Using Your Video Spokesperson on Landing Pages

The decision to incorporate a video spokesperson on your website is a smart one. After all, a video spokesperson can greet your site’s visitors, take them on a tour of your site, connect with them on a personal level, provide additional information, and prompt visitors to take your desired action. To get the most out of your virtual spokesperson, you’ll want to carefully script the role. Not only will your spokesperson greet visitors on the home page, she’ll also greet them when they arrive on a landing page. Because visitors arriving via a landing page arrive through a back door so to speak, you’ll want to craft your script with care in order for it to be the most effective.

Your website can target any number of visitor segments ranging from students, young adults, professionals, and athletes to parents and senior citizens (and beyond). While your virtual spokes model on the home page can greet the community as a whole, when placed on landing pages, the spokesperson can greet individual segments of the audience.

This requires careful scripting and broad conceptualization. When hosted on common pages such as the Home page and About Us pages, the script should be inclusive so that all site visitors feel as if the video spokesperson is speaking directly to them. The landing pages can feature language specific to the targeted demographic. After all, those arriving from an advertisement on a fantasy football site are going to fit a different demographic than those arriving from a link in a genealogy forum. And, each visitor from these different demographics is unlikely to ever see any of the other landing pages. The visitors will have first seen an external call to action such as an advertisement that prompted them to click the link and go to your site.

When the visitor arrives at the landing page, he has already heard a message promising something for clicking the link. What was that message? Let’s say that your website sells housewares. Perhaps you’ve run an ad campaign targeting college freshmen and their parents offering advice and products designed for making the move into campus living as smooth as possible. Because these visitors have heard the message about easing into dorm life and how wonderful your products are, your video spokesperson needs to follow up on that! If she’s talking about products designed for senior citizens, she will be speaking to the wrong audience.

On the other hand, if the virtual spokesperson begins with something like, “Not sure how you’re going to store leftovers in your dorm room or worried about accidentally eating your roommate’s turkey sandwich. . .,” your ad campaign’s message will continue, your visitors will sense the continuity, and original call to action will be reinforced. These elements work together to put your visitors at ease and motivate them to follow through on the original call to action.

As your visitors move from the landing pages into the main pages of your site, they’ll encounter your virtual spokesperson who continues to be friendly, knowledgeable, and informative. When scripted properly, the transition will be seamless and all visitors will feel as if the virtual spokesperson is speaking directly to them.

Conducting a Video-to-Lead Funnel Audit

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the video-to-lead funnel and how you can use online videos to engage, convert, and nurture your site’s visitors. Your website may already have Web videos working diligently on these tasks. However, without first understanding how the video-to-lead funnel works, it’s possible that your current online video strategy doesn’t conform to the funnel’s structure. For example, your site may contain dozens of engaging videos but few designed to convert prospects into leads. Similarly, your site may have many nurturing videos, but few engaging ones. In either situation, gaps should be identified through a video-to-lead funnel audit.

Online Video Audit Step 1: Identify All Web Videos on Your Site

You’ll need a notebook and a block of uninterrupted time for this step. Go through your entire website and list each Web video featured. Watch all videos and identify which phase of the funnel (engage, convert, or nurture) the video falls under. Keep in mind that some videos may have elements from each phase. At this point, focus on the primary purpose of the video.

While you’re at it, write down where the video appears and how viewers get to it. For example, is the video on your home page? Is it on a landing page accessible from an advertisement? Is it on a page your email campaigns point to?

Online Video Audit Step 2: Identify Online Video Gaps

Now that you have a list of web videos and have identified each video’s purpose within the video-to-lead funnel, it’s time to see if any gaps exist. You should have a nice mix of engaging, conversion, and nurturing videos. If your site is filled with conversion and nurturing videos but lacks engaging videos, your online video strategy may not be effective because you haven’t earned the right to jump to those phases yet. Likewise, if your site lacks conversion videos and is heavy on those that engage, you could be missing an opportunity.

Online Video Audit Step 3: Analyze the Progression from One Online Video to the Next

Finally, consider how viewers interact with your online videos. Is there a natural progression leading from one phase of the funnel to the next? For example, after viewing an engaging video, is the user directed to additional options? Is there a call to action to view additional videos or sign up for a newsletter (where you can later send links to additional videos)? Are additional videos easy to locate and well organized?

The Web video audit should show you areas that could use improvement. Whether you need to produce additional Web videos or rearrange navigational elements so that users can easily move through the video-to-lead funnel, taking the time to audit your existing efforts can help you to optimize it for success.

Enhance Visitor Follow Through with Online Video

Creating landing and squeeze pages is a common Web strategy used to prompt site visitors to perform a specific action such as sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product. These pages don’t automatically lead to conversions though. The pages must first be discovered by the user, and the pages must be loaded with compelling text. Once the visitor lands on the page, the content must convince the visitor to act. While text can certainly do that, you have another tool available: online video.

You can use online video in several ways. For starters, use online video to help the visitor find the desired page. For example, if you want users to download a trial version of a new program you’ve developed, use online videos on-site as well as off to drive traffic to your free download page. Online video is a terrific medium for demonstrating the features of the program, showing the program in action, and showing how the program can make life easier for its users. Consider video testimonials, onscreen chats with the software developers, a virtual spokesmodel, or a polished production touting the features and benefits of the program.

These videos can be used on your site or off – or both – to drive traffic to your landing page. For example, you could use a virtual spokesperson to talk about the benefits of your new product and then point to the link that users need to click in order to learn more and download the free trial. You could also post videos on YouTube and other external sites.

Now that traffic is landing your landing page, you can put online video to work once again. After all, not all traffic will arrive based on those videos. As the old saying goes, a picture speaks loader than words. So, put moving pictures to work for you! Online videos allow your site’s visitors to get a taste of whatever it is you are selling. In addition, online videos make your site more personable. People like to buy from other people, and featuring people on your landing page’s videos illustrates that your company is powered by real people.

Because you will be featuring an online video on your landing page, make sure that the video features a clear call to action. This isn’t the place for video tutorials; it is the place for marketing video. What do you want viewers to do once they’ve watched the online video? Download a trial version of your software? Fill out a survey? Sign up for a newsletter? Buy your product? No matter what you want the user to do, you must prompt the viewer to do it! This could be as simple as saying, “Download a free trial version today” or “Take advantage of our $20 discount by ordering before midnight.”

Online video has become a powerful tool with many applications. Not only can it drive traffic to your landing pages, it can also enhance visitor follow through rates.

How have you used online video on your squeeze pages? Share your ideas, thoughts, and successes with us!

Using a Video Spokesperson to Deliver Compelling Calls to Action

Your website’s video spokesperson serves many purposes ranging from welcoming visitors to the website and explaining what your site is all about to talking visitors into performing some sort of action such as filling out a survey, signing up for a newsletter, or buying a product. Your video spokesperson builds trust by demonstrating knowledge about your company’s products and services and relating to visitors. In short, a video spokesperson represents your company in a far more compelling way than static text. When strategizing your use of virtual spokespeople, make sure to incorporate calls to action in your scripts.

Soft Selling: Your Virtual Spokesperson is the Perfect Choice 
Prefer to take a soft sales approach on your website? Soft sales techniques can be effective sales techniques. Incorporate “yes” questions into your speech to subtly get your visitors to agree with your pitch. For example, “Do you want to earn more money?” or “Are you looking for an effective way to discipline your children?” are questions that can prompt a positive response in the form of a nod or a verbal “yes.” After all, who doesn’t want to earn more money? Who wants to be an ineffective parent? Let your video spokesperson ask positive questions.

Calls to Action: Put Your Video Spokesperson to Good Use  
While guiding your site’s visitors into a positive frame of mind is good, relying on them to take action on their own is risky. It may not cross a visitor’s mind to sign up for your newsletter unless you prompt with a call to action. Having a friendly video spokesperson prompt your site’s visitors to perform some type of action helps raise awareness that an option exists and can lead to improved conversions.

For example, if you have a “sign up for our newsletter” graphic, link, or other element embedded into your site, it’s easy to assume that interested visitors will do just that. However, what if the visitors never see the link? Web usability and eye tracking studies show that online users tend to scan, with the upper left corner of Web pages receiving far more attention than other areas. It’s entirely possible that your graphics and links may not have been looked at!

Your virtual spokesperson can change that. Not only can a video spokesperson walk onto your screen and visually point to specific areas of the page, she can incorporate calls to action into her delivery. For example, imagine a virtual spokesperson walking onto a Web page that covers parenting issues and saying, “Want to learn more about becoming an effective parent? Sign up for our weekly newsletter by clicking this button.” Can you imagine the site visitor nodding in agreement when the question is asked? Can you imagine the video spokesperson pointing to the button? Can you imagine the visitor clicking the button? That’s the power of using a video spokesperson to create a compelling call to action.

How will you put your virtual spokesperson to good use? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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.

Attract Traffic and Boost Sales with Short Web Videos

The latest research from 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.

Do You Need a Web Video Strategy?

Adding web videos to your websites and blogs is a terrific way to add value to your sites while also taking advantage of the potential additional traffic from video search engine results. However, there’s more involved than occasionally posting an online video on your site. As with the other elements of Web development, video for web pages should be strategically planned and managed.

First, how can online video benefit your site? The benefits are numerous. For example, having Web videos on your site can result in additional traffic based on search results. Not only do the major search engines list results based on text, they now list video results. While additional traffic is always welcome, video for web pages can also: inform visitors, direct attention to specific areas of the website, convey your message, make your company more personable, and prompt users to act in some desirable way.

With all of the benefits of online video, the decision to move forward is relatively easy. Before you start trolling YouTube for inspiration, it’s important to understand what you want the Web video to accomplish.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the website?
  • How can Web video help you to further that purpose?
  • Which benefit of online video is most important to you?
  • Where does it make the most sense to post video on your website?
  • How often are you willing to post online videos?

The answers to these questions can guide you in creating a Web video strategy. For example, if your website’s purpose is to raise awareness about a specific cause, adding informational videos could be powerful. On the other hand, if your website’s purpose is sales driven, how-to videos or product demos may be a better choice. If you want to attract visitors, inform them, and create a more engaging experience, you may want to opt for a video spokesperson who acts as a virtual tour guide throughout your site.

Where should you post your online videos? Again, it depends on the purpose of the site and the Web video. The home page may be the perfect spot for your cause awareness video whereas individual product pages may be better suited for the how-to videos. Depending on how you incorporate Web videos, you may even want to create a video gallery or showcase section of your site.

Just as it’s important to regularly add articles and blog posts to your sites, regularly adding online videos is also important. Adding fresh content encourages return visitors and aids in SEO. Create an editorial calendar and map out your video for web goals. If you have the resources, adding a fresh online video each week would be an excellent start. Even if you can only handle one Web video per month, you’d have 12 videos working for your site in a year’s time, each delivering benefits and traffic.

Do you have a video for web strategy or are you winging it? What are your thoughts?