YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and has more than one billion unique, worldwide viewers each month. Those watchers aren't just tuning in to watch the latest viral sensations. Millions of users tune into nonviral videos every day to make purchasing decisions and help solve problems. In fact, 73 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase after seeing an online video that explains a product or service. Integrating this rich video content into your website and other digital marketing channels can work wonders to boost your search engine rankings. While you may recognize the value of video, you may not realize that you and your team can absolutely execute a video strategy without it turning into a big-budget Hollywood production. There is not even a need to purchase a costly video camera. A smartphone and an inexpensive tripod, combined with some basic production knowledge, can certainly get your efforts underway.
Lighting—You could invest a mint in a professional lighting kit, but you don't have to. If your store has windows, take advantage of natural light. Simply shoot the video with the sun at your back facing your on-screen talent. No natural lighting options? Replicate that natural glow with a few floodlights set up behind the camera. Diffuse the light so it isn't direct, and avoid harsh overhead lighting or backlighting. Sound—The microphone should be as close to the speaker as possible, so utilizing the internal microphone on the phone from which you are shooting the video will not cut it. You could invest more than $500 in a professional quality microphone, or you can take advantage of a second smartphone closer to the speaker to capture the sound. When you're ready to start your take, tap record on both the video smartphone and the audio smartphone, and then just clap loudly before the action begins. This clap mimics a clapboard and will help you sync up the sound when you edit it all together. Editing—Whether you use a Mac or a PC, there are some excellent, easy-to-use editing tools that will add extra polish to your videos. You can edit sound, add titles, cut together various clips and even add background music. For Mac users, I recommend iMovie, and for PC users, I recommend Movie Maker. Need to get up to speed with these programs? Search YouTube for instructional videos, and you will be a pro in no time. When you edit your videos, keep them short and sweet—no more than just a few minutes long. If this sounds too technical, understand that these are just my recommendations for best results. If you can only handle a single source for both sound and video, that's fine for now—don't let technology barriers prevent you from moving forward with video. Your video doesn't have to look like it was produced by George Lucas, but it should be reflective of the quality of the products and services you provide.
Planning Your Content
How-to—This content is a great way to extend your reach beyond your regular customer base. To shape your list of topics, think about all of the things your customers need guidance on. Sit down and brainstorm with your team, and generate a list of your top 12 how-to topics. You want your on-camera personality to be able to speak just as naturally as if they were explaining the process to a customer in person. Each quarter, dedicate an afternoon to shooting three how-to videos. Products—While you won't necessarily have time to shoot a video explaining the features and benefits of every piece of equipment in your store, supplementing your top sellers and high-ticket items with video will not only help your customers make more informed buying decisions, but it also will help your products and services gain higher search engine rankings. Focus on answering some of the questions your sales team receives on a regular basis. Talk customers through the benefits of several products, or introduce a new product line. About us—A video tour of your location is a great way to show potential customers a little bit about your business—but don't stop there. Show your expertise and personality by shooting brief introductory videos for every member of your staff.
Post and Share
Each and every video you produce should first get shared via your company's YouTube channel. Spread out your posts so that you are regularly adding new content, and don't forget to share your videos on Facebook, Twitter and any other social networks included in your digital marketing strategy. Talk to your website provider about incorporating your video content into your site. From your home page to your product pages to your blog, your optimized video content will help your website perform better in search. Finally, make sure you are sharing your video content with your current customer list. Adding your video content to your email newsletter is a great way to make your emails more engaging. Most of the leading email marketing vendors offer newsletter templates that include slots for video content, making it simple for you to customize your messages. This article is the third of a 12-part series on digital sales and marketing. Each segment focuses on online solutions and provides the insight and resources necessary to be successful in this area of business. Read all the articles in this series at homecaremag.com/digital-sales-marketing-2015