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Saturday, February 14, 2009

The video experiment

My first live video, Construction Marketing Success: Do what you love doing, will hardly win an Emmy Award, but the experiment taught some interesting lessons relevant to your business. Video production is now extremely inexpensive and you can put something together with minimum resources which can convey impressions and messages to your clients of undeniable marketing value.

The posting, Bill Thomas and his effective online marketing approach, describes how his company gets on the roof of potential clients, shoots videos showing the problem, and outlines solutions in video estimates without the client ever actually needing to meet face-to-face with an estimator. (Obviously, this approach only works for external services where permission can be granted to access the home when no one is home.) Nevertheless, the model can be repeated in other circumstances.

You can also use video to build trust and develop relationships, give live demonstrations and, if you are really sophisticated, build a true sense of urgency and need for your service.
Good enough in theory, but how do things work in practice.

This week, I purchased an inexpensive video camera for about $200 Canadian, and then gathered a few accessories including a tripod and cable to hook the camera to my computer for about $150 additional. My MacBook Pro has video editing software built into the system. Within about two hours, I learned some of the basics; including how to superimpose captions and edit out some (but most definitely not all) of the glaring production errors. (I couldn't get rid of all the squeaky chair noises for example and the lighting quality of the evening video shoot is less than perfect.)

After about eight minutes of shooting, and about an hour's editing, I was ready to post the completed work on YouTube, which provides a direct link back to this blog.

Next time around -- when I produce the second video installment in a week -- you will see improved production qualities, greater interest, and everything will be completed in even less time. I expect that in a month, I will be ready to remove this first video and replace it with a more inspiring work with essentially the same message; I probably will keep this one live however to show the learning curve and experience.

So it can be done, and I think you should consider doing it.

Should you consider hiring a professional video company for the work. Yes, if your budget is reasonably large, this makes sense. Your time can be better spent on your trade and business, and obviously you don't need to learn every detail of effective video production and editing. However, there are some advantages in some do-it-yourself initiatives; you will understand more clearly what works best and why, and how the technology can be applied for your own business.

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