Not long ago, both my girls were achieving some major milestones with bulldogged determination and without as much as a hint of a hiccup. They learned to talk, walk and eat on their own all within the first 16-18 months of their lives. No, they didn't get it down the first, fifth, or maybe even 500th time they tried. Yes, they fell, they failed, and they cried. Yet, they just kept going and kept doing until one day I clearly heard the word "mommy" or saw them take their first wobbly steps.
Fast forward a couple years though and an unwanted stowaway -- frustration -- has already hopped on their milestone train. My oldest just started preschool and her latest challenge is learning to hold a pencil correctly. Unlike the infant years, she's more apt to quit after trying something once or twice rather than keeping at it until she's succeeded.
I can relate. Until recently, one of the biggest boogeymen in my business was VIDEO.
The thought of being on camera was about as appealing as swapping my cats' litter box, so naturally I kept putting it off. I wouldn't even try it and I'd tell myself I'd get by without it. But deep down I knew video was one of the not-so-secret ingredients to a successful online business, and that's because people respond more to video (i.e. moving pictures and a story) than any other type of online content.
If you're not telling your story through video, you're missing a huge opportunity to connect with the right people [Click to Tweet]. The good news is that video can bring your business to life without a big investment or tons of techie know-how.
Here’s all you need to get started:
- An easy to upload camera. Whether it’s a Flip Cam, iPad, iPhone or the camera on your computer, use something that will make it easy to record, edit and post your video online.
- An account with a video sharing site. I use YouTube, others use Vimeo. Just like everything else on the web, there are a lot of options. Do a little research to find what’s going to fit your needs. The point is, pick one that’s easy for you to upload and easy for others to view and share.
- Good sound. This can be as simple as being close enough to your video recording device or you can splurge and get a good microphone. Either way, sound quality is far more critical than the picture.
You might be thinking, “Great, I’ve already got what it takes to make a video, but what the heck should my video be about?” Excellent question, and here are a few ideas:
- Your Story. When you go to someone’s website, would you rather read their story or watch them tell it? Your website is working for you all the time, and using video on it is almost as good as being in person. When you tell your story on your website, you leverage your time and reach thousands (or more) people at once. Tory Johnson, owner of two million-dollar businesses and Good Morning America contributor, tells her captivating story about health and wealth here.
- Your Opt-in. Offering your website visitors a free gift is a great way to start building a warm following. The downside? Everyone is offering something for nothing. Even if you’ve got an irresistible title and stellar content, it’s getting harder to get people’s attention. Record a short video that speaks to what your audience wants and how you’re going to meet that desire. You’ll grab their attention and instantly start building trust and credibility (See how I do it here).
- Your customers' biggest questions. Do you find yourself answering the same questions over and over? That’s a clue to use video to answer those common questions in a memorable way. You’ll also demonstrate your knowledge and position yourself as an expert.
- Your solution. Many product-based businesses use video to sell their products (um, there's a whole media industry based on this right QVC & HSN?). Even if you don't sell physical products, you can talk about a solution you provide based on your expertise, a specific client problem and the way you uniquely approach and help solve that problem for your audience. My client Peg Kusner of Peg Kusner Design uses this beautiful, personal video on her sales page for Beyond Your Kitchen Table, a course for business owners and professionals who work from home and want to design their own workspace.
- Your best customers. Testimonials are gold and video testimonials are platinum. Encourage your best customers to provide their testimonials on video, or better yet, interview them about their business, the challenges they were facing, why they chose your solution and the results they reaped by working with you (Check out how Chick-fil-a does it here).
I love the written word, and maybe that’s why I was so resistant to video at first, but the fact is video inspires people to take action more than text. Most website visits last a matter of seconds, but a good video can hold people’s attention for precious minutes.
Feeling inspired to try video? Leave a link to your video in the comments below so I can give you some feedback.