“We need some flash stuff on our website!”
Ten years ago web-based flash garnered a lot of attention. Today video is the ‘media de jour’ for many companies – for lots of good reasons. But like any marketing tool or intiative (blogging, brochures, advertsing, events, etc.) you should have a plan in place and some measurable outcomes in mind before you start a video marketing project.
Last week, all on the same day, I had these conversations about using video as a marketing tool:
At a local ski resort. ‘Oh yes, we’re already doing video – check it out on our site!” Having done my homework before chatting with this company I had skimmed through the site and hadn’t noticed any video. I mentioned that to them and they told me where to find it. Point # 1. If you are going to go to the effort of making video feature it prominently (unless it’s really bad – then don’t use it ). Video gets the largest response of any media, keeps people on your site and is a great way to encourage a call-to-action, whatever that may be. The ski resort’s hidden video was less than impressive. It featured a young employee talking quickly about the local ski conditions that day. The video quality was poor and they didn’t show off any of the ski area. Point # 2. Video is a visual media – use it as such. Bad quality video has the same affect as bad writing, only its sticks with you longer. Say something interesting, show people the benefits of your product or services when you use video and try to achieve a level of professionalism that matches the intended professionalism of your establishment. Bad video doesn’t get a free pass because it is a new media.
At a local educational institution. ‘Oh we’ve tried video but we haven’t been happy with the results.” Not having done my homework on this one (shame on me) I had to defer to that comment and simply asked – “do you feature students in your videos?” The response, after a short pause – ‘oh yes’. The reality after checking the site – ‘not much’. Point # 3. Consider your audience. The site did have a number of videos on it – some institutional corporate videos, a number of the school’s faculty talking about courses and programs and a few students talking briefly about the institution. What was missing were students talking about and SHOWING other students in their voice, how cool and interesting life and learning were at the school. Video targeted at students should consider this critical question – Will students want to share this video? The answer to this question for this instituion was an emphatic ‘no’.
At a local tourist destination. “Yes we’ve been using video for a while now – we have video playing in our lobby”. My first thought was – ‘isn’t that a bit late in the purchasing cycle to be hitting customers with video – they’ve driven up to your destination, you’ve probably already sold them.” Point #4. The context and use of video is critical to the success of your intiative. Of course there are many great uses for in-store/location video such as cross-selling and up-selling and perhpas this was exactly how they were using the lobby video that they had created. Tourist destinations are a prime candidate for web-based video marketing – Why? Because if you create compelling video that highlight the features of your destination – that include testimonials. you might just get your customers to help you sell your services for you. This is the great potential of social marketing and social networks.
Video is great for website-based marketing and in-premises marketing but you should also create the tools that allow your customers and prospects to share your story.