How to Use Video Properly on Your Homepage

What does 'good' look like?

If you've taken delivery of a marketing video, where will you show it?

On your website?

If so, where on your website?

Since it has been made to give a good first-impression of your products and services, the obvious place is on your homepage.

But where on your homepage?

Here are examples of companies who got it right-first-time.

http://www.mitsubishiufjfundservices.com

http://www.scaffoldingsales.co.uk

Notice the impact of the video on the page and the way it helps to simplify the visitor's choices in their route-to-fulfilment.

How many companies do this?

Very few. Why not? Three reasons:

1. No vision - business video on the web is often low on a list of marketing priorities. And without a champion it often stays low-priority, despite being a powerful tool.

2. Low confidence - even when managers have the vision, they'll need to change the homepage template to accommodate video. This is both a marketing and a technical argument that needs to be won at your management meetings.

3. Limited by webmaster - who, despite having almost no marketing know-how, often bullies everyone into doing it 'his way' (it's usually a he). This is a common obstacle because the webmaster holds the keys to the site. Don't expect your webmaster to provide leadership.

What does 'bad' look like?

This can be summarised in six ways:

1. Nowhere to be seen - you've spent a lot of time and money to produce a video which will get you ahead of your competitors, only to cripple yourself in the last ten metres of the race by making it invisible.

2. Somewhere few people visit - instead of being displayed to your 10,000+ visitors to your homepage, the video gets displayed on an inside page visited by 500 people. The chance of getting your message across has been substantially reduced.

3. Incorrectly positioned on the page - visitors start reading from the top of the page and from left to right. Positioning your video further down the page so they have to scroll to see it again makes it much less likely to be watched. Choices about where to go next are usually made before scrolling.

4. Not big enough - video has the biggest impact of any medium, so make it big on the page. Let it fill the visitors' field of view so their first click choice is 'Play'.

5. Not a good web video - sorry, this has to be said. A lot of videos are not made to be shown on the web. Too long, too windy, no real focus, no delivery of a precise result. Rather than compromise what you show, you are better off commissioning a new video tailor-made by a producer who understands effective web video.

6. Video shown on YouTube - when it shows on YouTube your video is surrounded by distractions and competing messages. This dilutes your brand considerably. Your video producer will provide a branded player at very little cost, or even free.

A few examples showing these deficiencies:

Here is a quick selection made by searching Google for different industry sectors. Bear in mind that these companies know how to market themselves. They were the top-ranked company in the Google search. They have created the potential for a lot of visits by being on page one. But as you will see, in each case it is an opportunity wasted.

Financial Services: http://sorensenfs.co.uk/ uses distracting banners which give the page no point of focus and no information-starting-point.

Construction: http://www.barnfieldconstruction.co.uk/ Imagine this site with a video to click on. Instead, the eye wanders without settling.

Chemical Manufacturing: http://www.univar.com/en/Canada/Industries/Chemical-Manufacturing.aspx You reach the page, your eye goes to the picture, your mouse pointer is over it when you arrive. If this picture was a video, eight times out of ten you would click and hear their whole story. Instead, you have to wrestle your way through the words.

Retail services: http://www.carlislesupportservices.com/sectors/retail/Pages/default.aspx Nicely visual homepage with two consecutive banner pictures and supporting text messages. But compared with a video, it's feeble and doesn't give you an action-point. A video would.

The principles are the same anywhere you look

These were four industry sectors chosen almost at random.

Repeat the exercise for a dozen more sectors and you'll see the same results.

None of them communicate properly, despite spending tens of thousands of pounds/dollars on a website and getting it top-ranked.

Using the race analogy again, video is the last ten metres of your race to win against your competitors. It's the something extra. Alternatively, video can be giving you a ten metre flying start. It puts you ahead of the pack.

Summary

1. Here's what 'good' looks like on our Studio Rossiter site:

Homepage

Inside page

2. Never assume your video will be watched.

3. Never hide it where it can't immediately be seen.

4. Proactively induce visitors to click the video link

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