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posted: 6/11/2012 6:30 AM

YouTube videos can help small businesses sell

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Should your business be on YouTube? You bet. Or so says Mark Goodman, CEO at Northbrook's e-Conversation Solutions Inc.

Mind, Goodman's company produces web-friendly videos and helps local businesses create YouTube channels, so he comes with some prejudice. Goodman also comes with a good track record, however.

"YouTube? Yes, for two reasons," he says. "In number of visits, YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. And video is 53 times more likely to get you on page one of a search.

"In fact, it's the only way to get a picture on a Google search page," he said.

Interested? Video can be a powerful sales tool, but, Goodman says, video works best as part of an integrated marketing plan.

For example, your video should have multiple uses, both to spread the cost -- which can be as low as $2,000 for a package that includes creating a YouTube channel -- and to make your video a more effective tool. The benefit of your own YouTube channel, which is fairly simple to create, is that only you can post videos there. A visitor to your channel then is exposed to each video you produce, information about your business conveniently in one place on the Internet.

A link to your video in your e-newsletter and in the signature block on every email you send will help get people to your message. So will a printed link in a traditional hard-copy business letter. Sending your YouTube link to prospects as an introduction may enhance a first sales call.

Goodman says YouTube links display nicely on Facebook and LinkedIn. And, of course, the video will be on your website, too.

That's e-marketing. The challenge is to produce an effective video.

"First impressions are lasting ones," Goodman says. "If you come across as an expert, the video enhances your company and its situation." That first impression can be a drawback, however, if your video fails to showcase your business effectively.

"People want to know what makes you different," Goodman says. "My model is to look at the questions prospects are asking, then answer them." Goodman's setting simulates a news-talk show intended to feature you, as the company leader, as an expert.

There's considerable prep work, but the shoot is generally a 30-40 minute interview edited to a series of questions and answers, each a separate video. In effect, Goodman plays the role of the prospect; his job is to pull out the content the viewer wants.

Goodman is not the only video provider, and there are other approaches: You standing at a key piece of equipment, discussing your company's capabilities; a client extolling experiences with your company; your voice over a showing of samples.

Two things matter: A professional presentation and content that answers the questions prospective clients ask.

• Jim Kendall welcomes comments at 2012 121 Marketing Resources Inc.

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