We work with many small businesses and sole proprietors in helping them market themselves, mainly on the Web. It’s interesting to see the variety of comfort levels with different ideas, such as use of social media, newsletters, blogs, and even having a photo of themselves on their website. While some clients are up for any marketing advantage they can get, others are very shy and uncomfortable with “being out there.” The thought of having their photo on their site is very distressing. Many (dare I say, most?) of us are very self-critical and feel quite unnerved by the notion of others analyzing the way we look. Though there may be people who do that, most people don’t have the time or energy. They’re too focused on themselves!
If you don’t already have your photo on your website, I strongly recommend that you add it. It gives that personal touch and makes your site visitors feel connected to you, as opposed to just reading stuff on a non-human screen. Get a professional shot taken, so that you look, well, professional, not just a nice shot that your friend took of you in the garden. Trust me, the slight discomfort you’ll feel at being “exposed” will be far outweighed by the benefits of your potential clients seeing a friendly face that gives them a sense of ease.
But what about taking it to the next level? Yes, as the title of this post suggests: video. Are you feeling really uncomfortable now? Thought so…
Not for you?
Before you write off the idea completely as something that’s just not for you, let the concept sink in for a little while. You might not be ready to “take the plunge” right away, but let the thought percolate and, eventually, you might feel up for it. Sometimes that just happens. Years ago, it was suggested to me that I pose for a local charity calendar – shirt off. (For those of you that didn’t check my name at the top or bio at the bottom of this post, I am male!) Needless to say, being pretty shy myself, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea. But I knew it was for a great cause and that it may help market my business. Well, a few weeks later, on the spur of the moment (or so it seemed), I said to my wife, “Let’s do this.” And we did. And I didn’t regret it.
Same sort of story with my wife, herself. She is a psychotherapist here in Victoria, who does a great job of marketing herself (not to mention that she knows a decent web designer 🙂 ). She never had a problem having her photo or personal stories on her website. But when we talked about her doing an introductory video, it took a while for her to warm up to that idea. Eventually, though, she did and, after several scripts and takes and re-takes, we got a pretty good end result. Could it be better? Maybe. But the point is, so many of her new clients say that they watched it and felt like they truly got to know her. That is huge for a therapist, in particular, with whom people share their innermost feelings and confidence. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a 90-second video… let’s see, at 30 frames per second, if my math is correct, comes out to 2.7 million words. Not including the ones spoken on the video. Pretty good, don’t you think?
Now, of course, video isn’t just for healing professionals. If you have a product to sell or demonstrate, video can be an extremely effective tool. Same goes for a service for which a demonstration can provide a wealth of information to the viewer. Not long ago, I shot and edited a video for a local yoga studio, which is used on and off their website for promotional purposes. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Reasons to use video on your website
While you’re ruminating as to whether you could or should add a video to your website, consider the following advantages:
- Most people are lazy and/or don’t have a lot of time to read. If they can sit and watch a short video and get the message without much effort, they will.
- Video is actually two additional methods to communicate with people above the printed word: visually and audibly. Until taste, smell, and touch make it to the Web, these two are a big advantage over text alone.
- Video can be shared. Post it on YouTube (which is a great, free option) and people can watch it not only directly on your website, but on YouTube itself and then share it with their friends, which gets your message out to an even bigger audience.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). Videos show up in Google searches, so can be another “in” to your website.
- You can show your personality, enthusiasm, and passion. Typed text can only convey so much feeling, but people can really tell what you (or your product or service) is about by watching and listening to you.
- As long as you don’t auto-start the video (don’t auto-start your video!), it’s “on demand,” meaning the visitor decides whether they want to watch it or not. So, as long as you’re not being overly “salesy” in your video, you’re not pushing anything on them.
- It can save you time. If your video is meant to introduce you to potential clients, you’ll have to spend less (if any) time selling yourself to them when they do contact you. Often they’re already “sold” on you. Or, if you’re doing a how-to video, it can save you time answering phone calls and emails on how something works. Win-win.
- Stand out from your competition. Most of your competitors do not have videos on their sites. So even doing a pretty good job on one will give you a leg up on them.
Think about it
All I’m asking is that you not dismiss the idea of putting a video on your website. Give it some thought. Let the idea simmer for a while and when you do feel ready, hire a professional (or, yes, even a friend who really does know what they’re doing with a camera and editing software), go for it. You won’t be sorry!