The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing — from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses.
Marketing Strategies Revealed in this Episode:
Arlen: Welcome to the eCommerce marketing podcast. Everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest. Charles Alexander, whose mission in life is to help busy professionals stand out in a crowded marketplace that is filled with “me too” advisors.
He does this by creating story-based Explainer Videos for busy professionals, like Financial Advisors, Insurance Agents, or anyone else that is in an advisory role, that helps them explain what they do and show personality.
In addition to creating content for busy professionals, Charles is also the Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at Volunteer State Community College, where he provides one-on-one business coaching and teaches seminars to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Working with over 1,000 entrepreneurs has helped him become a polished content creator that uses humor and real world experiences to educate others.
Lastly, and most importantly, he is happily married to his wife Sarah and is the proud father of three lovely children, Ava, Lilly and Lane. Mission in life is to help busy professionals stand out in a crowded marketplace that is filled with me to advisers.
Charles: Thank you Arlen that last portion, I guess, since we have been, uh, under lock and key for awhile, knock on wood is still intact.
Arlen: Right? Right. Yeah. I hear you. Yeah. I know how things go. Yeah. With this pandemic going on, everybody’s shut in and getting a little bit more familiar with the people that you love and people around you life, and which is not necessarily a bad thing.
You know, this, this is a, I think in one sense, it is bringing people together.
Charles: It’s a silver lining. You gotta find them.
Arlen: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Well, yeah, I’m definitely excited to talk to you. As I indicated in your intro, you provide explainer videos for busy professionals. And one of the things that we’re going to be talking about today, which is definitely a hot topic and it has been for while, for several years is explainer videos and the utilization of video marketing.
The grow your business and to bring in sales. So we’re definitely going to be diving deep into that, but before we get into it, all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically, you know, how you got into what you’re doing today?
Charles: Well, as you, uh, just read, I am the director of a small business development center.
So what that means in planing, which is I do a free business coaching it’s through a community college and then all around the country, wherever your listeners are like, okay. Did, there is most likely a small business development center where they, and get some free assistance. And that means I have been a bumblebee busy over the past several weeks, trying to help folks figure out how to navigate the new world.
We live in, get SBA funds, and then. Basically, how am I going to get reopened? Been doing that for 13 years. And about five years ago, thought I really needed to practice some of what I have been preaching. Well, my own dog food, so to speak and started my own business. And I initially did some content writing a web content, writing, email newsletter creation.
And after doing that for a little while, I quickly learned that video was absolutely destroying everything that I wrote. And as I would start creating videos, Arland. I’ll be honest with you, man. I had no idea what I was doing when I started creating videos. I was making any bad voiceover that were about five minutes long and they basically looked like my kid’s birthday videos, where it just has, you know, the, the music and the slideshow, so to speak.
Arlen: Right, right.
Charles: Those bad videos were still beating what I was writing. So I thought, man, what happened if I learned how to make a good video? So I, as you hear people say they pivoted, which means what I was doing, wasn’t working as well. So I started doing something new and it hasn’t changed since I really I’ve done some whiteboard video, but primarily stuck with explainer videos about a 92nd range and having discovered a niche.
And I know you guys probably say niche, I’m here in North of Nashville, Tennessee. We say niche. Right. I discovered a niche for professional advisers of some form or fashion, but also people that sell things online, eCommerce that needs, I need to explain a complicated process in a short period of time.
And these explainer videos, I figured out real quick, that that was the way to go. Okay, great.
Arlen: You definitely were right on time diving into it. And as you saw your kind of your stats that you saw definitely proved that even a basic video can kind of beat, you know, any written content these days, because that’s where it is.
And especially with all of these different social platforms that are all. Super video friendly and they have, they’ve all adapted just in a short amount of time.
Charles: Hey man, knowing Dan, where I spend a lot of time and it may not be all the ways for your listeners, but they’re the laggards of the group. And they have the ability to upload native video and weigh it more heavily than anything else.
So you, you know, for a fact, Facebook and Instagram, and obviously ticked off, that’s what they’re doing.
Arlen: Well, yeah, that’s a definitely a hard time. So, you know, I know with everyone listening, the small business owners, eCommerce business owners, e-commerce marketers, those that have not dived into video marketing, but know it’s something that they want to do and want to get started with it.
I know the first question that comes to mind is, okay, sounds great. I need to get out there, but how do I decide? What type of content and what content to put in the video, where do they begin?
Charles: So generally, uh, you always start. With the script, but after you have the script or even before then, you’re trying to decide what kind of video do I create?
And there’s several different types. You have the traditional talking head video that you see now more than ever, that folks are, you know, working from home and trying to find ways to reach out to other people are, you’ll see the. More traditional image and be role created, you know, where somebody has a voiceover, a little background music, but then they’ll just put in some images or stock footage, or even to where I am is, do you need a whiteboard video or an animal made it video?
There’s a variety of ways to kind of look okay, what would be the best factor. So if you’re really product based, I generally will tell folks that it needs to be a product driven video, even though people want to see and hear from you. So you can get a know like, and trust factor. Just making sure they understand the process of the.
Getting the product or getting the services as, or more important than anything else. So more than not, I’m saying people will go toward utilizing whiteboard videos and animated videos in terms of what they want to put in there. For those of you that are wondering to do a talking head videos, just a few things to keep in mind is that.
You want to have a script or an idea of what you’re going to say before you hop on? I’m sure. Arlen, you’ve seen many, many versions of somebody that does a 10 minute talking head video where the first 30 seconds is just, they hop on and say, Hey guys, I’m so well. So here’s what I’m thinking today. And.
They’re about a minute into this thing and we, I don’t know what the video was gonna. Yeah. That’s about the time most people will check out. No, if you do the talking head video, coming with an idea, come in with a script and even a, feel free to throw in some texts and some graphics or different angles before, you know, you just.
Create this long video, that kind of winds out to nowhere.
Arlen: That’s it. Great advice. It’s something that I’ve thought about also when, when you’re doing any type of formal presentation, whether it’s a speech or just a person station, but maybe about your business. The one thing that you always want to keep in mind is you want to, you’ve got to capture people in that first few seconds, because otherwise, you know, like you said, they’re going to check out if you don’t pull their interest and show them something or tell them something that’s.
Captivating then they’re going to just bounce away because people are just accustomed to just scrolling and scrolling. And they’re going to just scroll
Charles: past the attention span of a goldfish at
Arlen: this point. This is very true.
Charles: And that’s why I also tell people they get really excited and asked me about putting these bumpers on their videos, the front and the back, you know, where they introduced their logo and a disclaimer or whatever.
And I honestly, I discouraged the initial bumper. Even though your logo winding in there does look cool. And you got smoke in the background. That’s people will check out pretty quickly. Right.
Arlen: That’s very true. So yeah. Yeah. You have to be cognizant of that. And what is it that you can do to pull people in now?
You know, I know. As far as we were talking about kind of content and what to come up with it for these videos, you know, mostly eCommerce business owners these days are, you know, they’re focused on and their business, their sales, their marketing, and growing their business. And a lot of them really don’t have side jobs, writing stories or screenplays.
Arlen: yeah, they’re going to have trouble coming up with perfecting a story and coming up with that perfect story for video. So how do they go about doing that?
Charles: So I cheat, I created a six question form. And if it’s cool with you, I’ll just share exactly what is in that simple six question form that I give my clients, but it’s really universal to creating a story.
And I always, I always go back to the idea that you need to tell a story whenever possible, sometimes facts and figures that are what you need, but. Most of the time, we don’t relate to facts and figures. And we were like to a story, no matter the product, no matter the service. So I always start off with a couple of quick questions.
Who do you work with and what problem are you trying to fix? And I have a lot of the people I work with get stuck right there because they work with, well, anybody we sell hats, Arland. So anybody with a head could be our customer. You know, man, there there’s a lot of different times, some hats, whether you have a top ed tee or a baseball cap, they’re going to have different customers that.
You potentially work with, so really narrow down who that is. And then what is the problem you’re fixing for that individual? And once you can identify that you’ve made the customer, the hero of the story, so to speak, and that’s important. So many times we want to be the hero of the story, but the viewer they’re worried about who them, they’re not that worried about you.
So. Make sure you make them the, the central figure. And then after that question, you know, kind of three and four are, who are you? And then why would somebody want to use you versus the competition? They do want to know a little bit about you. Who’s Arland Robinson. How long has he been doing it? Is he a smart guy?
Cool. But then why is he any different than anybody else? And I’ll forewarn anybody. Your years of experience, great customer service and certifications sound like blah, blah, blah. That’s cool. That’s nice. But that is the same thing. All of your competitors will be saying. And then if your product is the quote unquote best or is the cheapest, or is, is the most effective, same kind, every one of your co uh, competitors with a product based business says the same thing.
So really. Make sure you’re telling them why it’s different and how it applies to that problem fix. And then six hour, what specifically do you do explain the process that makes it super simple, but most importantly, what are the risks? If I decide to work with you, buy your product, get your service.
What’s going to happen to me, that’s the happy ending for the customer. You’re right there in the middle. You’re the helpful guide. And then they get to see the beautiful results. So I’m stealing the StoryBrand dot com version that they talk about. That is star Wars. You seen star Wars Ireland.
Arlen: Yes, I sure have.
I think I’ve seen pretty much all of them.
Charles: I’ve been trying to get my son and I’ve been trying. So my seven year old son we’ve been going back and rewatching some of the first ones. And I say the first ones, not the first three that came out when I was a kid, but the, I guess the prequels and they all follow a similar pattern by the way, those first three are bad, man.
I don’t know if you went back and rewatch. Ms. Todd is tough viewing.
Arlen: Yeah, it’s been awhile. It’s been awhile.
Charles: But the first three that came out when I was a kid, the middle ones, those are goals. So if you think about the first one where Luke Skywalker, he’s the hero of the story and the person making the video, they don’t get to be Luke Skywalker that.
Customers, Luke Skywalker, they have their regular day and then they suddenly are interrupted with a problem. And it looks case he needs to learn the force to debate the dark side. But then I’ll be one in Yoda, come in and train him. That’s who you are in this customer’s video. Your, your OB one, your, your Yoda, the short green dude with big ears.
It talks funny and you train the customer, you give them the solution or you, they get your product or whatever it is. They use your affiliate pro software that makes their lives so much easier. In the end, they get the happy ending, they get the smooth service and they get to go back to their life. So that’s a, maybe a bit of a long answer, but if you use those six questions and think about it from that point of view, your writing will get a lot better.
Arlen: That’s definitely very helpful starting with those questions, because I think without a kind of a frame like that, it’s a little daunting to know where to begin. They have to businesses know owners, know their business. They know who their ideal customer is, but you know, they have to take a step back. And I think those questions create a perfect framework for crafting that story.
And that’s the bottom line, as you mentioned, people, don’t. Don’t want to hear facts and failures, you know, of course, it’s nice the features, the facts that you have to do with your product or services, but that’s almost an afterthought. You have to tell a story and it’s, it’s really stories that do sell.
And it’s, that’s what I always hear. And that’s so true.
Charles: They’re the most relatable. And in thinking one more thing on script writing, if you want it to be a 92nd video, and that’s kind of the sweet spot, 250 words is key.
Arlen: Okay. 250 words. That’s definitely a good, good rule of thumb. I think like anything beyond that, as far as.
Trying to capture someone’s attention. It’s it can be a little bit difficult these days.
Charles: You almost have to be either Oscar nominated worthy, or this better be the third or fourth video they’ve taken in from you. That for if your first video is about four or five minutes, it better be good. It, you might want to enter it as a short for a.
Your local film festival.
Arlen: Gotcha. Gotcha. That makes sense. And you have to think about people’s attention span these days, for sure. Now, once the business owner has gone through the process, they’ve answered these six questions. They’ve come up with the story and, you know, they’re kind of ready to put all of this together.
What software solutions or resources are required to. Make this happen and to create an explainer video,
Charles: get it from an animator or a whiteboard point of view. If you’re doing a traditional video talking head video, the editing software can be as important as anything else, but even then just a basic one, Camtasia is a desktop that you can desktop version you can buy.
That’s pretty easy to use, or if you’re a beginner, beginner, you know, you can even use an I movie or, um, Oh, the windows version, movie maker of, uh, what that is now, which is still available. I don’t think it comes up directly on the PC anymore, but for an explainer video or even a whiteboard video, I’ll tell your viewers directly.
I use beyond VR and it’s a, a software, or you can get a monthly subscription or pay for it annually and it’s yeah. Robust can work really well. Well, it does take some time to use like anything else, but that’s one of the top of the line. Cloud-based. Tools that you can get there’s others that are out there like it, a, uh, tunely or PowToons.
Literally you can Google a explainer video software and you’ll see four or five that are comparable and any of them can work to be what you need. I would also recommend that if you’re doing voiceover work, Go find a professional voiceover artist, unless, you know, you really think that that’s your calling.
And for me, I felt like I do find, you know, speaking to you one on one right now, but my Southern Twain is not always what people want to hear when they’re purchasing something. So you’ll have to go online to Upwork five or a few places like that to really find a professional voiceover artist that can do a budget worthy audio for you.
Then if you do your own, get a good microphone and there’s. Gosh, you can just go to, um, Amazon I’m speaking on a, uh, snowball Mike right now. I think it was 40 or 50 bucks and I think it picks up just fine.
Arlen: Definitely. Yeah. That’s a great advice. And um, yeah, that one. Yeah, the service you mentioned beyond, I’ve never heard of them, but yeah, I’ll definitely be checking that out myself.
And that’s the, the beauty of the world we’re in right now, as far as these, the online cloud solutions, there’s so many options to, you know, to get things done, video creation, editing, and then you have the marketplaces, like the, you mentioned the Fiverr. We can hire some voiceover people. So. All of the pieces for this puzzle are all out there.
Yeah. You just have to reach out there, grab them and then just kind of put everything together. So, um, yeah, it’s, that’s awesome. And I appreciate those tips there. Now, as far as the explainer videos are concerned, let’s say the business owner has gone through the process. They’ve asked the questions, they’ve created the story.
They’ve gone ahead and they’ve got the video they’ve either used beyond maybe, or maybe they’ve outsourced it, had somebody put it together. But at any point that they’re at the point where they’ve got the video, they’re ready to get it out there. What do you think are some of the best ways. To really incorporate this video or these videos in your overall marketing to get the best return on investment.
Charles: So I always tell my clients to look at who their clients are. Obviously we always say social is one of the top and easiest ways to get video out there using it for SEO, but it depends. So for a lot of the service based businesses, even though they want to be found online, if they’re word of mouth and referral base, Are really was what sets them up.
And they have customers that are coming to them that aren’t necessarily as price sensitive, but they’re looking for that know like, and trust factor. SEO might honestly not be that important. So for them you’ll find it’s important for them to have it on there. Uh huh. Page of their website. So for example, if somebody tells me, Hey, you’ve got to talk to Arland, he’s got the affiliate software that you need.
The first thing I do before I call Arlen is I go to his. Website. And if I can go to that, Homepage and above the folder, I see a video I’m probably going to click on it cause it looks cool. And that’s it. It’s only 90 seconds. So it won’t take that much of my time. And then once the video draws me in, because I’m suddenly the hero of the story in 90 seconds, I truly understand quickly what he does and that know like, and trust factor is just went up a little bit.
So that’s the first place and that. Same holds true for product based or anybody that’s E commerce grid, have it on that home page or in a lot of cases, a lot of your listeners have landing pages. So maybe they’re using lead pages or something else similar to it, but that video should be front, right. Or top thing they see as quick as quick or quicker than anything.
And then also tell folks, email marketing is not dead. And for a lot of your, uh, e-commerce folks or service-based folks, this is still very true. Uh, what his dad is sending out. Clickbait and garbage looking emails that does look like everybody else is if yours is nice and clean and easy and has a simple format where they can click on that video and it will take them to somewhere where it quickly and easily autoplays within a landing page, or even just as something as simple as YouTube, even though it’s not your platform.
Where it can auto play and they’re immediately brought in. And whether that’s in your sales funnel or in this year, an initial email. Yup. That’s important that takes them from point a to point B at that point point a and then of course, social is still pretty important, but. Keep in mind that it’s still has the look good.
It has to be different. It has to be natively uploaded, and you have to have a clear call to action as to what you’re telling people you want them to do with that video. A lot of people that are using paper click, make sure you work prior to creating the video with a, you know, whoever your digital marketing folks are.
They will have a good idea of what the video content should look like, how long it should be. So work with them first, and then you can incorporate that video. And it always, always seems to top out over everything else. When you’re looking at those pay-per-click dollars, it usually beats texts, uh, PDFs, white papers, anything else you can give away?
So. The home page of your site, email marketing, email followup, social, and then PaperClick, but just make sure you know, who you’re sending, who the viewer is. So you’re in the right place.
Arlen: Right? Gotcha. Yeah. That’s great advice. And especially these days, because we have so many of these platforms and there are certain platforms, whether it’s.
A certain social platform where there’s a certain demographic or type of, of audience. And so you usually have to know who you’re trying to target because otherwise you could be definitely wasting your time and your money and your efforts if you’re kind of barking up the wrong tree, so to speak.
Charles: Oh, absolutely.
Like I said, I work a lot with financial advisors and insurance agents and even though they can and should, could, would be anywhere there. Primary spot, maybe LinkedIn, they may not be getting, you know, having that. Well, I’m not getting a lot of traction on Instagram and tick tock. Well, you know, a lot of folks aren’t necessarily, they’re looking for you either.
Conversely, if you’ve got a really cool product it’s online and you need to sell a high volume of it in a short period of time, you need to be investing heavily into pay-per-click or wherever your customers are. If they’re on Instagram, if they’re on Facebook or whatever tool they’re primarily playing with.
Arlen: Yeah, that’s great advice. And that’s one of the things that really needs to happen before you pull the trigger on these different platforms and then put your videos out there because yeah, you don’t want to waste time or money. Now, Charles, as we prepare to wrap things up, what are some hidden do’s and don’ts when it comes to video, because I know there’s some out there that you know about.
Charles: I can tell you the easiest one, don’t be boring. And it should be easier said than done. And that’s not paralyze you to keep you from making a video. The first few you ever make, whenever you go back and look at them a year from now, you’re not going to like them, but you got to get started. So go ahead and start making the video and start learning a little bit, but don’t make them five to 10 minutes long, unless that’s your fifth video in a series of videos.
It was, and you’re slowly but surely building up the trust factor will be pull. Watch them if it’s the talking. Yeah. Ed video have good audio. We will. Watch a grainy video with good audio and good content. Versus a Hollywood scripted, beautifully produced video that has bad audio. We won’t, we won’t stick around for it.
We’ll bounce. So make sure you have good audio. Make sure you have some frequent movement to the screen. It is a, again, a talking head video, or even a unexposed or video. If I’m looking at the same thing for 15, 20, 30 seconds, I can get distracted. Easily. So I have some frequent movement, every three to four seconds, something needs to be going on.
Whether it could be something as simple as text or graphics that are slowly moving in to capture somebody’s attention, which again is one of the reasons I think whiteboard video is really still compelling to people because you see something movement and it targets areas of your brain that like to chase the shiny object elsewhere, and then make sure it has a good call to action at the end.
If it’s purely educational. Great. I, you know, at least give them your website, but you’re trying to tell a story and get them to do something right. If you just don’t slam 15 pieces of it, contact information up there and think that they’re going to find the best piece of the puzzle. That makes sense for them, tell them to call me or to click here or to email me.
But if you don’t do that, don’t be upset when your video doesn’t convert. So to speak. It has to tell them what to do.
Arlen: Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I’ve seen plenty of videos where it’s great content. It’s really answering a particular question on a topic, but you know, at the end, obviously, you know, people are putting it out there because they want to drive in sales and wanna drive in traffic with a lot of times there’s no call to action there.
And that makes a huge difference. That’s
Charles: correct. Unless it’s a, like I said, purely educational or some type of holiday thing, or are you telling them Merry Christmas or happy new year? You need to tell them what to do. Yeah,
Arlen: definitely. Well, that’s awesome, Charles, and I really appreciate you coming on the eCommerce marketing podcast.
All of the information that you shared with us is really going to go a long way for sure. Because I think even though we’ve kind of gone leaps and bounds just within the past few years with video marketing, it’s here to stay and that there’s going to be a lot, a lot of changes happening. And I think of businesses really don’t adapt to it.
And get a video marketing plan in place then. Yeah, they’re definitely going to be left behind. So I’m definitely,
Charles: I always use the analogy is like we thought like, The laggards thought of websites about 15 years ago, like, like it was still optional. It wasn’t optional. You had to have one we’re at that point now where 80% of the traffic online is video.
Right. Know, you just need to go ahead and do it if you don’t do it.
Arlen: Yep. That’s definitely true. It is no longer optional. It’s really a requirement for businesses for sure. Well, great, Charles. Well, I always like to kind of wrap things up with a kind of a final question and I’ve been kind of circulating different questions these days and, uh, Wanted to shoot one by you just to pick your brain a little bit on another subject, if you could choose any entrepreneur living or dead to sit down with and have dinner with who would it be and why
Charles: all the right answer should be a dead ones.
We can bring them back to life. But if I had a chance to really sit down and pick the brain of Seth Goden, that’d be pretty happy. Okay. For those of you that don’t know, Seth is a. New York times bestseller with a wide variety of different books. Uh, probably most known for a purple cow or the dip tribes, but he is a marketing guru of sorts has got a handsome haircut like I do, and is a marketing expert when it comes to pull marketing instead of just push marketing.
Arlen: great one of Seth Goden I’ve heard a lot about, and I want to kind of dive into some more of his books, but yeah, that’s an awesome one. I would love to pick his brain, you know, in an evening and, uh, you know, see what wisdom he could impart for sure. So, yeah, that’s a great one. Well, Charles, if you know, any of our listeners want to pick your brain anymore about video marketing or explainer videos or anything in that subject.
What is the best way for them to get in contact with you?
Charles: I make it easy. Go to my website, which is your Charles alexander.com. Okay, great.
Arlen: That is super easy. And, uh, we’ll have that link in the show notes here and, uh, great. I hope everyone takes advantage of that and gets in touch with you. If they’re trying to put together a video marketing plan for their business.
Well, thanks again, Charles, for joining us today on the eCommerce marketing podcast.
Charles: Thank you so much Arlen. I really appreciate it. And you have a good day.
CEO of YourCharlesAlexander.com
The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing — from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses.
Marketing Strategies Revealed in this Episode: