Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Great Videos from Ordinary Businesses - Dollar Shave Club Videos

How do you watch internet videos? YouTube say that mobile makes up 40% of global watch-time, and that figure is growing. What is even more interesting is that 92% of mobile viewers share videos with others. Those two figures are important because it means your potential customers do not have to be tied to their home computer to see what you have to offer. They could quite as easily be in the high street and ready to buy.

Also, if you have a video and it excites the viewer there is a good chance they will share it with their friends, and you can’t get better free advertising. This week’s video shows how phenomenal the effect of video sharing can be, both in views and in revenue.

Dollar Shave Club – Our Blades are… Great

In the fifth video in our series we look at a well-made promotional video featuring the co-founder of the company, Mike Dubin.

The Dollar Shave Club video targets the male viewer who is fed up with expensive razors and the need to go out and buy them. The video is very funny; you just love it and the idea of the club.

Mike, the CEO, presents the video himself with dead pan delivery and marvellous slapstick humour. The video has obviously been scripted and directed extremely well, with a professional hand behind it. Mike Dubin does not hesitate to take the p**s out of himself and poke fun at his rivals. It’s entertaining and connects with the company’s target market.

The video also doesn’t waste time and gets to the point very quickly. In the opening few lines Mike tells you what the company does for the consumer and why they should buy it. He says, “Hi, I’m Mike, founder of What is Well, for a dollar a month we send high quality razors right to your door. Yeah, a dollar. Are the blades any good? No... They’re f***ing great”. Yes, the video connected with men, and within six hours their website had sold out. More amazingly, the video helped 

When this video went live on YouTube in March 2014 (8 months after the company launched) it immediately went viral and by the end of the year 50,000 users were referring a friend every month. The video helped the company to make an emotional connection with its male audience and build their trust. Customers have become unpaid evangelists for the company’s products. They are Loyalists and Champions, as Mike Dubin calls them, and they do go out of their way to promote the product they have emotionally bought into.   

Four years after the video’s launch it has had over 23 million views, generated tens of thousands of comments on social media and helped in delivery the best news ever for the four-and-a-half-year-old company.

In July 2016 Unilever bought the business for, wait for it, $1 Billion!

Key takeaway from this video

Although your comic timing and delivery might not be as good as Mike’s, this video does show that often the best person to appear in the video is the founder, owner, CEO, or whatever you want to call them. The company was their idea, they planted the seed and they are passionate about it. That passion will show through when you engage with your viewer. Don’t be stuffy, be natural and avoid sterile business speak. I recently filmed a CEO and asked him to try and connect with the viewer by looking a little friendlier by smiling, he responded by saying, “I don’t do smiles”. You can image how the video turned out.

A word of warning though. Although using humour is a great way to engage with your viewer be careful. What you think is funny may not be what your viewer considers funny. Good comedy can be hard to do really well. If your script or your ability to carry it off aren’t up to scratch, forget it. Alternatively consider leaving the comedy to an out-takes section at the end of your video. Those bloopers will appear natural and funny.

Next week’s video

Next week we look at a video to promote a Glasgow company. The writing is clever but the videography would not be beyond most people with a few videos under their belt. The video makers tug at your heart strings and I defy anyone not to be moved, just before a clever twist at the end.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Great Videos from Ordinary Businesses - ChrisFix Checklist

Should you really invest in video marketing? Well Forbes says 65% of execs have visited a vendor’s site after watching video and 39% of them have called a vendor after watching a video. The figures sound fantastic but does that mean your business videos need to have high production values (that's video speak for “expensive”)?

Not at all, in fact you can attract viewers using nothing more than your home camcorder or smartphone. That’s exactly what one American YouTuber has done, creating a YouTube channel with How-To videos that attracts millions of views.

How to Inspect a Used Car for Purchase

In the fourth in the series we look at a simple How-To video by ChrisFix, a solo film maker.

This is an unpretentious no fills video but ChrisFix has understood what his audience wants, namely content, and proceeds to give it to them. He wastes no time with a fancy logo reveal at the start, that’s for narcissists and a mark of vanity! Instead Chris tells us straightaway what he is going to cover in the video and goes straight ahead and delivers on the promise. That is important to note because not getting into the “meat” of the subject matter is the main reason why videos lose viewers. Chris leaves his logo reveal until the end, where he uses it intelligently as a branding device and a means to transition to his end slate.

In creating the video ChrisFix uses a hand held camera while he walks round the used car showing the features any buyer should look for. With his free hand he points out issues on the car’s bodywork, helping to visually underline his vocal commentary. At no point do we actually see ChrisFix but that is a common feature of many How-To videos. The detail or process is what matters to the viewer, the presenter is secondary and only there to provide an explanatory commentary.

Chris has understood that YouTube is a social platform and encourages the viewer to watch his related videos, including the “test drive” part of his used car buyers guide. In addition, he encourages the viewer to click the thumbs up button, leave their own tips in the comments, which can be a great source of ideas for further videos, and subscribe to his channel (almost 1.2 million have). But Chris has another trick up his sleeve to engage with the viewer, he has produced the useful ChrisFix Checklist for used car buyers, and made it available as a download. Unfortunately, he misses a trick here, he could have used it as a lead magnet in building an email list. If only half of those 1.2 million subscribers had jointed his list he would have had a truly awesome list for marketing purposes.

Key takeaway from this video

Forget what the experts tell you, length does NOT matter. Concentrate on your content. Many marketing gurus will tell you that your video has to be 60sec or under, in my opinion that is complete BS.

That 60sec figure has been arrived at by averaging the way people have watched millions of business videos to give the ideal length for an average video. But hold on, it does not take account of the quantity and quality of the content in the video. In terms of content we are not trying to make an average video, we are going to make a fantastic video! And anyway, long-form film/video seems to be working pretty well for Hollywood and the TV networks and has done for many decades. The important thing is to provide the content your viewers want, if you do they will continue watching!

The really meaningful thing that the number crunching tells us is that if people will only tolerate business videos of 60sec or less then there must be a lot of boring and badly made business videos out there. If other businesses are doing video badly that is an opportunity for you. Use their failing to your advantage and keep your videos content rich.   

The ChrisFix video is about 10 minutes long, a sin in the eyes of many video-gurus, but here 10 minutes is the right length. The correct length for your video is, however long it needs to be. If you need 10 minutes to explain the subject properly then 10 minutes is the correct length, but if you can do it in 30sec then that is the correct length. Strip out anything that is unnecessary but conversely don’t leave out what your viewers wants or needs.  

The important thing demonstrated by ChrisFix is that the viewer wants useful content more than brilliantly executed videography. If you doubt me, let the figures do the talking. The ChrisFix used car buying video got more than 800,000 views in 7 months and 17,500 thumbs up. His “How to Restore Headlights” video has had over 7.5 million views in under two years and in total the ChrisFix channel has attracted over 160 million views since 2008. There are broadcasters who would kill for figures like that, but you only get them when you build your videos on a firm foundation of content.   

Next week’s video

Next week we look at a video that helped a business go from start-up to a billion-dollar company in just four years. Although the video was professionally made the star was the CEO.