Monday, January 17, 2011

Isn't Your Business Worth Quality Web Video? Quality Web Video Part 2

So let's talk Quality web video. Quality video is actually very easy to talk about. But it's not so easy to define. Mainly because “Quality” is subjective. My Ferrari may be your Ford. But I think that every quality video is composed of the same elements. And it's more than resolution and megapixels. It’s the story presented that keeps us interested, the artistic look of the video, the pacing of the editing, the creative lighting, the clear audio, and the scene composition. So I'm going to go out on a limb and set the definition of quality web video.

Quality Web Video – noun
Anything that looks professional, presents you and your
company in a positive light, captures the viewer's interest, and generates the desired
viewer response.

Then there is the “Wow” factor or “The Hollywood Effect.” If you are trendy you'll call it “sexy,” as in “that shot where the singer morphs into a robot is sooo sexy.” The intensity of the “Wow” factor will vary based on your product or service, your target markets, and your competition. The more upscale your product or market, the more "Wow" you'll need. Likewise, if your competition's web video looks great, well, time to step up or settle for seconds.

A well produced video can quickly get your potential customer's interest and help them along the sales cycle. Of course the opposite is also true, so why is there so much bad video invading cyberspace?

One word: Budget.

The main reason businesses breed bad video is to save costs. In my opinion that is not a very business-smart or professional answer to the problem. While quality video does cost more due to the extra TLC it receives, it doesn't have to be extremely expensive.

So how to get your cake and eat it too? Create a video that will allow you to have Quality within your budget. This will likely mean you'll have to scale back or be willing to take the video in a different direction than you first envisioned. Always keep in mind that your video is a marketing tool. It’s only purpose is to get people to do business with you. A simple, Quality video will do more for your business than an extravagent bad one.

Once you have rethought your video the question now is “Do I hire professionals or DIY?” Does DIY save you money? If you are already a video rock star then YES! If you are a video garage band, roadie, or a wannabe, first ask yourself “How much is my time worth?” With all the time you spend making your video (and yes, you will spend a lot more time than you expect) what else could you have accomplished for your business? Is that time and money invested worth what will probably be a mediocre result? Consider the difference in cost to produce a Quality video against the cost of lost sales due to a bad video.

And speaking of costs, the good news is it can be spread across multiple marketing avenues. The main cost is in the original production. Creating different formats of the final master is peanuts. So go ahead and put it on your website, all your favorite social media and video sites, show it at your trade show, make a DVD. Heck, make a Blu-ray! Use analytics to track how people view it to further refine your marketing.

You created this marketing tool, now it's time it paid you back.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stop! Your Web Video is Destroying Your Business! Quality Web Video Part 1

It's official. A vast convergence of occupations has taken place and now every marketer, web designer, advertiser, business professional, and home entrepreneur has fused into a Social Media and Web Video expert. I can't check an email or surf the net without being bombarded by some Social Media marketing type promoting the necessity of web video.

You'd think that being in the video production business I'd be ecstatic with all the experts telling you “You HAVE to make a video if you want to get ahead of your competition.” But then somewhere mixed in the mostly useful information is the advice: “Just buy a $200 flip cam, shoot some video and upload it to YouTube. It couldn't be easier!” Really? Your businesses image to the entire world is going to be a Friday afternoon romp with a web cam? I often wonder if these self proclaimed experts also advise handwriting your info on post its for business cards or spray painting poster board and duct taping it to your car for a sign.

I may sound bitter, but I think your business deserves better. Let's review why as a business you want video on your website. Peel away all the flashy effects and pulse-pounding music and you'll see video for what it is - a simple marketing tool. You have a website because you are selling something. It could be a product, a service, subscriptions, and so forth. Your goal is to get as many people as possible, at the time they are searching for what you have to offer, to go to your website. And once they get there you want your new potential customer to actually be interested enough to browse your site, bookmark it, contact you, or maybe even buy something!

And here is where video as a marketing tool can really stand out. Video is more interesting than pictures and way more interesting than text. It will quickly demonstrate your product in action. It will easily explain hard to grasp concepts or procedures. It will add that human element of emotion to your service. Oh, and by the way, it can help your search engine rankings too.

Yeah, that what all the experts already told me” you say. “That's why I bought the flip cam.” But this is where I split with the experts. Heavily contributing to interest is QUALITY. A simple little idea that has been lost in the present gold rush that is web video. Why worry about Quality? I've actually made a list.

1. First Impressions. You have 3 to 10 seconds to make one. According to a study by Carleton University in Canada people viewing websites make judgements in less than a second! And I quote “Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors," Gitte
Lindgaard - Lead Researcher, Carleton University. Ouch.

2. What Does Your Video Say About Your Company? Does it speak professional or scream amateur? Does it look like you care and take pride in your business? Everybody is comparison shopping. If your business has a poorly done video and your competitor doesn’t, the video makes your competitor perceived as more professional or business worthy than you. Bummer.

3. Does Your Video Value My Time? A Google search gives me thousands of sites. I only have ten minutes until my boss is back. I don't have time to suffer through poorly shot, shaky, out of focus, over exposed, inaudible video to try to scrape together a vague idea of what you have to offer. Don't call me, I'll call you.

Never forget - Your video is a marketing tool. It’s one and only purpose is to get people to do business with you. Is your video giving you your customers or is it giving your competition your customers?

But what Is Quality. And how can I get it? Great questions. I'll answer them in the next article.