The New York Times has an excellent article on why you should use video as part of your online strategy.
Online video is becoming a first stop for many customers. It is akin to what the Web page was a decade ago â€” something that can give early adopters an edge over competitors. It gives them a channel to talk directly to customers in ways previously accessible only to large companies that could afford TV advertisements.
This guide to using online video focuses on YouTube, which is by far the dominant player with two billion views per day â€” but many of the principles also apply to the other hosting services, including Vimeo, MetaCafe, Facebook, Viddler, Brightcove and Blip.tv.
A summary of their tips:
- Show your products
- Create a destination- a video channel.
- Use analytics and tools to analyze your video performance.
- Advertise with it- using preroll ads, banner ads etc. on video sites.
- How to or instructional video- we’ve always said utility is a leading reason to post online.
We’d also add that video reviews or comparisons of products are an excellent tool to gain customers. If you sell competing brands- do a product comparison that helps people make a choice.
Be personable- people still buy from people they know. It helps to put a face on your company- from the sales reps to the repair guys, these are the people your customers will be meeting or doing business with- showcase them.
To create video isn’t that difficult or expensive anymore. We’re big fans of the iMovie software that comes free with every Macintosh. For a camera- we really like the Kodak ZI-8 ($100 on Amazon) which has a mic input, removable SDHC memory card (which you’ll need to buy with the camera) and a replaceable battery. It’s High Def- and even has a direct to YouTube setting- although we always think a little editing helps.
We also suggest you always use a tripod- for the best quality compressed video, keep the backgrounds simple and non-moving, use lots of lighting if indoors, and at least superimpose your web address and phone number on the video.
There are no excuses to not use video anymore. Remember, after Google, Youtube is the second leading search engine.