Friday, May 18, 2012

Rare Solar Eclipse This Weekend

If you live in or are planning to visit the southwestern United States this weekend, you're in for a rare treat: an annular solar eclipse will occur Sunday afternoon. This is the first solar eclipse viewable within the continental United States in more than 18 years.

If you'll be near the California-Oregon border, Reno, the Grand Canyon, Albuquerque or Lubbock, Texas, you'll see an amazing view of the sun's corona appearing to spill over the moon's edges on all sides. It's dangerous to look directly at the eclipse so if you plan on experiencing this rare sight, protect your eyes with the proper equipment. Ned Potter of ABC News recommends No. 14 arc welders glass and Eric Holthaus with The Wall Street Journal has more recommendations if you're interested. digitizes tens of millions of photos in our Irvine, California headquarters so we will not be able to view this rare eclipse in-person. We're relying on you to show us!

Send us your pictures of this rare occurrence. Email them to [email protected], Tweet your photos to @ScanMyPhotos and share them with us on Facebook and Google+ with hashtag #eclipseSMP. We'll be happy to share your photos on our social networking sites and this blog.

NASA image showing the areas that will be able to view the
May 20th annular solar eclipse. People in Southern China through
the Texas Panhandle will be able to see the eclipse.
If you won't be able to view the eclipse but you're dying to see it, watch Panasonic's live video stream form Japan's Mt. Fuji.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Free Photo Scanning Leads to Social Media Raves, Says

How to give away your products and services to publicize your company and gain new customers without cheapening your brand

While everyone savors getting something for nothing and without gimmicks, converts 100 photos to DVD for free as a new promotion. The 22-year-old photo scanning pioneer understands the skilful balance between cheapening its brand and smart promoting to effectively usesocial media to publicize its business.
"Do it right and the free products will translate into new, raving fans and eventually, loyal paying customers, says Mitch Goldstone, President & CEO of
Most businesses often shy away from not charging a fee when trying to find new ways to create social media buzz for their products and services. Goldstone said, "We all want to try out a new product with as little money out of pocket and as effortlessly as possible, without gimmicks."
Smart companies must think like consumers and give away something of real value to show people how formidable and unique their business is. Make the offer easy to understand and “wow” everyone with an extraordinary experience. If handled correctly, those freebie clients will translate into paying customers and "word-of-mouth" supporters.
"Word-of-mouth" marketing is how consumers quickly hear about new trends. Businesses should tap into relevant websites where their customers exchange online feedback and information about their shopping experiences.
Where can businesses find these "word-of-mouth" channels? Regularly survey highly trafficked blogs, social networking sites and comment lists to engage people in conversation. Create Google Alerts for keywords on related subjects, while monitoring industry specific news and trends.
In order for a company’s product or service to be spread virally there are certain strategies that should be followed. A business should offer relevant advice, solutions, comments and offer something of value in a unique way. A viral, free promotion should also easily transfer from person to person through text and images. Timely, relevant, solution-oriented free promotions that are simple and clearly defined have better odds of spreading on the Internet.
Free trial offer from
One company offering free trials is, an international photo scanning business headquartered in Irvine, California. Their promotion offers up to 100 free photo scans to DVD at no charge (pay $6.95 for return S/H). This encourages people to try them out and sample their fast and affordable photo digitization services. Sharing the deal on Facebook and Twitter [@ScanMyPhotos] helps the free scanning deal go viral. The ordering instructions are simple. Customers are given a choice between mailing in their photos and making a reservation for local drop off orders. This is an easily transferrable promotion so people can share Tweets and Facebook posts about their experience while including a sample of their newly digitized photo memories.
"Always use your top selling product and offer a free trial, which for draws attention to its website for an easy way to share and digitally view analog photo snapshots in today's all-digital world," said company president & CEO, Mitch Goldstone.
Take cues from to create your own unique promotion to gain publicity and new customers. People want free stuff and if their first introduction was inviting, they eagerly return as paying customers which improves sales and builds a stronger brand reputation., founded in 1990 has professionally digitized tens-of-millions of photos, negatives, slides and videos. The company features an ecommerce service for worldwide photo scanning and is well-known as a leader in the photo imaging industry. "Pictures are everything; makes yours last a lifetime and more."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Customer Loves Photo Soap Enhancements to Scanned Photos

Upon receiving her scanned photos from, Lisa B. from Lincoln, Nebraska sent us an email letting us know how much she loves her digitized photos:

I have received my photos today and they look great!  Thank you very much for your rapid response to my request.  I really appreciate your efforts.  I know that I will use ScanMyPhotos again in the future.  I especially love the photo soap! 

Thank you again!

Lisa B. 
Lincoln, NE

Lisa wrote that she "especially love[s] the photo soap!" What is Photo Soap, you ask? Photo Soap incorporates face detection technology and brings out the true nature of your photos by adjusting contrast levels to a more natural level, correcting skin tones, and sharpening your image through a computerized image correction process. See these examples of actual photos we have run through Photo Soap, and check out the side-by-side comparison below.

Example of Photo Soap.
-Left side shows the original scan
-Right side shows the magic of Photo Soap

Monday, May 14, 2012 Photo Scanning Review: What are You Waiting For?

Phyllis P. from Scarsdale, NY emailed us about the results of her prepaid photo scanning boxes scanned and digitized by What are you waiting for? Have your precious photo memories scanned and digitized today. As Phyllis says, " which had languished in boxes for decades will now be viewed, and what is the purpose of having them if not to look at them?!"
Yesterday I received the first two of the three prepaid boxes I have mailed to you and I am writing to say that -- assuming the third box will be as good as the first two -- that I am completely satisfied with the results. I had the scans done at 600 dpi -- which I am glad I did -- and they were as good as I hoped they would be. I realize that this process can't make fuzzy photos look sharp, so I wasn't expecting miracles, but what I was hoping is that the scans would be good enough that when assembled into slide shows for digital picture frames or web albums they would be worth watching. In this it was a complete success which means that these photos which had languished in boxes for decades will now be viewed, and what is the purpose of having them if not to look at them?! Thanks for this wonderful service.

Friday, May 11, 2012 Opens Local Drop Off Photo Scanning Service For Southern California

During the wildfire season in Southern California, learn how to digitize photo snapshots to protect irreplaceable family pictures.

It’s wildfire season in Southern California. Residents must be prepared in case their entire collection of irreplaceable family photos are destroyed.

Today, is launching a new walk-in photo scanning service emphasizing quick and affordable scanning of photos, slides, negatives and videos at its Irvine corporate headquarters. Just in time for the threat from those dreaded Southern California wildfires, mudslides and other natural disasters that can destroy precious photo memories forever, comes to the rescue.

“It is important to remember that beyond gathering survival items when preparing for natural disasters such as fires, hurricanes or earthquakes residents should also protect the irreplaceable items in their homes and offices, including photo snapshots,” says Mitch Goldstone, President and CEO,

In the aftermath of a disaster, insurance usually covers the replacement of possessions that have a monetary value yet items with emotional value can never be replaced. Those shoeboxes and albums of family photos tucked away in closets and attics are often overlooked until it is too late. Family photos can also be lost due to neglectful storage, sun exposure, water damage, deterioration and even mischievous young children.

“Preparing for a natural disaster is a year-round imperative. In an instant, when disaster strikes, families risk losing their precious photo memories. Family photographs document lives in a way that material items cannot. Once those photos are destroyed, that part of the family history is lost forever," said Goldstone.

There is an urgency to preserve photo memories today so it is enjoyed for generations to come. The challenge was the cost and time investment to have it professionally scanned and digitized to post online on sharing sites like Pinterest and Facebook or on tablets like Apple's iPad (r).

How to Preserve Photos?
Reserve a time to walk-in orders by submitting a simple online appointment request. reservations require just one day advance booking prior to dropping off pictures for digitization.

After scheduling an appointment, follow the easy photo preparation guidelines to prepare all those photos, negatives, slides and videos. Orders should be brought to the corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA. Online prepaid fill-the-box and other ecommerce featured services for people outside the local area are available. For walk-in services, photo scanning concierge specialists greet customers with a friendly smile and expert assistance.

Photo Scanning:
Scanning entire generations of family photos just got simpler. An upgrade to professional high resolution 600 dpi scanning is offered along with custom photo index albums and Photo Soap to enhance faded pictures.

35mm Slide Scanning: delicate hand scanning of 35mm slides includes color and density correction for an optimal scan. Digital ICE technology removes dust, dirt and scratches so your images look crisp and clear.

Negative Scanning: delicately hand scans 35mm, 120mm and APS film, correcting each image for color and density using Digital ICE technology to remove dust, dirt and scratches.

Video Transfer:

VHS, VHS-C and Hi8 tapes are professionally digitized to once again enjoy watch those special memories with friends and family. Even 8mm and Super8 film reels and precious moments captured on video can be expertly digitized. Scene-by-scene density adjustment and manual retiming with full frames and chapter selections are offered., founded in 1990 has professionally scanned tens-of-millions of photos, negatives, slides and videos. The company features an ecommerce service for worldwide photo scanning and is well-known internationally as a leader in the photo imaging industry. "Pictures are everything, makes yours last a lifetime and more."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Local Photo Scanning ( Comes to Southern California

What began as a local photo business back in 1990 grew into an international photo digitization solution to preserve millions of photo memories worldwide. Over time, garnered reviews from the leading tech reporters, but it shifted away from local customers for online ecommerce ordering. 

Today, the company is launching an identical service emphasizing quick and affordable scanning of photos, slides and negatives for walk-in customers throughout Southern California. This is launched just in time for those dreaded Southern California wildfires, mudslides and other natural disasters that can destroy your precious photo memories forever. In the aftermath of a disaster, your insurance usually covers the replacement of possessions that have a monetary value but items with emotional value can never be replaced. Those shoeboxes and albums of family photos tucked away in your closet or attic are often overlooked until it is too late. Family photos can also be lost due to neglectful storage, sun exposure, water damage and deterioration over time. Preserve your photo memories today and enjoy them for generations to come by having them professionally scanned and digitized by

How do you drop-off your photos, slides, negatives and videos?
Reserve a time to walk-in your order by submitting a simple appointment request. requests at least one full business day’s notice between your online submission and requested appointment time. 

After you’ve scheduled your appointment, prepare your photos, negatives, slides and videos prior to your reservation. Conveniently drop-off your order at the Irvine corporate headquarters, located at 3 Corporate Park, Suite 160, Irvine 92606 with ample free parking.

A personalized photo scanning concierge will greet you and process your order, assisting you with any questions. With no lines, you’ll zip in and out so you can move on with the rest of your busy day. It’s as simple as that.

Rates? offers affordable, competitive pricing for all your scanning needs.
Photo Scanning: Scan as many or as few photos for just 12 cents/photo at 300 DPI. If you think you’ll want to enlarge your scanned images, upgrade your order to 600 DPI for just another 7 cents/scan. There are lots of options for you to choose from, each offering something special for your photo images. Be sure to read over each additional service and choose which ones you want. The concierge can help you decide during your reservation if you have any questions.

How can you have your photos professionally scanned for less? The average American household has over 5,000 photos and you can have about 5,400 photos scanned and digitized for about 8 cents/scan with the special buy 3-for-2 prepaid photo scanning boxes. Visit their website for details and ordering. Watch this video to see how to order a prepaid photo scanning box from 

Slide Scanning: Delicate hand scanning of slides includes color and density correction for an optimal scan. Digital ICE technology removes dust, dirt and scratches so your images look crisp and clear. Slide scanning is priced based on the quantity of slides you need scanned and is as low as 27 cents/slide. Select from 2,000 or 4,000 DPI scanning.

Negative Scanning: delicately hand scans 35mm, 120mm and APS film, correcting each image for color and density using Digital ICE technology to remove dust, dirt and scratches. Scan APS rolls starting at just $5/roll and 35mm negative scanning starts at 39 cents/frame – choose from 2,000 or 4,000 DPI scans. 120mm negative scanning is as low as $1.89/frame and you can select either 1,000 or 2,000 DPI scanning.

Video Transfer: For just $19.95 per tape transferred to DVD, you can have all your VHS, VHS-C and Hi8 tapes professionally digitized so you can once again enjoy them with friends and family. Do you have 8mm and Super8 reels? For just 19 cents/foot, all those precious moments captured on video can be expertly digitized including scene-by-scene density adjustment and manual retiming with the full frame captured onto DVD. Your DVD includes full menus and chapter selections so you can watch either all of your movies or select just the reels you want to watch.

From now through the month of June, drop-off your photos, slides, negatives and videos and receive an exclusive discount of 10% off up to a $50 value if you
‘like’ on Facebook, print and bring the limited-time coupon to your appointment. was founded in 1990 and has professionally scanned tens of millions of photos, negatives, slides and videos. The company offers worldwide service and is well-known internationally as leaders in the photo imaging industry.  Photos are everything… makes yours last a lifetime and more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Customers Love their and Digitized Photos & Slides

Wondering what actual customers are saying about Check out this slide scanning customer's testimonial -- over 50 years of JoAnn H.'s memories were scanned and digitized by! And Cheryl B., a photo scanning customer, describes her scanned images as "beautiful!" These two wonderful testimonials represent a very small sampling of the countless emails, phone calls, tweets, Facebook messages, blog pieces, Pinterest pins, and other happy reviews we receive from customers all around the world.

JoAnn H. from Grove City, OH writes: 
I received my scanned slides today and I am ecstatic! They are wonderful. I want to thank you and your technicians for such a wonderful job. I had a total of 828 slides done and they are now safe on DVD. There are almost 50 years of memories. Thanks again. 

Cheryl B. from Leavenworth, KS writes: 
I received my disc and photos in the mail yesterday and I wanted to let you know how pleased I am with the quality of your work.  The pictures are beautiful!  Your company did a great job and I wouldn't hesitate to use your services again in the future.  Thank you so much!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Before Embarking on World Travel, Family Preserves Precious Photos

Charlotte Kaufman and her family are preparing to embark on a self-manned sailing cruise around the world - how exciting! But before they leave, they're getting their affairs in order. Naturally one of the most important items on their list is preserving all their precious photo memories. 

She's recently had thousands of her photos scanned and digitized by the experts at and she loves the results! Read her rave review on her blog, Rebel Heart, re-posted below, and follow her pre-sailing blog for updates on their upcoming travels: they're planning to set sail in mid-August. We wish her family safe travels!

What do this photo:
Detail of a gargoyle at the Benedictine Palace in Fecamp, Normandy, France
And this photo:
Charlotte and Marco with Lucerne, Switzerland in back groundAnd this photo have in common?
Morrisette family in Murfreesboro, TN, circa 1982Answer: they were all digitally scanned by Scan My Photos, International. Scan My Photos is a photo and slide scanning service based out of Irvine, California that helps people preserve memories, time, and money by digitally scanning the hard copies of their photos and creating backs up on discs or external hard drives in order to preserve those memories forever. 
As we prepare to leave for a world cruise one of the biggest issues we have faced is how to safely preserve keepsakes, like photos, so we don't have to worry about them while we are gone sailing. Some cruisers rent a storage space and leave treasured photos behind. Paying for a storage space is not in our monthly cruising budget. Others leave important items with family and friends. I have done this before when I lived in Europe and came home to find my boxes placed on the dirt floor of a basement, soaked through with water damage.
Needless to say, I have been looking for a way to ensure that my memories won't be ruined while I'm gone.
Enter Scan My Photos. I contacted them to see if they'd like to work with me to get my memories safe and secure before we leave for our world cruise. I'm so happy they agreed! In case you are curious about how the process works, I've outlined it below based on my own experience. 
I was a little skeptical when a large, thin envelope showed up in my mailbox. For some reason I figured that I would received a big box, but inside the envelope was a pre-addressed, flattened box that I just needed to form and then tape securely before sending back. I was also impressed with the detailed instructions that came with the order.
I already had a memory box of organized photos set aside for this project and it fit snugly right inside the box that Scan My Photos sent me to ship back to them.
The photos in my memory box were organized by life event but after watching this video on how to pack my photos I realized I also needed to organize them by size. Scan My Photos also recommended making a paper cover for each stack of pictures so I could organize them once they were sent back to me as digital files. 
Out came the handy-dandy paper cutter:
Once everything was packed the way they suggested, I sent off my box of memories and crossed my fingers that everything would be alright. Don't get me wrong, working with Scan My Photos was a smooth experience every step of the way. Still, to put something precious like that in a box and hand it to postman can make you cross your fingers that your pictures come back safe and sound.
And then I waited.
And within two weeks...POOF! The box was back!
I quickly ripped it open to make sure everything was included just like how I had sent it.
Everything looked great. Now I have a box of organized photos AND two discs full of high-resolution images of my memories. Awesome.
I also have classic photos like this:
Morrisette Family circa 1983And treasured photos like this:
Me and my little sister, Sariah, circa 1983And all of these memories are backed up digitally. I didn't stop at just having the photos on disc though. I uploaded the photos to an external hard drive and will be mailing that hard drive to my younger sister (picture above :) for safekeeping while we travel. I also uploaded all of the photos to my Picasa Web Albums. Now I have the photos triple backed up. And that makes me breathe a sigh of relief.
A couple of final thoughts on working with Scan My Photos:
- I loved that they are based in and do all of their work in the USA (some of their competitors ship your photos overseas to scan them).
- They offer great options like 'Photo Soap' that automatically "fix" a lot of the imperfections of older photographs for you.
- Check out this link for all of the additional services they offer (like image rotation and a photo index book to help you quickly find what you are looking for.) 
- Even if I hadn't been preparing for a world cruise, I would have wanted to get this done anyway. When I went through my old photos I had to peel them out of yellowing photo albums which would have eventually destroyed the photos. Now I can share the pictures I uploaded online and have my family collaborate to tag, date, and identify everyone in the pictures. Brilliant!
- And if all of these reasons don't convince you that it is time to get your photos scanned, check out this piece that KTLA did on Scan My Photo's services and remember that a natural disaster, or home fire can happen to almost anyone and that if you aren't prepared, you are really going to miss all your pictures!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 Shares with Google+ is one of the original Google+ business page owners. In late 2011, Google+ allowed businesses to create pages and we naturally signed up immediately. How do we use Google+?

Add us to your circle to interact with us. Let us know what you're reading or watching, check out interesting posts and be the first to hear about exclusive deals and specials. It's a great network for sharing photos, commenting on news and articles and helping you find what you're looking for.

As one of the very first businesses to cultivate a Google+ page, was quoted in the article, "Google+: The Brand Experience". Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Customers Rave About thrives on delivering high quality, efficient and top-notch work for each and every customer.  Our dedication to exemplary customer service and expert scanning and digitization have earned the respect and praise of thousands of customers.  Thank you to everyone who continues to support our thriving business.

Are you like Rebecca C. from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, "nervous about [mailing] so many precious photos of my now grown daughters" that you've been postponing that photo scanning and digitization project?  Maybe you've even tried scanning your photos by yourself only to find that it takes too long and you really need a professional to do the best job.  Just read what Rebecca C., a professional photographer has to say about

I want to compliment your company on an excellent job on my [recent order].  I was nervous about sending off so many precious photos of my now grown daughters and while I read good things, I also read a few complaints about quality.  The quality has far exceeded my expectations and I am thrilled.  I speak as the former owner of a professional wedding and portrait studio.  The colors are better than many of the photos that I sent in and they are sharp and dimensional.  I will be spreading the good word and will use your company for future projects involving photos.

Thank you,
Rebecca C.

President and CEO of, Mitch Goldstone's response to Rebecca C.:

Good morning, Rebecca - Since founding my company way back in 1990, the goal of every employee at has been to score raves from customers. Earning dazzling accolades for our service is the fuel that propels our growth and keeps motivating us to excell. Your kind words, which hold even greater weight due to your experience as a professional photographer are appreciated and being shared throughout the company. 

Please share your experience with others to help your friends also transform all those analog photo memories into digital keepsakes to preserve for generations.

Reach me whenever I can be helpful.

For more info on and a behind the scene look at how we scan your images, we invite you to view this recent TV news profile:

Mitch Goldstone
President & CEO

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Most Fun You'll Have with Spring Cleaning

Picture it: all your photo memories easily accessible, available anywhere you are, and effortlessly shareable.  Yes, it's possible -- plus it's easier and more affordable than you might think.

Have you been putting off your spring cleaning like everyone else?  Here's an idea for the most fun spring cleaning project you could have -- digitizing, organizing and sharing your photo memories.

Gain some much needed inspiration from The Wall Street Journal article, "Organizing Your Digital Photos" and The New York Times article, "Getting a Jump on Spring Cleaning".

If you or someone you know may need assistance with managing digital clutter, consider hiring a professional associated with the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).  If you or someone you know may need help with digital hoarding, check out tips for "Managing Digital Clutter".

The best way to tackle spring cleaning is to start on a project that you know will be fun - what kind of organizing or "cleaning" is more fun that re-living all your photo memories?  With Mother's Day right around the corner, Mom would surely be happy to get help organizing her photos so give her the gift that lasts for a lifetime.  Most importantly, have fun with this year's spring cleaning!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nostalgic Photos of Bygone Times, NYC Releases Digitized Historic Images

The NYC Municipal Archives Gallery has granted free online access to over 870,000 images digitized from their collections starting today.  The images include photographs, maps, videos and audio recordings.  Access the online gallery here. Please note that you may not be able to gain access today: "Due to overwhelming demand, the New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery is unavailable at present.  Maintenance activities are underway to address this issue."

Can't wait to see some of these amazing historic images?  You're in luck!  The Atlantic has compiled 53 spectacular photos so be sure to check them out here.  You'll be 'wowed' by photos from the 19th and 20th centuries.  See light pour into NYC's Grand Central Station, feel like you're floating atop the Brooklyn Bridge as bridge repair personnel paint the infamous criss-crossed cables, take a ride on a trolley car circa 1924, and look back at how the world famous NYC skyline appeared decades ago.

After photo has been professionally
restored by
Original photo faded, torn and
damaged by mold
Do you have historic photos you'd like restored to their original glory?  When you want to nostalgically look back on times past, have the experts at professionally restore your special photo images so these precious photo memories can be passed along for generations to come.  Photos are everything... we make yours last a lifetime and more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

CIO Features Video Marketing is featured in the CIO article written by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, How to Make Video Marketing Work for Your Business. Our video, How to Order a Prepaid Photo Scanning Box from is featured in the article.  

Mitch Goldstone, President and CEO of is quoted in the article. He asserts: "The best tool for explaining how to place orders and answer questions is video." Read the article and watch our video!

CIO article:
How to Make Video Marketing Work for Your Business

Video producers, marketers and users share their tips on how to create a successful business video that generates traffic and sales for your business -- not just views on YouTube.

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff
Thu, April 19, 2012

CIO — You've all seen —and envied—that viral video that gets millions of views seemingly overnight, the one everyone talks about for days. But does getting millions of views on YouTube translate into getting millions of dollars, or even thousands of dollars, in sales? And does adding video to your website or product pages really improve your search engine rankings and make people want to do business with you?
To find the answers to these questions, interviewed dozens of video experts —from professional video makers and marketers to companies that have successfully used video to market their products or services —to find out who can benefit from video marketing and what it takes to successfully make and market a video.
Who Needs Video?
If you sell a visual, hard-to-explain, or needs-to-be-seen product or service—"anything you can't test drive or try on," says Roger Vaughn, marketing and technology problem solver at Swift Marketing—having a video can make a huge difference.
Take, for example, BluScenes by Scenic Labs, a provider of ambient Blu-ray products (i.e.,high-resolution videos of aquariums, fine art and fireplace scenes) for doctors' offices, wellness centers, spas and homes. "The first year we added video clips, our sales increased by about 400 percent," says Jason Rosenfeld, founder/producer, Scenic Labs, LLC. "They doubled again (in dollars), when we upgraded our videos to full-length HD versions."
In addition, since adding video to its product pages, Scenic Labs has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of returns—because customers know exactly what they are going to get.
And those BluScenes videos have not only benefited Scenic Labs, they've helped the company's partners. That's because "when partner sites include our videos, their sales typically double," says Rosenfeld.
ScanMyPhotos, a service that scans customers' photos, slides and negatives, is another good example of a service business that can benefit from video. "The best tool for explaining how to place orders and answer questions is video," says ScanMyPhotos CEO and President Mitch Goldstone. That's why the company features a number of how-to videos right on its home page, including this one on how to pack your photos for scanning with the prepaid box:

How to Create a Video to Get People Talking and Clicking

A bad video —one that is poorly lit, that you can barely hear or is deafening, that rambles or doesn't make a point —is worse than not having any video on your website (or YouTube). So to help you create a video that will get customers talking and clicking are 12 helpful tips from the experts.

  1. Know who your target audience is. "Think how your video can help your end user, the customer," says John Sarkisian, CEO, SKLZ, a sports training product manufacturer. In SKLZ's case, its how-to videos, which showcase its sports training products, are geared to customer representatives at sporting goods retailers. That exposure —or brand awareness —led to SKLZ getting increased shelf space at national sporting goods retailers, such as Dick's Sporting Goods, which boosted sales.
  2. Script it. "A script for a video is like a blueprint when building a house," says Edward Schlesinger, script writer, "It will let you see what the finished product will look like before you start." In addition, "changes on paper are much easier and cheaper to do than once production starts."
  3. Have a clear call to action. "What do you want people to do after they've watched your video?" asks Schlesinger. No matter how short your video is, "make it clear what you want people to do —pick up the phone, sign up online, walk through your doors. Don't throw away this opportunity to convert potential customers." (For an example of how to get your message —or call to action —across in 1:34, see Dollar Shave Club's recent video below, which was viewed over 2 million times in just over 48 hours, and is prominently featured on Dollar Shave Club's home page:
  4. Shoot in a quiet place. "Always try to shoot in a quiet place away from machines, large crowds and traffic noise," says Rob Ciampa, vice president of Marketing at Pixability, a video marketing company and the authors of Video Marketing for Dummies. Also, keep in mind that "putting the right [or wrong] microphone on your subject can make a big difference."
  5. Light it well. "Make sure you are using all available light sources," advises Ciampa. Remember that right —or wrong —lighting "will shape the mood of your video."
  6. Choose the right music. "A widely ignored but great way to move the needle for brands through video marketing is to integrate music," says Bryan Boettger, chief creative officer at The Buddy Group, a digital engagement agency. Brands "should budget at least 5 percent of their video spend on professional music," he says.
    That doesn't mean, though, that you need to feature The Who or One Direction; someone no one's ever heard of is fine —better even —if it's the right song to help get your message across. "By choosing the right music, brands have an opportunity to not only engage consumers, but they also come across surprisingly relevant if they break an artist who has yet to connect with a larger audience."
  7. Less is often more when it comes to effects. "Building a story is the editor's number one objective," says Ciampa. "Stay away from snazzy effects and [focus on delivering] a professional and polished story."
  8. Keep it short. Try to keep your videos to around a minute-and-a-half. Although if it takes 30 seconds or two minutes more to properly demonstrate your product, use the extra time. Just remember that many (if not most) of the people you are trying to reach are at work and have short attention spans.
  9. Use your customers —especially if they are well-known and/or social media influencers. Do your customers love your product or service? Ask them to star in a video for you. In order to reach its target demographic, young first-time home buyers, Oak Mortgage Group of Dallas, Texas, shot video testimonials of every loan it closed with clients who fit its target market.
    The mortgage bank then inserted the video testimonials in its newsletter and posted them on its Facebook and Twitter pages (with the customers' permission). Clients loved it and shared the videos —and told their friends about Oak Mortgage Group. Indeed, because of the customer video testimonials, "word of mouth grew and Oak Mortgage Group became a leading mortgage bank in Texas," says Merrick Pickens, PR & Marketing director, Oak Mortgage Group.
    D'Artagnan Foods, an international fine foods purveyor, also has enthusiastic customers, many of whom are well-known celebrity chefs. So in order to help promote D'Artagnan, its owner and founder, Ariane Daguin, a personality and chef herself, enlisted fellow chefs Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Marcus Samuelsson (among others) to star in a series of how-to videos with her —showing food lovers how to recreate some of their favorite dishes, using D'Artagnan products (see below). To date, the videos have been very successful, helping to increase brand awareness and sales for the company.
  10. Use humor —if or where appropriate. To advertise the fact that its food is fresh, not microwaved, Moe's Southwest Grill created an entertaining video titled "Microwaves Ruin Everything."
    The video reached more than 1.5 million views on YouTube in only a few weeks, going viral faster than anyone anticipated. Soon after the video's release, sales jumped 8.5 percent. And while Moe's Southwest Grill cannot directly attribute that increase in sales to the video alone, the company believes it definitely contributed.
  11. You don't need to hire James Cameron. While it's a good idea to work with a professional videographer or video production agency that knows what it's doing, if you don't have someone on staff, don't go overboard.
    "Too many organizations feel compelled to produce Hollywood-grade corporate videos," says Ciampa. "Unless you're a luxury brand, most prospects not only don't care," they may be turned off by over-produced, overly slick videos. "Focus on great content and clear presentation while ensuring the proper lighting, audio and camera techniques. With this approach, you'll be able shoot more video much more economically," he says.
  12. Include a video sitemap on your website. "Ensure videos are indexed by Google by submitting a video sitemap," says Melody King, vice president of marketing for Treepodia, a provider of e-commerce video solutions. (Instructions for how to do this are available onGoogle's Webmaster Tools' page.)

Why You Should Have YouTube Host Your Videos

Videos are meant to be shared. And the easiest way to share them is to post them on YouTube —and allow embedding. (YouTube, which is owned by Google, is also the number one place people go to watch videos, according to comScore, receiving more than twice as many visitors as its closest competitor, Yahoo, and can improve your site's Google ranking.)
Another advantage of having YouTube host your videos? "Unfortunately, not all sites can embed videos into their CMS [content management system]," says Rosenfeld. "That's partly why we switched over to YouTube to host our videos. If a partner cannot include our videos, they can link to our YouTube channel."

Spread the Word —and the Link

Don't just keep your videos to yourself. "Use social media," says Goldstone. "Tweet, use Facebook and liberally post links to the videos everywhere," he advises. "Populate blog posts and other non-product content with videos, add them to marketing emails, and post them to social network sites to increase visibility and viewership," adds King.

So Can Videos Increase Sales?

"Our research has shown that video is ten times more likely to generate a viewer response than traditional marketing collateral and web pages," says Ciampa. In addition, "our successful customers have seen their web traffic and conversions increase by 20 percent because of effective video marketing."
Similarly, studies conducted by Treepodia have shown that when people watch —and like —a product video, they're more likely to make a purchase. "The percentage increase varies from business to business, but a general ballpark is a 40- to 60-percent increase in the number of conversions," says King.
"Treepodia's own studies have shown that the mere presence of video, whether it's watched or not, can lead to sales increases," adds Kings, possibly due to the fact that Google includes video in its ranking algorithm, so a page with a product video has an increased chance of appearing higher in Google search results.
All that said, keep in mind that a million hits on YouTube will most likely not translate into a million dollars in sales. "Video isn't a magic bullet," says Scott Bell, owner of Seattle-based Media & Design. "It is another way to showcase your product and yourself. The best way for it to lead to sales is to have fun with it —don't have a normal [i.e., boring] business video."
Provide information that is valuable or helpful to customers and "do so in a unique and interesting way. "If you do that, customers will want to know more about your products or services or brand and, if they like what they see, be more likely to purchase from you. Though if they have absolutely no interest in or need for what you are selling, the best video in the world probably won't change their mind.
Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a contributor to and runs a marketing communications firm focused on helping organizations better interact with their customers, employees, and partners.
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