The days of selling with online video have finally arrived. But with so many merchants new to the world of video and so many options for choosing the right creative format, it can be difficult to scale a video initiative that moves products off the shelves.
Hence, I thought a simple “cheat sheet” would be appreciated. Follow these 10 tips to ensure your video program produces results, not just views.
1. Shorter is usually better
My company recently completed a study of 1,500 product videos across 25 retail sites to study conversion rate by video length. The best performing group of videos were 30 seconds or less. Videos longer than three minutes were the worst performers.
While many products may warrant videos longer than 30 seconds, avoid rambling while on camera at all costs. Say only what is necessary to achieve the goal of persuading the shopper to buy the product (from your storefront) or take further action – no more.
2. Tell the shopper what to do
Videos that tell shoppers what to do or where to go perform better than videos that do not. Did you ever wonder why so many television informercials have an announcer repeat the call to action, “Call Now?”
The same concept applies to e-commerce videos. For videos on pages other than product pages, include a link within the video to drive traffic to the product page, and highlight the link with clear text like “Click to buy this product” or “Learn More.”
3. Produce a level of quality consistent with your brand
As with any endeavor, it is possible to spend an arm and a leg on video, or it is possible to spend next to nothing. If your brand requires high production values, make sure the investment corresponds. If your brand can get away with lower production values (most can, so think hard about whether you really need that $10,000 camera), you will save a lot of money by purchasing lower end gear. A complete basic studio setup capable of delivering semi-professional quality content can be had for under $5,000.
4. Use a professional microphone
Nothing ruins a good video faster than bad audio. Consider using a professional grade Sennheiser wireless lavalier or other brand-name microphone if you will have a host on-camera to minimize the pickup of ambient noises from HVAC systems or other background sounds.
Never use the built-in microphone on the video camera; the audio will sound muddy while these microphones are excellent at picking up ambient noise that will distract the viewer from your message.
5. Don’t be shy
If your brand is not identified somehow in the video, how will shoppers know who you are? A simple two or three second introductory bumper graphic showing your company’s logo can go a long way. Likewise, including a light watermark of your company’s logo on the video will help video viewers off your site know who you are. Finally, if your videos have an on-camera host, make sure the host identifies your company in the shot.
6. Be authentic
We live in an age of hyper-information and mass commercialism. Against this backdrop, people crave authenticity; the brands that build trust with their customers are the ones that win. Remember this old saying and apply it to your videos, “No one likes to be sold. Everyone likes to buy.” If your staff is knowledgeable about your products, consider using them on camera. A minor flub here or there is often easily forgiven if the presenter delivers an authentic message.
7. Show the product
This may seem like a silly tip, but it’s often overlooked. Shoppers are shopping; they want to see a product in the shot. Use the product, handle the product; discuss the product. Show the product. If you offer a service or an abstract/experiential product, show the benefits the product will provide.
8. Use background music
Choosing the right music sets the mood for buying. That is why brick and mortar retailers spend big bucks on Muzak. Choose music for your e-commerce videos that supports a buying mood. Just remember: no one is watching your video to listen to a rock concert (unless you’re a rock band selling an album). There is such a thing as “too much” when it comes to background music.
9. Templatize your process
Simpler production processes are easier to scale. Consider using one camera setups as opposed to two; shoot fewer segments for each video; have products readily on-hand for any on-screen talent; upload files directly to post-production software, or use software that automates some of the post-production for you by automatically adding intros/outros, stitches segments together, etc.
10. Light right
Professional videographers tell newbies that lighting is one of the hardest elements to perfect with video. If shooting at an indoor studio, ensure your subject is well-lit. If you are using a backdrop, ensure it is evenly lit. Shadows in your video can make a perfectly good video look amateurish at best, or cause your shoppers to leave with a negative impression of your content at worst.