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Marketing your business, brand and products through the medium of video is certainly nothing new. Many companies have been doing this for years, albeit with varying levels of success. However, video marketing still has plenty to offer to businesses, new and old, small or large. In fact, if anything, it is becoming increasingly important.
Leading video sharing site YouTube recently announced that it receives over 4 billion views each and every day. That's 770 videos being watched simultaneously every second.
That's a huge audience. It exists, and it's growing. Admittedly, many of the aforementioned views will have been for the latest music videos or 'epic fail' viral hits, but that doesn't mean that ecommerce businesses can't take advantage too.
The sweeping changes in the way that search engine results pages are presented have also helped to improve the visibility and effectiveness of videos. In the past year or so, greater prominence has been given to multimedia results on the pages of Google, in some cases even helping them to appear above organic results. Therefore, a successful, keyword-targeted video can be just as visible as the top ranked search results.
So what can an ecommerce site do?
There are plenty of online stores and brands that already employ some form of video marketing. Whether this is done in a strictly promotional capacity or as a means of demonstrating products and services, the effect can be much the same. Some potential applications include:
- Branded adverts
- Expert advice
- Informational guides
- Celebrity endorsements
Videos can be used to supplement text or to demonstrate things that you would struggle to communicate with the written word. This is why hosting multimedia content on your product pages can be so effective, particularly when it comes to driving sales. However, you can also enjoy the double benefit that comes with publishing your content on video hosting sites.
There are plenty of sites that already take advantage of this. For example, Amazon now features previews for a number of games, DVDs and other products. GHD, who manufacture and sell a range of specialist hair care products, most notably ceramic tongs, have also successfully developed a strong identity on-site and on YouTube.
As well as promoting the latest collections, videos also provide practical demonstrations of products in action. In the above image, you can see that as well as a large image of the product, there is also a useful text description and a video, which visitors can view to establish how effective it is in action. For any customers who are undecided, this could prove pivotal in whether or not they make a purchase.
However, it's not just on their own domain that GHD is able to demonstrate products and help those searching for hair styling tips. Their branded YouTube channel features adverts and video guides, all of which are created and managed by the company. Having achieved over 1.8 million views in the last six years, this has clearly been an extremely effective source of traffic and sales.
ASOS, a popular online clothing store, have created a community around their brand. An integral part of this has been the creation and circulation of videos. Their site features catwalk presentations of each product, giving visitors a 360 degree view of the garments on offer. Meanwhile their YouTube channel features dozens of exclusive videos, including the latest discounts and promotions as well as a regular magazine show. Not only does this help push sales, it also creates interest in the brand, helping grow loyalty - as evidenced by the 8.1 million views that their content has received.
When you go off-site with your video marketing, it is imperative that you get your branding right, just like ASOS and GHD. After all, if you were to create what is ostensibly just an informative guide without any direct association with your site or business, you are unlikely to reap the full benefit of this - regardless of how popular it proves to be. So don't leave viewers in any doubt, ensure you have clear branding at the beginning and end of your video to help guide them to your site.
With the introduction of Google Search Plus Your World, content that is entertaining and interesting is going to enjoy even more visibility online. Search results will be tailored for individual users, based on the activity of their wider circle of online friends. So when someone shares a video, news article, blog post or image, this will be shown prominently on the results pages of their followers for related search terms. Consequently, if you can produce excellent content and market it effectively, you can enjoy unparalleled visibility within your target market.
Both the quality and quantity of content will therefore become increasingly important for businesses online. In the competitive world of ecommerce, it is vital that you give yourself every advantage possible. Video marketing can certainly be an effective part of a comprehensive strategy.
So what do you need to do?
- Set up a branded YouTube page and also sign up for other video publishing sites
- Invest in some decent AV equipment
- Create a strategy - what are you looking to promote and how are you going to go about it?
- Start recording
- Publish on-site and off-site, with clear links between the two
The most important thing to remember is that you have to be confident about what you publish. If a video isn't up to scratch or it doesn't represent your business as you would choose, don't set it live. Creating multimedia content can be a little hit and miss. Some things may be exceptional, others, less so. Knowing what to publish and what to rework is part of creating a cohesive and effective video marketing strategy.
Some will fail, some will succeed and some will fade off into obscurity. But videos, as with any published content, can have long-term benefits. Whilst it may initially fail to capture the online community's imagination, in time it could accumulate significant views and conversions for your site. From the moment it is first published searchers can find, view and share it. Newer alternatives may come along and traffic may slide, but it will remain accessible until the day you decide to remove it.
So make sure you get a slice of the surging video market. The 4 billion views that YouTube now receives could just be the very tip of the iceberg, so there really is no better time to start producing and publishing video content.