Tag Archives: small business

6 Lines From The Godfather That Explain Why You Should Use Video

Just in time for the Oscars. Ready?

“Why didn’t you come to me first?” (Websites that use video convert visitors faster and easier.  A good category is Attorneys. Well, maybe not for the Godfather, but for our purposes – Studies show that folks will search an average of 7 websites when they are looking for an attorney.  But when there’s video, that number drops to 2. )

“Make them an offer they can’t refuse” (Video makes content they can’t refuse.  A compelling message about your company will keep visitors on your site longer. Videos can also very easily enhance your credibility. Companies with three or more videos on their website are perceived as the authority.)

“I need a man who has powerful friends” (The neatest thing about video is that folks can share it with their friends.  Make something WORTH sharing. People don’t search for, nor do they share commercials – so don’t make one. The hardest thing about video is coming up with great ideas. That’s where we can help.)

“My client promises to make that trouble disappear “ (With video you can not only show the features and benefits, but you can have your customers tell their story too. That’s called a testimonial, and man, do they work!)

“Times have changed. It’s not like the Old Days, when we can do anything we want.” (Yep.  Here in the digital age, customers are more informed. They WANT to be engaged. They don’t have a lot of time to read everything you want them to read.  So, say it and show it in a video. Or better yet, a series of videos.  Not to worry. We can have you communicating 21st Century style in no time.)

“And let me be even more frank, just to show you that I’m not a hard-hearted man, that it’s not all dollars and cents.” (Customers, especially the tech-savvy under 30s, want value. If you’re a plumber, do a video on how to fix a sink.  An accountant? What are the top deductions that many folks miss?  THAT’S content. It’s content that can be used. Content that they can’t refuse.

NOT to use video can be a website’s kiss of death.  Let that happen to the other guy. Wise up and start putting Videos On Your Website now.

Or just call us and fergitaboutit.

That’s a wrap.

There Is No Trophy For Second Place

My wife loves to read. Both of us could browse thru Barnes & Noble or Borders all day.  But she rarely buys from them. Instead, she browses Amazon.

There are some items that I don’t bother shopping for at all.  I just look on eBay.

There are many places to buy books online. Ask someone, and see if Amazon isn’t the first thing on their minds. Same with auction sites.  Same with a lot of business categories. (Kleenex instead of tissues, Xerox instead of copier, PingPong instead of table tennis).

When you’re first at something, you can pretty much “own the franchise”. And when you can do that PLUS be outstanding at connecting with your customers, you can reach that Top Of Mind status reserved for the Amazon’s, and eBay’s and Zappos.

How many of your competitors are using video? If you said none, that’s your chance. It doesn’t matter if you are B2B or B2C. Your customers and prospects are searching for what you have to say.  Video was the most added feature to websites in both 2009 and 2010.  If you don’t know whether or not your competitors are using video, find out. Do it now.

Building your authority and your expertise should be one of your major goals this year.  If you’re in a business in which customers need to place their trust, you can’t afford to go forward without shoring up that trust with all of the compelling stories you can tell with video.

Hopefully, you can be the first.

That’s a wrap.

You Never Know Who’s Watching. (The Top 5 Things That Matter)

Over the past two weeks, I won two different clients specifically because of two different videos on my website.

Someone asked me recently if quality matters for web videos. I replied that quality is the top 5 things that matter for web video.

Quality, quality, quality, quality, quality.

I just invested on a new professional HD camera with which to shoot.
I know, most websites play videos in small screen players. But there’s something that folks forget: sales of Internet ready TVs are increasing steadily.

Think about that amateur video being played on a 46 inch screen. If you thought shaky, hand-held camera shots were distracting on a small screen, wait till you see it magnified. Now, add in that low, or not-quite right light. Is anyone still watching after 30 seconds?

Major newspapers, television stations and networks are all putting video content on the web. Any poorly-produced DIY video will have to compete with that.

Quality.

Anyone can upload and share anything. It’s what is driving the explosion of social networking. It’s really, really cool. However more people want to connect with businesses and brands than ever before. Done right: with basic, well thought-out shots and a little showmanship, you can not only connect with customers and prospects, but they will stay on your website longer. That gives you more chances to convert them.

Coming soon – more about how your competition uses video.

That’s a wrap.

Quality Videos Reflect The Quality Of Your Business: Part two

Tonight, a friend passed a referral to me. I went to look at the company website – we’ll call them “LLC.com”. Their web design firm has posted some videos about what a great place this company is to work for. Now, defining your corporate culture is an excellent use of video in today’s climate. Google has done it with the Life At Google series on YouTube. The Google series is shot well, and has compelling themes.

The videos I watched tonight on the LLC site were
• Grainy – if I didn’t know better, I’d think they were shot with someone’s camera phone.
• Used the on camera microphone – a very big no no. Sound is as important as picture, and since all of these shots were extreme close-ups, to have the voice sound like it was coming from a barrel is quite rude from the position of a viewer.
• Looked cheap. One of the persons were shot sitting in front of a window. The light coming from behind washes the subject out.

Another web designer called to tell me about a client who needed video. Before I could respond, however, he called back to say the client had shot the video himself. He said the quality was just “OK”. The webmaster wouldn’t offer his opinion, and unfortunately, his client may suffer.

Producing videos for businesses is a lot more than Point And Shoot. I completely understand the DIY point of view, BUT. . .

• You have to have an external microphone, period. No discussion.

• The basics of 3 point lighting are simple to learn. So use room lamps, and buy some Perfect Daylight bulbs so at least your colors come out right, and your subjects look like somebody you would want to watch.

• Seriously consider using a professional. The expertise we bring in storytelling and getting the right message across with the right pictures and edits can make all the difference.

If you’ve made an investment in an attractive website, it’s only right to make sure your content stands out as well.

———- That’s a wrap.

Happy 2011 (if you want it)

A couple of weeks ago, one of my Facebook ‘friends” wrote a post about the evil mother-of-all-snowstorms that was headed to Cincinnati on Christmas Day. As we know now, that didn’t happen here. He had little evidence of his prediction. Yet, some folks get their jollies spreading gloom, doom, and fear.

I’ve talked with a lot of individuals in my network in these last weeks of 2010. They all have a very positive outlook on the New Year. Positive thoughts bring positive energy.

I’m blessed that the business I started two years ago has had sustainable growth over the past 12 months. I can’t wait to get started on 2011.

Has the economy bounced back to pre-2006 levels? Not quite. But in many sectors, spending and consumer confidence HAS improved. Many are still out of work, but I know a LOT of folks who are getting hired! My business was better in 2010 than in the year before. It’s allowed me to make capital improvements for all the clients I’m going to serve next year.

Let’s take the naysayers, the doom and gloomers, and the fear mongers and kick them to the curb starting right now! When that ball drops, whether it’s Times Square or Fountain Square; think of it as a fuse being lit. All of us who are small businesses or solopreneurs have the power to make some 2011 fireworks of our own happen.

Are you ready?

That’s a wrap.

9 Reasons to Keep Satisfied Customers

Here’s something that’s worth keeping around:

  • 98% of dissatisfied customers never complain, they just leave.
  • 85% of dissatisfied customers tell nine people about their poor experience. 13% tell 20 people.
  • A satisfied customer tells just five people.
  • Over five years, a typical company loses 80% of its customers; 65% because of a negative experience with the company.
  • 75% of the reasons a customer leaves has nothing to do with the product.
  • Retain just 5% of your customers, and profits will increase from 25% to 55%.
  • The top five businesses in any industry have over 90% customer retention. Most businesses average 80%.
  • For every 1% improvement in customer rate sustained over five years, there is a 20% improvement in operating income.

and finally,

The number one reason why customers switch companies is that they don’t feel appreciated.

Ask me, and I’ll show you how using video makes for higher customer loyalty.

–That’s a wrap.

Pretty + Annoying =

The number one rule of multimedia: Let The User Control It. That means when you hit a website, you should not have to be assaulted with noise, music, or things that beep when you move your mouse. If you want to be, fine, you can turn it on. But the default should be OFF.

That goes, too, for those diminutive women and men who live just off the screen. Within seconds after landing on a new page, as you are trying to read text, or just figure out the navigation, one of them will invariably pop out from the side with a cheery, “Hi! “. If you do have your speakers on, it’s a bit disconcerting.; And if you have the speakers off, the model is usually walking right where you want to read.

They try and beg or cajole you with generic gobbledygook that says nothing about what I want to find out, or why I came to the website in the first place. I’m usually gone from that page within the first ten seconds.

The “Video Spokesmodel” is the spinning .gif of Web 2.0

I realize there are some business owners who prefer to remain hidden. Their website has no email address, and the About Us page is a collection of mission-statement speak that is foggy at best. So, in order to seem more like a REAL person (instead of a faceless website that is asking you to give up your money or your email address), they use a Video Spokesmodel as Lilliputian window dressing.

And it could damage their credibility even more.

When you put a face on your website, it should be YOUR face. Or at the very least, someone with whom I would be familiar if I were to buy from you.

Tell me your passion. I love to do business with people who love what they do. Show me what’s new in your world that could change my life. Take me behind the scenes to meet the heroes of your company. Let me hear from your Raving Fans about why their experience with you made them want to come back for more. Engage me.

Do that with your prospects, and they’re more likely to become customers.

Could I show you some examples?

That’s a wrap.

21 Signs Your Company Is Ready To Put Videos On Your Website

It took me about five minutes to come up with this list. I like the number 21. But there are a few dozen more I’ll save for another post. Ready?

21 SIGNS YOUR COMPANY IS READY TO PUT VIDEOS ON YOUR WEBSITE

1. Your “time spent on site” analytic is less than 60 seconds

2. Visitors do research on your site, then buy from a competitor

3. Visitors read the “About Us” page then leave

4. You sell a service which is performed in your customer’s home

5. You sell a service to customers which is performed in your home

6. You compete in an industry that has a less than stellar reputation

7. You keep trying to get on the first page of search engine results, but never make it.

8. Your company president asks, “What is You Tube?”

9. Your company president asks, “What is the internet?”

10. Your Unique Selling Proposition is better customer service

11. You have to show your customers how your product works

12.You have to show your customers the safety features of your product

13. You need to show why your product is built better than the other guy’s

14. There are questions you WISH your customers would ask

15. Your company is celebrating a milestone anniversary

16. You want your customers to meet your staff

17. You want to build brand loyalty

18. You want to show off your expertise

19. You want to be the “go to” person in your industry

20. You’re getting ready for a price increase

21. You’ve just started a new business

Do any of these sound like you or someone you know? Let’s talk about it. I’ll buy the coffee. Maybe I’ll even buy lunch.

That’s a wrap.

30 Days To Success With Website Videos

I am very pleased when one of my clients tells me about something that’s happened as a direct result of putting videos on their website. Consistently, something positive always happens in the first 30 days.

I produced a video for an executive recruiting firm. They had recently doubled their staff, and wanted to share their unique point of view, as well as getting more quality leads. They were thrilled with their video, and it went up immediately on their website, blog, Facebook page, and about a half dozen other social sites.

Within two weeks, they were contacted by a local TV news crew who wanted to do a story on them. They were perceived as a leader in their field, which is exactly where they wanted to be.

I did another video for a company who was already showing well in the search engines for “expert” in their specialized niche. In the first month, their website traffic had increased by 60%. To top it off, not only were they showing up on the first page of results for their keywords, but so was their video. And the views on their YouTube channel skyrocketed.

I started working with a new company just three months after it had been founded. We began producing a series of video blog posts. I have just learned that as a direct result of the videos, they landed $8000 in new business within the first 30 days.

These stories are not extraordinary. Not only does video jumpstart search engine results, but it also gives your prospects a reason to remember you.

In the future having videos on your website will be as commonplace as having buttons for navigation. Right now is the perfect time to start. By jumping in with both feet and using compelling, engaging video messages, you can lead the way in your category. It will garner results now, and the equity you build as an innovator, will pay off in the future.

–That’s a wrap.

6 Absolute Musts For Shooting Yourself On Video

I have seen a handful of vanity channels, so-called business presentations, video blogs, and all the rest, and I gotta tell ya.. owning a video camera or a web cam no more makes you a talk show host than owning a guitar makes you Erc Clapton.

I was compelled to start watching these folks because they had a headline that drew me in, they said something interesting, or because I know them. Truthfully,  I didn’t last more than 3 minutes.

So I keep coming back to something I’ve said time and time again: Either you want to be known as an expert, or you want people to buy a product or service from you, so be as professional as you know how, or the next guy will.  Online video has no excuses for poor quality.  If you’re going to shoot yourself, here’s how to do it with a little class:

  1. Find an uncluttered spot. Look at your surroundings the way the camera is going to see it. Don’t let anything get in the way of the camera’s main focus.
  2. Back Away From The Camera.  Really. All this fisheyed e-trade baby video is making me nauseous.
  3. SMILE !!!!  And hold eye contact. Put a picture of someone you care a lot about beside that camera lens.  Then talk to them.  You will be more natural
  4. Take off the headphones.  You don’t have to hear yourself. It also looks really low tech. If there are music cues or an interview you have to respond to, get an earpiece, or just set the phones down out of camera range. You’ll still be able to hear it.
  5. Don’t take five minutes to get to the content.  I don’t really care that this is your fifth show, and you now have two thousand viewers.  Acknowledge what I came to see. At least Letterman and Leno start with a rundown of what the show’s going to be about.  It’s not a bad idea for you to do that, too.  Of course, it will mean actually planning, and not talking off the top of your head.
  6. That will directly affect your “um” quotient.  Take notes, and use those notes to prompt you for the next idea.  Planning and focusing keeps the “ums” to a mimimum.  A little silence is a lot more preferable to inane babble.
  7. Keep it short and to the point.  I’m not going to watch you for an hour. Especially if it’s just you on camera.  Sorry if it hurts your feelings.  Brevity is the soul of wit. You’ll get more viewers with a shorter piece. You’ll be more focused.  Did you know that all of the network evening news shows used to be 15 minutes long?

If you can do those simple things, you’ll be surprised how better you look, and how much more professional you come across.

–That’s A Wrap.