Podcast Episode #1: How to use Web Video to Market Your Business

Web Video


On today’s podcast, we’re talking about the huge marketing opportunities that web video provides. We’ll discuss:

  • When it’s appropriate to create web videos yourself, versus when it’s time to bring in the professionals;
  • A range of simple tips to make DIY web videos more effective at marketing your business;
  • And some of the classic mistakes people make with their web videos, and how to avoid them.

You can download this podcast directly from this link, or find our Web Video Marketing Show podcast on iTunes.


Ryan Spanger: Hi, this is Ryan Spanger. Welcome to the Web Video Marketing Show. And I’m here with Steve. How are you doing, Steve?

Steve: I’m great, Ryan. I’m really excited to hear about everything that you’re going to give us with all the great information with web video.

Ryan Spanger: Well, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve been working video production for nearly 15 years now and I’ve wanted to do a podcast for a while to share some of the ideas that I’ve learned and I’m excited to be getting this off the ground.

Steve: Yes, I’m also really excited because I actually follow you on Facebook with your business and I’ve seen some of the videos that you‘ve created and I just think they’re wonderful. I think they’re visually beautiful, some of the Melbourne, specifically Melbourne videos I’ve seen you shot and share. So I’m really excited to be here, so thanks for having me.

Ryan Spanger: Thanks, Steve. So basically what we’re talking about is helping business owners to connect with their audience more effectively by using video. And video is quite a hot topic these days. It used to be a few years ago, there was this question of “Do you have a website?”, and if you don’t, there was sort of a bit of embarrassment of, well not quite, there’s one, it’s nearly done. I think it’s almost got to that point where that website thing is being ticked off but a lot of time, there’s that sense of you should have video on your websites.

Steve: Yes, and do you actually need to take it to that next level? I guess that’s probably my first question to you, Brian, is do you think your business needs a web video?

Ryan Spanger:: I think when it comes to the question of web video, sometimes people put the cart before the horse and they focus more on the fact that they want to have a video than what they actually want to communicate. To give you an example, I once had a meeting about creating a video, and I asked a question, “Well, why do you want to create a video?” And they said, “Well we’ve got this screens up on our lobby, so we feel that we should use the screens and put something on there.” While having videos in your lobby and people are passing and customers are coming through is a great way to communicate with them, it’s important to go back to that first question of firstly defining who is your audience. What do you want to communicate  to them? And what action do you want to take? So it doesn’t have to be anything too complicated but it’s important to have that initial audit of what do you want to achieve.


Steve: I think that’s great because that’s probably a foundation for most kinds of marketing, isn’t it? People think well I need a website. Well, you actually need to come up with a plan of what you’re trying to communicate through your website and video will just be an extension  of that.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s exactly right. It’s similar to other communication strategies. And most of the work for a video is done before the camera even comes out. So it’s that initial strategy meeting, that defining of your audience, defining of the message and what action you want your audience to take because that’s going to actually determine the type of video that you make. There’s so many different approaches that you can take. Now that will determine the tone, the style, the length of the video. Will it be a documentary style? Will you use actors? Will the business owner be speaking directly to the camera? That initial analysis is what’s going to decide that.


Steve: Right. And so based on your experience then, Ryan, with all of those different options in place, when do you think a web video is most helpful for a business?


Ryan Spanger:: The typical things that will help – a video’s going to help a business is with our ideas, like showing how things work. So you may have a product that you want to describe to people how it works. You can create a PDF. You can send people something in an email. Nothing’s going to demonstrate what you do better than an actual video of it, short of driving over to someone’s office and making a presentation in front of them. Video’s very powerful for that sort of thing.


Steve: Is that really kind of telling the story, visually telling the story behind the service that you’re offering.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s right. It goes back to this idea of showing, not telling. Because in business and in marketing, you can really make whatever assertion you like. You can tell people whatever you want, but they’re more inclined to believe you and trust you if you have proof. That’s basically what video is. It’s visual evidence. That’s convincing. You may talk about how the product that you have works more efficiently or works faster and you can make those assertions, but if you show people, by showing them a video of the product in action, that’s telling a story, and there, your proof is right there. You may assert in your website that your company is down to earth, is friendly, is focused on customer service. But when they watch a video of you presenting to them and sharing your story and putting your personality across, that’s far more convincing than just making those assertions in text.


Steve: Definitely, and I think telling that story and having, allowing a personality to come through will definitely make a difference. Do you have any specific examples, or say one specific example that you could share with us Ryan of one of the businesses that has created a web video who’s found a dramatic difference in actually telling their story?


Ryan Spanger:: Definitely, because these days, through the Internet, through social media, there’s far more connection between people and there seems to be more of an interest in wanting to not only know what a business’ services are but who are the people involved in the organization. Who am I going to be dealing with? One example is we’ve done a lot of work for a real estate company, where each month, they would release a new video about information and tips about the real estate market.


It might be something like how to prepare your house for a sale or what’s the difference between a spring market and a winter market, or what effect are the actions of the Reserve Bank going to have on interest rates or any useful information for people interested in buying a house. Now, the beautiful thing is that you’re making people’s lives easier by gathering information to them and sending them a weekly news update. You’re not bombarding them with promotional hardsell sort of material. You’re actually giving them something useful.


Each week or each month that you do that, you’re reminding you’re audience that you’re there, that you’re an authority on the topic and this is your area of expertise. They’re far more likely, when they are ready to purchase the service, to contact you.


Steve: It’s really about telling the story, but it’s great thinking, having that connection and being front of mind in your potential buyers’ mind, that you’re available and that you’re the personal go-to-guy for that particular service.


Ryan Spanger:: It’s a good way of being useful and staying in touch. I could ring a client and say, “Hey how are you going? I haven’t spoken to you for a while. What’s happening?” I’m not really adding that much value to them. But if I’m getting in touch and saying, “Hey, here’s something that’s right up your alley. Here’s some information that’s going to be useful for you.” That’s just going to be a much more positive interaction. Also, people are so busy these days that it’s a great way of staying in touch, and sending people something from you that they can connect and consume in their own time.


Steve: Right. Well, here’s an interesting question I guess. Is there a time when you should shoot the web video film yourself or is there a time when really you should refer that to a professional and actually have them do it? You’re a web video company or a video production company. So I imagine you’re going to say it’s always better to use a professional. But is that true in every case?


Ryan Spanger:: It’s great to work with people who know what they’re doing and can help you achieve your aims. At the same time, video has become so much a part of our life that is actually close for both. For the businesses that are involved in social media, and for most businesses are or should be, avenues like Facebook or YouTube are the perfect opportunity to create a video that doesn’t have to be completely polished, but can show a bit of your personality.


Steve: YouTube’s one of those things where I think I know for me, I was really surprised to find out just how much it’s used or they have a user base, so much so, I think I heard a statistic that it was searched more than Google recently. That’s massive


Ryan Spanger:: I think it’s pretty close to Google. It’s definitely in the top two search engines. And that’s the important thing to think about, that YouTube is not just a channel or a destination. It’s a search engine. And so people are going there to find information and if you have a video up on YouTube, you can link back to your website and that’s actually a great way to drive traffic to your website.


The other thing that YouTube has done is it’s conditioned audiences to get used to and enjoy material that might be not shot perfectly. The sound might not be perfect. It’s not shot with the best equipment in the world but as long as the information is useful and engaging, you don’t have to have the greatest production values.


The important thing to differentiate is if you’re creating a video that’s going to go on the home page of your website, you’ve probably spend a fair bit of time and money having that website looking great by working with a web design company. You’ve worked with a graphic designer to create a fantastic looking corporate ID. Now if you drop a video on there that’s shot on an iPhone and you can’t hear the sound properly and the lighting’s not great, that’s just not going to be in sync with the design style of the rest of the site. And that’s the sort of case where it’s going to reflect badly and the work of a professional production company is just going to be far more effective.


Steve: There are definite times when businesses can get away with filming it themselves, but there’s other times when you should definitely hire a professional and it’s really all in the application of where the video’s going to be seen and the context around that video I suppose.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s right. That’s right because the great thing about user-generated content, stuff that you shoot yourself, is that it has a sort of naturalness and authenticity that a professional video can’t often capture. So again, I connect that idea of showing personality. People like to do business with people that they connect with and know and have an insight into their personality and that’s a great way of doing that. Another way that companies can create their video is through screen captures. So it might be explaining something on your website or explain how a piece of software works. Often, I would rather hear from the person who designed that software who’s just doing screen capture of their screen and recording into a microphone than hearing that presented by a professional voiceover artist. Do you know what I mean?


Steve: Yes. And also perhaps not necessarily feeling like it’s a sales speech as it is more than just good information about how you can get the most out of that particular tool.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s right. And then if you’re creating a promotional video or a sales video or a training video in the same way as you go to a graphic designer for a logo design, in the same as you go to your website guys to create a website that works well, you work with the video production company.


Steve: That sounds great. We talked a bit about the need for – or doing a video bit because you think you need to do a video versus actually having a purpose in creating a strategy with the video. That would probably be one mistake, not having a strategy in mind. Can you maybe share some of the other classic kind of web video mistakes people are making or that you can see where they should have really maybe done it differently or had a different method behind it or maybe made it more professional?


Ryan Spanger:: Yes, absolutely. Well I mean the most obvious thing is poor lighting and sound. And if you had to choose between a video that was going to have either bad lighting or bad sound or if one had to be bad, let’s say, I would much rather watch a video with decent sound and poor lighting. Often, people think that the pictures are most important, but if people can’t hear you, they will just click away.


Steve: That’s interesting because I would have thought the opposite as well but it makes more sense with what you’re saying.


Ryan Spanger:: As long as the content is interesting and they can hear what you’re saying, they’re more likely to stay with you. But if they can’t hear you, forget about it. If you’re creating your own videos, make sure your sound is as good as possible. In one of the future episodes, we’ll talk about ways of doing that. The other classic mistake is to not include a call to action at the end, which is basically telling your audience what action you’d like them to take.


Steve: You said something Ryan, even in an information kind of product, you might still tell them to maybe find more information about it at the website or if they do want more information, there’s perhaps a service desk that can help you if you call this number or are you talking about specifically more sales-orientated videos?


Ryan Spanger:: Every video should have a call to action, regardless if it’s an information video or a sales video because I think if people have gone on that journey with you in watching the video, they’d like to know what they can do next.


Steve: And that’s really about the strategy that you were talking about before, isn’t it? Having making sure strategically that you’ve got a purpose for the video and then an outcome for people to follow on to.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s right. It goes back to that strategy and that’s why that part is so important. It may just be here are some other resources for you. It might be go to our website to learn more. Sign up to our newsletter. The other thing that people will often do is say go to our website or ring us or do this. It’s far more effective if you just suggest one clear action that they can take. Make sure that that action is simple. It doesn’t seem too complicated. Some other classic web video mistakes, videos that run for too long.


People have notoriously short attention spans, and in many cases, you really don’t need that long to communicate the message that you want because the job of the web video is to move people to the next thing. It might be to get them to sign up or to go to particular page on your website. Once you’ve been able to communicate that message, move on. It’s far more important to have people go on a journey with you to get to the end of the video than for them to click away halfway.


Steve: Right. So again, I suppose making sure your script is concise, gets to the point and provides that benefit to the viewer and it leads them in to that deferred information.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s right. If they leave before you get to the call to action, then they’re far less likely to take the action that you’re hoping they’re going to take and you’ll learn what your viewers are doing through analytics and video analytics is something else we’ll talk about in an upcoming episode.


One of the other classic mistakes is to create what they call radio with pictures. You’re making a video, you’re choosing the medium of video for a reason and videos are mainly about showing. If you’re not maximizing the fact that you’re using video, just create audio or just create something on a PDF. If you’re using that medium of video, then you need to maximize the fact that it’s a visual medium.


Steve: Right. I think that’s great. Were there any more kind of web video mistakes that you can think of at the moment you want to share or?


Ryan Spanger:: The last one I’ll mention is not being yourself. Sometimes people will just put an act on video or they will, there’s things that they need to present like a presenter on a travel show or something like that. And it’s really important just to be yourself and communicate your personality.


Steve: I think that’s great advice. Because I know we’ve all probably seen videos where people, just you can tell they  look uncomfortable because they’re standing there stiff as a board and they’re not relaxing. It actually, as a viewer, makes you not feel relaxed either because you feel nervous for them.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s right and actually, on one of our upcoming episodes, we’ll talk about how to present in front of the camera and how to relax in front of the camera.


Steve: I was going to say that would be something I’d be interested to hear about because you’re probably skilled standing behind the camera and helping people actually prepare, to actually learn how to relax and be comfortable. Because it is a little bit awkward standing in front of the camera I guess and feeling like you’re in the spotlight.


Ryan Spanger:: That’s right. It’s a very artificial situation. I’ve got some great tips that I’ll share on how to do that more effectively. We’re getting pretty close to the end of our first show. Just talking about in future episodes, I’d like to cover some of the things that I’ve mentioned and talk to listeners about some of the different types of videos that they can make, which are going to help them communicate their message more effectively and connect with their audience.


Steve: That’s great. Awesome, I can’t wait.


Ryan Spanger:: We’ve got things coming up like customer testimonial videos, capturing the story of your happy customers and sharing that with potential customers. That’s pretty powerful stuff. We’ll talk a bit about using video for training. We’ll talk a bit about using your videos on social sites like YouTube and Facebook and how to use that to drive traffic to your website. And as I mentioned, we’ll talk about how to put yourself in front of the camera and show your personality and share your ideas with your audience and be an authority.

Steve: Yes, that’s all great stuff. I can’t wait. I’m excited actually. There’s lot to learn.

Ryan Spanger:: All right. Awesome. Thank you. Well, if people want to learn more about sort of videos that we do, if you go over to dreamengine.com.au/resources, there’s a lot of information there about how to create your own videos, how to look at that planning stage and create your strategy.


Have a look at the resources there. Look forward to chatting to you in a couple of weeks’ time on our next episode, Steve.


Steve: That’d be great, Ryan. Thanks very much. I’m looking forward to it.


Ryan Spanger:: All right. See you later.


Steve: See you. Bye.


 Ryan Spanger


Ryan Spanger is one of Melbourne’s most respected and sought-after video production professionals. Ryan founded Dream Engine in 2001, and specializes in helping medium to large corporates, government departments, and the non-profit sector to connect with their audience by using video.

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