Is Video Right for You?
Back in the 1980s, video killed the radio star. Well, at least in the opinion of the one-hit wonder band The Buggles. Fast forward a quarter century, and video is now being used by companies to create a potent and all-encompassing online presence. “Mad Men” might currently be one of the most popular television shows, but the old school ad games and marketing schemes of the past are as dusty as a 50-year-old bottle of scotch.
Or are they?
While that era had the power of billboards, newspapers and Orson Welles style radio to power their marketing campaigns, the modern e-business has simply updated those old ideas for the new millennium. When small businesses create and post videos to their websites and blogs, they are doing nothing more than employing talking billboards. It’s a retro idea refitted for the modern age.
The Talking Heads
Today, when we analyze a company’s online presence there is one keyword that grabs our attention like a Venus flytrap. That word is sticky. It’s an adjective that once implied sweat, candy, bubble gum or glue. In the world of e-business, it is what we want the viewer to do when he/she stumbles upon our website: we want them to stick around for a while. Videos are dynamic and colorful, and at times they are on the conceptual verge of being interactive. When we see a talking head engaged in a charismatic tutorial or sales promotion, we commonly will spend more time on the website.
In the end, the longer we stay on a page, the greater the chance of increasing revenues. At the same time, not every viewer is susceptible to the enchantment of these types of videos. For every viewer who sticks around to see what the talking head has to say about a company or product, there are a handful of people who immediately close the website. Videos are a double-edged sword. They can be both beneficial and risky.
Not All Videos Are Created Equal
Videos are not only believed to be a catalyst that drives traffic to a website, they are also said to create a stronger sense of brand identification. Cloud computing provider Rackspace knows this and uses their YouTube account to post videos explaining various technologies and services they offer while slipping in funny and engaging content. While videos might help with the SEO value of their site, what’s being marketed to consumers is the main focus, and provides the main benefits.
Remember MTV in the 1980s? Not every video was good, was it? For every creatively visual and interesting narrative, there was a video that depicted four guys on a stage playing guitars and looking bored. It’s the same thing with online videos. If you’re a small business trying to decide if you should post a video to your website, then there are two things you should ask yourself. First, what are you trying to market? And then, how can you make a video that’s going to make people stick around and watch?
In the end, to post or not to post a video isn’t the question. The question is actually if a video is the right idea for what you are trying to market? If the answer is yes, then get Orson Welles and Don Draper on the line and see what can be done.