Keep Customers Happy and Build Your Brand with How-To Videos

Let’s face it – most printed instructions that come with new products stink. And even the most lucid written instructions can frustrate the average consumer who has trouble ordering his morning coffee, much less assembling outdoor furniture.

Poorly written and hard-to-understand product guides can enrage customers and hurt your brand. And it doesn’t stop at that person who’s struggling to put together a lawn chair. Irritated consumers take to the Internet to voice their displeasure, and their complaints – whether they’re valid or not – carry an enormous amount of weight with other potential customers.

“It doesn’t work” is the worst possible message that can circulate online about your product.

The solution? Invest in high-quality how-to videos to support your customers and build your brand.

Answer Users’ Questions with High-Quality Video

Today’s consumers search the Internet for advice on how to do everything, and their preferred medium for how-to information is video. And if you don’t provide video advice, someone else will. YouTube is glutted with user-generated, cheap webcam vids on how to use your product. Loyal customers are great, but you don’t want to rely on them (or, even worse, grouchy consumers) to explain how your product or service provides value.

For a ton of stats about how video resonates with consumers, be sure to watch our full-length video and download our whitepaper.

“Show, Don’t Tell” is great advice for any storyteller, and it’s especially useful to illustrate product assembly or operation. Showing the steps involved in using a product is far more engaging than any diagram or flow-chart.

Video also allows you to present what can be an intimidating process to many consumers in a friendly, even humorous, context. A well-produced instructional video can put anxious consumers at ease and build brand loyalty. Depending on your product or service, how-to videos can also cut down on calls to your help center.

Videobred used a fast-paced, engaging approach in this furniture assembly how-to video for Brown Jordan, a manufacture of the La-Z-Boy brand.

Bright, friendly music puts the consumer at ease, and time-lapse sequences at the beginning of the video show that the task of putting together La-Z-Boy furniture is relatively painless. We intercut comedy footage of a poor slob struggling without the help of our video (that’s actually our CEO Tim Sanford taking one for the team) to lighten the mood and to build confidence in the consumer that they can handle what is, ultimately, a pretty manageable task.

We definitely show some of the steps involved in the assembly process, but we don’t get too technical. We don’t employ a voice over-over talent, and instead rely on screen tips to convey detailed information. We even advise the viewer to refer to the written instructions if they need more detail. Again, our main goal was to make customers comfortable and build our client’s brand.

For an example of a high-quality how-to video that details a somewhat more challenging process, check out this piece Videobred produced for GE Appliances on how to replace a refrigerator ice maker.

Again, we use light, friendly music to set the consumer at ease. However, since the process we are detailing involves electrical wiring and a somewhat more complicated process, we use a narrator to spell out every step. And we close with the product working exactly as it should – remember, one of the most important goals of a how-to video is to give your customers confidence that they can get that icemaker to work.

As you can see, how-to videos don’t have to be boring or dry. As with all high-quality videos, they can engage and entertain as well as educate.

As you plan out your how-to video strategy, remember these important tips:

Set yourself apart with a high-quality production

You may be tempted to just shoot a low-cost phone video, but remember that anyone can do that, and somebody probably has. You want your own how-to video to rise above the noise of user-generated reviews, which may be positive but not entirely on-point with your product and brand messaging.

Win in search results

Remember that when users are frustrated by using a product, they turn to the Internet for answers. And research shows that Web pages that include video are 50 percent more likely to highly raked in search results. Be sure to embed a high-quality how-to video in your instruction pages to make sure users find your site, and not some disgruntled blogger.

Use video to supplement other detailed instructions

For consumer how-tos, video is a great way to provide high-level instructions. As we did in the La-Z-Boy example above, it’s often a good idea to advise users to refer to highly-detailed written instructions if they need more information. Running out every Screw A into Slot B can bog down your video and bore most consumers. Using video as a supplement to full product documentation will provide a full range of consumer service. It can even mitigate liability, if assembly or use of your product involves some risk.

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