How to Leverage Video to Market Your Business

It is reported that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, used by almost 47% of Australians. Given the enormous use of Search by consumers these days, these facts alone should convince you that video really should be a part of your marketing mix. If not, this article may convince you – plus it provides tips on how to really maximise video for marketing and make it work hard for you.

Don’t tell me SHOW me.

Apart from the cold hard facts, there’s the human element. Video is eye-catching, it can help you stand out from the crowd and draw in potential customers. Video can clearly define your business and in a succinct, much more interesting way then text. And importantly, video can bring faces, voices, personality and heart to your operation, while also demonstrating your authenticity. So if a picture speaks a thousand words, a video speaks a million!

Spread the word. Strike that… Spread the video!

Like any content, video can be shared easily to help spread the word about your products and services. Create a YouTube channel and embed your YouTube videos in your website, blog and all social channels. Links between your YouTube channel and website can boost your rank in search engine results, as can the added visitor count if your video encourages viewers to visit your website.

What Kind of Content?

Different types of content work for different types of businesses, here is a list of ideas to get you started:

  1. Success stories – bring case studies to life.
  2. A brief company intro or value proposition video.
  3. Product demonstrations (even for simple products).
  4. Interviews or Q&As with your CEO, clients, industry experts etc.
  5. Record any external conference or seminar presentations you give.
  6. Product reviews and testimonials – check out Bravo to capture user generated content.
  7. “How-to” videos or short tutorials, eg. if your business sells child safety equipment, create a video on how to child proof the home featuring your products.
  8. A video tour of your premises – if this acts as a selling point or benefit for customers, then show them.
  9. Introduce users to staff that have consumer contact, such as customer service – it’s nice to put a face to a voice.
  10. Record internal training presentations – this content could be valuable for both consumers AND staff. Important company announcements – don’t just post an update or press release.

What about production?

Your videos don’t have to be big Hollywood productions to be engaging and effective. In fact, you should focus more effort on video planning & marketing, than video production. You don’t need to use expensive camera equipment or even record in HD when for the web. It’s possible your web cam or smartphone will do the job just fine. And in terms of editing, YouTube offers its own free video editor, Windows Movie Maker is bundled with Windows, and iMovie with Macs.

Here are seven tips for creating your own videos:

  1. Short is sweet – and definitely no more than 5 minutes.
  2. Focus on first 10 seconds – engage viewers from the very start.
  3. Work to a topic guideline, not a script.
  4. Maintain a fairly fast pace to keep the content punchy and interesting to watch.
  5. Lighting is important. (Avoid windows behind you).
  6. Camera shy? Try Animoto or screen capture such as Ezvid.
  7. Include a call to action.

Share, post, blog, tweet, update…

Once you’ve created your video content promote it everywhere! Upload to video sharing sites – YouTube (see below), Blip.tv, Vimeo, Viddler, Metacafe – post on Facebook, tweet on you know where, share on LinkedIn. You can even (and should) embed videos in your email marketing. And encourage your staff to promote via their network and social channels. To reiterate, you should focus more effort on video marketing rather than video production.

Leverage YouTube – it’s free!

Nowadays YouTube is much more than an entertainment channel to watch funny cat videos or hear Harry announcing that Charlie bit his finger. It’s a powerful (and cost effective) communication tool so be sure to create a YouTube channel for your business. And like all your web content, your YouTube videos must be optimised.

  1. Give your video a title that includes your strongest keyword (relevant to the content).
  2. Complete the description with a short synopsis of what the video entails, including keywords and a link.
  3. Use tags that are true to the content of your video and include your business name too.
  4. Because consumers won’t necessarily be watching your video on your channel, embed your logo via YouTube’s Channel Settings (InVideo Programming).
  5. And maximise links to your website from your YouTube channel.

In summary if you run a business or manage the marketing for one, there’s a lot of compelling evidence suggesting that online video marketing should be a part of your marketing activity.

For more advice, or assistance with your marketing get in touch via our website or call 03 9504 6216.

3 Marketing Strategies Every Artist Should Implement

Social MediaSocial media marketing is a strategy that is just that, social. It is typically done on an Internet platform that engages the public in your content via your computer, smartphone or tablet. Social media allows your target consumers to engage with you and your brand. Some of the most common social media platforms used in marketing today are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Managing your Social Media Marketing can be very time-consuming. So, I recommend focusing your time and content on a few sites. Here are some recommendations:Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are visual platforms that will connect your art with customers. With Facebook you can create a business page this is separate from your personal page. The business page will allow you to create a community of followers that can like, comment, and share your images and content. Instagram has the same basic framework as Facebook in that you can create multiple profiles and navigate between them within the app on your phone. This similarity is nice if you have a personal and a business profile. Instagram is a social media outlet that focuses on images which are perfect for visual artists. Again, you can create a community of followers. For Instagram, the usage of the hashtag is vital in generating traffic to your profile, unlike Facebook that is better built on sending requests and calling for people to share your page.YouTube allows the public to take a step into your studio to see you working on your most current pieces. It may not seem like YouTube is a form of social media but in fact, by definition it is. Social media is any networking platform that allows users to communicate and connect in a social way. Due to the ability to like, share, and comment on videos on YouTube it is truly a social network. YouTube is actually a social media platform before it is a video marketing technique. In the next section, I will share a bit of information about how you can turn this social media platform into a video marketing tool!Video MarketingVideo marketing is meant to call your consumer or viewer to action. For a video, you create to be considered video marketing it should either generate interest back to your website or to something they will need to pay for in order to gain additional access. Videos are a great way to share your talent with the public and generate interest in your art. Videos also allow your followers and subscribers to get to know you. Viewers enjoy the feeling of developing a relationship with you. When you can create a sense of loyalty, your viewers can become some of your best marketing partners because they may share your videos with their friends.Since YouTube is free this is a great way to share videos that focus on your art technique or provide short free tutorials for a specific art medium. Don’t forget for this to be a marketing technique it needs to generate something the viewer will need to act upon or purchase. By running a link at the end of your video to send them to your website or offering more in-depth instructional videos for a price at the end, will qualify as a video marketing tool. With YouTube, you can create a channel that may focus on the techniques of your particular style of art or you can post instructional videos with step-by-step information to complete a unique piece of artwork. Free and low-cost video editing software, like Apple’s iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, is available to allow you to truly customize your videos before uploading to YouTube.Let’s use a watercolor artist who focuses on floral still life, as an example. The artist posts a 5-minute painting tutorial on the subject matter of roses on YouTube. The video was created through the iMovie software that comes standard on most Apple computers currently. At the end of the free 5-minute video, the artist then advertises a paid 30-minute video from their website that will walk the viewer through painting a floral still life with roses from start to finish. The webcam and software come standard with Apple products. The cost for creating this example of video marketing was free.Social Media and video marketing are both virtual ways to reach your target audience. A low-cost type of marketing that is more tactile and leaves a lasting impression on your audience is through guerrilla marketing.Guerilla MarketingGuerilla marketing is a grassroots, low-cost, fun, and in-your-face marketing strategy. Often guerrilla marketing takes the form of visual art like spray paint tags or unique posters and decals allowing it to seem like a natural fit for visual artists. This marketing strategy is meant to create interest and cause the bystander to be curious enough to investigate the advertisement. It takes more imagination and creativity than money to make guerrilla marketing work for you.Implementing guerrilla marketing can be a fun and exciting. Some ideas for guerrilla marketing might be to use vinyl stickers or paper posters; this is called wild posting. Walking billboards or quick pop up galleries of work in public places are another trending approach. It should also be stated that legal issues can arise in regard to how or where wild posting and pop-up galleries appear. Posting decals or posters can cause an issue especially if they are placed on paid advertising or local, state or federal fixtures. In most municipalities, there are permits that are required for setting up in public places. Don’t let the risk of legal infringement deter you from using this strategy. With the proper research and planning, guerrilla marketing can be a quick and fun way to create buzz about your art.Social media, video marketing, and guerrilla marketing are ways to increase awareness and create artist loyalty from the community near and far. Successful marketing will help you increase brand awareness and loyalty among art consumers.

Selling Your Home: 5 Deal Killers That Are Lurking In Older Homes

You’ve listed your home for sale, you have a Buyer and now their Inspector is performing an inspection. You think you have a pretty good home, but do you really know for sure? What is he finding? Why is it taking so long? Here are 5 deal killers to watch out for when selling your home.

Deal Killer #1: FPE Breaker Boxes. These breakers and breaker boxes are known to have performance issues. They are no longer made, however they were very popular between the 1950′s and 1980′s. Many homes still have them.

Some of the problems were that the breakers would trip but still allow electricity to pass through the breaker. Another issue was that the breaker would not trip at all causing an over current condition which could lead to fires.

Just because the home is 30 years old and you’ve had no problems, don’t expect any Professional Real Estate Inspector to look past a FPE breaker box. The time theory does not hold water with electrical components. In my market, the cost to replace the box with a new 150 amp breaker box is anywhere from $1000 to $2500 depending upon the company and the extent of the work.

Deal Killer #2: Aluminum Wiring: The problem with aluminum wiring is that it expands and contracts more than copper wiring. So the components meant to be used with Copper wiring did not work well with Aluminum. The Aluminum would work its way loose over time and cause arcing, which lead to excessive heat, which leads to fires.

Even after the alloy was changed in Aluminum wiring, problems still persisted with the wiring.

Special outlets have to be used. These are marked CO/ALR. This means that the outlet is designed to work with either Copper or Aluminum.

“Pigtailing” the Aluminum wiring with Copper so that the Copper wiring can be attached to the outlets (remember, less expansion and contraction” is allowed by the National Electrical Code. No one is sure why. The Consumer Product Safety Commission does not see ‘pigtailing’ as a safe alternative.

Rewiring the home can be costly. The total price depends on to many variables to give you a price range here.

Deal Killer #3: Asbestos: Asbestos was used in many building materials and is still used in a very few even today.

Areas a Seller or Buyer will have to worry about it are in a few places. Pipe insulation on older heating pipes, vermiculite insulation, some paints and to a lesser extent, on roof and siding shakes.

Asbestos causes the most problem when it is in a loose state (friable) where particles can float around. We’re all aware of the health problems concerning Asbestos, so I’m not going to go into them here.

If you have Asbestos siding or roofing shakes/shingles, then there is a lesser worry because these are not friable unless broken.

Asbestos removal can be very, very costly and not likely a cost a new buyer will want to tackle shortly after moving into their new home.

Deal Killer #4: Composition Wood Siding: Some of this type of siding is known by it’s generic terms like Masonite and LP siding (there are other brands). This type of siding was (and some are still) involved in class action lawsuits.

This type of siding is basically constructed from pressed and glued wood particles, some as small as sawdust.

Some of the problems arise from poor installation techniques that allowed this siding to get wet. It would then start rotting and letting more water into the structure.

There have been many homeowners who joined the class action lawsuits, received money to replace the siding, but instead pocketed it and put their homes up for sale.

Composition wood siding companies only pay once for siding on a home. If a claim has been filed and paid out on a home, there’ll be no more money coming down the pipe for siding replacement on that particular home!

Deal Killer #5: Polybutylene (PB) plumbing lines: These are water supply lines that are grayish in color.

The problem was that this type of piping is known to burst, especially at the seams. Many of the class action lawsuits have been closed and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to receive any money for replacement if the home you are buying has PB plumbing.

Replacement cost can be in the thousands of dollars. Any good home inspector will call this out on their inspection report and likely recommend a licensed plumber to investigate. I don’t know of one reputable plumber who will recommend keeping the pipes in your home.

Granted, many of these Deal Killers only exist on older homes. However, especially in rural areas, we’ve seen these components show up on newer homes. How, I don’t know unless someone had a stockpile of these materials.

A pre-listing inspection by a reputable and qualified home inspector will bring these Deal Killers and other potential deal killing threats to you attention before listing your home. Playing ignorant about what is in your home (like some real estate agents recommend) will not save you from having to fork over some greenbacks before you home will sell.