by Courtney Eckerle
Jeremy Vest, Senior SEM and Online Manager, Wasp Barcode, has one million views right now on the Wasp Barcode YouTube page. This is a point of pride for him as a marketer for a "super non-sexy product."
Although a barcode scanner doesn’t seem like it would light up the screen, one million views proves it is more than possible, perhaps even preferable, for products that don't pop off the page to do better in this highly visual format.
Small businesses, even on a tight marketing budget, can take advantage of the tremendous opportunity video allows to display or demonstrate their product or service, according to Mark Zamora, Producer, Manchu Media.
The opportunity is growing all of the time with an August 2012 comScore U.S. Online Video Rankings report showing an all-time high of 188 million U.S. Internet users watching 37.7 billion online content videos in August alone.
According to Zamora, it can be a very inexpensive way for a small business to get their name out, and when it comes to developing and shooting video content, his advice is to "just do it, even if you're not getting results right away."
Zamora suggested when beginning to remember "in the end, it is all about the customer, and you want to make your customer happy, you want them to feel like you care about their needs and that is your number one priority."
Tactic #1. Answer questions for your audience
One of the biggest mistakes people do when starting to create videos, according to Vest, is to say, "Oh hey, we have a new product. We have a new service. So, let’s go tell the world about it."
Approaching video creation with this mindset is a mistake, he said, because, "unless you are funny, attractive or famous, no one cares about you and what you have to say, and that is just the harsh reality."
Instead of focusing the video on selling your product, or using it as a vehicle to pitch, Vest advised discovering what consumers are searching for in your sphere and trying to be the answer or solution to what they are trying to achieve.
"The first place we started in creating a good video is truly understanding what someone is going to be looking for," Vest said.
Once you understand what people are looking for, Vest continued, you can create video content. Fulfilling a need, he added, is "the fundamental difference between people … that make super-great videos and people that just talk about themselves."
Building ideas comes from knowing who your audience is, stemming out from the main idea of, "Who is this product for?" and growing into questions such as, "What do you like, what are you into, what would make you buy this product," Zamora said.
"There are a lot of safe bets for small business and video," Vest said.
One of those safe bets is to produce how-to videos, he added. Not only will how-to videos answer questions, but they cultivate a feeling of authority towards the company.
"If you truly helped someone to learn what they are seeking to learn, they may subscribe to your channel. They may watch and engage more in what you are doing. They may … go on to your website," Vest said, adding, "It has to either entertain … or educate. People don’t want to waste their time."
Tactic #2. Don’t fear low production value
Thinking of the the term video production, the image that tends to be conjured up is of heavy, expensive camera equipment and those highly trained in the craft. However, YouTube has lowered audience’s video quality expectations, making effective videos in reach of those with smaller budgets.
Once a good concept is taken care of, according to Zamora and Vest, several ways exist to make a relatively cheap video work just as well as one with higher production value.
"If you can truly answer the question 'What are they are looking for?' I think you are going to feel better than spending $10,000 on a video production," Vest said.
Zamora added the idea that any video campaign or program requires expensive equipment is a "stigma that you just have to get rid of first and foremost."
Suitable equipment is becoming more affordable, he added, saying it is feasible to get a $100 to $200 camera, and microphones are available for $15. Add in a few lamps and "a front light, a sidelight to give you a little bit of fill and then a light for the back of you … that's all you need."
On this cheap budget, he said, "You can produce as many videos as you want, and they will eventually pay for themselves … when you can build up and start moving your way up the video food chain."
Video is not a medium for the long-winded, according to Vest. Your video should convey sincerity, and a ten-minute video won't accomplish that any better than a three-minute video.
"Get straight to the point, and if you don't have high-value production, just be very sincere. Don't worry about taking out the 'ums' and 'gees' and 'ahs.' People connect to you better the more sincere you are," he said.
Vest also advised immediately getting to the point when producing a video, and "capture someone’s attention within the first two to four seconds. Make people feel like they should be watching this video by showing what the video will be all about quickly so … they know they’re in the right place."
Video quality tips
Even with a low production video venture, Vest and Zamora said no company should skip on certain aspects. In this area, the small things that should always be paid careful attention to are:
- Making sure there are no shadows on the presenter's face
- There is a clear view of the presenter’s eyes
- Quality audio for clear communication
"If the audio sounds bad … you are going to lose engagement," Vest said.
A clear view of the presenter's eyes is also extremely important for engagement, he added, because it allows them to connect with the viewer, and adds a feeling of transparency to the video.
Tactic #3. Create and manage a YouTube channel
"I think that if you are making a YouTube channel, you have one first impression," Zamora said.
Proper organization of videos, from thumbnails to the description, are what keep viewers engaged, he added, "I want to look at that video and I know exactly what it is about, before I even start playing it."
The overall design of a YouTube channel should be appealing and fit with your company's theme, Zamora said. This includes choosing a channel name that is as close to your company's as possible — customers should never be confused or think they have ended up in the wrong place.
"I have seen YouTube channels where they just have a cluster of logos and words everywhere, it is not a clean interface, it is confusing and it's a little daunting. You want it to be clean, concise, straight to the point," Zamora concluded.
When uploading a video to YouTube, "tagging" videos is a highly valuable asset, Zamora said. Relevant tags to your video will help bridge the gap between people who have a question and your video that answers it.
It is vital, he said, to be extremely clear in your tags, and it is best to already have a good idea of the keywords your customers are using when searching, and incorporate those. Relevancy is what will make your videos a success.
Using the tag "Super Bowl" when your video really has nothing to do with it will "leave people with a bad impression, and they are going to turn away and never come back," Zamora said.
However, trend or culture jacking can be a great way to make your videos spontaneous and engaging for viewers. Because videos have a fairly quick turnaround, it can be one of the best mediums for incorporating a cultural event your customers are talking about with your product.
Organize with playlists
"So, how do you keep all that organized?" Vest asked. "Today, the answer with YouTube is playlists."
YouTube playlists enable companies to organize videos in a specific grouping, such as "Small business tips," "Videos from our blogs" or by individual products.
"Different videos serve very different purposes, but our playlists allow us to let people watch based on their interest even though they are on one channel," Vest said.
Achieve SEO payback from videos
"Google is the number one search engine by metrics alone," Zamora said, adding YouTube videos receive a high ranking in Google's algorithm, usually above the fold on the search engine results page as video links get indexed instantly.
In this regard, it's paramount to be thorough and to input keywords and descriptions, as YouTube focuses on bringing up videos to engage audiences, according to the official YouTube creator’s blog. Essentially, videos people watch for longer receive preference, not simply videos that achieve the most clicks.
The popularity and strength of your channel will also be important to SEO. For the best possible results, create regular content that will build your following, and nurture YouTube features such as comments, channel subscribers and the "thumbs up."
Tactic #4. Take advantage of tools available
AdWords, according to Vest, is a highly valuable tool to invest in for video, and "not many people are doing it correctly. So there is a lot of opportunity."
For video, AdWords has four different "TrueView" video ad options
, all of which Vest estimated were "unbelievably inexpensive advertising … between seven and eight cents," compared to common keywords in Google Analytics that can run much higher.
- In-slate ads: Show before YouTube partner videos that are 10 minutes or longer.
- In-stream ads: Viewers see five seconds of your promoted video before they can keep watching or skip it.
- In-search ads: Video appears in a promoted section of the search results page.
- In-display ads: Your ad appears alongside other YouTube videos that match your target audience.
Vest also encouraged using the AdWords keyword tool to gain comprehension of what people are typing in relation to your product. He cautioned, "Related to video, the search intent on Google versus YouTube is extremely different."
He advised marketers use Youtube.com/analytics to understand at what point people stop watching your videos, to understand how to gain and keep their attention and nix any video strategies that might garner negative results.
"There is just a lot of demystifying that happens once you get deep into YouTube," Vest said. "You can see what is happening on your site, and how people are engaging with your videos. This really helps with business decisions to understand what people are doing."
Vest said Wasp Barcode was able to understand through analytics the average person coming from YouTube visited its website for more than four minutes. "It is a very engaged user," Vest said, because not only do they spend the time to watch the video, but they are interested enough to move on and explore the website as well.
Beginning a video campaign or library may seem complicated at first, but Zamora maintained it is a relatively simple process with high reward. When making a video, he concluded, "Do it often, tag it right, make it pretty. It sounds daunting … but it is important and you should be doing video — that's where we are all headed."
Creative SampleYouTube TrueView options
SourcesWasp BarcodeManchu Media
Related ResourcescomScore Releases August 2012 U.S. Online Video RankingsOfficial YouTube creator’s blogYouTube AnalyticsContent Marketing: Videos attract 300% more traffic and nurture leads Social Media Marketing: Video campaign increased demo leads 63%, website traffic grew by 450,000 visitorsEmail Marketing: Video email doubles clickthrough rate for Ragan CommunicationsInbound Marketing: A pioneering YouTube video strategy