Did you just fail Video Internet Marketing 101?

I couldn’t believe it. I watched an information-packed video from an internet marketer I respect in stunned disbelief. He may be able to clear a cool million on a product launch, but he must have been texting his girlfiend all the way through Video Internet Marketing 101. If he’d read this article he might have been able to buy her a Porsche Turbo too. Mr. Marketing Guru, you failed in some shockingly simple ways that probably cost you some serious traffic. I expect newbies to miss the fundamentals on occasion, but c’mon!

Multiply your traffic by following these free, or at worst ridiculously inexpensive, steps. Disregard me, and you risk more public ridicule from this uncredentialed marketer. I see you quaking in your Land’s End boots.

  1. Start with a title screen that brands you. What’s the first thing you see when you go to a movie? I mean after the dreadful trivia games, ads for local car dealers, and previews. The first thing you see when a movie starts is the studio’s branding. Do the same. Even if you don’t have a logo, start off with your product, company or website name. Use the same color scheme your website employs.
  2. Intro music helps too. Start the video with royalty-free theme music, preferably composed just for you. Getting your own musical theme does not have to be expensive. You can literally build an intro theme yourself using GarageBand on the Macintosh. Even if you’re not musical, you can fumble through it like musical Lego by dropping loops into slots. GarageBand never really made it as an EveryMan’s Personal Theme Music Composer, but it can certainly be used that way. It’s way easier than Photoshop, no harder than Camtasia. Borrow a friend’s Mac and play with GarageBand over the weekend. Or if you’re a PC user, visit a Creative Commons media site like ccmixter and find music you can repurpose for an intro. Some of it is licensed for commercial use, some isn’t, but it’s all clearly marked as to how it’s licensed. Plenty of great music can be had for free, even for business use. You can put it together using the free audio program Audacity, from http://audacity.sourceforge.net. Use the same music on the “outro” (the end of the video) as well.
  3. Sell me, please: summarize the video with a compelling introLook,  Respected Marketer, I know doing even a half-decent video is hard, and that’s not sarcasm. But my time is limited, and I don’t want it wasted. Please don’t start off with a lackluster “Now we’re going to take a look at some good sites to find graphics.” Start the video with the same kind of promise you’d lavish on a sales piece. “This is Tom Campbell with Working Webmaster and today I’m going tosave you a ton of money by showing you 9 sites where you can find thousands of commercial-quality images and use them for free. No pay unless you want to donate, no royalties, just beautiful content to make your blog look unique without spending a dime.” The intro is actually an offer, in marketing terms. It’s also a way to make the video sticky: you have a chance of keeping more viewers around if you start off with a compelling reason to stick it through until the end.
  4. Tell me who you are. Notice that within the first 3 seconds of the video we packed in 4 branding opportunities: the opening graphic and/or color scheme, the music, your company name, and your website name. The fifth branding opportunity is perhaps the most important: your name. Don’t waste these precious few seconds by forgetting to mention it. Again, way too many videos start off with the narrator droning on about a technical issue, with no preparatory explanation. “Hey,” you argue. “They already know it’s me. The web page told them what it’s about. Why start off every video this way?” First off, you never know how you might recycle your video later. This frees it from being sealed in amber with the rest of your videos and lets it fly free on its own, as a sample or as part of a bonus product a couple years down the line. And don’t forget many internet marketing newbies buy lots of products. Don’t flatter yourself. They may very well forget who you are between viewings. You’re not the only busy person around here, Mr. Internet Marketing Bigwig. 
  5. Don’t let me forget who you are. Watermark the video. Ever notice YouTube videos all bear the YouTube watermark on the lower right corner of the screen? Follow their branding strategy yourself. Since YouTube is by far the best place to host videos for maximum traffic, go with the flow and watermark your videos with your website’s URL on the lower left corner of the video.
  6. Add commentary to YouTube videos. You can add those neat little conversation bubbles to YouTube videos after you’ve posted them. Remember that they can not only be used for editorial purposes, but to urge the user to take action and even as hotlinks to other YouTube pages. Like, for example, your YouTube channel. You do have a YouTube channel, don’t you?
  7. Tell me who are you are. Again. Be sure to end the video by mentioning your name, your company or website, and your call to action. Bonus points for reiterating an important point (“Don’t forget to check the licensing terms of each piece of music you download from ccmixter, because they don’t all allow commercial use.”)
  8. Or take action yourself. Camtasia lets you redirect to a different web page when the video finishes.
  9. Some marketers leave the video running another minute or so with the URL showing. Not a bad idea in some cases.
  10. Enough with the built-in microphones, already! Guess what technical problem with videos bugs people most? Hint: it’s not amateurish camera work or lousy resolution. Not that those things help, mind you. But since the days of film, the flaw people have found most distracting in moving pictures is bad sound. Do not, I repeat do not, use your computer’s built-in microphone unless you simply cannot afford the $50 or so for a good headset/mic combo or standalone microphone. Good sound contributes enormously to the perceived value of a video.

 Use this handy checklist next time you cut a video, and watch your traffic explode.

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