I used to hate watching videos on the Internet because the small, grainy images were headache-inducing. For many years, the online viewing experience was so far removed from television that I doubted whether it would ever become a serious threat to the broadcast industry. However, with software improvements and high speed Internet connections, online videos have become a raging success (e. g. more than 38 million Americans watched YouTube videos in April 2007) and a great marketing opportunity for businesses especially small ones that need to leverage limited promotional budgets.
Consumers are making buying decisions based on what they're seeing. A recent Kelsey Group's User View study indicated that 59 percent of American consumers claimed to watch online video, and more than half said they engage in some sort of response activity, such as visiting a Web site, going to a physical location or making a purchase.
Eight years ago, I recorded a welcome video on Galvins Workspace Furniture, the website for my family's office furniture business. At the time, I was proud of the video since we were one of the first local furniture stores to launch one. The message, which was designed for viewing on a 56K connection (a snail's pace compared to today's screaming broadband speeds), was very basic. The production guys suggested that I use a plain background and not move my head too much while taping the segment. It reminded me of the way that pictures were taken in the early days of still photography when people poised with back braces to keep them from moving and blurring the finished images.
Regardless of their best efforts, the finished product looked pretty herky-jerky, and my head resembled a bobble-head doll. Yet, even though the quality wasn't great, people would come into the store regularly and tell me that they had seen me on television - especially amusing since we never advertised on TV.
As you'll see from the welcome video below which now runs on Galvins Workspace Furniture (www.galvins.com), the new version is compelling. It features my father giving a one-minute tour of one of his two stores and explaining what makes his business unique. He thinks it’s a bit strange when people come into the store calling him by his first name since they remember seeing him on their computers. But, he’s thrilled that his newfound celebrity is driving floor traffic and sales.
Now is a great time to consider adding video to your website, and I recommend keeping three things in mind:
1. Shop around. My father’s video was produced for $285, and he pays $20/month to have it streamed over a server that is optimized for high-speed video playback. It pays to shop around for a video production company since I’ve received quotes ranging from $250 to $1,000 for a short web video that I wanted to do for one of my clients.
2. Focus on what makes your business unique. A good welcome video on you home page should be from one to two minutes long so it’s important to grab people attention right away with what distinguishes your business from others. In an age of impersonal and mediocre service, I’m firm believer that business owners can highlight their uniqueness better than any actor or employee (think David Oreck selling his vacuum cleaners or Donald Trump promoting his enterprises).
3. Tie your video into long term PR objectives. A well planned video should highlight key information that you want to communicate to the media and your customers. Try to create a message that will sound fresh and interesting one year from now unless you’re committed to changing your video with greater frequency.
Lastly, once you’ve created your video, don’t forget to let your existing customers know via your print newsletter, ezine, or emailed announcement and encourage them to send a link to the video to their friends.
Patrick Galvin, the “Chief Galvanizer, " started Galvin Communications to help companies galvanize sales through creative marketing rather than expensive advertising. In Buzz Bulletin, his monthly ezine, he demonstrates how you can increase your visibility, credibility, and sales with word of mouth marketing, PR, and other innovative tactics. He is a popular keynote presenter at corporate and trade association conferences throughout North America.
You can subscribe to Buzz Bulletin at http://www.galvincomm.com. For current insights into word of mouth marketing, visit Patrick's Buzz Builder Blog at http://buzzbuilder.typepad.com. Patrick can be contacted directly at 503-249-8800 or email@example.com .