Like many other business owners, I’ve had plenty of proposals rejected on price. And like those other businesses, I know that there will always be someone less expensive than me out there, and there are plenty that cost a whole heck of a lot more. I tend not to focus on these losses as losses at all. I know in my heart that they’ll get what they pay for, and of course that I’m worth every penny (solid recommendations and testimonials will prove it).
However, today I hung up with a friend who was pitching me to a senior partner at his company. He wanted to give me the inside scoop on what was happening. Apparently, management had gotten a bid from another vendor who came in about 30% lower than I did and, in his words, “offered the same exact service. It was an apples to apples comparison.” As he was my friend, he answered my questions about the competitor. “They’re our web site development company,” was the response. I questioned the qualifications of this company; it’s difficult to be in the graphic design/web engineering field and also in the copywriting/social media marketing field, unless they’re a larger, full-service agency. I couldn’t find anything substantial about social media services on their web site (though their site design portfolio rocked), so I headed to this company’s Facebook and Twitter profiles to see what they were up to.
My discovery? They had no profile image on their Facebook page other than a logo, their posts were infrequent, and every other one had typos. I went to Twitter and was even more shocked to discover that in the past five months they had only tweeted a dozen times, and each tweet was a sales message about their own services. The icing on the cake? They only had 16 Twitter followers.
Now I KNOW that social media is a new world, and it’s hard as a business owner to even understand the language, let alone know what questions to ask. But what my friend thought was an “apples to apples” comparison was not one, in any stretch of the imagination. My gift to my friend and to you, a busy business owner with little time to do research, is a list of questions to ask social media strategists and service providers, BEFORE you sign the dotted line and questions to ask yourself during the campaign once they’ve started working for you:
1. Is your background technical, design, marketing, or copywriting?
2. What social networks do you think I should be on, and why?
3. What would your goals be for my social media campaign?
4. How often will you post on each of those platforms?
5. When might I expect those posts to happen each day?
6. From where will you get content?
7. Can you give me a few samples of posts you might use?
The answers you receive will help you determine a few things. A, if they know what they’re doing. B, if they are marketers or technologists. C, if they understand the platforms they are using to promote your business, and D, how they compare to other service providers. Most importantly, you’ll illustrate that you know a thing or two about social media.
Here’s the other gift. Once you’ve gotten your consultant posting for your company, ask yourself these questions:
1. How’s the messaging online?
2. Do the posts have publicity/share-ability built into that?
3. Is there original content from your company on the social networks?
4. Is there sharing of others’ content?
5. Are you/ your company being positioned as an expert?
6. Are the profiles optimized for the search engines?
7. Are contacts being converted into sales and inquiries?
8. Are the posts generating good feedback numbers and high impressions?
9. Is traffic increasing to your site, services, and products every month on a consistent basis?
I know I’m good at what I do; my clients tell me so. And I also know that budgets are real and everyone wants a fair deal. As far as that other proposal goes that my friend received, clearly he’d be overpaying at that price, even though it was 30% less than mine.
Take those questions to your proposal reviews. I have several clients that have come to me after rejecting my proposal and hiring another team to do the work based on price. The difference that they discovered immediately upon engaging my services made them regretful that they had turned me down in the first place.
Does this mean that I’m the answer for you? Not necessarily. But I’m a righteous chick, and I want you to get a fair deal, no matter who you hire. And you can always reach out to me for advice or with questions. Let me see what you’ve got going on. You already know you get what you pay for, but you may get more if you ask the right questions.
This is a fantastic article about the attention span of your audience. It points to the use of video, but as you read, also think about how heavy the content is on your home page, print ads, banners, and sales presentations.
From the Treepodia blog—
One of the interesting facts regarding the evolution of human cognition is that, as a society, our attention span is dwindling.
Attention spans have shrunk by over 50% in the past decade
According to a Lloyds research tracing the causes of home accidents, attention spans have shrunk from 12 minutes in 1998 , to around 5 minutes in 2008. The Lloyds research states that when asked respondents blamed ’stress’ (18 percent) and ‘decision overload’ (17 per cent) as the main reasons for poor short-term memory and flagging attention spans.
Product Videos – How long is too long?
The relevance to online videos, of course, is that attention spans matter particularly in terms of determining the length of your product videos. You want to make these videos long enough to deliver all of your pertinent facts, yet short enough to maintain viewers’ interest until the end. The question is, what’s that magical length?
There are two basic stats you might consider when determining your norm:
1. The length of an average commercial
2. The length of an average online video
How have commercials evolved?
In terms of average commercial length, Wikipedia delivered an adept and, in light of the aforementioned dwindiling of attention spans, predictable answer:
“In the 1950s and 1960s, the average advertisement’s length was one minute. As the years passed, the average length shrank to 30 seconds (and often 10 seconds, depending on the television station’s purchase of ad time)… However, today a majority of advertisements run in 15-second increments (often known as “hooks”).”
In other words, with the progression of time, commercial length has been reduced to about 15 seconds, with a maximum of 30. Sounds (and views) about right.
What’s the length of the average Online Video?
In terms of online video length, the average length is according to ComScore a whopping 3.5 minutes. This figure may be surprising until one realizes that ComScore’s number factors in ALL online videos, including full length television episodes on Hulu, etc.
Less is More – Keep your videos as short as possible
In general, as the saying goes (and for good reason), we say, keep ‘em short and sweet – more along the lines of traditional commercial lengths at most. While video may grab shoppers’ attention, it will likely only hold it for a short time. And remember, not everyone who presses play, will watch your video all the way through.
How Much of a Typical Video Online Is Actually Watched?
At 60 seconds more than half your audience is gone
As the above graph based on a TubeMogul study shows, at the 30 second mark you’ve already lost a third of your audience and after a minute you’ve lost more than half, so try and get all your information in as soon as you can, in the shortest amount of time necessary.
Beyond that, as with all elements of video, you will need to continually do testing to determine if length, is influencing your results (and to what effect), and adjust accordingly.