Oct 8, 2018
This blog was originally published on December 9, 2017
I can't say I have a scientific principle to use in this area, although I suspect we could find some ideas on judging the cost of advertising in some biz textbooks. What I do have are some common sense ideas that worked for me over decades of running my own businesses, as well as a method for break-even points developed over years of planning my ice hockey schools and clinics. First, my way of arriving at that sometimes elusive break-even point...
I won't list all my costs for putting on something like a summer hockey school, but the biggest expenditures would usually go something like this:
- costs to rent a facility (or our ice costs);
- costs to hire a coaching staff;
- costs for brochures and other advertising;
- costs for individual student jerseys; and
- costs for award certificates and trophies.
Of course, a lot more goes into running a hockey school than just those things. In fact, a lot of items we dealt with in another budget, because they'd get used over and over -- like pucks, other training gear, and the fancy warmup suits like I'm showing off above. Still, that list gives us a chance to zero in on the so-called break-even point. For, you see, no matter how many times I plugged my costs into a very simple formula, I always arrived at the same answer:
In my attempts to arrive at a break-even point, I actually played and replayed with numbers. In other words, I'd test the students' cost of a camp to see if the break-even point was fair to my company, and I'd adjust the break-even number of students to see if the cost to them was fair. So, back and forth I'd go, until I arrived at the fairest number for both sides.
Cutting to the chase here, I never ran that formula (over like 45-years) without arriving at the same outcome. Ya, the best situation had me charging a fair amount for a camp (maybe $350 in the early years), and expecting that 22 students would get me to my break-even point. If I got one kid over that amount, my cut after paying out all my expenses was $350. However, as time went along -- and my program's reputation spread, I could often turn people away and pocket over $6000 per week.
That 22 student break-even point never changed over the years, either, whether I was running a much more expensive camp or even a lower priced clinic that included far less overhead.
Did I eventually make that 22 number work for me? Kinda, I guess... After quite a few years, I started trusting it -- just testing to see if my newest expenses worked, and then usually running with the new cost per student.
Now, about my title, or about judging the cost of advertising... You might have noticed that I "gave away" a hockey shirt to every student who attended one of my programs. In total, those shirts were expensive, coming in different colors and with my logo screen printed on the front. In fact, I'd have to always over-order so as to have plenty of the various colors (like red, white and black) plus all the various sizes expected to be needed for a time...
There were tons of benefits to giving out those shirts, though... In this day and age of security concerns, it helped a lot that my staff and I could always immediately recognize our students as opposed to anyone just drifting through the rink. The color coding also helped in the teaching process, because we could easily hold scrimmages or work drills between various colored players. And, maybe best of all, those shirts acted as walking billboards when my students left a program and returned to their home rinks around the country. Ya, I can't tell you how many times I've spotted one of my students -- in one of my jerseys -- hundreds of miles from home.
Now, I can envision some folks wanting to do away with something like those hockey school shirts when it comes to judging the cost of advertising (penny wise and pound foolish?). But, like a big-time brand would suggest, they were "priceless" in my ad campaigns. So were the certificates and awards we gave away at the end of each hockey school, if to a lesser degree. No, they didn't get worn everywhere, but I know that friends and family usually saw them, and I've been told that some former students (or their parents) still have their very old hockey school mementos. My advertising certainly didn't stop there, either. Naw, back in the days when newspaper, magazine and Yellow Pages ads actually mattered, I spent plenty of money on those. And I even bought some costly spots on the major Boston sports radio station.
Truth be told, the latter purchase kinda scared me, because it cost a LOT of money, and I really worried about whether I'd effectively written those ads. Unbelievably, though, my phone rang off the hook almost as soon as those ads started running, and I easily made back the kzillion dollars ( :) ) I'd spent.
Of course, few visitors are looking for hockey school advice. Yet, I think anyone in business could borrow from the way I put things together, the way I arrived at a break-even point, and how I went about judging the cost of advertising. As a matter of fact, I'd like to focus on those radio ad spots briefly, in hopes it makes sense to some of our Local Video Marketing friends...
It was a long time ago, so I'm just going to grasp at those ads costing a little over $1000 to run a few weeks prior to one of my summer hockey schools. Then, from what you know about the way I set prices back then, I'd only need to attract something like three or four students to balance that tab. Better yet, I can tell you that the extra young people I drew to that school -- and even to subsequent ones -- surely increased my profits. (Yes, even though some responders to that ad didn't join us that summer, several of them came over the following years.)
And that's what I'm ALSO getting at when it comes to us judging the cost of our Local Video Marketing services. Actually, I think one has to look at those offerings in two ways: 1) having to do with how your business is affected in the here and now, and then 2) how your advertising efforts might keep sending you more customers -- over the weeks, months and years ahead. Anyway, looking for something we could study together...
Of course, what a client reaps in return for our services or products will have a lot to do with how fast he or she might recoup the cost of advertising.
If you're selling $5 items, I can see it taking awhile to make the $250 back. Still, items like that tend to go out the door a lot quicker than do highly priced yachts -- :) . As for my hockey school example from a little earlier, one might see how only a single sale would put me in the black, and any subsequent sales would look pretty nice on the company books.
For sure, we each have to look at these things differently. However, if I was running a beauty salon, I'd be looking to add more and more help, until we're turning people away. If I was running something like a small construction, automotive repair or painting business, I'd be looking to overload our current schedule until it became possible to add another (and another?) crew, thus freeing me to work even more on growing the business. If I was running a professional service -- maybe like a law practice, a medical or dental or vet service, or some sort of high ticket sales, I'd call this kind of decision a "no-brainer". In the end, I have to refer back to something I've written several times before, in that the typical business owner is usually awesome at working "in" his or her business, and only struggles when it comes time to keep the bottom line growing (and growing and growing).
This blog was originally published on October 15, 2017
As I kick this off, I think I might preface the main topic with some personal stuff (trust me, that it'll eventually impact on that thing about an important Local Video Marketing thumbs-up and thumbs-down problem)...
In later life, I thanked my lucky stars for a lifetime spent in sports. It all started at age-10, it eventually had me playing three sports to a fairly high level into my 20's, before I transitioned to 40+ years in coaching (mainly in ice hockey).
Some might think that sport successes build character, but even the greatest players don't get to be successful for very long. So, I'm sure that most athletes and coaches who lasted any length of time would tell you that it was their ability to fight through tough times that led to their true growth.
I laugh and joke now about overcoming adversities as a player -- like enduring broken noses and broken fingers, torn ligaments, probable concussions in a day when no one cared about such things, and double-session football practices in 100-degree weather in a time when taking a drink of water was seen as a sign of weakness.
If you haven't been around team sports that much (beyond the youth level), you might not realize the mental abuse an athlete can face -- some of it intentional, and some of it just being the way things have always been. Everyone generally gets their turn as "It", being dressed down and raked over the coals -- in front of teammates, or even in front of onlooking fans . Ya, you either go home crying at such things, or you suck it up, and grow some rather thick skin. (Little wonder I'd laugh half the time years later as an Army NCO thought he was going to get under my skin -- nope, I'd already been blasted by some of the best!)
You'd think that would all end once a guy switches to coaching -- ya, you'd think... But I could go on about my experiences with this. The great Paul "Bear" Bryant explained a coach's working conditions best, though, when a college professor complained about The Bear's high salary (I'm paraphrasing here)... "And how many people sit and watch as you conduct a final exam?" :) No, I never coached before the 55,000 who usually watched Bryant coach, but I can tell you that any of us who have worked at a fairly high level have endured similar highs and lows, including the cat-calls, boos, and even profanities directed from above. And it can sometimes be worse, as the press shoves a microphone in your face after a disappointing loss.
Phew. Sorry, but I did feel the need to mention all that, just to let visitors know that I'm not your run-of-the-mill marketing guy. Naw, I make decisions differently than many others. Don't get me wrong here, because I'm not saying my decision making is better, only that it's different. And, of course, all the experiences noted above (and more) are going to reflect on the topic at hand, as in those thumbs-up and thumbs-down things. Okay, so while doing my usual daily research into the very latest about video and marketing, I ran across a new form of technology. This had to be about 6-months ago, with that rough timing being important to this discussion. As I read on about that technology, I noticed that it was being promoted by a guy (and popular MLM-er) I've followed on Facebook for quite some time. I mentioned the article to Brenda as soon as I finished it, right there and then letting her know about my thumbs-up and thumbs-down feelings.
My kinda outside the box approach to coaching had me keeping my mind open for a time, while it was easy to identify the thumbs-down aspects to that program. Number One on that list? How many people could actually be turned off if they were "targeted" by that new technology? Hmmmm...
As a thought for others who work a lot online, I keep a folder full of bookmarks labeled as "Wish List". Actually, that might be a good description for some items linked in there, but that folder also includes a lot of items I'd describe as "down the road". In other words, I'm not ready to deal with something right now, but I'd like to take another look at it "down the road".
Anyway, it's kinda comical that two things happened almost simultaneously within the past week...
Brenda mentioned to me that a women in one of her Facebook marketing groups was promoting the same kind of program I'd described to her months ago. I think the group's comments over time were mixed between thumbs-up and thumbs-down. And, while I'm not able to comment in that "women only" group, I'd have surely suggested there was no right or wrong in this matter -- at least just yet.
At the same time the most heated debates were taking place in the above noted group, I received a surprise in my inbox. You bet: it was about the latest seeming hot topic, with the sales info confirming a lot about the benefits it could provide to some of our Local Video Marketing clients. On the other hand, of course, there were the thumbs-down feelings Brenda has described to me, as well as some of what other detractors have mentioned in various groups.
Well, here's what your favorite outside the box marketing guy decided to do... I quickly put together and posted the following video in a number of Facebook groups, as well as in my Facebook stream...
Understand that the jury was still out for me, and the links to that new form of technology was still in my Wish List folder. That's why I was introducing the above video in numerous locales with, "If you run a Tampa area business, this video recently raised quite a stir in several biz groups: your thoughts?" If you get my drift, I was looking for more input, beyond Brenda's and my personal feelings, and beyond the comments I'd seen to that point in the above noted Facebook group. And, I did get a number of pretty good comments, from a few who liked the idea, and from a few who had serious reservations. Then... Ya, then... Something made me pull the trigger. I mean, I wrestled with all the thumbs-up and thumbs-down, and I rationalized that it wouldn't hurt a single bit for us to have such technology in our Local Video Marketing bag of tricks.
Speaking of our "bag of tricks" -- and explaining better my decision to buy that program... I ask the reader to take a quick browse down the list of options on our SERVICES page (you won't lose your place by going there). My hope is that a visitor can see that we're not a one-trick-pony, but instead we offer a growing list of ways we can help Local Video Marketing clients. As a matter of fact, we offer package deals within which we promise to use "all the right assets" suited to a given niche. Yes, as Brenda and I explain to prospective clients, no two companies are alike, and no two should follow the same exact marketing approach.
Okay, I'm showing you all the assets we currently have at our disposal for a reason (although that list of services will surely grow, based on the way I keep exploring new ideas with each new day). With that, notice that the so-called new technology is not yet listed in either of our groups. No, as anyone with a Catholic upbringing might appreciate, that program is currently sitting in our form of Purgatory, and awaiting further evaluation. On the one hand, I guess we'll have to keep watching that thumbs-up and thumbs-down thing, until we think it's swung enough towards a positive direction. In the meantime, we honestly can't see taking peoples' money until we feel all the kinks have been worked out. Then, even if or when we do advertise that product, it's very likely we'll only include it in a full marketing package. Of course, all along I'll be putting on and taking off my coaching hat, always looking for ways to help our clients win their games.
Sep 24, 2018
This blog was originally published on October 5, 2017
Okay, I might have been a little over-dramatic in that title, because there isn't much either Brenda or I could complain about over our first few months of running our new Local Video Marketing company. The good parts of running things so far? Well...
Number One, I'll bet that Brenda would agree, that we've been dealing with some of the nicest folks in the world. :) I think many of them are a lot like us, and equally psyched about the prospects of their new business.
Number Two -- or maybe tied at Number One, is the fact that we love what we do. We're both creative types, who get extra excited at the prospect of designing a new logo or new video production, or guiding a client's company out of a cluttered field and into the limelight.
Then, there might even be a Number Three here, in our love of the lifestyle that comes with running something like our Local Video Marketing biz. Oh, for sure, working for oneself entails some looooooong hours. Still, having the ability to often choose our work setting -- from a nearby picnic table to poolside to our after church visits at a local coffee shop. Honestly, I've never understood how some folks can make their work a drudgery when it doesn't need to be that way.
Oh, ya, about the slight struggle we've had as a startup in a very unique kind of company... While some other business owners might suggest to the contrary, I'm saying right now that, there's no model for what Brenda and I have been building. Sure, some others offer video production, some others might design logos, yet others might offer to help with a client's marketing or SEO, etc. Yet, are any two companies really alike? I mean, really? Ha, hardly.
Okay, so here comes our main frustration... It's that the newness of our company brought about constant -- and I mean constant -- evolution. From Day 1, Local Video Marketing was built upon my decades of work in video production. Not long after, though, came our realization that video used within social media brought about a huge step in client visibility, and so did our newfound ability to create awesome social graphics. And so did our abilities continue to grow over a good many more months -- led by Brenda's interests in Facebook marketing and search engine optimization.
Of course, that was mostly good for our business, but it was super-difficult to keep up with in our own marketing efforts. I mean, as we increased our capabilities almost weekly, our advertising and this website fell behinder and behinder (LOL)...
With all that, maybe folks around Tampa heard a huge sigh of relief -- like "Phew!!!" -- a few days ago when we just about finished revamping this website. Actually, the windows shook a little -- :) , as Brenda and I both let go from opposite sides of the room. Not that our work will ever be done. However, our 'Home' page is now fairly organized and readable, we're ready to take off in this 'Blog' again now, most of our current 'Services' are listed under a new category (that's still growing). Are we feeling pretty good right now? You bet! And it's even nicer that new potential clients have been contacting us regularly over the past few days.
PS: Not listed as an offering (yet?), but nonetheless sprinkled above and used often in our own Local Video Marketing promos, are a bunch of memes and social ad pics.
Sep 20, 2018
This blog was originally published on October 3, 2017
Build your brand identity with a logo customers will recognize! Is your logo important to your online identity or brand? Well, as one marketing guru suggests, “Your logo is a visual cornerstone of a company's brand..." And, along with its company name, the logo helps make a business memorable (think about the likes of Coca Cola, Target, Nike, McDonald's and Mercedes here). This in mind, we'll work with a business owner to arrive at just the right logo design for his or her company or product. We'll go back and forth, and our client only pays when the final design work is acceptable to him or her. The final logo design will be provided in several popular graphic file types, and we'll also share advice about legally protecting your logo. $325 US*
An interested party might complete the adjacent Contact Form, and add "(Logo)" alongside the Company Name.
*Our logo design service -- as a stand alone item -- is available to companies around the world.
Sep 20, 2018
This blog was originally published on October 2, 2017
If branding is as important as most marketers believe, it makes sense to brand any videos we create. And that's best done by having our company's logo shown at various times during each video production. Of course, a company will have to have its own logo (or Let Us Build A New Company Logo For You). We did just that, by previously creating our own small logo -- a little camera -- to represent "Local Video Marketing". We then jazzed that a bit with some streaks and sound effects, we added some music, and...
Imagine having something like that at the start of each company video. It's short and sweet, or exactly what our audience wants as it readies to discover all the important information to follow.
Then, looking for an excuse to create another sample logo, I recently made the following one for Brenda's pet project, Better Health and Wealth...
Sep 17, 2018
This blog was originally published on October 1, 2017.
If someone once said, "A picture is worth 1000 words," what do you think a video is worth? Well, we raise this point, partly because a so-called "talking avatar" might be difficult to describe in words, but oh-so-easy to show you... Interestingly,
many online viewers really enjoy cartoon-like characters. And they especially like it when such a character greets them upon the opening of a webpage. We use them in our work, too, sometimes having a talking avatar greet our visitors, and more often having a character greet our visitors and then direct them to a certain "call to action" -- like so...
See lots more SAMPLE AVATARS by clicking the inked texts.
Our hope is that the earlier video explained our Talking Avatars fairly well. However, if a website owner has some questions, we'll be ready to help anyone who responds in the adjacent Contact Form. As for pricing, it's based on a single talking character and approximately a 1-minute long script, plus a modest monthly maintenance fee (there is some maintenance involved from our side of things). $75 US* to create and install a talking avatar $35 US/monthly maintenance fee. There's no problem with constant changes (maybe to accommodate new sales announcements, for example), while we ask that at least three business days be allowed us for such changes. An interested party should complete the adjacent Contact Form, and add “(Video Logo)” alongside the Company Name.
* Please contact us to see if a talking avatar service is available to a company outside North America.
Aug 20, 2018
This blog was originally posted on September 29, 2017.
We'd love to bring your Facebook business page up to date, and that means putting both Brenda and Dennis on the job for you!
Probably more than any other social media site, Facebook seems to be constantly changing. Most casual users needn't mind this, but if you run a business, it's a totally different story. In particular, a Facebook business page is loaded with opportunities to better connect with and better inform potential customers. And, no one knows how to make a Facebook business page work better for you than Brenda.
Of course, one of the most exciting updates to come along in some time is the opportunity for us to place a video atop ones Facebook business page (like the samples seen below). That's where Dennis comes in, creating just the right visuals, audio and message to greet potential customers to a given Facebook business page.
Okay, so what are we offering here? We're talking about a total make-over to one of social media's most powerful sales tools: the Facebook business page. And we're talking about putting two creative specialists to work for your business -- Brenda on the page itself, and Dennis on the video. And, of course, we'll work closely -- and back and forth -- with a business owner, to ensure the job gets done to satisfaction.
As for samples of Dennis' Facebook business page cover videos, here are two -- one designed for the top of our "Local Video Marketing" page, and the other for a page called "Better Health & Wealth". As one might imagine, some videos need to be very business-like, while some can be more on the whimsical side...
We look forward to local business owners contacting us -- through the adjacent Contact Form, so we can schedule a free consultation, and then start the process of bringing your Facebook business page up to date.
Jul 23, 2018
This blog was originally published on August 22, 2017
This one might be up for debate but... My understanding is that we only get a one-time try at starting a new YouTube channel properly. Sorry for not divulging my sources on that one, dear readers, but that's why our Local Video Marketing channel sat in hiding for better than a month.
Then, something kinda laughable... A little research shows that I was dragged onto YouTube on June 10, 2011, by a long ago techie partner. At the time, the subject of that video ("Balance In The Forward Stride - with Coach Chic") was pretty controversial in ice hockey circles, and it got me bashed more than a little. Fast forward to about 5-years later, though, and my thesis has been accepted and supported by scientific journals and most top hockey skating specialists.
I only resurrect this story about my first-ever YouTube experience, so I could draw some important comparisons between then and now.
My partner led me to believe that anything I had on YouTube.com back then put me light-years ahead of other hockey coaches (and I suspect that was so). It wasn't long after, that I started slowly adding new videos onto my own "hockey channel". In fact, I dribbled different kinds of videos into that channel with little regard for search engine optimization, keywords, or whatever. I also cared less about "Likes" or "Subscribers", but mostly about whether hockey folks from around the world enjoyed or learned from my random posts. Oh, well...
Oh, man, did Brenda and I do a lot of research before pulling the trigger on our new Local Video Marketing channel. And, not only did we pick the brains of all the top YouTube gurus, but we also armed ourselves with some (rather expensive) programs that promised to boost our videos and our channel beyond most others. What we chose as our first entry was titled "Why Use Video For Your Business - 2017", that just shown below...
Now, if you watched that, you might appreciate why Brenda took a little negative criticism from a lady over in one of the Facebook networking groups. The lady's complaint had to do with my video not including all the dazzling things I'd hinted at in the video.
I just sat there shaking my head, as Brenda told me what the lady had said. The best I could do, though, was to explain myself to Brenda. I mean, I have already produced dozens (upon dozens) of videos for this Local Video Marketing site, each one in some way or another showing off all the bells and whistles I have at my disposal. Ya, I've shown several different ways of using whiteboard (or blackboard) drawings in my videos, I've had things spinning in and out of scenes, and I've used all sorts of transitions, special effects, intros, outros and more. But, no, for that first video I didn't want a single distraction -- and I made it just about the facts.
One thing I could have told that woman was that my first simple video was sent out to nearly 60 other video hosting sites within seconds of posting it to our YouTube channel. Not noticed by the naked eye was that it also contained certain hidden properties that I doubt many others would know about.
And that brings me to a few social media friends asking me recently if I'd give them some feedback on their YouTube channels. Of course I'd take a look but, it wouldn't be my job to say much more than a brief compliment or two.
In each case, I was able to offer a pat on the back for the pretty good video production -- I mean that. What I didn't have the heart to suggest was that it didn't look like much had been done towards getting lots of views down the road.
Please -- please -- please... Do not take that last paragraph as a real negative. No, don't forget that I hadn't a clue about SEO and other special video posting tricks until that became a big part of what I do. Same thing with Brenda, in that she's had to cram like crazy to become familiar with new software and new programs that aren't always that easy to grasp. Please don't let me discourage anyone, either. As my long ago partner might suggest, maybe something on YouTube is better than nothing.
Jul 23, 2018
This blog was originally published on July 25, 2017
Brenda and I were watching TV the other night, when I spotted something interesting... "Hey," I said to her, "that commercial looks just like some of the videos we're making for local businesses!" Oh, it wasn't exactly the same, but the style was just like many of the videos I've put together thus far.
That's when something else struck me... For sure, we make videos for Tampa area companies, and for sure they're intended to market one of our clients towards enhanced online visibility and SEO. But they're much more than that, really.
With that, I suggested to Brenda that we have to: 1) start thinking of our videos as more like television commercials, and that we have to 2) start producing them with that in mind. In other words, we don't want to just create a "video" for a local mobile mechanic (for example), but we want to create a "commercial", that has him sort of a starring in front of Tampa area viewers. And, to even stretch the point a bit, we'd like to make him (or her) a celebrity in our area, not unlike the Diamond Store couple or the local law firm, Morgan & Morgan. Is the latter possible? I think so, just by virtue of our audience seeing a personality, over and over again, or enough times so that our client becomes a household name or face. So, as you're watching TV over coming days, see if you spot what Brenda and I have been noticing lately. Once you do see a "commercial" similar to what we do, I'm sure the whole thing will make sense to you.
Jul 23, 2018
This blog was originally published on July 19, 2018
:) Okay, I apologize that I can't repeat the above title verbatim; nor can I give exact credit -- I only know that I heard it on one of a half-dozen business oriented podcasts I listened to this afternoon. To paraphrase, though, here's a rough idea of how it goes...
"The best advice one can give to small business owners is that they leave promotions to the geeks, and spend their total energies on satisfying customers better than others can."
As an aside here... I was recently asked to put together a video for a Facebook fan page. There was a reason I chose a young lady as a mascot for that video -- or the "person" to star in it, and I'll share that reason in a future post.
I know you or any other client wouldn't accept just any mascot to represent a company, nor would I do that in the video I was preparing. So, I actually created one that few others could ever copy.
The program I used was quite similar to the "cut-out paper dolls" my younger sister used to play with. (You can see some of those cut-out parts I've included here.)
I then went about creating a voice to match that new and unique mascot.
How much time did that all take me? Well, because there were some complications, my work on that project spanned close to an entire day.
Of course, there's likely a big difference between you and me -- or in the amount of time we can devote to such a project. Seeing a new video all the way through -- beginning to the end -- is what I do. On the other hand, losing an entire day creating and then fixing and re-fixing a video to fit special parameters might keep you from beating your competition. And that's why that Internet guru suggested you leave it to the geeks -- like me? :)
Jul 23, 2018
This blog was originally published on June 22, 2017
Here's how this post came about... It started with me receiving a few emails -- or more like newsletters, billed as "daily digests" for folks in the Tampa Bay area. By now, regular readers should know the kind of group I'm talking about, because I've mentioned such in some earlier posts: “My Neighbors Need Help“ and "Can You Help More of Our Neighbors?" As my earlier posts probably suggested, I sit and ponder what I read within those newsletters, staring out a window, thinking and thinking. Mainly, of course, that's because I'm so deeply into Internet marketing nowadays, and because the questions posed in those newsletters could ultimately have to do with Internet marketing. My thinking took a slightly different tack this afternoon, however, adding yet another factor into this equation. For, you see, I belong to a dozen or so Facebook groups, and most of them are filled with business people who are trying to make themselves known to new potential customers. (Frankly, I think they're wise to do that, although I'd probably do things a little differently.) Okay, so here's where the interesting part comes in...
One of the emails I received today included several pleas for help, including one stating, "Need reliable, reasonable lawn care..."
I've tired of worrying whether my Facebook business friends would connect and help such neighbors, but I instead had another thought: what would that lady discover if she searched her phone or computer for lawn care help in her area? Hmmmmmm... Here ya go...
The highlight of another email featured a guy saying, "I need estimates on exterior house painting. Anyone have recommendations?"
And, once again, I went online to my favorite search engine, plugged in a request for info on an exterior house painter, and here's what I arrived at...
Snooze-you-lose on this next one, because the lady who asked, "Does anyone know a good pool service that can work on your pump if you need it..." was immediately greeted with an offer to do her pool service henceforth.
No matter, I couldn't resist the fun just because of that. So, off I went, to do another Internet search...
Now, those are only sample searches. However, while you're maybe sitting there and rubbing your chin, and wondering where you fit in the search engines, let me offer a few thoughts...
I believe you have to put yourself in a needy person's shoes as you go about designing your website and Internet marketing strategies. Lots of potential customers are even in a panic -- looking for quick help with an electrical problem, a serious plumbing problem, a legal matter, etc.
Although it's not always easy, one has to at least attempt to envision what a person in need is likely to plug into a search. You might have noticed that I even had to make some choices in the samples above -- like putting in "exterior house painting" for my search, instead of several other possibilities.
Like my beloved Boston Red Sox ( :) ), there's a HUGE difference between being number one in the standings versus anywhere else. (Actually, where would you prefer to be?)
All that said, local business owners might try their own tests now. It's likely that the result you receive on each search will be slightly different, but I doubt one word is going to move you from a back page to the top spot. And, of course, if we can help with your Local Video Marketing (and more), just complete the form off to the right.
Jul 23, 2018
This blog was originally published on June 21, 2017
I promised in my last blog post -- "Leave It To The Geeks", that I'd let my readers in on an interesting secret. So, here goes...
Before I get going, though, I wonder if you liked the "talking avatar" that greeted you to this post. Actually, after listening often to the two avatars I use on my major sites, I find I like the one here best.
Is there some science to that? Hmmmmmm...
Well, as it turns out, there have been some studies done in that area, and they've pointed towards more online listeners preferring females voices over males ones.
That bit of news has influenced my work -- plenty. I've used more and more lady characters in my work, and I've stocked up on more female characters than guys.
That doesn't mean that I'd necessarily avoid using a male to act in a rugged kind of business. I'm not one to buck science the rest of the time, though.
So, just in case you're thinking about using someone to do a voice-over in your local video marketing, consider sticking with what studies tell us, and go along with the voice listeners seem to prefer.
PS: I was thinking of an earlier post here this afternoon, when a business newsletter hit my inbox. I mean, I loved this quote:
"The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither." - Confucius
Apr 6, 2018
This blog was originally posted on June 13, 2017
Loving my work as I do (or as sick as some might think me -- :) ), I listen to selected audio programs as I awake each morning. In other words, I regularly gather six or seven mp3 files or lectures having to do with my latest studies, and I listen to them each morning over a week or so, to really ingrain the information. The latest audio programs are on SEO -- or search engine optimization, and more specifically on improving a WordPress site for the best search engine results. One of the things that jumped right out at me this morning was a beauty, and it was something I thought I might share with my faithful readers. Actually, it's why I wanted to try this rather interesting search engine test, hoping you might help me with it. With that, I wonder if you'd watch the following video towards that end...
4 Now, although you were in no way compelled to watch that video -- a little or a lot, or from beginning to end, did you watch the entire 1-minute program? Actually, I gave you a very short one, but I'm guessing you did watch it all the way through, and you'd have probably done the same with a 2- or 3-minute video. And, that leads me to what I'm calling my little search engine test...
What the specialist in this morning's audio program surprised me with, was the fact that Google and other search engines somehow measure the amount of time each visitor spends on a given website. And those search engines evidently give a lot of credence to sites that hold visitor attention for fair amounts of time.
Does that make sense? It surely does to me. In fact, I know that I visit numerous sites over the course of a day, and I leave many of them within a matter of seconds. Then, of course, there are those that capture my attention, and hold me for a good long time.
As for my little search engine test, does it also make sense to you that visitors stay longer on a website to watch a video (or to even listen to a talking avatar)? You don't have to take my word for that, however...
That was the opinion of the guy I listened to on my mp3 player this morning.
It seems a matter of common sense to me.
And, it's likely that you proved it a little earlier, if you watched that video all the way through.
To be honest, I think all three of the above points make sense. However, the middle one -- having to do with it just making common sense -- is a biggie to me. After all, it makes sense that a video tends to grab and hold a visitor's attention a lot better than a collection of pictures and text. In closing, I'm always open to arguments or a discussion on anything suggested here. And I truly do welcome reader comments down below.
Apr 3, 2018
This blog was originally published on dated June 10, 2017
Now, let me start by saying that this being a "sample" sports program ad might be a stretch to some. In other words, I created the following video in 2009, or at a time when online video had to be in the old 4 by 3 aspect ratio, and it was in was rendered in the faster loading FLV format of that time. So, as you watch the following, please allow for the graininess, etc...
Please notice that I did dub this post a sample "sports" program ad, because I know it could be used to promote or recruit for any kind of sport. I played baseball and football through semi-pro -- and I coached them some, too. So I know I could have created just as good an ad, if I had the necessary video footage or photos. As much as I apologized because of the old format, understand that my video pulled a ton of students. I mean, I had to turn people away, for a lot of years, and for a lot of reasons...
Sure, my reputation around the Massachusetts and Rhode Island areas -- and word of mouth -- helped plenty. However...
If you think about it, that video was out and working for me around the clock. And, I have no doubt that the action clips and the included information caused many parents to return to and watch it a lot more times than just once.
Knowing the sport as I do -- a lot like you might know your sport or business, I could focus on the things that really tend to matter with new hockey parents.
Yet another beauty was that I always prepared this kind of sports program ad far, far in advance of a clinic's start. My brochures were out in local pro shops early, and they included a link to the site where that video could be found. My fairly large emailing list also contained a link to that site, as did all the snail-mail we sent out. Better yet, my secretary had the luxury of pointing telephone callers towards that video in any way they preferred.
All that said, I wonder if you might be envisioning right how you'd put together a similar kind of sports program (or business) video. For sure, anyone producing such videos nowadays can do them in hi-res and in the new 16:9 ratio. I had the luxury of many years worth of video footage, but anyone could create just as stirring an ad using great photos. (I'm picturing right now an automotive repair shop, a hair salon, different kinds of professional offices and more.
Just because I mentioned photos up there, don't start thinking what I often label a "snooze fest", or a static website. No, moving the pics along quickly to some fast paced music and a narrator's voice is a lot more exciting and attention grabbing to any site visitor.
In closing, I hope I've provided enough advice to help some visitors create their own sports or business promo video. I don't mind sharing what I can, while I still stand waiting, in the event you'd like me to create a similar kind of video for you.
Mar 7, 2018
This blog was originally published on June 9, 2017.
I know I've previously mentioned being an ice hockey coach for 45+ years, and that I started working with video way back in 1979 or '80. And, while i used it to analyze players and teams in the earliest years, it wasn't long before I started making my own instructional videos. Not long after that, however... Ya, not long after that, I realized that video could be an unbelievable recruiting tool, be it for my weekly clinics, my summer hockey schools, or my college team.
As an aside here, I came to Florida several years ago to be a part of a new Junior hockey league that ended up failing before it ever got underway. I knew what I was doing when it came to recruiting, however, and my team had close to a full roster before the rug was pulled out from under us.
Folks missed the best of what I'd planned, though... For, I'd spent as much time recruiting my future teams as I did my current one. I mean, I was collecting video footage whenever I had the chance, initially grabbing clips of our home rink, the city, as well as the nearby attractions Central Florida had to offer. What I never got to add to that collection were clips of our practices, our locker room, our bus trips, and special game action.
I'll get back to that stuff in awhile. For now, however, I'd like anyone who runs a private school, Junior team or league, or minor pro league to take a look at the following video. I'll add more on the flip side...
I created that fictitious "Whitman Warriors Hockey" logo just for fun (making those are easy for me). Most of my best video footage is stored with my super-professional studio more than an hour away. If I had my druthers, though, I'd have included some travel footage, more game action, and some intimate stuff. (Can anyone envision the bus scene and theme song in the movie Slap Shot?) And, of course, if I created a "trailer-type" video for your organization, it would be far more personalized.
As yet another aside... I had some interviews a few years back with the possibility of being a Junior league's commissioner. I knew that some forward looking organizations within those leagues would have their own recruiting videos. Still, what I also wanted to create was something that highlighted the league's members, league activities, etc. Was it a good idea? Ya, I think so. And, it could only help -- everyone.
As other "hockey nuts" can imagine, I could go on and on with this theme. However, let me end for now with a reminder of some things I did and didn't mention in the above video:
Kids (of all ages) love fast action and music to match. Hey, they've been brought up on digital media.
Hockey parents need to be assured they're making the right choice when it comes to picking a given team or league. And, I think the right kind of video can accomplish that.
It's hard to explain many of the things that can make your team or league different, but it's easy to show viewers with photos and video.
Or, as I said at the end of that short movie, "Video is worth more than 10,000 words" -- much, much more.
So, please complete the Contact Form off to the right, so we might talk about working together.
Mar 6, 2018
This blog was originally published on June 5, 2017.
To me, there is nothing more fun than being creative in my work. I published several books in my many years as a hockey coach, I invented some drills and training devices that have been used around the world and even in the National Hockey League. And, as I hinted at in my very first blog post -- about "Video Marketing and SEO Go Hand in Hand", I enjoyed well over three decades of working with both analogue and digital video production.
Actually, I often share what I believe to be a comical story about conversations I had with my old Radio & TV Production professor.
He was a great guy, but he'd retired to teaching from a major television company, and I sensed he only knew the finished product a professional crew used around him. I, on the other hand, having returned to college after much time out in the coaching field, told him often how I'd found ways to recreate pretty sophisticated video production techniques in my consumer level studio. I mean, it was early in the 1980's, and I was including some awesome special effects in VHS videos that were actually selling around the world.
:) My prof would shake his head and tell me those things were impossible outside a kzillion dollar studio, and I was smiling and telling him, "Ya know, where there's a will, there's a way."
Little wonder I was all smiles again, when my wife and I started talking about doing some video marketing experimentation for her work. Actually, though, we got to combine our experiences in a way I'll explain right after this video...
(Did anyone notice a slight typo in that video? Of course, if that video had been for a paying customer, we'd have fixed it in a jiffy. We'll live with it for the time being, though, and fix it as soon as we can.) Actually, I kicked off and then ended that video with the handwritten text known as "whiteboard". That was just a lead-in, however, to Brenda performing her magic in our own version of PowerPoint. Yup, she did the narration, and she created all the accompanying motion graphics (pretty neatly, I'd say). So the video marketing experimentation continued in yet another video...
Did you notice us opening with the logo video I created for Brenda long ago (as seen near the top of our Home page)? I also found a way to squeeze it in at the end of the video, too. Of course, my fun didn't stop with what's obvious. No, I have more royalty free background music than one can count, and I also have hundreds of royalty free sound effects for whenever the need arises. Not everyone can get the equivalent of PowerPoint into a video format but, that's only a small reason why I do what I do nowadays. With all that, Brenda and I talked over coffee this morning about some further video marketing experimentation for her work. So, as they say in the Radio & TV Production industry, "Stay tuned!"
Mar 6, 2018
This blog was originally published on June 3, 2017.
As is said about the animated business owner in the following video, "Sam has a problem... He's unhappy, he wishes more people would use his business... And, Sam realizes he has to have a way to let more people know about his company..." Ya, for sure, that's a problem many of us business owners face. But, let's watch the video, to gain a better understanding of what a video commercial might do for your business...
Oh, man, have I been where Sam has been, and done all that... In fact, I've been sick to my stomach numerous times over 40-plus years of running a hockey business, and knowing my costly newspaper or magazine ad was ending up underneath the parakeet's cage, under the puppy's bowl, or wrapped around some leftover fish. And I'm pretty positive that those advertisements from long ago didn't get shared or retweeted like a video commercial of today.
Just think about that... I have something like 20,000 contacts spread over social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. And it's kind of exciting to think about where an interesting post, graphic or video travels once I and my friends start sharing.
Frankly, I find it ironic that some Tampa Bay businesses have a shortage of customers, owing to what I mentioned in two previous blog posts: "My Neighbors Need Help" and "Can You Help More of Our Neighbors?" I mean, while I hear every once in awhile that a painter or fence installer is short on work, I know there are folks all around my neighborhood who are dying for their kind of help. Anyway, I sure would like to discuss the prospects of producing a video commercial for your business. To be honest, I don't know if I can help every kind of business in the Tampa Bay area. However, a lifetime in sports has made me tough as nails, and the type who sticks to it when a job needs to get done.
Please fill out the simple Contact Form. That done, I'll share prices and more.
Just so you know, there's a good reason our prices aren't openly published right now...
As we're getting these new offerings off the ground, I want to keep some leeway whereby some discounts or deals can be offered on the spur of the moment.
Then, within a few weeks, I know that creating a video commercial for your business is going to have to double in cost.
Mar 6, 2018
This blog was originally published on May 30, 2017.
I actually spent some time on this subject a week or more ago, in a post entitled "My Neighbors Need Help". The fact that so many Tampa Bay area neighbors truly do need help never goes away, however... The long holiday weekend being over, I was greeted this morning with a new email plea asking, "Does anyone have any recommendations for someone who does free estimates on roof repair?" And, once again I only wished I could have sent a video telling that person (and lots of others within eye-shot) about a great local company. (Can you help more of our neighbors? Please keep reading...)
My blog readers might like to know that I'm aiming to work with only one company in a given niche (see my earlier post on "Video Marketing for a Local Landscaper"), which would make it easy for me to promote a single nearby roofing company to my neighbors.
That morning's email didn't end with one appeal -- no: yet another person explained, "We are looking into replacing our worn out wood fence with PVC vinyl fencing..." Can you help more of our neighbors -- like this one? I'll bet you could. Another neighbor mentioned owning a pool, and wishing to get pricing on "monthly service"for that pool. Oh, and here's one I'd never thought about before, but surely it's a great business to be in... I mean, another neighbor asked, "Does anyone know of any reasonable dumpster rental places?" Hmmmmm... Which causes me to ask, can you help more of our neighbors? The above all came from a single email, and I skipped quite a few other appeals for help within that. I also deleted nine other emails that accumulated over the long weekend. My point: there are tons of people all around us who are seeking some sort of help for around their houses or yards. And, it's quite obvious that no local company is automatically coming to mind if they need to ask. Is there a reason your company isn't the first they think about when locals need help? Hmmmmmm... Then, one last thing I happened to notice today (and I'm wondering why I hadn't mentioned this already)... Under almost every plea for help came a number of suggestions from other locals. In other words, we probably lost opportunities on the fifty-plus pleas that passed my laptop screen this weekend. And the same is going to happen tonight, tomorrow, and every day coming, until we find a way to make more and more locals think of your company as soon as any need arises. All that said, if you'd like to consider putting your company on the tips of local tongues, please do a couple of things:
1) browse this blog more for a sense of how I might help;
2) complete the simple Contact Form off to the right, and;
3) let's talk about how we might work together.
Mar 6, 2018
This post was originally published on May 24, 2017
If you noticed my title up there, I hope you also noticed that I said it as if I'm planning on doing video marketing for "a" local landscaper. Ya, I've thought long and hard on that, and I've come to the realization that I'd prefer not to try getting more than one client to the top of the heap in any given niche. Make sense? (It surely does to me.) Now, as promised elsewhere in the trailer versions of the following, I want to include the entire video here for local landscapers. If you work in another trade, however -- like painting, roofing, fencing or so many others, I hope you'll be able to see how this could work for you...
If you're anything like me, you need time to watch that video several times and do some serious thinking (personally, I'd probably watch it a half-dozen times, take some notes, and do lots of heavy thinking :) ).
Want something to REALLY thinking about, though? Most folks who run a small business need to devote as much time as possible to their customers' needs (I've been there and done that). And that leaves little time for wearing yet another hat.
Then, to repeat a couple of things... 1) I would truly like to work with only one client within any given niche. So, while I'm obviously directing this post towards video marketing for a local landscaper, I can envision only working with one painter, one real estate agent, one auto repair shop, maybe one beauty salon, etc. I'm not sure other local video marketers would be willing to do the same, but...
Oh, by the way... Visitors should make note of the way I've separated certain video options on the Home page -- like for logo videos, talking avatars and other promotional videos. I have those priced very reasonably, just in case a client wants to purchase one or more of those -- separately or in combination. However, if we're to do something as suggested in the above video, we'd include any such items as needed -- after all, the main idea would be to get the job done right.
Lastly, once you'd like to pursue these possibilities a little further, please complete the Contact Form, and I'll touch base with you promptly. I look forward to helping you with putting your company on the map.
PS: Just this morning, a local neighborhood publication I check everyday included calls for a handyman, some fence repair, septic work, hardwood flooring installation, swimming pool maintenance, roof repair, and reliable lawn service. Of course, these kinds of publications seem a gold mine for those who have the time to scout them -- again, IF one has the time to scout them.
Mar 6, 2018
This blog was originally published on May 27, 2017.
I happened to mention in a recent video, that numerous "locals" I follow seem to repeatedly ask for help. I mean, they're looking for help mainly from tradesmen, a lot like those mentioned in the following excerpts...
"Any recommendations on a reliable lawn service? Thank you in advance."
"Hello. Looking for someone who can diagnose and replace a power problem in our Hayward salt generator power box..."
"Good day, I was hoping that someone local might have a cleaning business for in home cleaning (bathrooms, baseboards, windows, laundry room etc). I don't need anything done immediately but am planning on doing some deep cleaning soon…
"... I'm in need of a few really small jobs - 1. Need granite counters professionally resealed... 2. Need wood floors resealed... 3. Wood kitchen cabinets - need more..."
"Just had my 2003 Tundra extra cab painted. Interested in getting it detailed inside and out at a reasonable cost."
The requests keep coming, with newsletters and other announcements saying that my neighbors need help with some house chore or another...
"I need to have a new ice maker installed in my GE refrigerator old one just stopped working. Any recommendations on who can repair it?
"Looking to have a wood handle on a kitchen knife replaced. It was my wifes mothers and is very sentimental to her, but the handle is starting to disintegrate."
"Hello everyone I have a small leak in the bathroom and have a few outlets that need to be replaced if you know anyone please let me know."
"My son needs help with his algebra 2 homework. Anyone able to help him tonight?"
"do we have any preppers out here? looking to meet up, and run idea's past each other. maybe meet at mc donalds for coffee. lets talk."
"Hey everyone. My husband and I are looking for quotes in exterior pressure washing as well as painting the exterior of our home. Do you have any recommendations you can send my way? I would greatly appreciate it!"
I suspect most of the above jobs have been done by now. That in mind, missed chances usually carry even more meaning for me. I mean, most tradesmen know that one job done well leads to new job opportunities. Or, said yet another way, a job done well can lead to more work for the satisfied customer, as well as additional work from the customer's friends, relatives and neighbors. Soooooooo...
Feb 3, 2018
This post was originally published on May 9, 2017.
Dennis Chighisola here, looking forward to kicking off this blog with a somewhat serious post. Before really digging in, though, I wonder if there are any sports fans here...
You see, I was always known as somewhat of an innovator as a long time ice hockey coach, and lots of my outside-the-box work had to do with video. (If you wonder about me being an innovator, please take a peek at the PS I added below.) Of course, as far back as 1980, I used my video capabilities as a teaching tool, and for studying my guys' skill techniques or studying my team's play.
What might surprise you, however, is that I began using similar capabilities in the late-80's to create videos for my college recruiting efforts. I mean, each year I'd create a new jazzed up master video -- depicting campus life, showing glimpses of my team's practices and games, traveling with the team and more, all set to some music I knew older teens would like. From there I'd mail out copies of that video to special recruits who lived a great distance from my college.
Needless to say, recruits really enjoyed those videos, as did their parents. And, while I'm sure they appreciated the extra capabilities I was able to demonstrate -- as well as my extra efforts, I'm sure they liked it even better that I could digitally transport them hundred of miles, to almost be there in Southeastern Massachusetts with my team and me.
If you get the connection here, I think our customers today would just love to get a real feel for what we do -- or what our businesses can do for them. And, a lot like my long ago recruiting videos, we now have the ability to digitally transport potential customers -- to our office, to our salon, to our factory, or to our construction site. They can get to know us personally, too, which usually translates to their liking us and trusting us.
That said, I find it necessary to better explain my title -- suggesting that video marketing and SEO go hand in hand. In a way, the story about my college recruiting took care of the video marketing part of this short essay, while I'm even guessing that my videos from back then got shared among my intended recruits and their friends and their friends' families.
Decades later, I'm actually marveling at that last bit... I mean, I was doing something that had to be unheard of in recruiting circles back then -- by bringing families from far away right onto our campus, right on the ice with us for a team practice, right on the bench for a game, and right on the team bus for a trip to another game. What truly amazes me today, though, is the possibility of those videos still existing. A few of them might have even gone "semi-viral", shuffling back and forth between bookshelves and the VCRs of hockey friends (who knows how many times). Ya, just think about that: my old college hockey program might have even grown in popularity long after I'd moved on to other things.
On the other hand, the power of SEO -- or Search Engine Optimization -- hadn't come into being just yet. Yes, I'd been unknowingly conducting video marketing way back in the late-80's, but the power of the Internet is truly something else.
Wikipedia defines it in this way: "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results -- often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results." (Said yet another way... If you run a roofing repair business, you'd better pray that your company comes up near the top when a needy homeowner searches the Internet for the kind of help you can provide.)
I've jokingly referred to a lack of advertising being akin to doing business in a closet. Sure, you might be the most dedicated in your line of work, you might offer services beyond most competitors, but... If no one knows about you, well...
And that's why I'm suggesting that video marketing and SEO go hand in hand today... What Brenda and I are hoping to do for you is two-fold. For sure, I offer a number of video options that should quickly put you ahead of most competitors. Once we get that underway, though, we'll suggest a number of ways we might get you near the top of those searches (more to come on this in a future blog post).
So, with that, I hope you'll explore this site -- and maybe complete the very brief Contact Form, so that we can talk about working together.
PS: I'm going to do another post very soon based on a Forbes article I just stumbled across. The fascinating thing about that article is the way it starts, as in: "This year has been called 'The Year of Video Marketing,' as businesses find new, inventive ways to use the medium to reach customers."