Before the internet, Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” However, at that point, there was no medium like the internet. The internet allows for every possible medium of expression through a single portal called a “website.” We can’t call this advertising in a traditional sense because the goal of most mass-market advertising is to alert the public to the existence of a product, even before they have the need for that product. The vast majority of money and effort on internet marketing is spent on having a sales pitch for your product appear precisely when somebody has a need for your product – when they are searching. This new scenario required a new term, “Search Marketing,” or “Search Engine Marketing.”

Website = Pile of Data

It is very useful to remember what a website really is. A website gives a visitor direct access to a hard drive with files of data, video and images. The visitor has the use of a browser which can efficiently open the files on that hard drive and assemble them into a nice organized presentation. If you think of it that way it makes perfect sense that any marketer would be smart to put every possible file type in that hard drive to be looked at. As in: AUDIO to listen to, some VIDEO to watch, some TEXT to read like a brochure, technical papers and schematics, maybe a collection of association or industry certifications to lend credibility, and lots of PICTURES to illustrate ideas or just make it visually interesting.

Online Sales Pitch

If you met one of your search engine visitors on an elevator and had only a few seconds to explain what your business does, you wouldn’t hold up your brochure or technical papers for them to try to read in that short time. You wouldn’t show them industry certifications. If they wanted it, you might hand them a one-page summary of services. You might hand them a page of testimonials. You might hand them the one-page summary and then a DVD with a nice walk through of your services and say, “take a look at what we do and then pop in this DVD to watch a 2 minute summary that covers our entire process”.

Quid Pro Quo

Then you might also say, “You know what, why don’t you give me your email and contact information? I’ll send you a valuable consumer guide for these kinds of services. It will help you make a good decision regardless of what vendor you end up going with.” Then they would probably hand you their business card – and then you’d have a lead. THIS is how lead conversion is accomplished.

“Can I help you find something today?”

You might say, “Well, this is easy if you are standing face to face talking.” You’re right, and that’s why a couple of strategically placed spokesperson videos in your site is just like standing in the elevator talking to them for a few seconds. Video marketing can take several forms in a website. Most forms you’ll see these days are online versions of commercials, but a spokesperson is not a commercial. It is an online version of a SALESPERSON. Your visitors have already searched for your service or product, and they’ve arrived at your door. Do they need to see a commercial, or would your immediate goal be better accomplished with a sales person who offers them something of value in order to convert them into a lead?

Walmart “Greeter” Effect

The spokesperson video can be done well or poorly. If you choose to use the brief moment of attention you get to say things like “Hi” and “welcome to the site” and “browse around”, you have botched your single chance to communicate. If say things they expect to hear from a Walmart greeter, they will not listen for content or information, they will ignore the entire message.

The more data you offer your visitor, the more complete their experience, the longer they stay, the better your chance for conversion. In other words…you win.