I received this sales email from a well-known guru in his niche. The email was a joint venture pitch with another famous guru in the online video-delivery biz.
And even though both of these guys have generated some trust and authority in their niches, this email disappointed me, and just happens to illustrate a real problem in today’s “fragmented web” world of tactics first, strategy second (if at all).
Let’s break the pitch down:
What’s the fastest way to become well-known — even famous — on the Internet as an expert authority in your field? Two words: ‘ONLINE VIDEO”
OK, I don’t want to get nit-picky, but becoming “well-known — even famous” with video kinda’ depends. If you’ve got a video on YouTube of you rambling incoherently for 20 minutes while your kids scream in the background, you’re not going to become known as an expert authority. And that’s not even considering the huge issues of positioning, branding, topic, etc.
But I digress. I agree with one point: Video can be a great tool. But, Mr. Video Pitchman, how can I know if video is the right tool for my business?
He offers some tantalizing supporting evidence as the pitch continues:
52% of Internet traffic is now video …
70% of web surfers watch video online …
and the average YouTube visitor spends 27 minutes a day watching videos.
OK, now he’s really starting to annoy me. He’s pulling out the old “any traffic is good traffic” argument used for years by the search engine marketing crowd.
Here’s how this faulty logic goes: If something online is attracting traffic, this automatically renders that something as something the rest of us should jump on, ‘cause if we do it, we’ll get traffic too. We’re also to assume that all that traffic we’re attracting is looking for anything close to what we’re offering, which may or may not be the case.
What if those “70% of web surfers” watching video are kids watching on their phone during class, and are viewing videos of cute kittens or Brittany’s latest exploits? How does that help my business? Are we to believe, Mr. Pitchman, that high school kids are suddenly going to interested in My Big Topic simply because it’s now “on video?”
But Mr. Pitchman is not done.
He’s got one more absolutely undeniable online video factoid that will seal our fate, we’ll just have to click “buy” after this pitchy little nugget:
One nutrition expert got over 1.5 million video views on YouTube and quickly parlayed the exposure into a nice passive income stream.
Now I’m really ticked off. Are you kidding me? Maybe he’s using the example of someone like Dr. Mercola, the nutrition expert with massive email and customer lists and a website thousands of pages deep. Dr. Mercola has scores of very well-done videos all over the web, offering valuable information as well as pulling in customers for his various products.
Mr. Pitchman, are you telling the person reading your email who has a new site, one product, and 200 people on an email list that he can expect a video on YouTube to get 1.5 million video views and set him up for life? Are you, really?
Video and Other Tactics — like Twitter, for Example
Alright, now that I’ve calmed down, let’s talk.
Video is not a strategy. Video alone will not magically fill your bank account. Video is a tool, a tactic you use only if and when your guiding strategy demands it.
Video is a fantastic, wonderful tool – for some people, and some sites.
Before you decide if you should add videos, Twitter, Facebook, or any marketing tactic, ask yourself these basic strategic questions:
1. Have you created a website that speaks to a clear, focused niche with a compelling, differentiated message?
Those 1.5 million YouTube viewers Mr. Video Pitchman is going to send you are going to have to click through to somewhere. And when they do, there had better be something they want to see.
The same holds true with social media. You can Tweet until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t have a compelling online “home base” for interested people to click through to, you’re wasting your time — assuming of course your audience even hangs out on Twitter in the first place.
2. Have you created a simple system for regularly generating your most important “product,” your content?
It doesn’t matter what final form your content takes; written, audio, or video, assuming you know how your audience prefers consuming content. What matters is that you have a focused, passionate, differentiated message, and that you have a plan in place to create more content on a regular basis.
3. Have you created a simple email follow-up system to establish a relationship with those 1.5 million video viewers that flood your site and consume your content.
If you’ve got these three basics in place, and you wanna’ be a video star, go for it.
You’ve got a focused topic to chat about on video.
You’ve got something compelling to say to your target market, something they have been searching for and need to know.
If you’ve got these in place, then video could be a great add on, as well as Twitter and a few of the others. Go to town.
But if you don’t, and you think video is “the answer,” just back up a few steps.
Build yourself your platform foundation first — it’ll save you a lot of time, energy and money.