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Plus, tips for nutrition companies on how to get website video on the cheap.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to add video to your nutrition business website-complete with analytics-YouTube has an enticing offer: We’ll do it for free.
In a move to remain the de facto platform for video on the Web, the company has rolled out a series of free tools that essentially enables any business to edit, post, and analyze viewership of a promotional video at absolutely no cost.
Says David Coyne, health copywriter and marketing consultant, David Coyne Communications: “Conversion rates tend to improve when websites include video, and this communication medium works best for information that can be easily shown visually. But I recommend marketers split test-a product page with video versus a product page without it-to see if it makes a significant improvement in sales.”
Adds Barbara Cohn, president, Cohn Writing Solutions, who does marketing for the nutrition industry: “Seeing someone talk about or demonstrate how something works creates a sense of trust that print media doesn’t always do.”
The beauty of YouTube video is that the content need not specifically promote your nutrition product or service. Often, informational videos that are simply associated with nutrition overall result in more traffic to the nutrition business’s website-and more sales at the register.
“There is no better way to let hundreds of people experience you and your unique marketing message than by creating an informational video,” says Elspeth Misiaszek, CEO, eMarketing Copywriter, who does work for the nutrition industry.
Meanwhile, for straight sales, copywriter Bob Bly, who does work for the nutrition industry, recommends longer videos. “Long-form video sales letters are proven to work well in selling dietary supplements; optimal run-time is 20-30 minutes,” Bly says.
Probably the best aspect of promoting on YouTube is that it’s absolutely free. Essentially, YouTube allows businesses and organizations to post promotional productions free-of-charge as a way to boost traffic to its site. Plus, it offers users free analytics to track the performance of the videos they post, and continually refine their pitches, for the same reason.
You can get the most out of those analytics by optimizing your videos for the Google search engine. “Google favors sites with relevant, timely content,” says Cyndie Shaffstall, founder, Spidertrainers, an online marketing firm. For tips on how to optimize, simply Google “search engine optimization YouTube videos.”
YouTube also makes it very easy for even the most novice users to get a promotional video on its service. For starters, there’s a YouTube ‘Creator’s Hub,’ where you can learn the basics on how to create and set up an account and get inspiration on how to shoot your first video.
You’ll also find links to editing tools here, which will help you polish your raw footage, as well as tips on how to optimize your video. Plus, there’s also a free users forum, where you can get advice from seasoned YouTube posting veterans.
Once your video is on YouTube, the free service also offers you an embeddable video player that you can add to your website. The technology embeds a small screen on your website, which visitors can click on to view the promotional videos you’ve posted about your nutrition business on YouTube. (Quick instructions for embedding a YouTube viewer can be found here.)
Embedding the player involves little more than dropping a snippet of code onto a Web page. YouTube does the rest. Plus, the player-which is also free-can be placed in other locations on the Web, such as adjacent to your company’s blog, on your website’s social network, or in virtually any other Web-based environment.
When dropping in the player, you’ll have the option to post it to your site “as is,” with its familiar chrome border and YouTube logo. Or you or your Web designer can customize the player with its own “skin.” That customized look can feature your company’s logo, as well as a look and feel that’s distinctive to your company or company’s website. (With either option, a faint YouTube watermark appears in the right-hand corner of your video. For an informative video on how to customize your skin, check this out.)
The player creation tool also enables you to optimize your video for the search engines by allowing you to include titles, descriptions, ratings, and viewer comments that are associated with your video.
But the real beauty of the player is that the technology enables you to offer a window to your business’s videos on your own site, while shifting the hosting and transmission costs associated with the viewing of that video to YouTube.
The reason? While the player is embedded on your website, the actual video visitors are viewing resides on YouTube’s computer servers. That means every time someone views your video, it’s YouTube’s servers that are transmitting the video-not your own business’s Web servers. So it’s YouTube’s servers that are picking up the bandwidth transmission costs, not you.
It’s a scenario is especially ideal for nutrition industry businesses that are interested in reaching out to Web video viewers with a number of offerings, but have little or no budget to do so.
Plus, it’s also an excellent insurance policy for any nutrition industry website that happens to produce a video that goes “viral”-i.e., a video that becomes an overnight sensation on the Web that is viewed by hundreds of thousands or even millions of viewers.
For most small and medium-sized nutrition industry businesses, the onslaught of that kind of massive downloading generally results in crashed servers and countless missed sales/public relations opportunities. For YouTube, it’s nearly an everyday event that the goliath has learned to easily accommodate.
Once you’ve optimized your videos for Google, you’ll also be able to continually analyze how your videos are performing with another free tool, YouTube Analytics. Essentially, Analytics is a service that offers you a heat-map of where your views are coming from. It will also show you how people are discovering your videos by revealing the search terms they used to find your videos. Plus, you’ll be able to discern the age and gender of your audience, observe how many times viewers rate or comment on your videos, and more.
Bottom line: whether you’re looking to experiment with Web video for the first time, or you’re an experienced user looking to cut costs while increasing the sophistication of your Web video promotions, YouTube is a free solution that is tough to beat.
Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.
Photo © iStockphoto.com/ozgurdonmaz