5 Qualities of the Greatest Home Page Marketing Videos on the Web

by Marcus Sheridan

Video marketing

About a year ago I wrote about the future of home page design, one in which simplicity, ease of navigation, and funnel marketing were all prominent components to success. Looking back, I made one major omission, and that is the power of video marketing when it comes to powerful home page website design.

To break it down to its most simple form, the reason why great home pages need video is simple:

People want to consume information in their chosen manner, not yours.

For some this is text. For others it’s video and audio. It all depends on the person.

Furthermore, the way web visitors consume information will change depending on what stage of the buying process they’re in. For example, often times when I start researching a product I might prefer to only read about it, but once I’ve learned enough and established a solid base, I’ll watch videos so as to take a “deeper dive” into said product.

Such is the pattern of millions of consumers around the world.

What surprises me though is that most companies still don’t “get” video, and certainly aren’t using it right, especially when it comes to integrating it into an effective content marketing campaign that starts with the home page of their website.

In my research, I have found there are 5 main qualities that home page videos should ideally have. Granted, not every business has the same capabilities when it comes to producing content, be it video or text, but notwithstanding there should be at least a few “best practices” to strive for to maximize success. That being said, here goes…

1.  There is a Face Tied to the Company

We’ve all heard this statement before—We are more likely to do business with those people we know, like and trust. And what better way do companies have in “humanizing” their brand than to integrate a real person into the video? This is exactly why Papa John is in every one of his company’s commercials, or the late Dave Thomas with Wendy’s, or George Zimmer of Men’s Warehouse (“You’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it…”)

An example of a company doing this right on their homepage is HubSpot, showing the following video in conjunction with their funnel marketing approach on their company home page:

2. It Tells a Story that Teaches

It’s simple—People remember stories. Actually, people remember good stories, but you get my point. Storytelling, done right, is content marketing’s greatest weapon and the world’s greatest teaching tool, yet few truly embrace it well. If you did a study on the greatest communicators from the beginning of time until now, you’d see almost every single one of them shared an essential trait—great story telling.

This is exactly why the home page video here at The Sales Lion tells my story. Not only is it incredibly humanizing, but if you break it down, it teaches in this pattern:

Pool guy almost loses business, discovers the power of inbound marketing, saves business, and now teaches others how to do the same thing…pretty cool, right? ;-)

3. It Guides Them through the Website

Recently, my business partners and I at River Pools decided to take our company’s website to the next level of simplicity, education, and video. As you can see from the photo below, the page consists of very basic funnels—all matching different stages of a pool shopper’s buying process, as well as a video tied to the main call-to-action.

River pools homepage

Although this may sound biased because he’s my business partner (Jason Hughes) and it’s our company, this is one of the best home page video’s on the web today. It literally takes the shopper by the hand and says, “Hi, I’m Jason, and I’m going to hold your hand and make this a wonderful experience. Let me show you around our house…

Don’t believe me? Watch the video, it’s that good.

And by the way, at River Pools, we do all videos in-house, and everything has been self-taught through trial, error, and practice—something that is clearly available to any business if they put their mind to it.

4. The Video Quality Elevates the Brand’s Quality

Although I’m never one to say that videos have to be perfect and “Hollywood” to be effective, I do believe that if you’re going to put a video on the home page of a website, then it’s needs to not only be of good quality, but it should also elevate the brand perception as well.

A great example of this is found with my friends (and clients) at US Waterproofing. You’ll notice this video is not only personal with Matt Stock representing the face of the brand, but it tells a great story, walks viewers through the web experience, and leaves a very, very powerful  impression on the US Waterproofing brand.

5. It Speaks in Terms of Real Humans with Real Problems

People don’t care so much about what you and I do as much as they care about if we can solve their problems. Unfortunately, most videos (and communication in general) miss the mark on this important element. Done right, company videos will leave the viewer saying, “Oh yes, I’ve had that very same problem, and look, they can fix it!”

A great example of this found on the homepage video of my friend and master business/strategic sales consultant Ian Altman, who intertwines a powerful mix of real-world business problems and social proof in this video:

Your Turn

Obviously, there are more than 5 qualities of great home page marketing videos, but I hope these will give you something to think about as you look to maximize your website’s success in moving prospects through the sales process while building your company’s brand. That being said, I’d love to hear what other qualities you’d add to this list. Also, do you feel video will be a major part of effective home-page design as the digital age continues to unfold?

Your thoughts and questions matter, so don’t hesitate to leave them below.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Hanley March 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

Marcus,

Video Marketing is the #1 priority for my insurance agency moving forward. We had huge success with our 100 Questions Answered in 100 Days video campaign and now we’ve turned our sites on humanizing the business through weekly Success Stories told by our Staff.

We don’t have a video on the homepage yet, but our blog is STUFFED with video.

YouTube is an incredible marketing and business tool.

Great stuff buddy.

Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Ryan, thanks for dropping by my man. Yeah, you get this dude…you *really* get it, and are an example in your industry.

Appreciate all you do man,

Marcus

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Rebecca Livermore March 20, 2013 at 10:04 am

Video is by far my weakest area, so I really appreciate you sharing these great examples. I especially love the example from our friend, Ian. :)

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Joey Giangola March 20, 2013 at 10:40 am

Hey Marcus,

First, thanks for always providing content at the exact time I need it to help validate my marketing ideas with the rest of the company. It’s scary how often this happens.

Second, video is the most effective AND easiest way for people to get to know you. People don’t realize that a $50 webcam and a well place window will provide you all you need to get started making quality videos.

Third, I believe so much in delivering our message through video that I have launched a weekly Google Hangout series (which may or may not feature a Sales Lion in the very near future) and in my opinion, takes the effectiveness of video and increases it 10 fold. Simply because it offers a level of interaction that cannot be achieved in any other format.

I have also been creating accompanying videos for blog posts for well over a year and love the one two punch they deliver in educating people.

Great stuff as always.

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Joey, you’re doing tremendous things my friend, and I’m proud of you. Seriously.

Absolutely love your passion,

Marcus

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Joey Giangola March 21, 2013 at 8:38 am

Marucs, thanks for your the kind words, they are much appreciated.

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Ed March 20, 2013 at 11:08 am

Thank you for a push in the right direction. I have heard this advice before and did nothing about it, but I do need to get some video onto my site to keep up with the competition in my market. I specifically like the first point about having a face to the company. I think that could be a selling point for me.

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm

No question Ed, it would be a big selling point, and it would change the dynamic of the sales process as well because the relationship of trust with the customer would be established earlier in the game.

Thanks so much for stopping by Ed,

Marcus

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Keith Robbins March 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

Marcus,

You are great on-camera. The same is true for Jason Hughes and the Hubspot folks. You guys come across with authenticity and credibility in addition to appearing very natural and likeable and, of course, that’s one of the goals of the videos. No matter how many takes I do, I just can’t come up with something that meets those objectives. I’m sure I’m not your only reader that just doesn’t have the ‘Q rating’ to do that kind of video. So here is a solution that is so easy a 10 year old can do it. Record audio and video separately. Record audio as a voice over narrating the video and then appear sporadically in the video doing what you do. You will get better sound using a studio mic instead of a lavallier and you can record many more takes.

Using this method also gives the editor much more flexibility to produce a higher quality video with better pace.

Here is a video narrated by my 10 year old son using this method:

http://youtu.be/zAtcunFDPj0

Here are some out takes from my son’s voice over recording. Imagine how many takes would be required if I had tried to film this:

http://youtu.be/OlY1MdKpdx0

Best,

Keith Robbins

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Keith, sorry this was caught briefly in spam because of the links, but I think it’s great what you’ve said here and love what you’re doing. :-)

Cheers my friend,

Marcus

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Laura Click March 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

Excellent advice! I’d love to see businesses start using more video. I’ve written a lot about this recently.

One I would add to the list is testimonials. Sometimes, the most powerful message comes from what a customer or client says about a business. And, I think testimonials are stronger on video because you can SEE what the client or customer says, thinks and feels. You can’t make that up! Also, it’s much more believable to hear the message from someone who has experienced the business than hearing from the company themselves.

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Well said Laura. Ian’s video I thought was a great example of customer testimonials combined with a discussion of the problems his company solves. That’s one thing my River Pools and TSL video were lacking.

Great seeing ya Laura and I appreciate all your support!

Marcus

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Sarah Kerin March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I really liked this article because it captures the innovation of social media. More people are becoming lazy and would rather watch a video than read a ton of text. This article shows the correct ways to implement a quality video on a homepage. I liked where you said that the quality of the video reflects the quality of the brand. This is very true. Even just the effects and organization can reflect highly or poorly on your brand so it is important to be smart with the videos you put up.

Sarah Kerin
Tulane University

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hi Sarah, and thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, it certainly is a brand/company reflection, especially when it’s on the home page.

Marcus

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Ian Altman March 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Marcus,

Thank you for the kind words (Rebecca too). The real credit goes to Justin at ShineOnStorytelling.com. Left to my own devices, it would have never made the list.

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Yes, but your good looks took it over the edge Ian ;-)

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Rebecca Livermore March 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

To add to what Marcus said, you had a story worth telling and obviously have had a positive impact on people and businesses, which is nothing to sneeze at!

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Mike Kawula March 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Great advice as always. Really like the new design of your pool site and the video surely adds tremendous value, even the U.S. Waterproofing one is great.

Listened last week to part of James Wedmore class on creativeLive and he shared: http://youtu.be/ORQquKT_u-Q Really personal also, builds trust and was definitely contemplating for my new design. This really helped reassure.

Met the owners of this site few weeks back that helps people looking to find a good video person if hiring. (great idea created a marketplace) http://www.vidaao.com/

Thanks as always!

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Marcus Sheridan March 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Mike, how are you bud? Great to hear from you and love the fact that you’re serious about video and the results it can bring.

Continued success my friend!

Marcus

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Matthew Stock March 21, 2013 at 1:13 am

Thanks for the recognition Marcus. As you know, you were my inspiration for putting this video together (which wasn’t cheap – but worth every penny). My ad agency did a killer job. I even had them pay tribute to you in the video (3:26 mark).

We have repurposed the video for many different uses outside the home page. As an example, we incorporated it into our customer iPad presentation – it’s the perfect remedy for that “uncomfortable silence” when you are pricing out the job and the customer is waiting on pins and needles for the final #’s.

You remember those times, don’t you…pool guy?

Keep crushing it,

Matthew Stock
“Waterproofing Guy”
U.S. Waterproofing

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Andrea T.H.W. March 21, 2013 at 2:29 am

I usually prefer text or images especially because being English my second language it’s easier for me to absorb information but video as you say have great potential.

For me it’s a bit too soon but videos are something I will surely include in the future.

I have one question though: your homepage about pools is great but what do you think about Big G opinion? Not that it matters for you but for a smaller website I mean? Or it doesn’t matter because the homepage is anyway a “reflex” of the inner pages?

Bye! :)

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Darnell Jackson March 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Good post Marcus,

I used to have video on my home page but I removed it.

It wasn’t nearly as good as what you have going on here I need to up my game.

Thanks for the tips.

I’m mixed on the future of video because there will be so many mobile users and video is really unreliable on mobile.

However I think professionally finished videos like this are a deal closer for potential clients.

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Alexia E. March 23, 2013 at 12:00 am

My company went a different route and did an animated video. We felt it would be a bit more fun for our clients to watch and create something visually interesting as well. We’re about to launch a new version of our site, so we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to try doing some “live action” video to incorporate into the blog.
Your story is very interesting. Congrats on all of your success. I expect we’ll be in need of some of your services soon. Thanks for the tips and insight!

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Micheal March 23, 2013 at 8:06 am

Those were great tips that explain about the qualities of videos. Thank you for sharing such a effective article.

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Chris March 25, 2013 at 2:08 am

Nice work on your video Marcus!

Video is perfect for “show, don’t tell” marketing.

Any business or brand should consider doing 20 videos on their most frequently asked questions. Upload to YouTube and do basic video SEO, which isn’t difficult. This can all be done in 1 day with the right focus and expertise. The benefits last a lifetime.

I’ve done this for myself and other businesses with a documented increase in sales.

- Chris Badgett

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George Thomas March 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

Marcus,

I totally agree with you on this post. It is amazing how many people get this wrong on their websites. I can not tell you how many animated videos I see, that could be a real person instead. I know first hand that people buy from people not animated videos. The point about making it human needs to be heard by your audience for sure. Human interaction is key in gaining trust with their visitors, leads, and customers.

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Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Exactly George, it’s all about being “Human” my friend…yes :-)

Appreciate your thoughts bud,

Marcus

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Kimsea April 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

Thanks for sharing! I know the video marketing is now become the most powerful tool to leverage online marketing. I heard some people said now Youtube reach 1 million active monthly users. I love to create some video and upload to YouTube channel and my website but I did not started yet. Thanks for make sense about how to start.

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Pitt Goumas May 2, 2013 at 4:41 am

Personally, I prefer text. But that’s just me

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