It’s important to recognize that the Internet and television deliver two completely different video experiences. Television is “lean back” where people engage with the content in front of them when they want to. The Internet is “lean forward,” where people are actively controlling their experience. With users in control businesses must deliver information in a way that engages them when they finally say “OK, talk to me.” Here are six steps to creating online video that works:
1) Make it Authentic
Customers are jaded by typical sales-pitches. When everything is available at the click of a mouse, having a good product is no longer enough.
Creating authentic video that captures the human element allows customers to connect on a personal level. This connection builds trust and drives action.
2) Make it Relevant
With customers in control, irrelevant video is at best ignored and at worst creates a negative impression when viewers feel their time is wasted. Video that works shares compelling stories that resonate with the audience. No gimmicks, no ploys. Respect viewers’ time and provide them with actionable content.
3) Make it Engaging
Good information is no longer enough. With thousands of sites providing similar services, your online video has to stand out from the competition. Entertainment goes hand-in-hand with engagement. Video must deliver content in a format that interests and excites users.
4) Make it Google-Friendly
The advent of Universal Search has changed the search game. Engines now return more and more videos, blogs, news articles, books and more in their results. The new algorithms weigh video heavily, increasing your relevance in search results. Good meta-data, file naming, architecture, and distribution on sites like YouTube all help.
5) Make an Action Path
Research has shown that adding video to a site can drive 36% more clicks, 20% more inbound calls, and more than double time on site. A recent Kelsey Group study found 55% of people who view a video visit the company’s Web site; 30% visit a physical store; and 24% make a purchase as a result of watching.
Viewers only do this if there’s a reason to do so. Provide a call to action, a trackable URL to visit, a coupon, discount code, or unique phone number to call. This way your video can be evaluated against other marketing efforts.
6) Make it Shareable
YouTube taught everyone that video is portable and starts conversations between friends. Videos that don’t meet this new expectation limit their own effectiveness. Sharing is an easy action that viewers can take to promote your business. By enabling conversations to spread you’re giving yourself an easy opportunity to gain viewership.
To promote sharing make sure your video can be embedded, emailed and posted to the different social media sites. (Most video players, like YouTube, Viddler and Blip.tv automatically include those options – so take advantage of them!)
All in All: Make it Happen
Making online video that drives action requires us to understand how the Web makes the video viewing experience different from TV. It’s an environment with infinite choice and limited attention spans with all of the control in the hands of the user. Once this lean forward dynamic is understood and accounted for, making actionable video becomes much easier. It’s the falling back on our collective TV-watching experience as the model for Internet video that stymies action and hurts the success of the video.
All businesses, from a small pizza parlor in New York, to a top retail chain, can leverage this new video consumption to grow their revenue. By focusing on authenticity, and providing a clear, measurable action path, video can become a valuable component of any online marketing effort.
Zachary T. Brown