Archive for June, 2008
As a small business owner, entrepreneur, et al, you’re like a lot us—looking for ways to market your business and, in the process, gain new prospects and customers.
The latest “fad,” a good one at that, is to “use video” to promote your business. After all, the “spiders” like Google love to feast on them and are inclined to place video highly in their analytics rankings.
So with that incentive alone, you decide to “jump on the bandwagon,” too.
But wait just a minute!
Because marketing with video has become the new “Rubik’s Cube,” or the new “Cabbage Patch” doll, or the new “t-shirt that says ‘I Google myself regularly,’” if you actually do intend to get on the bandwagon, there are a few things to consider.
What is your plan? (It seems everything leads back to a plan.)
Getting your video ready and “taking it to market” is one of the latest Internet trends. Many entrepreneurs, marketers, and even large business owners will focus on the “how-tos;” the how-to of what to say, the how-to of how-to upload the video, or the how-to of where to place your upload.
The important thing is to not just toss some video shots together; the end product will be disappointing to your visitors and to you. Just like your Web site, your video presentation is a reflection of you and how you do business. Thus, it’s better to take your time to produce quality work. Someone has already been first, so now it really doesn’t matter if you come later with better.
Like putting together any worthwhile efforts, you first come up with a list of things to do when producing a video. However, there are also several things to NOT do in your video marketing. And they are the focus of this piece. For instance:
Forget about “safety in numbers” this one time
If you want to attain the most success with your video efforts, you have to go it alone. Sometimes when a person is going to be in a photo or a video, they may be camera shy or feel “more is better;” suddenly, they want someone in the show with them. This is a really HUGE error! The point of your video is to acquaint your visitors and customers with YOU, perhaps your product or service, and with what you represent. Your brand! In fact, in the video you become your brand.
So when your pals are in your video, they are distracting and take the viewer’s eyes away from your product or service, your message, and you. And unintentionally, they may show you up!
In essence, then, your fireworks just fizzled!
It’s time for your commercial
Have you ever wondered why or how sponsors of TV shows pack so much information about their product into 30 seconds of more often than not annoyance? It’s because they realize they have so little time to grab the viewers’ attention before they’re off to the kitchen or otherwise taking a break. Or worse, changing the channel!
Internet frequenters are somewhat infamous for running away from Web sites
How often have you gone to a Web site then quickly scooted away because the page loaded slowly? Your distraction meter kicked in and impatience got the best of you? This seems to happen more and more as Internet surfers tend to lose their tolerance to wait, or they’ve found other diversions that steer them away from what they thought they wanted in the first place.
This means you’ve got to have a video or graphics and audio that will capture your visitors’ attention. NOW! But it’s not good enough to just grab them; you’ve got to have something to keep them there long enough that they realize what you have is something they can’t live without.
You need a P-O-W!
So that as your video begins the first words out of their mouth or the first visual they see must be something concise and compelling. You know, what’s it in it for them?
Do you know the “who” for your marketing
Since you have a target market, it’s best to market your video to that particular audience. Of course, others will navigate to your site and may even stay to view your video. Or maybe not! Those who stay will be interested in learning about your product or service. How you dress, your narrative, your language, how you present yourself in the video should all be geared to the audience you want to pull towards you, the niche you’ve identified for your service.
You can be a star
With a little bit of practice, this reminder and the “how not tos” outlined here will be enough incentive and encouragement for you to be the star of the show as you were really meant to be.
Jewels of Life: Dream
Do you want him?
He WOKE.ME.UP! to tell me “we don’t have any power!”
And then the rains came, and came and came!
This, after we’d spent the day wondering if the many tornadoes spotted on the weather radar were going to touch down on us, or how high the water would rise.
We happen to live in an area of the country that is unfortunately being ravaged with an over-abundance of rain. Flooding and the inability to use water for drinking, bathing and other bathroom needs, as well as for washing clothes, for who knows how long are compromised. Restaurants have been shutdown by the health department for “hygiene’s” and “safety’s” sake, and city-imposed curfews during the overnight hours manage to cause pretty much of a hardship all around.
Much worse for some than others!
I heard on the news yesterday that people in a neighboring state saw a dog “sucked up into a tornado funnel cloud, tossed around and then set down—or dropped is more like it”! City officials of the city in a town near us recently struck by a tornado have described how they’ve spent considerable time searching “around the town” for the City’s computer hard drives so they could begin to resume City business!
All this aside, the “searching for a hard drive after a tornado” comment really resonated with me, enough to get me wondering how my business would fare if I were to experience a natural disaster such as that. The flood waters rose so fast and so high here, those in the flooded areas said they had no time to grab anything other than maybe a change of clothes. One man did manage to snatch his insurance papers.
Tornadoes often swoop in during the night when most everyone is asleep. Again, not a great scenario for gathering computers, printers, or the office books! Families–kids and pets—are more apt to take precedence.
Many of us have our Plans: a Business Plan, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan and the like; I hope we’ve also thought to include a “back up” plan that specifically consists of a “disaster plan” targeted toward natural disasters.
Making arrangements to have someone assume a stand in, lead position in your business in a “vacation” role or at the time of an “unexpected illness” is a fantastic idea. But regularly backing up your files to an external hard drive, thumb drive or disk is an even greater action not to be overlooked. Of course, it’s necessary to make sure it’s in your plan and that that’s what goes with you first, after the family and pets are accounted for and out the door.
Prior to these recent natural disaster incidents any thoughts I entertained about “back up” plans were only associated with computers that might crash, not computers that fly up and away ala Mary Poppins or ET.
Because of the rude reminder that in natural disaster events there is often no time (or even no thought) to grab essentials, office or otherwise, I’m convinced now more than ever that my purchase and use of Carbonite, an internet backup service, was an excellent decision. They say, “It is easy to install, set up takes just one minute and it’s completely automatic. As soon as you add or modify a file Carbonite automatically backs it up to their secure servers.”
You may remember I commented on Carbonite a month or so ago. However, with the nation-wide recent turn of weather events, it just seemed like this is one of those things that begged to be repeated. In fact, because I’ve experienced this first-hand, it resonated closer to home more this time than it might have at another time.
Experience is the best teacher!
I do feel that with Carbonite on my computer, if I’m unexpectedly awakened to another “the power’s out” eye opener, I will, of course, be concerned initially. Because I will wonder if the food in the refrigerator will be all right. But I’ll quickly go back to sleep knowing my “business and files” are in good hands.
And easy to get to when I’m ready!
Jewels of Life: Hope
Notwithstanding their bent toward grandiosity, these words (from an Irving Berlin 1946 tune for the “Annie Get Your Gun” Broadway musical) easily set the stage for the argument that as a Virtual Assistant (VA) you really can do many if not all of the things (just as good as or) better than those performed by an “in-house” administrative assistant, executive secretary or similar personnel.
No, you can’t.
Yes, I can!
Of course, there are many factors, occurrences and mechanisms that must be in place in order for this to be achieved. However, if you have the skills, the knowledge, the experience, the technology, the wherewithal, and especially the sticktuitiveness, there’s really no reason why you can’t accomplish a good many of the tasks like those of your “brick and mortar” counterparts.
No, you can’t.
Yes, I can!
If given half a chance.
Yes, I can!
In fact, in many ways a VA can surpass the accomplishments of her “onsite” equivalent.
In addition, as a VA you have the “luxury” of performing the work from home on your schedule. You also have the opportunity to work for many different factions, learning new things and keeping abreast of cutting edge technology as a result. And, you can choose what work (or tasks) you want to do. You “set the rules” so they meet your needs and wants. And you can say how much.
Sooner or later…
With opportunities like these, the end result is that you provide quality service to your current clients, and those yet to be.
And, in the long run you really can do it for them for less.
Anything you can do, I can do better…
Jewels of Life: Believe