Posts Tagged ‘video marketing strategy’

The Internet Never Sleeps

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The Internet never sleeps - it's always collecting and presenting more infoNew York City used to have a tagline – The City That Never Sleeps”. People knew that if you went to NY there was a different energy, an under current of excitement, a pulse that was fast, ever moving and overwhelming. I believe all cities have their own unseen energy, their own pulse and movement. So too does the Internet. And as internet marketers we get caught up in this maelstrom  of activity and movement and must either sink or swim with that current.

I often talk to business owners who are frustrated. They have hired a consultant or a company to improve their online presence and the project results never seem to match the expectations. These people walk away shaking their heads, thinking they were “fleeced”. In actual fact they probably weren’t. They were the victim of change.

It’s said that the amount of information on the internet doubles every 6 weeks. I’ve seen other numbers, but the time span doesn’t really matter. The internet is constantly growing and changing and there is an enormous amount of information to absorb and implement. Even if the net stopped right this minute, it would take several lifetimes to catch up on even a small portion of that information. This is mind boggling. This is game changing. This is why it’s very difficult to hire the right internet marketing or search optimization firm. They could be very knowledgeable – using last week’s best info. But by next week how much of that has changed?

I spend on average 30 hours a week in an almost futile attempt to keep up with my areas of interest. It’s a full time job in and of itself just so I can do my real full time job! And I could easily spend double that time and STILL miss a new technique or the beginning of a new delivery system or a new source of good traffic.

When I started online back in the late 90’s it was easy. No one really knew how things were supposed to be done so we improvised and made up our own ways of attracting customers, presenting products, getting traffic. It was a heady time much like wandering down a pristine white beach and picking up gold nuggets along the way. And then only picking up the ones that were easy to reach or were of a specific size and color. A lot of people made a LOT of money back then, they merely had to be on that beach. If they haven’t grown as the net has grown, they probably aren’t doing so well today.

In a little more than a decade things have changed dramatically. I can no longer run a successful online marketing campaign by myself. With all the areas of knowledge I have, with all the years I’ve spent “doing it all” – I no longer can do it all myself. A very painful admission I assure you!

Today I need a team.

I need a video wizard who is well versed in many different editing and special effects programs.

I need a marketing expert who has their finger on the pulse of social media – aware of the latest changes occurring almost daily on a wide variety of social sites.

I can’t even just drop into my favorite HTML editor – my constant companion of the past 12 years – and toss together a site. It doesn’t do HTML 5.0 and all new sites need to be done in that iteration of the language. It only surfaced a few scant months ago and already Bing and IE 9 are making headlines by giving it “favored” status.

No matter where I look, no matter what part of my marketing, advertising, site optimization, design or implementation, I need a specialist. Someone who concentrates on just one area of the internet and is constantly aware of the changes, of the new methods, the new technology, the new procedures.

But at the same time they need to have a solid grounding in the basics. Because oddly enough, no matter what area of online marketing you look at, the basics still haven’t changed. A solid foundation is needed to optimize a site. No matter how many new things Google has added, without that foundation, built with new tools and new methods to be sure, you will not weather the storm of new search algorithms.

Without knowing your customer, and their habits – even though those habits change every few months – you won’t be talking WITH your prospective customer, engaging them and working them into the sales funnel. “What’s in it for me?” has NOT changed. It’s still the driving force behind any type of sales page.

The path to that sale still hasn’t changed.

  1. Get the eyeballs, grab their attention.
  2. Get them to come to your site. Get that click!
  3. Convert them from a “looker” to a buyer.

Even though I mourn the passing of the “good old days” when I could do it all myself and didn’t need a bevy of experts to be successful, I take comfort in knowing that the basics, the rock solid foundation of each and every exchange of money hasn’t changed. The delivery will always evolve. The implementation will change with the rapid advancement of technology. But in the end – I’m still talking to another person on the other side of that keyboard. Or touch screen, or smart phone. And that will never change.

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If These Librarians Can Do It You Can Too!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I couldn’t help myself. I saw this video and thought of all the people who are afraid to start doing their own videos and just had to post it here.

Come on people if a LIBRARIAN can do this – YOU can get in front of the camera too!
Seriously – check this out – it proves you can get your point across with video no matter what that point is! If a library facing budget cuts is turning to YouTube, isn’t it time your business was there?

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Video Marketing – The Last Step

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

You have your finished video masterpiece “in the can”. But now what do you do with it? How do you use it to drive traffic, leads and sales to your site?

Let’s look at two F.E.A.R. factors. F.E.A.R. stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. In other words those nasty little “facts” that circulate the interwebz and are repeated often enough untilPost production posting is how to get visitors from the video to your sitethey become accepted as real.

F.E.A.R. #1 – Putting your video on YouTube will drive a ton of traffic to your door. Umm no. You might get lucky – you might have a really cool video of gorillas playing in traffic (get it – traffic guerrilla?) that gets picked up by the major news sites and the super popular blogs. This is called “going viral”. And yes IF you can hit this state of nirvana, you will have millions of views and probably a good number of visitors IF you remembered to put a call to action at the end of your vid, and IF you have your YouTube channel set up correctly so people can find your website.

Let’s deal with the more likely scenario. You tell your mom and your uncles and aunts and cousins about your neat new vid and they come look at it for a total view count of 10. ( Getting this view count up on YouTube is a whole other series – there are quite a few things you can do to improve those views.) But the real value of YouTube is not in the views.  We often don’t even care if anyone on YouTube ever looks at that video.

Say what??? The real value of YouTube is not in the number of visitors you get to your site from people viewing, then clicking on your vid. Those visitors are the gravy, not the meal. The real value is that page one listing you can often get from Google. Video results for a search term are shown on the first page – if there are other videos in that category and if Google isn’t changing SERP layouts that week. And they can get there fast – sometimes in hours.

If you make sure to Tweet your video, add it to your Facebook page, your Blog and other social sites you’ll start getting better rankings and more clicks.

Post your video EVERYWHERE you can. Don’t just limit yourself to YouTube! Go to Viddler, Vimeo, eBaum’s World, and others. Set up an account and get that video in wherever it can go. Word of warning – some sites make their money from adult material shown on their site so check them out first if you don’t want your vid snuggling up next to a pole dancing competition.

The second F.E.A.R. factor – Just changing the title and format or running length lets you put the same video up multiple times. Don’t do this. Please save yourself the aggravation and think this “strategy” through. Do you really think that Google, who owns YouTube wants 10 copies of the same video in the same channel? Does this help their value to viewers and advertisers?

Yes, videos are reposted all over YouTube. You can see the same shots of the same political interview all over hundreds of channels. But these are DIFFERENT channels. And therein lies the flaw in the logic behind this scheme. Having the same video in different versions on different channels is one animal. Having the same video in different versions on the SAME channel (yours) is a horse of another color.

I tested this on over a dozen video sharing sites. There were a few of them that banned my account in a matter of days, two in a matter of hours! They were NOT amused! It takes some pretty serious bandwidth to show a video to a viewer and some pretty serious incoming ad dollars to support that bandwidth. Spamming a video site is going to cost them money and the site owners no matter how big they are, have no sense of humor when it comes to losing money.

And if that isn’t enough to keep you from this practice think about your own image. Your potential customer comes to your YouTube channel and sees you have 150 vids. Wow! This guy must be pretty good to have so many info packed videos posted! Then they start watching and discover, “hey I just SAW this one, what gives?” They move to the next – same video, different title. How do you think they feel about you now? Does “ripped off” and “not trusted” run through their mind? For your own sake – just say no to video posting spam. But DO post your video (one time) to every place you can find.

That wraps up our video series. I hope you were able to take away some useful information and most of all I hope you will now stop procrastinating and jump right into the video marketing waters. It’s a truly great place to be.

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Video Software

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

The next step in your video marketing efforts is editing and producing your video. The number and variety of software for video post production can be incredibly confusing and runs the gamut from free to thousands of dollars.  Let’s cut through some of the confusion.

If you’re doing live action video, there are only four pieces of software that you need and you probably already have all of those pieces.

  1. software to export the raw footage from your camera to your computer
  2. software to edit that raw footage and cut out the bad parts
  3. software to edit and enhance your audio track
  4. software to produce your finished video into a format easily viewed on the net or a cell phone

Your camera probably came with a program that will take the raw footage from your camera and

Essential video production software

put it on your desktop. If not, there are many programs, often free, that can be found online merely by searching for your camera model and adding the word software to the search. You’ll also need a firewire or USB cable that runs from your camera to your computer.

Now that you have your raw footage on your desktop, you’ll need to edit it. Your computer very probably came with the software to do that. iMovie for the Mac imports, edits film and audio, adds special effects and text titles and produces the finished video in H:264 .mov format, one of the best if not the best formats there is for online viewing.

Movie Maker for the PC performs the same functions, although not quite as efficiently or elegantly as iMovie. It produces movies in the MP4 format – the second best format for net viewing.

Both are easy to use and both will yield decent results. If you want something a little more robust, check out Final Cut for the Mac, Camtasia for both Mac and PC or Pinnacle Studio for the Mac and PC. All of these programs add additional functionality to your editing and some pretty slick special effects. They also have decent audio editing, or you can go with Audacity – a great, free, open source audio editor.

If you’re producing one of the other types of videos we discussed earlier in this video marketing series, you’ll need screen capture software to allow you to capture the on-screen action. Camtasia is probably the best choice for screen capture.  Easy to use, great results, and this powerful editing package has all the tools you need to edit and produce any type of video you’re likely to want. It also allows you to automatically upload your finished vid to YouTube or store it for private or public viewing on the Screencast platform.

These are all the software pieces you need to produce and edit your videos from start to finish. Video making is not really that difficult. Shoot it or capture it, edit out the bad bits, clean up the sound, produce it in a web friendly format and you’re done. This process will produce some decent videos for an effective video or SEO/SEM campaign taht will help you rise in the rankings and drive more traffic and leads to your site.

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Live Video Essentials

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Yesterday we learned that a gorilla suit is not a required element of producing a live action video. However there are some other pieces of equipment that are essential. And the first piece of equipment is free.

Before you even start up the camera or turn on a light, you need to plan your video and make a checklist. You need to include the following items on this video production checklist:

  • Your script or at least the talking points
  • The location details
  • If you are changing locations at various parts of your script be sure to mark these changes on the script
  • Lights, extension cords, backdrops, or other elements for indoor shooting
  • Any props you may need
  • Any “extras” or other people who will have either in the video or behind the scenes
  • Your equipment – camera, tripod, microphone, etc.

There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the  location and finding you have left some vitalMake a list and check it twice for your live action video piece back home in your den.

The next most important piece of equipment is the microphone. Test your camera if it comes with a built in mic. Some are adequate, others are sound distortion generators that give tinny or garbled results. If your camera’s internal mic is inadequate but it has an external mic jack, test different microphones. Some electronics stores will allow you to bring your camera and do some test runs with various mic solutions.

If you will be filming outdoors, be aware that even a gentle breeze can produce some pretty bad  noise as it blows across the mic. Use a noise reduction cover for an external mic or be sure your built in microphone has noise reduction capabilities.

One other tip on background noise – record about 10 seconds of “dead air” at the beginning and end of your video. This allows a “noise sample” to be present. Audio editing software can “sample” the background noise in the dead space and then remove it from the entire video.

The camera itself is important of course. But you don’t need an expensive camera to shoot a good video. Video cameras have come a long way and even the Flip Cam can give pretty decent results. The one weak point with the Flip is the audio. The built in mic in some models is barely adequate and often gives poor results. The Kodak Zi8 is a good alternative. But odds are if you’ve purchased your video camera in the past two or three years it will do a fine job creating a live action video.

A tripod is a definite must for videos or parts of videos with little action. If you’re sitting at your desk, or standing in front of a backdrop, don’t try to balance your camera in a set of books. Use an adjustable tripod. They are inexpensive and invaluable when it comes to keeping you within the frame and eliminating any “wobble” that may arise from other solutions.

If you are moving about, be sure that whoever is holding the camera is not going crazy with the zoom and pan features. Transitions should be smooth and slow. You should always be well framed in the shot, showing all of your head, not cut off at the eyebrows or neck. The entire footage should flow naturally and smoothly and not be jerky or have abrupt changes.

The software that came with your camera will allow you to export it to your desktop. From there, a wide range of editing tools are available some of which you probably already have. iMovie for the Mac or MS Movie Maker for the PC are probably sitting on your hard drive right now.

There are other things you could add to this list, of course, but these are the essentials.

  1. Checklist
  2. Good microphone
  3. Camera
  4. Tripod
  5. Editing software

So grab your essentials and go make a video this weekend!

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Hiding in a Gorilla Suit Doesn’t Work

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

OK, we’ve established that video marketing works, and we’ve looked at WHY it works so well to attract attention and potential customers. We’ve gone into the different types of videos and established the easiest and quickest way to get started. Ah, but here’s the rub. While the company spokesperson standing in front of the camera discussing the products, services and the company itself is the easiest to do fromVideo marketing can't be done well in a gorilla suit an equipment and knowledge standpoint, it’s also the one type that stops business owners cold.

I’m here to tell you that pretty much everyone who has only spent time in front of the camera at family birthday parties believes two things to be true.

  1. Their voice sounds like frogs rehearsing for a new Bud commercial
  2. They look like Phyliss Diller on a really bad hair day in front of the camera

Neither of these two beliefs is probably true. Your voice never sounds the same way to you as it does to other people. The camera may capture images, but what it really captures is the inner you. Your body language and the hundreds of semi-hidden emotional cues are present on camera in ways that still images usually miss entirely. Even if you honestly believe that you have a face only a mother could love, it doesn’t matter. After about 30 seconds, viewers are no longer “seeing” your face, they’re actually reading your passion, your enthusiasm, all those hidden cues and your face no longer matters one whit.

Don’t believe me? Test it out. There are videos circulating the web on a woman who had a total face transplant. While it is a vast improvement over what she looked like prior to the surgery, she will never walk down the runway at a beauty pageant.

Watch one of the many interviews where she speaks for longer than 30 seconds on what this transplant means to her and her life. As she speaks, her face is no longer the focus of your attention. You’ve already gotten past that, your brain has processed it and moved on. Now you’re listening to her words and the emotions behind those words.

In short – her inner self has conquered her face.

You WILL be nervous your first time out. And maybe the second, fifth or even the tenth time in front of the camera. Don’t worry about it. Practice makes perfect and after a while you won’t even notice the camera IF you do two things.

One. Have a good friend or colleague standing off behind the camera and speak to them. Make the camera become a minor bit player – a mechanical thing that is merely recording the much more important conversation you’re having with your friend about your business. This will almost force you to become more natural, less “stiff” and may even do away with the need for any type of cue cards.

It’s really tough to get used to speaking to “thin air”, but when you’re talking to a real live human being, it becomes much easier and the results are infinitely better.

Two. Forget about mistakes. I mean totally forget about making mistakes. With the editing software that’s available today, it’s pretty easy to remove the “bad bits” in post production. Starting all over from the beginning breaks your rhythm and often makes you sound and look preoccupied as you come up to the place you’ve fluffed your lines or made a silly face by accident.

If you “goof” do this instead of starting over. Stop. Let the camera keep rolling. take a deep breath, or chuckle, or whatever and pick up again from the point before the mistake.

Instead of wearing a gorilla suit so no one will ever know your face, follow these two simple guidelines, and you will be surprised how quickly you become comfortable with that camera that’s following you around.

Tomorrow we’ll hit some of the equipment and planning issues that help make a good live action video.

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The 3 Types of Videos for Video Marketing

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Yesterday we touched on why videos work. The emotional pull they exert on the viewer that is hard to reach with any other medium. Today we’ll explore the three different types of videos and best use of each.

First up is the Live Action Narration – affectionately known as the “Talking Head” video. The biggest advantages for this type of video are:

  • Quick and easy to make
  • Requires no equipment other than a video camera and tripod
  • Can cover any subject
  • Can generate trust as the subject is “introduced” to the audience and speaks with them

The disadvantages to this sort of video production can generally be summed up in one word. TheyMarketing videos fall into three broad categories are often boring. With nothing going on other than someone sitting or standing and talking, viewers tend to drift off rather quickly. Probably with visions of classrooms and math teachers filling their head rather than the video message.

To make this type of video effective, intersperse other footage or even still images to keep the viewer’s attention focused on your message. Use different backgrounds for different parts of your video – opening behind a desk perhaps and then 30 seconds to a minute later shooting outside or in a different location. Time these location changes with your script so each one occurs at a subject shift or use them to subtly reinforce an important point in your presentation.

You don’t have to do a Cecil B. Demille production number, but neither should you just sit in front of the camera and talk for 5 minutes. Viewer attention span is short. You need to keep that attention riveted on you and your message no matter what type of video style you are using.

The second type of video is the “demo” or walkthrough production. You’ll need screen capture software to handle this type and we’ll go into software and video equipment later in this series. This type of video is useful to show a viewer how to use a program or product, or how to “do” some task.

Done well, they are a wonderful way to introduce an audience to your product. Done poorly, they are a wonderful way to convince your audience NOT to buy your product.

Big hint here – never, ever let a software designer or programmer do one of these. I love my designers and programmers. They are wonderful people, but they end up knowing the program or product in ways an average user does not. They have an “assume gene” buried in their brain that prevents them from doing a presentation that shows a total neophyte what they need to know to purchase that product. They tend to assume that anyone watching the presentation knows the product as intimately as they themselves do.

The other pitfall is in the actual screen capture itself.  If zoom and pan is not used well, the end result will be illegible. There will be a halo around the letters and the action on the screen may be almost illegible due to the small size.

However, a walkthrough video can be very effective and tends to convert sales very nicely especially for a product that may be a bit complex. The old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words can be rewritten for this type of video to say “a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is priceless”.

Last, but not least is the slideshow video. The advantages to this type are:

  • extremely versatile
  • no human needs to appear in the footage (although they can)
  • very effective for almost any situation
  • easy to add the “wow” factor special effects
  • can be very cost effective

Most of you are probably familiar with PowerPoint presentations. A slide show video is similar to a PPT in that it takes video footage, images, sound effects and text elements and allows them to be organized on individual slides. You can apply effects to each of these elements, snazzy transitions between slides, and add voice over narration and sound tracks. The end result can be an eye-catching, professional looking video that really grabs the viewer.

Online services such as FlixTime and Animoto have sprung up to aid fledgling (and professional) videographers in making this type of video. There are software programs such as Keynote for the Mac and Camtasia for the PC and of course PowerPoint itself for both that can also be used to produce this type of video.

They are more time consuming to make than the others, and you should be prepared to  spend at least 3-5 days writing your script, gathering your elements and planning each slide. And a word of warning – it’s easy to have inferior results or become frustrated with the online services and their limitations.

No matter what type of video style you choose, patience and perseverance are essential to coming up with a decent video that captures the hearts and minds of your viewing public.

Tomorrow we’ll delve into how to overcome the fear of being in front of the camera and successfully creating an on-camera presence that sells.

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Internet Marketing with Video

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Today marks the start of a series on marketing with video. Video is one of my passions, and has been since Camtasia was in version .079 – a long way from the current version 7. I want you to do two things before we get cracking on how to market with video. I want you to stop saying to yourself “I can’t do that!” and I want you to stop saying “video won’t work for my business”.Video Marketing is an essential part of the marketing toolbox

There’s a lot of hype about video marketing, as there is with pretty much any online marketing strategy. But here are the top five facts about video marketing:

  1. Video is the quickest way to the first page of Google with rankings that stick that exists today.
  2. Any business can benefit from doing video marketing.
  3. Video marketing is NOT limited to YouTube
  4. Video marketing WORKS. (and works very well I might add!) to attract new customers and more sales.
  5. 90% of all people walking this planet can make a decent video – if they know a few simple techniques.

Here is WHY video works. Everyone has the left brain/right brain thing going on. And to be honest I always forget which side is the emotional, creative side and which side is the analytical, fact gathering side. So to avoid embarrassing myself I’ll just use “emotions” and “facts”.

When we are processing something, the fact side of our brain is weighing and evaluating the offer. “What’s in it for me?”, “Can I really trust this guy?”, “Is this within my budget?”. This is the internal conversation our logical side is having with ourselves.

The emotional side often has nothing to chew on but some pictures or colors or fonts to digest. This side is basically asleep and offers no rebuttal for the factual side’s objections. Video acts like a high octane coffee pot on the emotional side of the brain, waking it up and giving it the ammunition to counter those factual objections.

Video appeals to the emotions. On many levels. The audio with a snazzy soundtrack or a clear voiceover narration hits one emotional level. The screen actions or animations hit the visual level. In short, our brain is processing a video marketing message on ALL levels.

Left to it’s own devices the fact side will probably say “NO” coming up with justifications that prevent the sale. But bring the emotions into play and you have a whole new ballgame. Think about the wildly popular Old Spice commercial making the rounds today. Would that work in just print? Would the story even be able to be told without the sound of that deep masculine voice and those gorgeous background shots?

You’re passionate about your business. But does that passion come through in just the written word? Can people really get to know you from your About Me text or your LinkedIn profile? Can they FEEL your integrity, your drive to create a good product, your dedication to customer service?

Video is all about feeling emotions. When you present facts and benefits that hit the logical side of the brain and visuals with sound that hit the emotional side of the brain you have fully engaged the viewer in a way no other medium can do.

Even if you dressed up in a gorilla suit and did the happy dance while holding up cue cards, you will STILL hit the viewer on both sides of their brain. And that is why video marketing works.

Tomorrow I’ll start hitting your factual brain by explaining the different types of videos you can produce and the best use for each type.

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Hello Internet Marketing world!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Hello to the internet marketing worldAhh don’t cha just love the smell of a fresh new blog? All that beautiful pristine white space just waiting to be filled with thoughts and ideas. The first post on a new blog is usually a welcome to you – our unseen readers who inhabit this incredible space we call the web. And like this first post it’s often written by that elusive workaholic – Admin.

So, let me officially welcome you to our blog space and tell you a little bit about who we are and what we’ll be sharing with you here.

We’re Marketing experts, with decades of experience both on and offline. In our time online we have identified the many puzzle pieces that need to come together to form a successful online business. Then we went one step further and not only put those puzzle pieces together, but automated all the hundreds of tasks that must be combined to achieve the goal of making money online.

The world of Internet Marketing has grown to include so many puzzle pieces that it’s almost impossible to put them all together to form the winning picture. On page SEO, organic SEO, rankings, video marketing, YouTube channels, MySpace, Twitter, Google Places, Blog Rolls, RSS Feeds …. the list goes on and on. And the rules and major players change every day.

For example, did you know that Google makes 550 changes, on average, every year that affect how people find you through search? And what’s with that little blue bird and the Fail Whale? How do you present your business on Facebook? In short – how do you market your company, your products, your services on the internet?

Then just when you think you have it nailed, it changes!

I love this fast moving world of the net. I love it because I KNOW there are millions of people out there looking for answers and products and services. I can sit here pecking away at my keyboard and almost hear the babble of voices as they hunt through the billions of pages of information that form the interweb. When I get a website to the first page of Google, when I see visitor traffic on an uphill track, when I see sales start to rise it’s a real rush. I know I’ve managed to reach into my arsenal of internet marketing weapons and  score a bullseye on the constantly moving target that is the world wide web.

As the days go by, we’ll be filling these pristine pages with advice and tips and discussions on the many facets of internet marketing. We’ll cover social media, search engine myths, good email practices, video marketing and production and much, much more. We’ll make it simple. We’ll make it fun. We’ll bring our expertise and our passion for the web to these pages. Won’t you come join us?

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