Ten years ago, it was rare for online wholesalers and retailers to have video on their websites, and those that did incorporate it into their online marketing plans were considered innovative. Now, if you ask a room full of business owners if they have video on their websites, at least half will say yes, as it is quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception. Today, it is how, not if, you use video that makes you stand out from the competition.
In recent months, there have been many advances for video integration into marketing campaigns. Among them are:
- Quick Response, or QR, codes. A QR code is the square that looks similar to a bar code on many products. Users download a free app on their Smartphones, and, when they scan the code, they are shown a website, video, special offer, email address or phone number.
- YouTube. This video-sharing site surpassed Yahoo as the world's second largest search engine, and it is rivaling its parent company Google for the number one spot.
- Large screens. Enhanced video is displayed in a majority of booths at the nation's largest trade shows, and many waiting areas now feature video ads instead of television programs.
As with any technology, it is important to remember that change happens fast. Going forward, video marketing will feature personal stories rather than sales techniques. Story telling brings companies to life in the ever-growing world of social media and online marketing. This can be done through compelling graphics, a storeowner's on-camera interview, a well-scripted narrative or even a compilation of photos. Customers do not want to be sold to anymore. They want to get to know you as a company, and they are more likely to do business with a company that has a gripping story. Trust is important to consumers, and online sellers can stand out from the crowd by establishing just that. Allow your customers to get to know, and trust, you and your company are halfway there.
When telling your story, another key is to focus on the bigger picture rather than a particular product or service. Highlighting a product or service tends to come across as a sales pitch, which does not work with many consumers. Think about Flo, the Progressive Insurance lady. She does not sell, she relates. When Flo talks to fictional customers in commercials, she may give the benefits, or explain a little detail about a particular product, but, more often than not, she is using her personality and humor to relate, both to the fictional customer on the screen and the potential customer at home. Now, if you are nothing like Flo, do not force it. The important thing is to be you. Everyone has a unique personality trait, but if you think you are a stick in the mud that will not attract an audience, then feature someone else in your company or hire someone. The important idea here is to make sure the script is not a sales pitch but a conversation. If you have trouble writing that way, try an interview format. Typically, business owners, marketing directors, etc., have all the information they need for a really great script in their heads, but when they go to write it down, nothing comes out. In an interview setting, and by talking through the script, you find gems that will shine in your video.
Cross-platform branding and extended promotions are also tools that video marketers are beginning to use more and more. Do not just produce a video for your website and consider yourself done. Single-channel marketing is no longer effective, so incorporate the branding message from your video into other marketing techniques. Take the personality you use in the video to the trade show floor and create giveaways based on it. In turn, use a QR code to drive customers from a unique giveaway item to your online video. Make sure everything comes full circle and be sure the shopper gets the complete package. In addition, if you had a successful direct mail or email campaign, continue that message in your video marketing. Find ways to make it work for video, beyond rewriting the copy to a script. Evoke the same emotion that prompted sales during the original campaign, while making it interactive and compelling in a video format.
Extended promotions, or a series of videos, also can help cross-platform branding. When you drive the same message monthly or weekly, but with a different twist each time, you will reach a larger audience. While one person will be compelled by the message initially, another customer might not realize you are the perfect fit until week 12, when that message fits their needs at that time. The key to cross-platform branding and extended promotions is consistency.
Dollar Shave Club uses a quirky character in its unconventional videos. Similar to Flo, the character is persuasive through the use of humor. The company successfully created a video that took off in social media, and the company's unique message has been shared, tweeted and liked hundreds of thousands of times. Dollar Shave Club worked hard to create that viral campaign, incorporating a unique product, an absorbing on-camera personality, a humorous story and a tightly monitored social media presence.
Finally, with the expansion in the use of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, mobile video is another aspect of video marketing that will be growing rapidly over the next 12 months. When you create a video for your website, you need to consider how it will work on multiple devices. Beyond technical issues, such as how the graphics display, whether the video is cross-platform compatible and if the audio is clear, one has to consider use. What will make someone watch or share a video on his or her phone? Many people are very protective of their mobile devices and will not spend time idly searching and watching random videos. You need to give them a reason to watch your video. This brings into play how you promote your video prior to release, where your video is placed on your site, what the marketing material around it says, how you tag your video and what description you give it. Have a full plan prepared before you begin uploading, or even producing, your video, so that once it is released, the video is mobile ready and consumers will be driven to watch it. For web wholesalers and retailers, video is an exciting way to share company and product news, and can inspire sales as well as brand loyalty. It is an essential part of every online seller's marketing toolbox.
Darcie King, along with her husband Kristopher, launched E Video Productions (EVP) in 2001. EVP has created effective marketing pieces for such organizations as Viking Yachts, Kimball Medical Center, Axon Global, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, and HealthSouth Tinton Falls & Toms River to name a few. Before starting EVP, Darcie worked for NBC30, CT as a studio camera operator and CGI Communications as an online video editor.
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