Video has become an affordable way to effectively connect with your customers. Whether you are a content producer or equipment manufacturer there are fewer ways to communicate a message more quickly, concisely and with as much impact.
This article looks at how the current state of online video, what the opportunity is, and how to get started.
Online video is nothing new, but it has gained huge popularity recently, with consumption amongst existing users up 44% in the last year.
Anyone can setup a YouTube channel and upload full 1080p high definition to an audience of millions. High speed broadband has excellent market penetration globally and it is now quick, easy and cheap to use video effectively.
The power of video
One of the problems website owners face is clearly communicating a message. Visitors hunt and peck as they navigate through a site, which makes constructing an effective sales message a challenge. Video (or at least good video) gives you an uninterrupted sales pitch.
It has credibility that is often lacking in website text. We’ve all heard about companies that write their own reviews. Speaking in the flesh, whether it’s a message from your MD or a happy customer, adds real honesty to your message. We are naturally more likely to trust someone when we see them talking, than when we read about them.
Online retailer Zappos found that adding video product demos increased sales by 6% to 30%. Ice.com showed even more impressive figures with an increase in conversions of 4x and a decrease in returns of 9 to 12%
Whether it’s talking to someone, or showing a product to a customer, video works.
Uses for video
Content producers and creatives have been using video online for much of the last decade. With the cost of HD production falling, the door is now open to other companies. Opportunities include:
How-to guides or support
Behind the scenes look at how your product is used
Messages from your company’s stakeholders
Getting started with YouTube
We are going to take a brief look at using YouTube as an quick and powerful way to get video online and embedded in your website. Using YouTube avoids problems with bandwidth restriction, with the additional benefit of increasing your audience as visitors can find the video through searching YouTube.
Before you start, you need a website that works. Video is no substitute to a website, nor can great video make a poor website good. Assuming you have a good site in place, let’s get started.
Step 1) Produce compelling content.
Remember that visitors do not like obtrusive introductions. If you want your video to introduce your website, it needs to work muted, as people hate the interruption of a noisy website without warning. If you need audio, load the page with the video paused, and write a call to action to get your viewer to press play. YouTube supports video up to 15 minutes by default, though more is available on request.
Step 2) Film in HD. Whether or not you need HD on your site, the pixels in screens are 1:1 square (matching HD), vs the anamorphic pixels used in tv monitors and standard def formats. This makes a huge difference on the crispness of the video, and standard def simply doesn’t cut the mark.
Step 3) Have your production company deliver you a video file in full HD at full quality. Supported formats include .avi, .mov or .wmv file with a maximum 2gb file size. Always upload video in the highest quality possible, and include audio as part of the same file.
Step 4) Sign up for a YouTube account using your company name. In your profile, put a link to your site for added Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) benefit. Write a profile to help you be found, and upload your company logo.
Step 5) With your video ready, click on the “Upload” link. Drag your video into the highlighted area, and press upload. The larger the video, the longer it takes so prepare for a wait.
Step 6) When it has finished, add keyword rich content in your description, as well as relevant tags (keywords). Select your privacy option as “Public”.
Step 7) After a short period, your video will be available online. YouTube automatically encodes your video at the highest quality possible, which will be 1080p if you have uploaded in full HD. It also down converts to 720p, 480p, 320p, and 240p – which allows your content to display at the best quality your visitor’s bandwidth will allow.
Step 8) To put your video on your website, click on the “Embed” button below the video. This will show you the code you need to put the video on your site. If you can edit HTML, you can put this directly on a web page. Or send it to your developer and they can handle this for you. By adding parameters, you can customise the size and colours of the player to match your site’s theme.
Step 9) Anyone familiar with YouTube will know that comments attract spam and unhelpful remarks. Click on the drop down arrow next to your user name, and go to “My Videos”, then click on edit, scroll down and disable comments or choose “Allow all comments with approval only”.
Comprehensive help is available at http://www.google.com/support/youtube/
Once you have your video content, you should be able to upload and embed the video on your site in less than an hour. It’s quick to do, and the rewards are fantastic.
It is worth re-iterating though, that video will only enhance a good website. Make sure you use it as part of a well rounded internet marketing campaign.
Ben Kelly has been creating internet marketing solutions for businesses for the last 10 years. Ben runs Alpha Wave Media Ltd, a Brighton based Internet Marketing Agency, helping companies develop online marketing campaigns that work. He is also a Google Adwords Certified Partner.