Small Business Uses YouTube to Get Customers

Small business uses YouTube to get much-needed web visitors and brings them through the doors.

small business on youtube

The savvy owner of a small business uses YouTube these days, but it hasn’t always been so.

We’ve been producing videos for large and small businesses for over 30 years and have served customers in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world. In that time period, we’ve seen video distribution change dramatically.

When we began in the early 1980s most businesses weren’t using video as a marketing tool, but those that did had to supply customers and other interested parties with copies of their program on both VHS and Betamax video tapes — the home format wars of that time period had not yet settled down in favor of VHS. Later in the decade with that decided, companies no longer had to ask their customers “Would you like that on VHS or Beta?”

In that time period we would make hundreds (and often thousands) of copies of VHS copies for our clients to distribute. Mailing houses carried special packaging for tapes and the marketing materials that might accompany them, and the postal service was a constant visitor to our door, picking up the many copies headed around the country.

In fact, we even had VHS duplicating machines in foreign television formats so that we could make copies to send to other nations with different TV systems.

When the 1990s rolled around, DVD machines became popular and distribution of programs on DVD became the norm. The postal carrier’s back was spared, as the bulk and weight of video distribution became a fraction of what it was in the 1980s.

Then, in 2005 a most amazing thing happened. YouTube was born. This video distribution format allowed users to post their videos on the internet for free, and for viewers to access them, also at no cost.

But the real turning point came in 2006 when Google bought YouTube. The rest, as they say, is history.

YouTube videos are leveraged by their Google ownership, and now YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. This shows the incredible power and popularity of videos in this day and age. In fact, Google integrates videos into their search engine results, and as one could expect, gives YouTube preferential treatment.

As a result, small businesses ignore web videos at their own peril.

In the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing with you how and why to get your small business YouTube videos noticed and drive customers into your door.

 

 

Video Production Gets Lighter

Video production cost/quality trade-off continues to improve thanks to technology.

Yesterday we were back to begin an encore video production on location at Abbey Carpet in San Jose. This video production will be another Abbey video that will be part of their marketing efforts on YouTube and other small business web marketing venues.

As cameras get smaller and lighter we no longer need to rent expensive Steadicam plus operator for long tracking shots. In this shot our cameraman is using a relatively inexpensive Glidecam to move through newly remodeled sections of the store and finish on Steve Delamore, store owner. Steve only had to memorize the first sentence of his welcome, and then we will go to broll footage. He’ll narrate the remainder of the video later. With so little to say to the camera, we avoided the need to use a teleprompter.

Despite the lowering of costs through technology improvements, there are limitations. The HD camera mounted on the Glidecam is a great example of how great things are coming in small packages. Costing just a few thousand dollars, this camera is vastly superior to those we shot wiht in the 80s that cost tens of thousands. BUT the improvement isn’t infinite as you can see from the actual video itself.  It was shot on an iPhone and comes nowhere near the quality of the HD camera on the Glidecam.

We’ve heard many people talk about the excellent video that comes from the iPhone and other mobile devices, but we just don’t see it. For real video production that will present a positive company image, you’ve got to use the real thing. Book a pro with a real camera, audio, editing system and other video production accessories to do your production. Your company image is too important to rely on low quality.

 

 

Free Adobe Photoshop Graphics Software

You can get the world’s gold standard of graphics software for free – sort of.

free graphics softwareWe use graphics software extensively in all aspects of our business: video production, image correction, web design, etc. Not a day goes by that we don’t use Adobe Photoshop for one or more tasks. Photoshop is the gold standard for graphics software; the one that others try to copy because of its power and flexibility.

This graphics software is so powerful in fact, that we don’t use the vast majority of available functions. There is a great set of tools available and a great help system in the software if we want to do more. It’s truly designed for the graphics professional.

In fact, we used Photoshop to create this image of the software package in less than two minutes, combining the software box with the “free” sticker.

The problem is, while it’s an amazing graphics software package, it’s too darn expensive.

To appeal to the lower end of the market for graphics software, Adobe has been selling Photoshop Elements for quite awhile. It’s often bundled with other software packages and replicates many of the basics of Photoshop. But to get Elements you still have to reach into your pocket.

A great solution to the hand-in-wallet thing for graphics software is available at no charge. Adobe is GIVING AWAY older versions of the full Photoshop package at no charge.

The catch? These versions are several versions old and are no longer supported. And Adobe claims that they may not be compatible with newer operating systems. However, we have not seen this to be a problem.

So to get a full Photoshop version that will have way more horsepower than you ever need, you can go over to the Adobe site and download either the PC or Mac version of CS2  for free.

Need photos for your web marketing?

Nice web marketing resource

Anyone who does web marketing needs to have a variety of resources available to include with their materials. This includes photos and other pictures that we all use. Google and other search engines like those images if they are formatted and annotated properly. But we web marketing folks want to use them on the up and up — this means among other things, that all images are copyright cleared.

We recently discovered a web marketing resource that should be on the radar of anyone who needs to include pictures in blog posts, PowerPoint presentations, articles, advertising, etc. This is a great first stop to find copyright-cleared photographs and other images. This website is run by Pixabay and can be found at http://pixabay.com/.

Pixabay is a photo sharing site for web marketers and others. To be able to download photos you need to join, but no worry as it’s free. After you join you may download photos at no cost, but be prepared to ignore the top row of images as those are not free. The setup is much like Google Adwords being listed first in a Google search. If you skip those and go to the next rows of photos, you’ll be able to download those images for free.

Another cool part is that attribution is not required when using the images.

And if you upload photos that you’ve taken and allow others to use them without compensation, you can download without having to look at ads or the paid images at the top of your search.  The site does require a minimum level of quality for the images you upload, however, so don’t expect that you can upload a dozen random snaphots of uninteresting or poorly composed material.

The reason we consider this site a great first stop is that the catalog of images, while growing, is not huge.  But if you check Pixabay and can not find the picture you need, you can always move along to paid sites.

Here’s an example of some great pictures available for free on Pixabay.

  geralt / Pixabay  PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay     PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

In addition to the images available for download, Pixabay also has a free WordPress plugin for those of you who wish to insert photos in your WordPress pages or posts. A small “px” icon appears next to your “add media” button at the top of your posts. In fact, we downloaded the images above using that plugin.

 

Easy to understand video scripting

A video script need not be difficult to follow

Chances are if you are interested in video scripting, you’ve actually seen one or more scripts. Perhaps you’ve seen them in the news when a movie script comes up for auction. Undoubtedly, what you’ve seen is the screenplay format, and this works best for dramas, movies, etc. Its flexibility allows the director to inject his or her vision into what the scene should look like,and so on. This is an example of a screenplay:screenplay video script

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But more often than not I know that when we are writing an industrial script for our customers, we need something more. We want precise timing of the many elements, so that frankly, it minimizes the imagination necessary on the part of the client. After all, our clients are typically not video or movie people — in fact they think in one dimension. When we ask our clients, who are the experts in their subject matter, to create a script with two columns (one for video and one for audio) it typically is returned to us not as a true industrial or corporate video script, but more like a brochure. For example, we will find that the client has written the audio portion of the video script with great precision, but the video portion will say “video as appropriate” throughout.

As video professionals we know that 93% of the viewer’s impression comes from non-verbal communication, so that means video has a huge role in conveying the message. When clients give us a script that includes audio, they are only addressing 7+% of the communications equation. audio. So we have found that not only does it work better to see the various inputs of the production side by side, but we must see ALL the elements of the video synchronized.

For years we’ve been using MS Word and creating tables where each column is an element: column 1 is the scene number, column 2 is the video to be shot or used, column 3 is the graphics and titles, etc., while column 4 is the audio. Here is an example of a video script we created and shot for Abbey Carpets and Floors in San Jose. Several of the audio sections are merely mentioned as “CUSTOMER” because the interviews had not taken place. The director’s role here is to lead the interview subjects to support the point that the script is trying to make.

multi-column video scriptWhen we create the script, we put the words, description, graphics and so on in their boxes so that the client can see what’s happening concurrently. When we scroll up or down, the elements stay in sync with each other, keeping it all organized.

You can see the finished video for Abbey here.

 

Small business video packages unveiled

We’re introducing Small Business video packages for the web

For small business video is critical to getting noticed and to share your story with prospective customers. So we’re excited to share that we’re rolling out inexpensive video packages for small business so that they can get their business on the web. We’re producing short (1 – 2 minute) videos that small business owners can put on their website and/or video sharing sites like YouTube. Here’s what they get:

Small business video pre-production:

  • scheduling assistance from our traffic manager

  • access to our helpful on-line articles about:

    • how to write a script

    • how to pick the correct spokesperson

    • how to perform better on camera

    • suggestions for which shots and locations to choose at your business

  • script review by our award winning scriptwriters

Small Business video production:

  • 2 hours on-site shooting your small business video with you as on-camera narrator, plus footage of the business

  • tape stock

Small business video post-production:

  • award-winning editor edits your small business video footage into a complete short video

  • stock graphics/animation included

  • copyright-cleared music included

  • compressed digital video file for your website

  • one DVD master

Small business video distribution:

  • we host your small business video on blip.tv and YouTube

  • we give you instructions for posting on your site

  • we give you instructions for posting on Facebook

And if you don’t want live action video shot with a video camera, we have an even cheaper version that uses photos from the business. Here’s an example:

Go to our website to learn more about our video packages.

 

Web video — why you need it

Web video is where your customers go to when they want to find you these days.

In the year 2012, more than ever, you need to be where your potential customers are looking for your product or service.  But where to put your limited marketing dollars?  It’s not print, it’s not direct mail, it’s not the Yellow Pages and it’s certainly not telemarketing.  You are savvy enough to know that the web is where your potential customers are searching.

Your company website is the hub of your marketing in this day and age. 

It is the most accessible way for prospects to learn about your company and what you have to offer them.  And when they get to your site, they need to see the benefits of choosing your company – and they need to see them in a way that appeals to them.

After all, we now live in a world where people want what they are looking for right now, and if we do not find it within a few seconds we will simply look elsewhere.

So your message needs to be clear, concise and compelling.  Within a matter of seconds your website visitors will determine if you can help them. And just how do people get the fastest, most complete picture of what you have to meet their needs?  The answer: web video.

So why put web video on your site?

If you don’t know about the revolution in web video, you just have not been paying attention.

Just over 5 years ago, YouTube was launched to host web videos for free, and in that short time, people now watch OVER 2 BILLION VIDEOS PER DAY – on YouTube alone!  That is almost twice the prime time audience of the three major television networks put together.

YouTube videosHundreds of thousands of web videos are uploaded to YouTube daily.  In fact, every minute, an incredible 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. While these statistics are staggering, you might ask “How does that impact my business?”

In these difficult economic times, most companies find that competition for buyers is fiercer than ever. Today staying ahead of the competition is vital in setting your business apart and attracting customers. Today’s internet savvy buyers see one website after another, day after day. The sites that “break through” to the viewers present their message in an engaging way.

Web videos are a powerful internet marketing medium because of the unique way they engage your visitor, transforming your site into an interactive and entertaining alternative to a standard text-based site. 

In fact, one-dimensional, text-based websites are becoming relics.  After all, text requires action and energy on the part of the visitor.

In contrast, web videos allow your viewer to sit back and absorb YOUR message, just as you present it to them.  What could take many paragraphs or even pages of text to communicate can be presented in just a few engaging moments.  Web videos captivate and entertain site visitors, who receive YOUR message.

But don’t take our word for it.

Author Jason Prescott, in a May 2010 report says, “Video marketing has become one of the best promotional tools on the web.  Well-executed videos can grab attention faster than any other advertising medium (emphasis mine) as videos continue to draw internet users in droves.  Research by eMarketer shows 66.7 percent of the 147.5 million U.S. internet users watch video online monthly.  By 2014, eMarketer estimates that number will rise to 77 percent of internet users (193.1 million people).

 web video viewers

“Online video has surged in popularity due to the rapid proliferation of broadband and video technology advances. This has resulted in the production of cost-effective, premium videos, a dramatic increase in traffic to video-sharing sites, and online video’s acceptance into the mainstream.

“Consumers are receptive to video on websites, landing pages, search results pages, emails, and video-sharing sites because it is so engaging and self-explanatory. Video conveys information quickly and accurately, making it an excellent tool for marketers because consumers want to know more about the companies they deal with and the products/services they buy. “Video is a very memorable medium. A study by The Wharton School of Business revealed that video improves comprehension and retention by 50 percent over a live presentation. Other studies have indicated that video speeds up buying decisions by 72 percent when compared to print.” (emphasis mine)

Next time, I’ll explore “Who is putting web video on their site — and why?”

 

8 ways to doom your corporate video production – Conclusion

Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Video Production – Conclusion

With video production as with all things, the motto is “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” And this applies to your video productions.  But there are times when a large full scale production is not warranted.  Fortunately, it is no longer a matter of all or nothing when it comes to bringing professional production values to your work. 

You do not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a video production.

inexpensive video production

It surprises many people that are considering a video production that there is an efficient middle ground that can be used.  This can be a tremendous cost saver.  This includes hiring one or more professionals to assist.  This could be:

  • ·        a producer/director to oversee your production,
  • ·        a lighting director with equipment,
  • ·        a teleprompter operator with equipment,
  • ·        a make-up artist to make your executive look “just right”
  • ·        an editor to bring together the footage you’ve shot into a crisp, effective program,
  • ·        a graphic artist or animator to punch up your graphics,
  • ·        a duplication facility to make mass quantities of your videotape, DVD or CD

Through the use of experienced professionals in some or all areas of your next production, you can ensure that you create a program that meets your objectives in an efficient and effective way.