Behind the B-to-B Online Video Explosion

In case you haven’t noticed, the use of amateur video to sell products online is exploding. YouTube has made amateur video perfectly acceptable, and B-to-B catalogers have realized the power of video to educate, inform, sell, demonstrate, serve and communicate.

All this is changing online business shoppers’ expectations. I dare predict that a year from now your Web site will be “old technology” if you don’t have videos that inform visitors of your products and/or services. It should also include videos from your customers showing how they use your products.

No, this won’t force you to build a big, expensive video production facility. Let your customers post videos — that you approve, of course — showing how your products are used and their value, among other things.

In addition, once you produce your video content, there are many online video sites that you can distribute it to. While YouTube is the largest and most recognized, find sites that are focused specifically on your target market. For example, www.teachertube.com is a site that presents videos that are of interest to teachers.

Here are some other noteworthy items regarding video use.

* You can have your own channel on YouTube. Check out www.youtube.com/user/HRcreations, where human resources products marketer HRdirect presents a variety of products and content targeted to HR managers. Also, check out the influx of B-to-B videos and B-to-B “banned commercials” on YouTube.

* Barnes & Noble launched videos on its site six months ago and has already recorded more than 1 million videos.

* Shoeline.com reports boosting conversion 44 percent after presenting its shoes in online videos.

It’s clear that the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is true. Multichannel merchants and their customers are using this media in record numbers. Low-cost video technology, acceptance of amateur production quality and the ever important “MTV generation” (who want to view, not read) are all driving the trend. It’s easy to see how the availability of video online will continue to propel more shoppers to your site rather than your catalog pages. I suggest promoting video content in your catalog and tracking the results.

Online videos are growing in importance and are here to stay. Are you ready for your close-up? Happy shooting!

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes@b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221

Comments or questions are welcome.

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