More than one way to skin a catfish – Video vs. Web Copy

It’s dangerous to generalize especially when it comes to trends on the web. It’s even more dangerous to assume you know what all your customers want and the form they want that delivered in OR that someone else knows what your customers want. A generalization is that video kicks text to the curb–so why give text at all when you can simply “say it” with video?

I’ll tell you why….

SOME people like videos, even LOVE them–I’ll give that.

BUT some people don’t. I can say this with utter confidence, because 9 times out of 10, I will not click on a video, but will first choose to read. Here’s a scenario that I’ve experienced more than once or twice: I open an email and start reading the information or pitch for something I’m interested in, so I follow-through with the Call to Action (usually opens up a new webpage),  and find only a video on the page. What do I do? Usually I bail/ditch/vamoose/hit the road/click away/skeedaddle and otherwise abandon the action. Bottom line translation: bounced, cart abandoned, conversion failed, sales funnel failure.

I’ve just offered up a description of my behavior, but it would be silly to assume that there are not many more out there like me. Let’s be safe and instead of saying I represent hundreds of thousands of online users/customers, let’s just say I represent a generous “crowd.”

Why is video not my first click?

  • Without optional text, I am agreeing to hand over my precious time to someone else. So for that set amount of minutes I have no choice but to watch and listen if I want access to the information or whatever is being promised. And it may be instructional to even say that if I have my cursor over the play button, my eyes are looking to see how long the video is, before I click “play.” (use that how you may…)
  • With web copy or sales copy I have the choice to quickly scan the copy/webpage and then–for just an investment of a few seconds– if I’ve seen keywords and phrases and messages and hooks that “grab” me, then  I can make the conscious choice to hang around and read more deeply. Still it’s my control, MY time.
  • Unless you’re an expert lip reader and hit the fast forward button you can’t simply scan a video for the info you’re looking for. I am not an expert lip reader…

You’re likely satisfying the many video fans, so good job. Now why rob the rest of the “crowd” of your prospective buyers of the chance to explore your product or services?

Because some guru “sold” you on the notion that “quick and dirty DIY sales videos are loved by all, convert like gangbusters, even your mama can do it” so no need to create “that old outdated sales copy,” or “dull” web content, or landing page copy…

— am I right?

Everybody doesn’t consume web content in the same way, shape, or form.

Be wise, subtle, and know more than one way to skin a catfish*

I WILL watch videos given the following situations:

  • I have both text and video presented to me and so dig the message that I am willing to give up control of my time to watch the video, too.
  • For a “conversation” between people that’s been captured on video
  • For an interview
  • For a seminar or lecture
  • For visual instruction on something– workout or exercise, how-tos for building, making, or constructing something, etc.

if you want to meet all your prospective customers’ expectations (including ornery ones like me) and boost your sales and marketing efforts, consider integrating web copy with your videos:

  • Include short, meaty summaries or “takeaways” of your videos, including a headline.
  • Offer a transcript of the video.
  • Use the video to support web content, sales copy or vice versa–this means the video is not just a regurg of what’s on the page, but unique and compelling in its own right.

*(I’ve slightly altered Mark Twain’s version “She was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat” to make a point and for cat-lovers, many lexicographers believe the version we know and love “more than one way to skin a cat” actually meant catfish.)

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  1. Video Marketing? Show Me the Copy « Word Bang - 31 May, 2011

    […] bitched before about marketers that jump on the video bandwagon and never get off. It’s all or nothing. They’re drinking some guru’s koolaid on how flat out […]

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