According to research by Cisco more than half of all consumer internet traffic is video and it will continue to grow. That would suggest that video would be a great way for businesses to engage their customers. The other side of the coin Cisco's research reveled is it would take over 6 million years to watch all the video currently online.

This means there is a lot of competition so just making a video will not help you increase traffic or increase sales.

Part of the reason is the businesses often do not know how to effectively use online video and these mistakes prevent people from finding your video and may even cause you to lose customers.

  1. Making a Viral Video: If anyone suggests to you that success depends on making a viral video throw them out on their ear. That is like telling a teenage garage band that the way to rock superstardom is to record a hit record. Make videos with valuable content that people need. Worry more about providing value and less about making a hit.
  2. Not Optimizing the Video for Search: YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and because Google owns YouTube there are a lot of similarities. Both search engines search the metadata attached to the video looking for keywords and phrases that indicate what the video is about. Using keywords in the title, description, categories and tags will help audience find your video. Check out the ebook: SEO for YouTube Videos.
  3. No Call to Action: Why are you making the video and what do you want people to do after they watch it? Tell them what you want them to do in the video and in the description for the video.
  4. Not linking to website: If you tell people to go to your website or a landing page you need to put in a link. We all know that you cannot put a hot link in a video but you can put it in the description of the video. I suggest putting the link somewhere in the first two lines and remember to include the "http://". While you are at it remember to link to a valuable landing page related to the video that is not usually your home page.
  5. Not attaching a Transcript: YouTube now has the capability of transcribing your video's audio content and attaching it to the video. This transcript can be used by the closed caption option on YouTube and it can be searched by search engines giving your video a better chance of being found by people interested in the content. (See How to add Closed Captioning on YouTube Videos).
  6. Video Blog Misuse: There is nothing wrong with video blogs but I've often seen blogs that are just a series of videos posted with no other information. If you are going to use videos as blog posts, especially if you are going to use video exclusively for blog posts, use the transcript (see No. 5) as the text in the blog. This will help with search engines and give people who prefer to read another option. At the very least give a description of the video so viewers know what it is about.
  7. Making the Video Too long: There is no optimal length for an online video but remember you do not have a captive audience. They can turn off the video at any time. Use the analytics tools in YouTube to see when people stop watching your video and you'll get a good idea how long your next video should be. In most cases you have 10 seconds to convince your viewer to keep watching.
  8. Poor Quality: If the quality of the video makes it difficult to follow, hear or watch it will do more harm than good. This does not mean that every video needs to be a Hollywood production but it does mean the quality should not get in the way of the message.
  9. Using the wrong video in the wrong place: For business and marketing videos there are generally three types of online video but they are often used in the wrong way. Outreach videos are distributed widely and encourage people to visit your website. Landing page or closing videos tell the visitor why they should buy your product or service. Post sales engagement videos such as training videos help your customers after the sale. The exact mix of these videos change from business to business but think about what video fits best with your prospects in your sales process. For more information take a look at my blog: The 3 Stages of Video Marketing.
  10. The video does not represent the organization: Just because a video gets lots of viewers does not mean it is a good video for your organization or company. The video must represent the values of the organization not only in its message but in its production values and style. An investment company should expect to make one type of video and a quirky, avant garde restaurant another type of video.

It is important to think about how a video will be viewed by your potential customers, how it represents your business and what you want them to do after they have viewed the video. Your goal should not only be to get viewers but to get the right viewers, people who need your services or product. Videos are not only about broadcasting a message but in providing value. Make something valuable and do not forget to have a call to action.

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