Guest post by David Murray, program chairman, Strategic Video Awards
This article originally appeared on The SmartVideo Blog as 5 Rookie Mistakes When Investing In Business Video Initiatives posted by Shmulik Weller on April 17, 2012.
- Video production and distribution without attaching measurable business value. Creating and posting videos is not enough. Make sure they are measured and optimized to your business needs. For example, if you wish for your videos to increase your site stickiness and the number of repeat visits, make sure your videos refresh frequently to make it enticing for viewers to return and find out what’s new. Measure performance with each refresh. Or perhaps you would like for videos to drive higher conversion rates, in which case you need to establish a control group to measure the overall effect of video on your target metrics.
- Selective placement of videos. What’s the point in investing in such a rich asset if it is not going to be prominently featured in your online presence? For example, if your play buttons and your video calls-to-action are big and clear, you will see greater click-to-play rates and hence more significant impact. In many cases only small percentage (single digit) of visitors actually watch the videos. Aim for at least 25% of unique users to play your videos.
- Static videos. The Web is a dynamic medium where content is ever-changing. Your video content and creative should be ever-changing and be continually updated, too. Videos should feature the latest products, news, deals and offerings. Low video count and static videos that do not update over time quickly become a ghost town on your site. This is not the innovator message you want to send to your customers. See example below.
- Use of generic video content. One-size-fits-all content is less effective, than personalization, particularly when it comes to engaging with your prospects and customers. Personalized video takes your engagement strategies to another level.
- DIY. Online video, and especially online video for business, requires unique expertise (vs. traditional video production). Tap into online video experts who can help you not only strategize, but also navigate the nuances around what works and doesn’t work, how to make it dynamic and continually optimize it to deliver desired business outcomes, how to ensure usage. Clearly someone with domain experience can share best practices and help you achieve your goals, and execute on your video strategy. These questions are key to a successful business video deployment.
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.
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.
Video is everywhere, and if you are not using video to tell your story, if you aren’t producing quality videos that show who YOU are, your competition will beat you every time.