Themes and Strategies for How to Use Online Video:
Lots of business owners have heard that they "should" be using online video to connect with new prospects, communicate with clients and make customers raving fans. They realize that they "should" be creating product demo videos, client testimonials and how-to tutorials to expand their brand. And they feel like they "should" hire a professional (or at least take a class) to learn how to do it right.
I'm here to help you STOP "shoulding" all over yourself and get going. Online video has lots of benefits for retention, sales and SEO, and it's easier to get started than you may think.
Why use online video? Because show is more powerful than tell. The use of internet video increases sales conversions, some studies say by 30% or more. It has also been shown to decreases returns, increase engagement and improve SEO.
Zappos (the online shoe company) uses video to describe, use and demonstrate the products with real Zappos employees and not models or actors. Those videos are said to have a sales impact of 6 to 30% which prompted Zappos to escalate production, from about 8,000 videos on 2009 to a goal of 50,000 in 2010.
With broadband and mobile connections becoming more widespread every day, the consumption continues to grow.
comScore, a marketing research company, measured online video for December 2010 as 172 million U.S. users watching video online and averaging 14.6 hours per viewer.
Most online videos need to be 2 minutes or less in length. The internet is the ultimate short attention span arena, and a viewer needs to be invested to watch something longer. Is the type of video you create an attempt to sell something? If so, then the video's purpose is to nudge the consumer past the final step of consideration and into a purchase. Is it meant as a how-to or tip? Then a longer format may be acceptable. Is it meant as entertainment? Commentary? News coverage? Each content type will weigh into the graphics, music, animation, length, and camera shots.
In our work with clients, we find that there are five basic themes to online video:
1. Product Demos
Product demos help in the decision making process by demonstrating key features and benefits of a product. They can compare one product to another (as the Imagination Center does with their series on banner stands) and showcase upgrades or options that will make the user's life easier.
Demo videos are easily done by writing a script (which give s clean roadmap of the camera shots you'll need) and recording the narration (also called the voice-over). When you have data to include, like sizes, specs and prices, use a graphical image to convey the information quickly and concisely. Keep in mind that the video doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting - the page where the video appears can have additional, text-based information.
2. Client Testimonials
When you say something great about yourself, it's marketing. When a client says it on your behalf, it's magic. Ask some of your best clients (ones you'd like to clone) to say a few words about the experience they had working with you. Focus on one benefit or experience point, and use open-ended questions (how, what, describe) instead of closed questions (that can be answered with "yes" or "no.") And ask the client to rephrase the question in the answer so it can stand on its own without your voice in it.
A good example of using a testimonial as the backbone of a video is one we created for Kelly Hahn Photography.
3. How-to/ Tutorial
How-to videos extend your customer care by having extra support available 24/7. They break down processes used to successfully use your product or service. This helps to decrease returns, build confidence in the user and leads to referral sales. Make it personal, informative and fun, just like you were showing a client in person.
4. Who We Are
Sometimes called a Profile Video, this type gives an overview and establishes the identity of the company. The best Profile Videos give a prospect an idea of what it might feel like to work with you. It's not about image - more like culture. You can use a mixture of photos, video, and interview bits with key staff or clients to bring the viewer closer. Know your theme well, or this can easily be hijacked by an overt marketing message. Just seek to build a quality relationship and the business will naturally flow.
5. Fun, sharable
Doing a short, fun video just because you can has a place, too. Your team may find it a great exercise in creativity and your clients get to see another side of you. Don't be shy here, go all-in. Make it easy to share through links and social media like blogs, Facebook and YouTube. We've had success using fun videos at holidays (real or imagined) or to acknowledge an award or milestone in a very self deprecating way. A sense of humor definitely helps, but keeping it light and personal is the most important thing.
For those of you ready to dive in, please continue to Part 2 of this article. We have some DIY tips to get you a basic video equipment kit, some go-to resources on music and stock images, and best practices for editing software and compression.