You see it all the time...
Scrolling across your television and favorite social media networks as you watch your favorite form of media. We have all become used to the mundane approach that the majority of businesses take with their marketing and we remember the companies that do things differently.
So in recent years, we have seen a new trend emerge with the increased use of technology.
They come with many shapes, styles, tones, and purposes, but one thing rings true through all of them. They are looking to inform their visitor in the least amount of time possible while making the strongest branding connection possible.
I mean just look at Tortilla Lands Video.
It's a fancy animation with fancy sound design and hypes up the visitor.
At Homeer we don't have the budget they do and we aren't trying to trick our audience into believing that we do.
Instead, we are going to take a more personal approach and give our clients a view into who Homeer really is.
Side Note: At the time of writing this post, Homeer is only offering home cleaning services so moving throughout this post I will only refer to the home cleaning industry!
Before I even hop into our story it is extremely important that you never forget why you are making your video.
For us, it was to be different from the rest of our competitors in the Lubbock home cleaning industry. Your reason may be the same, but it also may be wildly different.
Regardless of your reason for creating the video, make sure you haven't forgotten that reason when it comes to writing the script, recording your session, editing the video, publishing it on your platforms, or sharing the video with the ravenous client audience you have built.
If you haven't built a ravenous audience yet, videos are perfect and the fastest way to do so.
My team and I weren't sure of our reason to create videos and that is exactly why we hadn't for the last five years. But, we kept hearing they would be great and we were determined to figure out how we could go about this.
So, we started at step one.
To see amazing results from anything the person doing the task must understand the end benefit that is being aimed for with this video and what already exists in the market.
With videos, I went in wanting to create a standard explainer video.
A video that we could toss at the top of our website homepage so that the initial visitors of our website would have some of the basic questions answered.
These explainer videos are a pretty common thing to see in 2020, but in my opinion, they are still being done lazily. Let me explain...
First, let's check out what a standard home cleaning company video looks like...
Looking at Dream House Cleaning we are met with... Well, I'm not even sure if I would really count this as anything beyond an attempt to steal this business's money. It's quite clear the animator that made this video did not care about what they were doing.
To put it simply...
This video is bad. Horrible some would even say, but it is still miles better than having no video to explain your services at all.
Offering weird-looking animated figures to a video that fits normal explainer standards, this video stands out in no way.
The one thing this video does show is that the business owner doesn't care to invest their full-effort in explaining the benefits of booking with Dream House Cleaning.
Lubbock, Texas has grown used to getting a personal touch from our home cleaning services and we wanted to keep that going with our video. Not some poorly made animated video.
So, the Homeer verdict on this video?
A waste of time.
But, not all animated videos are bad. There are actually some that are quite good.
Let's take a look at the video of ThinkMaids, a cleaning company Washington D.C. that is run by my good friend Chris Schwab.
With higher quality animation and a voice-over that offers a nice and relaxing voice, the video portrays the proper tone.
This video also tells their client how to book utilizing their online booking system. We have a booking system as well, but at Homeer we didn't agree that the system should be the primary focus of the video. Talking about the online booking system can be done in a few paragraphs so investing the time to create a video on just that aspect felt fruitless.
It's a good video though and is definitely more than what most local cleaning businesses have.
But, it's missing two important things.
A way for their clients to get to know who is behind the mask... Who is really going to show and take care of the clients day-in and day-out...
Secondly, there is no way for the client to get the information without sitting through music and speech (from a voice that doesn't actually work at ThinkMaids) to explain how to book. The video not having always-on captions the website visitor has to click the play button instead of immediately being met with a muted video.
A muted video does two things.
It gives you the ability to autoplay the video without worrying about playing sound as soon as a visitor lands on the page.
More importantly though, by planning on having a muted video we added a way that anyone, anywhere, can get the information.
It doesn't matter if they are at work, in the library, or standing in line at the grocery store. It was absolutely vital that we made it as easy as possible to get to know Homeer. Wasn't that the whole purpose we began making this video in the first place?
Having watched more than a few explainer videos and seeing the vast-majority be animated, we knew that wasn't the direction we would be taking.
Instead, we created the plan to create a video of me (Chance) explaining who Homeer is and why we believe we are the proper solution for our community members and their home cleaning needs.
We were ready to get to action...
There was one more thing that had been preventing me from making this video before...
I hate public speaking. Public videos. Pictures and videos always got to me and it's been a struggle for my entire life. I can't put it into words, but something about it just makes me uneasy.
I mean dang!
I even failed Speech twice in college!!!
Once at Odessa College and once at Texas Tech University. Not because I didn't know the expectations, but because I couldn't build up the confidence to just take the step and do it.
At this point in the process I hadn't yet figured out how I was going to overcome this, but I knew I was going to have to. Homeer did not deserve to be stunted by my potential embarrassment so I was internally preparing to finally record for my video for the business.
In the days building up, I talked to the people that are around me. Talking to them about the idea and telling them how nervous I was. Every single person I talked to reminded me that this is the perfect way to talk to our community and even more so because so few of our competitors have taken the personal approach with their explainer videos. The people I was talking to could see the same benefits that Austin and I had seen when first considering making videos.
I've reached the point of being a business owner that I do not need the confidence of others to do something so having this feeling now about such a small thing was perplexing...
I built the stress up in my head for three days...
I was scheduled to be in Lubbock, Texas on Thursday. As the sun rose on Tuesday I was more nervous than any day previously and I still didn't have any idea of how I was going to make the best personal explainer video there is in the home cleaning industry.
I didn't express my concern to Austin which was a mistake. I was getting more embarrassed with each day and it was creating issues. I stayed quiet.
I walked into the office Thursday morning to see Austin already hard at work. Tossing my things down on the floor and plopping myself into my chair I looked at Austin wearing a face of concern.
He could tell something was wrong and knew to ask why.
But, him asking why is exactly the question I needed to hear...
Why was I nervous this whole time?
Because we don't have a lot of experience doing this? Well, I can only get experience by doing it.
Because I may embarrass myself in front of my clients? I have done that before and the ones I have are some of our longest-lasting clients. They all already know I am not perfect.
Because the people in my personal life may judge? Hah! No. Even if they do, that's okay. They're just giving feedback that we can use for our next round of videos.
I had no reason to be worrying this whole time.
I had forgotten the reason that we first wanted to create this video. To make the personal touch that is not possible in text.
I had been more worried about the video being "visually" perfect. Instead of making sure that I was saying the perfect thing.
I had wasted all that time trying to figure out how we were going to look super professional, get the perfect lighting, get the background blurred thanks to a fancy camera, and more. The list was endless. I had come with a long list of things that we needed to do before we could start recording this video and I was preventing us from even getting to the point of creating the script.
Austin stayed strong though. He didn't forget why we wanted to make the video at any point throughout the entire process. Constantly he reminded me that we weren't looking to appear more professional or bigger than we are, we were aiming to give our clients a look into who we really are and where we are on the journey to serve our community.
With our purpose clearly enforced we were finally ready to get to the action. But first, we needed to narrow down the list of things that we could use here and then find a way to remove that need from the list.
Once we got started it was actually quite easy to remove needs from the list as we added each piece to the set.
In the end, we were able to scrape together a pretty good set, if I do say so myself.
I mean.. Just look at how nice it came out in the video and how much of a mess it actually was outside of the camera frame...
Making sure that it would look facing forward as if we were having a conversation was very important to me.
I mean, wasn't the whole purpose of this video to give Homeer the personal touch that so many of our competitors are lacking?
After all the worry and nervousness we had built a great set and spent zero money in the process. We were able to use everything we already had out our disposal! We aren't at a time to be spending massive amounts of money on a perfect recording studio and we aren't trying to trick our audience into believing otherwise.
I was more ready for this video than I had been ever before. It was time we got to making the video and putting the plan to action.
Buckling my shoes and plopping down into the chair for the first time...
I was still nervous, but I was making progress.
I now had the camera rolling and I was recording. I always tell my teams that "Any progress is progress." and it was important to me to remember this saying throughout this process. I was stepping outside of my area of familiarity and I was getting more and more confident each time I walked around the desk and sat back down in my seat.
Before creating the script I wanted to make sure that I was comfortable enough in front of the camera to give an honest attempt. So, instead of rushing through this process, I sent Austin to take care of the rest of his work for about thirty minutes so I could gather my composure. Taking time to make sure the set was perfect and imagine myself in this video I became more comfortable with the idea of putting myself on display with this video. It was going to be okay and this was the first time in the process of creating the video that I truly believed it...
The nerves faded...
Now, it was time to get to writing.
Thankfully in my time of college at Texas Tech University, I took the class Technical Writing.
Learning how to cut items from our sentences is vital when it comes to any sales. But becomes even more important when we are creating a video that cannot be easily edited or updated when we change the way we say things.
Going through each step we determined that we would break the video into four sections.
Building the format we were ready to fill this in.
If you've read another one of my blog posts you will know that I take all of my notes following a Headline Method. You can find where I talk about the format I use in this blog post where I talked about the dying experience of Lubbock Maids.
Jotting down my headlines we began filling in the content. Talking through each sentence as we verbal-diarrhea ideas. We weren't looking for perfection on the first thing we said. We were looking to spit out as many things as possible and assemble the sentence to be the best it can after several iterations.
Starting we knew we would want to start with "Howdy" as that is a very Texan saying. Anyone that watches has a much higher chance of knowing that we are in and service the area of Texas. A simple and efficient way to make a connection and build trust with the future visitors of our website.
Moving forward we knew we wanted to focus on the three key differences between Homeer and the rest of the home care industry.
Now, we aren't entirely unique as Homeer is not the only business that offers these things. But finding these items being offered is still quite rare in the home care industry as a whole and even more so in the home cleaning industry.
Building two sentences for each item in the pain section and the Homeer solution section we were able to build a two-minute video that aligned precisely with the purpose that we started this journey with.
In the end, we updated the script throughout the entire recording of the video but having built a basic template we were ready to start taking our real takes.
Could our script be better? Absolutely. But we were at least going in with enough confidence to feel that we were doing this to our full-ability and make the best video that we could at this time.
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Our script was ready and my confidence had been thrown to the moon.
With the initial takes coming in hot off the press I was happy to see us making real progress.
And then Austin stopped me...
He told me "There is a horrible glare on your glasses."
And boy did I hate to hear that. It's not a very known thing, but I have absolutely horrible vision. Take off my glasses and I can barely see two feet in front of my face.
Having trouble imaging it?
My vision is really that bad and I wasn't ready to go through this video without my glasses.
That would mean I lose the ability to truly look at how I would on a normal day, but also that I will not be able to read the script that we had just written during the take. I was going to have to remember the script off the top of my head while I was attempting to create my first professional video ever. It's a great combo...
I couldn't shake it though.
I tried one more take with them on and suddenly I could see the glare even during the recording. I knew I had to take my glasses off and I was forced to accept the loss of being able to read my script while recording this video.
I was going to have to know my words and believe my words or it was going to be impossible for me to get through this video with any attempt at remaining professional or informative.
So, with my glasses off I began burning through different variations blankly staring at Austin as I waited to hear his feedback. Now, I am not absolutely blind where it's full darkness, but it is bad enough to where I couldn't see his facial reactions after each line.
It was difficult not to be able to see how my team was reacting or what my environment looked like while I was trying to focus on nailing the script aspect...
I now understand why movie actors are paid so much. It's hard work to nail it to perfection.
Sure it's easy to deliver a half-attempt, but to deliver a product that every team member is happy with? That is much more difficult.
Now being blind and being a few hours into this process I was ready to make some actual progress.
We couldn't keep making changes. We needed to have some takes in the records.
So, dropping my guard I just told Austin that we were going to have to make sure that everything in the video was perfect while I focused on remembering my lines and making sure that my body movements weren't all over the place.
Asking for a thumbs up when we were ready for the take to start and waiting for Austin to say something when we needed to stop we were able to go through quite a few takes very quickly.
Working late into the workday 4:45 came around and the rest of the companies in our office building began to head home. With this, came a massive increase in the number of doors being slammed. So, taking a fifteen-minute break and waiting for everyone to get out of the building before resuming recording I took a deep breath.
As soon as 5:01 hit we were back at it.
Having Austin there to make sure everything was representable saved me and the creation of this video. Without him there the video never would have been started, finished, or posted. Having a team during this process was absolutely vital to the success of the video.
Even more so, without Austin there, I never would have noticed the glare and I would've gone to edit a video that looked horrible. Austin noticing this allowed us to increase the quality of our video by a large amount.
Continuing on we finally nailed the final take with what we both thought was the perfect script.
On the last two takes, I got chills as I concluded listing our benefits and that is how I knew I was truly confident in the video that we had just created.
This video will never be the highest financially returning thing we have invested our time in, but this process did show us the importance of working as a team and being honest when we are nervous about doing something. Communication can fix all issues, but if you hold everything inside nothing can be done to improve your situation!
Having the final take all completed we packed up for the night and headed home. It was time to take a brain-break after this stressful and enlightening day of work.
Never having created a real video before I had also never taken the time to learn how to edit a video. Surprisingly though, this was the easiest part of this entire process.
Importing my video from my iPhone was extremely simple and was nearly painless. Turns out using my phone to record this time was a good decision!
Choosing the music was pretty with the help of Epidemic Sound. Finding the song we wanted rather quickly we were ready to get that added to the video. Quickly, our video was really coming together and beginning to look like something I would be proud to share.
Following the music, it was important to me that we had a proper intro and outro to the video even if wasn't animated. So, utilizing the format of our Facebook Header I created a basic fade in and out at the start and end of the video. This way we can give the website visitor/video watcher to get set in before hitting them with the information that we invested so much time into sharing. We put all this effort in already. It's important we give the visitor the time to know they are about to be met with the reasons why Homeer is unparalleled in our local communities.
The orchestra was coming together. Each piece was falling into place and the image was leaving my brain and forming right in front of me...
With a groovy song that represented the tone we wanted, we now needed to add our captions.
Because we created the video with the plans of it being muted in most circumstances we need to give our visitors a way to get the information without having sound on. So, instead of making edited versions of the text I just added captions of what was being said.
Ready to export the video I queued it up and let my computer take care of the processing work. Making sure that the video would export at high-quality without any audio issues I was getting very excited.
The video was in hand and I was ready to share it.
Uploading it we ran into a small roadblock when making the decision of where to upload the video, but we did not dwell on it.
Instead of trying to find the final answer we uploaded the video to Facebook and pinned it to the top of our page. Facebook is the platform that we utilize the absolute most so we always make sure to continue building our brand any time we can. Especially when we have a more personal approach than ever before.
Following Facebook, I uploaded the video to YouTube.
With YouTube, I ran into a few issues during the upload process as it was uploading with just a black screen. I was panicking. I was asking Austin what I had done wrong...
Nothing. I hadn't done anything wrong while uploading the video.
I had gotten anxious and wasn't giving the system enough time. At about the same time I opened my mouth to say "I cannot figure this out.." the images loaded and I could finally see all of the hard work that I had put into this video.
My video was on YouTube and for the first time in my life, I wasn't nervous to share the video I had created. I was dying to share it. I wanted the feedback right away.
Uploading the video to YouTube allows us to put the video on our website and give our users the ability to see the information they need without navigating through any page of the website.
With the videos uploaded to each platform and the video added to our website everything was scheduled to go live on Monday, May 18th, 2020 at 10 am.
We didn't have a massive launch for this video planned as this was our first time around the block. But moving forward we definitely will let our audience know when we are having a video session so that we can grab some immediate traffic when they go live next time.
Still, I scheduled the posts because of my experience in the software industry. With this, I had learned many times that it is always better to schedule the release of your products at a single time. Staggered releases are very hard because you never know if one platform will be outpacing the other and you are also extending the amount of time that you have to invest in curating the initial traffic.
So, we went with a bundled release and gave ourselves enough time to make sure that we had everything looking great before the video would be published for the public to see.
Was this the proper decision?
I'm not sure yet, but I am looking to answer a few questions in the coming weeks. Questions like: * Is a view of the website counted every time the home page is loaded? * Is having a video with a view count outweighing the average view count of our videos a bad thing? * Are we losing website visitors due to people navigating away to YouTube? * Does it make sense to pay the money for Vimeo video hosting? * Should we only upload the video to one place? Should we continue uploading the way we did this time? * Are the metrics that we see from this video truly better than our other branding and marketing efforts?
And that's just a small list of the things that I will be keeping my eye out for in the coming weeks.
But we can't stop making progress just because we are waiting to determine our results. We must keep moving and then collect our results when the time comes. Cannot just sit here and hope that this video is the thing that gives Homeer the personal touch we've been needing. Instead, we're going to continue on to our next list of areas of improvement!
Moving forward we knew that we needed to clean up the pages our videos live on, so before letting our video fly we cleaned up the rest of our appearance.
Starting with the Header Images we updated Facebook and YouTube to...
Building the header image we then moved on to creating the image that would be shown when the website is shared.
Generally in a share-image, a business will give the visitor some information about the business. Instead, we are giving some information on who we are. We are hoping that by showing this video preview in the share-image the visitors will be more likely to watch the video on the website.
Previously we did not have an image that was loaded when the link was shared by our visitors. Now, when the link is shared the visitor is introduced to our branding before they even click the link. Then, upon clicking the link they will be loaded into a homepage that has a video with the same branding and more information.
The video was finally getting close to being able to fulfill the purpose we first wanted to create it to achieve.
Monday morning came and the video went live.
Using the posts that had been scheduled over the weekend our audience was introduced to the video on all platforms at the same time.
If someone in our audience was on a social platform at 10 am on that Monday morning, the chances of them seeing that video was very high. But beyond that time the probability of the visitor has seen the video is decreasing drastically. We posted a video but didn't do anything with it.
So, right away I went ahead and pinned the video to the top of our social pages. With this video, we have a more personal approach than ever before. That is precisely the culture that we are looking to build at Homeer with our cleaning team members so we need to give our visitors a way to see that video even before they visit our website.
Along with this, we did not share the video on our personal feeds or to our personal connections. Why?
Because although we had just created a very personal video, we need to test our personal branding in regards to our business. We cannot keep relying on our personal network or we are signing ourselves up to have a revolving network of people coming in and out as each of them is added to the Homeer services. That's not what we are hoping to build.
Instead, we are hoping to build a business that has its own life and has its own personal branding. With that, these videos are the first and only step we have taken towards achieving that. Not using our personal audience was most definitely a mistake in regards to getting initial traffic, but I am fairly confident that doing this will allow for much better data collection as well as much higher quality videos.
We will surely see...
Another major mistake that was made was the fact that we had a wooden crackling candle while recording the video.
It looks like a normal candle so why did we choose to use one that makes a sound? I have absolutely no idea, to be honest.
The candle is soothing on a normal day, but this somehow never even popped into either of our heads. I couldn't believe this when I finalized the edit and realized what was causing this sound...
This will not happen again. What can you take from this? For one, make your set silent. Worry about adding background noise in the editing process. You can always add sound, but you can never remove it with any form of ease or quality.
And finally, there was one last massive mistake.
I had a typo. I couldn't believe it. I posted the video, scheduled the posts, got feedback, and still I had missed a typo...
I mean I know how to spell "Guarantee." Just look!! I just did it and I checked the video over one hundred times...
I could go back and fix my issues.
Going back and editing the video, taking down the posts and rescheduling them, and drag on the process into another day.
But, at Homeer we operate with a simple rule. If we half-ass something we live with the consequences. It's the only way for my team and me to learn and display the importance of giving something one's full attention. Not giving a task one's full attention creates brainless and inexcusable mistakes.
So upon hearing about this typo I considered fixing this for just a second as this was our first video ever made and I wanted to make sure that it was perfect. But, again Homeer isn't perfect either. Perhaps it is better to show that we still make mistakes and that we are human, but also that we genuinely care about what we are doing.
Instead of fixing the typo, we are living with the mistake. Pushing up the timeline for Round 2 of creating videos we decided it would be better to write this post and share what we learned.
Because as I am sure you know. It is better, to be honest than appear perfect when it comes to representing a business.
Having gone through the experience of creating this video and taking diligent notes along the way we are finally ready to create the repeatable process that will come any time we need to record videos.
The plan is rather simple so let us go ahead and take a look...
An eight-step process that allows you to stand out compared to the rest of the competitors in your industry.
With this process, we are going to be able to build videos much faster and at a much higher quality. Finally, I can leave the days of being nervous about recording behind me. What will happen during the process is no longer a mystery or a question that does not have an answer. It's a simple process that becomes even more simple when you have an amazing team that you can rely on.
The hardest part of this entire process is remembering the purpose of the video from start to finish and making sure that the video actually reflects that.
Now having our first real video live we are going to continue moving towards our plan of giving our community the level of home cleaning service they deserve.
Having noticed our mistakes and knowing that there is more potential in these videos you are sure to see another round coming very soon.
This time though we are going to pivot away from marketing videos and instead will create videos that outline each of our services.
Can you imagine being able to visit a services page and have the owner of the business explain exactly what that service is?
I cannot, but we will see what that looks like very soon!
Sincerely, Chance Herriage
Delivering stunning quality home care services to our busy Texan community members with a satisfaction guarantee, flat-rate pricing and zero shady fees.
Phone: (432) 355-3171
Office Hours: Mon. - Sat.: 8 am - 5 pm
Service Hours: Mon. - Sun.: 12 am - 12 pm