Five Ways to Make Simple Video More Engaging

For three years Swyzzle has been creating a unique and powerful online creative tool for people that goes beyond typical video offerings. With so many companies touting themselves as video email marketers, our challenge has always been to differentiate Swyzzle from the multitudes of products that are available on the market today.  While we offer the similar functionality in a lot of aspects, there is one significant way that we stand apart from the others: Swyzzle is a multimedia platform.

The Multimedia Advantage

Multimedia video, callout, audio media. All-in-one.

Multimedia is a word we come across often that has different meaning depending on its context. So here is our simplified definition for this context.

Multimedia = images + video + audio + YouTube video + Amazon products + call outs + HTML Rich Text

With Swyzzle, you can upload video, audio and images and arrange the uploaded content on a “stage”. You can create a sequence of your media which plays inside a Flash player.  Now that you know what multimedia means, let’s see why smart marketers choose this platform over plain video marketing.

1) Reduce creative costs through re-use of media

How much money do you spend on employing a creative company to design logos, make videos and other digital media? If you are like most, you’ve seen the waste. A marketing campaign is over and the designs are never used again. What about that expensively produced video you posted on YouTube? YouTube is not the only media outlet for getting viewers. You can re-use your video for an email marketing campaign by including it in a Swyzzle show. And then, track it’s success with Swyzzle’s analytics.

2) Easily replace of outdated media

What happens when you change your company logo? All the digital media you’ve created has to be replaced in every web page where you’re company has promotional media. In a Swyzzle show, you simply replace the image one time and it is reflected in all the shows that use it. Whereas, if the logo is embedded inside a video itself, you would have to do some video editing to get the old image out and the new image in – or create a new promotion video altogether.

3) SEO for all…media

How do you effectively make a YouTube video SEO friendly? We have designed Swyzzle to allow show author’s to apply SEO terms to every piece of media in a show (and the show itself). Once you define your keywords and description of the media in the show, the show packages all those tags from the media into its keywords. If you include a YouTube video about cats, you can create your own keywords for that video. When you create the embed tag for your web page, Swyzzle places all the media’s keywords into the embeddable HTML automatically.

4) Take your video to the next level

What makes a video engaging to watch besides its content? When you watch a YouTube video and something pops up and fades out, it is usually something relevant to the video that you need to know or it can be humorous quips about the action in the video. It doesn’t matter, it’s EASY to do with Swyzzle because you are not EDITING the video itself, you are just dragging an item on to the stage. If you are not a video editor by trade, there is quite a learning curve to edit a video.

Kick it up a notch:

  • Play two videos together side by side. (upload two videos, drag them onto the stage)
  • Overlay your favorite music for a sports video (you can mute the YouTube audio with our editor and use  your music instead).
  • Add lyrics to a song below the video. (use Swyzzle HTML rich text editor and drag the text on to the stage).
  • Frame a video with color or an image. (change the stage background, either just by color or drag an image covering the whole stage)
  • Add “graffiti” of your own over or around the video. (upload some image and drag them over the video)
  • Overlay call outs (conversation bubble) on top of the video. (create a call out in the editor and drop it on the stage)

5) Measure effectiveness of your multimedia show

How do you know if a campaign is successful? A sales uptick is always the most reliable, let’s face it! But it’s a common theme that all online marketing campaigns provide analytics, so it’s pretty much expected that you’ve got to have accurate analytics in the email marketing world. In some of the campaigns we’ve run, it is obvious that certain images and audio are definitely having an impact on the viewership.  Ironically, it’s not always the pretty girl that made the campaign work! So, analytics gave us the real story (FACTS!) of which campaign was successuful! Then, the uptick in sales was the slam dunk confirming it with our analytics reporting. Our analytics could have predicted the sales team informing us of the increased customer interest, but we let them have the fun and tell us all about it.

Conclusion

We are passionate about Swyzzle because we know it’s advantage over other simply video-based media software. To see Swyzzle in action,  watch a sample show and let us know what you think!

How Often to Blog, Tweet or Update FaceBook?

During the Atlanta Business Radio show yesterday, Matt Davis asked me how often a business should blog, tweet, and update statuses on FaceBook. Let’s face it, if you’re on Twitter at some poiAtlanta Business Radiont you’ve un-followed someone for spewing tweets – “walking over to the break room”, “think I’ll have french roast today”, “hmm, ceramic or paper cup?”, and so on. People do the same thing with their blogs and FaceBook updates.

Posting or updating too often comes across as spammy and insincere. But if you don’t do it enough, you won’t get any benefit from it. So for a business, what is the right frequency to post, tweet or update?

Now I hate it when someone answers a question by saying “there is no right answer”, so I’m not going to say that even though its true. The answer: you should blog and update as often as you can provide value to your audience. Yes, another non-answer – like when you asked your teacher how long your term paper should be and he said, “long enough”. Your customers, both current and potential, are looking for help. If your social media provides that help, they will find you.

Back to how often. If you are asking that question, it’s probably because you don’t think you are blogging enough. I feel like I’m in a constant state of writer’s block, so I understand. First, ideally you should blog every day or two to three times a week. If you don’t have the time or resources do that, then once a week. If you can’t do that, then once a month. If one a month is a problem, then you need to look for someone else in your business to do it. My dog could blog once a month (it would be a little ruff, though). But if there isn’t someone else, do it once a month anyway. Your customers need you.

As for updates on Twitter and Facebook, ideally once a day if you can provide value. Once a week as a minimum. My dog could tweet once a week.

With all social media, consistency matters more than how often. For a blog, don’t blog twice one month and none the next. The best reason for this is that if you’re not consistent, once a month will turn into once every two months, until you just stop completely.

If you’d like to listen to the entire radio show, click here.

Adding Video SEO (VSEO) to a Swyzzle show

Search Engine Optimization has been a hot topic for web site developers and marketers for several years. Anyone who is slightly savvy in the world wide web knows the basics:
Video SEO
1) Content is king
2) Back links are important
3) Create a sitemap and submit to Google
4) Create an RSS feed for your site

At Swyzzle, we have incorporated all these techniques into our site. In this blog, I’d like to emphasize techniques we use for our Video SEO. Here are some tips for those who want their Swyzzle shows to be found by Google, Bing, and the rest.

1) When you are logged in and editing a show, you can add your “Show Details”. This is where you can enter a show description, title and keywords. Make sure you describe your Swyzzle show. This is where content is king for video. You can even go so far as to transcribe the video. Leaving the Show Description empty is a big mistake and will cost you SEO visitors. This is very important!

2) Title your Swyzzle show intelligently with VSEO in mind. What does that mean? Well, the show title is serious business! This really isn’t the time to come up with cute phrases that don’t mean a thing until you’ve watched the show. If you really want your video to be found by YOUR audience, you might want to think about what they’d be searching for that would result in YOUR show. If you don’t want to think that hard, decide what keywords stand out to characterize the show’s content. If you watched your own show, what on-topic words are repeated throughout the show? Those would be your keywords. Once you have 3 or 4 keywords, a SEO friendly title is imminent!

3) I’ve mentioned, Show Title and Show Description, but you can also add more keywords. Swyzzle incorporates keywords you’ve entered (and some you haven’t) into the embed tag. There are two types of keywords: Show keywords and Content keywords. Maybe there are some words that didn’t make it into your description or title that should be included — you can add more keywords to apply to your show. But, you can go a step further and add them to your content. Every piece of content in your show has it’s own keywords field. Every little bit helps, it’s up to you to exploit Swyzzle’s SEO tools to your advantage. You want your show to be found, right?

4) Embed your Swyzzle show in as many blogs and websites as are relevant to your topic. Be a guest blogger and embed your Swyzzle show on related sites. When you embed a Swyzzle show, the show title and keywords are pasted into the video embed object. So once you update the Show Details (title, keywords), it is automatically included in that web page.

We’ve given you some important tips on how to make your Swyzzle show SEO-friendly. Try incorporating them and see what it will do for you!

Webinar: Leveraging video for lead generation

Swyzzle and SalesFusion will host a webinar tomorrow, March 10th, at 2:00 pm EST on “Leveraging video to increase lead generation”.

Webinar: leveraging videe for online lead generationThis is a compelling look a the growing role video plays in the lead generation process. This live webinar will cover a variety of topics that will help you explore new ways to leverage video in your marketing mix.

You can sign up by clicking this button:

http://www.msgapp.com/c.aspx?l=CHZD0000010904084000YYY1AD

The session Agenda includes discussion around…

  • Video’s growing role as a selling tool
  • Integrating video into demand generation
  • Use cases – how, when and why to use video
  • Video and Social Media – the YouTube effect
  • Video as a prospecting tool – the email tie-in
  • Extending your webinars with video
  • Tracking video metrics

The use of videos and other multimedia is growing in popularity amongst savvy marketers. there are a myriad of new technologies and channels in which video adds to richness of your campaigns.

SalesFUSION and Swyzzle have teamed up to provide an in-depth review of the trends, tactics and metrics you need to be aware of relative to this.

10 Video Tips for New Year’s Eve

10 Video tips for New year's EveThis New Year’s Eve will be different from any other. Unless you happen to be spending yours at the Pentagon, every second of the evening there will be a video camera within reach of every  person you meet, stumble over, or kiss. We all have fun stories about past New Year’s Eve parties. I, myself, am glad there isn’t video documenting some of my weaker moments. On the other hand, there are a few events I wish I had proof  actually happened. To help you make the most of yours, I offer these 10 tips for better video, New Year’s Eve style.

#1: Start early – Admittedly, the fun stuff will happen later in the evening, after your friends and family have gotten their social skills lubricated, if you know what I mean. But the flip side (no pun intended) is video quality will correspondingly go down. Plus, you’ll want to see the contrast.

#2: Plant a few cameras at strategic spots – In fact if there is a band, a dance floor or a karaoke machine, make sure there is a camera nearby at all times.

#3: Use an external microphone – If possible, use a camera with an external mic for interviews. You’ll thank me later when the audio doesn’t sound like your subjects were wearing a football helmet and mouth guard.

#4: Get your friends to send you their videos – This is a great way to get B-roll (you know, the secondary video for transitions and scene changes). You might get some good video, too, and for once you might even be in your own movie.

#5: Adhere to the two martini rule – This is really just good New Year’s Eve advice, but I guarantee your video will be better if you follow it. There’s an old saying about martinis (cleansed to keep our PG-rating), “Martinis are like a woman’s, uh, eyes, one’s not enough, three’s two many, and two is just right. Remember, it’s a long night. You want to be behind the camera when things get ugly, not in front.

#6: Eat early and often – Corollary to Rule #5. There’s nothing worse than martinis and champagne on an empty stomach, except a video of you hugging a commode, telling the camera how much you love it.

#7: Do something memorable – Propose a toast, get on the karaoke and sing “Barracuda” or “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. Someone has to “Get This Party Started”, right? Or you can coax someone else, but I recommend leading by example.

#8: Make the kisses count – Why let all that smooching go to waste? There are people waiting their whole year for an excuse to kiss their dreamboat. Capture the moment, and make a montage.

#9: Edit it – Don’t waste all that effort by just throwing it all together. Edit into something special.

#10: Share it – Upload the video, and share it. You can use Swyzzle to do it, and we’ll tell you who watched it, when they watched it, and what the best parts were.

These may be a different set of tips what you expected, but we at Swyzzle hope they help to make your New Year’s Eve video a little bit better. Have a happy, healthy, and safe  New Year’s Eve. And here’s to a happy and prosperous 2011!

Targeted Television Post on MediaPost.com

Targeted TV on MediaPostTake a look at this article on MediaPost.com that captures the reasons for our focus on “targeted television” for marketing and lead generation. Specifically, it talks about how video ads’ performance drastically improve when targeted to the right demographic audience. People always prefer information – whether entertainment or promotion; whether stories, video content, or advertising – that is tailored to their interests.

The article also addresses an important concern for marketers who want to use video in email campaigns – where to get good video creative – saying that existing 15-second and 30-second spots can be used effectively for email marketing. If you have the budget and enough time to produce custom video for marketing, that’s what you should do. But if not, you can use existing video content from your media library with very good results.

How Has Digital Media Changed Our Marketing Model?

As the CEO of Swyzzle, I was invited to answer this question on Focus.com:

“How has digital media changed your approach to marketing?”

This was a very good question to ask me since this is where our expertise lies. Our business is 100% based on the use of digital media to market our client’s products and services. Here is my response:

 

5 ways our marketing model has changed due to digital media

  1. We measure and track our results. Digital media allows us to track our leads through every stage of the marketing funnel and sales pipeline. We track the lifetime value of a customer against the cost to acquire that customer. As a result,we’ve shifted marketing efforts from less measurable (for example, print and broadcast) into more measurable (email marketing, CPC, SEO/SEM). We measure both to justify our marketing expense and to ensure we are spending on the most effective strategies.
  2. We focus more on lead generation and less on brand awareness. The ability of digital media to better target specific demographics has increased the ROI of online lead generation. That’s not to say that we don’t put energy into brand awareness – just that brand awareness is secondary to lead generation.
  3. We use video and multimedia marketing. Of course, our company is all about empowering marketers to use video and multimedia for online marketing. And, as Marge Bieler said, that’s because online conversion rates go up by over 40% when video is used. Video engagement is measurable, and can be used for lead generation or as web site content. When used in lead generation campaigns it increases conversion rates, and at the same time drives brand awareness and engagement.
  4. We use social media to humanize our company. The most important social medium for us is our blog. It drives SEO, let’s us educate our market and expose our company’s personality. We use our blog to convert visitors and demonstrate our products in action. We use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn by encouraging our market to talk about us on their social networks, as opposed to creating a lot of content on them.
  5. We are more data-driven. Digital media has made information available to us that informs us about our market. When visitors land on our web site, we know where they are, what platform they’re on, their connection speed and lots of other information. As a result, we can choose marketing tactics that better suit our market. There is a wealth of other data that affects how we communicate with our market.

You can see the orignal post here.

A Day at Future Media Fest 2010

Future Media Fest 2010 LogoWe were invited to demo Swyzzle at the Future Media Fest’s showcase event on Monday night. Normally, we are holed up in our “garage” coding our little hearts out, so getting out with the digital community is a real anomaly. To hear that they like the Swyzzle product (and otherwise “Get it” ) is the icing on the cake. Aside from the showcase, we were able to take some time to meet industry experts that could shed further light on where a multimedia platform serving up many different types of content in one bundled show (as Swyzzle’s player does), could be best applied.  They understood the high value of the detailed analytics Swyzzle provides for lead generation campaigns. Even more surprising was a growing discussion of how Swyzzle could be used in broadcast arena. We truly appreciated the enthusiasm and feedback from those who are pushing the limits of technology to take it to the next level.

Prior to the showcase we hung out to listen to some of the speakers. There were some interesting comments, I thought were worth tweeting about.

Here are just a couple of my tweets:

Millenials are more open to advertising. Excellent for marketing and advertising industry!

I thought this was interesting because I am not a “millenial”, let’s just leave what I am out of it. But the speaker was right in that I don’t appreciate the barrage of advertising I’m subjected to every day. However, knowing that millenials don’t mind it, makes it easier to market to the millenial. They have come to expect it, if they want something for free. This includes those terrible Tee-shirts that they shoot  into the stands during pro-ball games, that most of us would NEVER wear. It just doesn’t matter to them, it’s a free addition to their ever-expanding Tee-shirt and jeans wardrobe. So, if you want to know where your marketing campaign is always accepted, check out your millenial email list.

Hyper Relevance vs. Personalization

This topic was brought up during one of the panels. I understand what personalization is however, hyper relevance kind of got my curiosity. Hyper relevance is most easily described with an example, Google Instant. Google Instant tries to figure out what you are looking for before you even know yourself. This concept has been around for a while, but Google Instant has brought it to the forefront in recent months. So, then, the word CREEPY was thrown around by the panelists, regarding both these concepts. I personally don’t feel like it’s a bad thing that my behaviors and interests are known to others. I like receiving the right information at the right time, so that I can be presented with relevant articles and products when I need them. Maybe too much was made of it. I think a lot of people are intrigued and fascinated with ‘creepy’, for example, what’s up with the huge success of vampire-themed movies?

This year’s Future Media Fest in Atlanta was a great success. I’m looking forward to  Future Media 2011, this one was awesome and I commend the organizers and sponsors for their efforts.

Advice on Lead Hand-off from Marketing to Sales

Technology Executives Roundtable (TER) LogoI was at an Technology Executives Roundtable (TER) event on Marketing ROI earlier this week. It was a panel with three members, all marketing executives, who were asked the typical questions for a panel like this: what marketing programs work for you, how do you measure ROI, and how do you track ROI for the marketing campaigns you run. These are always good questions to ask, since the answers change as markets and marketing tools evolve.

A member of the audience asked the question, “How do you qualify leads as ready to hand from marketing to sales and track them?” I commend the panelists for their candid answers. Each responded that his or her company had problems either with sales and marketing agreeing on when a lead should be handed off or with tracking the lead from when it entered the marketing funnel and tying it to sales opportunities and sales. The answers surprised me, especially because these are sophisticated marketers for well-marketed companies.

Here is my advice:

  • Start with agreement between the top sales and the top marketing executives on the definition of a Sales Lead. Arrive at the definition by asking the sales exec, “Would you want a lead if they did this (attended a webinar, for example)? How about this? Or this?”.
  • Then, use that definition to qualify leads for every campaign you run. Track the actions of all contacts that are part of a campaign and identify the sales leads. Hand them off to sales, and get feedback from the sales team. The definition may need to be refined.  Lead follow-up is a challenge in itself, but by handing the right leads over, you’ll get more enthusiastic follow-up from the sales team.
  • Typically, about 5% of the marketing pipeline are sales leads that are ready to be handed to sales. 10% of the pipeline are close and should be watched carefully by marketing. Our marketing team scrutinizes that group – those that responded to actions that are not quite strong enough to qualify them as a sales lead – looking for key target customers and companies that are in strategic markets. Sales people will want to call these leads because they may know of an opportunity, share contacts or turn into advocates for your company when the sales opportunity arises.

As with any panel these days,  there was plenty of talk about Twitter, Facebook, and blogging. What kind of marketing expert would you be if you left out Twitter and Facebook, right? These were all B2B marketers, so I’m pretty sure the hottest lead they ever got from Twitter or Facebook was when to be at Gordon Biersch if they want to run into Stephen Fleming. Actually, the most interesting marketing tip came from Gary Brooks when he said Bomgar spends about $2000 to prepare a custom business case for specific target customers – with about a 40% close rate on a face to face meeting – kudos for that.

The session was excellent, and got me thinking quite a bit. If you’d like to know more about lead generation, hand-off and follow-up, feel free to post comments or pop me an email.

Improved Lead Scoring for Marketing Campaigns

Improved lead scoring

Lead scoring improves follow-up

Our product development team is in the midst of an upgrade that will enhance our lead scoring for multimedia marketing campaigns. The benefit of this improvement is faster lead follow-up during the lead generation campaign. One of the most difficult challenges in lead generation campaigns is to ensure that highly qualified leads are contacted promptly (detailed in this post).  As the marketing campaign happens, the hottest leads will be flagged for immediate follow-up — improving the marketing campaign ROI.

How does it work? The lead scoring technique measures and scores how the people who respond to your Swyzzle campaigns (your leads) watch and interact with the Swyzzle show. The viewing habits of all viewers and interaction with PromoPad items below the show and other factors are collected and analyzed to compute the score. Some of the factors which are included in the scoring include:

  • Total Length of viewing time - indicating quality and viewer interest in the show
  • Number of views - indicating level of interest in the content of the show
  • Number of clicks on PromoPad items – showing interest in a particular topic related to the item clicked.
  • Number of repeated segments viewed during a session – showing interest in a particular portion of a show
  • E-commerce item clicks on PromoPad - indicating specific interest in a product offered during the show

As data is collected for each new lead generation campaign the analysis learns and improves, producing more refined results.

Look for the new lead-scoring within the next several weeks. In future releases we’ll be adding other new features to drive higher quality multimedia-based lead generation.

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