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Hot Topic Interview with "Yachts for sale" (YTtalk member)

Discussion in 'YTtalk Creators Interviews' started by Crown, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. Crown
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Administrator
    As part of our YTtalk creator interview series (see: http://yttalk.com/forums/yttalk-creators-interviews.96/ ), I recently interviewed @Yachts For Sale

    YTtalk member name: Yachts For Sale


    Channel name and link: https://www.youtube.com/user/YachtsForSaleCNI

    Most popular video: "3 Reasons to Buy IZUMI" ( 440,000 views ):

    Social media links
    facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yachtsforsalecni
    twitter: http://www.twitter.com/yachtsforsalebl
    instagram: http://www.instagram.com/yachtsforsaleblog
    linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/david-seal-b9210413/

    Website: http://yachtsforsalechannel.com/

    Hi. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

    My name is David Seal, I am 51 so probably one of the older members of YTTalk. I was born in Wolverhampton, a city in the West Midlands of England. It was not the most exciting of places to grow up and I always had an adventurous streak so I moved to London as a teenager and ended up meeting an Italian girl who I followed to Italy and married. That was over twenty years ago, and I now have three kids who were all born and raised in Italy.

    Soon after arriving in Italy I met a local businessman who built luxury yachts. I started to help him with his English speaking clients and fell in love with the luxury yacht business. To be frank I don’t have any great passion for yachts as such, but I do find the business side of yachting fascinating. I worked for his company for 10 years, and during that time it became the largest group of luxury yacht builders in the world. I eventually left to become a yacht broker, and that has been my business ever since.

    Apart from Youtube, what are some of your hobbies, favourite pastimes?

    I spend a lot of time away from home, so any time spent with my kids is especially precious to me. We play video games, go for walks, but my time in Italy has taught me a great appreciation of food too, and nothing gives me greater pleasure than sitting with my family eating a big plate of pasta and enjoying some good Italian wine.

    Let's move on to YouTube. When did you start making videos on Youtube?


    What is your channel all about and what do you do on your channel?

    As the name suggests, my channel is designed to promote yachts that are for sale and to promote me as a yacht broker.

    I publish two categories of video. “Hero videos”, that is to say high production cost, high quality presentations of yachts using helicopter footage and/or drone footage. I present the yacht myself, so the video aims to be similar to a programme you may watch on the television, with me providing narration and acting as presenter.

    The other type of video I produce are video blogs. These are lower cost, lower quality videos that I can produce fairly quickly and regularly.

    The hero videos are sales tools for me. If a yacht owner is thinking of selling his yacht and he can see the kind of videos I produce and the number of people who view them he is more likely to award me the contract to represent him. On the other hand, buyers who are looking for a specific model of yacht are more likely to find me and engage with me if they watch my video on youtube.

    The vlog videos are watched by fewer people than the hero videos, but they are valuable for me to establish my credibility as an expert in yachting. I can talk about interesting facts, developments in the industry, and so on. I’m really happy with the level of engagement that these videos produce and think they have been very instrumental in my channel’s growth.

    How / why did you get into Youtube ?

    The yachting business was hit very hard by the world’s financial crash in 2008. Yacht builders (including my former employer) found that business dried up overnight and many of them had to file for bankruptcy. The yacht brokerage business was very badly effected and so I decided I needed to do something to differentiate myself from everybody else. In 2012 I took a camcorder on board a yacht and made a very amateurish video of myself explaining some of the yacht’s features. The video quickly gained about 3000 views and I was completely blown away that I could reach so many people with the medium of video, especially such a poorly executed one. Shortly after that I paid a professional production company to film me on another yacht, we included some helicopter footage and I wrote a proper script and storyboard; this video stayed for years at the number 1 position on google for anybody searching for that specific model of yacht. This was my first video on the “Yachts For Sale” YouTube channel.

    With regards to who or what inspired me; I studied acting at school and have always felt confident in front of a camera or an audience. I was initially concerned about YouTube because I am not as young or attractive as most traditional vloggers, but I reasoned that television personalities like Jeremy Clarkson, Gordon Ramsay, or Kevin McCloud are popular because they speak in an engaging manner and obviously know what they are talking about…not because they are young and good looking. On that basis I felt confident that I could produce some good material that people would listen to.

    How big is your channel now?

    My channel now has just over 10,000 subscribers and about 2,300,000 total views. My daily sub average varies enormously, from about 100 subs in a day down to just 20 or 30. I average about 40 per day at the moment and about 7000 daily views. If usual metrics of views and subs are used to measure the size of my channel I would have to say it is very small indeed. As a yacht sales and marketing tool though it is very respectable and has already attracted sponsors and other profitable opportunities. There is a great expression in business that says “turnover is vanity…profit is sanity”. The same is true with a YouTube channel, a high subscriber and view count is great for our ego and panders to our vanity, but if we approach YouTube as a business the more important thing is that the channel makes a healthy profit.

    Could you describe the growth? Was it gradual or did it suddenly explode overnight? What events triggered the growth ?

    It was very slow at first. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that “I” was very slow at first. I played around with developing videos from 2012 - 2016 before I came to realise what an effective source of business my YouTube channel could be. In 2014 I produced a documentary style video of a historic yacht that had been Harry Truman’s Presidential yacht after the war, and 4 different billionaires contacted me for information as a direct result of the video. (video embedded at the end of this section) That was the point that I realised the potential of YouTube to attract wealthy yacht owners, but even then it did not occur to me that I should invest more time into building my YouTube channel. Finally, late last year I resolved to build my business around YouTube and to develop a weekly video blog schedule and try to produce one hero video every month.

    It looks like I shall fall slightly short of those goals, but the extra effort and commitment on my part has resulted in my channel growing from just over 2000 subscribers to well over 10,000 subscribers already this year, and from less than 20,000 views a month to well over 200,000.

    In answer to your question “what events triggered the growth?” I would have to say that it was simply the decision on my part to commit to a consistent upload schedule and to focus on improving the quality of my content, especially the video blogs. This decision led to the brokerage company that I am contracted to offering to sponsor my channel, paying for all of my video content. It’s a great arrangement, it takes a financial burden off me and of course they benefit from the exposure and any yacht sales that my Yachts For Sale channel brings in. Consider that most yachts for sale are viewed by about 3000 people a month through traditional online marketing, but my yacht presentation videos are usually viewed by at least 20,000 people every month.

    I experienced a major spike in views and subscribers earlier this year too when I was asked to supply a yacht for a television show featuring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. I supplied a yacht that I had filmed earlier in the year and James May retweeted a link to the video, with Clarkson and Hammond retweeting his tweet. My views and subs increased substantially for about a six week period, and although they have dropped back down now they have dropped to a far higher level than they were before.

    The Show airs later this year, and they tell me my video will get a direct tweet from Clarkson at that time. He has almost 7 million followers, so if he does tweet a link to my video I look forward to seeing the results.

    (Link to "Harry Truman" video mentioned above):

    Do you use social media to promote your content? If so how?

    The use of social media has been a long learning curve for me. I do have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account that are all branded “Yachts For Sale”, but the only real traction I get is from my personal Linked’In page. I learned from listening to Derral Eves that Facebook is no friend of YouTube, and this has also been my own observation over time. It is a totally different platform to YouTube and needs it’s own strategy to make it an effective marketing tool in it’s own right. At the moment I just don’t have the time to focus on it to make that happen.

    Twitter was useful for me when I worked with the TV company because it is the main social media platform for their presenters so I was able to capitalise on that..apart from that I don’t think it does much for my YouTube channel.

    Instagram is an interesting platform that I want to develop. I have started to take “backstage” photos when I am shooting a video and these are fairly popular. I use them to build anticipation for forthcoming videos, a bit like a trailer to a film. I also occasionally accompany my video team on helicopter shoots of yachts; I film the yacht with my iPhone from over the shoulder of the cameraman and post the footage on Instagram. This has been very popular, one short video I posted just after Christmas had well over 1 million views on various accounts and continues to appear all over the place even now.

    Linked’In is without a doubt the best platform for me, and it took me a long time to recognise that. I have recently started to post all of my vlogs on Linked’In as soon as they are published and they usually get about 2000 views in the feed within a few hours. The important thing for me is that these views are almost entirely from people in the yachting community who can recommend my services to their clients. I get numerous messages and invitations to collaborate in one way or another, it’s by far the best business orientated social media platform in my opinion.

    Do you use SEO? If so how?

    I spent a lot of time researching SEO for YouTube, but as far as I can see it comes down to just having a sensible title, a thorough description, and giving thought to your tag words. I always triple tag…in other words I repeat the title in the description and also as a long tail tag. I do think that it is easy to over-think the SEO aspect of a YouTube channel though, the ingredients to success are actually pretty simple: good quality, regular content, good titles, thorough descriptions, tags, and attractive thumbnails. I tried to use TubeBuddy for ideas of good tag words to use, but the yachting niche is so small on YouTube I wasn’t able to get any meaningful data from it. Actually, the name of my channel and the amount of content I put out has put me in the top spot for anybody using the search parameter “yachts for sale”, which is pretty exciting. My competitors and the company I work for have invested millions to try to get to this position for a google search, but I have accomplished it on the second biggest search engine in the world with just a few thousand euro.

    What other promotion do you do?

    Not much to be honest. I have just developed a website called yachtsforsalechannel.com, but that is more as a tool for me to send out a newsletter rather than to promote my channel. The yachting press have taken an interest in my work and have published a few articles about me this year, which has been fantastic free promotion. When I read comments from other YouTubers on this forum, especially gamers, I realise that I am very lucky to be a big fish in a very small pond rather than the other way around. The yachting world has still not fully recognised the potential of YouTube.

    Are you active in the "YouTube community" or "Yachting community" ? How important do you think it is to make contacts and to network with other creators ?

    I’m not as active as I should be in the YouTube community. When I was first getting started I used to leave comments like “nice video” on any popular yacht video I could find. It was a lazy and frankly senseless approach to engaging with other YouTubers, so now I only leave comments on videos if I have something meaningful to say - and I don’t limit myself to commenting on just yacht videos.

    I’m very active indeed in the yachting community both online and offline. There are some wonderful channels by creators who are sailing around the world and publishing videos of their adventures, as well as people who are building their own yacht. I enjoy watching and occasionally commenting on these videos, although they are in a slightly different, but related, niche.

    In the yachting community I am often invited to be a guest speaker at conferences, I am an instructor at an annual yacht broker’s training seminar, and I regularly meet other digital marketing personalities to discuss trends and developments. I was invited to the Monaco Yacht Club yesterday to meet the owner of a marketing company that has a yachting Facebook page with close to 100,000 followers. We had a fascinating conversation, although the thing I shall remember the most is that he paid €32 for two orange juices!

    All of those events offer me the opportunity to promote my channel, and I take every chance I get!

    With regards to the importance of making contacts and networking with other creators, I have to say that I wish I could do that a lot more. I think it would be an amazing way to grow my channel, and your asking me that question makes me realise that I should make it a focus for the future. This kind of strategy needs to be thought out carefully, the collaborating YouTube creator needs to get something positive out of the arrangement too. It can't just be one sided; there is an amazing YouTube channel called "Heather Ballentine" that I would like to reach out to. Ballentine is a Lamborghini saleswoman in Canada, but she regularly visits the Lamborghini factory in Italy that is not too far from my house. It would be very cool to meet her and take her on a luxury yacht if she would then give me a tour of the Lamborghini factory, and of course we could both publish videos of the visits. She has about 60,000 subscribers so her channel is significantly larger than mine, but I'm hoping that the lure of a luxury yacht might make it worth her while ;)

    Has YTtalk helped?

    Enormously. I think my colleagues get tired of me rambling on about YouTube and videos at every opportunity, but YTtalk gives me access to a community of people who really understand my passion and share it. I look at YTtalk almost every day, it helps me to keep focussed on building my channel and I especially enjoy reading some of the milestone announcements. I have to admit, I couldn’t wait to hit the 10,000 sub mark just so that I could announce it on this forum!

    Your videos are great and they must take a long time to make, particularly the hero videos. What do you enjoy the most about being a YouTube creator?

    Thanks! I’m glad you like them. I should probably answer this question with a modest comment about enjoying the creative process, but the truthful answer is a rather less modest “I get a buzz out of the recognition”. When I started to use YouTube as a sales tool I really wanted to distinguish myself from other yacht brokers, and I get great pleasure from having accomplished that goal. A large part of my job involves visiting yachts that are for sale and familiarising myself with them. It’s not at all unusual for the Captain and crew to say “ I know you from somewhere…I know you from somewhere…I KNOW! You’re the guy with the YouTube channel!” That actually happened as recently as this morning, and my colleagues started to laugh and tease me because they know how much I like being recognised. I have also been in a position to pitch my business to some wealthy yacht owners who need a broker to represent their yacht for sale. I always close the pitch with an explanation of my YouTube channel and I show them a short excerpt of my work. This has won every pitch for me so far, and as you can imagine that is a huge source of satisfaction.

    And what do you dislike the most? Have you ever felt like quitting?

    I’ve never really felt like quitting, because YouTube has provided an outlet to satisfy the previously-frustrated performer in me. I do often find it hard to think of new material though, I go through long periods of creative block and I find this frustrating. I guess the best way to answer “what do you dislike the most?” would be to say that I dislike my own limitations. YouTube is such an awesome platform, I’m old enough to remember life before the internet existed so I’m totally blown away by the fact that I can entertain and inform hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries every month without having to go for an audition for a TV Show. The only thing I dislike is that I don’t always do justice to such an incredible opportunity.

    Can you remember any mistakes you made that with hindsight you wouldn't make again?

    So many mistakes! The biggest mistake of all was not recognising the potential of YouTube sooner, and just playing at it for so many years instead of focussing on building a channel and subscriber base years ago when I first started.

    My most watched video contains a very short excerpt of copyrighted music too, so I have probably lost about $600 this year by not checking on that when it was in production and getting it changed or paid for. I am a lot more careful now!

    I also made the “rookie error” on early video blogs of giving them titles with dates, such as “Yachting Opportunities June 2012”. It seemed a logical thing to do at the time, but of course after June 2012 passed by nobody wanted to watch them anymore!

    It’s all part of the learning curve.

    Thanks very much for doing this interview. My last question - What advice would you give a new Youtuber who's struggling to grow their channel?

    Chill out and enjoy yourself. Enjoy the process, enjoy watching how you improve from one video to the next, and don’t compare yourself with big YouTube names. YT Analytics are there to help you to grow, not to beat yourself up with every time you get a dip in views or lose a subscriber. Look past the view and subscriber count and dig into audience retention and traffic sources. Try to understand why you lose viewers at a certain point in your videos and what you can do to keep them on your channel. Analyse which titles, subjects, and thumbnails are working for you and which ones don’t...and never stop learning.

    If you are one of the majority of YouTubers who started a channel just for a bit of fun and to see if you could make an income from it then make sure that you ARE having “a bit of fun”. If the income disappoints you, then at least you will be getting recreational value from the time you are investing.

    If on the other hand you are one of the few who use YouTube as a serious tool for your business, like me, then you really need to take a businesslike approach to it. Dedicate time to creating your content with the same level of commitment that you dedicate time to sales meetings and appointments with clients. If you are not a talented editor, cameraman, or sound specialist, then consider investing in using professionals to do this for you. It will save you valuable time to spend doing what you do best, and the finished product will represent you and your brand to a far higher standard.


    Big thanks to @Yachts For Sale for taking time out of his day to do this interview. Don't hesitate to check out his channel and videos. You never know - you might see a yacht you'd like to buy! :cigar:

    For all our creator interviews, see here > http://yttalk.com/forums/yttalk-creators-interviews.96/

  2. Imaginary Dave
    Active Member
    Great interview - I think I am really going to like this new segment.

    Congratulations Yachts For Sale!
    Crown and Yachts For Sale like this.
  3. Dutchie Abroad
    Exploring the world one video at a time!
    Awesome read, thanks for taking the time to do this YFS! It's pretty awesome to see Youtube being used as a business and marketing tool, I feel like a lot of businesses (from various workfields) don't realize the full potential of Youtube yet. The focus on social media is there, but Youtube is often forgotten. I think it is also inspirational to see someone older (sorry to say it like that) learning and using the internet and it's platforms to its full potential :)

    Keep up the great work and I hope you will get that collab with Heather Ballentine one day!
    Crown likes this.
  4. Yachts For Sale
    Yachts For Sale
    Thanks Dutchie.

    A really nice man came to our care home and gave us lessons. Next week he's going to teach us Tai Chi on the back lawn next to the daffodils.

    Seriously though, your'e absolutely right about businesses focussing on social media but neglecting YouTube, and the reason is quite simple; it takes a moment to post a photo on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, but hours of work to produce a video. So many businesses want to tick the social media box without really thinking about why they are doing it or how to do it effectively. They give the role of caring for social media to a young member of staff who has a little more time than everybody else and then just hope for the best.

    Not all businesses of course...but many.

    It's great news for digital influencers, since it makes our channels more valuable.
    Crown and Dutchie Abroad like this.
  5. EVO
    I Love YTtalk
    Great read guys. David; it sounds like you have a life that I could only dream of. A guy from the Midlands marrying an Italian! Very lucky boy.
    Crown likes this.
  6. Yachts For Sale
    Yachts For Sale
    Thanks @EVO I'm glad you enjoyed reading it! Life in Italy is a lot of fun I must admit, but there is plenty I miss about the UK too!
    EVO likes this.
  7. HC.SameerPatil
    I've Got It
    The power of social media is insane. There has never been this much opportunity for businesses out there to connect with people all over the world and Youtube has enabled that. Great video, the Izumi is a monster!

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