Nearly 80 percent of U.S. Internet users spent roughly 5 hours watching videos in December 2008, with an average view time of 3.2 minutes per video, according to a study by comScore.
Here are four ways your ecommerce business can use video to engage your visitors and increase sales, no matter what business you are in or what type of prospects visit your website.
1. Solve a Problem
Create a video that addresses or solves your prospect's problem. That is, after all, the point of your business, helping people solve problems. The video doesn’t have to be an Oscar winner - just clear and concise. Use pictures, charts and examples to tell a story. A web cam and screen capture products like Camtasia make it easy to create a movie without a Hollywood budget.
Start with a simple voice-over and add a PowerPoint-type of slide show. Stay focused on helping your visitors without overly selling, and encourage them to request, say, a free report or call you with more questions.
2. Become Human
Use video to put a human face to your company; let buyers “meet” the people they will be working with. This technique is effective for service providers and for merchants selling high-ticket items. Let your visitors experience “you” so they can get a first-hand feel for your unique brand of customer service. There is a reason why dating services use video: People want to get to know you before they start to work with you.
One fitness company, a former client, created a “meet your trainer” page with great results. Clients could click on the image of each trainer and see credentials, read his or her blog and watch an informal video where each personal trainer talked about his or her unique style of training. Clients enjoyed it and personal training appointments increased dramatically.
3. Consider Demonstration Videos
Create videos that demonstrate your product in action. Since you cannot physically place the item in your prospects' hands, let them see it in action. Better yet, get customers to send in own their video demonstrations of your product.
Don’t wait to make this a huge production before you add this to your site. Simple can be effective too. If your product doesn’t lend itself to filming (like a service or system) try videoing customer testimonials, describing before and after experiences. Make short 30 second, 360 degree films of products or 2-3 minute “how to use” videos and add these to your product descriptions. You will see the return in more sales and fewer page bounces.
4. Show Visitors that You Care
Make a video about a community project that matters to you. Create a short film or slide show showing your businesses' involvement with charities or sponsored events. If your business sponsors a soccer team, or volunteers at Habitat for Humanity, create a short video about why it is important for your business to become involved with people in your town. Remember consumers buy from people, not computers.
Note that the key to successfully using video online is not doing wacky stunts or whiz-bang effects – it is your ability to become more personable, helpful or relevant to your visitor. The idea is really quite simple; use video to replicate how you interact with live customers. The advantage is that this “customer service helper” works 24 hours a day. Don’t try to replace human contact (think about customer assistance telephone systems to do that) but rather use video as an intermediary that encourages visitors to engage with your website and therefore your business.