The Booked Solid Video Marketing Strategy

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The use of online video as a marketing and promotion tool has exploded over the last few years, and with good reason. The emergence of YouTube and other no or low-cost video resources has made it possible for small businesses and entrepreneurs to reach potential customers quickly, easily and affordably.

YouTube is now the fourth-most-visited site on the Internet, and—surprise—the second most popular search engine, right behind Google. Video gives you new opportunities to increase your visibility and credibility within your market.

Using video can be one of your most powerful tools in getting booked solid. Just like the other social media strategies I’ve discussed, video marketing could easily take up a book of its own so here I’ll focus just on what you need to get started—without getting bogged down by the technology. I’ll also point out several ways to use video marketing to your advantage, and we’ll look at a few entrepreneurs who are using online video successfully.

By the way, everything I know about video, everything you read below, and everything that appears in the forthcoming second edition of Book Yourself Solid, I learned from Lou Bortone, the online video branding guy.

Why Use Online Video?

Here are some reasons why video marketing is such a powerful, new booked solid promotion strategy:

  • As mentioned previously, video has a low barrier to entry. There is very little investment to creating online videos. All you really need to start is a webcam and a free account on YouTube.com.
  • Online video is a great way to create a strong, personal connection to your clients and prospects. Like social media, video begins building a personal relationship even if you’ve never met face to face.
  • Video enhances your trustworthiness, credibility and likeability. It’s easier for people to relate to you when they can see you on screen and hear your voice.
  • Another benefit of video is that it can significantly improve your search engine rankings. SEO experts agree that Google loves video, and a Forrester Research study found that video has a 50 times better chance than plain text for getting to the top of search rankings!
  • All of these strategies work together to create one of online video’s biggest strengths—increasing awareness for who you are and what you offer—and it accelerates the sales process.

Business Uses for Video

Now that we’ve looked at some of the compelling reasons why you should be using video marketing, let’s look at some of the how. Here are eight suggested business uses for video:

  • Web site. You can create a welcome video for your home page, perhaps sharing your who and do what and why you do it statements with your web visitors.
  • Blog. Turn your blog into a vlog, or video blog, with which you can provide expert tips, product reviews, and news about your programs and services.
  • Sales Page. Video sales messages are becoming more common online, and you can get in on the act by adding a video to your sales page.
  • Client testimonials through video. Create video testimonials for clients or colleagues, and ask them to do the same for you.
  • Video e-mail. Add video (or a link to a video) in your e-mail, turning your message into a video postcard.
  • Video coaching. You can also use video to enhance the delivery of your services by making your sessions or meetings with your clients more personal, interactive, and dynamic. Check out online tools such as Skype.com, Ustream.tv or Dimdim.com.
  • Video tutorials and screen captures. You need not be on camera to create videos. Consider creating video tutorials or online demos using tools such as Jingproject.com, Camtasia.com, or ScreenFlow.com for the Mac.

Create Online Video in Four Simple Steps

If any of these video suggestions sound daunting to you, take heart in the knowledge that the entire process of creating online video boils down to four simple steps . . .

  1. Your goal
  2. Your message
  3. Your format
  4. Your distribution and promotion

Let’s take a brief look at each . . .

Step 1: Goals for Your Videos

Begin with the end in mind and consider what you want to accomplish with your video. Your objectives may include one or more of the following:

  • Increasing online exposure
  • Driving traffic to your web site
  • Enhancing your expert status
  • Building trust and credibility
  • Developing your personal brand

Consider what video can do for you. Where can video have the most impact on your business? Whatever you decide, be sure it’s part of your overall marketing strategy. Video marketing should be integrated with the rest of your marketing plan, and not just as an add-on or afterthought.

Whether your objectives for video include visibility, branding, search engine optimization, web traffic, or client attraction, your goal will determine your path. If your goal is to enhance your expert status, for example, you may consider doing a weekly, live webcast on Ustream.tv. With a free account and a webcam, you can create your own “Ask the Expert” web TV show. If, on the other hand, your goal is to educate or inform with instructional videos, then a Camtasia or Jing screen capture demo may be your best option.

Step 2: Your Message

When it comes to video, content is king. Focus more on your message than on the technology. When crafting your message, keep your target audience at the top of your mind and share something of value with them. Attention spans are short on the web, so be sure to get to the point and keep your video as brief as possible. Here are a few other tips to consider as you develop your video message:

  • Be consistent with your content. Don’t confuse your viewers.
  • Develop an overall theme for your videos and stay on message.
  • Maintain an almost fanatical focus on your core message.
  • Your message includes not only what you say, but how you say it.

Why is keeping your message consistent so important? If your video message is clear and coherent, people will immediately understand what you do, and that makes it much easier to attract clients. Customers will seek you out because there’s no confusion about who you are and who you serve. Do this consistently over time, and your message will become part of your brand.

If you’re still not sure about developing your video message, here’s a list of different types of video messages you might consider:

  • Expert tips series
  • Your backstory—what you stand for—your why you do it statement
  • Personal message on your home page
  • Product launch promotion
  • Instructional or how-to demo
  • Editorial—your take, or rant, on an issue or topic
  • Your “Top Ten” list
  • Testimonial or book review
  • Live Q&A “ask the expert”
  • Interview format
  • Speaking demo or event video

Step 3: Your Video Format

The third step in creating your video is deciding on the delivery method you will use to share your video. Will you be on camera, or do you prefer to create a screen capture or slide show? Do you want to prerecord a video and edit it later, or would you be more comfortable doing a live webcast? There are a number of options when it comes to the actual format of your video. Choices include:

  • Record directly through a webcam. Probably the quickest and easiest option.
  • Record live through a webcast. Using free web sites such as Ustream.tv.
  • Shoot on location. Usually outdoors using a portable pocket camera like the Flip Video camera.
  • Tape a screen capture or slide show. Using PowerPoint or Jingproject.com.
  • Create a video or photo montage. Using web tools such as Animoto.com.

Keep in mind that whatever delivery method you choose, your format also includes your personal style. In other words, consider the tone and attitude of your delivery. Do you want to be humorous or informal, or does a more authoritative and informative approach work better for you?

Obviously, your format is going to dictate your equipment needed, so let’s take a brief look at some nuts and bolts. Fortunately, with an inexpensive webcam, pocket video camera, or minicam, you’ll be armed with enough to get started. Most digital photo cameras even have a video function, so your existing camera may be all you need. With your camera, your computer, and a free account on YouTube.com, you’re ready to create video.

Whether you use a webcam, the popular Flip Video camera or you decide to stay off camera and record a screencast with software from Jingproject.com, the five-step process is the same:

  1. Develop your content
  2. Set up your equipment
  3. Record your video
  4. Upload your video to the web
  5. Share and distribute your video

If you decide to edit your video—which is not a requirement—you may want to start with editing programs that likely came with your computer or operating system. If you’re on a Mac, chances are you already have iMovie. If you’re a PC user, Windows Movie Maker comes standard with most Windows-based computers. Both are good starter programs if you choose to add graphics, music, or simple effects to your video.

For more complex editing options, and a lot more on using video for marketing, visit Lou Bortone’s site at OnlineVideoBranding.com. Lou is a Certified Book Yourself Solid Coach and an absolute master at teaching people how to get booked solid using video. Okay, back to the material. . . .

What if you are having a bad hair day or you’re terribly camera-shy? If you do not want to be on camera, you can still create great online videos to promote your business. There are several software programs and online resources to help you create videos without you having to be on screen.

I mentioned Animoto.com earlier, which is a great web resource for making videos using your own photos and text. Animoto even provides music for your montage. Just plug in your photos and the Animoto software outputs a slick, professional, ready-to-go video. A similar web site with even more bells and whistles is OneTrueMedia.com.

You can also create video tutorials or screen captures using Jing (JingProject.com), Screenr.com (free), or the more expensive and more complex screen capture program, Camtasia.com. Even PowerPoint presentations can be adapted and used as online videos.

Step 4: Distribute and Promote Your Video

The fourth and final element for video creation is your online distribution. It’s rarely enough to simply upload your video to YouTube.com and expect instant fame and fortune. Your video must be leveraged and distributed across a number of platforms for maximum impact. Sharing and promoting your video is a vital step in the process. The greater the distribution of your video, the more visibility you’ll receive.

One video can serve many purposes and be distributed across multiple sites. Of course, there are dozens of video hosting sites in addition to the big kahuna, YouTube. To simplify the distribution process, we suggest the following:

  • Start by uploading your video to YouTube.
  • Use the embed code that YouTube provides to post the video on your own web site or blog. You can also use the link YouTube provides to send out in an e-mail or e-zine.
  • Use YouTube’s one-click share functions to cross post your video from YouTube to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and more.
  • Once you’ve got YouTube covered, you can open a free account on TubeMogul.com.
  • After you set up your account on TubeMogul, you can use that site as a launch pad to blast your videos to more than a dozen other video hosting sites with a single click.

As you can see, YouTube can serve as the foundation for your video distribution. Like most video hosting sites, YouTube makes it easy to share your video across several social media platforms.

There are a few important considerations to keep in mind when you upload your video to YouTube. First, you want to make sure that the title of your video is descriptive and incorporates your keywords. Then, be sure to start the description section of your video with your web site URL. If you include your web address in the first line of the description, it will show up as a live link back to your web site. Finally, be sure you also fill out YouTube’s tags section with your keywords.

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