10 Ways to Use Video & Get Results

Former Staff - October 2, 2012

Times change.

Fifteen years ago, video was expensive to produce & distribute. Only the biggest names in business could afford to create solid content. A typical corporate video could easily cost upwards of $50,000 —and that didn’t include duplication and mailing.

Today, people with iPhones produce HD video that rivals content from the 1990s. Anyone can make a video, but how can you use it to boost revenue? A few simple tips will help you get started.

According to MarketingSherpa.com, marketing managers with the Discovery Channel’s online store considered using video to increase sales. Unsure if this would annoy visitors or encourage them to make a purchase, the company conducted A/B multivariate split testing to measure conversion rates on landing pages with and without video.

The results were clear: consumers bought more merchandise as a direct result of video. In fact, conversion rates skyrocketed by 78%. The tricky part is making sure the video is engaging and effective. As you might expect, a poorly produced video with irrelevant content can actually decrease conversion rates. Here are tips on how to implement video and maximize conversions:

Get to the point.

Google’s research tells us you have just seven seconds to get a visitor’s attention. Consumers’ attention spans are short, so ensure your video is brief and succinct.

Put your best foot forward.

Your video must be well-produced and polished. Remember, it is a direct reflection of your brand. If it looks unprofessional and cheap, consumers will think the same about your products and services.

It must be relevant to the landing page.

If your call to action is “sign up for a free software trial,” make sure the video reinforces that. Don’t make the mistake of putting a unique product video on your home page when it should be on on its own page, or vice versa.

Don’t get fancy.

Clever but obscure metaphors or industry jargon makes for poor communications and diminishes audience engagement. Clear, direct communication is the best way to reach your audience and drive them to answer your call to action.

Your audience will respond to people who look like them—if they are credible and especially if they add human emotion to a story. Interviews don’t have to be perfect to be effective—
they just have to be genuine.

Have you ever been forced to watch a well-meaning corporate video featuring a CEO reading a teleprompted script? Was it emotionally moving content? Probably not. Stiff, scripted “interview” content is the antithesis of compelling, engaging video.

For example, it is difficult to express someone’s heartfelt emotion or belief in a brand through text alone. You need to see people, to hear their emotion and read their facial expressions.

When you meet someone face to face, you instantly learn many things about them, and they become “real” in your mind. This is why humans forge tighter relationships with people they have met in person. Human beings prefer to do business with people they know and with whom they can relate.

The combination of engaging your audience’s senses can lead to faster comprehension of your idea. This is why graphs and charts help people understand complex financial data.

Whenever possible, show—don’t tell.

Imagine the time and cost savings—not to mention productivity gains—when employees don’t have to travel for a brief meeting. Distribution costs associated with Internet video are also lower than traditional methods. After the video is encoded and uploaded to a server, thousands of people can watch a single clip without added cost. No need to print DVDs (think of all that plastic and cardboard), no need to purchase or rent storage space, and no need to incur shipping costs.

A byproduct of using Internet video is the environmentally responsible impact it has on the planet. Your video has a longer, trackable shelf life while generating less waste than a box full of DVDs, the popular option just a few years ago.

When you couple a strong concept, vivid imagery, music and graphics with a compelling story, video can be exceptionally moving. Video can elicit emotion, appeal and action that a slide presentation simply cannot.

As part of a guerrilla marketing campaign for Sarah Lee, we produced a viral video that increased its median site traffic by 74 percent. Because the clip provided value (it was funny and entertaining), people wanted to watch it, post it and share it. That 74-percent increase in traffic translated into heightened brand awareness, increased goodwill and ultimately, greater sales.

But you need a plan to distribute the video in the most effective manner. It is unreasonable to post video on one site and expect to come back the next day and have reached 100,000 views. Only on the rarest of occasions does this happen. (More on this in point 9).

Oh, and don’t forget to include your URL and/or phone number in the video with a strong call to action.

Who watched it? How many people turned it off after only 43 seconds? Was the DVD given away to a friend and watched? Do people prefer video A over video B?

With Internet video, you can track all of these measurements and more, giving you the power to accurately measure effectiveness and ROI. If you produce two videos, and find that for some reason video A is under performing, you can change and adapt next quarter before producing more content. Performance-based metrics allow you to weed out the poorly performing content from the good.

Consider the fact that only a small percentage of videos get over 1000 views and you’ll understand why you need to tell people about your content. This can be done through press releases, mass emails, broadcast spots, radio, print media, PPC campaigns, word of mouth and contests. Also, seeding video in sites such as Vimeo, Dailymotion, Viddler, Video Jug and others will increase viewership.

Producing quality video is just the first step. The next step is figuring out how to get people to actually watch it!

Since Google introduced universal search in May 2007, video has been showing up in organic search results. Not to mention YouTube itself is now the second largest search engine in the world. Here’s how to maximize your exposure with video:

Select an engaging, relevant thumbnail image. When possible, the thumbnail should contain a human face, or at least a person.

Make sure the video’s title contains relevant keywords. Search engines place a disproportionate amount of weight on video titles, just as they do for HTML page titles. Remember, you’re trying to persuade your audience to click, so it must be compelling enough to make users take action. Resist the urge to stuff titles with hundreds of keywords, as that is a sure-fire way to get filtered out of the results.

The description field should contain clear, direct information about the content—not just keywords. For tags, unique phrases that contain strategic keywords work best. Also include common misspellings.

Bonus tip: always be sure to include the word “video” in your title, description and tag. Research shows that users frequently add this on to search queries when looking for video. For example, don’t use only “Steve Jobs Presents the iPhone 3G.” Instead, use “Steve Jobs Presents the iPhone 3G—Video.”

Video isn’t the only way to convey your messages. Print may be a better choice if you need to include statistics and in-depth information. However, in 2010, we think you’d be hard pressed to find a more exciting, effective way to tell your story. But hey, take that with a grain of salt. After all— we are a video production company. And who knows? Maybe in a few years, iPhones will replace us. Ya think?

This article was written by former Myriad Marketing Director Ricardo Roberts.