I have a theory that a little over a decade ago, two nontraditional advertising/marketing strategies were really being explored for the first time: the online video and the hiring of those people who danced on the sidewalk with a business’s placard.
The first time I saw one of those manically dancing billboard-people, I was impressed enough to note the name of the business for whom said person danced. Nowadays, however, I barely notice the sidewalk dancers (or bored sidewalk-standers), much less the business being promoted.
It turns out I’m in good company – around 90% of American internet users watched videos in 2013.
Video is Becoming a Marketing Essential
That 90% share of the U.S. internet audience that watched videos online wasn’t slacking either. According to comScore Inc., in 2012 we watched 11 billion videos on the Internet. A year later, that total had climbed to a (conservative) total of 35 billion videos – that’s more than a 3-fold exponential increase in one year!
And internet trend analysts insist that video is only going to become more popular.
The implication of that for your practice is clear: video is becoming an indispensable feature of any marketing plan.
If we’ve learned anything from motion pictures exploding into a worldwide entertainment staple and TV replacing radio as pretty much every household’s chief entertainment device, it’s that video is an incredibly engaging medium.
That was a mixed blessing for small-to-medium-sized businesses when TV was pretty much the only filmed format available for advertising and marketing. Buying ad time could be expensive and targeted advertising opportunities were really limited.
Thankfully for you, that’s no longer the case. The technology to make video, edit it, add sound, add text and/or title cards, do voiceover, etc., is readily available to almost everyone and at a fraction of what it used to cost. Plus, once those videos are produced, they can be posted for free on huge video sharing sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Vevo, Flickr, Metacafe, etc.
What to Make and How to Market It
All that being said, you still may be wondering, “OK, but what should these videos be like and how do I get anyone to watch them?” Those are excellent questions.
On YouTube alone, people watch more than 4 billion videos every day. That’s a tremendous audience but you’re going to be competing with over 120,000,000 other videos for views. Unless you make an insanely great (or insanely terrible) video that goes viral, you’re only going to draw the tiniest portion of those views.
But that’s OK. While it’d be great for overall exposure to have people all over the world watching your practice’s clip, you’re not going to reap much practical financial benefit from someone in New York (or Abu Dhabi) watching the video you made for your practice in Iowa.
The key is making a concise, informational, fun video and marketing it to your prospective audience. Here are some tips for doing so:
– Keep it short. If someone clicks on your video and sees a “14:57” length time, there’s an excellent chance they’re immediately going to watch something else. Three minutes or under is best.
– Make it fun. It should be informational, but it should have something to draw viewers in. That’s the crux of a video’s success and considerably easier said than done, I know. But don’t consider yourself ill-equipped to succeed at this because you’re not an LA scenester with a high-def camera and a budget.Talk to your staff about what they think would be fun or funny, what they like about the practice and think should be shared, and what recent parties or events could be featured. Watch some videos in the same niche and look for things you like and don’t like about them, and do something you think will be original or watch-worthy. Chances are someone out there will share your taste.
– Optimize it. If it’s not really awkward to do so, include the name of your speciality and practice area in the title of the video. Feature the name of your practice area co-occurring with popular products or procedures – “Invisalign Party in Hoboken!”, etc. Although I’m not sure what one would do at an Invisalign party…
– Share it. Share it on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your website, and wherever else it can be disseminated. Include links to your site and/or your blog in the video’s description.
– Word of mouth. We’re all aware, hopefully, that word of mouth is far and away the best form of advertising available. The closest an oral health practice can come to capturing and sharing positive word of mouth endorsement is by airing testimonials and stories of patients who’ve had a great experience with your practice. If a patient or two pop to mind or someone shares praise with you, don’t be afraid to ask if they’d be interested in doing a testimonial and becoming an internet star.
– Punch up the beginning. Remember what I said about keeping the video short? Well, the average video viewer just doesn’t have a tremendous attention span for content that doesn’t grab them. So like the first 100 pages of a book, the first 10 to 15 seconds of your video has to grab the content’s consumer.
The rest, I’m afraid, you’ll have to do on your own. Do some more research into making videos and the individual steps I mentioned, have fun, good luck, and I’ll see you in cyberspace!