Join Lou Bortone for this edition of The Sustainable Business. Lou is going to help us understand why video has become really hot and why you need to have video on your website.
Your customers are watching video and if they’re not watching it on your site, they’re watching it someplace else. Join me s we learn from one of the true masters of video marketing on why you’re missing the boat if you’re not marketing your business with video.
You can find out more about Lou by going to www.loubortone.com.
Narrator: Welcome to the Sustainable Business Radio Show on podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. The Sustainable Business is all about creating great outcomes.
Here’s your host, certified financial planner, student, entrepreneur and private business expert, Josh Patrick.
Josh: Today’s podcast features Lou Bortone. Lou is one of the experts in the country in knowing how video can and should be used in your marketing efforts. I found that Lou’s advice is really down to earth with ideas that you can actually understand. We’re going to visit with Lou and find out why you’ll want to have video be part of your marketing efforts. We’re also going to learn some of the do’s and don’ts in putting together a high impact video program. Let’s get right to it and find out what we need to do.
Hi Lou, how are you today?
Lou: Hey Josh, how are you doing?
Josh: I’m doing great. This is our second time we’ve talked today, isn’t it?
Josh: Let’s start with what I would consider a really basic and maybe even dumb question but why video in the first place?
Lou: No, it’s a good question actually. Video has really become the way the world is moving. I mean, so many folks now using online video as a way to share and communicate and sell. And, you know, YouTube is obviously hugely influential and the second largest search engine and is no longer just the domain of teenagers and piano-playing cats but also major brands and small businesses alike, so it really has become mainstream. And again, video is just such a powerful way to share information and to really communicate, sell, and share – the whole deal.
Josh: Would you consider video a crucial part of marketing or just a nice too or important?
Lou: It used to be a nice to have like when websites first came out, when like websites were nice to have. And now, they’re a must-have. It’s really the same with video. I mean, in this stage in the game, to remain competitive, it’s a must-have on your website. If you go to a website and there’s no video whatsoever you’re sort of looking a bit antiquated. So, again, it’s a matter of making the business look professional, up to date and not antiquated. It’s just such a powerful tool. I mean, I was looking at some of the statistics are really incredible, the one that kind of pops out to me here is that 89 million people in the United States are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos today and tomorrow and next day so.
Josh: Holy mackerel, wow!
Lou: So it becomes such a huge mainstream and it used to be old like we’re talking about, “Oh look, there’s a dog skateboarding.” Now, it’s luxury car brands and you can really find anything on YouTube and in the other online platforms.
Josh: What are the rules that you think are the most important as I’m thinking about doing a video campaign?
Lou: The main thing really to start with Josh is to make sure that you’ve got a strategy set up. A lot of folks come to me, they say, “I really need to be doing video. I want to get some video on my website.” And when you ask them why? It’s “Well, I just assumed that I should be doing it and everybody else is doing it.”
The real reason is “What are your business goals and how can video get you there faster?” So, for instance, if your goal obviously is to sell more stuff and people buy from people that they “know, like and trust.” Video can go a very long way in building that “know, like, and trust.” And as such, video can actually accelerate the sales process. It can get you to the sale a lot faster than the old traditional, “I think I’m going to do blog posts and catalogues and brochures.” Video is so immediate and engaging that it can accelerate the sales process.
Josh: So how does video help people gain trust?
Lou: Because video is so personal. I mean, we’ve all kind of grown up in the TV generation where we’re just used to seeing people on TV and we may feel like we know the newscaster or TV stars because we see them every night coming through our TV. It’s really the same with video. It’s a very dynamic, engaging medium and a very familiar medium. So it builds that trust because you’re getting to see the person on the website. If you go to the website and, for instance, if they’ve a welcome video and it says, “Hey, Hi I’m Lou Bortone and I help small businesses with video marketing.” Maybe I’m giving them some tips. Maybe I’m giving them some value. So, all along the way, they’ll then trust and becoming come kind of a trusted partner and advisor to them. And really, anyone can do that. As you start to see people on video even if it is just sort of a casual low-tech online video, you’re still building that connection and that engagement. I mean, the connection part is just so important because it really is the next best thing to being there.
Josh: You just brought a really interesting question, at least for me, how important are production values?
Lou: That’s a good question. I usually sort of divide videos into two camps. One is the video that’s more of a branding video, that’s going to have some shelf life. Maybe it’s going to be on your site for quite a while like the video that you have on your homepage. And the other is soft of the on-the-fly, in-the-moment video.
And that’s why I divide them into two camps because the production values depend on the type of video you’re creating. So if you’re creating a sales video for your web page and it’s going to be there for a while and it’s going to represent your brand, obviously you want that to be as professional as possible and look as good as possible. If you’re at a conference or a convention and you run into somebody and you want to get a testimonial for them and it’s a little noisy or whatever, that’s really about more being in the moment. You can shoot it your iPhone, or your iPad, or your smart phone. It’s really more about the content and about this sort of on-the-fly aspect of it and that obviously you can get away with much less production value because it’s more about being in the moment.
Josh: So, you’ve convinced me that I should be doing video and I was probably convinced before we even started talking today. What’s it going to cost me?
Lou: That’s another good question. Really, the truth is you can really start if you’ve got a smart phone or an iPhone that the video quality is remarkably good. All you really need is an idea and internet connection and something to shoot with. I always say when people ask me what camera should I use, I say use the one that you have with you which is more than likely your smart phone or your mobile device.
You can really start with that little equipment, I mean basically just a phone. And amazingly if you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad, you can shoot, edit and upload video without ever going to a computer. So, technically, you really don’t need any budget at all. But if you really want to sort of commit to it and do it right and maybe do a regular video series or a video podcast, you probably want a decent web cam. In my case, I use the camera that’s part of my computer because many desktops and laptops have cameras built into them now. And then maybe just a USB microphone that connects right to your computer. That’s what I use 90% of the time. I just have a $50—it’s called a blue snowball microphone.
So, again, the setup costs are minimal and you can sort of grow as you develop. You may decide later on, “Ooh, I want to edit this video. I’m going to buy some editing software.” Or you might want to get some lighting to improve the lighting in my office or wherever I’m shooting this video. But you can really start at ground zero and kind of build as you go.
Josh: So, if I was going to get a professionally-done video [inaudible 00:07:09] evergreen that lives on my website for a long time. How would you recommend I go about that? What do you think it might cost me?
Lou: Sure. A lot of folks, what they want to do with that type of video – again, where it could be the customer’s first exposure to your company or to your brand – they land on your web page and they see a video. Many times, I’ll recommend that that be the face of the company whether it’s the chairman or the CEO or whoever it might be in the company that provides that sort of welcome video. And often times you can shoot that footage yourself and send it to an editor to get it cleaned up and make it look more professional for a few hundred dollars. Or you can have a professional videographer come in, shoot it for you and make sure that they take care of all the lights and sounds and all that kind of good stuff.
But again, a lot of that does go back to the goal in having a script, a storyboard and a concept before you just say, “Hey, I’m going to fire up the web cam and start talking.” And once you’ve got that, again, you can either sort of take the do-it-yourself route which can be very inexpensive but maybe not the end result that you want or you can hire a videographer/an editor to come in and shoot it for you and typically you can do that for, in these days, under $1,000.
Josh: So, you just used two terms which I think our listeners may or may not know which is a script and a storyboard.
Josh: What are they? Why are they important?
Lou: Right, good question. Again, as you’re creating your video, if you go in and you say, ”Okay, the goal of this video is to introduce our company or our brand to customers who may not have seen us before, so they’re coming to our website for the first time and we want to welcome them.” So now that you’ve got the goal, the goal of your video is basically an introduction video. It may be an invitation to learn more about the company, you want to think about scripting that. What does that video have to say? What does it have to include?
You can do a formal written script like they do in the TV and movie business or you can just have bullet points that you want to deliver a little bit more casually. But either way, you do want to have your script and basically your guide to what you’re going to say in that video. Going one step further, if you’re working with a videographer, you may decide that you want a storyboard which is essentially just a grid or a guide of what shots are going to be included in this video. So maybe you start with a long shot, and then you have a close up, and maybe there’s another shot of the company logo, a building or something. So, all of those shots make up the story board. And the story board helps the video editor and producer kind of put the story together and make sure that it’s a cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end because really every video is kind of like a mini story.
Josh: It sounds like before you even think about doing a video, you better spend some time planning out what you want the video to be. Speaking of that, the campaign, do you do a full campaign or do you just shoot a video and see what happens?
Lou: I guess, some of it comes back to the strategy. And you really should think of it in terms of a full campaign and think of it in terms of your marketing initiatives. What I often advise clients to do or small companies is look at their overall marketing goals and their marketing plan for the year and then see how you can integrate video into that plan rather than just using it as a one offer, an add-on or “Hey, we should be doing some video.” Really think about “Okay, what are our first quarter initiatives? Where can video help us deliver that message or deliver that story?”
So, a lot of that really does depend on putting it into your existing marketing plans and not just thinking it as a one and done. So, with that being said, if you do plan a full campaign, you may start with a welcome video for your website. Then you may decide to do a tips series which can be very effective in building trust and credibility. Maybe you’re doing a series of two or three-minute videos, five to ten videos on a particular topic, whether it’s tax-saving tips or hiring or HR or whatever it may be you can record that tips series as part of your overall campaign. And then maybe another initiative is “Hey, we’ve got a big sales drive coming up for fourth quarter, let’s make sure that we do our videos for that so that it can help us along the way.”
Josh: So, when people start down the road of video, what are some of the biggest mistakes you see folks make that you would wish they didn’t do?
Lou: Well, one of the big mistakes is when folks are doing videos, they get caught up in the technology and forget the story telling aspect. I’m from this school of “start with the story and start with the goals.” I always say “goals over gadgets.” The technical stuff can be either taken care of fairly easily or outsorced but the story has got to be there first, or the script and what you’re saying in the video is a lot more important than the technology. I see people get tripped up by technology and focusing too much on the gadgets and cameras and websites and kind of losing the message in the process.
Another big mistake folks make with video is, a lot of times they just forget to include a call to action at the end of the video. It’s really very important for any marketing but particularly for video to include a very clear, specific, compelling call to action at the end. What do you want the viewer to do when they watch that video and how are you going to incent them to do it?
Josh: That’s’ something I think many of us forget a lot of. My experience or thought about videos, it seems like it’s going to take me a zillion hours which I don’t have and I don’t want to do that. And then I start thinking about outsourcing and my head hurts because I’ve no idea how to hire the right person. Do you have any tips there?
Lou: Sure. Again, there are some videos that are going to be more advantage to kind of do it yourself and just kind of get it done. And again, those are the kinds where the content is often times more important than the quality especially for something like a tips series where maybe you don’t have to outsource it. If you’re just sitting in front of your computer with your web cam and you decide you’re going to do a series of helpful tips or a frequently asked questions-kind of video, you really can do that without a lot of fuss and without a lot of technology. So, there are some stuff that you don’t necessarily need to outsource and maybe won’t take as long as you think it will.
Again, a lot of that comes down to preparation. The more preparation you do, the less production you’ll have to worry about later on. And really the example of that is, if you go in without a good script, and without rehearsing, and without knowing what you want to accomplish, you may end up with 38 takes. And then you’d say, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do with all this footage? I’ve got to sort through it and see what works and what doesn’t. Whereas if you come in and you’re organized and you have your script and you’ve thought it out and you’ve done some practice takes, you may be able to do that in two or three time and just pick the best take and run with it.
So, again, not absolutely necessary to outsource but if you decide to go in that direction, you can easily find videographers. Even, I’ve had some luck even with Fiverr, believe it or not, which is the website that will find folks to do things for you for about $5, sometimes it’s more. That’s FIVERR.com. So, remarkably, say you wanted a quick little introduction with your logo coming in and spinning and animating and all that, there are even people on Fiverr that will do that for you. It’s amazing how much the technology has kind of gotten easier and more mainstream and more accessible so that there are now so many people doing it.
Josh: What would you think are the two or three most important tips that our listeners should pay attention to?
Lou: I think when it comes to video, again, it’s thinking of it in terms of a bigger marketing strategy and where that fits into your marketing strategy. Also, when I talk to my clients, I try and help them what I call find their sweet spot – their video sweet spot. And what that is, there are going to be folks who are very good on camera and there are going to be folks who are less comfortable on camera. So you really have to find what is your video sweet spot? What kind of videos do you like to do so that it’s going to be easier for you to do and you’re going to do it more consistently.
So, again, for some people they have no problem kind of firing up the web cam and talking and being on camera. For other folks, they may find that it’s easier for them to deliver their message or teach through power point videos or through some kind of screen capture which is what I like to do. I often times will share my videos via power point on a webinar. So that may be my sweet spot. For somebody else, it may be just a regular on camera head and shoulders kind of video. So, it’s really important to find that sweet spot and what platform you want to use because that’s going to help you be more consistent. If you’re doing the type of video that works for you and that is successful for you you’re going obviously do a lot more of it.
Josh: We need to make sure the people know how to contact you because I certainly can’t help here but I think you can. So, how do we find you?
Lou: Sure. You can find more information on my website which is loubortone.com. Or I still, believe it or not, answer all my own e-mail at email@example.com. So, feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions and hopefully I can point you in the right direction.
Josh: Well, Lou, this has been really illuminating. I thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us today. Thank you for your time. And we’ll speak soon, I hope.
Lou: My pleasure. Thanks, Josh.
Josh: You’ve been listening to the Sustainable Business Podcast where we talk about what you need to do with your business if it was to be here 100 years from now. If you like what you heard and want more information, please contact me at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2 or visit us on our website at www.stage2solution.com or you can send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is Josh Patrick. Thanks for listening. I hope to see you soon for another edition of The Sustainable Business.