I think it goes without saying that web-based video has really begun to take hold in the business world. More and more often, as we land on a company’s home page, we’re greeted with a video.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that most of these videos come across to me as a little too commercial-ish. The scripted delivery, or paid spokesperson, or deer-in-the-headlights/teleprompter-reading presentation found in most corporate videos destroy any opportunity to demonstrate authenticity.
I wanted to share the formula for, and an example of, the type of video I like to see today. One that does away with the overly-produced videos I see and focuses on what’s important to the viewer.
You Bond With People on Their Problems, Not Your Solution
When we shoot a Web TV show, develop a podcast episode, or shoot one of our Vid·EEE·o’s (a new example of which is below) for a corporate customer, we take folks through a simple story-telling process:
- What is the problem facing our customers?
- What are they doing to solve it (that isn’t working)?
- What is the solution that fixes the problem?
The acronym is P.A.S. – Problem, Alternative solution, Solution.
By beginning our video (or podcast or Web TV episode) with the Problem, we bond with our audience. We help them understand that we know what they’re going through. By doing so, we establish our credibility not by claiming it (“we’re a world-class service provider of. . . .blah blah woof woof”) but by demonstrating it.
The video below is for UpMo, a career-management service in the Bay Area. The video begins with a brief review of the problems facing those looking for a job.
Video Time: 00:00 – 00:15
2. Alternative Solution
After the problem is addressed, we speak about the Alternative Solution. There are two goals in reviewing the Alternative Solutions with our viewer;
- Prove we are aware of the viewer’s efforts to solve the problem (which, in turn, shows that I recognize we have competition)
- Subtly poison that competition
Video Time: 00:16 – 00:37
3. The Solution
Once we’ve established our credibility by reviewing the problem(s) facing a client, along with the efforts they may have taken to solve it, I’ve painted a relatively bleak picture. To relieve that tension, I normally begin the Solution segment of my story with this statement:
“This is a problem we solve.”
Once I’ve said that, I am free to detail (in the short time allotted), how it is we solve the problems they face.
Video Time: 00:38 – 01:33
One More Step: A Risk-Free Call to Action
Once I’ve stated my case, I want to take a moment and invite the viewer to accept my Call to Action. (Not doing so is a mistake, I believe.)
Now, your call-to-action could be as innocuous as inviting somebody to visit a certain section of your website. Ultimately, the reason you do a web-based video (or podcast or Web TV program) is to either make money or motivate people to take action on your behalf. Now is the time to make that happen.
With this type of video, I’m a big fan of the risk-free Call to Action. It may be a bit hard to motivate somebody to part with their money after a two-minute video but, if you did a good job, you should be able to motivate a number of viewers to do something that will ultimately benefit them risk-free.
Video Time: 01:34 – 01:48
That’s it, basically. Although there is a bit more to it, this is pretty much the process I go through for every bit of audio/video content PodWorx produces. It appears to be very simple (it is) but is incredibility effective in differentiating yourself from the competitive herd.
I hope you find this “tutorial” helpful. If you have any questions or comments give me a shout or comment below.
Here’s the video:
Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce ‘Business Voice’ Article: Using Live Streaming Video to Increase Website Revenue
Some time ago, Carmen Gigar, the Director of Marketing for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, asked me to contribute an article to Business Voice, the Chamber’s monthly publication. After some email talk about what I should write about, she was very enthusiastic about teaching the Chamber’s members about the potential of Live Streaming Video productions.
As a new Chamber member myself, I just recently received the March edition of Business Voice (my first!), which includes my article. For those thinking about whether or not a Live Streaming Video production might make sense for you and your business, I’ve reprinted a copy of the article below.
Using Live Streaming Video to Increase Website Revenue
It’s interesting…websites have been around for over fifteen years…yet the websites of today aren’t performing any better than the websites of the mid-nineties. The reason? We’re still creating what amounts to a bunch of electronic brochures. And nobody cares about our electronic brochure.
Here’s the rub – the goal of every business website is the same: increase the probability of engagement with your visitor while at the same time reducing the risk of “exit” – leaving your website, and heading off to the competition. Unfortunately, the average amount of time somebody spends on a website is ONE MINUTE, and half those people leave in eight seconds or less. (Which is bad news if you have a story that takes more than eight seconds to tell.)
There’s another bit of trouble as well. It has to do with a company’s perceived approachability.
Most people think approachability is a big-company problem. And it is. But it’s actually a problem for ANY COMPANY that has a website.
Before you had a website, if I wanted to learn about your company, I’d pick up the phone and speak to somebody who had been taught how to help me understand who you are, what you do, and the problems you solve.
Today, your website acts like a brick wall. I never have to talk to an employee when deciding whether or not your business will make my short list. Instead, I’ll judge your company’s capabilities based on the 8-60 seconds I spend on your website.
It’s a Question of Impact
Instead of doing the same thing online as your competitors, ask yourself this question — Which do you think has more impact on your customers and prospects – reading about how great your company is, or seeing and hearing from the very people who make it great?
A Live Streaming Video Production (LSVP), when done correctly, delivers the kind of personal one-to-one (or one-to-many) experience that has been the cornerstone to effective sales. It will separate your company from the competitive herd and completely change your website from “brochure-ware” to a tool that accelerates the sales process.
Video + Chat = High ROI
To get the biggest return on investment, your LSVP should include both live video plus live chat. Offering both human-enables your website and breaks down the wall between you and your website visitors. Imagine how much more effective your website would be if you could interact with your viewers in real-time–answering their questions, providing advice, and establishing your credibility, not by claiming it but by demonstrating it.
LSVP: What Are They Good For?
There is a long list of ideas that would make for a great LSVP. Here’s a few of the 40+ ideas we give to our customers:
- Enhanced Webinars
- Trade Shows
- Distance Learning
- New Product Launch
- Talk Show
- Tips & Tricks
- Customer Interviews
The transformation we see when producing a professional-level LSVP is amazing. A few examples:
- Become Approachable Online: People want to buy from people they know. A LSVP human-enables your website.
- Accelerate the “getting to know you” phase of your sales cycle
- Reduce the chance of being skipped in favor of a competitor due to a lack of “connection”
- Extend Engagement Length: A LSVP gives you an opportunity to take your time and deliver a compelling, results-driven message.
- Increase time to move people from a passive need to an active need.
- Decrease risk associated with visitors only spending seconds on your website before moving on.
- Establish Credibility: Claiming your own credibility is the weakest way to establish it. A great LSVP allows you to demonstrate your expertise and credibility, the strongest way to establish it.
- Enhance perceived expertise in the eyes of your customers and prospects
- Lessen problems associated with trying to convince somebody they should work with you.
Ultimately, a great Live Streaming Video Production will allow your website to do one (or both) of the following:
- Make Your Business More Money
- Motivate Your Visitors to Take Action on Your Behalf
And when it comes to your website, wasn’t that the point in the first place?
Scott Whitney is president of PodWorx, Inc., an Internet broadcasting company that specializes in podcasts and live streaming video productions. Visit his website at www.PodWorx.com.
In Las Vegas? I’m Speaking Next Week on Marketing Techniques That Drive Website Traffic and Increase Revenue
The folks at the Technology Business Alliance of Nevada have asked me to deliver my “Cutting Edge Marketing in the Technology Age” presentation. It’ll take place next Wednesday, February 17th, at the Bali Hai Golf Club’s Cili Restaurant. It’s open to all folks and costs $35 pre-paid, $45 at the door.
Here’s the description of the presentation:
For many, the concept of developing an effective online marketing strategy is intimidating. As a result, we find companies unintentionally distancing themselves from their customers and prospects instead of bringing the two groups closer together. Fortunately, there are a number of online marketing techniques that will introduce the real value of your company to your prospects and customers, motivating these important people towards a new (or additional) working relationship with your organization.
This presentation offers those techniques.
Come to this session ready to look at your existing marketing efforts in a new, fresh way. We will share proven marketing techniques that take advantage of:
· Your Website
· Search Engines
· Email Marketing
· Social Networks
You will learn new methods to reach out and grab additional business. Be prepared to take notes!
This is a very well received presentation as it delivers tips that can be immediately implemented.
If you’re a Las Vegas local, and you’re responsible for the effectiveness of your website, come take a listen.
Why Would You Encourage Business Owners to Incorporate Podcasts and Videos into Their Marketing Strategies?
Last week, I was interviewed by Crystaltech, the company that hosts all our websites/blogs/podcasts/live streaming video productions, for their latest newsletter and blog. The interview covered a few different topics, but I felt the answer to one of the questions posed during the interview would be helpful to readers of this blog.
Why would you encourage business owners to
incorporate podcasts and videos into their marketing strategies?
My answer had less to do with podcasting and video specifically and more about the problem all websites have created. For me, rolling out a podcast/live streaming video production isn’t about how cool either of those things are. It’s about whether you recognize the problems traditional websites have created and if you are interested in solving those very same problems.
Here’s what I said in the interview. I welcome any comments!
First, I don’t think podcasting and live streaming video is a fit for every company [emphasis added]. I think a certain type of embedded video is a fit across the board, if done correctly.
That said, when considering your online marketing strategy, you first need to take a hard look at your website. Truth is, the websites of today aren’t performing any better than the websites of the mid-nineties. The reason is because we’re still creating what amounts to a bunch of electronic brochures…and nobody cares about our electronic brochures. And the numbers bear this out. The average amount of time somebody spends on a website is one minute, and half those people only last eight seconds. Unless you have a story that can be told in eight seconds, you have to figure out how to keep people engaged longer so you can speak to the problems you can solve, and separate yourself from the competitive herd.
As we say on our website, what’s really needed to increase the connection between you and your prospects is to stop producing yet another bit of written marketing collateral, and try something better–and much more impactful. You can turn the day-to-day efforts of your company into an ongoing story that gives your listeners a real sense of who you are, what you do, and how you are solving the problems facing your customers and prospects. That’s why our customers podcast.
Video, regardless of whether it’s live streaming video or on-demand, when done correctly, solves a major challenge most websites unintentionally create when it comes to a company’s perceived approachability. Remember, with a website, I never have to speak to a human. If you recognize that your employees are among your most valuable assets, not providing a window into these important people is bad business. Our customers use live streaming and on-demand video to improve their approachability in the eyes of their prospects and customers, thus shortening the sales cycle.
A couple days ago, I was doing a pre-interview for an upcoming Polycom on Demand podcast. The topic revolved around a new resource Polycom has placed on their website that provides a one-stop location meant to help their customers better implement (or propose) a video conferencing environment. As I was learning about this resource, I discovered that within their “Tools” area, they had included links to a couple previous Polycom on Demand podcast episodes.
I thought this was a great idea.
To help their customers better position the Return On Investment (ROI) delivered by a Polycom solution, they included links two of our Determining Your ROI episodes:
By integrating their existing podcast content into this new customer offering, they’ve enhanced both the podcast’s standing as a valuable educational tool for their customers and the ability to deliver timely, helpful content via their online presence. This is a great use of their podcast.
If we turn our attention towards you, I’d suggest that if you are already producing a podcast for your company, ask yourself,
“What am I doing to help my other marketing efforts by
leveraging the content in my podcast?”
And if you haven’t begun podcasting yet, don’t forget that there is more to it than just creating a new MP3 file for your customers.
With the release of each new show, we provide each customer with a long list of ideas on how to promote/leverage that particular episode. I’d suggest that besides simply posting your latest episode on your server, think hard about how else your podcast can help move your story forward and shorten your sales cycle.
Now, I have a looooong list of other uses for podcasts. But I’d like to hear from you. How do you put your podcast to work for you? Let’s take turns sharing some ideas!
1. Nobody Cares What You Do.
Time and time again, I hear corporate/business podcasts go on and on about how great their latest widget is. Here’s the truth – nobody cares what you do, they only care what you do for them.
Instead of speaking from a company-centric perspective, speak from the customer’s point of view. What are the problems they face? Why are they in trouble in the first place? What have many of your customers done in the past to try to solve their problems (but have come up short).
You bond with people on their problems, not your solution. Before you offer me a solution to my problems, prove to me you know what problems I’m dealing with in the first place.
2. Adding Video to Your Podcast Will not Help if Your Audio is Poor.
I’ve written about this before. If the sound on your video podcast sucks, nobody is going to watch. Those developing video content must recognize that the most important component to your video is not the video. It’s the ability the hear the story being told. If I cannot hear that story, or if the quality is so bad that it is distracting, you’ve lost me.
3. An Un-Prepared Guest is a Boor.
If your podcast consists of interview employees and partners, take the time to prepare them for the interview. It is VERY difficult to listen to somebody who stutters, hems and haws, “uhhs”, “errrss”, “you knows” through an interview because they simply aren’t prepared to answer your questions.
We solve this problem by pre-interviewing the guest ahead of time. You want the guest to know what to expect before you hit “record”. Learn before the interview what’s important to them. Help them understand the point of Scary Fact #1. Then, prior to the recording, let them know what the questions will be (and, depending on the guest, remind them of what they felt would be their important answers).
4. An MP3 Link is Not Enough.
I would guess that over 90% of all podcasts I’ve come across only provide an MP3 as a means of listening to their show. This is not enough if you want to increase the probability of listenership. Besides providing an easy way to access your RSS feed (for those who want to subscribe to your podcast), do not forget to provide a Flash Player for each episode. Failure to do so ignores the fact that many people dislike having to click. . .then wait. . .for the MP3 file to load in their browser. Instead, adding a simple Flash Player for each episode gives a new visitor a chance to audition your show. . .something he may otherwise not be willing to do.
5. If You Don’t Plan Your Podcast, You Will Hurt Your Brand.
It’s shocking to me how many podcasts get started with their first episode (or dump a few episodes all at once), and then stop producing any more episodes. Developing a great podcasting is like being asked to develop a new radio/TV talk show. It takes work and can be overwhelming. This, more times than not, leads to “podfading”, which is the premature ending of a podcast series due to lack of time, resources or planning.
Frank Sinatra had a great line. He said that he had his whole life to record is first record but only six months to record his second album. In podcasting, you have your whole life to record your first podcast episode. Guess how long until the next episode is expected?
Of course, if I was talking about an amateur podcast, this wouldn’t matter. But because of the subscription nature of podcasts, this is poisonous for a corporate podcast. By podfading, you’ve told all those subscribers that their interest in your show doesn’t matter to you. . .and that their vote doesn’t count. From a branding perspective, this is bad new.
A well-planned podcast will drive show momentum and increase listenership and reduce the risk associated with failing to deliver what is promised to your audience.
I subscribe to several marketing newsletter. And study after study report what is obvious to those of us who spend any time online. . .adding video to your website is becoming less of an option and more of a requirement. If done correctly, it’ll shorten the sales cycle and keep visitors on your website longer. Yet the vast majority of all these newly added videos aren’t really helping.
The problem with your typical corporate video isn’t with the technology. That piece of the puzzle is under control. No, the reason why most corporate videos found on websites today fail to shorten your sales cycle is because the approach towards creating a corporate video today is no different than that of 20 years ago.
Which, as I like to say, is not a feature.
Take a moment and think about it. When was the last time you watched a corporate video, including one of your own, where the video pulled back the curtain and gave you a real sense of what actually makes that company tick?
The scripted delivery, or paid spokesperson, or deer-in-the-headlights/teleprompter-reading presentation found in most corporate videos destroy any opportunity to demonstrate authenticity. And while the overly-produced corporate video, with its heavy graphics, impressive music, and beautiful “location” shots, may look and sound well enough, they create a distraction from the real people involved with the company and fail to deliver the reason behind any online marketing effort: to move your story forward by demonstrating the transformation you deliver to your customers.
A Vision That Mirrors What Your Customer Wants
As I spent time analyzing the current crop of web-based corporate videos, it reminded me that while nobody wants to be sold, everybody wants to buy. In order to gain the opportunity to help a client solve a problem through the use of your products or services, you must first establish rapport with that website visitor. In sales, most professionals equate rapport with relationships. And while most will claim that the key to sales is relationship, very few can articulate what the key to relationships might be.
The answer is credibility.
Without credibility, you cannot sell a non-commodity product.
That said, the people who visit your website in search of help are constantly worried about two things:
1. Who can I trust?
2. How do I ensure I’m making the right decision (or not making a wrong decision)?
In other words, your website visitors WANT you to be the answer to these two questions. They hope that by finding themselves on your website, they’ve ended their search for what you deliver. All you have to do is demonstrate your credibility through an online video that is natural, unscripted and educational.
After a great deal of research, documentation and testing, to solve this problem. . .to bring our clients closer to their customers and prospects with a focus toward shortening the sales cycle. . .today I’m happy to announce PodWorx’s newest offering. We call it Vid·EEE·o
Vid·EEE·o – Authenticity-based Website Video
The video you see to the right is an example of a PodWorx Vid·EEE·o.
Instead of delivering another boring video, filled with corporate speak and void of any sense of who you are, what you do, and how you’re helping others solve their problems, PodWorx’s Vid·EEE·o for Websites solution changes all that. This is due to our single-minded focus towards making the process of developing great video content Effortless and Efficient, and ensuring the ultimate product is Effective in bringing your company closer to a business relationship with your website visitors.
It’s unscripted – there’s no pressure to memorize a bunch of words or try to read off of a teleprompter. Instead, we simply shoot what feels like an easy-going conversation. In truth, the questions being asked of the “talent” are purposeful and designed specifically to draw out your story in a compelling manner.
It’s natural – it allows your personality to finally shine through online. Very few people can read and/or memorize a script and deliver it without coming across. . .well. . .“corporate-y”.
It’s compelling – The story that is produced, combined with the editing style and clean, white background, delivers a piece of media that immediately grabs the viewer’s attention. . .and keeps it for the entire length of the video (which is usually between 1-3 minutes). The call-to-action gives the visitor a logical next step.
It doesn’t require you to wear a mock turtleneck – It just looks that way.
Results – What to Expect
As with ALL PodWorx products and services, the deliverable isn’t the main story. It’s the outcome that matter. Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Become Approachable
The PodWorx Vid·EEE·o moves you closer to human enabling your website. This, in turn
- Accelerates the getting-to-know-you phase of any sales process
- Reduces the chances of being skipped over due to lack of “connection”
- Extends Engagement Length
Because great embedded videos keep visitors engaged, a PodWorx Vid·EEE·o gives you an opportunity to extend the length of time a visitor spends on your website.
- Increases the amount of time you have to move people from a passive need to an active need (to effectively sell or motivate)
- Decreases the risk associated with visitors only spending seconds on your website before “moving on”
- Establishes Your Credibility
Claiming your own credibility is the weakest way to establish it. The PodWorx Vid·EEE·o allows you to demonstrate your credibility, the strongest way to establish it.
- Enhance your perceived expertise in the eyes of your customers and prospects
- Lessen the problem associated with trying to convince somebody why they should work with you
There’s much more to the Vid·EEE·o story than I can fit in a single blog post. I invite you to review the video on this blog post. And then I’d suggest you give me a call (702.395.5268) to see if your’s is a story that can be told using our techniques and strategies. If you recognize that your overall online efforts are not contributing to your bottom line as much as you hoped, and that demonstrating authenticity to your website visitors is important, we’ll help you do it right the first time.
I’m pleased to see a measurable increase in online video. I’m seeing them more and more in podcasts, embedded in websites, and as a means of driving traffic to your site through Video on Demand sites like YouTube. We’ve begun using video to further improve the connection and approachability of PodWorx and as a means of creating a more intimate setting for out Living in Las Vegas Podcast audience. This is a good thing.
In a business setting, a well thought out video will decrease the time to close a transaction with your visitor by accelerating the mandatory “getting to know you” phase of any sales cycle. But with this exciting increase of online video, I’m seeing the same thing I saw with the initial wave of audio podcasts.
Terrible audio quality.
Those developing video content must recognize that the most important component to your video is not the video. IT’S THE ABILITY TO HEAR THE STORY BEING TOLD. If I cannot hear the story being told, or if the quality is so bad that it is distracting, you’ve lost me.
This means that if you’ve created this beautiful video, with clever transitions, lovely on-screen graphics, compelling on-screen talent, and story-enhancing music, but the sound coming from the talent is tinny, contains too much room echo, is too quiet or too loud and distorted, I’m not going to spend the time suffering through it just to watch the talent be, well, talented. Instead, I’m going to move on to the next item on my to-do list.
But here’s a hint – you already knew that.
Here’s why. Look at one of the most impressive pieces of video/audio technology we have at our disposal today: Skype. When using Skype to place a video-to-video call, what does the software do in the event the bandwidth available will not provide enough throughput for both the audio and video signal.
It degrades the video portion of the connection to ensure the audio is still as good as it can be. The smart people at Skype know that if you can’t hear each other, being able to see each other clearly would only make things MORE annoying.
So, be Skypish with your video. If you’ve done a great job with your audio podcast and you’re now bringing in a video offering, be certain the audio is at least as good with the video as it was with the audio-only product. And if you’re initial go-to-market plan is using video, don’t skimp on the audio side of the story. . .doing so will leave your “talent” with nobody for whom to perform.
What say you? Are you struggling to maintain great sound quality with your video? Are you wondering how to do so? Let me know.
Reason Number 4 — Improve Sales
Improve sales?!? NOooooooooo! Isn’t podcasting all about putting out a show for purely altruistic reasons? It certainly can be. But for all the companies I’ve talked to, they recognize that for a podcast to be successful in a corporate environment, it must meet one of two criteria:
- It must improve sales, and/or
- It must motivate the listener to take action on their behalf
Be assured that a podcast can improve sales. I know this to be true because the first podcast I produced improved the company’s web-based sales by 23%. We did this by providing a show that gave the listener what they wanted while at the same time providing a call-to-action that didn’t feel “salesy”. Within weeks we were seeing sales directly related to the podcast.
How NOT to improve sales via your podcast
Pitch, pitch, pitch. In my profession, I listen to a lot of podcasts. And many of the corporate podcasts I’ve reviewed since August of 2005 have failed to meet the criteria your listeners have for every podcast…that is, to either be entertained or educated (or both). Instead, these podcast were almost assuredly written by the folks in marketing who wanted to list all their features and how great their product is and why you should buy. This, I’m afraid, doesn’t get the job done. Remember, telling is not selling…teaching is. If you are educating your listeners, you are helping them discover on their own why doing business with you might be a good idea.
Has your podcast helped your sales? Let us know and we’ll spread the word on what works and what doesn’t.
Reason Number 3 — Ubiquitous Access to Customers and Prospects
The podcast-to-listener connection allows for an unblockable/direct line of communication between a company and its listeners that has been previously unavailable online. You can’t spam a podcast…which means there is no need to spam-BLOCK a podcast. Asheesh Barman, an executive vice president at Acutrack put it this way:
We are able to deliver information about our services and solutions to our customers, prospective customers, partners, vendors ubiquitously – on their PCs, in their offices, on their MP3 players, in their car stereo system or their living room, etc. They can take it and use it whenever they want, wherever they want without having to sit and read about it on our website or our marketing materials. This is a HUGE value.