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The Devil's in the Etails

By Carl Weiss

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With the price of gasoline rapidly approaching $4 per gallon, more and more people are electing to save gas and let their fingers do the shopping via online etailers.  With vendors such as eBay, PayPal and Amazon greasing the skids of online commerce, getting started with etailing couldn’t be easier.  The hard part is how do you promote your products in such a way that doesn’t break the bank?  While pay-per-click can be effective, organic results cost way less if you can generate them. For my money, one of the best secret weapons to producing organic results is online video.

Lights, Camera, Online Action

With the proliferation of tablets and mobile devices, video can mean the difference between browsing and buying.  When buying online, video can both show and tell a prospect about product features and benefits.  It can demonstrate, it can illuminate. The problem is that precious few etailers are using video to help them promote and sell.  What's worse is the fact that adding videos to your existing catalog couldn’t be easier.  Whether you use a video camera or a smartphone, creating a 30-second clip for every item in your catalog could be the best way to convert a browser to a buyer.

As for production value, while outrageous videos can draw a crowd on YouTube (think stupid pet tricks), this isn’t the best practice when trying to sell something to someone online.  Online customers want to be reassured that they are dealing with someone who is both reputable and knowledgeable.  Keep your videos simple and to the point and you will generate far more sales than by trying to be cute or funny.  Besides, there is a better way to generate a crowd.
Properly optimized online video can generate Page One Google results.  In a process known as Video Optimization, a video can be optimized just as you would a website.  Since the googlebots can’t see the contents of your video, you need to describe it in both the title and body text.  Then you need to complete the remainder of the video information in its entirety.  This means designating tags (think keywords) and your location (geo-targeting). While every one of your videos won't make it to Page One, if you produce enough of them the results could be substantial.

What’s even better about utilizing online video is that while you only need to shoot it once, you will be able to employ it in a number of different ways.  Besides embedding them on your website, you can also embed them on your blog, link them to your social networks and even include them in your printed ads and literature by simply including a QR code that you can generate online for free.

The Cutting Room Floor

That doesn't mean that you should short sheet quality in any way.  Nothing is less likely to make someone want to buy something from you than a video that is shaky, poorly lit, or has terrible audio.  Conversaly, no one is expecting Steven Spielberg either. By keeping your production values simple but focused, it is a snap to create decent video in one or two takes.  If you need to invest in illumination, you can get a decent studio light with stand for around $50.  Provided that you aren't standing outside during rush hour or in a windstorm, you shouldn't need anything more than the microphone in your smartphone. 

You needn't worry about having to be picture perfect either, since editing video is now easier than ever. When it comes to amending your clips, either use the editor on YouTube, or the one built into every computer.  They are sufficient to get the job done. For a more polished look, there are a number of low-cost editing solutions such as Pinnacle Studio that retail for about a hundred dollars.

Any way you look at it, when it comes to expanding your existing business’ reach or starting a virtual business from scratch, when it comes to online business success, the devil’s in the etails.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

Carl Weiss is President of Working the Web to Win. Since 1995, he has been helping businesses generate exposure and results online.  To see samples of his online videos, go to Jacksonville Video Productions.  

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