The Biggest Video Mistake for Your Business

biggest_video_mistakeThe biggest mistake is misunderstanding the role of video in today’s online world. For years, most of us have thought about digital video as a new thing – something new and exciting for internet users but also something that required extra work for most of us as online marketers.

You might think of video as another format for your content marketing. But since it is a format that takes more effort, it is probably one that you don’t use as often as blogging or quote graphics or email.

I recently heard a fellow online marketer object to the suggestion of creating social media content in many different formats. He said he preferred to master one or two styles of content instead of always jumping from one style to another.

This view seems to epitomize this misunderstanding of the new role of video:  These days, video has become just another form of communication.

worried about videoWhile you may still think of video as complicated, expensive, or time-consuming, most younger people tend to think of video as just another way to communicate with their friends!

Would you feel a need to “master” the telephone before calling a prospect to have a chat and get to know them?

Do you feel the need to “master” writing before you send an email to your list?

Do you need to “master” picture taking before you snap a photo at a networking event and share it on Facebook?

So why do some of us still feel like we need to “master” video before we can use it to communicate our ideas?

taking a selfieYes, I understand it can take a little time to familiarize yourself with any new tool. And I understand that doing some practice sessions will increase my level of comfort before I go public with some new form of communication.

But this idea of needing to “master” something before we can use it to share our ideas and to market our business – that idea no longer serves us well, especially in an era when video is the form of communication that most people prefer today.

There are so many different ways to create video. Just pick one, do a couple of quick practice runs, and then post a video on social media!

(Share a link to your video so I can congratulate you on getting it done!)


Social Video – 3 Reasons to Create Original Short Video for Facebook

facebook-2071271_1920Do you ever feel like you’re hitting a brick wall with social media?  Like you’re wasting a lot of time with little results for your business?  Especially Facebook?

From January to May of 2016, the reported drop in organic reach for Facebook pages was 42%!  Does that sound familiar to you?  It sure sounds right for my experience.

And it effected people with a very large following too.  Kim Garst, a well known leader on Facebook, said that her Boom Social fan page had been getting a monthly reach of about 10 million before Facebook adjusted their algorithm in early 2016 – which dropped their organic reach to 2 million.

Reason #1:  Facebook Is Too Big to Ignore

facebook-2123484_1920But we know that we can’t just ignore Facebook.  It’s too big and it’s here to stay.  According to Facebook’s own reporting as of February 2017, over 1.8 billion users worldwide log into Facebook every month.  That’s a 17% increase year over year.  And 1.23 billion log into Facebook daily (up 18% over last year).

Oddly, only 41% of U.S. small business are using Facebook (last reported in 2015).  So there is still an opportunity to take advantage of Facebook benefits that many small businesses are overlooking.

But how do we find those benefits now that Facebook has so drastically limited our organic reach?

Facebook’s Move to Video

In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg explained that video was central to Facebook’s vision for the future.  He said, “In five years most of Facebook will be video.”

2015 saw a 75% increase in the number of videos posted per person.  Within the US, that increase hit 94%.  Plus video views increased by 100% from April to November of 2015, going from 4 billion to 8 billion in just 6 months. As of April 2016, Facebook was generating an average 8 billion video views per day – double the video consumption of early 2015.

In Facebook’s eagerness to steal video viewers from YouTube, they have set up some unique conditions that we, as online marketers, can take advantage of pretty easily.

Reason #2:  Facebook Gives Much More Reach to Native Video

thumbs-up-1999780_1920According to SocialBakers’ research, the average video post gets 135% more organic reach than photo posts.

Just as a quick example, I heard a webinar by Sunny Lenarduzzi recently.  She grew a huge business very quickly using content videos and social video and she is now teaching other entrepreneurs and businesses how to do the same.  By changing her promotional posts from image and text to video and text, she almost doubled her reach – from 1,700 to 3,300 within one week for the same content.

That’s how important video is to Facebook’s algorithm!

But they must be videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook, not shared from YouTube or any other video hosting site.

Reason #3:  Take Advantage of Autoplay and Other Current Realities

Because Facebook is currently the only major social media platform using autoplay in their newsfeed, you have a unique opportunity to grab the attention of your friends, fans, and followers as they scroll through their newsfeed.

85% of videos are watched on Facebook without ever turning on the audio! And Facebook published research that showed adding captions to videos increased watch time by an average of 12%.

The huge growth in the number of videos on Facebook means that people can be choosy about which videos they watch and which ones don’t look appealing enough, for whatever reason.

A couple more important facts:  Recent statistics show that over half of Facebook’s regular monthly users are accessing the platform only from a mobile device.  And 65% of all Facebook video views come from mobile devices.

 

social-media-2123476_1920

My Experiments with Facebook Video

So it seems to me that the challenge with Facebook video is that we need to:

  1. Visually grab people’s attention in the newsfeed
  2. Get them to stop scrolling long enough to watch a video
  3. Display videos well on a tiny phone screen, without too much detail on screen
  4. Keep them engaged long enough to watch more than a few seconds of the video
  5. And do all that without any audio!

I’ve been experimenting with ways to take the ever popular quote meme and turn it into a mini video that would grab more attention in the newsfeed.  I found some ideas that worked, but I don’t have a huge following on Facebook, so I wanted to find more “evidence.”

I found that supporting evidence in some of Kim Garst’s training.  I discovered she was using some of the same techniques that I had been developing.  But because she has so many more fans, she was getting huge numbers of video views and shares when she posted those videos on her Facebook page – videos being shared as much as 50,000 times!

Remember I mentioned above that the organic reach for Kim’s Facebook page had dropped from 10 million to 2 million in spring of 2016.  After beginning to focus on posting mostly video and animated GIFs, by June 2016 their organic reach was up to 27 million.

Ongoing Experiments in Short Video

videos-1240742I’m continuing my experiments in what type of content my audience finds engaging, as well as what content lends itself to short animated video posts on Facebook.  And I’m continuing to develop easy methods for creating those video posts as quickly and easily as possible.

I’ll share more in another post about what I’ve discovered.  Meanwhile I invite you to check out some of the short videos I’ve shared on my Facebook page at http://Facebook.com/PowerPointQueenRules.

You can also find demonstrations for some of the techniques I’ve been using if you go to my Creative Marketing TV channel on YouTube.  Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the trainings.

If you subscribe to the channel, you’ll get notified when I post future demos.

Tell Me What You Think

What do you think about the idea of creating original, short video specifically for Facebook?  Is it something you’ve tried yet?  What questions do you have about how to get started?


Repurposing Content: Repurposing Blog Posts into Beautiful e-Books

Repurposing_Blog_PostsDo you have a lot of blog posts that are hidden away on your website?  Or do you struggle to post consistently to your blog?  Maybe you’re convinced that nobody sees your work any way so it’s hardly worth the bother.

Of course, you can focus on SEO strategies, guest posting, and other ways of driving traffic to your blog.  But another important strategy that many people neglect is repurposing your blog content.

I actually like to refer to this as “multipurposing” because I plan my content, right from the start, to be shared in multiple formats.

In this blog post, I’ll focus on some easy ways to convert your chosen blog posts into e-books.  And I’ll introduce you to several new tools that accomplish this task with beautiful e-book results!

 

Look at the Big Picture First

Before you even start writing a blog post, I encourage you to think first about your current marketing and promotional goals.  What can you write about in a blog post that will help you achieve your current goals?

Are you focused on building your email list or getting new members in your Facebook group?  Do you have a new product or service you want to promote?

drawing a flowchartThis about marketing or promotional goals not just for the blog post, but for the repurposed content you will be creating from the blog post.

For instance, if you turn a blog post into an e-book, how will you share that e-book?  Will you give it away as a lead magnet?  If you give the e-book away for free, then think about what low-priced offer you can make inside the e-book.  What product or service can you promote inside the e-book by easily adding a hyperlinked button on a page inside the e-book.

Or will you sell your e-book as a “content upgrade” where people can click a link at the end of the blog post to get more information about the same topic?  In the case of a list post, people may even be willing to pay to download a PDF of the exact same content you share for free in the blog post – IF that content is a list of resources that they would like to have handy on their own computer.

Once you’ve chosen a blog topic that will move you towards a marketing or promotional goal, the next steps are to:

  1. write the bog post,
  2. add plenty of pictures,
  3. publish it on your blog, and
  4. share it via email and social media

Turning Your Blog Post into an e-Book

When the response to your blog post begins to slow down, then it’s time to take the next step and repurpose that content.

visual_content_marketing_ebookOne of the new tools I’ve been playing with is called Designrr and, after a bit of initial learning curve, I’m pleased with the look.  Designrr grabs your blog post directly from the URL you paste into the software and it will pull in both the text and any graphic images that are part of that post.

Designrr is smart enough to ignore any sidebars, comments, and other surrounding content that is not part of the actual blog post.  It also captures and accurately copies any hyperlinks that were included in your blog content so those links are automatically formatted correctly in the e-book.

You can import a single blog post or several shorter blog posts into a Designrr e-book and there are quite a few style templates from which to choose for the layout, fonts, colors, and such.

You can grab a copy of my new e-book, made with Designrr, from a blog post about 10 ways to use more visuals in your content marketing.  I’ve included a special discount offer on the last page if you’re like to get one of your own blog posts turned into a Designrr e-book.

Just click here to access your copy of “10 Ways to Use More Visuals in Your Content Marketing.”

 

Another tool I’ve been enjoying is called Beacon and it also easily turns blog posts into very visual e-books.  Beacon offers some additional features that are not part of Designrr (yet), such as generating a Table of Contents and its editing interface is quite different from the one in Designrr.

I’ll be demonstrating the use of Beacon and Designrr in my next episode of Creative Marketing TV on September 3rd.  To register for the live hangout, you can click on the announcement image or go to Bit.ly/CMTV_Sept3.

Just click yes or maybe in response to “Are you going?” on the Event page so that Google will send you an event reminder.Repurposing Blog Posts

Attend the hangout live and you could get an e-book created for you completely free of charge!  Join me live if you can to take advantage of this opportunity.

 

In the past, I’ve always used PowerPoint to lay out my e-books.  PowerPoint does a much better and easier job of formatting graphics than Microsoft Word does, so I find it much easier to create a nicely visual e-book in PowerPoint.

Plus I like creating my e-books in landscape format – the default layout in PowerPoint – so that my readers don’t need to scroll down to read the whole page.  Keeping the page height shorter, I can easily place the text in 2 blocks, side by side on the page.  Or place one block of text in one column and a large picture in the other column.

Below is a short video demonstrating my e-book process in PowerPoint.  Don’t forget to adjust the quality settings to see the video clearly.  And here is the blog post that I referenced near the end of the video.

What Do You Think?

Please let me know what you think of this approach to repurposing your blog content.  I always love to hear from my readers.

I’ll also be giving away a free e-book creation service to the person who leaves the best comment before September 5, 2016.  Be sure to enter a valid email when you comment so I can contact you if yours is the best one!

 

Squeeze Page Design – Think Outside the Optin Box!

Traditional Opt In Form

Traditional Opt In Form

Technology continues to evolve.  Consumer attitudes change.  If you and your marketing don’t keep up with the times, what may have worked for your business in the past will slowly lose effectiveness.

For every business and every solo-preneur, lead generation is an esesential part of growing and sustaining your business. If you rely on getting leads online, there are some changes that you should know about — both technology advancements and consumer behavior changes.

What is a Lead?

A lead is simply a person who is interested in what you are talking about, writing about, and otherwise sharing online and who is a potential target client for your business.  A lead could also be someone who is searching online for a solution to a problem and your business offers a solution for that problem.

A lead is the first stage in your sales and marketing process and can begin in many different ways, some of them online and some offline.  Part of your overall business process planning needs to include: 1) The methods/systems that you will use to find leads for your products or services, and 2) Your sales and marketing system for inviting or persuading a lead to become a paying customer, client, or patient.

It is often said that a lead will often require 7 or more “touches” or interactions with you or your business or the content that represents your ideas before they are ready to make a decision about committing to a purchase of your product or service.

One of the best and most effective ways to continue communicating with leads (and with existing clients) is through email marketing.  Your lead generation plan and your sales and marketing plan will most likely include the use of email marketing as well as content marketing.

But before you can email them, you need to persuade them to give you their email address and their permission to send them emails. And that’s where opt in forms or email sign up forms come into play.

diagram of page layouts on multiple devices

Is your message responsive?

The Email Sign Up Process Can Be Confusing

The complexity and confusion are compounded by the fact that there are many ways to do each step of the process. It’s all dependent on which tools and systems you want to use and whether you have a tech person on staff, you prefer to do the work yourself, or you would rather outsource most of it.

For many people, it’s a process they don’t do often enough to remember what they did the last time. Plus, as I’ll discuss below, new tech tools are being developed all the time. It can be difficult to keep up with all the new possibilities! Since a growing majority of internet users now access the web on their mobile devices, mobile responsiveness is a critical component that adds another layer of complexity.

Getting Help

Unfortunately, it has never been easy to find good instructions for all those steps in setting up an online lead generation system. Some teachers or gurus seem more interested in withholding the details so their students or followers will need to hire them to do the setup work. But it can also be a challenge to explain this highly abstract, multi-step process in a concrete way that newbies can grasp.

I’ve been working on a simple, interactive blueprint to help people understand the basic overview of the process, including different options to consider at each step. I’ve applied my background and skill as a technical trainer, instructional designer, and procedure writer, using proven techniques to make the knowledge easy to access and to apply to your specific situation. At the end of this blog post, I’ll tell you how you can access that blueprint.

Meanwhile, let’s look at some of the recent changes in the arena of opt in forms or squeeze pages.

Newsletters and Free Reports Are Boring

Visual_Content_Marketing_Report10 years ago, many people were happy to give away their email address in order to receive a weekly or monthly email newsletter from an entrepreneur, coach, or marketer whose materials they enjoyed reading. Free reports, often called “special reports” or “white papers,” were another popular giveaway for several years. Not anymore!

Most people are bombarded with way too much email in their inbox and the last thing they want is another weekly email newsletter!

Even great quality reports are less appealing now because so many people prefer to watch videos rather than read pages of written content. Plus our attention span for reading seems to be diminishing and many people find it difficult to read a report of perhaps 30-50 pages – let alone actually implement any of the recommendations in that report.

These days, the most popular giveaways – or lead magnets or ethical bribes –seem to be checklists, templates, tool lists, and short guides that solve one specific problem in a few easy-to-follow steps. There is much more emphasis and demand for something practical and immediately usable.

“Taking” versus “Giving” Pages

There have also been huge changes in the way that marketers ask for an email address in exchange for that valuable free content.  Some of those changes have been driven by increased internet bandwidth and advances in web page technology.

Others are more related to changing styles in the online graphical user interface – for example, the increased demand for video content and the new focus on full-screen photographs, often referred to as “hero images.”  Eye Candy abounds as web visitors delight in the newest visual “wow” techniques, from parallax effects to full screen video backgrounds.

The simpler styles of optin boxes now seem out-of-date and boring compared to large optin pages, slide-down “welcome mats” and a variety of other new ways to entice people to give up their email addresses in exchange for one of the free gifts described above.

Click on the 3D book image above for the Visual Content Marketing report.  You’ll see an older style of squeeze page with a simple opt in box.

squeeze page sampleThe larger optin pages now are typically designed as “2-step optins.” Some experts claim that viewers see this as a “giving” page that is offering free content, rather than a “taking” page that asks for their email address.

Click the image on the left to see a 2-step page with video background. The 1st step looks like a simple offer for something free – in this case, a checklist.

When you click the button on the 1st page, you are taken to the 2nd page where you’re asked for your email address. But there is another subtle, psychological factor in play here that make it likely people will enter their information.

When someone clicks on the 1st page button, they’ve already made a small commitment that says they want whatever free content is being promised. And when they are faced with the sign-up form on the 2nd page, their subconscious brain will encourage them to complete the information because behavioral consistency is critical to one’s internal self image – even though that all operates at a largely unconscious or subconscious level.

2-Step Optins are reported to convert at a much higher rate than the old style of showing the optin form on the first page. Higher conversion rates, of course, translate to more people opting in with their email address and getting added to your email list. LeadPages, for example, says that switching to a 2-step optin increased their newsletter subscriptions by 60%.

Squeeze Page Process Blueprint

Squeeze Page Design HantoutOn my next hangout for Creative Marketing TV, I’ll be reviewing all the steps in the email sign up process.  Plus I’ll have a draft available for you to download for free of my interactive blueprint that will give you different options for each step of the whole process.

If you can join me live on August 6, 2016, you’ll be able to ask your questions about any part of setting up your squeeze page system.  Just go to the Google+ Event Page here or click on the image at  right.  Once you see the question “Are You Going?,” just answer yes or maybe so that you’ll get a reminder about the live hangout-on-air and about the replay as well.

Your Comments and Questions

Let me know what challenges you have with the email sign up process.  If you leave a specific question in the Comments, I’ll address it in the training hangout and in the process blueprint.