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Using Web Video effectively

Web video has become one of the best ways on establishing your personal stamp on the Internet and your website.  Yet today(September 2010), few businesses are taking advantage of this fantastic tool.  Which the reluctance to engage in web video can only be hypothesized.  However, it would be safe to assume like most technological matters it is thought to be a complex affair.

Before the days of Youtube, it’s true that placing video on the Internet was a cumbersome process.  Which discouraged most website viewers to even engage in the matter.  Making its return on investment very limited given the time and effort required.  This was mainly attributed to the large size of video files.  As compression techniques were not as sophisticated as they are today.  Therefore utilizing web video on the company website would often cause an exhaustion of the monthly bandwidth. (Total allowance of monthly traffic in and out of the website)

The popularity of Youtube coincided with a great advancement in video compression technology.  As Macromedia (Also responsible for Macromedia Flash) had introduced the FLV format to the web world.  The FLV format greatly reduced the size of video files while maintaining a high level of quality.  This leap forward in technology contributed to a major revolution.  As it allowed videos to be easily streamed on the web.  With little in the way of pre-downloading or buffering (Gaining a head start to minimize on pauses in between the video).  Which the video could be watched in real-time, similar to a Television program.  And thus, video on the web exploded.

However, great majority of the videos today are for the purpose of entertainment.  Ranging from comedic home videos to personal rants and reviews.  Yet, very few businesses are taking advantage of this technology.   Particularly lacking with Small and Medium size businesses  (As Large companies are utilizing its benefits marginally by engaging in more web video advertisements)

BENEFITS OF WEB VIDEO TO YOUR BUSINESS

Regardless of where technology goes, people do business with people.  And one of the best things about the Web is it allows you to deliver your message in a variety of ways.  Allowing you to personalize your brand with the time and effort invested.  As the Internet combines all the aspects of previous mediums into one (Television, Newspapers, Radio).  Allowing your individual personality and brand to jump off the page.

However, most business websites today say little about the people behind the company.  Which web video can be of great help in putting forth that message.  As often, there is due diligence put forth in listing professional credentials and achievements.  But often its the little things and nuances that make people comfortable in doing business with their selected partners.  Especially with the Internet, the web viewer has the power to move to the next website with only a few key presses if that comfort is not established.  Web video allows you to become more personable with your potential customers!

TYPES OF WEB VIDEOS

Web videos come in many different styles and lengths.  All with varying respective goals.  Here is a summarized list of different categories of web videos.

Introduction video

An Introduction video is meant primarily for when you first enter the website.  The main purpose of the introduction web video is to summarize the main selling points of your business.  An introduction web video should be approximentaly 1 minute and no longer.  Great majority of business websites should have this type of video.

Typically Introduction videos should automatically play upon entry of the website.  Since web viewers are often inundated with web videos today.  Having the video automatically play will ensure the viewer sees it, if they would otherwise be reluctant. If the Introduction video content is well thought out, they will continue to view it if the information is relevant.  The only case this would not be recommended is if your website is used as a information resource.  In which viewers continuously return to your website for the latest news and information in your industry.  However, this can be off-setted by creating a Splash page dedicated for the video.  Or making sure it is obvious on how to the stop the playback of the video.

There are three types of introduction web videos which are popular today: Personal Greetings, Company Overviews and Video Walk Ons.

The first type known as the Personal greeting is a short dialogue given from a key representative of the business.  Often this is best done by the owner of the business or someone who presents themselves well on camera.  The personal greeting usually consist of one or two camera angles.  In which the representative is speaking from a common place setting such as the company board room.  The personal greeting is becoming one of the most popular videos used by businesses today.  As it helps to bring the ‘personable’ element to your business.

The second type of introduction video is known as the Company Overview.  The Company Overview consist of multiple shots which delivers the general message of the Company Mission.  And often the Company Overview features multiple people in the video (As opposed to one person in the personal greeting).  These days, Company Overview videos are being used less today.  Previous to the invention of the FLV format, the company overview was often used as a downloadable video.  In the past, the problem with Company Overview videos was their length of time, often spanning from 5-10 minutes.  Which most people don’t have the time to watch when first entering a website.  Without at it at least being quickly identified in the viewers mind “What’s in it for me?”.  However a Company Overview video can still be an effective tool if kept to 1 minute.  By highlighting some of the benefits (Rather than the features) of your brand.  Which would allow you to introduce the ‘people’ in the business as opposed to one key person.

The third type is known as the video walk on(As seen on the Typhon Vision Website).  Which a speaker literally ‘walks on’ to the backdrop of the website screen.  The speaker then begins to highlight the benefits of the business to the customer.  The video walk on has similar advantages to the Personal Greeting.  However it is considered more sales pitch oriented with a little extra flash and polish.  And considering that video walk ons are more difficult to do;  It holds a higher status than Personal Greetings in terms of prestige and branding.

Video distribution(Video Blogs, Video Advertisments, Video Podcast)

A distributed video is used for the purpose of showing the video outside of the website on some of the respective Internet Video channels.  This includes podcast as well as the various Youtube clones such as Revver, Vimeo, Yahoo Videos, MSN Video, AOL Video, Clipmoon etc.  Often this is where many Viral Videos are found.

Videos which are focused on entertainment are often found in abundance on Video distribution channels.  So unless your business has an element of entertainment, usually these channels aren’t for you.  As most Videos which gain in popularity on these websites are those which are quirky and funny.   Although these channels can also include videos which are educational in nature.  Most educational videos don’t go viral since there isn’t universal interest amongst friends to pass the video along.  So the invested time is often is not worth its given return.

Also since the viewer on the video channel can be anywhere in the world.  And search results are not filtered by geographic region, this isn’t much help if you are a local business looking to expand on your locale clientele.  So in summary, unless you can make these video entertaining, usually this is not the place for most businesses.

Product / Service Details Video

These videos are often are found in the inner pages of the website.  Which help to elaborate or summarize some of the key aspects of your product / service.  Often these videos can be helpful to better explain areas of your business which maybe more technical or complicated to understand by the layman.  Making it easier to digest the information in comparison to the written word.  Since your Product / Service Video can relay its information by using diagrams, models and visual examples.   As a picture is worth a thousand words.

Unlike the Introduction video, this is where you can use a video that is longer than 1 minute long.  Since these videos are embedded deeper into the website, therefore the web viewer wants to know more.

Examples of Product / Service detail videos would be elaborating on your Quality Control Process.  Or showing all the different uses of your product.  Product / Service details video can also be used effectively as marketing material for your Sales staff.  As they can point to the video during presentations or send it to prospects to explain the more complex aspects of their business.  Since that complex information can be captured well with video just once.  And used multiple times to better educate your customers and prospects.

If you have some complex issues related to your business that require explanations.  A product/service video can help!

WHERE TO HOST YOUR VIDEOS

Videos can be hosted on external websites or your own website.  Using external websites would be utilizing the technique of Embedding.  By Embedding a video, the video can be uploaded to a website such as Youtube.  Which then utilizing special HTML code can be placed on your own website.  The embedded video in fact looks like its playing on your website, but is in actuality playing from the external website like Youtube.  The video can also be set to a private video so they can only be used for the purpose of embedding it on your own website.  Therefore cannot be found in a standard search query from Youtube or Search engines in general.

The benefit of hosting the video on an external website is that it conserves your monthly bandwidth (Amount of traffic allowed per month).  Which may make a significant difference if your website has a great deal of traffic already.  The downside is that embedding from an external website is often the Video Channels branding is displayed.   Such as the Youtube logo appearing at the bottom right part of your video.  Therefore, hosting the video on your own website removes this problem, however the flip side is the challenge is managing your website bandwidth allowance.

As an easy rule of thumb, if your website has more than 200 unique visitors per day and you have a standard web hosting package, then hosting your video externally becomes more important.  Granted that you are not making any adjustments to your webhosting package in the monthly bandwidth allowance.

SUMMARY

Web video is a great way to personalize your website and make it stand out from the rest.  With Web video you are able to make the differentiators of your business clear to your viewers.  As people are more open to watching a video than reading material on your website.   Although Quality of the production is always an important issue, the saving grace is some of the most popular videos on the web have not necessarily been the highest quality.  As many Viral Videos have been shot on Mobile Cell phone cameras alone.  However, since the Video is representing your business, it helps to allocate the best budget you can afford  But doesn’t neccessarily require a massive budget for your web video to be effective.  Web video allows your website to jump off the page and display itself in its full dimensions.  Which in todays competitive world, that extra edge in differentiating yourself can make all the difference!


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