our case study is in.
People who are into wine are really into wine. They don’t buy one bottle in their lifetime. They more likely buy a couple of bottles a week. Every week.
If they’re big entertainers and/or gift givers, they may buy wine by the case – or cases. And if they’re collectors, then all bets are off. They may have hundreds of bottles stashed away in their climate controlled wine cellar.
Prices can range from a few bucks per bottle to hundreds of dollars.
The only drawback to selling wine is lots of people are in the game, so how do you win?
You win by being the most informed salesperson and by offering great service, selection and prices.
One mail order wine merchant gets this. They’re called WineLibrary.com. They’re based in New Jersey and they’re a mature business. They have a big warehouse retail store and a thriving mail order businesss – and they play the Internet and Internet video like a violin.
Because they can – and we all can now – the company has its own TV show called WineLibraryTV.
(Unfortunately a squatter grabbed the logical domain winelibrarytv.com – in April of 2006! – so they use an alternate. Guys, make sure you nail down your fillintheblankTV.com domains now. I’ve been warning people to do this since 2005. If you don’t do it, I guarantee a squatter will.)
Anyway, WineLibraryTV (http://tv.winelibrary.com) does the logical thing:
1. They put a gabby, knowledgeable guy – Gary Vaynerchuk – in front of a camera.
2. He tastes wines and talks about them.
3. There are links to the right of the screen that take you to the online store so you can buy the wines he is talking about.
I never said this was rocket science.
They do a show every day (more or less.) The shows are very primitive – one take, one shot – and last less than ten minutes each. They work work hard to elicit comments from viewers about each show and they’ve got an active forum.
Warning: If you like wine, going to this site will likely cost you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
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Ken McCarthy was one of the pioneers of the movement to commercialize the Internet and was involved in early tests of what have become Internet promotion mainstays like e-mail marketing, banner ads, and pay-per-click advertising. If you go to Google Video and search the term “marketing,” a short film about his work is often in the top ten, if not the number #1.
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– Ken McCarthy
P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.
If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.
Copyright: Ken McCarthy, 2006
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