Explosive growth in online video allows you to attract new business like never before

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Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 3:20PM

In addition to maintaining your own web site, being an active blogger, and running a consistent link building campaign, video is an increasingly important aspect of online marketing.   As a web developer, I am encouraging all my clients to start using video as a medium to connect with the millions of people searching for video every day.

Recent data concludes online video is growing fast as you can see in Comscore's recent press release: Americans Viewed 12 Billion Videos Online in May 2008. Page views to youtube.com alone have nearly doubled since last year.  74% of all Internet users are watching online video.  You probably didn't realize that both youtube.com and myspace.com have more page views than google.com.  In fact, youtube.com gets twice as much traffic as google.com now.  click here to view alexa page view comparisons

Video opens the gates to higher traffic and conversions

Video is a great way to tap into tremendous amount of traffic that already exists on numerous video web sites.  Video allows you to become more personal and conversational with potential clients/customers.  A large portion of visitors don't want to read your web site, they will quickly jump to the search form and totally miss the sales message that would have persuaded them to work with you.   Buyers & sellers need to be educated why you are the ideal person/team to work with.  Video is all about making the experience easy, fun and emotionally satisfying for the visitor.

Your current visitors simply scan the headlines and navigation, then move on to the information they are looking for.  When I have the option to watch a video on a web site, I usually take advantage of it because video communicates so much faster than reading about a product or service.  If you think about it, you'll also realize that the human element adds a level of emotional engagement that is often missing with a static text-based web site.  The tone of your voice, style of music and the motion graphics all set a mood that is impossible to express through a few words. 

In sales, a lot of the selling is what we see and hear in addition to the actual message.  Our instincts and learned behavior patterns do most of the work.   Your web site probably doesn't demonstrate why you are such a professional at your job.  You can't communicate the infinite details that make up your unique personality and approach with just a few words.   You need to be face to face with the visitor.  By using your already refined skills as a salesperson, you can convert your web site visitors much better through video.   

Since ranking well for video doesn't depend on Google rankings, video is a great way to get traffic for those who aren't ranking well on Google or already rank well and need additional traffic.

Increase length of visit and reduce bounce rates

People online today often click the back button within seconds if they aren't engaged.  Most web sites lose up to 50% of their visitors on the first page.  If you manage to keep them on your site a few minutes longer, google will notice and your page 1 rankings will become much more permanent.  This is because Google and other search engines actually keep track of how long the user stays on your site.  

It is extremely important to become an active part of the increasingly democratic nature of the Internet.  Make sure your web site does not only rank well, but communicates a message that will keep your visitors reading, clicking and interacting positively with your content.  Your content must be popular and it must hold their attention for several minutes.  

If you do this over and over, your content will be rated higher and your rankings will follow suit.  Popularity can replace thousands of dollars spent on "spammy SEO" link building campaigns.  So when you record that video, remember you could be working on something that saves you thousands of dollars and generates countless sales leads not just from Google, but all video web sites.

Choosing the subject of your video

In addition to distribution, it is also a great idea to feature self-promotional audio or video in a prominent location of your home page.  

You'll want to use video for many reasons including:

  • Self-promotion/Sales Presentations
  • Property Tours
  • Neighborhood and regional tours
  • Documenting events
  • Tour of your office / location
  • Major landmarks & things to do
  • Biographies of your staff & assistants
  • Teaching the visitor how to use your web site or software

Techniques for creating video

  • Record yourself clicking through a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and talking into a microphone.
  • Record virtual tours while describing the photos. See Example
  • Demonstrate your page 1 rankings on the search engines using screen capture and show why your web site is the perfect way to market a listing to buyers.  Also include images of the print advertising you do to market your listings.
  • Have a friend or co-worker interview you or pretend to be a buyer.  This will create a more natural setting that will allow you to produce endless material without the artificial & forced sound of scripting your performance.  Try to avoid looking like you're reading a cheat sheet! Being yourself is what people really want to see.
  • You may want to design a series of short videos like episodes.  This will give you the ability to build an audience who returns to view the next episode and will encourage people to go back and watch the previous videos in the series.  Remember, longer visits & more views equals better search engine rankings.  You want people to vote on your video as well.  Votes have a big impact on your ranking as well.

The video can even play instantly the second they reach your home page.

Filming on location can be a costly mistake

Don't think that you have to be there to make a good video. Taking a slideshow filmed by your assistant or photographer and talking over top of it can be just as good as filming on location.   If you walk around with a cheap camera in a house, the quality is going to be really bad.  The image will shake and the camera's exposure will constantly be adjusting to different lighting conditions creating a terrible presentation of that million dollar listing.  Make sure you use wide angle photography and capture only the best the home has to offer.  If you do take the camera on location, you should probably stop recording each time you move it and try to use a tripod and smooth slow motions to show the panoramic views or other objects of interest.  To keep it simple, stick with your traditional photography and convert it to video and audio using Camtasia or other software.

Keep in mind that most cheap cameras will have a terrible built-in microphone. Filming outside depends on the weather and wind conditions, it may be impossible or extremely unpleasant listening to you talk on location. Consider re-recording your vocals afterwards at home. This is actually very common in movie production and you don't want to lose a visitor due to poor production quality.

Dropping in some royalty free music that might cost $10 or less could be the perfect way to set the right mood and get your listener motivated to act. You do this a few times and you'll be producing video like a pro in no time at all.

Video production advice

We currently don't offer a service for producing/editing video.  However, due to the mainstream acceptance of video, the software has advanced to the point that I can safely say that most people can capture and edit amateur video themselves using the included software with the camera, operating system or affordable third party software such as Camtasia.  Camtasia allows you to record anything displayed on your computer screen including the mouse's movement (great for pointing and demonstration). 

If you do want to have a high-end video production, keep in mind that you could get filming done on a green/blue screen so that you could float on top of an interactive Flash presentation on your web site.  This could make your web site look way more high-tech and you'll be able to create a very unique interactive experience that impresses buyers and sellers.   This is something my company can help you produce.  Interactive and layered applications of video.

However, I would encourage you to begin shooting & editing video by yourself before deciding to hire an expert.   As an expert salesperson, you will want to refine your message several times and improve the message later as things change.   This will become cost prohibitive if you work with another person or company for all your editing.   You need to make sure your message is perfect as this is going to be one of the most important ways to sell your products & services. 

You need to approach video from many angles to learn what works best for you.   Each video should be 2 to 10 minutes in length.  Sites like youtube.com have a 10 minute length limit so split your video into a series if your message requires more time to be communicated effectively.  You should focus on having the shortest possible video that can communicate the message effectively.  Also, you don't want to make this a huge cost for yourself since it will reduce the amount of video you'll end up producing.  If you detach yourself from the filming & editing experience, it will also reduce the likelihood of success.  You need to be very involved with the editing process and continue to learn from other videos, your successes and your failures.

Optimization & Distribution

While anyone can submit video to the popular sites such as youtube.com.  You need to make sure your title is engaging, relevant and associated with the right categories and keywords.  This is where working with an SEO expert like us comes into play.  As our client, you will benefit from having us distribute your video and promote your brand in many places to generate the most traffic and video views possible.  We'll also provide you with fresh ideas and market research when you need it.  This will keep you moving in the right direction.  UPDATE: http://www.tubemogul.com/ can upload your video to multiple video web sites in one step.

Resources

30 day trial of Camtasia
http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp

Real Estate Video Production Company
http://www.realtyvideousa.com/  - See Example

Other Examples of Real Estate Videos
http://panamareals.com/ (videos down on right side)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=WXg5dhCehnI (combination of self promotion live action and computer screen capture)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=xITC-XRFaqg (marketing to sellers)

Examples of video in other industries
http://seduceinseconds.com/ - dating advice (plus great sales copy)
http://www.stompernet.com/ - SEO training (very impressive production quality)
http://www.internetmarketingninjas.com/more-info.php - SEO training (interviews & conference tapes)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=DPIhcaXwRyI&feature=related - Copywriting


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