Considering a New Product

I’ve been playing around with a new product, and I wouldn’t mind your feedback– if you’re a new business owner or someone whose sales are based around your website either through lead generation or cash flow itself.  

Some background information about myself.  I am the CEO and Creative Director for Epic Digital.  We are first and foremost an animation studio, but with a large department focused on the web and mobile applications.  We have these technicians because a lot of our videos end up being utilized in HTML 5, or other means, specifically for websites or mobile applications.

We’ve designed plenty of websites and mobile applications over our 10 years in business, and I consider our company a unique one in that we not only have been part of huge projects for companies like Marvel Entertainment, McDonalds, and more– but I’ve also been front and center for a lot of the changes in the technical geography for businesses.  As an example, we played a major role in the development of educational animation during the big change in school’s regarding textbooks being traded out for iPads and other digital learning tools.

Our marketing tends to target new companies.  People who just registered domains, but haven’t quite figured out their web presence and how that’ll all work together.  On that level, we’ve found we can help a lot.

So here’s the big question:

What if there was one place you could go to, to get:

A website specifically built for search engine optimization, but more importantly, built with mobile devices in mind.  To make sure that you have a focus on the greatly rising trend in how visitors actually see your presence on mobile devices.

A mobile application that quite simply just enables you to have one more automated advertisement out there in the market place.  Imagine having an app on the Apple store that is branded for you, has your social media updates all there for your users, and also maybe has one or two very clear calls to action.  ”Click here to connect with us today.”  Or “Utilize this link to get a special coupon.”

And an animated explainer video for your homepage.  I’ve talked about this in the past– but animated videos like whiteboard videos, or even a fully animated video, really impact how visitors gather information.  More people are looking at website media than ever before.  They want to see something in motion, rather than clicking through endless pages of information.  These animated videos significantly impact bounce rate and typically can boost traffic results by 30-40%.

Utilizing these assets, would users find it helpful to get these things purchasable either as a discounted bundle or optionally as individual items?  That’s not mutually exclusive.  Just, would these items benefit you as a new  business over considering your web presence as you step out into a new frontier with your new business?

I personally find the idea enticing to have a combined package out there for new business owners who can make sure they hit 3 different areas of “new media” fresh out of the gate.  Coupling it with an animated explainer video seems to greatly impact how Google ranks sites, and these new business owners would be able to get a quality presence right out of the gate.  And really, our presence as a deluxe studio with over 45 talented artists can really provide a great service in the combined realms of website development, animated videos or animated explainer videos, and mobile applications combining all of these elements in a very strategic manner.

I’m here for you, if you want to chat a bit or have questions about how to optimize your presence for the best foot forward.  One of the greatest growing parts of my daily activity is getting to consult off-the-cuff with new entrepreneurs and really interesting people.  I’m excited at how that’s continuing to grow in our forums of activity.

The Great Wall of Sales. The Thriving Valley of Marketing

I play with metrics a lot, and whenever I spend time trying to figure out how to reach more businesses, I lean on the shamanistic wisdom of my teachers from 10 years ago.

“Sales is a numbers game.  Hit a lot of numbers.  Need to get 11 meetings to get one sale?  Does that mean touching 300 people?  Then touch 300 people.”

So then I look at the geography of how business is conducted today.  I look at contact lists I can purchase for key decision makers in 10,000 companies and think, “Okay, thats probably the easiest way.”  And yet every time we’ve ever ran a test on this sort of marketing, it hasn’t netted us one sale.  Not one single one.  Not in 5 years, at least.

I think the web has finally forced companies to evolve to its own rhythm.  People know an unsolicited pitch when they get one.  That spam button is really easy to hit.  Who answers their cell phone these days when its a new number?

Honestly, who clicks on ads on Google, when you are making a real conscientious marketing decision?  I mean, I click those ads when I need a new place to buy cigars from online.  But would you really click that when you are trying to get new ideas for your next key business decision?  Or when you are trying to research a valuable agency to partner with?

The day of EVERY business requiring a boiler room of sweaty dialing fingers for their sales effort is dead, buried, and the lacquer has worn off on the coffin by now.

Now its online customer retention through a “request a quote” button.  It is being easy to find on searches.  But more importantly, its making sure that you are visible for those looking for YOU.  Not the other way around.

I think about this a lot now.  It impacts everything I do at work, really.  There is now a wall protecting everyone against unsolicited advances from a hunting mate.  And this wall is not expensive.  Its free.  Its built into most people’s lifestyle now.  I can’t recall the last time I actually picked up a direct mail piece from my mailbox.  I just throw them all out, in one weekly purge.  I am blind to them.  The only time I get a sales call these days is when they call from a number with the same area code as the person I am expecting to talk to, and only during a few minutes when I am actually expecting a call for something important.  

That wall is in one direction.  In the other direction is a lush valley of marketing.  It should say “Come in.  We’re fine here.  We can chat with you and help you.  And its easy to find.  And we have so many lovely berries and fruits here that you’ll want to taste often.”

Its not that Google has eradicated the wise words of my Business 101 elders.  Its that the core principal of those elders still stands, is timeless, and thus it is more important than ever that everyone understands their own metrics and the new way of getting sales and good ROI from marketing decisions.

Sales still involves knowing how many people you need to touch in order to transform that into success.  However, the job now is to make your business as easy to find as ever, with a site that is easily navigable, and helpful.

Some would say this turns hunters into hunters with prettier faces.  Others would say this is the new wave of casual business, where consumer trust is more important than ever.

Get More ROI From Your Website

Greetings!

I am the CEO and Creative Director for Epic Digital, Eric Peterson.  I have helped create animated web videos, or “explainer videos” for corporate clients, and this is a rare opportunity for me to talk about the pitfalls and most important ways to optimize your video to get better results.  

First off, let me preface this a bit.  You are the marketing head or owner of a new website-based business.  Why add an explainer video?

Google has tightened the reigns considerably on “quick easy ways to rank high.”  Now the most important thing they look at (aside from keyword relativity and all that) is bounce rate and the amount of time people spend on your homepage.  So, consider that.  If you have an intriguing video (i.e.:  one thats not really really boring), you have the opportunity to keep viewers on your website for a minute or two, as opposed to 10 seconds.  You also have the opportunity to direct people with that video to a specific call to action.  So Google will see that people on your homepage not only stay longer, but they also then go to a “contact for a quote” page or some similar offer.  We’ve seen bounce rates change by 20% or more due to the RIGHT type of video on your homepage.  And this in turn leads to dramatic traffic increases, as it helps your page ranking.

Now, tips!  I like to start these things like all creative projects.  Start with the core.

The most important thing to nail down is your unique selling point.  Your premise.  Your message.  Is it a sentence or 2?  Is it clear as day?  Your video isn’t about advertising everything that makes you great.  Its about concisely portraying your MOST important selling point in an entertaining fashion.  Think of it like a SWOT analysis (if you are familiar with business planning or marketing planning).  What separates you from everyone else?  What are your obstacles?  Now distill that down to the most concise and clear message you can.  This is less about production, and more about just making sure you are starting off on the right foot.  I can’t tell you how often we get scripts for “simple explainer videos” that essentially say “Okay, here I am.  I’m pretty cool looking.  Look at all this cool stuff.  Oh and here is our message.”  That is the opposite of what you want.

Secondly, think about your call to action.  What is the goal of your site?  It should permeate your entire site, and should be inherent in your video.  Is the goal to get them to click that “contact us” button?  Then give a unique pitch in your video.  It can be anything from “reference this coupon code from this video to get an extra 10% off” to “call us now for a free consultation.”  Whatever it is, it should be mirrored everywhere on the site.  In the sidebars.  The goal of the site should be clear.  I know, this isn’t production.  But you’d be surprised how often that gets left out.  Honestly, a really good production team in an animation studio can handle most of this for you.  If they aren’t asking you about this, they aren’t the right one for you.  It may be grating to have to answer a quick questionnaire about your company, or provide more details like this, but its the key to actually getting a return on your investment for this video.

Okay, now into the real nitty gritty.  The most popular type of explainer videos these days are whiteboard videos.  Why?  Because they are the cheapest.  But consider this:  Everyone uses them.  I can’t swing a (insert noun here) without hitting a whiteboard video on a business website.  But that doesn’t mean you don’t need an animated video.

Consider this:  More people are browsing websites from their mobile devices than ever before.  So what media can you use to get your message across?

The key is differentiating yourself from the competition.  Motion graphics videos are a great tool.  Or (not to toot our own horn) but try contacting a studio who is able to accomplish making TV/Film quality frame-by-frame animated videos?  These are the most enticing to me, because nothing says “Hey look at us” than what is essentially a cheaply produced commercial as well animated as those old Esurance videos.  With animation, you do not have to rent a helicopter for a great shot.  You can do anything!  And it GREATLY distances yourself from the competition.  While they are utilizing a visible hand drawing sketches on a white background, you can have your CEO as a superhero saving clients from the burning building of whatever problem your business solves.  You can really tackle your message with the most entertainment value and keep viewers enthralled.  And its not that expensive.  A good animation studio with experience creating these explainer videos will know how to pull their bunches and reflect that.  We do custom quotes all the time for clients who want a really well made animation video, but maybe have a less than ideal budget.  There’s about a million roads to take in conceiving a project, and as such there are many roads to take that won’t hurt your wallet.

Just some ideas to get you started.  I’ll be posting more information on my blog.  Thanks!

Eric

Marvel NOW!

Epic Digital is proud to celebrate the release of the first piece of Marvel’s newest publishing initiative.  Marvel NOW is a great jumping on point for new readers, and long-time fans alike.

The first issue, Uncanny Avengers, hit stores yesterday.

Epic Digital has played a unique role with these new books.  If you have the Marvel Augmented Reality mobile app, you can scan the cover and see deluxe animated sequences, videos, behind-the-scenes extras, and more.

There are plenty more to come, and we at Epic Digital hope that this new collaboration between animation/video and comics garners feedback from readers.  If you have picked up Uncanny Avengers, and seen it, give us a shout!

Corporate Animation

One of the great privileges that comes along with working at Epic Digital, is the ability to direct corporate videos. In my youth, most of my work was with television or feature film production, focused on live action. With live action, take all of the hectic nerve-wracking stress that comes along with writing, editing, and choreographing a production, and then add on 15 hour days of trying to film things which sometimes are magic tricks on camera. There’s a kind of basic thrill that comes with trying to pull off something under-budget, on a stressful day, that the human eye can’t typically see given the boundaries of reality.

In animation, that boundary of reality is completely non-existant. If you can draw it, you can produce it. It’s really fun to create in the sandbox that is animation, whether for corporate video clientele, educational companies, or more.

It’s almost like directing while editing. With corporate animation, or even whiteboard projects, you are directing while storyboarding. And then you are directing while “editing”, or animating. In air conditioning. I work in the comic industry a lot, and its a similar feeling: The ability to just write what visually comes to the mind’s eye. Corporate animation is very similar. You can storyboard and choreograph things with the foremost thought being how it works visually, instead of “How will we film this?”

This virtue gets passed on to the client as well. The ability to portray a message using anything from the ether is a huge asset to corporate video production, when that message is easier conveyed visually rather than having to worry about lighting, equipment, and a full-fledged film crew.

When you are preparing your next marketing video, or sales video, consider whether your message will be more successful on HD video, or on HD animation. The advantages may surprise you.

iPhone 5 – How it Impacts Mobile Business

Today Apple just announced the iPhone 5. The phone has loads of new features, but there’s one major one that will impact your mobile business initiative:

The new display will mean that new mobile applications for your business initiative will need to match a new resolution, at 1136×640 in a lovely new 16×9 aspect ratio.

This may not mean much to you, but really if you’ve ever developed a website or apps for the iPhone previously, now is the time to make sure those graphics are updated to take advantage of this new display.

Likewise, users can now get 4G on their iPhone 5, so data will be able to be sent across this much higher pipe.

Check with your account executives at Epic Digital if you need to update your graphics for this new release at all. Now is the time to do this, as the phone will be released later this month.

Working with Marvel

Epic Digital is proud to announce the first of their ongoing work for Marvel has been launched.  Epic Digital worked with Marvel, a subsidiary of Disney, to create a motion presentation video for the upcoming release of the Avengers vs Xmen deluxe hardcover edition.

The video is viewable on the showcase, or here directly.

How to Mobilize your Mobile

Nowadays more people are using their mobile devices to browse websites than on any other device.  That is a statistical fact.  So how can you take advantage of this with your corporate marketing needs?  Here’s a few tips to get you started on your next corporate marketing brainstorming session.

First off, the days of Flash are long gone.  It is now easier than ever to create classy animated banners for your website using HTML 5, featuring all of the same quality that you’ve gotten from creative design companies like Epic Digital in the past.  This isn’t just for fanciness’ sake.  Animated pieces of your mobile website can direct focus and also utilize a unique call to action.

Secondly, people love to see presentations, but only if they are done right.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  But how do you convey the thousand words that your business needs to get across in an entertaining fashion that has a call to action and directs your client’s focus to your unique selling point?

Hire the experts.  Don’t waste time with individual contractors who may or may not understand what it takes to actually craft an advertising message.  There are many tools available for corporate media presentations, such as whiteboard videos, animated corporate videos, and more.

It’s actually quite cost effective to create even a single minute of animation for your corporate presentation.  Contact Epic Digital today for a free consultation to see if there’s a unique way to present your corporate media message via video or animation.

Epic Digital Performs Case Study

Epic Digital performed a case study on its clientele last week. The study is being syndicated in news outlets around the U.S. To read the study in its entirety, click here or see below.

 

PHOENIX, March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – In a study conducted by the “Microsoft Tag” community, mobile device usage was estimated to overtake desktop Internet users by 2014, based on a rate of growth tracked since 2007. Mobile Application production studio Epic Digital recently conducted a survey of clientele, to study how the unprecedented growth of applications on the iPhone, iPad, and Android effects different markets.

Eric Peterson, CEO of Epic Digital had this to say:

“Nearly 90% of our production income comes from businesses expanding their traditional media to mobile devices. This is specifically in the corporate, educational, and entertainment markets. Ever since 2009, the priority for companies has switched from just having Internet media, to making sure that media is cutting-edge and user-friendly on mobile devices. This includes animation, periodicals, and even normal business functionality. Large franchise restaurants are taking orders from iPads and department stores are doing the same.”

A study conducted by the National Literacy Trust shows that children ages 7-16 are more likely to own a mobile device than a book. With the January announcement of Apple’s new iBooks 2 textbooks for iPad, more educational publishers are trying to provide innovative learning tools on mobile devices.

As traditional media consumption trends change to a more mobile design, new gateways are opened for how media can be communicated to users.

Epic Digital’s Eric Peterson says, “The really exciting thing about mobile apps, is that there is a really cohesive way for sleek design and user experience to blend with functionality. Instead of creating a piece of media that can serve as a digital business card, more utilities can be packed in. A roofing company can mobilize its task force with affordable devices that not only can provide social media communication to their clientele, but also provide services such as project management, invoicing, billing, and more.”

Epic Digital is a creative production studio founded in 2004 with over 25 designers, technicians, and project managers. Its focus is on mobile applications, web development, and media creation such as animation, video, and design. Their website can be found athttp://www.epicdigital.com.

Apps Transform Education

Apple announced in January the release of iBooks 2 for the iPad.  At the forefront of this program are interactive textbooks, created by top educational publishers such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

It’s great news to see a leading technological company like Apple using new media to stay abreast of a new generation of learners.  Children are growing more comfortable with using computers at an earlier age, and so using interactive tools to engross grade-school children is a monumental step.  Put simply:  this one product will influence the way children absorb lessons for the next generation, or maybe more.  It’s not just the fact that this is interactive– the key is that now other developers will follow the trend set by Apple and create even more tools to help facilitate learning in an age where traditional media is growing antiquated.