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What is a conversion video?

What is a Conversion Video?


The most important video you can make.

There are many types of videos you can make, but perhaps the most important is your homepage, or conversion, video.

Filming a business video

You spend a lot of time and money to bring visitors to your website, but what happens when they get there? Every website needs a conversion goal for every page – that is, the action you wish a visitor to take once he or she has viewed the page. Homepage conversion goals might include: encouraging visitors to call or e-mail for more information or a free consultation (this is effective with a short-sales-cycle business), encourage sign-ups for a free whitepaper or newsletter, or to draw visitors deeper into your website and into the next stage of your sales funnel.

A video is the most powerful way to increase the rate at which you achieve that goal.  Why?

Because people don’t read text online, they skim. According to one study, the average website visitor reads only 20% of what’s written on a page. However, when presented with a video, visitors nearly always choose to press “play,” and then you’ve got an opportunity to convey a lot of information in a short time span. Videos are not only engaging, they’re also linear, which means you can lay out the argument for choosing your business in a logical fashion and conclude by directing visitors further into your sales funnel.

How long should the video be?

A homepage video should run between 60 and 90 seconds. That’s enough time to explain what you do, give a few reasons to choose your business, and maybe include a quick customer testimonial. Videos that run over two minutes tend to see a major drop-off in viewership. Ultimately, of course, how long people watch depends on how engaging the video content is and how complex the product or service you’re offering. If you’re selling something simple like insurance, you’ll want to stay at the short end of that 60- to 90-second length, but if you have a complex technology or service, you can take the full time.

What style should you use?

There are many approaches to homepage videos and some are more effective than others. Picking the best style depends on the type of business you’re promoting.

Let’s start with the types we don’t recommend: the walk-on spokesperson, for starters. These annoying videos tend to be triggered by landing on a homepage, then the actor or actress or virtual animated person walks over text you might wish to read and starts addressing you (often in a salesy or condescending manner). The problem here is that the user experience is being dictated by a third party, rather than letting users choose for themselves how they want to interact with the site. An additional drawback: these “videos” can’t be optimized to show up in search results.

Another style we don’t recommend is the photo montage (unless you’re a photographer). These pieces don’t convey much information, instead relying on photos with no voice-over and blocks of text which few people will take the time to read. (…and the whole point of watching the video is so we don’t have to read, right?) They are, of course, very inexpensive, which is why some businesses might choose this approach: and so the montage conveys the message that you don’t have the budget for a video.

Three types of conversion video we recommend:

1. The Animated Explainer Video.

As the name suggests, these videos use animation to explain the problem your business solves. This is great for technology companies or businesses with a service which is hard to show in action. A website optimization company, for example, would be hard-pressed to show what they do visually – but with animation, there’s no limit to the visual representations you can mobilize. These videos are tightly scripted, take a time to produce, and can be expensive, but when done well, they can dramatically increase conversion rates.

Here’s a sample of an explainer video we produced: Conversion Max

2. Documentary Style Homepage Video.

Using a documentary approach works really well for small businesses, because it creates an intimate portrait of the business. The story comes together in the edit room, based on interviewing the business owner and having him or her explain what the business is about, and then combining that with footage of the business in action as well as a customer testimonial. People do business with people they know, like, and trust, and seeing you on your video is a great way for people to get to know you. This is especially important for a service business, which depends on a strong connection with its customers – counselors, chiropractors, dentists, coaches, yoga instructors, etc. Plus, the documentary approach is typically less expensive than the scripted approach.

Here is a sample of the documentary approach: Realtor

3. Scripted Home Page Video.

A scripted, videotaped production enables complete control over the messaging content so you can highlight the benefits of your business or brand in the strongest terms. A professional voice-over talent will convey that message effectively, and is ideally supported with strong visuals. These types of videos work very well for a business with a physical product whose benefits can be visually demonstrated. The budget for this kind of video is higher and the delivery timeline longer than for the documentary approach because more labor is involved with the script and voice-over. However, the control over the messaging and visuals chosen (what you capture on film is only limited by your imagination and budget) can make these videos highly effective at increasing conversions.

Here is a sample of the scripted approach: Cherries

Who should make the video?

The conversion video is one of the most important videos you can make and one of the hardest to get right. It represents your company, and – just like your website – it needs to be professional to put you in a good light and do its job of converting visitors into customers. We therefore don’t suggest that you try this one yourself – rather, hire an outside professional. Hire someone with experience in the style you wish to produce and who will help you set up measurement tools so you can track its success.

If you’d like to learn more about our conversion videos, click:Conversion Videos


Coming up next week: How to create and deploy a conversion video

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