Tips for Creating Your Homepage Video

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The atmosphere is dark, punctuated by bare hand-crafted lightbulbs dangling over the bar. An ironic (or maybe trendy?) glowing mustache adorns one wall while a fireplace flickers in black and white on an old tv set perched up on a shelf in the corner. All this you'd see for yourself if you visited There Be Monsters in southeast Portland. Trouble is, a lot of co-owner David Griggs' potential customers haven't visited yet. Oh, the place is plenty packed. But in a town populated by craft breweries and urban wineries, competition for thirsty customers is fierce.

You could replace "Portland bar scene" with any industry. Businesses face competition and, as owners, we work every day to set our brands apart. But how? Consider this research:

               Almost 90% of purchase decisions start with a Google search.

Hopefully that search leads people to your homepage. Once there, one of the most effective ways to share your brand is through video. Research suggests having video on your website leads to 157% more web traffic and 105% more time on site (click here for a deeper dive). This was not news to the There Be Monsters owners. "An online presence is essential for modern business," David told us. "At There Be Monsters we really wanted a visual tool to communicate the feel of our bar to a broad audience, video is a great medium for that." 

Tip 1: Find Your Story

There's a lot of jabber these days about "storytelling." In fact, one of the Idea Decanter founders cringes every time the other uses that word. But there's a reason telling your brand's story is so popular. It works. We're talking about effectively communicating your story in a way that can emotionally connect customers to your brand. Not telling your life story, but rather finding the interesting nugget in that story that makes your business unique. People connect to stories on a deeper level. And they remember stories. For more on techniques to help you find your angle, check out our blog on Growing Your Brand by Telling Your Story. When it came to telling the There Be Monsters story, it meant more than a menu, a map, and some enthusiastic reviews on a website. David asked for an elevator pitch that would make your mouth water:

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"When trying to show somebody what you’re about, people generally respond to visual medium far more positively than a press release. This video will allow us to give thousands of potential customers an insight into not only the look of our place, but a little of what we’re about and where we came from as well."

Tip 2: Prepare for Roadblocks

In the case of There Be Monsters, it didn't hurt that we were starting with a bar as packed with curious decor as my grandmother's house (and she had a slight hoarding problem). This establishment is a visual carnival just begging for someone to turn a lens on it. It also didn't hurt that we were working with David -- who can code, play the banjo, mix a mean old fashioned, and has a captivating British accent. With a little script-writing and pre-planning, what could go wrong?

Well, pretty much everything. About a month of groundwork was thrown out the window when we walked into the door for the shoot.  So we sat down and crafted a new concept. Don’t take this tip the wrong way. We're all for being prepared. But part of that means being prepared to face the fact that life happens. Luckily, since this was not our first rodeo, we had already brainstormed a few alternative ideas.

Though the video we produced was not the one we thought we were going to shoot on our drive to the bar, we're pretty proud of the finished product. And more importantly, David is too. "We loved it. It met all our goals and expectations. Namely: a short, visually informative video that captured the feel of our bar."

Tip 3: Track Your Progress

And don't even bother with the whole process if you're not going to track your Return on Investment. Video is definitely an investment and you'll want to watch how it pays off. Once you see how your homepage video performs, you may want to add video to other pages on your website or launch video campaigns designed specifically for social platforms. By tracking your initial ROI, you can make the best choices on where to put your money. There Be Monsters posted their homepage video directly to Facebook with these results:

"Our initial post on Facebook reach over 9,000 potential viewers. The feedback was great, people loved the content and the style of the production." 

If you live near Portland, you should definitely swing by the bar sometime. But don't take our word for it, let the video convince you:

Still photography by Marc Gottula/ GraphiteShutter.com