Incorporate video into your marketing plan

Do you recall the day YouTube went live in November 2005? Just imagine: before that historic date, there weren’t any video-sharing websites. And probably no adorable kitten videos or talking-baby clips either. I remember wondering at the time about where they would obtain the necessary volumes of video? And who would ever watch a 24/7 video channel? Could there really be an audience for people’s ordinary slices of life?

Now YouTube is the third-most visited website on the Internet, after Google and Facebook. And it’s the second-largest search engine on the Web, after Google, its owner. More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the three major U.S. television networks produced in 60 years.

Which begs the question, with 4 billion hits each day and 60 hours of video uploaded every minute, what can you do to take advantage of this enormous public-access broadcast channel?

Some compelling statistics about video marketing include:

Ninety percent of consumers interviewed by Internet Retailer said that video played a part in their buying decisions for products and services.

Click-through rates for email go up 96 percent when videos are included in the introduction. (Implix)

Videos are 53 times more likely than traditional Web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking. (Forrester Research)

Seems pretty persuasive. But maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not Cecil B. DeMille or Steven Spielberg.” The good news is that you don’t have to be a stellar director to make a useful clip about something commercial. In fact, the less-produced the video, the more believable it will seem. So forget the razzle dazzle and plan to do a video a month on what honestly matters about you and your business.

Some things to keep in mind:

Make your videos short. Nothing longer than 2 minutes. One minute is better. Less is more.

Talk about the benefits of your product or service, not just the features.

Speak directly to the camera and be genuine in your eye contact and your candor about the pros and cons of what you’re selling. Do not be slick in any way.

Invest in audio mics before you worry about your visuals. Sound makes a big difference in the appeal of a video.

Now think about your topics. Let’s say your business rents tuxedos. How do you plan what to pitch each month? Well, think about your audience first. What do they want to know about?

Keyword research might help you here. Turns out young men, your target audience, do tons of searches on how to tie a tie. So show them how to do that in your first video. What does that have to do with tuxedos? By showing prospects exactly how to do something that will make them more marketable (or more sophisticated and dateable, in this instance) you become the go-to source for items related to their aspirations, including wearing a tux one day.

What’s your second video going to be about? How to talk yourself out of a traffic ticket? Or how to pin on a corsage? Or the three most-affordable and fun places to take a date in your city?

You get the idea. Plan your editorial calendar for the year based on what your target audience wants to know, and check out what holes your competition has left you to fill. My guess is there will be many. Be sure to have a call to action at the end of every short video. It might seem obvious, but just suggesting to viewers that they pick up the phone and make an appointment or subscribe to your newsletter results in more calls and subscriptions then if you had left the obvious unspoken.

Now you’ll want to post the videos in a few places. YouTube, of course. But do a search on other video-sharing sites. There are many of them, and you might find some that specialize in just what you do. The more the merrier.

Post the videos on your Facebook business page. Embed them in your LinkedIn profile. Put them on your website. Email them as video postcards to your prospects and customers. Use videos in a few of your blogs to liven them up.

Learn how to search-optimize your posted videos. There’s not a lot to it, and you can push your clips to the top of subject searches just because you’ve put keywords in your title (headline) and descriptions. Imagine the traffic you could build for your channel on YouTube (that’s where your business has a branded presence on the platform with a playlist of your various videos) given how vast YouTube’s audience is. Plus, optimizing your videos will help you rank on Google search.

There are some wonderful tools to help you produce your videos right off your desktop. Camtasia and GoView come to mind. They are software products that allow users to capture activity on the computer screen and record audio at the same time. They can also upload your screencasts onto YouTube easily. Look into these and others.

See you in Hollywood!

Laurie Macomber, owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing, can be reached at laurie@blueskiesmktg.com or 970-689-3000.

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