April 15, 2014, 1:50 PM

An industrial products distributor steps up its image through videos

With about 400 of its 25,000 products featured in online videos, Northern Safety Co. is seeing improved natural search results and higher e-mail click-through rates, web merchandising manager Kim Longo says.

Lead Photo

Kim Longo

Having distributed safety and industrial products ranging from hard hats to pressure washers for more than 30 years, Northern Safety Co. Inc. recently found a way to get its products more noticed in natural search and e-mail marketing campaigns, the company says.

Early last year it rolled out the first of about 400 videos it uses to demonstrate about 1,000 of its more than 25,000 products, says Kim Longo, web merchandising manager.

The companies chooses to demonstrate its more complex products, such as safety harnesses that secure workers and its Activflex elastic back support safety belt, Longo says. As a result, Northern Safety is able to engage shoppers for longer periods of time as they learn how products work, she adds.

Although Northern Safety hasn’t measured how the videos impact conversion rates, they’ve consistently produced more effective e-mail and search marketing campaigns, the company says. “Every time we include videos in e-mail, we see increases in click-through rates and sales,” says Stefan Trask, web content editor. “We rank high in Google natural search, where the videos have been very effective.”

Northern Safety, based in Frankfurt, NY, produces most of its videos with Invodo, which hosts the videos and serves them up to appear on NorthernSafety.com, an e-commerce site Northern Safety built in-house on Microsoft Corp.’s .Net technology. Longo and Trask have traveled to Invodo’s video studio in Texas, where they hire actors to appear in product demonstrations.

Invodo also provides web analytics on video usage by online visitors. So far, about 14% of visitors to NorthernSafety.com view product videos, which is up from an industry average of 12.5%, Longo says. Among visitors who view the videos, 76% watch at least 80% of each video, she adds.

For the average Invodo client, the cost of producing videos—all of which typically include at least one person demonstrating a product—ranges from about $800 or $900 to a few thousand dollars per video, says Invodo CEO Craig Wax.

Northern Safety also hosts some videos on YouTube.com, including some that it develops in association with retired baseball celebrity Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken, famous for his record of playing in more than 2,600 consecutive professional baseball games, appears in a series of Northern Safety videos demonstrating how workers can use safety products to avoid injuries.

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