Why Should Your Site’s Visitors Trust Your Virtual Spokesperson?

Deciding to add a virtual spokesperson to your website is exciting. Not only will you soon have an attractive video spokesmodel welcoming visitors to your site and adding a personal touch, you’re expecting to see increased sales conversions as a result. But wait? What’s that nagging feeling in the back of your mind? Could it be trust issues? Are you wondering why your site’s visitors should trust your virtual spokesperson?

The Importance of a Credible Virtual Spokesperson
Whether you’re wondering about this or not, it is vital that your virtual spokesperson builds trust with your site’s visitors. If the spokesperson fails to build trust, you might not see the sales increases that you’re hoping to see. Worse, if you select a virtual spokesperson that is unprofessional or a bad fit for your site, you could lose credibility with your audience all together.

Because building trust can drive sales and losing trust could drive visitors away, it’s important that you choose a professional virtual spokesperson. Professional spokespeople are trained in the fine art of appearing on camera.

Professional virtual spokespeople are actors who can:

  • Quickly memorize scripts
  • Work off of teleprompters
  • Play multiple roles
  • Change their looks to match different roles and moods
  • Appear at ease on camera
  • Relate to audiences
  • Maintain eye contact with the camera
  • Select clothes, makeup, jewelry, hairstyles, and props that look good on camera and enhance the role being played without distracting
  • Add personality

How a Virtual Spokesperson Can Build Trust 
A virtual spokesperson can build trust in several ways including:

  • Having the right look for the website. For example, if your website caters to hip-hop music fans, an urban young adult playing the part of a record producer or D.J. would be more likely to build trust with site visitors than a senior citizen or a traditional businessman. The opposite is true if the site caters to senior citizens or banking customers.
  • Having a natural, accessible appearance and attitude. The more your audience feels connected to the virtual spokesperson, the better. Does the spokesmodel seem like someone your audience members might enjoy being with? Does the spokesperson seem approachable and friendly?
  • Saying the right words, in a natural way. Virtual spokesmodels don’t generally get to say whatever they want to say; their words are carefully scripted in advance. A talented actor delivers these words in a natural way. With a well thought out script and a natural talent delivering the message, you can build trust with your audience.
  • Appearing on screen without causing technical glitches. Web users don’t like websites that cause their browsers to crash, and they’re technologically critical. Strong production values and overlay technologies that do not cause conflicts are a must.

What does all of this mean to you? It means that professional talent, the right appearance, a strong script, and high production values build trust. Invest in these areas and your virtual spokesperson will be a successful addition to your website.

Online Video Types – Know Your Purpose

When it comes to online videos, all videos are not made the same. Nor should they be. In fact, each video that you produce should have a clear purpose. Do you know what you expect out of each online business video? By knowing the video’s purpose, you’ll be able to produce a video that fulfills it as well as be able to measure the video’s success once posted online.

Three Types of Online Videos
Most online videos fall into three categories: informative/educational, conversion, and viral videos. Each of these categories has its own purpose. For example, an informative video endeavors to educate viewers about a product, service, industry, or issue while a conversion video strives to convince viewers to perform a specific action such as subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product. Viral videos are often used to build brand awareness or drive traffic to a Web site.

Informative Videos
Informative videos are educational videos. Creating a informative video allows you to provide value to your site’s visitors while also distinguishing your company from your competitors. After all, buy sharing your expertise, you are demonstrating it and building trust. If your competitors are not doing the same, who do you think will look more credible from your customers’ perspectives?

Understand that an informative video isn’t necessarily going to translate into immediate sales. While you may see some immediate and future sales as a result, sales are not the primary purpose of informative business videos. Depending on how you optimize an educational video and where you post it, you may see: increased traffic to your Web site, incoming links from other Web sites (which can both drive traffic as well as provide additional PageRank from Google), return traffic, higher listings in Google search results, more trust with customers (and future sales). In addition, if your product videos show users how to use the product or troubleshoot common problems, you may experience fewer calls from customers seeking help.

Conversion Videos
Conversion videos have a single purpose: to convert prospective customers into actual customers. This purpose may be a multistep process with a conversion video first prompting your site’s visitors to subscribe to a newsletter, download a white paper, or download a trial version of software or it could be an immediate prompt enticing the prospect to buy now.

When producing a conversion video, it’s important to understand what you want your customer to do as a result of watching the video online. Do you want the user to download a white paper? Then make sure you prompt the user to so and provide links on the page where the video is hosted. Make it as easy as you can for the user to do what you’re asking him to do.

Viral Videos
Viral videos are online videos that viewers find interesting enough to share with others. Most often, this happens organically though many companies attempt to create videos specifically with hopes that the videos will “go viral.” This type of video is most often found on video-sharing sites such as YouTube rather than on corporate Web sites. If you’re hoping for a viral video sensation, you’ll want to create a video that’s funny and unexpected. In addition, you’ll need to post it on the popular video-sharing sites so that it is more easily discovered and shared.

Understanding what you want to accomplish with your online videos before you begin shooting is an important part of the video production process. Once you understand what you want to accomplish, you can then create a workable plan and shoot your video with confidence.

Testimonial Video: Tips for Putting Your Customers at Ease

Testimonial videos are terrific tools both online and off. After all, having real customers praising your work adds credibility and helps convince other customers that your product and service are great. Many companies post testimonial videos on company websites and video sharing sites like YouTube while others use them on promotional DVDs or play them during trade shows and other events. Regardless of how you use the video testimonials, you’ll need to first produce them. This involves asking a past customer to appear on camera and then planning, shooting, and editing the video.

Because you are using actual people and not hired actors, expect some resistance on the part of your customers. Some will be happy to provide you with a written testimonial but not necessarily comfortable in front of the camera. Others will be fine with appearing in person but a little hesitant about the process. Your job is to find satisfied customers who want to appear in the testimonial video and then put them at ease about the process.

In addition to being nervous about appearing on camera, customers are often nervous about what they’re going to say. In fact, you can put your customer at ease right away by letting her know that you’ll employ a professional script writer who will meet with her ahead of time. The writer will find out about the customer’s experience with your service and then write a brief video testimonial script using the customer’s lingo.

By collaborating with the customer, a script writer is able to create an authentic sound bite that fits into your allotted time slot. Audiences, especially online audiences, have short attention spans. This makes timing crucial. Each testimonial video or topic should be no longer than 30 seconds. Since you know ahead of time that the video will only be 30 seconds long, let your customer know that you’re not expecting a full blown documentary but rather a short clip about the length of a television commercial. This coupled with the fact that a script writer will be involved can work wonders at convincing your customer to speak out on your behalf.

Depending on the product or service, you may want to shoot the testimonial video in a studio or at the customer’s location. For example, if you installed a custom pool, shooting on location makes sense. On the other hand, if the customer has purchased a line of hair care products from you, shooting in a studio may be the smarter choice. Let your customer know where you intend on shooting the video testimonial and play up the benefits of whichever location that may be. For instance, shooting at home by the pool means that your customer doesn’t need to travel while a studio shoot means that the customer doesn’t need to worry about the background, lighting, or sound.

Regardless of location, having teleprompters on the set is well worth the investment as doing so ensures that the key talking points are not overlooked. Not only do teleprompters ensure that the script is delivered as it was designed, they can also put the customer at ease. With teleprompters, fears of forgetting the script or having to memorize lines quickly go away. Let your customer know that teleprompters will be available and how easy they are to use.

When it’s time to shoot the testimonial video, put your customer at ease by letting her know that you can shoot the scene as many times as it takes and that you can also edit out any flubs. Have a glass of water handy and treat her like a star. Make it fun and maintain a relaxed attitude. Finally, let your customer know how much you appreciate the video testimonial.

Business Video: Create a Virtual Company Tour

What if you could create a business video that showcases your company, its employees, and its facilities to prospective customers and future employees? You can! By creating a virtual company tour, your customers can see you in action while also learning more about your philosophy, products, and processes.

Why produce a corporate video tour? A professionally produced business video showcasing your organization can personalize your company, satisfy your customer’s curiosity, pre-sell your products, and set you apart from the competition. Consumers are naturally curious about how things are made. A number of television programs such as How it’s Made and Build it Bigger satisfy this curiosity and have proven to be popular with viewers. The How Stuff Works website is also a popular destination. People want to know so why not open the doors to your office and give your customers a peek?

Whether you run a bank, a catering company, a manufacturing facility, or an auto repair shop, creating an online video that takes consumers behind the scenes could be an effective marketing tool. Posting the video online allows customers who are researching similar companies and services to get to know you better. Being able to see your building, your friendly staff, and employees hard at work builds confidence and shows that you’re not a fly-by-night operation with a fancy website.

You can also use the business video tour in your company’s lobby. For example, if your business performs a service behind closed doors, your customers may wonder what goes on back there. You may not be able to take customers out on the shop or manufacturing floor due to safety concerns, but you could take them on a virtual tour.

If your company uses a sales team that asks other professionals for business referrals, having a business video showcasing your company’s location could help build relationships and confidence. These professionals will likely be more comfortable recommending a company that they have seen in action rather than one they’ve simply heard about from a salesperson. A business video can help them to “see” your company. For example, if you run an upscale auto repair shop and your sales team asks local insurance agents to recommend your services to their clients, the agents can personally vouch that your shop has a “clean, comfortable lobby with leather couches and an espresso machine” because they watched your video and saw the lobby.

Other potential audiences for your virtual company tour include attendees at trade shows and job fairs. Use the video tour at a trade show as part of your display, again building confidence and satisfying the natural curiosity people have about how things are made. At a job fair, you can use your business video to show job candidates your facility and how you work.

How long should your business video tour be? Avoid the temptation of creating a documentary about your company because few people are that interested. Instead, keep the video short and professional. If you’ll use the video online, consider breaking it down into individual videos covering different departments or areas such as: reception, call center, accounting, warehouse, and so on. Doing so allows viewers to pick the areas of interest to them. You can also design your DVD with menus for each department, again giving viewers a measure of control over which segments to watch.

Creating a business video that takes customers on a virtual tour of your company serves many purposes including building confidence and distinguishing your company from the competition.

Who Should Star in Your Corporate Video Production?

You’ve decided to shoot a corporate video production and soon thereafter, the panic sets in. What am I thinking! I’m terrible in front of a camera! This is a natural reaction, especially if you’re one of the company’s principals who is expected to lead and therefore expected to be the star of your corporate video. But does this mean that you’re the best person for the job?

When it comes to corporate video productions, the business owner or CEO may seem like a natural choice. For example, if you’re shooting an employee orientation video, your audience will want to get to know about you, your philosophy, and your company and who better to discuss yourself and your vision than you? The same is true of corporate video productions designed to attract investors. However, if you’re extremely uncomfortable on camera, appearing in a starring role could be counterproductive. Instead of inspiring confidence, a poor portrayal onscreen could cause doubt. Because of this, you should assess whether or not you’re the best person to lead the video. And if you’re not the best person, who is?

Define the Corporate Video Production’s Purpose
Corporate videos are made for many reasons ranging from employee orientations, investor relations, and sales videos to company tours and “how to” videos. Ask yourself what purpose the video is intended to serve and who the intended audience is. Now ask yourself how you’re going to use video to get your message across.

For example, if your video is intended to put your investors’ minds at ease and inspire confidence that your company continues to innovate, then your video needs to convey energy, commitment, and strength. While a talking head with loads of bar charts could convince investors that your company is on track, a corporate video production showing your team hard at work may be more effective. Should you stand in front of the camera talking about your latest initiatives or would one of your more energetic employees take the lead? A series of employee testimonials could be far more convincing than a discussion of bank balances in this case.

Similarly, customer testimonials are powerful tools. After all, who better to talk about the wonders of your products and services than the customers who have benefited from them?

Assess On Camera Skills
Whether you’re considering yourself or someone else for the starring role, it’s important that whoever leads the corporate video production is comfortable on camera. Formal acting training isn’t necessary to adequately represent your company in a business video, but whoever leads the video should be comfortable with role playing and speaking on camera.

Consider holding a casting call for the video. For example, if your video will feature an employee giving new hires a sneak peek at what it’s really like working for your company, you could hire an actor to play the part but having a real employee do it will be more effective. Let your employees know about the opportunity and have them submit video auditions or try out in front of a video camera set up in your conference room. Not only might you be surprised at the talent your staff has, your employees could enjoy being involved in your corporate video production.

Consult with Your Corporate Video Production Team
Your video production team knows what it’s doing, so make sure to partner with your producer. If it’s essential that you star in the video, your producer can put you at ease and help you look good on camera. You may be able to appear on camera for a short time, filling in the rest of the video with voiceovers, graphics, photos, images of your company, and testimonials. Your production company may recommend a spokesperson or even a character, depending on the video’s purpose and audience.

Deciding who should star in your corporate video production comes down to who is best equipped to deliver the intended message to the intended audience. It may be you, it may be an employee, it may be an actor, or it may be your customers!

Attract Traffic and Boost Sales with Short Web Videos

The latest research from PewInternet.org shows what many marketers already know: More Americans are watching and sharing online videos – dramatically so. According to Pew’s State of Online Video 2010, 69 percent of adult Internet users have used the Internet to watch or download video. These numbers are but part of the story. While Web videos are popular with users, they can also drive traffic to business websites and boost sales conversions.

Typical business websites act as online brochures, showing customers and prospects what the business has to offer. Early designs were relatively static with brochure-like text and contact information. Today, most business websites provide far more than a sales pitch and contact information. Now, informative articles, blogs, and interactive content are website standbys. With more Internet users willing to watch videos online, adding 60 to 90 minute Web videos makes sense. After all, video is an effective medium to convey messages.

In addition to being a terrific way to communicate, Web videos can actually drive traffic to your website, build trust and credibility, and boost sales conversion. First, all of the major search engines include video results in their search results pages. Not only do video results now appear in general search results, separate video categories exist where users can specifically search for sites with videos.

For example, if you have a well optimized Web page discussing “how to attract butterflies to your garden,” your page could conceivably appear on the first page of Google’s search results. If that same site had a video discussing the topic, not only might your page be listed in general, the video would appear as a separate search result. That’s two links attracting traffic. Now, what if the user was specifically looking for videos about attracting butterflies? If you don’t have a Web video on your site, your site won’t appear in the search results no matter how well you optimized the text. By including Web videos on your pages, your site should get more exposure than without.

Attracting more visitors can lead to increased conversions based on numbers alone. However, adding Web video is more than a simple numbers game. By producing informative 60 to 90 minute videos, you are adding value to your site and building trust with your site’s visitors. No matter how a visitor arrives to your site, a sale won’t take place unless the visitor sees value and trusts you to deliver.

Because value and trust are crucial to winning sales, it’s vital that these short Web videos project these characteristics. Consider a business website, one with a professionally produced Web video and one with an amateur Web video. Which one would you be more likely to buy from? Which one is more likely to be around several years from now to honor any warranties? Web visitors make subconscious judgments like these based on what they experience. Strong production values can sway these judgments in your favor.

There’s more to Web video than a pretty picture; your content needs to build trust as well. Is the video informative? Does it add value? Does it give site visitors are reason to select your company over others? If your Web video promises to show how to attract butterflies but is merely a picture of butterflies flitting around, it has failed no matter how beautiful it may be. On the other hand, if it presents a useful technique or product, then it has lived up to its promise and added value.

A solid Web video strategy can drive traffic and boost sales. As you begin forming your online video strategy, keep value and trust in mind and you’re sure to start seeing results!

Converting Site Visitors to Customers with Web Video

You’ve spent countless hours and large sums of money developing pay per click campaigns, press releases, and other strategies to attract visitors to your website. Now what? Shouldn’t the sales start rushing in? They should, but if your site lacks compelling content, calls to action, and a reason to buy, they won’t. Many strategies exist to convert prospects into customers. One such strategy involves using Web videos.

When a prospect visits your site, he may or may not intend to make a purchase. With a solid website strategy in place, you can gently guide the visitor through the decision making process. Web video can play an important role. Let’s take a look at the site visitor’s perspective before exploring how Web videos can enhance the process.

Most visitors arrive after entering a phrase into a search engine. For example, a visitor might enter the phrase “low cost widgets” and land on a page of your site that has been optimized for the same term. Alternately, your pay per click ad for low cost widgets may show up, prompting the user to visit your website. Does he find anything on that page that convinces him that your company is the best source of low cost widgets? What makes your widgets better than other widgets in the same price range? What makes your company the company of choice? Why should the visitor act now?

If the visitor’s attention is not captured quickly, if there’s nothing on your page that distinguishes your products from your competitors’ products, or if there’s no reason to act, the visitor will move on to the next site listed in the search engine results. Don’t let this happen. Instead, help your visitors by providing well written information and professionally produced Web videos.

First, consider where site visitors will land when your targeted keywords have found a prospect. This page is called a landing page. Because it is the first page that the visitor lands on, don’t assume that he has read your Home or About Us pages. This landing page is your first, and possibly only, chance to make a good impression. Since the landing page is related to a specific keyword phrase, in this case “low cost widgets,” the content needs to be relevant to that topic. In this example, you’ll be competing on price, but that doesn’t mean you need to focus only on that aspect. Yes, highlight that your widgets are affordable, but add value whenever possible. Think about what makes your widgets better than comparably priced widgets. The warranty? The quality? The free technical support and training? Make sure to discuss value in the text.

Now, let’s add Web video to the mix. A short video showing how easy your widgets are to assemble could be a terrific selling point. If your competitor’s widgets have complicated instructions and take three hours to assemble and yours snap together in three easy steps in under five minutes, use Web video to illustrate the difference. You could also use video tutorials, video testimonials, or even a video spokesperson.

In fact, video spokespeople are a terrific strategy. These video overlays can direct visitors to pages with additional information, provide details, demonstrate products, and put your visitors at ease. Suddenly, your website promoting low cost widgets isn’t one of many; it’s unique and professional.

The prospect is impressed. Will he click the “buy now” button or will he click the “back” button to continue his search? Don’t leave it to chance – include a call to action. Ask the customer to do something such as:

  • “Take advantage of our special discount and save $X by buying today”
  • “Add this product to your wish list”
  • “Sign up for our free newsletter”

Ideally, after reading your content and viewing your Web video, the prospect will be ready to buy. If not, adding the product to a wish list or signing up for a newsletter makes it more likely that you’ll get a second chance. Use Web video as a key component of your site’s conversion strategy.