Businesses of all sizes are flocking to digital online video as an effective marketing tool, and Alden Fertig, vice president of product at Ustream, a leading HD-video streaming platform, thinks he knows why. “The statistics are overwhelming, and most marketers agree that video is now the tool with the best ROI,” he says. Research shows that video boosts email open by 19 percent, click-through rates by as much as 300 percent, and website visitors’ likelihood of purchase by 64 percent, Fertig reports. “In addition, a recent survey found that 90 percent of online shoppers say video is helpful in making shopping and buying decisions.”
Business owners often think that doing video is difficult and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be, promises David Lee, founder and CEO of Shakr, a provider of video templates for business use. Shakr’s video ad solution lets a business of any size create engaging video ads in about 15 minutes for less than $100 by using an in-browser tool and a simple drag-and-drop technique. There are also many other low-cost and free DIY video tools available for businesses, such as VideoMakerFX, EasyVideo Suite, and Camtasia. And most smartphones are now capable of shooting 1080p HD-quality video. They should be used with a tripod for the best results, but the cost of a decent tripod is a lot less than that of a high-definition camcorder.
“There is a trend in marketing at the moment for educating your audience rather than selling to them, and this can be seen clearly in video marketing,” says Matt Byrom, managing director of Wyzowl, an explainer-video production company. “The result of these videos is that customers learn from you and may follow your brand or actually make a follow-on purchase from you, and this strategy can work for just about any industry.” He cites statistics showing that 78 percent of marketers consider explainer videos to be an important part of their marketing strategy, and that potential customers are 85 percent more likely to purchase a product once they see an accompanying explainer video.
Business owners and managers need to think long and hard about what video content is going to be valuable to their customers and prospective customers, says David Erickson, vice president of online marketing for Karwoski & Courage, a public relations agency. “Straight-up promotional videos will turn people off, so companies need to think about the content ecosystem surrounding their business and what customers need to know along the buying journey,” he says. “By creating video content that is helpful to them during that journey, you will more likely earn their attention and subsequently their trust, which will pay dividends once they make a purchase decision.”
As Donna Price, CEO and marketing strategist at Compass Rose Consulting, LLC, notes, “Video does not have to break the marketing budget.” There are many economical ways to create effective video, and multiple online situations where video can help drive business outcomes. “First is on your home page, as an intro to your company or business. Second is as a way of building credibility, expertise, and relationships,” she says. Whiteboard and talking-head type videos are cheap and easy to produce, and they can be very effective in building relationships and establishing the “know, like, and trust” factors that growing businesses seek to inculcate in their prospects and customers, Price adds.