If you haven't already added video content to your marketing mix, now's the time! Websites that include video get 41%more search traffic than sites that don't. And once people arrive on your page, they'll spend 88% more time there than they would if your site didn't display video content. They're also much more likely to convert: Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more.

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But all videos are not created equal, and poor-quality video content causes people to have a negative perception of your brand. So you need to invest some time into planning your video marketing strategy, but you don't necessarily need to invest a lot of money. 

Kristen Craft is director of business development at video hosting company Wistia, which has conducted in-depth research of online video content for businesses, from the types of videos that drive conversions to whether (and when) to gate your video content to ask for people's email address.

I invited Kristen to Marketing Smarts to share tips and tricks for effective video marketing, and she did not disappoint.

Here are just a few highlights from my conversation with Kristen:

"Video content" does not mean ads (but it might be a little salesy) (02:26): "All of us want to show off how cool our product or our solution or our service is. I get that. But at the same time, frankly, not many people want to watch ads, which is why things like DVR have become popular. The smartest companies are finding new ways to use video that go well beyond ads...

"A product video is somewhat salesy. You're talking about some of the benefits. You're talking about the positioning. The use case, probably. But it's not just an ad. You are showing, rather than telling. You're giving people a richer feel for what it's like to interact with you and your product.... You're not necessarily sending it to somebody's inbox, but you are hosting it on your website so that if somebody wants to learn more about your product and actually see it in action, they can do so."

Video should be a means to an end (not an end in itself) (05:16): "So many people produce video and think of it as an end in itself. Back to the advertising angle: an ad is an end in itself. You are making this ad simply to put it online or on TV...and have people watch it, whereas the better way to think about it is, 'Can I use this video to get more people to add this product into their shopping cart?' 'Can I use this video to get more people to apply to my company?' 'Can I use this video to get more people to solve their own tech problems without having to submit a support ticket?' Video is most powerful when it's used as a means to all sorts of ends."   

If you're doing webinars and not recording them, you're missing out (8:08): "One of the huge unsung heroes of the video world is actually the recorded webinar. I can't tell you how often I talk with somebody and they tell me, 'Well, we're not doing video yet, but we really want to,' and then you dig a little deeper and they're like, 'Well, we do a webinar every single month...' That is a kind of video. If you are doing webinars, you should absolutely be recording them. And then you should absolutely be embedding that video content on your site afterwards and using it for lead generation."

To gate or not to gate: there's really no question (18:06): "If you are making videos...you should pretty much always be asking people for their email address. If you want to do this in an extremely light-touch way—maybe it's your product video and you absolutely want as many people as possible to watch as much of the video as possible—put the email collection form (the gate) at the very end of the video.... There is no harm in asking somebody for their email address once they've gotten to the end of your video. You should, no matter what, be doing that on every single video, minimum.

"If, on the other hand, you are making video content that is really, really meaty, offering a ton of value, you're teaching something perhaps...you might want to consider putting your gate earlier on in the video. What we have found after digging through literally hundreds of thousands of videos and seeing how people implemented a gate, specifically you should put the gate around 10% or 20% of the way into the video....

"That seems to work the best and leads to the highest conversion rate. It makes sense. You're giving people a taste of what the video is about.... Hopefully after 10% of the video you've established that the content is helpful, the presenter is great, and they're perfectly happy to give their email address in exchange for this valuable content you're sharing. We have seen some people who put their gate at the very start of the video, and the conversion rate is significantly lower at that point." 

To learn more, visit Wistia.com or follow Kristen on Twitter @thecrafty.

Kristen and I talked about much more, including measuring the ROI of your video marketing, tips for creating video on a tight budget, and how to use strategic partnerships to create and share your video content, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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