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Five Tips on Leveraging Online Video for E-commerce

Video may have once felt like a gimmick on commercial sites, but now it's an important part of the sale. It lets customers see the product before they buy and get a feel for how it performs. It lets people see the value of services in a way they couldn't with just text and images.

To give you tips on using online video as a sales tool, we spoke to an expert. Jeff Whatcott is the senior vice president of marketing at Brightcove, an online video platform that many of the world's biggest brands rely on every day. Here are Whatcott's tips for harnessing the sales power of online video.

  1. Think About Your Goal
    Before you begin creating video, says Whatcott, think about what you want to accomplish. Are you trying to get your product's name out there, show people what it can do, or convince them to make a purchase? A video raising awareness is completely different from one that tries to make a sale.

  2. Insert Calls to Action
    When most people hear about adding calls to action in a video, says Whatcott, they think about adding clickable hotspots. That's one option, but others aren't so complicated. He recommends calls that are synched to cue points within the video. At a set point, when the product is first shown, a buy button slides into the frame. This type of call to action is used frequently on the website for Thomas Pink, a Brightcove customer.

  3. Use the Social Networks
    Social networking is how people share ideas on the Web, and that's where you want your videos. Start by creating a Facebook page and adding your videos to it. You'll want to choose a video platform whose player works on Facebook, Whatcott says (as Brightcove's does). On Facebook, people can become a fan of your product, then follow you for announcements and promotions. They can also share your videos, creating a buzz around them.

  4. Make Your Site Social
    You'll also want to bring the power of social networking to your own site, perhaps with a Facebook button that lets people share a video no matter what page it's on. When users click to share a video on Facebook, they don't just send a link but send the whole video, says Whatcott. Any calls to action associated with a video travel with it when it's shared.

  5. Play to the Search Engines
    Once you have video ready, let the search engines know about it. Forrester Research found that pages with video stood a much better chance of getting a high search result ranking than sites without video. This only works, says Whatcott, if the search engines know the contents of your video. Use metatags, and put keywords in your titles, captions, and descriptions.

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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