Posts made in December, 2013


Do you need video on your website

It seems anywhere you go, the world is full of video screens. Whether you’re checking out your favorite blogs or picking up milk at the grocery store, you’re going to be hit with video images to guide you along the way. As a business owner, do you use videos on your own website? If not, you could be missing out on a profitable engagement strategy. If you do use videos, though, you could be turning your readers OFF and making them click that dreaded red “X” in the corner. So what’s a business owner to do? The debate rages on …

Why You SHOULD Add Videos to Your Website:

1. People remember what they see in videos; it often sticks with them better than anything they read or hear alone. If we’re to believe William Glasser, your blog or website visitors will only remember 10% of the information they read on your site, but if you put that information into a video then they’ll remember at least half of it.

2. Video adds a new element to your products. If you sell something, you can take pictures all day long – but a video can show so much more. On video, you can interact with your product, show it in 3-D reality, and demonstrate all of its uses in just a few seconds. This can leave a lasting impression that a photo just can’t convey.

3. Video can set you apart as an expert. Pick something that you know how to do well – and that relates to your brand – and shoot a quick how-to video for that skill. Your viewers will gain new information, but they’ll also see you as an expert and trust you in your area of expertise that much more than they would have when they thought you were just trying to sell them something.

4. Video makes you seem more “real.” Your customers may come to your web site and not really understand much about you as the business owner. If you shoot a quick video of yourself, even if it’s just an introduction that lasts 30 seconds or less, you put a piece of your personality into your web site. It’s amazing how often people will want to buy from you when they feel like they know you personally, even if it was just from a quick video on your web site bio. You’re no longer a faceless brand – now you’re a person who sells things, and that makes people feel like they’re supporting the little guy, which can be a big boost to your sales.

5. Video gives your customers insider info. Shoot a behind-the-scenes video and your customers will know that much more about how your product is made. Showing the creative process you take when you make something will reinforce the idea that your products are made by hand, or made locally, or just not mass-produced on big machines. (Even if you ARE mass-producing on big machines, people love to see that stuff, too! That’s the whole reason there are factory tours in the first place.) Letting your customers see what goes on behind closed doors is like inviting them to a secret show; it makes them feel special and connected to your process, your brand, and your product. You don’t have to give away all your secrets, but showing your customers anything about your work – even just a tour of your facility – will make them feel “in the know.”

Of course, making videos for your web site doesn’t mean everything is going to be perfect. In fact, there’s a pretty strong argument to be made against it.

Why You Should NOT Add Videos to Your Web Site:

1. People often browse the Internet while they’re “at work.” If your clients sneak off in the middle of a boring spreadsheet session to check your shop update, you don’t want a noisy video that starts automatically to give them away to their boss. Having a video on your site means that some of your customers won’t be able to watch it, because they’re browsing online while snuggling a sleeping baby, sitting in on a conference call or even talking to their mother. Sometimes videos make them want to turn off the screen to avoid getting caught browsing, and they may not be likely to return if they think it will happen again.

2. Some people have a short attention span. Confession time: I am one of those people. For some reason, I love spending my time browsing my favorite blogs, but the minute I see there’s a video I have to watch in order to get the full story, I feel like I’m suddenly being made into a captive audience and I instantly want to bolt. If a blog post is written, I can browse it as quickly as I want and then get out of there and back to my day; if it’s a video I’m at the mercy of the speed of the video’s creator and sometimes I’m not interested in waiting for the video to end before I’m ready to leave the site.

3. Shooting a video that is low quality makes your whole site seem like it has a low quality as well. If you’ve paid someone to put together an awesome web site (or maybe you’re a skilled graphic designer and you’ve put it together yourself!), you should make sure that anything you add to that site is equally awesome. If you use your cell phone to create a video in a poorly-lit room with low-quality sound, it’s going to bring down your whole vibe. Make sure you can shoot a quality video, or don’t bother shooting one at all.

4. Videos can start to feel like commercials – or lectures. Sometimes your real-life persona just doesn’t translate well to an on-camera scenario. If you sound like you’re selling used cars, you’ll turn your viewers OFF in a big way. Likewise if you bore them by using a monotone speaking voice or going into too many details. If you can’t pull off an entertaining and educational video, you should probably get someone else to appear in your videos (perhaps your business partner?) or avoid them altogether.

5. Hosting videos can cause technical difficulties. Without going into too much detail, the size and complexity of a video file makes it difficult to host one on your own blog or web site. This isn’t to say that you can’t go ahead and host your video elsewhere and then post it to your site, but just be aware of the glitch-worthy issues that come with putting videos on your web site before you jump in with both feet.

To read more about this issue, check out Why Your Brand Needs Video and Why I Will Read Your Blog but Not Watch Your Video.

So, where do you fall in the Video or No Video argument? We’d love to know – leave us a comment below!

photo credit: Nina J. G. via photopin cc

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Welcome to another edition of #ThinkCreateReflect here at Patterned HQ, where we take a moment each week to think, create, and reflect on life and business. This week, get out your favorite stationery and a funky pen and get to it!

Write a letter to your personal or business hero. What would you like to tell him/her?

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Share your response on your blog or web site, then add a link below! Or take a picture of your letter and post it on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ThinkCreateReflect!

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tips for managing custom orders

This week’s round-up is all about custom orders. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you either offer custom orders already or you’re thinking about adding them to your product line-up. Custom orders can be an excellent source of revenue for your small business, but they can also be a source of frustration if you don’t manage them properly. Streamline your custom order process with these tips from around the web:

  • Jamie from Etsy wants to help you manage custom orders without losing your mind with six helpful tips for keeping up with the customs in your shop. Her helpful approach involves a combination of knowing what you can do and how to communicate that effectively.
  • Jenelle of TrashN2Trees visited the Oh My! Handmade blog with some tips for custom orders from her own years of experience. One big tip from Jenelle? Put together a list of guidelines that you plan to follow for customs, and post them publicly so your customers can find them. This will save you a lot of time, and hopefully a lot of heartache, throughout your years in business. Read more on Oh My! Handmade.
  • The Creative Income Blog recommends coming up with a template and a stock photo to save time in the custom order process, along with a few other handy tips for clear communication and timely delivery.
  • Maker Dionne Christiansen shares tips from a variety of custom order pros on the Meylah blog. These veterans of the custom orders trade vary from florists to jewelry designers, but they all have a process that helps them deliver the custom goods.
  • Brittany’s Best  has a post that includes information about Etsy’s custom order request feature, initiated earlier this year. If you sell on Etsy, it’s a good idea to be familiar with this system before your customer clicks that button.

One common theme among the articles we’ve rounded up this week is that clear communication with your customers is an essential part of a successful custom order system. If you have customers waiting on custom goods, keep them in the loop so they won’t constantly send you messages to ask if their order is ready yet. Here at Patterned, we’ve got you covered on this part of the process, so you can spend more time making and less time answering e-mails.

Do you have any custom order success stories (or horror stories) to share? Leave us a comment below!

photo credit: EraPhernalia Vintage . . . (playin’ hook-y ;o) via photopin cc

 

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Join us each week with #ThinkCreateReflect as we allow ourselves to think about what we’ve done, create something new, reflect on a topic and dream toward the future.

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Watch out, or this weeks prompt might have you stepping outside your comfort zone, and possibly also your clothing!

 

Think about this: if you could wear anything, without fear of humiliation, what would you wear? Maybe you’d wear sneakers to work because they’re more comfortable than heels. Maybe you’d wear a crown every day because it would make you feel like royalty. What else would you wear if you had infinite options? Why did you choose that particular item or outfit? Draw a picture or snap a photo of the outfit of your dreams.

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Share your pictures with us! Take a moment to Think, Create and Reflect on this week’s post and then leave a comment here with a link to your response, or share it via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ThinkCreateReflect. We’d love to hear from you!

photo credit: Jeff Kubina via photopin cc

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