Are You A Commodity? (Sell what everyone else is selling: Only Better)

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So how do you compete in an industry where consumers believe that everyone offers the same service and the only difference is price?

What if you can’t claim that you are the lowest price? Should you just quit?

This video talks about “The Out Strategy” designed to help you outsell your competition when you’re selling the same basic thing.

I’ve created an entire video on this strategy as well.

Watch the video and let me know your thoughts:

Please leave your comments:

3 Less Sexy but Powerful Methods for Online Video to Grow Your Business

It seems like using video for SEO and traffic is all the rage today. Search the terms “video” and “SEO” and be prepared for special reports, whitepapers, blog posts and tech chatter falling like a heavy rain from thedigital sky.

Here are three ways to use video that do not necessarily involve SEO but can add massive benefit to your business by selling on your behalf, increasing your fan base and nabbing sales that you thought you had lost.

Method #1. Product Demos – ThinkShamWow

Despite the ridicule of famed (and defamed) pitchman VinceShlomi, ShamWow has sold about $1 Billion (with a “B”) in towels to date; all on the back of a single commercial produced in a trade show demonstration style.

If you ask most folks they will tell you that Vince made ShamWow work but my contention is that the demonstration is far more powerful than Vince’s pitch. Imagine converting the ShamWow video into an audio only presentation. Listen to it in your mind and tell me if it has near the power of the actual commercial.

The real power behind the ShamWow (1 Billion with a “B”) success story is the demonstration of the product itself, captured on video for millions of people to see – over and over again.

Product (or even service) demos are extremely powerful marketing and sales tools and video is a perfect distribution platform to get them to a focused market quickly.

It’s likely that your business could benefit in big ways from this method of using online video.

Method #2. Post Sale Customer Service (sales)

One missing link in the marketing of many products is the ability for companies to follow up and make sure that the customer is enjoying their product. This too, is marketing. Here’s an example of how online video can (and should) be used to create raving fans:

Introducing:The Zizzbee (Fictional Product)

The Zizzbee Frisbee -A new Frisbee disc with special adjustable vents that make it fly up to 200 yards in one correct toss. With the slight change in one of the adjustable vent louvers it can fly in boomerang fashion or even fly straight up in the air in a swooping fashion with proper technique.

You can learn special tricks, play special sporting games or even join a Zizzbee activity club in your area. Let’s examine the stages that a Zizzbee buyer may go through after purchase.

  1. Buyer purchases Zizzbee in a local big box store
  2. Buyer opens the package at home and tries to throw the Zizzbee like a conventional Frisbee disc.
  3. Buyer does not get the results he expects so he checks the instructional insert for help
  4. Insert gives techniques on basic Zizzbee tosses so buyer attempts the techniques with moderate results
  5. Buyer uses Zizzbee as a novelty item at a backyard BBQ with friends and it generates some positive interaction
  6. Buyer wants to know more of what Zizzbee can do but has lost the insert that came in the original package
  7. Buyer searches the internet to find out more about Zizzbee stuff,Etc.

This is a reasonable stage scenario for a fictitious product.The Zizzbee Corporation could include an instructional DVD with the product which would increase the cost of production and packaging and likely raise the price of the Zizzbee unit or reduce the overall margin per unit or…

The Zizzbee Corporation could include a flyer inside the package with an online registration that would give their new Zizzbee buyer exclusive access to a video library or a series of videos delivered by email that would address their new Zizzbee lover’s needs at each of the stages that I’ve outlined above.

Now get this…Zizzbee Corporation creatively uses the videos to also promote other Zizzbee products that they KNOW their Zizzbee buyer will be interested in. Zizzbee Flyer Wrist Guards, Zizzbee T-shirts and hats or even one month of free access to the Zizzbee Super Stars Club where they can learn Zizzbee techniques that only the best Zizzbee players in the world know and teach. Of course the customer will be billed $9.97 per month for every month they choose to remain in the Zizzbee Super Stars Club.

*End of Fictional ProductDesciption*

Whether you’re selling legal services, insurance, auto repair or Frisbee discs, your business has a post sales customer usage cycle; every business does. If you can anticipate the stages of that cycle, you can use video to help your customers enjoy your product and enjoy buying more stuff from you in the process.

Method #3. Overcome objections in segments

In today’s world of limited face to face sales, the salesperson does not always have the opportunity to handle all objections to the purchase of a product or service.

Using web video and email together can create sales for customers who initially would not take the time to listen. Short videos that overcome objections can be sent to the prospect over a designated period to lower the defenses for a follow up phone call from the sales department.

The best part of this practice is that you create the videos one time and they work behind the scenes while you’re closing the easier sale. Using video in this manner also forces a follow up system that is automated through email or other means, requiring very little ongoing effort or cost to the company. Hey… if you land 1 out of 20, you still got a sale that you would never have gotten without it.

Use one, or all of these web based video methods, and you’ll be glad you did. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post.

5 Tips to Creating Video When You Hate Cameras

I just met with an attorney who is great at what she does but when I put a camera in front of her she froze up.  This was not a shy or insecure person but when she saw the little red light, she was became a real wall flower.  Here are some tips to creating great video if you hate being on camera.

1)   The Screen Capture
You can create videos with great content by using a presentation software like PowerPoint and free screen capture tools you can download online.  Create your presentation, start the screen capture software and talk your audience through the slides.  You’re not on camera so there’s no need to hide under the covers.

2)  The Interview
Ask a friend, colleague or total stranger to interview you.  You provide the questions, they simply ask them and you answer.  You don’t look at the camera, you look at them.  Position yourself close together with your bodies facing forward at a table but turned just enough to face each other and not the camera.  You’ll find that you will be great at answering their questions because you wrote them and you answer them every day.  The camera is just an innocent bystander.

3)  The Host
This seems like it would be hard but it’s really quite easy.  Reverse the interview and ask someone else the questions and let them answer.  This has the power of a testimonial because it a non-sales person giving straight answers to questions that you wrote.  Don’t worry about looking at the camera.  At the end, you can cut to a screen with your web site on it and voice over your “sign off” such as “This is John Doe – we’ll see you next time.”

4)  The Actors Guild
Get a couple of friends to act out a normal scene between two people who represent your customers.  You may not thing that you know many people who would do this but you’ll be surprised how many Brad Pitt wannabes you have in your life.  Just ask around and they’ll start auditioning.  Give them a loose script to follow and shoot until it’s interesting and gets your point across.

5)  The Hard Truth
This one is off the path of the previous four.  If you struggle to be on camera… get over it.  The honest truth is that your fear of being on camera has more to do with you and your own issues than what anyone else would possibly think of you.  You are a business owner or sales person – take some flippin risks and get over yourself.  You’ll get used to it and you’ll sell a whole lot more stuff if you do.

Take these 5 Tips to heart and don’t let your fear of cameras get in the way of using video to market.

Always Have A Point – How To Light Your Video

Bright and blinding, dark and squinting, monotone and wide eyed. What would you have your audience do? Do you want them to be mystified, scared, board? You can use lighting to convey a point, but only if you have a point! What emotion do you want to evoke from your audience, and how does that emotion relate to your point?

Perhaps you are a photographer and you want to create a video that displays your colorful and contrasting style! Perhaps you open your video with a bright and blinding light that slowly fades to a playful puppy romping among a field of colorful flowers, and in the background is a bright blue sky with puffy cumulus clouds. Then you come into the shot with your camera chasing the puppy and snapping glamorous photos the whole while with John Denver playing in the background. Then the video cuts to a darker stormy sky with thick rain-filled clouds and lightening. That same puppy, amongst the same field of flowers, is now contemplative over how to catch his tail, and sitting erect with his head held high the audience can see you in the background hidden in the brush (so as not to disturb the puppy’s meditation) photographing the puppy as if in his natural habitat. Perhaps the video then fades out dark to black.

Now, perhaps you are a loan officer and you want to convey to your target audience that you are giving them a market rate update. Perhaps more of an even tone would work better, given the nature of your craft, but you can still sit in a field and use the bright sunny light if your point is that things are going great with the market rates and sunny times are ahead, or sit in that same field with the dark stormy sky if rates are about to take a turn for the worse (or are already there) and the audience needs to act quickly less they be rained on with bad rates!

Just be sure to bring something to light your face to even out the tone of the lighting. On a sunny day you will want it to even out the shadows, and on a stormy day you’ll want to make sure there is enough light so that can see your pretty face!

What were the lessons learned today? Different types of lighting evokes emotions out of people, determine your point to determine the emotion you want your audience to have, and then determine the lighting!

Tip: Think of how you would feel in those different lighting situations, most of the time that’s how your audience will feel as well!

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

Always Have A Point – What Not to Wear

Besides streaking naked through a football field, unless it’s appropriate for your target audience, there are few restrictions on what not to wear in your video marketing.

Whatever you’re wearing be it a business suit or a gorilla suite (or a face covered in clothespins) be sure you always have a point and be sure it matches the point you want to convey in the video. A business suite in the middle of a rain forest doesn’t get across the intense process of acquiring fine coffee beans as does the possible interaction with a gorilla! However, if your point is a weekly update on coffee in the stock market, maybe a business suite in a nice office by a window conveys your point better!

Remember to be a visually stimulating expert! Be comfortable, so that you don’t have that look of quiet annoyance (or surprise) on your face the whole video, and be sure to pick your colors based on your background so that you don’t blend into the walls, ceiling, or floor! Are you in a bright white office? Then don’t wear white or black. If you wear white you’re likely to blend into the walls and wearing black is too contrasting, both will distract your audience from the great content that you are delivering to them.

Going back to always having a point, unless it’s important to the point of the video, no loud jewelery or cowbells! Even the slight rattle of bracelets, or the tinging sound of a clanking cowbell around your neck, will be picked up in the audio from the video and can be very distracting, once again taking your audience’s attention away from your great content!

What was the lesson learned today? Always have a point and let your clothing enhance that point in your video! Now go have a point and wear it!

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

Always Have A Point – Where to Shoot Your Video

Location, location, location. Isn’t that what they say? I say NO! It’s really all about having a point! Where you shoot depends on why you’re shooting your video! What’s the point? What message are you trying to convey to your target audience? Get specific here and think about what you want your audience to feel when they watch your video. What do you want them see feel, think, hear, taste, and smell when they see you on their screen! And yes, you can make your audience taste and smell right through their monitor!

If you own a bakery, perhaps you want them to see you hard at work and feeling good that your dedicated to their satisfaction. Maybe you want them to hear all the great things people are saying about their experience in your store, make their mouth water over your one-of-kind peanut butter bars, and make their nose hairs tingle over your to-die-for ginger snaps! 

After answering these questions for yourself and your video content, now you have determined your point, set the scene, and can pick the location! Remember that location is very important, why do you think they pay location scouts big bucks to send people all over the world scouting locations for full-featured Hollywood movies?

Going with my bakery owner example, and keeping in mind the visual experience I want to give my audience based on my answers to the previous questions, I would choose to take them on a tour of my bakery!

First I’d make sure that my bakery is clean, pristine, and in tiptop shape! Then I’d make sure to have some friends come over to sit at my tables in the parlor eating their delicious items and make exhilarated faces while conversing about the items, and have one friend to hold the camera and film the video. I’d also make sure to have my best items freshly baked and in the spotlight on my shelves. Then, when the time comes to make the video, I’d put on my starch white bakers outfit and cap and start the video with me bustling over the ingredients, pulling things in and out of the ovens, and, with a smile on my face, serving my customers their favorite items! 

What was the lesson learned today? That location is important, but it’s nothing without a point!

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel