Lacking any information to the contrary, many businesses still think that all they need to do to get new clients is to put their name and face in the Yellow Pages or online social directories, get some professional looking business cards, a website and Voila! It's the old adage "build it and they will come".
Trouble is, that's what their competitors are doing also and in this day and age, it's just not enough.
Does Your Business Stand Out Online?
Most advertising on the Web follows a time-honored format, although some might call it a time-worn format as it does little to differentiate itself. You can bet that a high percentage of this advertising will be ignored and the money spent on it will be wasted.
So how does a company stand out from the crowd online?
Thanks to an oversupply of similar text, claims, and presentation - coupled with a short 21st century attention span - your website has less than ten seconds to move a visitor to action. If it doesn't, that visitor will click away to another site, and then another. Therefore, it's critical that you find a way to break through the noise your competitors are making.
But even that's not enough. Statistics show that even the best-looking websites generate conversion rates of under one percent, so for every 100 visitors you do manage to get, less than one will call or email you.
Sound bleak? Thinking of redirecting more of your advertising budget back to the Yellow Pages? Don't. You're on the right track - you just haven't leveraged all the power available to you online.
One-to-Many Communication. One-on-One Feel.
Most websites are little more than electronic versions of Yellow Page advertising. For the most part, they don't encourage interaction beyond the obligatory "Contact me for more information" plea. These sites don't encourage trust any more than their print counterparts. They don't give visitors the warm-and-fuzzy feeling that a face-to-face meeting would.
But they can.
Searching for a local service provider online can be a daunting prospect, but even more daunting than the search is deciding which provider to use once you get to the page, especially since most websites promise the standard good service, competitive pricing and high quality.
So how does a business differentiate itself from the sea of competition? Web video makes this possible on a grand scale.
Thanks to rapidly improving technology, it's easier than ever to add that warm-and-fuzzy, face-to-face element to your site, replicate an in-person interview, and offer your visitors an opportunity to check you out before picking up the phone. With Web video, you can present an interview that addresses all the questions and concerns of potential clients. You can keep them on your site longer and give them insight into the "business behind the business." In a way that wasn't possible even a few years ago, business owners can now speak directly to their audiences and showcase their personalities and areas of expertise. This is especially helpful if you are a professional service provider. Any business that relies on conveying trust-ability will benefit from this type of web marketing. Really, it's one-to-many communication with a one-on-one feel. It's the perfect ice breaker and an efficient means of generating the interest and trust needed to compel potential clients to make an appointment and do business.
A high-quality Web interview placed strategically on your site is a huge timesaver for you and prospective clients because you reach a wide audience in minimal time. Potential clients get the information they need to pre-qualify - and pre-sell - themselves before they call.
Online video delivers some of the best ROI of any advertising medium today and if set up properly, is actually ranks higher than text now by the major search engines like Google. Short of spending valuable face time with a potential client (often times a poorly qualified potential client) there is simply no better way to forge a personal connection with them. With that in mind, here are 10 tips to help you get the most of your online video marketing efforts.
10 Tips for Getting in Front of Prospective Clients with Online Video
1. Make sure your video is professionally done.
This is an absolute must. The whole point here is to establish credibility and trust, but you'll do the opposite with a poorly executed and produced video. Yes, many of the videos you find on sharing sites are mediocre at best, but that is changing rapidly as companies begin to see the value of promoting themselves in this manner. In fact, a recent Permission TV survey found that 67% of 400 hundred top executives intended to focus their online marketing efforts on video in 2009. The rush is coming - find a personable, engaging interviewer and a top notch production crew to really stand out.
2. Submit your video to as many outlets as possible.
While YouTube is the clear leader here, there are many other video sharing sites worthy of consideration. Here are some others you won't want to pass up:
• Google Video, video.google.com
• Yahoo! Video, video.yahoo.com
3. Embed your video on the front page of your site.
Don't hide what's going to become one of your most effective selling tools on a dusty inside page. Get it out front. Customers and search engines will love you for it.
4. Find out what search terms your potential clients are using and put them in your video's title.
If you don't know what words clients in need of your services are typing into Google and other search engines, get professional help or use some of the resources featured on this page. Once you've identified these terms, use the most popular in your video's title.
5. Make your tags and descriptions SEO-friendly, too.
Most video sharing sites let you tag videos with keywords and post a short description, so get the most out of these by sprinkling in the search terms you've identified.
6. Don't forget your thumbnail.
A thumbnail is a still shot from your video that appears along with search results. Don't waste this opportunity to present yourself in the best light possible - choose a key moment from your video, preferably one where you're smiling as you speak with your interviewer.
7. Link back to your site.
Put your URL near the top of your video's description. You'll get a higher search ranking and potential clients will quickly learn where to go for more information.
8. Interact with your viewers.
Most video sharing sites allow viewer comments. Use this opportunity to answer questions, respond to comments, and further promote your business.
9. Consider a pay-per-click campaign.
Natural search engine optimization, while effective, takes time to bear fruit. In the meantime, you might want to jump start the process with a pay-per-click campaign that gives you a sponsored search listing.
10. Add new content often.
Search engines look for it and so do potential clients. Keep your content fresh and up-to-date and keep visitors coming back for more.
With an ever-increasing stream of competition, it's more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. These days standing out means maximizing your online presence and leveraging the technology to present the unique advantages of you and your firm. There's no better way for a growth-oriented business to build a solid and secure future than by using effective and affordable online video.