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What is a Haul Video and Should You Still Use Them?

If you’ve spent any time on YouTube in recent years, you’re probably familiar with haul videos. This type of content can provide potential benefits to both influencers and small retail businesses.

Though they may not be quite as prevalent as they once were, it’s still important to be aware of the potential impact of these videos. They still may be able to help you spread the word about your brand or create useful content for your target audience. To learn the ins and outs of haul videos, here’s a quick guide.

What Is a Haul Video?

Essentially, a haul video is a recording of someone going over a collection of purchases. They may go into detail about what each product is, their initial impressions, and the shopping experience as a whole. A haul usually includes products from a single retailer, a particular collection of shops, or at least a specific category where the products all relate to one another.

Haul videos originally gained relevance around 2006/2007 through the beauty vlogging community on YouTube. But then the concept has since spread through plenty of other niches. And though they’re still most common on YouTube, they’ve also spread to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Haul videos may not be quite as prevalent as they once were. But influencers are still creating and sharing these videos daily. And since the market for them isn’t quite as saturated, it could be an interesting time for businesses to jump in.

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Haul videos really only offer initial impressions of products. They’re not as thorough as full product reviews. But they do usually contain products that the influencer has chosen, so they can quickly explain why they liked each item. In certain categories like clothing or makeup, the person may even try on the items to offer a full and honest first impression. So it could be a bit more impactful than an unboxing video, which often features products from a subscription box or items gifted from a PR company.

Who Can Use a Haul Video?

Haul videos have been posted in nearly every business niche and target audience. However, they tend to be especially popular in areas like makeup, fashion, toys, and any area where it’s possible/common to buy a lot of products at once. It’s not a concept that’s especially relevant for service businesses or retailers that sell really expensive products.

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As a small retail business, haul videos can help you connect to relevant consumers through influencers. Basically, viewers watch and subscribe to YouTube videos of people they trust or who share similar tastes in products. So when that influencer shares a collection of products, a viewer might see an item that strikes their fancy and decide to purchase one as well.

On the influencer side, haul videos can offer a way to share valuable content with your audience. If you have a YouTube channel, Facebook page, Instagram account or blog, offering insights on the products you love can help your audience shape their own buying decisions. And the video format allows people to get a feel for your personality and connect with you. It also creates a natural way for you to infuse some brand related content into your strategy. This can lead to profitable connections for your business going forward.

How Can You Use Haul Videos for Your Small Business?

If you’re interested in utilizing haul videos as an influencer, you simply need to find a product category or shop that is relevant to your audience and then go on a shopping spree. When you film your video, simply go over each purchase and then promote your content. Over time, you may even be able to work with brands that want to connect with your audience. This can help you cover the costs of your videos and bring in a profit in exchange for spreading the word.

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If you’re a retailer, taking advantage of haul videos requires finding relevant influencers to work with or promoting organic content related to your brand. Haul videos can be especially helpful in spreading the word about new products. So if you’re preparing for a launch or have recently unveiled a new line, you may want to contact some relevant YouTube creators or social media personalities in your niche to arrange sponsored content.

The exact logistics are up to you. But you may be able to pay them or arrange a free shopping spree for them. However, it is usually beneficial to have them pick out their own products. If you send them items without their input, they may be less relevant or less likely to share the positive attributes that drew them to each item. In these cases, they’ll also need to disclose that the content is sponsored.

Of course, organically created content can also be incredibly valuable for your business. This is a less proactive step. But you can still keep an eye out for haul videos that mention your business or include your products. Then you can promote them to your own audience. This may also be a helpful way for you to find influencers for future sponsored content opportunities, since they’re already genuinely interested in your offerings.

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This article, “What is a Haul Video and How Can You Use it to Promote Your Retail Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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You should probably have a good handle on your company’s cash flow, but do you ever wonder how your company compares with other small businesses? Intuit QuickBooks recently released a global study, the State of Small Business Cash Flow, which reveals the cash flow challenges experienced by small business owners and self-employed workers around the world. The study is also an in-depth assessment of the behaviors and attitudes of entrepreneurs experiencing cash flow challenges.

As I read the study, the section on cash flow issues faced by entrepreneurs caught my eye. According to the study, 69% of small business owners are kept up at night with concerns about cash flow. What drives cash flow issues for the self-employed? Let’s take a look at the top four factors.

1. Managing receivables

Receivables, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a balance of money due to a company. The business has provided services to a client or customer; however, the client still owes the company payment for those services. Until receivables are repaid in full, they are referred to as outstanding receivables.

One-third of all small business owners in the United States estimate their companies have more $20,000 in outstanding receivables, according to the study, and the average outstanding receivables for U.S. small businesses is $53,399.

2. Managing payments

How do small business owners manage payments? The study reveals 53% will send out invoices which bill customers and/or clients for services on a specific date. On the flip side of the coin, 47% of small business owners use advanced payment. This allows entrepreneurs to charge customers and/or clients for services before they receive them, or right when they do.

How long does it take money to process for small businesses? More time than you might think. Sixty-six percent of small business owners revealed the greatest impact on their company’s cash flow is the amount of time it takes money to process after receiving payments. Nearly one-third (31%) of small business owners say they wait more than 30 days for payments.

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3. Employee management

Small business owners are not the only ones impacted by not receiving pay. A lack of readily available funds makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to pay employees on their payroll. More than two in five (43%) of small business owners with cash flow issues have been at risk of not being able to pay employees by their assigned payday.

Unfortunately, 32% of small business owners surveyed have paid their employees after their paydays. As illustrated by events like the recent partial government shutdown, the impact late pay has on employees can be dire. Many individuals live paycheck to paycheck, and when a small business employer cannot pay on time, employees are likely to start looking for jobs at companies that can provide dependable pay.

4. Getting capital

What happens when it becomes too difficult to have liquid finances available? Some small business owners turn to loans and other forms of capital for financial support.

Getting financial support, though, isn’t always easy, and for some business owners, this means admitting defeat before they have had a chance to try. Nearly two in five (39%) of U.S. small business owners don’t apply for loans, with 29% saying they don’t apply because interest rates are too high, 23% do not want to make payments, and 19% do not think they will be approved.

How to resolve cash flow challenges

Sometimes I’m in a position to write content where I can offer actionable advice and help for small business owners. Cash flow is a slightly different matter. As noted by the study, it’s become an increasing problem for small businesses not to have funds readily available for real-time expenses.

While I am not a financial professional, I certainly don’t think it’s fair for small business owners to lose sleep worrying about cash flow. I recommend meeting with a accounting professional or a financial adviser to help sort out these concerns. These professionals will be able to get entrepreneurs on track with better billing practices, for example, that can be an asset to small businesses. Once companies and their owners are better equipped to resolve these issues, they will be able to keep relationships strong with employees, vendors, clients, and customers.

RELATED: The Best Ways to Finance Cash Flow Emergencies

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