Beware Yell.com Video Pitch

I generally don’t seek to put down competition, but this is more a matter of warning consumers and alerting video producers.

A local marketing director recently invited me in to discuss a video for her business. Afterwards she sent me an email received from a Yell.com salesman trying to sell her their video production service for listing on their site. Two videos links were provided as samples along with a list of the benefits of having video content. The information was accurate and up-to-date –the very sort of things I tell business owners.

Yell.com is a UK on-line business directory and is a way to find local businesses as it is organized by business category rather than alphabetically. There are similar services in most countries around the world and they are all, of course, on-line versions of phone books, yellow pages traditionally being for business listings, white pages for non-business listings.

But buyer, beware the video pitch. Following is my response and critique of the Yell.com video service to the Marketing Director. I’ve updated it after some more research:

I looked at the video samples–and they are not bad, but not worth the price. Small print: “from £3750…” yet the brochure lists out added costs including “additional locations”. Both those videos had multiple locations.

But more importantly, (and my internet connection is pretty good), they take a while to load before they play, which is off-putting.

They say they upload them to YouTube, BUT they don’t put any info in the YouTube listing, nor any key words or key word titles. And they don’t link back to your site. They link back to Yell. And people don’t like going in circles trying to get to a site they’re looking for!

Worse yet, those two videos had 2 and 22 views respectively in the last year. And the only way I found them was typing in the company name in YouTube. (If you know the company name, you just go to their site, don’t you).

If you scan down the feed on their YouTube site (yell.com youtube) you will see dozens and dozens of videos that have been uploaded in the last two weeks alone. Most have had no views or one view in that time. One could say it’s too soon to tell, but couple that with the cherry-picked videos sent by the salesman to the marketing director (which got 24 views between them in one year) and I find it a bit heart-breaking.

Further, their YouTube site shows 885,000 views (rounded up) in just over 8 years. That would be about 2100/weeek, 300/day. Yet the salesman told the Marketing Director they’ve done over 10,000 videos. You can do the math.

For a comparison, 3 videos I did for an industrial client in a niche market (industrial conveyors) have gotten 6500 views in the last year on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/CILogistics?feature=watch) without any particular marketing effort (no pay-per-click ads, etc.). And the cost of the videos to the client for each video was far less than the “starting at £3750” Yell videos.

If you then google some questions like “how many people use Yell?” (400,000/day vs google’s 700,000/minute) and then look at reviews of Yell…Well, it’s not very pretty.

I think it’s an old business model trying its best to survive and frankly hard-selling people on expensive video as a way of staying afloat–video that helps them more than it does their clients.

Business Web Videos, Old Predictions and New Trends

A couple years ago Bruce Clay, one of the top SEO experts in the world, predicted  (to paraphrase) “in a couple of years, if you don’t have video content, you won’t rank (on the search engines).”

Well, it’s been a couple of years and it seems he wasn’t far off.

Now we’re hearing that in short order (I’ll skip the year prediction), 90% of the web will be video-based. Just search “video seo” and you’ll see what I mean.

Frankly, I don’t know what that means exactly. But it certainly implies the necessity for video content for starters.

Around the same time, all on my own, I started telling clients that the slick, expensive video ads they’re so accustomed to from TV are not the way to promote new business. In fact, the cost of such productions is what made the whole idea of video prohibitive to small and medium-sized businesses. My point, covered in more detail on other articles in this blog, was that it works fine for the Big Guys because we’re already familiar with their products and services and don’t really need to be sold on them particularly. Those flashy videos are just there to remind us that those Big Guys still exist and are still offering great stuff for you to buy.

But for the smaller guys, the guys that most of us never heard of (and the guys that want to be discovered), that same approach could be a distinct disadvantage.  Why?  Because it’s just “marketing hype”. “It’s just an actor reading a script”.

So my approach was more of a documentary approach using the real people who are themselves human and slightly imperfect; not slick and polished like a pro actor with perfect hair, posture, hand gestures and clever script.

Seems this too has panned out as an accurate prediction.  Now I’ve been seeing blog posts about “humanizing” business videos and “the documentary approach”.

The one thing I did learn from these blogs was something I must have known a couple of years ago but hadn’t put my finger on….YouTube changed everything.

Need I say more?

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