Credit: Illustration: Harry Campbell

Thinking about installing new siding? ABC Seamless, in Fargo, N.D., wants you to think steel siding. So when you visit the company's website you'll see a video that shows a barbecue grill melting a panel of vinyl. But though the video ? an ad for the company's Bismark dealer affiliate ? is on the ABC Seamless website, what you're seeing is actually posted on online video sharing/hosting site YouTube.

Why Be There?

YouTube is the most popular of almost 100 online video sites. Posting videos there or elsewhere online can help drive searchers to your website. Video can be used to establish your authority as an expert, rebroadcast commercials, or showcase customer testimonials.

Posting a video will quickly bring you to the attention of consumers who are searching online. And some videos really get around. For instance, in the last two years, more than 47,000 people have viewed a window installation video posted on YouTube by Maine contractor David Deschaine (

"There might be 200 guys in the area doing what you're doing," points out marketing and public relations expert Mark Shapiro, "but if the homeowner does a Google search under 'Web' or 'videos,' you'll come up much higher on the [search results] page."

What People Want To See

To get your video on YouTube, which claims to account for 60% of all videos watched online, you first have to make one. For Ben Timko, owner of 765Deck (, in Clearfield, Pa., who is planning to expand his company's expertise in re-decking into a dealership program, video offers the perfect medium. Timko hired the teenage son of one of his employees to create a video and a YouTube channel for the company.

Deschaine taught himself to shoot videos using a Flip camcorder, and then to edit them and post them online. He now has more than 55 videos on YouTube.

Note that your company's website may need to be revamped or updated if you want to include video. When ABC Seamless updated and redesigned its site two years ago, the company moved to include the ability to post video. "We are committed to video as what people want to see on the Internet," marketing director Nick Goodroad says. The initial choice was between including a video portal as part of the site or posting videos on sites such as YouTube and linking to them.

If you're considering creating videos to post on online sites, Shapiro, who has produced lots of videos, suggests keeping them short. "Five two-minute videos are better than one 10-minute video," he says.

What should you make videos of? Think about what your customers ask you, Shapiro says. He suggests that contractors make a list of the three most frequently asked homeowner questions and make videos that supply the answers to them.