We know video is almost a must nowadays. Somehow photos just don’t have the same impact, and consumers are expecting video on any site including construction, remodeling and clean tech sites. So how can you go wrong with video?! Let’s take a look at some of the sites that make a few mistakes we can learn from. The purpose is not to point fingers but to use these sites as examples to improve your own company videos.
I find that sometimes I learn more from bad examples, or examples where I can see some imperfections. When everything is done right it looks so natural that you take it for granted and you don’t even know why something works. The moment something is off the brain starts paying attention. And that’s what we need – paying attention and remembering, so we can avoid the same mistakes.
Once again I apologize for putting these companies on the spot, but it should benefit everyone to review their sites and see what they are not quite doing right when it comes to using video.
I have picked 3 sites to look at today. They have to do with construction/remodeling, clean tech/emerging technologies. The first one is www.gbkremodeling.com.
One thing GBK Remodeling is doing right is displaying videos right on the homepage where they are very easy to find. But let’s look at the videos themselves.
GBK Remodeling has chosen to use testimonial videos on their site. I looked at the first three and did not find them effective. It looked to me like people were not very comfortable being on camera, which is understandable because they are actually real people, and you want real people… However, because they feel awkward being on camera it comes across as being forced. Take a look at this testimonial and see if you agree with me. The person is so uncomfortable being put on the spot in front of the camera that it looks like she was forced to do it! This is never a good thing in a testimonial… Just to be fair – I can completely relate to it, being not comfortable in front of the camera myself. Still, it was the choice that GBK Remodeling had to make, and they chose to display this video, which I would have advised against.
It is very hard to use real people on camera, and if you cannot do it right, it is better to have a photo and a short written testimonial. Another way to approach it is to have the real homeowner on camera but have them simply introduce themselves. Something like “Hi, I am Jim Jones, and here is my newly remodeled bathroom”, then have another person do a walk-through -someone who feels comfortable being on camera and can explain what was done in this particular remodel, what were the objectives, how everything was accomplished, etc. Having the homeowner on camera will give the video the same credibility, but it will be a better video, and it will help better communicate the message that this a great company that people feel proud to recommend.
Now let’s look at a different problem. This one has to do with organizing your video content. In this case I would like to use http://envisionsolar.com as an example. You can access their videos by clicking on Videos Tab in the navigation bar. Again, they make it very easy to access their videos, which is always a great plus. The first 2 videos on the page are animations for the proposed structures – “Shopping Center Proposal” and “Proposal for Dallas Cowboys Stadium”. The first videos has some nice background music, the second one is completely silent, which I found not very effective – it makes it hard to get through the video. Here are the videos:
I wish both videos had some narration to help me stay engaged. However, that’s not the point I want to make. The point is that after watching these 2 videos I am convinced that the company only has proposals for future constructions, which makes me think that they only have a prototype, not the finished product. But that is not the case at all – Envision Solar already has their solar trees up and running. The catch is that you wouldn’t know it unless you scroll down and watch some other videos that make it clear. Before you tell me that I can read about the product on their homepage, I have to tell you that a lot of people are like me – they see videos and they click to watch. It means you cannot use your videos as a supplement to the written material on your site – your videos have to stand on its own. Videos have to tell you all you need to know. In this case we have a series of videos, so what I would advise is organizing them in such a way that as a first time viewer I am guided logically from one video to the next, learning more as I go.
Now we will review our final example. It has to do with the way the video itself is structured. Think of it as internal vs external organization. While Envision Solar had a problem organizing videos in a logical progression on their web page, the next company in my opinion made a mistake in how they structured the video itself. So let’s get right to it. The site is www.ecoliteconcrete.com. To access their videos use the left navigation bar on their site and click on “Media”, then click on “Video”.
By the way I find it very confusing when companies use “Media” as the name of the link that goes to their videos. “Media” makes me think of PR, not videos intended for the site visitors.
Ecolite has great, informative videos, but look at the way they open their first video – it takes them a whole 40 seconds to get to the narrative. The footage is very well done and easy to watch, but there is nothing but a music in the background, so after the first 10-15 seconds I am convinced that the whole video is nothing more than a “corporate video” with no information whatsoever, – just a well executed expensive production. Someone has to be patient enough to sit through the first 40 seconds before all of a sudden the narrative starts and you realize that the video will actually give you information about the company, what they do, how they do it, why is their approach so innovative, etc.
So let’s summarize what we can learn from the examples we have looked at today:
How to Make Good Business Video
Make sure viewers can easily find your videos from your homepage.
Be careful when using testimonial videos, because some people are just not comfortable being on camera, and the testimonial ends up looking forced and not real.
Make sure to organize videos on your video pages so that they are presented in the most logical way for the viewer. Avoid just putting the latest videos at the top of the page – this assumes that the viewer is already familiar with your previous videos and your company, and this is rarely the case.
Get to the point quickly! If your video is full of useful information, make sure you don’t loose viewers by taking too long to get to the information part. Viewers cannot “see ahead” into the video, so they judge the video by the first few seconds, or by the text information you provide below the video.