Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Make 2009 Your Year to Learn About Web Video Marketing

This is why video works:

People remember:

- 20% of what they hear
- 30% of what they see
- 70% of what they both hear and see

That's why video is your most powerful ally in helping to convert browsers to buyers on your web site.

Where to start?

I will be offering new online webinars come January: they will be FREE and a continuation of what I have been speaking about at BizTechDay and the SBA class.

But here's one thing to contemplate:

Think about a video profile for your web site.

Here are three companies to consider:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

eMarketer Study on Online Video Ads

While advertising online in video is only one of the many ways for small businesses to use web video, it's interesting to keep track of the wider world out there and what's happening in it.

As you can see, the big guys are selling 90% of their ads at high-ish rates, while the new kids on the block are just figuring out how to get into the game and not having an easy time of it.

Again, I think online video ads are only of marginal interest to small businesses - but this could change in 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mino HD: Pogue's Video

For a lighthearted road test, or cruise ship test, of the new Flip Mino HD, check out Pogue's latest video on the newest member of the Flip family.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Interview: Video Making Company Leader Brad Inman

Brad Inman's company has been making videos for small businesses as a business for the past few years, as one of the pioneers in the industry. The company's package model pairs video production with placement in various online sites and is one of the companies in the presentation I gave at BizTechDay and the SBA a few weeks ago.

You might be interested in his presentation, which was online at the ReelSEO site. The company claims to have created 11,000 ads for small and medium business. I wonder if most of them were part of the company's original online directory model, which it appears to be backpedaling on, if its current web site is an indicator. Instead, it's pushing for what must be, presumably, a better business model: local video ads coupled with ad buys on certain portals.

The company is backed by media mogul Will Hearst and early on served publishers well with video interviews for authors.

But enough about that. Here's the complete presentation (below).

The biggest takeaways?
(I've bolded them below but they are:)
• 55% of users who watch these videos end up visiting the website of the business
• Video increases calls, clicks, site visits, etc….
• Ads that aren't ads work best
• Ads build trust

1. The Anti-Super Bowl Ad
* Make it targeted, relevant, informational, and evergreen.
2. Killer Product for IYPs (Internet Yellow Pages)
* As print revenues decline, IYPs are looking for high-margin growth areas online.
* Video represents the best opportunity for growth and margin.
3. SMBs Love Online Video
* The affordable nature of online video, combined with the results seen is driving adoption of video by firms traditionally shut out of TV advertising.
4. Cycle Time is Everything
* Creative process must align with the sales business cycles.
5. Customer Eduction and Coaching Spur Faster Shoot Times
* Sales support = fulfillment.
6. Put That Camera Away
* Some businesses are camera shy. Voiceovers, as TurnHere announced today - they now offer custom voiceovers.
7. Recession Advertising
* TurnHere is profitable and is growing each quarter.
* In tough economic times, video represents a cost-efficient means of effective online advertising.
8. Scheduling is the Black Box
* 50% of people reschedule their first appointment.
* 4.5 calls are needed in order to schedule an appointment.
9. Custom Beats Stock
* Custom production creates more engagement and action than stock video products.

10. Video Ads Work
* Video increases calls, clicks, site visits, etc….
* 55% of users who watch these videos end up visiting the website of the business.

11. Ads That Are Not Ads Work Best
12. Video Create Trust
* We have written about this with regard to online video marketing for attorneys.

13. What Type of Businesses Love Video?
* Restaurants, dentists, auto repair, plumbers, movers, limos, home repair, veterinarians, attorneys, car dealers, florists, insurance, bars & nightlife.
14. Engaged Trumps Branding
* Tired of paid actors - Authenticity helps.
* Shoot video of the actual business owner, and make it a compelling and authentic.
15. Local Producers with Local Sensibilities
* The parity that occurs when you partner local filmmakers with local businesses from the same area is something that can not be matched with another model.
16. It Has to Be Easy
* Small business owners don’t have time to waste - do a quick shoot - 90 minutes, 1 filmmaker crew, shoot while the business is open, no preparation needed, online preview and approval.
17. Vanity is Part of the Package
* People are excited about their videos.
* Make that small business owner a hero.
18. One-off Production Shops Do Not Scale
19. Filmmaker Coverage is Tough
* Getting a filmmaker in NY is easy, in Georgia, not as easy.
20. You Need a Trained Network
* Anyone can scale a database.
21. Transparency is Critical
* Passing off your customer to a 3rd party shouldn’t be done carelessly.
22. Executive Buy-in is Critical
* Sales leadership is important and partners will not be successful without top-down leadership in sales.
23. Training is Everything
* “Train baby, Train.”
* Sales training is critical.
* Provide sales tools to make the sales process easy.
24. Distribution Drives Success
* Video content is portable.
* Leverage existing online audiences.
* Go vertical for relevant eyeballs.
* Video Search Ranks #2 in Search.
o Youtube is now the #2 search engine next to Google.
25. Everyone Loves a Winner

Want to hear straight from Brad? Here's a 2007 video:

The only caveat I would add is that this is written from the point of view of the service provider, who has found a business model working with internet yellow pages - and has not developed as a provider focused on meeting the needs of small business owners. That said, there's still good information here that you can think about.

Practically Automatic: Spotmixer, the Cool New Video Admaker

I just tried, a new web site that offers small business owners quick, easy and foolproof ways to make video ads - for a price.

What's Hot

Spotmixer makes creating your ad spot-on E-Z. Its main advantage is that it requires as little thought to make a video ad as it does to make a text ad in that there are short text fields, like Google Adwords (which I jokingly call 21st century haikus), which you enter a few words into that appear in your ad. Select your industry and the site pulls stock photos that move on screen, a little like, to make professional looking Flash videos.

Spotmixer also lets you easily insert your own art or narration into the video, so it's truly original.

For many small businesses, Spotmixer is probably the perfect solution - but again, at a price.

What's Not to Like

The price: $49 a month gets you an embed code so you can post the video on your site and a link to post it in emails to your customers. Considering that you could easily make a brief video like this in about an hour, is it worth it to you to spend upwards of $600 a year for an ad like this?

Spotmixer also allows you to place your video ad on various partner sites, including

To learn more about how it works, visit and see the comparison page for details.

Marketing Sherpa Web Video Marketing Report

For a mere $277 you can get up to date information from Marketing Sherpa on why to use web video on your site. The report's free chapter includes great material - but from the table of contents, it's obvious that there's no how-to or costs in the report, making it somewhat interesting - but mostly theoretical.

I'm in the midst of writing my new book YouTube101: Web Video Marketing for Small Business which will give you ALL the pieces you need to put together to create successful campaigns, turning browsers into buyers - cost effectively.

Here's a brief snippet from Marketing Sherpa's free report.

• Fall 2008 survey of 1,000+ respondents (marketers and consumers)
• For marketers: 57% were happy with the results they saw from putting web videos on their web sites

One successful strategy mentioned in the free chapter: pairing video ads with text ads - i.e. get traffic to your site from text ads and have video on the landing page or home page to quickly educate interested customers. I have been teaching this, of
course, but it bears repeating!

Download the free chapter here.

After 12/31/08, the report will cost $397, according to the web site.

Overall, I think the report contains valuable information, but it's much more detailed than most people would like, and it doesn't cover the all important area of HOW to create your ads!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally: A Terrific How-To Site for Lighting

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is how to light. Since I'm not an expert on lighting, I usually try to duck the question and refer people to a better resource.

Now the perfect resource is here. It's, where you will find lots of fantastic diagrams and resources to help you situation by situation find out how to do professional quality lighting. Of course, it's from a manufacturer of lighting equipment, but...I think the company should be applauded (and patronized) for its fabulous how to light site.

The site includes really useful extras, like an interactive feature that shows you exactly what effect certain lighting positions have on your subject. It's like being given the key to the secret language of light that cinematographers know.

You may not need to really know how to light this well, but I find it very exciting that I have a place to refer to should I need to know this skill. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Your Company's New Year's Resolution for 2009: Use Web Video Marketing!

Join me for the first Saturdays Series starting in January.

We'll meet one Saturday a month in Jan., Feb., and March to focus on getting your startup or small business into web video marketing aimed at increasing revenues.

Why should you feature video on your website? 52% of people viewing online video ads take action, and 12% buy something from viewing a video ad, according to the June 2007 study ("Frames of Reference") from the Online Publishers Association.

And there's that recent WSJ article about small businesses increasing their profitability using web video resources.

What are you waiting for?

Sign up today!

And if you're not able to attend classes in person, I will be starting to offer webinar classes as well, so please sign up via the PayPal button (and dropdown menu) on the upper right or subscribe to emails to be notified in the future about classes.

More Info

Talk to Me: Take This Survey Please!

Last night I gave a class at the Small Business Administration in SF on YouTube101: Web Video Marketing for Startups and Small Businesses. It was basically the same slides as the BizTechDay presentation you can find on

I want to thank all the participants (about 50 of you?) and ask you to please please please fill out the survey.

Click Here to take survey

This lets me know if you are interested in more classes and what dates and locations are best for you. Even if you filled out the email signup sheet at the event, please take the survey!!!

And thanks again for your great comments and feedback. Here are some:

• "Easy to listen knowledge."
• "Thank you! Excellent informative presentation."
• "Lots of stuff. Very inspiring."
• "Great Content/Info!"
• "Valuable Seminar - well worth the time spent here."
• "Very informative, great resources, on target."
• "Lots of info - very friendly!"
• "I learned a lot of online video and a lot of good websites to help me make video without thousands of dollars. Really great!!!"
• "Very deep knowledge of video/media. Good speaker. Good at soliciting questions and comments."
• "Good, lots of questions allowed. Nice Pace. Great documentation. Lots of student/teacher interaction."
• "Learned a lot. Great informative handout - love the websites. Wonderful presentation."
• :Good help for my business."
• "Very well informed and easy to understand instructions."
• "The best workshop I have ever attended at SBA!"

Thank you all for your comments!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Making It on YouTube

The New York Times ran a story this week on Christopher Buckley, a guy who's making $100k a year off his YouTube videos.

Lots of times people fantasize about making it big on YouTube - but forget that YouTube in its current state isn't about mass marketing. It's about distribution.

I think of YouTube as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it's America's Funniest Home Videos on steroids. As a verb, it's a free platform for video distribution.

Stars like Buckley are tapping into the YouTube community as broadcasters. For performers, getting a massive audience like this is demonstration of their marketability to big media - and now you're seeing people like this get opportunities in Big Media. I categorize this as basically a very high level audition - and it's a great way for performers to use YouTube. However, for most small businesses, the measure of success will not be x million hits on YouTube, but rather, the amount of monetization of targeted customers. So don't think massive, but strategic. Not as sexy maybe - but more bankable!

As I pointed out at last night's lecture at SBA in SF, Blendtec's Will It Blend campaign on YouTube cost not $50, but probably more like $50,000 to $100,000 (if you include the cost of the origina in-house video staff member and not just the cost of props - which is the $50 figure that George Wright, Blendtec's marketing director, usually mentions.) And if it's brought revenues up 700%, that seems low, as I mentioned. If your company went from a small unknown brand to an Internet sensation, with millions of page views, I would expect to see revenues increase more like 7000%.

Use YouTube as a distribution channel and a social media channel to get your customers to look at your videos. You don't need massive views that don't convert to dollars. You need relationship marketing. You need word of mouth. You need search to find your content. So don't think about how to make the most hilarious video ever and get a million hits on YouTube. Think about how to interest your dream audience - i.e. people who can't wait to hear about and buy your product or service. It might get you moving in a more lucrative direction.

PS If you want to take a trip down memory lane, check out that college kid who made the YouTube hit video (that parody of myspace) in his basement in Michigan in 2005 and was supposed to then take Hollywood by storm. What happened to him? I just see a few more web videos on his site. Had he made a fortune from all that YouTube fame for the myspace parody? He has a new one out on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 Get Your Flash Video To Go offers a free online FLV (Flash Video) Converter so you can download online videos direct to PC, iPod or PSP - free. Check it out here!

There's also a desktop version available for free download.

Getting your Flash Videos (i.e. everything on YouTube) to your iPod (in Mpeg4 files)- that's cool.

And for your uber techies, you can download the open source code that converts the file formats.