5 Multichannel Video Marketing Tactics to Engage Holiday Shoppers

Utilizing a multi-pronged holiday video marketing approach enables marketers to take their seasonal performance to the next level by increasing visibility through social media platforms and search, while also boosting the brand’s and its products’ popularity among shoppers during the critical holiday season.

It’s the time of year again for marketers to kick their holiday marketing efforts into high gear. As consumer buying behaviors and media consumption continue to change, it’s crucial for marketers to understand that shoppers increasingly use a variety of channels to find inspiration and make purchases, and therefore marketers must align their messaging across channels to effectively engage customers at optimal touchpoints along their purchase journey. Once they grasp the basics of these channels, marketers can start to utilize more advanced strategies as part of a holistic approach during this critical time of the year.

Among the channels consumers seek out when considering purchases, social videos have become a staple of product research and consideration. Social media marketing puts products right where consumers spend their time, and consumers expect product videos from brands, with many shoppers searching for a product video before visiting a store. Marketers often use social video ads to capture demand throughout the year, but during the holidays, they should be more proactive. By leveraging a multi-channel approach with targeting precision to be more assertive, they can take greater control in driving demand and expanding their results.

Retail marketers should consider the following tactics for developing a multi-channel holiday marketing strategy centered on social video ads to better align marketing with the customer journey.

Utilize Video Across a Variety of Social Platforms

There are many places marketers can reach their target audience, so investing holiday budgets by leveraging video ads across multiple channels generates more opportunities to create impressions and engage with shoppers.

After establishing which social channels target audiences frequent most, marketers can better determine what type of content and video ads to plan and post to offer a seamless experience between preferred platforms and capitalize on different stages of the holiday shopping experience.

Fostering Interest on Pinterest

Pinterest remains a popular destination for consumers to visually interact with brands and discover new products. With many users flocking to the platform to create lists for the holiday season and aid in their gift purchasing decisions, it’s vital for marketers to get their products and brand on the platform immediately.

The ability to showcase branded videos on the platform received a boost just in time for the holidays with the rollout of wide-format promoted video ads, driving efficient costs-per-view and lifts in brand awareness. With 67 percent of Pinterest video viewers saying videos on Pinterest inspire them to take action, there’s ample opportunity for marketers to capture interest for their products heading into the holidays.

Pinterest users’ inspiration period can start up to three months prior to an actual purchase; therefore, it’s important for marketers to reach customers early with video ads to cultivate their interest and move users toward conversion. Marketers looking to land on shoppers’ holiday radars should utilize Pinterest as a visual catalog. For example, a toy retailer could leverage video ads on the platform to reveal the hottest toys of 2018 or a clothing retailer might showcase their winter apparel line as customers look for inspiration for their holiday party attire.

Once they’ve captured interest through Pinterest video ads, marketers need to consider engaging customers by retargeting and remarketing to push their customer even further than the purchase funnel.

Tap Into the Enduring Influence of YouTube

YouTube continues to be a driving influence when it comes to making purchases, especially around the holidays, with mobile watch time for product review videos on YouTube growing each year.

As part of marketers’ holiday strategies, they should leverage YouTube TrueView followed by bumper ads to target prospective audiences and new customers. The best part is marketers only get charged when a user chooses to watch the full 30 second ad – a win, win!

Utilizing companion banners to drive click through rates (CTRs), bumper ads exist as a reminder to customers to purchase specific products. These products should be served via remarketing lists and similar audiences to maximize efficiency and reduce cost per impressions. Additionally, with Google’s mobile-first focus, these ads will serve in a format that is easily viewable for customers on-the-go.

Marketers should also consider running a brand lift study alongside these video ads to measure impact on metrics like brand awareness, ad recall and purchase intent. By doing so, marketers can tweak their strategy within the first week of results to better connect with audiences and more effectively drive results throughout the holiday season.

Leverage Facebook and Instagram for Merchandising, Not Just Branding

Aside from being among the most popular social networks, Instagram and Facebook both command a greater interaction frequency than YouTube. Undoubtedly, video ads on Facebook and Instagram serve the purpose of effectively stimulating a marketer’s target audience on highly actionable and engaged channels. On Facebook alone, views on branded or sponsored video content increased 258% in 2017, with the highest numbers generated around the holiday season as shoppers sought inspiration for gift ideas. Facebook Carousel ads are a favorite among retail marketers because they encourage consumers to interact with their ads and allow greater opportunity to showcase products through images and videos with the potential for several different calls-to-action.

Instagram also recently expanded its ad offerings to more marketers with its Collection ad units, enabling online retailers to add the Shopping Bag icon within their Stories for the holiday season. The images and videos used within the carousel display can link to the brand’s site or product pages to drive e-commerce purchases.

Targeting users that have shown an interest or interacted with holiday topics across Facebook properties should be a key consideration in marketers’ holiday strategies. Marketers can utilize dynamic product ad offerings as an effective way to get in front of new customers with specific product sets or SKUs; for example, targeting users interested in a holiday sweater, gift wrap or children’s toys, or leveraging parental or relationship targeting to hone in on those most likely to convert.

Complement Video Strategies With Highly Relevant Keywords

Driving the desired targeted traffic that converts requires a varied strategy designed for a marketer’s specific brand and product set. To capitalize on the demand social videos generate across channels, marketers should create highly-relevant holiday-specific keywords as consumers who watched a video and are searching for the brand or products by name are likely deeper within the sales funnel. Marketers should develop and expand coverage on relevant keywords that reinforce messaging from their videos to include search terms like “gift ideas,” “best,” “kids,” and “holiday deal,” along with brand and product-specific terms.

Likewise, leveraging remarketing lists for search ads with proper messaging helps ensure marketers can reach customers in their exact moment of need to foster engagement and move them through the purchase funnel with greater precision to drive better results.

Utilizing a video-centric, multi-pronged holiday marketing approach will better enable marketers to take their seasonal performance to the next level by increasing visibility through Pinterest, YouTube, social media platforms and search, while also boosting the brand’s and its products’ popularity among shoppers during the critical holiday season.

7 Live Video Expert Tips for Business

Live video is all the rage. After the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month, it’s obvious that this is one of the key trends of 2017. Instagram Live has arrived. So has Twitter Live, with Periscope. Facebook has long been live and Snapchat is predicted to follow suit. For brands and businesses, live video is the next big communication channel, a way to build engagement with urgency and exclusivity.

VideoLive video is all the rage. After the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month, it’s obvious that this is one of the key trends of 2017.

Instagram Live has arrived. So has Twitter Live, with Periscope. Facebook has long been live and Snapchat is predicted to follow suit. For brands, live video is the next big communication channel — a way to build engagement with urgency and exclusivity.

But you need to do it right. Here are seven tips to become a live video expert for your business:

1. Don’t Just Talk, Move!

The most common live videos consist of moving selfies. Someone turns their webcam on or picks up their phone and starts talking. And that’s fine. But you can win more engagement if you combine those videos with action shots. Use a GoPro to broadcast yourself biking down a mountain trail, or talk while walking through a farmer’s market.

“Even just bringing your audience with you on a stroll turns your broadcast into an event,” says Joel Comm, a live video expert who has been using this format for more than eight years. “It gives viewers more to see and takes them away from their desks. It’s much more engaging.”

2. Make Sure People Know When You’re Broadcasting

Spontaneity is a great thing, but if you want a big audience, you need to tell people when and where you’ll be talking. Use your Facebook page, your Twitter account and any other social media channel to tell your audience where you’ll be and how to access the video.

And make sure you pick a time when you know your audience will be online. You’ll always miss some of your potential audience, but pick the right hour based on your user data and remind people when you’re doing your broadcast. You should find that a good portion tune in.

3. Make Your Broadcast Personal

The benefits of live video extend beyond urgency and immediacy. The format also brings a personal connection between the business and the audience. You’ll be able to see who’s joining and you’ll be able to answer their questions in real time. Dale Carnegie has described someone’s name as their sweetest sound. As you’re broadcasting, you’ll see those names as your audience builds. Mention them to make a mass broadcast feel like a personal chat.

2017: Video Marketing Is Here to Stay (Get Used to It)

According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words — 1,799,000 more than a picture. Why? Because video is easier to consume than written content. Do I have your attention?

What if I told you you can get great results from video marketing without going broke?So it’s pretty clear video is important to me, but before you brush this post off as “Melissa hearts video, blah, blah, blah …” let me lay down a few facts for you. Ahem.

According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words — 1,799,000 more than a picture. Why? Because video is easier to consume than written content.

Do I have your attention?

How about this: YouTube is the second most used search engine, behind the almighty Google. Oh, also, 72 hours of content is uploaded to the site every minute. That’s a lot of content.

According Firebrand Group’s “Future of Video 2017” report:

“The amount of hours of video people watch on their phones is up 100 percent year over year, and with longer individual sessions,” according to the report. “The average mobile viewing session on YouTube is over 40 minutes, a surprising length and a potential alternative to traditional programming that most people couldn’t even imagine a few years ago.”

So, while it’s been almost a month since I headed to Lisbon, the exciting news is that the fantastic folks behind the Web Summit have sliced their original Facebook Live footage down into individual sessions! This means I can share my panel — “The Second Coming of Video” — with all of you in an easy format that doesn’t involve hunting through hours of footage and minute-marker indicators.


Having the opportunity to moderate a discussion on video with Dubsmash’s President Suchit Dash and Vidyard’s Co-founder and CEO Michael Litt was awesome, and the pre-panel time spent hanging out in the speaker’s area to prep was an insider’s dream (sorry folks though, totally off-the-record).

Vidyard released a recent “State of Video Marketing” report, which I highly suggest checking out. A couple facts I found interesting were:

  • More than half of participants produce 11 or more videos per year. Large companies produce the most videos.
  • The average number of participants saying that conversion performance for video has stayed the same or gotten better is 96 percent, which is consistent with previous years.
  • Nearly half of respondents stated they use internal staff and resources to produce videos, up from 38 percent a year ago (that’s what we do here at Target Marketing!).

And, if you’re still itching for some more video marketing strategy content, check out the webinar I moderated back in April, titled “Become the Next Marketing Leonardo DiCaprio: Winning Marketing Strategies for Every Budget.”

7 Marketing Resolutions for Younger Marketers in 2016

Fear not, I’m back for 2016 and will be posting again on a monthly basis. Starting right now, with my very own “2016 Marketing Resolutions.” I’ll also list a few great resources I’ve found to help me on the road to resolution glory!

I’m baaaaaaack! Did you miss me? Did you feel like 2015 was just a little darker and a little colder as it drew to a close? You may have assumed it was just a result of the earth’s regularly scheduled journey farther away from the sun, but I’m here to tell you that chill in the air was merely the lack of my presence in your life and on your screen.

But fear not, I’m back for 2016 and will be posting again on a monthly basis. Starting right now, with my very own “2016 Marketing Resolutions” (because there’s never enough “My New Year’s Resolutions” posts in the world, right?) I figure I’ll fare better with these guys than I will with “go to the gym 3x a week” or “limit myself to one season of a show on Netflix per night.”

I’ll also list a few great resources I’ve found to help me on the road to resolution glory!

Business group of people standing on the hill and looking aside
According to iStock, a significant number of people have a goal of climbing a mountain and/or doing the Rocky pose in business suits

 

1. Get to Work Earlier
Here’s the problem with having flexible work hours: you can actually take advantage of them. Add that to my just-two-blocks commute and you’ve got a perfect recipe for snooze-button-dependency. I’ve never been an early bird, and generally I’m of the mindset that I work better when I come in a little later and leave a little later. But I have to admit I feel an extra sense of pep and motivation when I manage to start my day an hour or two ahead of schedule, and having that extra time to enjoy my coffee and clear out the cobwebs logically results in more productivity. So I’ve decided: 2016 is the year I start getting to work before 9:00.

I recently found this simple yet brilliant post on LifeHack for people like me, and I’m eager to try these strategies out.

2. Better Time Management
Another daily struggle for me: deciding what on my list needs to be done and when, and how much time should be spent doing it. Since it’s a point I’m always looking to improve, I’ve found a few basic tools that seem to work best for me when used together.

I’m a visual person, so I always love a good to-do list; it really helps me to be able to look at my tasks laid out in front of me, and physically move them into an order that makes sense. My favorite of the many online options available is Wunderlist. You can create separate folders within your to-do list and categorize each task, set due-dates and alarms, enable email notifications, and sync your lists to the mobile app to access anywhere. Plus, that “ding” noise it makes when you complete a task is super satisfying. Oh, and it’s free!

Another must: The StayFocusd browser extension. No more “two minute web surfing breaks” that turn into ten or twenty; this app blocks all but your allowed websites after your allotted time runs out. Pro-Tip: Put the Chrome Extensions store on your block list, so you can’t cheat and remove the app 😉

Optimizing Your Video: Expert Answers to 10 Important Questions

Marketing is pivotal to increasing the virality of your video content. Businesses are using video more as a integral part of their marketing mix. However, what good is video if no one knows where to find it? You can spend a million dollars producing the most cinematic 30 seconds of your career and only get 20 views on YouTube if you don’t optimize the video. In this post, digital marketing specialists Jose Victor Castellanos and John D. Saunders from Unity Digital Marketing, took the time to answer some very important questions on optimizing video.

Marketing is pivotal to increasing the virality of your video content.

Businesses are using video more as a integral part of their marketing mix.

However, what good is video if no one knows where to find it?

You can spend a million dollars producing the most cinematic 30 seconds of your career and only get 20 views on YouTube if you don’t optimize the video. In this post, digital marketing specialists Jose Victor Castellanos and John D. Saunders from Unity Digital Marketing, took the time to answer some very important questions on optimizing video.

Q. Why is it important to optimize video once you’ve posted it on YouTube or your website?
A. Catellanos: “Because the Search Engines are designed to read and index HTML on web pages, not electronic files (video). Video without a title and description will not index well on the Google and Yahoo search engines

Q. How do you properly backlink your videos, podcasts and screencasts?
A. Catellanos: YouTube has a feature in the Video Manager drop down when you edit the video known as Annotations. This feature is excellent for maximizing your video’s marketability, so be sure to read this section carefully.

Q. Is it important to use proper grammar and spelling? Is it okay to abbreviate or use acronyms?
A. Saunders: Proper spelling is crucial. If you have misspelled a word, the search engine’s may not find your video. Perform a spell check, and have someone else read what you’ve written.

Q. What happens if you have a broken link for your video?
A. Catellanos: In the event that you have a video posted on your website that was embedded from YouTube, once you delete that video from YouTube, you should replace it with another video. (Don’t forget to remove the code.) If someone is searching for video on your website and they aren’t able to view it, they may leave or “bounce.” The Bounce Rate is something that can greatly affect your ranking. A little maintenance will go a long way.

Q. What does the Google Keyword Planner do and how is that different from the YouTube Keyword Tool?
A. Catellanos: Google’s Keyword Planner is geared for Google searches. YouTube’s Keyword tool is just for searching within YouTube. When you are filling out the description use the keywords most used in Google. This will get better results unless you are looking for a YouTube following.

Q. Is it necessary to include a location or your geo targeted market?
A. Catellanos: “Only if you are a small business that wants to do business locally or within a certain area. Be careful if your target market is worldwide or nation wide, posting your immediate area can limit you.

Q. Does the number of times that you use a keyword make a difference? What is the proper amount and does the length of content matter?
A. Saunders: The number of times a keyword is used can be vital to the success of any video marketing. Your keyword should be included in your title as well as your description. Your keywords should take up approximately 3 percent of the text. Be careful not to overload your content with the keyword too much.

Q. Does refreshing your content help?
A. Catellanos: “This can depend on what you are doing. Sometimes updating the content can cause the search engines to think it’s new, and therefore longevity and amount of interest (number of views) tends to give you seniority in the search ranks. Be cautious when updating if you take down a video or replace it with something new.

Q. Is it important to title your video exactly the way someone would search for it on Google?
A. Catellanos: Yes. The closest you can come to how someone would be looking for your product or service the better. Exact matches heed better results.

Q: If you get penalized as being a spammer, can that affect how Google ranks you in other areas of the Internet?
A. Saunders: Yes, you can be flagged and they can block your YouTube account. They can also put blocks on other social media sites that you are associated with.

If you’re going to spend time and money creating your videos and you want to make the best use of them, follow these guidelines and your video marketing will be far more useful. You want to remember that it’s a video, not text. Search engines are designed to read text not watch a video. While it’s great to create video it’s only effective if you have the video optimized.

15 Online Video Marketing Test Ideas

If you haven’t tried video yet, consider this a nudge for you to reinvent your marketing approach and broaden your direct marketing skill set. On the subject of reinventing skills, today we announce exciting news about an evolution of this blog and how we plan to introduce you to topics that go beyond video marketing. But before we tell you about the new blog, we put our heads together and came up with a list of the top

If you haven’t tried video yet, consider this a nudge for you to reinvent your marketing approach and broaden your direct marketing skill set. On the subject of reinventing skills, today we announce exciting news about an evolution of this blog and how we plan to introduce you to topics that go beyond video marketing.

But before we tell you about the new blog, we put our heads together and came up with a list of the top 15 online video marketing initiatives that we recommend you test as we move toward the important fourth quarter sales cycle.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

This video includes ideas for video content, use of customer testimonials, product demonstrations, opt-in ideas to grow your email list, using video in social media, pay-per-click, video length, video sales letters, budgeting for video and more.

As mentioned earlier, our blog is evolving and expanding to encompass many of those oftentimes puzzling new online direct marketing opportunities.

While reinventing one’s core competencies should be an ongoing process, in recent years, the requirement to reinvent so that your skills and organization remain relevant has accelerated. So as re-inventors of our direct marketing skills, the editors of Target Marketing have encouraged us to expand the topic of our blog beyond video to include topics like:

  • Using site and search retargeting
  • Integration of customer relationship management systems
  • The analytics of social media to better understand its effectiveness for direct marketing
  • Using content for inbound marketing
  • Online competitive analysis
  • … along with additional subjects that we, as long-time direct marketers, believe you should understand and consider testing.

Starting in a couple of weeks, we begin a new blog named Reinventing Direct. We’ll discuss new ideas, how direct marketers can apply these opportunities, and break it down for you in non-threatening, practical ways so you can better understand it and reinvent your direct marketing skills. We hope you’ll follow us on our new blog, and we invite you to suggest topics in the comments area below, or use the link to the left to email your thoughts.

It’s been our pleasure to have authored Online Video Marketing Deep Dive. Thank you for being a loyal follower, and we look forward to sharing our tips with you in a couple of weeks in Reinventing Direct.

Turnaround Tired Direct Marketing Campaigns With Video

Online video marketing has the ability to transform and turnaround a tired direct marketing campaign. We wouldn’t make this claim if we hadn’t witnessed a 20 percent lift in sales from an integrated campaign using video. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may recall how we took you inside a successful video marketing program for a performing arts organization in October. At that time, we were testing a “proof of concept” of video marketing

Online video marketing has the ability to transform and turnaround a tired direct marketing campaign. We wouldn’t make this claim if we hadn’t witnessed a 20 percent lift in sales from an integrated campaign using video. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may recall how we took you inside a successful video marketing program for a performing arts organization in October. At that time, we were testing a “proof of concept” of video marketing to sell tickets to a Fall performance.

Because the proof of concept using video worked, we applied this approach during November and December to promote the organization’s Christmas shows.

We’re delighted to report that this latest online video campaign worked, lifting sales by nearly 20 percent over last year. And it wasn’t just ticket sales that were impacted. Product sales at the event broke new records, too.

Because the proof of concept in the Fall worked, it gave confidence to the organization to commit to significant changes in marketing direction for the Christmas season.

A series of five “behind the curtain” videos were created to create curiosity in the upcoming performances, interspersed with three “music” videos where the product was, in effect, given away.

A primary advertising channel (and expense) for the organization in prior years—radio—was dropped entirely.

Email marketing was leveraged in a big way because the videos gave purpose to frequent messaging. The previously established Facebook “group” approach wasn’t robust enough for marketing purposes, so we started all over with a Facebook “page.” Twitter and Pinterest played a role. Direct mail remains an important vehicle because the demographics of the group. This was a true multi-media, offline and online direct marketing campaign.

There was some concern that we would “oversaturate” to the installed base of thousands of patrons on the email list and they would unsubscribe in droves. Or that we would “over post” on Facebook and turn off fans who would “unlike” us.

Yet, because we applied sound content marketing practices, not only were patrons not alienated-they asked for more.

It was the viral effect of the video at the core of the campaign that drove engagement, and brought in new patrons to the performances that had never before heard of the group. On Facebook, using promoted posts and ads, friends of friends were introduced to the organization, and many of them came to the show.

Why did this happen? Because weaving everything around online video transformed the entire direct marketing campaign.

The turnaround of a tired effort from the past resulted in three transformations that turned the campaign around: with video, the direct marketing campaign 1. had purpose, 2. enabled frequency and 3. we could use the content marketing component of “free.”

We’ll elaborate on these three transformational components, and how we made them work, in our next blog in early January.

In the meantime, we invite you to watch this video for background about the “proof of concept” campaign from last Fall.

YouTube Analytics for Direct Marketers

For direct marketers, YouTube analytics is a treasure-trove of data about video marketing measurement and performance. By interpreting “Views Reports,” you can produce stronger direct response-oriented videos using demographics, playback locations, traffic sources and audience retention. Translate the description of the metrics into direct marketing language, and you’ll gain a new perspective of the power of online video marketing.

For direct marketers, YouTube analytics is a treasure-trove of data about video marketing measurement and performance. By interpreting “Views Reports,” you can produce stronger direct response-oriented videos using demographics, playback locations, traffic sources and audience retention. Translate the description of the metrics into direct marketing language, and you’ll gain a new perspective of the power of online video marketing.

For example, views can be thought of as impressions or leads. Look at views by day of the week like you might think of seasonality in direct mail terms. The demographics from YouTube reporting reveals gender and ages of your viewers—something you would want to understand before choosing a direct mail list.

Playback locations, including where a video is embedded (your own website or other locations), tells you where your direct marketing campaign could yield the best result. Knowing if mobile viewing is high or growing is vital. And knowing audience retention is akin to knowing if your outer envelope was opened, and how much of the letter, brochure, lift note and order form were read.

In this video, we take you on the tour of View Reports on YouTube analytics, and show you examples from our own videos so you can see these reports firsthand.


(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

Finally, a request: in our next series of videos we will be dissecting the “YouTube Creator Playbook” and interpreting it for direct marketers. There is a tremendous amount of information to cover. Please tell us in your comments below, or send an email to me, with your preference of video delivery. Tell us if you prefer….

1. Longer “deep dive” videos that are several minutes long and cover the material in a three-part series?

Or…

2. Shorter videos that are only a few minutes long, but cover the material in smaller parts over several weeks?

We’ve also considered producing a set of videos that would take you deeper within the “YouTube Creator Playbook” and YouTube analytics to show you how those numbers can be used by direct marketers. If you would be interested in subscribing to an educational program like this, please use the email link on this page, or comment below, to let us know your thoughts.

6 Video Presentation Tips to Elevate Your Online Marketing

The video you create is but one component of your online direct marketing campaign. Yes, the video is what viewers are driven to—it’s the vehicle that delivers your story. However, without lists, email and landing page copywriting and design, blog comments and posts, social media entries, pay-per-click ads, YouTube advertising, etc., your video

Online Video Marketing Deep Dive co-author Perry Alexander takes over this week while Gary is away.

The video you create is but one component of your online direct marketing campaign. Yes, the video is what viewers are driven to—it’s the vehicle that delivers your story. However, without lists, email and landing page copywriting and design, blog comments and posts, social media entries, pay-per-click ads, YouTube advertising, etc., your video stands little chance to be viewed.

Think of the parallel: We know that without the intentional series of steps to get our direct mail package into readers’ hands, opened and scanned long enough for them to catch the lead, there’s slim chance it’ll make any impact.

Just as the direct mail letter headline and lead must drive the reader to stick with it, so must the first few seconds of your video. Your video must create and instantly set the visual and auditory tone that will draw the viewer through those precious first few seconds and into your story.

My co-author and business colleague, Gary Hennerberg, is the master copywriter of our team and, as he says, I “make stuff look good.” I make sure the story isn’t overshadowed by lousy presentation or distractions, which can repel, or at least divert the reader. Let’s go through some of the ways to make your video command attention—during the first few seconds and beyond.

  1. Bad audio will douse viewers’ interest long before bad video will. Don’t rely on your on-camera mike or, worse, your computer mike. You’ve heard these videos—they sound like they were recorded in a barrel or a cave. Viewer’s interpretation: Your presentation was slapped together, therefore your product or service is, too, so why should I bother listening?
    The Deep Dive:
    If your camera has a mike input, use a lav mike (Gary and I each use a $25 Audio-Technica). If there’s no external mike input on your camera, use a digital voice recorder to record quality sound, either through its built-in mikes or plug the lav mike into it (we both use the same $100 Sony recorder). Then, in editing, sync the audio from both the camera and voice recorder, then mute the camera audio. The mechanics of this are tricky at first, but once you’ve done it a couple of times it becomes routine and your sound is crisp and clear.
  2. Bad video won’t help matters. A webcam video looks like, well, you used a webcam—even an HD webcam. Not only is the image soft, but exposure is usually off, color isn’t great, and what about all that stuff in the background behind you? The message struggles to get out. Again, it screams that your story doesn’t deserve the viewer’s consideration. It’s just a throwaway webcam production about a throwaway idea. What does your viewer do? Click away to something else after just a few seconds.
    The Deep Dive:
    You wouldn’t dream of tossing a half-baked direct mail piece out into the market, expecting it to convince your audience of the value of whatever you’re offering them, would you? Anything that distracts from the message must be stripped away so only the message is noticed. Same with video. Get a $100 Flip or Sony camera and a tripod, or even the latest iPhone. Better: spend $400 for an HD video camera for long-form videos. If your shots are under 5-10 minutes each, use your DSLR. (We use a $100 flip-type camera on Gary’s videos.)
  3. On-camera jitters? Maybe the prospect of speaking into a camera lens is frightening, or at least off-putting. Really, though, after several miserable attempts, you will improve. Evenutally you get to where you imagine you’re just talking with another person in the room, and your fear melts away.
    The Deep Dive:
    Your job is to tell the story. How? Reveal your personality and mastery. Build trust. The call-to-action will produce nothing for you until after that’s all been established. Consider being in front of the camera just long enough to introduce your premise, then moving into slides, charts, photos, graphics or other images that tell your story. That way, you don’t have to memorize a long script. You can refer to notes as you narrate what’s on screen. On-camera script reading is usually deadly, anyway. If you’re on screen for a quick 20-30 seconds, know your stuff. Roll through several takes until you’ve looked that monster in the eye (lens), and said your piece naturally, completely, and with relaxed authority. Now you have their attention and trust!
  4. Stock photos, stock footage, stock music, stock sound effects? You’ve seen the websites with stiff and trite stock photos. Somebody, please explain what that might ever accomplish, because we’ve all seen that picture a thousand times. Filler doesn’t move the story along. But, relevant graphics that work can emphasize a point quickly and vividly. An occasional “foley” sound effect can emphasize a point, just don’t overuse transition swooshes, or they’ll become distracting gimmicks.
    The Deep Dive:
    Map out your storyline. What images will support or clarify what you’re saying? Use images that are specific to your product, service, technique, timeliness, etc. Short of that, invest time finding stock images, footage, music or sounds. It’s all online, and for not much money. YouTube and Vimeo even offer stock music beds you can use at no cost. But be careful in your choices. Be brutal in editing. Anything that distracts or detracts from your story and message, leading to your call-to-action, must be cut.
  5. Go short or go long? Conventional wisdom, born out by YouTube analytics, is that video viewer falloff is precipitous after the first 30 seconds or less. So, does that mean we must never consider creating a 3-minute or, horrors, a 15-minute video? Perhaps. Remember, everything must serve to support the story. Do that right, and they’ll stay with you.
    The Deep Dive:
    Conventional wisdom has always warned us not to use long-form copy in letters. However, seasoned, successful copywriters know that a well-told story will hold interest across 2, 4, even 16 pages. Same with video. Don’t rush to push features, advantages, benefits. Find the relevant hook, then reveal, build and educate about the issue. Lead them to want—then crave—the answer to the quandary or dilemma you’re setting up. Now, the sales copy tastes like good soup.
  6. Editing is half the storytelling. Putting up an unedited video is like mailing the first draft of your letter. It’s probably loose, meandering, dulling to the senses. Resist, revise and remove whatever doesn’t move your story along!
    The Deep Dive:
    Video editing brings clarity and precision to your story. The pace and direction are honed so the viewer is drawn in and held through the call-to-action. It’s an interwoven dance of timing, splicing, movement, color, design, sound, mood and the ruthless removal of what’s not contributing. But, you need two things: A) the knack to know when it’s right and when it’s not and, B) mastery of a video editing program, so you can accomplish your vision.

There’s so much more to cover, but perhaps you’re getting a sense of how online video marketing requires many skills and decisions so familiar to the direct mail pro. Different tools … different vehicles … similar foundational concepts. As always, we invite your comments, criticism or questions.

Drop me an email, and we’ll get you the list of resources, brand names, part numbers and such of what we’ve found works in our ever-evolving video marketing tool chest: perry@acm-initiatives.com

12 Reasons to Fuse Direct Marketing and Video Marketing Now (Part 2)

Direct marketing formulas applied to video sell products, generate leads and raise money for non-profits. The leap to online video is exploding, and if you keep up with what’s hot today, you know it’s video. But too often, the video effort doesn’t bring in responders because of the lack of structure and call-to-actions

Direct marketing formulas applied to video sell products, generate leads and raise money for non-profits. The leap to online video is exploding, and if you keep up with what’s hot today, you know it’s video. But too often, the video effort doesn’t bring in responders because of the lack of structure and call-to-actions that a disciplined direct marketer includes. That’s why, if you’re a direct marketer, video can be profitable for you because you’re not afraid to sell, you know how to test, and you track the analytics.

12 Reasons to Integrate DM and Online Video (Part 2 in a 2-Part Series)
In our last blog post, we outlined the first of six reasons to fuse direct marketing techniques with the reach of online video marketing. We continue today with the final six reasons on the list:

7. Video can go viral. But don’t count on it. Your chances of a video going viral are about like that of getting struck by lightening. A recent example of a successful new product launch for what we as direct marketers would consider a classic DM continuity program is the Dollar Shave Club. You’ve probably heard about it. Thousands of orders, small start-up cost, everything you admire if you’re a marketer. But consider this: a few years ago it was impossible to make money selling a $1 a month (plus S&H) continuity program. The marketing cost was too high. The Deep Dive: With effective online marketing, marketing costs are slashed and you can make money selling a commodity product via a continuity program using a low price point.

8. Use a short video on your website to convince someone to opt-in to the rest of the story in another, more in-depth video delivered immediately. You can set up an intriguing premise, reveal a little of the story, and importantly, you bring people into your sales funnel when you capture an email address. The Deep Dive: if selling your product doesn’t typically happen on impulse, and you must first build trust, you can tell your story over short, strategically sequenced video clips, delivered via email autoresponders over time.

9. You can bring a complicated story to life. Imagine trying to describe the inner workings of your artery and heart using video footage! Suddenly, what was difficult to show in print can be brought to life in a video and the viewer is engaged. Using the opt-in strategy as identified in #8, over a few doses of video, you engage the viewer more so that they salivate at the idea of getting your product. This is a good strategy for selling products that require more explanation. The Deep Dive: Video can shortcut the visualization-and engagement-of a complex concept that words on a page can’t accomplish quickly enough before the reader loses interest. The willing suspension of disbelief can magically transform your viewer to a place unachievable with still photos and words.

10. Video can describe products that appear in a catalog. Catalog-browsing apps on mobile devices are now commonplace, but soon that could be replaced with short videos that can be watched on a tablet. By 2014, it’s predicted that more Internet content will be viewed on mobile devices than desktop/laptops. The Deep Dive: Watch the mobile space and video closely. Convergence of technologies will enable consumers to be entertained while using a mobile device, giving you opportunity to prompt intrigue and build a relationship.

11. Non-profits can save an enormous amount of fundraising cost by moving online and creating compelling video for constituents. Interview people you’ve touched. State your case. Engage. You bring your non-profit to life online and at a fraction of the cost of other media. The Deep Dive: If you’re a non-profit, get your advocates and supporters on video and let them tell your story for you. It’s more credible, and it builds community.

12. Integrate social media with online video and encourage comments, recommendations, and shares. It’s easy to add the feature for people to post their comments and share your video with Facebook plug-ins. Its costs you virtually nothing and is the most powerful way to get your word out. The Deep Dive: you can no longer afford a silo approach to marketing. You must integrate outbound, inbound, social media, search, text, video, desktop, mobile, and so on.

In a future blog, we’re going to illustrate how to convert a successful direct mail letter that has been mailed to millions of consumers, could be converted into a direct marketing video. When that blog appears, you’ll see how using direct response copywriting techniques in video script writing can work. In the meantime, comment below and tell us your video marketing successes or what you’d like to read in future blog posts.