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.

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