From the Summer 2009 issue of our newsletter, Let's Grow. For a FREE subscription, CLICK HERE.

Growing Your Business With Online Video

In January of this year, 76.8% of the U.S. Internet audience spent an average of 5 hours, 56 minutes each watching videos online. At an average length of 3.5 minutes per video, that’s 101 videos per person, a number that’s skyrocketing yearly.

While much of this is entertainment viewing, video has come into its own as a marketing tool. The widespread use of broadband Internet access coupled with an explosion in video sharing sites has made video marketing an affordable tool for reaching new prospects and connecting with web site visitors. Here are some tips on making the most of this powerful medium.

What’s Effective

Gardening lends itself to a wealth of educational videos, such as how to grow onions, how to design a container garden, or how to choose the best flowers for a cutting garden. Make sure your content is helpful, not self-serving.

Case histories and testimonials are another good use of video. They’re far more believable and engaging that a written testimonial.

Video can also be put a personal face on your company by giving customers a behind-the-scenes peek at your farm, nursery or other business.

Keep It Short

Aim for one to three minutes, and let viewers know ahead of time how long the video is. If you need more time, divide your content into multiple videos and link one to another.

Make It Authentic

Slick, high budgets productions aren’t required and can even be detrimental. Clear, straightforward explanations are all that’s necessary. Just make sure that whoever is on camera speaks clearly, with enthusiasm, and doesn’t have the personality of a rock.

Keep It Simple

Don’t try to do too much in one video. Focus on a single message. If you have more to say, divide up your content and make another video.

Use Text Too

Briefly describe your video content in a headline, caption and/or short paragraph adjacent to the video launch screen. The text should entice visitors to view the video.

Superimposing brief captions on the video also helps focus viewers’ attention on key points.

Include a Call to Action

Always include a call to action, even in an informational video. Invite viewers to have a look at products that relate to the video topic. And don’t forget to include your URL for videos that are not hosted on your own site.

Where to Use It

Put all important video on your site "above the fold" where viewers can see it without scrolling.  Accompany it with a text description and a call to action such as "Watch this two-minute video on how to compost."

Videos can also be included in enewsletters or email promotions, or advertised in pay-per-click campaigns that link to them.

And of course, there’s a wealth of video sharing sites where you can upload your videos. In addition to YouTube, take a look at eHow, Howcast, Google Video and Blinkx, among others.

Why Wait?

Inexpensive to produce and distribute, online video is one of the most powerful marketing tools to come along in a long time. And now when shrinking marketing budgets are intersecting with rising costs in almost all other media, it hasn’t arrived a moment too soon.



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Helpful Articles

For helpful how-to articles from past issues of Let’s Grow, our newsletter of marketing insights for the garden industry, click on the links below.