If you are a small business owner, 99% of the time you really must have a website (very very few exceptions to this rule). And, if you MUST have a website, you'll want to design it to produce the results you want.
The following brief article is a quick introduction for SERVICE based businesses more than PRODUCT based businesses, even though the principles apply to both.
As you can imagine, it is helpful to provide what sales psychologists call "social proof," which is a fancy way to call testimonials. Written testimonials are about 10% helpful. Add pictures and you double their effectiveness to 20%. Ultimately, they are good to have but not very effective.
However, video testimonials are 100% helpful in converting viewers/browsers into leads. What that means is that browsers are persuaded enough to give you their contact information, moving from a browser to a very warm if not "hot and fresh" lead. Then, it is your job to make sure that either you or your sales team views those emails or new entries into your CRM (Client Relationship Management) software online and immediately call them or email them or both.
Why video testimonials?
Browsers are FAR more likely to watch well edited video testimonial interview clips than they are to read anything. Written ad copy is certain essential for websites... for those 2% who are actually "readers." Give them a free e-book that is one long fun story about how your clients received benefits from working with you.
98% of web visitors don't read anymore online, they scan. Don't you? Busy professionals who are likely to hire you are not very likely to sit and read. If you are doing online marketing that sends people (strangers) to your page (versus offline marketing that expose people to you either in person or via TV, etc.,) you've got 7-10 seconds to convince someone to stay on your page if they don't know you yet. A video will keep them there, give them eye candy, and convince them based on the BENEFITS received from your coaching clients and speaking engagement participants.
BENEFITS SELL, FEATURES TELL. Your "welcome to my website intro" is basically a feature of what you are like when speaking either one-on-one or in front of a group. It will need to showcase the benefits of hiring you versus others. It gives watchers a sense of your "energy," so they'll know what to expect when they talk to you. It would be helpful to even add some unique content to the video each week, as it will be a good reason to draw prospective clients to the site to get a freebie, but, you'll need to wrap it up with a benefit driven testimonial clips from your most fanatical clients.
Finally, the people giving the testimonials must speak extemporaniously-- i.e. they can't sound scripted. If they have any hint of a script, it will damage their perceived sincerity. Too many infomercials on TV or radio sound very scripted, and we tend to simply not believe them.
Remember, everyone is tuned into the WIFM station, and you need to answer that question quickly when you first engage someone whether online or offline. What's In It For Me?
Do a video testimonial 60 to 90 second clip, add it to the end of each of your pep talks, and see your conversion rates skyrocket. Now those pep talks are actually effective promotional tools.
Now, I don't practice what I preach on my own site, www.PhilanthropicEntrepreneur.com... I'm in the process of obtaining those video testimonials from my clients... but, I don't do nearly as much coaching as I used to... I'm working on other projects. So, my own site is not optimized according to the best practices that I am recently learning about! Yes, the cobbler has no shoes!
Visit my site in early 2009 and I will have upgraded with a great intro video and video testimonials.... and likely a brand new design.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you agree or disagree and why...