HOW TO: Using Video Effectively – Part I

In our last HOW TO post we talked about how to source great content for your website. Today, I want to take it a step further and talk about the power of adding video to your marketing toolkit. Because video can be a massive undertaking, I’m going to divide this post into two parts. In this first section we’ll talk about why video is important to online marketing and share some interesting ways you can use it to increase engagement with your brand. In the second part (to be published later) we’ll focus more on the technical process of creating your video.

Why Create Video?

First, lets talk about why we love video so much. I believe that video is the most personal and engaging method of communication we can offer our customers short of talking to them face to face. As human beings we get sucked into the idea of a good story and nothing helps tell that story better than an effective video segment.

Travels Easily

Video is one of the most easily shareable forms of communication on the web today. Besides the dozen of platforms that will host your videos for free, there are endless social media tools you can use to distribute links to your video content to any number of destinations. Additionally, the “embed” functionality included in most video platforms encourages enthusiasts and brand advocates to incorporate your video work into their personal blog or website content.

Google Loves YouTube

Web video can help give you an advantage in Google natural search over your competitors. Most of us understand that ranking organically for text keywords terms can be near impossible. The competition is simply too extensive in most verticals to reliably expect to land in one of the coveted ten spots on the first page of Google. But, Google has made a point to include video from YouTube in their SERPs where possible.

Take a look at a search I did for the Canon T3i DSLR camera:

The fifth and sixth results are for YouTube clips. The first video result is from CNET - a larger tech brand. The second result is from a smaller video blogger called Digital Rev TV. Creating video reviews helped each company land on the first page of search results for one of the most sought-after DSLR cameras on the market today.

There are obviously no guarantees that creating a YouTube video will land you on the first page of Google, but it will definitely help your chances. Make sure you pay special attention to your tags and create compelling keyword-rich descriptions for each video piece so that you have a better chance of being picked up by Google.

Innovating the Engagement Gap

I’m a big believer in tweaking my process in order to achieve the end results I want. Sometimes things don’t work exactly as you need them to right out of the box. You may need to innovate your workflow a bit to fill in the gaps. With video, the gap that I hear about so often is that beginning point between that initial video view and the endpoint of closing a sale, capturing a lead or extending crucial brand engagement. How do you bring a viewer further into your branded web properties?

Our team here at eBay Partner Network has started doing some interesting things with QR codes. In fact, if you were at BlogWorld Expo in New York, you may have seen our QR code business cards. For those unfamiliar, “QR” stands for “quick response” and it can be read by most smartphones.

One company I’ve noticed that’s doing really interesting things with QR codes is electronics megastore, B&H Photo:

B&H has taken steps to solve the engagement gap with video. The screenshot above is from a product demo of the Nikon CoolPics S9100 camera. A QR code is featured prominently at the beginning and end of their video. The idea is that the viewer will scan that QR code before or after watching the video review and complete the transaction on their mobile device at the B&H website. Has it boosted their sales? I bet it hasn’t hurt.

Obviously, B&H is applying QR code innovation for the improvement of their sales. Our team used it at BlogWorld as a fun way to engage with potential publishers. Can you think of ways that you could use it for your business?

Endless Possibilities

I’ve obviously only scratched the surface with the potential for video in this post. My hope is that this gets you thinking about ways you can use video to tell a better story about your brand that will ultimately lead to increased business through your eBay Partner Network channel. One note – please remember that it is against our terms of service to drive traffic directly to eBay from YouTube or any social media account. Instead, the desired lead path is to migrate users from your social media channels to your website and complete the click to eBay from your domain. This approach not only keeps things within our TOS, it also has a better chance of building a long-term supporter of your brand.

In Part II, we’ll look at how to select the right equipment for your video project and start producing content. In the meantime, I encourage you to share your own experiences in the comments.