Tag Archives: small business

Baseball, The 30 Second Pitch, and Sigourney Weaver

It was a glorious summer day, the first Friday of July, 1941. Almost four thousand fans filed into Ebbets Field to watch their beloved Brooklyn Dodgers lose to the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4. But there was another bit of history taking place that day. For just as many fans were able to watch the game elsewhere – thanks to a new piece of technology called Television.

The baseball broadcast began with a map of the U.S.and a clock, as an announcer intoned, “America Runs On Bulova Time.” History’s first TV commercial.

It ran for only ten seconds. Bulova paid $9.00, about $130 in today’s money.

Within seven years, advertisers flocked to the new medium. Entire TV shows were sponsored by one company, and those businesses could often dictate the content of the shows. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that one man changed the way TV and advertising did business. Actually, he changed a LOT of things on TV: he invented the Today Show, and he invented the Tonight Show, too. Pat Weaver can lay credit to many of the ways television works today.

A side note: Pat Weaver was once a guest lecturer in my college broadcasting class. He’s one of the more fascinating men I’ve been privileged to meet. A couple of years after he had been in class, his daughter got a bit part in a Woody Allen movie. Yep. Pat Weaver is Sigourney’s dad.

Anyway, Pat figured out it was more cost effective – both for TV and for advertisers to sell that sponsorship to more than one company, and suggested one to two minute chunks of ads within the programming. In an hour, they could sell nine minutes of commercials. Cut those in half, and there are EIGHTEEN 30 second spots. Cue the cheering salesmen.

I did not achieve as much fame or significance in broadcasting as Pat Weaver, but I have written and produced thousands of 30 second spots. And I’ve learned this:

  • They are very difficult to write …and
  • Thirty Seconds Is For Broadcasting

Ever since I started Videos On Your Website, folks ask if I will do a 30 second video for their website. I won’t. Maybe the message takes 47 seconds to get across; maybe it takes two minutes and five seconds. Whatever it is, you don’t want to be constrained to a specific length. Studies have shown that folks will watch a video of about four minutes, IF it is compelling enough.

Remember: people don’t search for commercials.

Sixty year old factors should not determine the length of your message. Just get out there and tell your story.

— that’s a wrap.
(note: this post originally appeared on LinkedInJuly, 2015. I brought it back because of the World Series.)

In 30 days . . .

30 days
A lot can happen in 30 days after posting a video to your business website.

  • One of my clients booked a contract that paid him over 25 times what he had paid me
  • Another client received a 5 figure grant to grow her business
  • still another client was the subject of a local TV news story, AND won a Cincy Innovates award
  • And let’s not forget the million-dollar condo. We did a feature video, and it sold in 59 days. (ok, it was a slow market.)

Where will YOU be 30 days from now? I’ll keep saying it: If you’re using video, and the competition isn’t, You Win.

— that’s a wrap.

5 Reasons Video Intimidates Businesses

I get it. After all of the statistics showing how well video performs online; after more and more case studies on businesses who use video to inform, educate, and market to their customers, you’re still on the fence. You’re not alone.
Video, from how to use it to how to deploy it, is still intimidating.

1. I don’t like myself on video. — It doesn’t have to be about you. Your customers or staff can bring compelling case studies and testimonials. There are dozens of scenarios where your “screen time” can be minimal or non-existent. I see this occasionally, but with patience, the client can open up and start to have fun.

2. I wouldn’t know what to say. I’m not good at memorizing a script. — a good producer will have multiple ideas for you, and multiple ways to present them. I shot a great video last year a few sentences at a time then pieced it together. I have some clients who need prompters. Prompter devices are simple to set up. Anyone who shoots business videos should have one. They make you look really good. If news anchors can use them, you can too.

3. I don’t want to end up with a video that’s too “Hollywood” . — Sure, in a lot of cases, simple is better. But you need the professionalism of good lighting, great sound, and a non-shaky camera. Those are the first priorities for anything that is going to represent you.

4. It’s too expensive. — costs for professional video vary widely. It’s very possible to produce some nice testimonials for less than a couple of hundred dollars. But they’re yours. They don’t vanish into thin air like commercials, or get thrown away like flyers. If you’re on a really short shoestring, do them yourself. Just remember the three principles in the previous paragraph.

5. I don’t know what to do next. — put them on YouTube, on Vimeo, on a blog, on Facebook, Twitter, anywhere and everywhere. Be sure there’s a call to action and it links back to your site.

Don’t allow your fears to get in the way of stepping up communication with customers and prospects. No matter what you sell or who you sell it to, adding video content is something you can’t delay.
— that’s a wrap.

Help With Video In Your Email

If you’re new here, I create videos as web content for small business in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky. And I help both my clients, and non-clients understand video’s powerful impact. A lot of that is knowing what to do after the video is created. Where do you put it? How do you put it there? What else can you do to make sure folks see it? This video series was born from that. I’m going to give you the tips you need to make your videos work for you. Don’t have any videos yet? Call me. I’d love to talk with you.

Here is Episode 3. I upload a new one about twice a month. I’m really interested in your comments, so leave one, or connect with me.

Watch time (4:18) Link to transcript

The 1 Thing You Should Do For Your Business This Year

Charm City Cakes. Antique Archeology, The Gold And Silver Pawn Shop, Duck Commander. Recognize any of these?  They are all small businesses who got big by being on TV. And while those businesses are profiting from their own reality exposure, look at Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale Arizona, who developed a booming business for having the most embarrassing and customer un-friendly episode in history.

What if your business could have its own TV show? You could. Actually, you should.

The good news is: you don’t need the drama those shows thrive on in order to be compelling and watchable. If you know, or can find out, what your customer base needs, you have your subject matter. Use your personality to make it interesting. Do product demos, talk to your staff, heck, talk to your customers!

It doesn’t have to be completely serious. If you’re a business that has fun, show that. Have your customers interview each other. Do on the street demonstrations…what will you come up with?

Is it easy? No.

Will it keep you in the minds of your prospects? Absolutely!

I’m so excited about the upcoming roll out of my new video series and all of the episodes I have planned.

Let me know if I can help in planning YOUR new TV show too.

–that’s a wrap.

5 Ways To Get More Sales With Business Videos

Everyone is watching. Have you noticed? Everyone is watching more videos online. So if you’re in business – whether it’s B2B or B2C, you need to inside video in your marketing strategy.

1. Do you need “face time” with your prospects to turn them  into customers? Start with video. No matter who you are, when someone is referred to you, 8 times out of ten they go online to check you out.  Videos give you that face to face meeting you need, and it works 24/7.

2. Before my wife buys and, she researches like crazy. When you make that easy by showing demonstrations or enhancing your expertise, you also make it easier to buy. You make it easy for a customer to become comfortable doing business with you. 65% of folks watch a video before deciding to buy.

3. Tell your customers what they need to know. Most folks would rather watch than read. We remember more of what we see and hear. Engaging business videos can entertain and educate. Last year, I did a series of videos for a product that could eliminate odors. There were so many uses, we had an endless supply of ideas. We highlighted it in a smelly refrigerator and a baby’s bottom.

4. Build trust. Answer questions. Give value so customers understand more about your product sooner. In radio and television it takes a message 3 to 5 repeating plays before its gist sinks in. That’s the frequency in “reach and frequency.” But website videos for business help convert prospects to customers. Unlike broadcast, you don’t pay each time the message is played. And if there’s anything the viewer doesn’t understand, they can playback just that section.

5. Videos last and last. Your strategy for writing and producing videos for your business should be long term as well. Not only that, but older videos can be repositioned with new titles and tags or new body copy on the page. The use of YouTube’s annotations is a cool way of adding information or a new call to action.

Remember, the use of video on business websites grows every day. Be an early adopter in your category if possible. When you have videos on your website, and your competition doesn’t…you win.

— that’s a wrap.

Videos: Working Wonders or Wonder Why?

I really try not to rant too much in this blog. When I do, it’s usually because I’ve just something that I find disappointing. I will let you in on a secret: when I visit someone’s website, I always look for the “footer” that is a link to the web designer.

The one I visited today did really pretty work. They just left off the page titles from their own site. That’s the title that shows up in the top bar of your browser, and it’s really important. But the real kicker was that the web firm also produces video. They have one on their home page. It’s titled “Our Commercial”.

(facepalm)

It actually WAS a commercial. And it gave no reason why someone should hire them. They also thought enough to include the line, “having a video couldn’t hurt.”

(facepalm)

I can’t stress this enough: People Don’t Search For Commercials.  Commercials are not suited for the web. Why would a web designer put a commercial on their home page?? Why not a video about how a well designed site brings a return on investment?  Or video testimonials from clients? Even a series about marketing best practices.

Content that people want to watch. That’s where video works wonders.
What’s on your website.

–that’s a wrap

YouTube? You Should!

Every January, Las Vegas hosts the Consumer Electronics. Show. The CES is where new and just thought of gadgets make their debut. It is also a lively conversation on current trends. Here are some facts about YouTube that came out of a session at this year’s CES.

>>YouTube now reaches more adults than any network. ANY network. So says Neilsen whose job it is to measure things like that.

>>100 hours of new content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. That’s more than four days every sixty seconds.

And the most watched videos? Authentic. Content that is about something very specific. If you have a niche, you should be telling your story with video. And you should also put that video on YouTube.

It’s watchable, it’s searchable, and its shareable.

Yes you should YouTube. Because if you don’t, your competition will.

–that’s a wrap.

Client Spotlight – Bed Bug Shield

Product demos are one of the most effective uses of online video. Customers can see the product in action, learn best practices, and see effective uses while they seamlessly slip from discovery mode to buying mode.
I have been fortunate to have worked with a number of inventors and innovators with Videos On Your Website to produce targeted and compelling demos that work. Bed Bug Shield is one of my favorites.

This area has long been on the top of the list nationally for bed bug problems. There are scores of exterminators who deal not only with primary infestations, but also with folks who inadvertently bring the little critters home from a trip. Bed Bug Shield deals with both of those problems.

When they first contacted me, one of the issues we had to solve was location – since they wanted to show the product using LIVE bed bugs. Of course, there would be absolutely no risk, since bed bugs cannot fly, and we would have a little “corral” in which to shoot them and the product at work. As it turned out, that was the least of my worries. The morning of the shoot, I developed an abscessed tooth, and made the drive to the location in more than a little pain.

After a quick set up, we started shooting footage. We got great shots of the product, closeups of the bed bugs, and easy to follow demonstrations of how it keeps bed bugs from hitching a ride on clothes, or in a suitcase during a trip.

They recently contacted me with an update on their progress:

We have picked up a contract for 8 surrounding counties with the Area on Aging not to mention a few large name exterminators refer to us on a regular basis, so things are going well. We would always like to be busier but we have tripled our volume just in the last 6 months. The video is on our website and people love it!!! We have had a good response to it

It’s always nice to hear things like that. Videos DO work, whether it’s product demonstrations, customer testimonials, or answering customer’s questions.

Here’s the Bed Bug Shield video.Bed Bug Products – Business Video

–that’s a wrap.

Why I Don’t Do Commercials

On the very very first project I did after opening Videos On Your Website, the owner of the company introduced me to her staff: “This is Ron, and he’s going to record our commercial today.”

I still remember the twinge I felt at the time, but I opted not to say anything since I wanted to focus on getting the shoot right. I told myself that the idea of doing video web content was so new that most folks didn’t have a reference point. Hence, to them it was a commercial.

Broadcast TV, Cable TV, radio is still a major factor in communicating sales and brand messages to consumers. Commercials and Infomercials are part of the landscape. Broadcasting terms still abound which is why I am asked about creating “60 second videos” when maybe the right length to tell the story is 110 seconds.

I produced broadcast commercials for over 20 years. The hardest thing in the world is to put your message, features and benefits inside a 30 or 60 second window AND make it entertaining knowing that your audience is conditioned to focus their attention elsewhere while that message airs.

But putting videos on your website, your blog, or a social media profile page means your audience has to click to engage. They WANT to hear what you have to say. It’s much more fun to talk with someone who is actively listening than with someone whose attention you may lose after five seconds.

Who’s listening to YOU?

–That’s a wrap.