How to Create a Video That Customers and Search Engines Love
You dont have to pay a professional thousands of dollars to create a video consumers will enjoy and remember. In fact, many consumers say that slick, overproduced videos are a turn off.
Content and authenticity are far more important [to consumers], said Bettina Hein, the founder and CEO of Pixability, a Cambridge-based startup whose mission is to make professional-quality video available and affordable to small business owners. Its about showing passion for your business. And passion, as well as a YouTube account, costs nothing (though a Flip video camera will set you back $150).
It usually requires only one or two takes, depending on whether the dogs see a cat out the window or something, he noted wryly. The whole process of shooting, uploading and editing the video, and then posting it on his e-commerce site and/or blog takes Miller about an hour. Though he admitted it took him a little while to get comfortable in front of the camera and to learn that its better to physically bring products closer to the camera for viewer inspection than to zoom in on them.
But its that authenticity and simplicity and, okay, his two dogs that keep customers coming back to the site and buying his products. Since adding video to the site, Miller said sales have increased 25 percent for those products with related videos.
For small business owners who have the passion but not necessarily the time or expertise to create a promotional video like Everyday Oasiss Canary there is Pixability. The video editing service charges $595 for a professionally edited video and gives you a camcorder and instructions for shooting your video. (To learn more about how Pixability works, visit its FAQ Page.)
After spending at least a month trying to put together a video for her home page on her own, Canary was on the verge of giving up when she came across Pixability. After looking at videos on the Pixability Web site and speaking with Pixability staff, Canary decided to give the service a try.
Pixability was extremely helpful, said Canary. They worked with me every step of the way, allowing me creative freedom yet giving me suggestions and tips so we could make the video the very best it could be.
Since featuring the video right on the home page, Canary said traffic has increased by at least 300 percent and sales have likewise increased, with the new site generating more sales in its first four months than it did the previous 12.
Another option for small business owners trying to keep costs as low as possible yet still produce a good video: find a colleague, a friend, a family member, or a film student (one who actually knows what he or she is doing), who will shoot and edit or help you with your video for free or for a reasonable price, or in exchange for merchandise. Thats what Karmaloops Greg Selkoe did.
We felt we could produce good video because we are creative and have access to a lot of cool, creative people, as well as celebrities and musicians who are fans of the site, said Selkoe. Using your fans and customers in your videos is a great way to build or reinforce customer loyalty. And the practice has definitely paid off for Karmaloop.
Six Tips for Creating Great DIY Videos
- Imagine you are the customer. That means think about what it is you would want to know or see about the business or product or service and plan your video accordingly. That will save you time in both the shooting and in the editing process.
- Let there be light. If you cant shoot outdoors/get a lot of natural light make sure to turn on all the lights in the area you are shooting even bring in extra lighting to show your product(s) off to its best advantage. Good lighting = good video.
- Hold still. Shaky camera work may build suspense in the movies but doesnt work so well when people are trying to evaluate a product, so consider using a tripod or make sure to hold the camera as steady as possible. Additionally, try to hold a shot for at least 10 seconds, so customers can get a good look.
- Zoom with your feet, not your camera. If you need to zoom in on a product, move closer, i.e., use your feet, instead of your cameras digital zoom feature.
- Can you hear me now? Always try to get as close as possible to the speaker when recording sound and have your subjects speak louder than normal (without screaming). For testimonials, make sure you have quiet room with little or no background noise.
- Have fun and tell a story. If your video isnt fun or informative, no one will watch it. I saw videos on the Pottery Barn Web site about how some products were made, and I was bored to death, said Miller. Thats why I use the dogs, to entertain people, so viewers stay tuned and remember you.
Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a regular contributor to SmallBusinessComputing.com and runs a blog for and about small businesses.
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