Arlen: Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson and today we have a very special guest Rick Cesari, who has been a pioneer in Brand Response advertising since the early 90’s. He helped create the concept of “sell while you brand” and has been the force behind the creation of many of today’s iconic consumer brands including Sonicare, The George Foreman Grill, OxiClean, and many others. He has helped take companies like GoPro from start-up to over $1 billion in sales in just a few short years.

Today, he’s focused on video marketing as a powerful tool for increasing sales and building your business in video persuasion. Rick shares his best practices for influencing customers by creating and leveraging compelling stories on video. Welcome to the podcast, Rick? 

Rick: Arlen thank you. That was a great introduction and I want to thank you for having me on your podcast.

Arlen: No problem. It’s a pleasure and I’m super excited to talk to you today because as everyone knows video is where it’s at. So I know you’ve been busy these past few years and just as I was mentioning in your. Intro the brands that you’ve been associated with are just they are who’s who’s list of brands that have just become iconic over the years George Foreman Grill.

Actually clean Sonicare. I think most people in the US are familiar with those brands at least I can’t speak to internationally, but I’m sure they are as well. I know you’ve been pretty busy lately. 

Rick: Yeah, and it’s interesting just fit. So your listeners know these weren’t big companies that I started working with like when they were doing tens of millions of dollars in sales almost every one of them was a start-up or a new product launch and I was lucky enough to get involved with them almost from the beginning and then help them with video marketing and direct response marketing to grow their business and it’s just been just a wonderful experience to be able to work with so many great products and great management team.

It’s been great. 

Arlen: I’m glad you mentioned that because often times people see these huge Brands these success stories. They see the these brands in the companies at their High Point and they don’t realize that they had a starting point. Like you said you were in early on when they were just startups and there were trying to figure it out.

That’s very good to hear and that’s definitely a takeaway that. Every business every brand has to start somewhere, you know, you don’t jump out of the gate and immediately become a billion dollar brand it takes work and everyone can get there. So I’m glad you mentioned that. Yeah, 

Rick: there’s very few overnight successes.

Arlen: Yeah, there really aren’t I haven’t really found too many others when you dig deep and then you go into the backstory of all of these people that we see in the media that are kind of put in front of us, especially in the business world. If you were to sit down and talk to him, we’re listening to them and interviews.

They have a grind just like we all do, you know, they just had certain circumstances. They took advantage of. Some people’s grind was of course a lot less than others, but everyone had a grind and everybody has to put in the work to get to where they’re going. And so it’s very important for people to know that yes, really?

No overnight success is for sure, you know, of course the Hot Topic today and you know, one of the things of course that we’re going to be talking about is video marketing and using video to promote your brand and of course increase sales through video marketing, but before we get into all of that.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and just specifically how you really got into what you’re doing today? 

Rick: Yeah, that was interesting because I never went to school to study video or anything like that. I actually have a BS degree in biology and my plan when I was in college was to be a marine biologist, but after I graduated I went to school up north in Pennsylvania, and my family was living in Daytona Beach and I said, well, I’m going to take a little break from school before.

Getting a master’s degree or whatever which you needed at the time in that field and I went down and I was kind of a bum for a while. I was a bartender and a lifeguard and I started selling suntan lotion by the pool deck and the only way I would make money it was all full commission is if I would was able to sell product and so I really learned how to sell one on one selling there and learned a lot about selling.

But I was always motivated to do more with my life than do that. There’s nothing wrong with that. So I read a lot of books on motivation and real estate and I read that a lot of millionaires were made through real estate investing and so I went out and started doing it. I went to a seminar. And did what the guy told me in turn around and did what they call flipping today at the time.

It was I bought a piece of distressed property turned around and sold it in two weeks and I made like 10 thousand dollars and I said, oh, this is great. And I don’t know what prompted me to but I called up a Florida a magazine in Florida called Florida Trend. It was a I don’t even know if it still exists.

It was a business magazine back. And I got an article written and the guy who was putting on a seminar said hey, why don’t you come to work for me? And that’s how I got into marketing and to just to show you how long ago this was. We were still promoting the seminars with newspaper ads, but the real estate guys were some of the first ones to start to use television infomercials.

And so I’ll date myself now, this is in the in the mid-80s, so I’ve been making. Some type of video or direct response video really for over 30 years and I have kind of worked in just about every product category and you know, I’ve had a lot of success but like we were just talking a lot of failures that were those are turn into life lessons that help you be more successful next time.

Arlen: That’s awesome. And it’s interesting that you mentioned the real estate agents, especially in that time period in the in the early 80s and. I do understand in that particular industry. They really kind of grasped it early that their brand was really revolving around them as individuals as far as being able to connect with their potential customers and people into learning and gain that trust and so they were able to grasp that early on in.

And Associate themselves with their brand because they realized that house is a house bottom line is people can buy a house from anyone. It’s that’s not going to change for walls or whatever the roof and that’s it. The main thing is people want to work with somebody that they like that somebody that they can connect with.

Somebody that’s nice personable. They’re going to have a pleasure going around, you know house to house and working with and so they they caught that early on and so that’s that’s really you really got a really good lesson early on and it’s good that you were able to carry that through to what you’re doing and.

Working with the certain brands that you have over the years now and no certain brands in the businesses that are listening e-commerce businesses and e-commerce marketers that are listening could be some startups could be some people that want to utilize video effectively, but you know, they don’t really know where to go and really where to begin.

What do you recommend as far as equipment and resources? To really just start using video to sell your products online. What’s your recommendation? 

Rick: Yeah, it’s a great question. And the first thing I want to definitely emphasize is if you aren’t using video you need to start using it, you know in my book video persuasion.

I give a lot of video statistics that come through platforms like HubSpot and things like that. And we basically we’re just becoming a video first society that unfortunately people just don’t like to read or don’t have the time to read anymore. And so if they can watch something on a video they would rather do that another statistic and you probably heard this from before people will retain almost 95% of something when they see it in a video as compared to only 10% if it’s just written in text so videos are very powerful way to communicate and to get around.

To talking about e-commerce and you know, there’s again more statistics and I don’t have it off the top of my head, but it’s almost like if you start deploying video on your website, you can increase conversions by as much as 80% but some of the simple ways that I work with clients on their website.

I recommend that they have several different types of videos one. I think it’s really important to have some type of. Origin story or overview or the reason why why are you in business? Why are you doing this? And that would be a nice video when somebody first comes to your front page and for them to see the other types of videos that are really.

Three most popular types of online videos our tutorial videos demonstration videos and testimonial videos. So on anybody’s website, I always recommend they have at least those three types of videos. So if you’re selling a product or service you kind of need a tutorial video, which is the how to how do you use this product the demonstration video it goes into a little bit more detail, which really focuses more on.

DN benefit to the consumer. What is the benefit the consumer gets when they’re using your product or service and then testimonials, you know from being a marketer Arlen, I think testimonials authentic testimonials are really the most powerful marketing tool you can have and if you have them on your website and use them in your marketing, it’s always proven for me to be a really powerful way to Market your product or service that third-party endorsement or credibility.

Arlen: That is so true. And one of the things that caught my attention when you mentioned it is being able to have some type of backstory. On the website and using that with the in the video and I thought about it because with my company Omni star we did with a ton of e-commerce businesses. So I’m looking for different businesses websites day in and day out and one of the things that I always caught myself and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t think so.

I think a lot of people do this is because. You know product is a product. There’s so many options these days when you’re trying to buy anything when people go to different sites, if probably been to let’s say you’re trying to buy a shirt and you’re looking at a specific brand you’ve probably been to hundreds of different brands that are selling shirts online.

So one of the things that I find myself doing is when I’m going to these different sites, the first thing that I’ll look at is, you know, I’ll take a quick look at the homepage. I go to the about page immediately. I’m always and I don’t know if this is just my nosiness or my curiosity, but I’m like, okay who’s behind this brand?

You know, what are they up to? What do they look like? What are they doing? Now? How do they come up with the idea of this? I mean, I’m just always going there. Just trying to figure out what that backstory is just because you know, I want some type of connection there. I want to see you. All right.

Who is it on the other side of this selling it? Is it just some Bots that some 

Rick: you’re familiar with that book by Simon sinek. The reason why and it’s like people don’t care what you do they care why you do it? It’s I don’t know if that’s the exact quote and it’s really important and I think that I’ve found for some of my clients that if they don’t have that exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether it’s on the homepage or the about us page, it’s something great to have and again you talked about products being available everywhere. That’s something that most Amazon sellers suffer from because most products are such a commodity that people are only shopping for price and it’s really hard to build your brand and I’m work with some really large Amazon sellers and help them with their video and that’s how they can stand out.

Versus the competition 

Arlen: right? I definitely can see that especially with Amazon because the market place is huge and you’ve got to do something like that by having a particular personal video that tells your story that lets people know. Okay. This is what we’re doing which is why we’re doing it.

This is how we got started and something that’s going to be different than the competitors. So that is yeah 

Rick: that is so if your listener want to look at a specific example, one of my clients is called pluggable PLU GL. G A ble and they’re the largest seller of docking stations on Amazon there an eight-figure Amazon Seller, but every time they release a new product they create a YouTube video that shows how to use it.

And then there’s a the basic story the founder Bernie Thompson has a video on the about us page that really talks about. He was at Mike engineer from Microsoft you and I were talking before the podcast and you’ve mentioned you came out here and interviewed with Microsoft. He was an engineer at Microsoft and went out and started this business and he talks about the reasons why he did it and it’s been a real effective strategy for them.

Arlen: Yeah, I can definitely see that. It’s really all about that connection on top of that. One of the things that I was going to ask you next is there’s a lot you can put in the video. Of course, you mentioned that you want to. Give some type of back story. If you’re going to create that type of video you want people to get that formulate that connection but aside from that what are some of the other really important elements that really are kind of must have when you’re thinking about.

Doing some type of video that’s highlighting either your company or your product or your services. 

Rick: Yeah. So let’s focus in on creating a good demonstration video because a lot of companies are selling products a lot of people on Amazon or selling products and I have a you know, if you go to my YouTube channel, which is rix’s area da TV.

I have a whole video going into detail about how to create a great demo video but really it boils down to five easy steps and I’ve found that in using this. This is what people will respond to in a positive manner first. You got to introduce your product second. You got to demonstrate your product third.

This is where a lot of people miss the mark. Do you have to focus on the benefits? You’ve heard the old saying before features tail and benefits sell and give you a good example back when we were selling the juice man juicers. That was a business that grew very rapidly about 0 to 75 million in four years.

The two main competitors in the marketplace at the time. This was the early 90s were Braun and crops and brought in crops were German companies and they were proud of their German engineering and they talked about the features like stainless steel blade and Powerful motor and dishwasher safe plastic when we brought the juice man out we didn’t talk about the juice machine itself.

We talk. The fresh juice how you could have more energy how you could stay younger how you could lower cholesterol depending on the types of fruits and vegetables that you juice and that’s what really made the product take off. So after focusing on the benefits, it’s important to include some authentic testimonials.

There’s the social proof. So even though you’re doing a demonstration video for a product you can reinforce what you’re saying about the product by including some great testimonial sound bites as long as they’re authentic testimonials. And in the last one a lot of people forget to do this they forget to include.

Some type of CTA, they’ll get people excited about using their product but then they forget to give them instruction about what to do next and it can be as simple as go to my website to learn more information go and buy something in the buy box leave your name and address to get information and mail and the more specific you can make your offer as far as giving people something save them a little money or some type of discount the better response that you’ll have and that’s.

Where I go a lot into not only the content of the video but how to structure offers to get people to respond to what you’re telling them in the video. 

Arlen: That is very important because I think a lot of times businesses get caught up in creating want to Quality video. They want to create a story and have a really good production there.

But a lot of times like you said they may forget about emphasizing and especially in various points in the video emphasizing the specific CTA or call to action so that people don’t know what to do and then those calls to action. Depending on what the business ask someone to do can be something that could be tracked.

So if it’s a specific web address for them to go to that can be tracked because you know, you’re only going to give that specific dress in the video or if it is a particular promo code that you’re referencing in the video. You can check your reports and see okay. How many times was this promo code used?

Obviously, it’s there was only giving out in the video. You know that most likely most of those the use of that are people that watch the video. So yeah, those are things that are really truly important because yeah, you have to be able to track the success of it to see how effective it was. 

Rick: And you need an offer to do that?

And that’s one of the things you know, the name of my book is video persuasion, but people might wonder what is video persuasion. It’s kind of like one part video marketing one part video production and one part direct proven direct response strategies and. Without a direct response component to your video.

Then it becomes very difficult to track then it becomes more of a brand video and there’s a place for those but I’m more focused in my book on more of a direct response type of thing so that you can track and you can a put at analytics on to it and you can measure your return on investment and how many clicks you’re getting per dollar and things like that. So it’s really important part of. 

Arlen: Yeah, that definitely is for sure. Now. I know a lot of the businesses that are listening and the marketers that are listening are wondering that all of that sounds great. It makes sense to have that particular content of the backstory. I have things where you can connect with the end user.

But when you’re looking at the actual production of the video itself how important is it as far as. The quality of the production versus the content when I say quality I’m talking about there may be some listeners that are like, okay, you know, I’m a startup. We don’t have a lot of money where our budget is lo all I have is an iPhone.

That’s it. That’s the only thing I can use to create a video. What would you say is it 

Rick: actually that’s kind of an area that things have changed most in video production. It used to be if you wanted to play in this area. You had to go out and hire a crew with expensive equipment and video production was very expensive and thanks to technology and social media people are used to seeing.

Video that shot on an iPhone and so really I don’t I’m more migrate towards using I guess I’m not going to say lower quality video because I talk about in the book you can use your iPhone, but you should figure out a way so that you have good audio and I am when I say figure out a way it’s as easy as buying a $39 microphone on Amazon and the two areas and video production that people fall down because I phone technology or Android technology the cell phone technology now, Takes great video 4K video high-definition, but the two areas where people fall down or Sound and Lighting and you can buy a basic light for under a hundred bucks.

You can get a basic light and a basic microphone and use your iPhone and turn it into a very powerful video. Capabilities and I talked a lot about that in the book. And then even when it comes to editing there’s so many different online app based editing things that let you Assemble video online now that are amazing and that’s really the I think one of the reasons videos exploding because of technology has made it easy for anybody to do this and do it inexpensively.

Arlen: Yes, that is so true. And I’m glad you mentioned that technology is just. Really made these whole process so much easier because if we think back in the days of let’s say that the 80s like you said. When the real estate agents in the Brokers were doing their branded videos and putting themselves out there 

Rick: video that recalls an $80,000 in yeah, these stations had them in exactly they shot on I go back as far as one inch tape than 3/4 inch tape then 1/2 inch Dennis been Digi beta and now everything’s totally digital. So right exacts been. 

Arlen: Yeah, it totally amazing and then you know, there is limited amount of tape that you had and oh, yeah, then there’s the editing process. Yeah the whole crew. So yeah, it’s amazing how far it’s come so video creation is really in reach of virtually everyone because most 

Rick: you and I would say just to benefit your listeners just to go online and.

Google video creation video platforms and I list the top 10 of them in my book that I’ve used a different times before that enable you to make really good video content pretty easily. That’s 

Arlen: great. And definitely we’re listening to take advantage of that resource. One other thing that I want to add on to it as far as the creation of video is concerned these days and this is really.

Pretty incredible that let’s say you are going to create your own video and you’re you’re going to do that through, you know, just your basic iPhone, but you may want to add some additional things to it during the editing process, you know, maybe you have some other like an intro or some type of outro.

So it’s not just you talking or whatever scenery you have. One of the things these days that is really exploded is stock video. And what I’m talking about is most people are familiar with stock photos where you have all these sites where you can get stock photo. Now most of these sites have stock video and basically for the listeners are familiar with it.

What it is is there’s actors and models that are acting out various scenes just like for photos, but they’re doing it in videos and you can purchase these and you know, they’re just generic. Scenes and various things that could be office scenes. It could be outdoor scenes people in athletic wear, you know all very generic.

They don’t have any branding about associated with anything but these can all be utilized in really just enhancing your videos if you want to intermingle. 

Rick: So yeah, you’re absolutely right. Yeah, we do that all the time. We’ll go to Getty Images or Shutterstock. I mean, there’s a zillion of them pond5 and you basically do exactly what you said.

If you’re looking for a scene of like you’d say you want an old couple walking down the beach you just put that in and they’ll pull up video of. And you can buy it for a one-time fee. And that saves you the cost of having to go out and shoot that and then it creates a higher production value than you’ve heard the term a talking head which would be just basically a person talking into the camera if you can emphasize some of.

Point being made with b-roll which is additional footage to cover what’s being said that increases the quality of the video and the viewership for the end user as well. 

Arlen: Yeah for sure. I highly recommend people take advantage of that. It’s just so many resources like these stock videos that there’s no excuse not to use these things now, you know, once the business owner or the marketing person is gone ahead gone through these steps have created the video.

Whatever route they’ve gone to they’ve gone through the process of creating it getting it edited in its it is good to go. What are some marketing channels that you specifically just suggest a business utilize once it’s created to get it out there. 

Rick: Well, obviously the first thing if on their own e-commerce site second on their Amazon with Amazon.

In order to deploy video, you have to Brand registry which means you have to be a third party seller and have your own trademark or copyright for the product and you can do that and that allows you to apply a lot of video which will give you a big leg up over the competition and then the way we use it and that’s the other thing that’s happened more and more today is once we shoot a piece of video or a segment of video.

We multi-purpose it and use. You can use the video when you’re shooting this for Facebook ads and Instagram ads and things like that. So one of the things that has really changed besides the technology is all the different channels that you can use video that weren’t available before and it requires a little bit of planning and organization, but that’s anything you do in business and I talked a lot about that in the book is before you start filming a video or taping a video.

Start with the end in mind. What’s the purpose of this video? What are you going to be using it for? Is it specifically for a Facebook ad is it for specifically for your website? And then that will guide you into the structure of the video and the content and what needs to be in the content of the video.

Arlen: That’s very important. Yeah, because if you don’t really have those things in mind initially, then you could be creating a video that may not necessarily be fit for the platform that you. Think about it after the fact so yeah, all those things definitely make sense. Think about those platforms that Senate.

Rick: Yeah, we’re sending out emails. That’s another thing. You know, that’s a great way people. We have seen increased open rates at highly increased open rates and response rates when you used a video and emails and things so it’s really it basically just kind of enhances almost any type of marketing that you’re doing.

Arlen: Yeah, for sure. Now while you know as we get ready to wrap up here. What is actually one thing that our listeners should do up front when they’re thinking about getting into video. What is that? First thing that you think I should do? 

Rick: That’s a great question. Well first this will be a little bit repetitious if they aren’t using video they need to be using it but I would say the place I start and I go in and consult with a lot of companies.

I always start with reach out to if you have an existing database or customers reach out to them first and the very first video that I would do is our video session. Would be to sit down and talk to Consumers that are using your product or service and you videotape that and I talked a lot about that in my book about how you can I give you an actual email sequence you can send out.

To get these testimonials and so I’ll sit down and talk to 15 or 20 people and I’ll videotape that and now I have kind of a video library and if you talk to that many people that are using your product or service you’ll learn everything they like about the product or service everything. They don’t like and it really gives you the foundation to create a great marketing message and then plus you can deploy the best sound bites from these testimonials.

Throughout your marketing whether it’s on your website on Amazon or are in emails or whatever. So to me that’s always the first step for an existing business and you’d be surprised how many people really don’t talk to their customers on a regular basis and I just make that the first thing I do whenever I go in and start working with a company to help them with their marketing it teaches me a lot too.

Arlen: Yeah, I can imagine. Yeah, that’s some good stuff because that’s really kind of Dual Purpose. Not only your initially capturing that video up front you’re getting their direct opinion about your company your products and services. So different ideas are going to come after you look at that and then like you said it you can also take.

Sound bites from that and use those into out your marketing materials on your website. You can take the sound bites use those as testimonials. And yeah, that’s you really can get a lot of a lot of meat out of that. Just that session where you’re recording just a few customers 

Rick: the best focus group there is yeah and you’ll learn so much doing.

Arlen: Yeah, most definitely. Well, he has definitely been a pleasure speaking with you Rick. It was awesome talking. I haven’t talked a lot of to a lot of guests before about videos. So I’m glad we’re able to get you on for sure. But you know to close things out when I would like to do is just switch gears a little bit and let our audience get to know you just a little better.

So if there’s one fun fact that you can share about yourself that our audience may not know about you. That would be awesome. 

Rick: Oh, that’s interesting. I have a lot of fun facts, but a couple you and I were talking prior to the broadcast and I told you I went to school at a small school in Pennsylvania called Westminster College, and I actually played football there and we won the National Championship two years in a row and in the small school NAIA division two, 1976 and 77.

You can look it up Westminster College. And then the other one is. Later in life. I got into mountain climbing and I set a goal for my 50th birthday to climb Denali in Alaska the highest mountain in North America. It’s over 20,000 feet and I did that. So that was a kind of a fun thing that I did as kind of a hobby when I wasn’t working.

Arlen: That’s awesome. So football and mountain climbing. Yeah, definitely is some some good stuff. So it’s definitely sounds like you’re definitely an Outdoorsman, especially 

Rick: I never give in you got to 

Arlen: be yet is lovely I recall when I did go and yeah, I went in the spring and it was great great weather.

And yeah, if you’re not there taking advantage of the outdoors and I’m just kind of wasting your year your time there for sure. We are thank you for sharing that I appreciate that and you know for all of the listeners that. I would like to pick your brain a little bit more about video marketing and how they get going with that.

What is the best way for them to get in touch with you? 

Rick: Yeah, thanks for giving me that opportunity. The best thing for people to do is really go to my website rix’s are Ric que CES a RI rix’s are You can go there and. I have a free download for people which basically is the three most popular types of online video content and how you can deploy it to help your business.

And that’s a free and then if you leave your email address, it will talk about my book coming out October 15th video persuasion. That’ll be available on Amazon, or if you want to go into more detail. You can go to my YouTube channel, which is rix’s Airaid TV and everything we’ve been talking about today.

I have a video there on my YouTube you can subscribe to that and get regular information on how you can best deploy video to help your business. 

Arlen: Awesome. I appreciate that. Here at Omnistar. We’re doing a lot with video. We’re trying to do a lot more with video. So I’m we’re going to be sure to take a look at those resources in your sight for sure.

So I hope our listeners do as well. Well Rick, thank you again for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast. 

Rick: Thank you Arlen been great. 

Podcast Guest Info

Rick CesariAuthor of Video Persuasion