Friday, November 19, 2010

The Secrets of Online Video for Business - Effective, Affordable and You Can Do It Yourself

by Mark Shapiro

Online video is a highly effective and fun tool for building business brand awareness, reaching out to new customers and increasing overall sales.

You could spend a lot of money doing a sophisticated video marketing campaign or you can pick up your camcorder and do it yourself. An unpretentious and "honest" looking video may be more effective than a slickly produced commercial product.

Increasingly, web visitors expect to see Internet video at your site. If you want to be competitive, you have to deliver video to them.

So how to do you do it? You can't afford to hire Martin Scorsese, can you?

First - what should your online video be about? This is often the hardest question to answer. Online Business videos can be broken down into three main areas - testimonials, "how to" videos and "what we do" videos.

The "what we do" video is basically your company's elevator pitch - your "about us" page on your website. Introduce yourself, how long you have been in business and the services or types of products you offer. Why should they do business with you? Which of their problems are you going to solve?

Keep it short - two minutes max.

Finally tell them how to work with you - online, street address or both. Should they call, should they email you? Do your business have a query box form on your site for them to fill out? Tell them what to do next after they see the video. This is your sales video - a commercial.

The secret for good online video testimonials is to keep them short and concise.
Find out what the three most important reasons the customer love you and shoot three separate videos with each video just spotlighting one specific idea.
Then get another customer and do the same - shoot three separate short videos.

Then pick the best of those and use those online to promote your business and service.

It is much more interesting to have separate customers telling different reasons they recommend you than a series of customers all saying the same thing. Visit the Quality Claims Management channel at YouTube.

How To Videos - good for your customers, great for Google search and SEO
"How to" videos are very effective for improving your search results on Google and other search engines. . What are the top questions your customers ask? 

Those should be the subjects of your "how to" videos. For example, if you sell shoes, discuss how to select the right size. If you fix refrigerators, explain how to keep a fridge clean. Don't get into a lot of detail. Keep it high level so that they have to come to your business to get further information. Don't give away your secrets.

Producing your videos is not complicated if you follow these rules.

Keep it short - under two minutes.

Keep the camcorder steady and get good clean sound. You can keep a camcorder steady by using a tripod. You don't need complicated effects and camera moves. The simpler the better.

Frame your subject from the waist up and shoot them in front of a boring background. Make sure you have lots of light so we can see your subject. The color does not have to be perfect - we just have to see the expression in their face and the delight in their eyes.

According to Stephen McCluskey, CEO of vzaar.com, a leading business video hosting service, "When shooting "what we do" and "how to" videos, have the subject talk straight to the camera. For testimonials, have the subject talk to the camera operator or someone standing next to the camera."

Make sure you get great audio. Make sure that you keep the camcorder close to the subject so that the camcorder microphone captures their voice, not the room noise. If possible, use a separate external microphone plugged into the camcorder's external mike jack to get the best possible sound. The biggest problem with most "do it yourself" web videos is poor audio. Your subject's voice is the most important component of the video.

Share and Distribute Your Video

Your video does not do your business any good if no one sees it. You can host your videos on your own web site by using one of the free or affordable services that provide a professional looking online video player for your business. By using a pro video player you can customize the look and feel of the player, as well as make sure that your competitors Google ads don't appear around it. vzaar.com "Online Video Platforms remove the technical hurdles that once prohibited small businesses from adding video to their web stores. Video improves online conversions, and there is no shortage of data supporting this. With vzaar monthly subscriptions starting at $49, small business are sure to see fast returns."

YouTube

 You can put it up on YouTube for free. YouTube is the most common destination site for videos - especially how to videos. Plus, YouTube offers exceptional search capabilities. However, as mentioned earlier, there is a good possibility that your competitor's ads and links could appear when your company's videos are being viewed.

YouTube is Easy To Use

Many newer camcorder models offer easy one step uploading to YouTube or the web site of your choice. You can edit in the camcorder and then upload the video or you can use one of the many simple and use and very affordable video editing programs to create a simple video - with voiceovers, text, close ups, etc., and then upload that to YouTube.

outro was longer than the video itself!

However, because of the hundreds of millions of videos at YouTube, you got to make your video pop up in a search. This means adding appropriate key words to the video description as well as uploading a transcription of the video's audio to be used as a searchable closed caption. If you add a text transcription to your YouTube video, the watcher can then play it back, reading what is being said on the screen.

The beauty of this captioning feature is two fold - a - it is searchable. B - it can automatically translate the audio in your video into one of dozens of different languages.

The three online video secrets - Keep it short, keep it simple with a single idea per video, and make sure the video is clean and easy to understand.

About the Author

Mark has been writing about technology and video for business and consumer use for over 30 years. He runs SRS Tech PR and provides PR, media relations and marketing services to companies worldwide to help them launch and market their technology products and services. Contact him directly at mshapiro@srs-techpr.com