The more we invest in something, the more committed we are to a successful outcome. Obvious enough, but what this investment of time and effort means is that we are now more motivated to follow through on our initial interest in the form of action.
This is a well-known phenomenon in the world of dating, for example (no need to elaborate here), but did you know that this concept also extends to the world of online shopping?
Enticing your shoppers to stay on your site and engage with your products not only increases brand awareness, but also increases the likelihood of a sale — or multiple sales — over time.
Online product videos are one of the best ways to enhance customer engagement, not just on your site, but across the Net at every phase of the buying cycle.
Wherever People Go, There They Are
While product videos are obviously a great addition to your site, they also lend themselves perfectly to syndication.
What this means is that your same video content can easily be uploaded to both generic (think YouTube, Metacafe et al.) and niche video portals to increase your products’ visibility. Syndicating your videos is an instant and effective way to increase exposure, and ensure your products are found wherever people are searching, particularly engaging casual shoppers and building awareness of your offering.
By having your video content available on the video portals, you also enable interested parties to share your video content with others (and people LOVE sharing these days).
That means people can post a product of interest to their Facebook page, for example, or share a link to a preferred product with a friend. (“Hey, look at this awesome pair of shoes I just found.”) In other words, having your videos available to share, means every person who comes across one of your product videos is a potential marketing agent, further spreading awareness.
Uploading your videos is also a great way to increase your overall SEO efforts. First and foremost, YouTube is the No. 2 search engine (after Google), and second, because Google and the other search engines rank videos separate from other content. That means your videos, if properly indexed, could quickly rank on the first page of Google’s search results.
Keep in mind, however, that Google does not automatically index your videos, so you need to submit a comprehensive, dynamic video sitemap in order to maximize SEO effect.
Now That You Have Their Interest
While videos are, by their very nature, the perfect way to demonstrate any given product online, one of the biggest barriers to people purchasing online is trust. As potential buyers on the Web cannot actually interact with the product, it is hard for them to get a real sense of what it is they’re purchasing. If you are a smaller retailer, they may also be skeptical as to whether your business is legitimate.
Videos help break the trust barrier, because they allow shoppers to interact with your products as much as possible, especially if you show the product from various angles and show it in action. As video is multidimensional (i.e. visual and audio), it also speaks to shoppers who are now obviously interested in your product (they’ve not only landed on your product page, but they’ve gone a step further to watch a video), at multiple levels.
Another less obvious value of adding product videos is that it shows shoppers that you are a serious website, one that has made the investment to serve your customers right from the start — a serious boost in terms of credibility.
In fact, statistics show that conversion rates for products with videos increase whether or not the video is watched. That means the mere presence of video is already reassuring to your potential customers.
Show Them More
Besides the fact that videos are more demonstrative than static images, they also have the added advantage of passively conveying information to site visitors. While we all invest time and effort in our marketing content, let’s face it, people would rather watch videos than read text.
This again helps keep customers engaged, as they click through multiple pages (i.e., products) on your website — a great opportunity to both upsell and cross-sell your products.
Keep Testing, Keep Tweaking
The proof is in the pudding as they say — or more accurately, in the results. It is extremely important to not only have good Web analytics in place to determine the effectiveness of each of your product videos, but also to conduct continuous A/B testing. Just because something’s working doesn’t mean it couldn’t work even better.
You’ll want to A/B test just about everything in terms of your videos. Does a change in background music affect your results? How about adding narration, bullet points, or a different call to action?
If possible, you’ll also want to test different groups of shoppers to see how video is actually working with your shoppers.
For example, it’s good to have three separate groups to compare: a control group that does not see any video; a group that has not watched video (though video was present on the page); and a group that has watched video. This is the most effective way to determine the true impact video is having on your conversion rates.
As mentioned above, you’ll likely be surprised by the results, noting that the presence of video alone has a positive effect on conversion rates (though watching the actual video results in the highest conversion rates).
Every Stage of the Sales Cycle
Adding individual product videos to your website is the perfect way to highlight your product catalog and engage shoppers at every stage of the sales cycle.
From creating initial awareness, to specific interest in a given product and ultimately to the point of reaching a purchasing decision, videos make sure shoppers are aware of your offerings across the Internet — whether it be on the major search engines, video sharing sites, or your own website. And back to my initial point about commitment: Once people have committed time to watch a video, they’re more likely to make a purchase.