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Are You Using Video Throughout the Customer’s Path to Purchase? Here’s Why You Should.

This post was written by Melody King of Treepodia. Melody has 13 years of experience in IT, focusing the last 7 in eCommerce. During this tenure, she consulted with more than 500 organizations to assist with increasing their site usability, merchandising, conversion, and order size. She has a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, BSIT with a minor in DBA, and MBA.

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Online consumers have many points in the buying process where they can commit to making a purchase – which also means there are many opportunities to decide against a purchase and abandon your brand. Compelling content is one way to capture their attention. Establishing credibility as a provider of quality products is another way. Video is a great tool for accomplishing both – and it can also do much more.

Compared to static images, video shows a product in action, explains how to use it, and shows the viewer that it’s worth checking out. In fact, videos are a proven factor in improving product sales, so they can provide a quick return on investment.

Video SEO

When it comes to placing videos on your website, product pages are the logical place to start. These pages are right in the middle of the pathway that your customers take – from getting interested in your site and gaining awareness of your brand, all the way through to buying products and coming back for more.

However, you can take advantage of the benefits of video even before consumers show up on your site – they’re the best way to get more bang for the buck in your SEO campaigns. When you upload video sitemaps to search engines like Google and Bing, you instantly boost the chance that your video product pages will rank high in searches. For example, video tends to dominate Google’s Universal Search results (in which it combines listings from its vertical search engines for news, video, images, local and book search engines, among others). This means with video on your product and other pages you’ll have a much greater chance of getting page-one listings. In addition, you’ll likely drive more traffic to your webpages, since the thumbnail image that accompanies video search listings encourages more click-throughs.

And while Google may dominate conversations about SEO, don’t give Bing short shrift – it currently has about a 28 percent share of the web search market and powers Yahoo and Facebook search.

Syndication and Social Media

Consumers can also be encouraged to visit your website by viewing videos elsewhere around the web, which is a good argument for making sure that you syndicate your videos as widely as possible. YouTube, for example, is the world’s second-largest search engine after Google, so creating a channel for your videos here should be a no-brainer. You can make it easy for YouTube viewers to get to your website by including links to specific product pages in each video description. Be sure to promote the link to your YouTube channel on your website, customer emails, print collateral, catalogs, and so on.

Placing videos on Facebook is also an essential way to market products – but make sure you pay special attention to Pinterest, the fastest-growing social network at the moment. In 2012 Pinterest showed the largest year-over-year increase of all the social networks in terms of both unique audience and time spent on the site, according to Nielsen. Pinterest’s immense popularity has been driven by the site’s tools for sharing images, but members are now realizing that they can use their “pinboards,” or bulletin boards for sharing videos as well. If you haven’t already done so, create a brand pinboard on Pinterest, and add your videos as well as product pictures. (You can also encourage members to add your videos to their own pinboards by placing “Pin it” badges near each video on your website.)

Retargeting

If potential shoppers have come to your site, browsed around and then left, video can be the tool that lures them back. If your marketing efforts include retargeting ads, consider incorporating videos into the ads. These get more attention than static images, and the fresh, engaging content can help bring shoppers to your site for another look around.

Email Marketing

Once a visitor becomes a repeat customer, videos can help keep the relationship going strong. If you send regular email newsletters to your customers, the addition of video is a powerful incentive for them to browse products – in fact, tests show that if you mention the word “video” in the newsletter email subject line, you’ll significantly increase the open rate. And once you’ve got them reading the newsletter, adding a call to action to view a product video can increase clickthrough rates by 300% or more, according to research.

Post-purchase emails are a very good place for product videos – customers have bought something and are inclined to buy from you again, given the right encouragement. Add a video of a related item, and propose that the customer check it out.

You can also ask customers to upload their own videos of themselves using or reviewing the product – a powerful selling tool, since site visitors find these third-party testimonials highly credible.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t just one, magical, perfect place for a product video in the customer lifecycle. It’s far better to think about the many ways you can use video throughout the purchase flow – it gives customers many opportunities to view a video and learn more about your products, and it helps you get more mileage from your investment in videos.

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