From rants to reviews, product conversations have shifted away from brand-sponsored websites and into the blogosphere. Blogs are increasingly where people go for useful how-tos and deep product dives from respected sources. But not all companies are taking this shift sitting down, and the smart ones are using demo videos to regain control.
When correctly crafted, video not only lets companies control the conversation, it's also been proven to increase online sales. Online retail shoppers who watch video stick around for two minutes more and are 64% more likely to buy (comScore, August 2010). At Zappos.com, videos have increased sales up to 30% (ReelSEO, December 2009). How? By telling a good story, being sincere, and being relevant.
Take Your E-Commerce Demo Videos To 11 With These Tips
Here are 11 tips that will help you create demo videos that increase sales:
- Be authentic. People are wary of overproduced demos because they think they're just advertisements. Show your product in use in a real setting being used by a real person.
- Start at the beginning. If the product is powered, start by turning it on. If it's not, start with a wide shot for context. It's important to show what it's like from the moment it's picked up.
- Avoid complexity. Use real-world examples that matter to the audience. Keep it simple. If it's too technical, you can intimidate the viewer. Don't demonstrate too many features at once. Instead, focus on one or two, and show multiple examples of how to use those features.
- Show; don't tell. Viewers respond best when they are shown features, not just told about them, so voice-over shouldn't be relied on. When voice-over is used, it should directly complement what is shown on screen or viewers could get lost.
- Minimize on-screen text. Likewise, viewers don't want to read. Keep the on-screen text to a minimum. When you do show text on-screen, keep it short and to the point.
- Feature your experts. Videos convert better if they include people in the shot—even if it's just their hands. People using your products are the experts so feature them and not celebrities. Celebrities aren't perceived as trustworthy, and they make a video feel more like a promotion. Even real employees can lend credibility, as in these Apple, Google, and T-Mobile demos.
- Make every second count. Fifteen-second videos drive the most click-throughs in the social space. Sixteen- to 60-second videos drive the least click-throughs (Jun Group, 2011). So keep it short and sweet unless you're going for an infomercial.
- Pace yourself. Just as important as timing, pacing can make the difference between a compelling demo and a boring or confusing one. Don't move too slowly or too quickly through the video.
- Be professional. Though you don't want it "over-polished," the right lighting, sound and video equipment, and editing facilities make a huge difference.
- Consider SEO. Include metadata in your videos, and link back to product pages or your website. Including videos on your website can increase how searchable it is.
- Create a sales tool. Remember that a demo video is not a promotion for your brand. What you're doing is demonstrating a product to combat any perceived complexity, represent the experience of ownership, and reduce the roadblocks to conversion. As hard as it might be to convince management, the brand must take a back seat in this type of video!
Using demos featuring people as a guide, you can see that the magic combination includes a candid, conversational tone, practical information, and just the right amount of polish to be professional. But all good demo videos begin with a good understanding of their audience—the way they talk about the products, and the way they really use them.
The proof, of course, is in the pudding. Internet Retailer found that StacksandStacks.com shoppers were 144% more likely to add a product to their cart after viewing a product video compared to shoppers who didn't. With numbers like those, e-commerce videos are sure to become a trend that more retailers will be following as people continue to seek out factual, "insider" information while making their purchasing decisions online.