Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lesson #54: Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing Efforts

Posted By: George Deeb - 6/28/2011


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No longer is video an expensive medium, only used by, and afforded by, major brand marketers for their television advertising campaigns.  Today, video is being used by everybody and anybody, big or small, B2C and B2B, particularly for use on the internet, where it is easy and affordable to create, publish and distribute videos.  The primary uses for videos are largely around: (1) educational videos about your company; (2) educational videos about your products or services; (3) videos for advertising purposes; and (4) videos for viral marketing purposes.  We will talk about each of these uses, in the paragraphs below.

It has got to the point that website users are expecting to see a corporate branding video front and center on the home page of any company's website.  Gone are the days of the static, text-intensive "About Us" pages, and welcome the era of dynamic "story-telling" via videos.  Videos create emotion, personality and excitement much better than static text, and helps you to better communicate your corporate brand message.  And, a professionally-produced corporate video can can be produced for as little as $2,500, with many production shops fighting for your business (e.g., Switch Video, Vismo Media, How It Works Media, Kicker, PixelFish, Say It Visually).  There is even a crowdsource of video animators and producers called Wooshii, where you name your video desires and budget, and interested contractors submit their ideas to you (with you only paying for your favorite contractor, if you decide to move forward with them). 

And, corporate videos are not limited to videos within a video player, several companies are using video spokespersons to introduce users to their website.  So, if you are interested in this type of execution, there are several companies than can help you here, including I Speak Video, Website Talking Heads, Live Actor, Video Spokesmodel, Laser Stream Video, Your Website Spokesperson, Model2Web, Website Actor Live, VSP Worldwide and Tweople, to name a few.  And, these can often be produced at a very low cost (under $100).  So, check out these sites, and see the quality of their productions, models and story telling.  If you like what they have done for themselves, promoting their own business, you should like what they will produce for your business.

And, videos should not be produced only for your overall corporate brand message, you should figure out how to leverage it around all your products and services.  Nothing can teach a user how to use a product, or better explain the benefits of a service, than video.  And, the better you educate your consumers on the value of your offering, the higher odds they will convert into sales.  As an example, when I was at iExplore, we added this South Africa Tour Video, to our South Africa tour description pages, and we saw a 4x increase in leads and sales for that tour.  This four minute video did a lot better job of "dream creation", than one page of static text and one still photo could do.  Not only did it tell a "better story", it helped to better position the business as a trusted, high-end tour operator in a competitive space, which means a lot to consumers ready to plunk down $5,000 per person on a trip half way around the world in a foreign destination.

The third primary use of video, is around your marketing efforts.  No longer does a static banner ad cut through the clutter in terms of getting attention for your advertising online.  Consumers have a very short attention span, and a moving video tends to get their attention better than anything else.  So, where you can, use video ads in your marketing efforts, instead of static images.

The fourth primary use of video is for viral marketing purposes, to get the video seen by (and your product exposed to) as many people as possible, on YouTube or otherwise.  Here are a couple examples of the Best Viral Brand Videos of 2010.  And, with around 50 million views, one of my all-time favorites is the Evian Roller Babies.  But, this was obviously a lot more expensive to produce than the other examples.  That said, viral videos can be produced cost effectively as a startup.  My venture capitalist colleague, Andy Whitman at 2x Partners, told me that his startup portfolio company, Orabrush, was able to drive 15 million views with this Orabrush Viral Video for its tongue scraper that fights bad breath, of all things. 

As you will see, what do these viral video examples all have in common:  really funny humor or interesting content that people want to share with their friends.  So, if your product lends itself to something funny or interesting, maybe you will hit the social media jackpot with the next big viral video to spread over the web.  To stay on top of the best viral videos overtime, be sure you bookmark this Top 10 Viral Video Chart, updated weekly by Visible Measures and Ad Age with the most watched viral videos of the week.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million words, in our attention-deprived culture where nobody likes to read anything.  So, the earlier you embrace video, the sooner your marketing efforts will flourish.

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