Not a lot of small ecommerce sites use video yet. It’s a shame, because video has promoted sales for larger retailers, and bloggers big and small already know the draw of video-based content. Videos can engage customers, drive additional traffic from other channels, and even boost your SEO rankings. It’s also easy to make – you don’t have to have professionally-produced videos, just professional content. All you need is a digital video camera, a video editing software package, and the time and patience to produce the video.
Videos engage customers by giving them something new to “do” on your website. People are different – some (like me) prefer to read text and look at pictures, but others like the more real-world feel of a video that shows people using or demonstrating the product. Zappos.com is one of my favorite sites because of the way they accomplish this well. The videos are simple, with an employee demonstrating the features of the product (shot against a white wall background), but they are very engaging because they get to the point. Take a look at almost any product on the site, such as this Tyler Rodan bag, and click the “LARGER IMAGE & ADDITIONAL VIEWS” link to see the product video.
Driving Customers from New Channels
Videos can also be distributed to other channels on the web and used to drive new customers. Creating a YouTube channel for your videos will help define your brand, and as your channel gains subscribers, you’ll get more visibility to your channel and eventually to your own website. Facebook is another great place to publish videos, especially if you already have a fan page. Facebook makes it easy to upload videos from your computer in both regular and HD formats.
The SEO Benefit
How are videos good for SEO? The main reason is that they lower your bounce rate and increase the time a visitor spends on your website. If Google notices someone search for “widgets”, click to your site, and immediate come back to “Google” and search again for “widgets”, it contributes to LOWERING your site’s ability to rank well for the term “widgets”. A video entices the visitor to spend more time on your site. So even if they do leave without seeing another page, they don’t do it quite so quickly.
One of the challenges you might face is what to shoot a video about.
We’ve already discussed how Zappos uses videos to demonstrate the features of its products. SimplyPiste is another example of a company filming a person showing the features of the products. Another example is Fat Brain Toys, who includes both a product demonstration and a ABC News coverage video for their product Reptangles.
OK, not to beat a dead horse or anything, but Zappos also has a great YouTube channel where, instead of product videos, they show humorous videos that bring their unique corporate culture to the eyes of millions. Titles range from “FUNNY JUSTIN BIEBER PARODY!!!” to “Beard Gang!!! VERY FUNNY!”. But in addition to the funny videos, they also have clips from the Rachael Ray show and CBS Sunday Morning when they had coverage of Zappos.
Wacky and Weird
BlendTec is infamous for the way it has driven traffic to its store from a second website called Will It Blend? BlendTec bought a domain name and a bunch of stuff you don’t normally put into a blender, and created videos of employees testing whether these items could be blended in a BlendTec blender. They’ve blended everything from the dreaded Vuvuzela to an (at the time) hard-to-get iPad. The videos are crazy and entertaining, and BlendTec has gotten a ton of press coverage for their antics.