Why shift towards video guides? Video guides provide more information, and help companies effectively communicate with the consumers, and educate them about services and products. Bandwidth and availability of chapter based players made this shift possible. Companies are not limited online the same way they are limited when creating TV commercials for example. It is not cost prohibitive to create longer videos, and consumers enjoy learning and researching by watching video instead of reading pdf files. Instead of 30 sec of high pace sales pitches, which is usually what a product video is, we are seeing videos that may start with a quick grabber but quickly move into in-depth overviews and demonstrations as well as tutorials.
Product videos do not follow any specific format. You never know what to expect when watching a product video. They can be just a sales pitch, they can include some demonstrations, but not always, they can give you an overview of features, but you cannot count on that. A lot of times they are only available at the point of sale, and their goal is to get the consumer to buy immediately, hoping that the consumer will not click away to do more research to get answers to the questions that were not answered in a product video.
Tutorials are easy to understand. They simply show you the steps. What is missing from a tutorial is an overview of the product or service itself. Tutorials usually start showing you the steps without telling you what the product actually is, and why you should care. Tutorials are great but they need to be put in context. Usually tutorials are found on the company’s product page, so the viewers know what the product itself does. The downside of having just a tutorial is that it cannot always stand on its own outside the context of your site.
Video guides on the other hand answer 3 fundamental questions about a product or service: What is a product or service? What are the features and functions? How do I use it? For the ease of use they are usually organized into chapters and include a number of specific tutorials, however it is possible to have one video that is a complete video guide in itself and is not made up of chapters.
What are the main advantages of video guides? They answer all the questions that a consumer might have, they allow you to access specific video chapters (if a chapter-based player is used), they can be expanded as new tutorials are added, existing chapters are easily updated, and old chapters are deleted. And finally they can become a complete customer support tool in addition to being a great sales and marketing tool. When a customer has a question, a link to a specific chapter can be send to him/her while the whole video guide is made available, so the consumer can explore further, learn more about the product or service, or share the video guide with friends.
Give video guides a try, and customers will thank you for providing them with the easiest way to learn about your product or service.
For examples of different ways to approach a video guide, and to see a script template that you can use to create your video guide go to: http://www.handbooklive.com/how-to/format.html
Laura Beken, co-founder of HandBookLive.com – a consumer portal where companies post their product and service video guides in a standardized format that helps consumers learn about products and services. http://www.HandBookLive.com