One of the first things you have to consider when thinking about starting your own videography business is whether or not you are suited to owning your own business. As difficult as it may be to hear the truth is not everyone is capable of being in business for themselves. It takes discipline and dedication and owning a decent video camera does not automatically qualify you to be in business.
Following is a list of 5 ways that online video can help you to increase your business.
Making a positive first impression is critical in any situation. Whether it’s a business meeting, live event or online video, your appearance and delivery is key to your success. Now, with vast improvements in video quality it’s become the norm to watch webcasts or meet and greet each other on one of the many video platforms, including: WebEx, Skype, ooVoo, Google Hangouts, Ustream, Livestream, Qik, and many more. With all the technology, the simple rules of proper etiquette when using these tools become more important than ever. Making sure you sure you have good lighting and sound is not enough. According to Lisa Gaché, Co-Founder and CEO of etiquette education company Beverly Hills Manners, the lack of etiquette can derail the effectiveness of a video conference session.
- Pick a facilitator to help manage any over-exuberant participants.
- Ask permission if you wish to record a video chat. Privacy is expected until consent is given otherwise
- Pay attention and listen – if you try to fake it, you’ll be caught.
- Acknowledge the power of your body language – avoid personal gestures such as hair playing, scratching, picking, etc…
- Remember you are meeting face to face on clear video, so remain aware of your facial expressions and monitor them so you send the right message.
- Don’t eat or drink during a business video conference call.
- Think about your environment and background
In summary, you have to be aware of what you look and sound like, and what your environment says about you.
Guest Post by Neil Davidson, Mywebpresenters
While that’s all very well, we know that the majority of video ad views will belong to well known brands with deep enough pockets to have a punt at large scale online video without having to batter an eyelid should they not receive a direct return on their investment.
So how about the rest of us? Can a typical small business see verifiable (and direct) results from using video?
What are your aims?
Video is no different to any other marketing channel; it needs to be a working cog that plays its part in achieving the company’s broader goals. For example you may have too slow a process for closing leads due to your product being a high cost product or perhaps there are trust issues in your market so it may be helpful to add customer testimonial videos onto your product pages to help improve your performance in these areas.
Marketo is an example of a business doing customer testimonial videos well.
Alternatively you may have issues with people understanding exactly what your product does and how it can help them.
A good example of a small business doing this well is Harvey Water Softeners they have a number of videos throughout the site that explain how water softeners work and the health benefits of using them.
There are also plenty of businesses who have used video to achieve their goals more effectively. Take the Khan academy for instance: they have revolutionized education meaning that children all around the world can learn at their own pace, support others who need help and get help from others who are already clear on certain subjects: Here is an overview video from TED’s YouTube channel.
Our specialty is using video Web Presenters and we find that these are possibly the type of video that carry the lowest costs in production and are the easiest to get up and running quickly.
To give you an example with figures: The National IT Learning Centre increased the website bookings for their courses by 35% through the use of the web presenter video which you can see on their homepage above.
So, initially you must define where you are as a business and what your current short to mid term goals are, then once clear determine if video can or cannot play a part in helping you to achieve those goals. I am of course biased but I would be happy to take the challenge of finding a practical way for any business owner to use video effectively to achieve their business goals.
Video is simply a medium for communication and because it helps to visually rather than textually convey your message it is generally effective as many people respond well to visual explanations.
Once you are clear on your aims for video production and marketing you should set yourself some clear targets that will measure how close you come to achieving your aims.
In the first example above where I talked about video testimonials there may be 2 measurements that you could use:
- lead to sale conversion time lag shortening
- increase in the number of leads
Whereas for the second example it is more likely to be a clear-cut matter of the number of additional leads gained versus costs of the video production. It is worth taking into account that the videos will probably be good for a few years use in both cases. An additional measurement in both cases could be site conversion rate.
Keep it Real
Whatever type of video that you are producing it is important that you speak from the heart, insincerity (bullshit) is easier to spot on a persons face or in the tone of their voice than it is in text.
Your pride in your business needs to come across, of course not in an arrogant way but in a passionate way. If you are excited about the things that your business is doing and are obviously keen to share it with others then the response you will receive is likely to be positive.
If you are producing customer testimonial type videos then give your customers a short list of possible points to cover that will really get them talking, e.g.
What advise would you give to other potential users of this product in hindsight?
Use natural language that suits you, do not try to be the person you think your customers want to see, just be confident in yourself that you have something worthwhile to share and be yourself.
What results can be expected?
We have produced video for a wide range of different businesses and have seen many positive results and some not so great results.
The difference between success and failure usually comes down to the strategy behind the video production and use. If there is a clear aim and this is being fulfilled by the videos well then they usually work.
Obviously not a small business but Virgin Holidays managed to increase the upsell of their upper class seats by 30% due to a single web presenter video. This resulted in an additional £4 million in revenue for Virgin.
As mentioned above The National IT Learning Centre increased the website bookings for their courses by 35% and many more small businesses have had similar results.
Bespoke (personalized or tailored) web presenter videos vary in price depending on the complexity but start at £597. Many companies offer cheaper, off the shelf options for less. Sitepal for example offer avatar style videos for less than £50. In fact we have also trialled generic web presenter type videos but found that the response rates to the generic rather than bespoke videos were disappointing so are now focusing solely on improving the efficiency of our bespoke video services.
About the author
This post was written by Neil Davidson, CEO of Mywebpresenters who are a video production company specializing in corporate video for the web. They are also the pioneers of video web presenters technology. If you would like to have a conversation about how to tell your corporate story then please email Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Jan Ozer, streaming media expert, author and Publisher of the Streaming Learning Center, there are a number of things to consider when you are shooting video for streaming. Ozer says, “Anyone who’s ever picked up a camcorder and tried to tap into their inner- Spielberg knows that there’s a lot more to creating a high-quality, impactful movie than turning on the camcorder and pressing the red record button. The same is true with producing video for streaming.” (From Shooting for Streaming – Five Key Tips)
- Choosing a background – “When a video has lots of detail in the background — like bookshelves, a finely patterned wallpaper, or blowing leaves — the codec can’t tell whether you care about the subject’s face or the extraneous stuff in the background. So it tries to preserve the quality of all the content in the frame, which inevitably degrades the quality of what you care most about.”
- Lighting the set – “In terms of lighting style, you can use three-point lighting, which produces slight shadows on the face, or flat lighting, with no appreciable shadows. Either way, the most important priority is to provide sufficient lighting for the camcorder to achieve good exposure without injecting gain into the video.”
- Camera usage and selection – “If you’re shooting in a controlled environment, like a classroom or conference room, it’s best to move that camera out of automatic mode, and control exposure manually, which fortunately is easier than it sounds. Basically, there are three controls that control how much light gets to the camcorder’s sensing device; shutter speed, gain, and aperture.”
- Framing the shot – “The Rule of Thirds is a principle of photographic image composition that can also be applied to shooting video. Imagine the video frame divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically like tic-tac-toe board. If the subject is facing the camera, the top horizontal line should be at eye level and they should be in the center of the frame.”
- Don’t forget about audio – “Don’t skimp on the audio side of the equation. Viewers accept some visual degradation in their streaming media, but not audio-related deficits, since they know that audio can be nearly perfect, even when delivered via streaming.”