Helping business go to the video

3 local firms aim to help others improve Web presence

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WSUV's Dene Grigar lists several key considerations for producing successful Web videos:

o Tagging: Web search engines don't read images, they only read text. Tagging an image with alternative (ALT) text in the HTML code is essential to making your video appear in search results.

o Proximity: The placement of a video within a website is important. The images and subject matter should fit in with the rest of the site.

o Length: Thirty seconds to a minute is the ideal time frame for keeping a viewer's attention. It shouldn't be much longer than 3 minutes.

o Quality: Linking to a YouTube video won't cut it. The video should be embedded in the site.

o Size: Not everyone in Clark County has broadband Internet access. The video should be compressed to a size that will load quickly for slow connections.

To see The Rock's video, click here.

WSUV’s Dene Grigar lists several key considerations for producing successful Web videos:

o Tagging: Web search engines don’t read images, they only read text. Tagging an image with alternative (ALT) text in the HTML code is essential to making your video appear in search results.

o Proximity: The placement of a video within a website is important. The images and subject matter should fit in with the rest of the site.

o Length: Thirty seconds to a minute is the ideal time frame for keeping a viewer’s attention. It shouldn’t be much longer than 3 minutes.

o Quality: Linking to a YouTube video won’t cut it. The video should be embedded in the site.

o Size: Not everyone in Clark County has broadband Internet access. The video should be compressed to a size that will load quickly for slow connections.

To see The Rock’s video, click here.

If you’ve never visited The Rock Wood Fired Pizza & Spirits in Vancouver, you could read a description on the restaurant’s website to see what it’s like. Or, you could watch a 30-second video featuring a pizza chef twirling rounds of dough high in the air and behind his back, interspersed with shots of flames from the oven and the finished piping-hot product.

Which one is more likely to make your mouth water?

Three Vancouver companies are betting on video. Northwest Business Videos, Chris Martin Studios and Wide Angle Productions have all recently started to sell lower-cost promotional video production services, starting around $1,000, to small businesses in the metro area.

They believe videos are a better way for small businesses to reach potential customers online compared with other forms of advertising.

Video makes businesses easier to find online and customers increasingly start their purchase decisions with a Web search, said Simon Spkyerman, owner of Spyker Media, doing business as Northwest Business Videos.

A website with video is 50 times more likely than a text-only site to land on the first page of Google search results for the most-searched keywords, according to a 2009 Forrester analysis.

In addition, the number of Clark County households with broadband connections is climbing and technological improvements that allow smaller file sizes have made Web videos more affordable and accessible, said David Alonzo, a producer at Wide Angle Studios.

These videographers now expect more businesses to realize the benefits of Web videos and to start incorporating them into online marketing strategies.

Brad Loucks, owner of The Rock, agrees.

“It’s one thing to help you stand out,” he said. “Every little bit helps.”

Good investment

Of course, any business owner with a Flip camera or the latest iPhone can make a video. And that raw, unedited film can appeal to certain audiences, said Alonzo. For example, teenagers might be drawn to a skateboarding video even if the quality is poor. But for a more polished product with appropriate lighting and sound levels, an experienced videographer can be a good investment, he said.

In order to be effective and help businesses rise above the competition, the video must be done right, said Dene Grigar, director of the creative media and digital culture program at Washington State University Vancouver.

“If the video is ugly or stupid, people won’t watch it,” Grigar said.

Promotional Web videos also have a different look and feel than most traditional television or video advertisements. People expect authenticity online that’s not found in a late-night infomercial, said Chris Martin, owner of Chris Martin Studios.

“The last thing you want is for the video to be a propaganda piece your marketing team has put together,” Martin said.

Simply posting a high-quality video online won’t necessarily be enough to increase traffic to a website. Pairing the video’s debut with a larger marketing campaign is more effective, Martin said. Even then, the payoff is uncertain.