Why a Custom Website is Better for Your Brand’s Web Development in Minneapolis, MN

web-development-minneapolis

There are many ways to build a website today. It can be as simple as using a free website template provider or as elaborate as writing your own HTML, Java, Python, or other type of web development code. Depending on your budget and level of investment in a website project, some of these methods may be better than others. For the majority of public figures, small brands, and other websites that only require the basics, website builders like Squarespace and Wix can work just fine. While these templated website builders can offer adequate solutions for those looking to stick with a pared-down, attractive site, they are often too limited for businesses or brands looking for more dynamic options. If you need anything that website builders don’t offer, or expect your site to grow into something more unique in the future, the best option is to take advantage of custom website building services. At MLT Group LLC, we help companies and brands create innovative, high-functioning websites with our services for SEO marketing, design, and complete web development in Minneapolis, MN.

Comprehensive Marketing

MLT Group offers comprehensive marketing and design services, including SEO strategies, digital marketing campaigns, web and graphic design, social media marketing, and video production. Our mission as a third-party marketing firm is to help clients achieve their content goals and sustain long-term success as an online presence.

Website Builders

The number of website builders available to a wide range of individuals, brands, businesses, and content creators has grown exponentially in the last five years. Template-based website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify make building a quality website attainable for those without coding skills or a budget they can use to pay a third-party website builder to create from the ground up. These sites have many benefits, and they’ve been integral to thousands of small businesses establishing their online brand.

As of 2021, Squarespace has about 3.8 million subscribers with a starting price of $16 a month for personal sites, and Wix has about 200 million subscribers and offers a free template program in addition to their more expensive upgrades. Website builders like these are great systems for building nice-looking, simple sites that can incorporate basic e-commerce with added costs.

If these capable systems are available for such low pricing, you may be wondering why any business would utilize custom websites that are built either in-house by their own marketing team or built by a third-party builder. Despite their many benefits for quick, low-cost, and generally well-designed sites, these template systems have significant drawbacks for brands that want to give themselves room to grow into prosperity.

The Benefits of a Custom Build

When it comes to quality web development for your business, you shouldn’t have to waste time or money on a unique website that fits your brand’s aesthetics and offers peak performance. Even if you own a small business, it’s worth it to invest in a custom website that you can take with you as you grow your brand, instead of using that energy and expense now to create a template-based website that will limit you down the road.

web development

Templates Limit Design and Future Growth

Custom websites are not limited by the template system that website builders like Squarespace and Wix use. The templates those builders use are generic outlines that, while they offer some customization options, often end up resembling many other sites out there. If you rely on website builder templates, you could even have a site that’s similar to one or more of your direct competitors. Website builder templates also limit the functionality of your site in addition to the aesthetic design. Most of these templates don’t allow growth for added marketing tools like multi-faceted blog integration, distinctive e-commerce systems, and custom calendars.

Custom Sites Have Better Integration

Custom websites can also integrate with almost any service that has an API (Application Programming Interface). Some website builders do allow for basic integrations of services, but these are very restricted capabilities. Again, the templates will limit your ability to integrate new features and tools into your site. If you are using one of the many website builder templates and you attempt some integration, it could jumble your entire site. Custom sites are built to work with all exterior integration via APIs, so you can continue to make your online presence more dynamic with a richer site.

 Custom Sites Have Better Mobile-first Designs

Another benefit of a custom site is the ability to completely control the way your website looks on a desktop or a mobile device. Every website should have full functionality on both device screens, since most people access sites on both platforms today. The largest issue that website builders have with mobile device translation is handling content blocks. As text, images, and other content sections are relayed into a mobile setting, they tend to stack and jumble in ways that are difficult for users to process. A custom site can go beyond the simple translation of a desktop website display into a mobile device. Instead of mirroring into a mobile format, custom sites can contain two distinct programs for the larger landscape screen of a desktop and the smaller portrait screen of a smart phone or other mobile device.

Website Builders Limit Multi-Development and Staging

Website builders like Wix and Squarespace do allow you to build your site, make changes, and see the final product before it’s published for the world to see, but those development stages and detail work-outs are much more limited than when you build a custom site. Custom-built websites can spend much more time in multi-tiered development environments while each aspect of the site design is staged, tested for functionality, and meshed with each other. Since custom sites often allow for greater complexity and higher system capabilities, this development and staging time is a critical component of the quality control process.

Custom Sites For Web Development Can Grow with You

The simplicity, ease, and cost of a website builder might look like a good option for where your business is now, but what about how your brand will grow in the next five or ten years? Your website’s functions should be able to grow with your company and continue to allow space for new marketing tools, e-commerce abilities, design features, and more. We can’t always predict the new technology that will be available in the future of web design, but custom sites built today are created on a foundation that’s set up for long-term growth and the integration of new internet rules, web design systems, and brand changes. For most small businesses, a website builder template can help you create an online presence now, but custom sites will give you that space for now and for the future.

Benefits of Custom Websites

There are many other reasons why a custom website is more beneficial to businesses of all shapes and sizes than website builder systems like Wix and Squarespace (including the fact that the accrued costs of a website builder subscription often equal the initial costs of a custom website set up), but these are just a few of the most significant points of interest.

If you’re considering working with a third-party marketing firm to build a custom website after reading this, we can help. MLT Group offers fully customizable web development in Minneapolis, MN, including building a custom website. Contact us at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today to learn more.

Importance of Project Planning for Video Production in St. Paul, MN

There are many factors that go into a successful marketing campaign, but one of the most engaging and effective tools you can use is video content. Video media immediately captures the attention of your audience, conveying a lot of information quickly and in an appealing way. Additionally, video media has proven to have better retention and long-term recall than any other type of content. This means videos are some of the best ways to instill your brand and mission into the minds of users. While video content is so powerful, it’s also one of the most time-consuming and expensive types of marketing media to make. It often requires special equipment, software, and skill sets that smaller companies might not have in their budget yet. Because of the unique requirements of quality video production, many brands can benefit from outsourcing that content creation to a third-party marketing firm. At MLT Group LLC, we work with many different types of brands to generate video marketing media that improves their audience engagement and grows their online presence. We offer comprehensive video production in St. Paul, MN, including video design, scripting, on-location and studio filming, audio recording, talent casting, graphics, animation, music, and more.

Technology

MLT Group’s video production team has access to all the technology needed for any kind of project, including cameras, filming and editing software, lighting, 4K aerial drone systems, and more.

Professional

While the technology and equipment available to professional videographers and even for home movies has increased exponentially over the years, there are also several aspects of publishing online media that complicate any video project. Not only do you now have to cultivate an SEO and social media system in order to trend on the right algorithms and appear in user searches, you also have to create video formats that fit multiple display sizes, as users could be looking at your site on anything from a smartphone to a television screen.

Video Marketing

Another difficulty that video marketing poses is the frequency of content publishing that’s often required to successfully stay relevant. About 14% of marketers using multifaceted campaigns publish videos daily, and around 36% of marketers publish videos weekly. Meeting all those demands for SEO, formatting, and frequency on top of the challenge of creating quality content is impossible for most brands. If you believe you’re up to the task and want to start with a small video project for your brand’s marketing, one of the most important parts of the production process is the planning.

From full-feature films to ten-second commercials, preproduction steps will always be necessary. Film preproduction varies slightly depending on the type of video being made, but there is almost always room for the following stages.

Most Important Preproduction Stages

Creative outline:

Before you can start any other parts of your video making process, you need to know exactly what it will be about. Chances are, if you’re working with a vague idea or lofty concept, that won’t be enough to generate good content. Take the time to write a full creative outline of your movie that will serve as the foundation for all other decisions made down the production road. This outline should set the tone, aesthetics, and purpose of your finished video. It will also help you decide your target audience, which may be different from your usual marketing outreach goals. Determine how this video will fit into your marketing flow and what your projected return on investment (ROI) will be. These broad strokes can be worked into your budget later with more details.

Timeline:

A video can take a long time to produce, and the work can quickly get off schedule without a dedicated timeline. If you’re shooting a live video, find out how long it will take to set up, shoot, and take down each shot. You’ll also have to work in extra time for talent to go through hair and makeup, general motions, and more. When it comes to live filming, keep in mind that everything will take longer in real time than on paper, even with a quick crew. For animations and other non-live videos, the time is spent on animating, drawing, and the overall creation of artwork. Rushed animations can quickly lose their visual appeal and even their meaning. Give your team enough time to perfect the editing of their work and put together a cohesive story. Once you have established your projected timeline, you can begin to work out your budget.

Budget:

Videos can get expensive. Not only will you potentially spend money on equipment, travel to new locations, sets, talent, and software, but you could also have a few unexpected expenses along the way. Animations can also be quite pricey. You should be paying artists enough for their work and time, and you may even have to cover costs for animation programs and software. While it’s certainly possible to make a video that fits your budget, it’s still important to consider what costs will come from where and prepare to spend the money you can allocate to your video marketing budget effectively.

Script:

A script or screenplay is also an important part of any video. Scripts will convey the information you want to use to introduce your brand, a product or service, or other marketing goals. Live action videos, voice overs, voice-acted animations, and even off-the-cuff casual videos all require scripts to succeed. Those scripts can be written to an exact screenplay or include some talking points for something less formal. Scripts are also necessary for videos that don’t have dialogue, lines, or any spoken words. The underlying purpose of a script is to have a written format of the chronological order of your video. This order includes everything from lighting changes to moving objects and more. It’s okay if your script doesn’t follow the “style” or presentation of a movie script or a professional screenplay. It just has to be easy to follow, clear, and comprehensive for every step that will occur in the video.

Locations:

Whether your video is going to be shot in multiple locations or just take place in your building, you need to dedicate time to location scouting and planning. The purpose of location planning is to determine the angles of the shots, the best lighting for the scene, the props and set components you will need, and the equipment you’ll need to set up to film. Finding out your locations ahead of time will also help you plan how long it will take to move from spot to spot, which will be important for editing your timeline. Even if you only have one location for your video, take time to plan the shot list and make any alterations to the background, props, and lighting you need to make it perfect.

Storyboard/Shot List:

Setting up a storyboard or shot list is a critical step to making your filming process run smoothly. Storyboard cards or a written list of shots are one of the most important preproduction tools you can use to stick to your timeline and budget. Filming interesting shots that convey your story actually takes more planning than most novice videographers realize. A bullet point list of chronological shots paired with the completed script or a full picture storyboard with rough images from shot to shot can help eliminate unnecessary reshoots, reduce post-production editing time, and make your video more professional overall.

Crew:

Who works on your video is just as important as the video content and the finished work. Your crew may only include a few staff members, or it can grow to include actors, lighting technicians, sound technicians, directors, camera operators, animators, designers, and more. No matter how big or small your crew is, you need to make sure that each member of the team knows their role, responsibilities, and how the video making process will unfold. Without a reliable crew, it can be impossible to produce a quality video of any kind.

Video Production

Making any type of video, live action or animation, short or long, is a fully involved process that likely won’t succeed without the right preproduction steps. If you are in need of a high-quality, well-produced video for your company but don’t have the time, skills, or desire to go through the difficult process of making it yourself, the help of a marketing company can be priceless.

To learn more about our services and experience with video production in St. Paul, MN, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

Implementing Contradictory, but Effective Strategies for SEO/Marketing in Minneapolis, MN

Digital marketing is a complicated landscape with techniques and tools that vary in effectiveness depending on the format of brands, products, audiences, and more. There are marketing 101 strategies that generally work with some success across the board. However, when you’re cultivating a marketing system unique to your brand, it’s important to focus on which exact tools may be better than others, rather than relying solely on industry standards. Because marketing strategies can be so complex and difficult to devote time to figuring out and implementing, many organizations and companies of all sizes take advantage of the services a third-party digital marketing firm provides. MLT Group offers complete services for SEO/marketing in Minneapolis, MN, including web design, SEO systems, social media tools, graphic design, and video production with 4K technology.

Marketing Online

Marketing online and offline is all about driving the customer to action. That action can mean many things, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, following your brand on social media, reviewing a product or service, or even commenting on a post. The long-term goal of marketing is to generate profitable customer action, but there are many other purposes marketing tools serve along the way to that goal.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) use online systems to get the right kind of attention from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, as well as their potential customer base. This means you’re balancing communication lines between both the search engine platform and the user. There are many ways to improve your website’s placement on a search engine results page (SERP) that follow recommended marketing practices (we cover many SEO tools in this blog), but there are always ways to communicate with your audience, enrich that brand-to-user relationship, and grow a community.

SEO/Marketing Strategies

Some SEO/marketing strategies aimed at audience growth and outreach make sense. Those strategies are marketing basics targeted at the largest audience possible in the fastest and most impactful amount of time. Yet, for many online brands, some counterintuitive strategies may be more effective with greater diversity for positive results than many standardized digital marketing tools. Generic marketing advice only goes so far in generating customer action. Expanding beyond beginner marketing techniques requires some understanding of your brand and audience as unique entities.

Research Needed

While some research may be needed to get a foothold in determining what multifaceted, functional marketing techniques should be tailored specifically to your brand, there are a few contradictory marketing methods that can initiate continual audience growth and profitable customer action for many kinds of companies with an online presence.

Enrich your brand community with one-on-one interactions.

No matter how big or small your brand community is, one-on-one interactions with members are always valuable. While common marketing advice will suggest you rely more on measurable interactions, such as time-efficient, widespread messages through mailing lists or social media posts, there’s still a use for the more intangible interactions. One-on-one interactions with customers like personalized greetings, direct conversations, community tags, gifts, and more all contribute to stronger relationships with your brand. These kinds of interactions can’t be measured for ROI in the way that other marketing moves can, but they almost always generate more trust in your brand, a diverse community, and a humanizing of your company.

Personal Connections

The easiest way to start making more personal connections with your audience is to get to know the members of your community, including their interests, skills, backgrounds, locations, and other aspects. If you can collect this information without invading customer privacy, you’ll also be able to learn more about your brand’s demographic.

Provide real information to your audience.

Another piece of generic marketing advice is to keep information vague and bait the value of products and services to encourage users to make purchases. The problem with this strategy is that today’s users have unprecedented access to information. Customers are able to do more research on a product or service to inform their purchase than ever before. This level of information access has changed the way brands should provide their own information freely to users. Instead of teasing the importance of their information, brands that provide real information and tools to their users are able to build trust with their audience.

Trust is Important

The trust that’s initiated by offering real information and valuable tools to users in your brand community will also lead to return customers, an increase in word-of-mouth referrals, and greater brand authority in your industry. The simplest way to start offering real information to your audience is to publish well-written blog posts that cover in-depth, relevant topics about your brand, products, services, staff, systems, and industry. You can also provide some of the tools your own team uses, such as templates, calculators, guides, and more.

 Focus on quality of presence over quantity of presence.

Narrowing the online space occupied and focusing on quality over quantity is especially important for smaller brands without a dedicated marketing team, but it can also be a useful piece of advice for larger companies with established marketing systems. The ideal marketing system will include high-quality content published regularly on multiple platforms, including your website, blog feed, newsletters, and multiple social media sites. Producing this amount of well-made content is almost impossible for many brands. It’s time-consuming, requires a specific skill set and level of creativity, and can exhaust your marketing resources.

Quality Content

Instead of attempting to fill the many content holes that generic marketing advice digs, start with a small amount of quality content that you have the capacity and enjoyment for creating. Master a single space for content, and make sure you’re able to reliably generate quality products in that space before expanding to a new outlet. Start with a platform that fits your brand type the best. For example, a retail brand might benefit more from building a quality Instagram that showcases their products, but a publishing company would do better to focus on a well-curated blog page. Focusing on quality over quantity and starting small doesn’t mean you’ll never have the benefits that many platforms provide, but working up to those multi-faceted marketing systems will improve your tool kit and retain loyal customers on each platform as you master them.

 Don’t give up on specialty marketing ROIs.

Small or niche marketing channels may seem insignificant when compared to large-scale SEO/marketing and a generalized target audience, but those specialty spaces may have greater ROIs than you’d expect. Specialty keywords on your site help Google and other search engines find your brand for more pinpointed user inquiries and also provide space for more of a “fandom” kind of audience. Users who respond to specialty marketing and niche channels are more likely to be dedicated customers and spread word-of-mouth support.

Using niche or specialty tools when you can will also give your brand a unique, hidden treasure kind of image, especially compared to the many other websites in an oversaturated internet market.

 Create a community with other brands.

Standard marketing guidelines encourage a view of competitors in your industry as the enemy. While it’s true you compete for sales, space, and customer interactions in general, there’s something to be said for building a community with like-minded brands. If you can support brands that share your ethics, whose work you admire, or those you think could fill a need for your customers that your brand doesn’t quite meet, you’ll foster greater credibility, trustworthiness, and likeability with your customers. It’s also possible that you’ll gain the goodwill and reciprocal support of the brands you shout out and highlight on your platforms.

Collaboration

It may not make sense to go out of your way to show off what your competition is doing, but if there are occasions when building community between brands seems natural, it can be a great thing. Positive interactions between you and your fellow brands helps customers understand the benefits of collaboration and the community ideals of your company.

These are just a few of the many contradictory marketing techniques that are not often listed in generic marketing guidelines. If you’re considering building a new marketing campaign or expanding an existing one, our team of expert project managers, designers, writers, and optimizers can help. Contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today for more information about SEO/marketing in Minneapolis, MN.

4 Kinds of Keyword Research for Marketing and SEO Web Development in Rochester, MN

web development

Just as with many other technologies, the way search engines and web systems work changes over time. As recently as just a few years ago, Google and other search engine algorithms favored websites with saturated keywords and over-stuffed URLs. Today, those same practices are penalized. If you’re new to web development, it might be daunting to know where to start. Building a website requires a complex combination of design elements, relevant text and data content, keywords, search engine rule following, and more. To integrate the best search engine optimization (SEO) systems into your web presence, you have to follow the requirements set by Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search algorithms to put your website on the map in terms of ranking. A higher rank on a search engine results page (SERP) will give your website more visibility, credibility, trustworthiness, and authority. One of the greatest tools available to website and content creators for both SEO and marketing purposes is the use of keywords. As a third-party marketing firm and provider of expert web development in Rochester, MN, MLT Group LLC uses a wealth of knowledge and experience to embed and implement the right keywords in the right places on your site.

Experts

Our web design, marketing, social media, and SEO experts, graphic designers, videographers, producers, and project managers offer comprehensive services to meet any of your online objectives. If you’re embarking on a web design process alone, however, it’s important to remember the usefulness of keywords.

Keywords

Keywords on your site will help lead search engines to your web pages, content, and media in many ways. Not only are keywords directly linked to various types of user inquiries, but they can also help you decide the most effective content to create, build marketing campaigns, and utilize social media effectively. Researching which keywords will be the most effective for your brand can follow several different paths depending on what purpose they will serve.

Keyword Analysis

The four main categories of keyword analysis include research for SEO and search engine marketing, research for social media marketing, content creation research, and research into specific audiences or market demographics.

Web Development

For web development objectives, understanding those four paths for keyword research can help you build content that better meets user needs and improve your Google ranking.

SEO and search engine marketing keywords:

This type of keyword research is considered “classic” investigation. Determining which keywords relate to your brand and overall website content while also meeting user inquiries will increase your SERP ranking. Some basic SEO keyword use could be the inclusion of a general search term with a location. For instance, if your website serves as an e-commerce retail space but you also own a physical store, you can benefit from the use of keywords specific to your products, online shopping terms, and your actual locations. To use an existing example, if a user searches “vintage band t-shirts in Rochester, MN,” they will see there is an online store featured at the top of the Google search results for Ragstock. A branch of this retailer is located in a Rochester mall, but it also provides online shopping for vintage band t-shirts and other clothing. Using keywords to match the most-searched user inquiries (whether those searches are information-based, navigational, or transactional) in relation to your site content is the primary way to improve your SEO results.

Marketing

Another use of keywords for SEO/marketing purposes, specifically for search engine-based marketing, is for targeted promotions and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. The keywords used in these kinds of ads work similarly to SEO keywords on your actual website. Google and other search engines will rank ads that their algorithms find relevant to the user inquiry higher on SERPs. Paid promos and PPC ads related to keyword searches are also favored above organic results, often at the top of a SERP.

Audience and market research keywords:

You can also use keyword research to learn more about your audience or a specific user demographic. Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner system, your own website’s analytics, or even through market research with various news media like Reddit, YouTube, Quora, and Google News, you can pinpoint what audiences are asking, buying, talking about, interested in, unhappy about, and more. With keyword research geared towards audience behavior, you can also determine demographics like ages, locations, professions, languages, and other information. Google Trends is another free system that allows you to search keywords to see their level of trending over certain periods of time. Using keywords relevant to your online brand that are trending across large audiences or are discovered for niche user sets can assist you in building a diverse and dependable following to market to.

SERP ranking

Using keywords for a broad audience (like “vintage fashion”) combined with more unusual or underground keywords that are still related to your content (such as “vintage 1950s letterman jacket”) can be one of the most effective ways to grow your audience simply through SERP ranking.

Social media marketing keywords:

Another extremely effective use of keyword research is determining social media trends and understanding how to use hashtags (and tags in general) accurately. If you have an online presence, it’s highly recommended that you also have at least one social media platform. Ideally, brands should utilize the broad reach that multiple platforms like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat provide. Each of these social media platforms offers fully-developed “SEO” systems that use similar properties to actual search engine algorithms. These platforms index and rank accounts, tags, topics, and even images to best answer a user inquiry based on keywords and location.

Social Media Marketing

The trick to social media marketing is that each platform system is different from the rest. A trending post on Instagram won’t translate to video formats, and it may not hold the same attention on Facebook or Pinterest. Similarly, popular tweets reposted on Instagram and Facebook may actually be penalized for showing up as text content spam or advertisements that break platform rules. The best way to effectively use each social media platform’s keyword system is to spend time learning their various search systems and formats with the information applicable to your brand and audience.

Content creation keywords:

One rule of good SEO is to continue publishing fresh content that adds richness to your web presence, provides real information to your audience, and follows the rules of search engine algorithms. The pressure of creating new content frequently can make it difficult to plan what blogs or news to generate. That’s where keyword research for content creation can play a significant role in guiding your publishing path and answering your “who, what, where, when, why, and how” questions. Content creation will naturally intertwine with your overall approach to SEO practices, sharing your brand goals and getting results together.

Fresh Content

Although fresh content creation for the sake of staying prominent in the eyes of search engines is important, you can also use keyword research to determine other reasons why content should be made. For example, using content to grow email subscriptions, generate sales, partner with other brands, introduce new projects or leadership, and gain new certifications or authority over your work can all be important reasons for generating a blog post or even building a new web page. Using the right keywords in that kind of content will only make their release have a more effective impact on audience growth and SERP ranking.

Keyword research opens many doors to building your online presence positively. Whether you are building a brand-new site or enriching existing content, we can help. To learn more about the use of keywords for web development in Rochester, MN, contact MLT Group today at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online.

And the Winner is…!

The winner has been announced! Congratulations to Mike Pruett, MLT Group CEO, on being chosen the winner of the 2022 Rochesterfest Button Design Contest for 2022! Mike’s design was one of the 35 received this year and made it into the “Final Five” to be voted on via the Rochesterfest website and Facebook. For his winning design, Mike will be presented with a check for $300 at the Rochesterfest Button Kickoff event scheduled for May, and at that time, buttons will be available to the public for $5.

MLT Group

Mike is the founder and CEO of MLT Group Creative Solutions, overseeing the team and general business operations, working closely with designers and clients to develop engaging marketing and advertising solutions across all media for a diverse range of clients and markets across the country. Mike’s exceptional talents also include the creation and editing of video and audio content. His services are in demand across the country, and many of his repeat clients feel he is truly a master at his profession!

Community

Mike is a firm believer in community service and continues to support and actively participate in a wide variety of community organizations. Through the years he has provided his professional services to the City of Rochester and Olmsted County, and many civic and private non-profit organizations have benefited from Mike’s participation, contributions, and talents.

RochesterFest

This is not Mike’s first time as a Rochesterfest Button design winner! Believe it or not, this is Mike’s third win! Mike also won in 2008 and 2021! He has also helped the Rochesterfest organization in other ways, such as the video he created for the 2019 Rochesterfest.

With his wealth of creative ability and unparalleled commitment to community service and generous support, Mike lives and works his desire to provide the best services available and support every opportunity that comes his way with 110% of his energy!

Again, congratulations to Mike Pruett, winner of the 2022 Rochesterfest Button Design contest!

 

Types of Marketing Content Translated into Video Production in Rochester, MN

No matter what your business or online brand looks like, your website can benefit from increased traffic and improved search engine optimization (SEO) with the addition of video content. Visual content like images, graphics, and videos has proven time and again to be the most engaging type of digital media. The story-telling, imagery, music, and sound effects that can be incorporated into video content are able to capture attention quickly and relay rich information more effectively and with better memory retention than any other format. Text format and structural design elements have their place on any website, and they often create a foundation for an informational digital space. However, websites that supplement that text content and visual elements with video media often see overall user engagement, including traffic and conversion rates, increase by more than 100%. If you are looking to implement video content in an existing marketing campaign, into any of your website pages, or into a strategy you’re about to launch, MLT Group LLC can help. As a digital marketing agency, we provide comprehensive services for all kinds of customers with an online presence. From service companies and legal firms to manufactures and health care organizations, we offer digital marketing, web design, SEO services, social media marketing, graphic design, and complete video production for a wide variety of businesses in Rochester, MN and across the country.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is a powerful strategy for user engagement. When skillfully produced, video content can catch the eye of a user as soon as they enter your landing page. It can also inform viewers directly about your company goals, mission, products, services, and more. Out of all marketing investments, the majority of site owners report that their use of video production services provides the greatest monetary return and the fastest results.

Return on Investment

For any type of marketing tactic, it’s important to understand how you get a return on your investment (ROI) and apply tools and methods effectively. Video content produces a high ROI partly because videos can provide both short and long term results, but also because they can fit into many categories. From explainer shorts to social media stories, you can use video content to fit specific needs on your site and increase your brand presence while supporting your company goals and aesthetics.

Video Production

There are several ways that marketing videos can drive user engagement. Often, websites will utilize more than one kind of video content to support sales, conversion rates, and customer relationships in general. If you’re looking to add video content to your site, you should first determine what purpose you want that media to serve. Some common examples of marketing videos include:

Brand videos:

Usually created as part of a larger marketing campaign to partner with multiple other kinds of media content, brand videos can showcase your company and highlight your mission, priorities, products, and services. Brand videos increase the general user awareness of your company’s role in specific industries, but they also help generate user engagement by presenting what makes your brand stand out from other companies that offer similar services.

Explainer videos:

Many different brands can use explainer videos to communicate quickly and efficiently to their users. Most users report that receiving information-dense messages through videos increases their retention rate, making it more likely for them to remember your brand when entering a query into the search bar or recommending products to a friend. Explainer videos answer the questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how for various aspects of your company operations or brand mission. These video formats can be used to detail products, talk about processes, profile employees, and even explain an intangible service like customer relationship management (CRM) guidance. They typically follow a script and use sensory stimulating design aspects like sound and visual effects. Learn more about explainer videos.

Demo videos:

If you provide goods and services, it might be beneficial for you to incorporate various demo videos into your website. Demo videos can display products in use, showcase design options, illustrate the advantages of your service, and more. For companies that offer services or products that aren’t physical objects or actions, such as digital support or software, demonstration videos can be key for exhibiting exactly what those more abstract ideas might be. Many users report they will favor a product with a demo video over a similar product without one.

Instructional videos:

Similar to demo videos, instructional videos can also be important components of your website or a marketing campaign. These videos can be used to explain a product, but they are also often used to build user knowledge about your company as a whole. With more foundational information about your brand’s approach to your industry, customer base, and values, users will feel more comfortable with your business practices, ethics, and solutions.

Animations:

There are many potential applications for animations across your site. Outside of video content specifically, animations can be used as background design elements, buttons, drop down menus, navigation systems, and more. When it comes to using animations to build marketing videos, they can open doors to increasing your user engagement, supporting a growing brand aesthetic, and promoting a partnership with artists and creators. Animations can turn intangible goods and services, like digital systems, into visual explanation aids. They are often effective in relaying information that is important but complex to a wider audience of users. Additionally, while animation can be an expensive proposition, the advent of white board videos and related animation styles has provided a less expensive way to effectively utilize animation.

Testimonials and statistics:

One video format that can be the most effective in gaining user trust and exemplifying your authority over your goods and services is with testimonials, expert interviews, and statistics. If you have access to internal experts, such as company leaders, makers, or project managers, you can generate interview videos with those employees that both explain products more thoroughly and give reassurance to your audience. Testimonials from your current customers or audience can also be effective in giving a third-party view into the quality of your brand. Both expert interviews and testimonials also pair nicely with clear, genuine statistics.

Live streams:

While many videos for marketing purposes are highly curated, edited, and polished, there are many benefits to using social media for a more casual discourse with your audience. Video production of Live streams on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms can give your audience a behind-the-scenes view into your brand. These more intimate videos also support direct dialogs with your users in a space that may be more comfortable for them to interact with comments, likes, and reactions in real time. Live streams can be used for many purposes, such as event reels, presentations, interviews, employee profiles, product highlights, and more.

Comprehensive Services

Whether you need the support of a quality brand video to give your site a boost towards a more sophisticated and professional appearance, or you want to start developing demo or instructional videos for your products, our team of skilled marketing experts can help. MLT Group offers comprehensive services for video production in Rochester, MN and across the US, including added benefits like our 4K drone technology and graphics design expertise.

For more information about our videography services, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or contact us today.

How Media Content Affects Your SEO and Web Development in St. Paul, MN

There are many aspects of web development that can be utilized to build a site with the information, tools, and aesthetics appropriate to your brand. Most websites use design elements that have become standards like dropdown menus, landing pages, contact forms, and other common features recognizable to users. Conforming to expected web design elements will make your website easier to use and can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) results.

Web Development

Busy company leaders often choose to hire the services of a marketing firm for development of their websites. MLT Group provides complete services for web development in St. Paul, MN and across the country, including SEO, graphic design, social media marketing, digital marketing, video production, and more. Our experts can build your website to follow digital standards and emerging trends while ensuring your site is attractive to search engines and users alike.

Quality User Experience

In addition to supporting your brand’s online presence and providing the type of information that will answer user inquiries relevant to your company, a quality user experience (UX) should be a top priority in all your web development processes. The initial step to achieving a good UX for your site is a fast load time. Many users will click away from sites that load slower than two seconds. You may have had successful SEO that brought your page to the top of a search engine results page (SERP), but if a user clicks on your site and it loads slowly, you’re likely to lose that interaction.

Ranking Highly in Search Engines

If you build your website to offer a user experience that makes information easy to find and your company easy to do business with, you will have made a great start. Additionally, developing effective SEO that gets your site ranking highly in search engines is key to bringing in targeted traffic. Site features that catch that attention of users and keep them interested while on your site can be useful as well. However, don’t overdue these as clean and simple is still highly desirable in most site designs and some fancy features like pop-ups and interstitials can be detrimental to user experience and search engine rankings.

Overlays:

Overlays are dialog boxes, images, videos, or other types of content that show up directly on a browser window. A common example of an effective overlay is a request for users to sign up for a newsletter or enter an email for a first purchase coupon. Most retail sites, news resources, and blogs will use overlays to prompt users to sign up to receive emails from the company’s newsletter or advertisement system. These often are not penalized by Google or other search engines, but if they compromise the UX, they can damage SEO. Many web developers will pay close attention to how overlays affect the UX on mobile devices due to the smaller screen space. If you use overlays, make sure they are easy to close, show up within a few seconds of your page loading, and don’t show up repeatedly once the user has closed the box.

Pop-Ups:

Thanks to spammy pop-up ads that were common with the early internet days, Google and other search engines do not award sites that use any pop-ups. If you have pop-ups, not only is it likely that users will have browser prevention that automatically blocks pop-ups, Google will punish sites with pop-ups by lowering their SERP ranking. Pop-ups are different from overlays because they show up when a new window is opened rather than over a page. Pulling up a new window in addition to the page clicked will alert Google to potential spam and security risks. Generally speaking, we don’t recommend the use of pop-ups.

Modals:

Modals are similar to overlays, but they require action in the dialog box before users can interact with the page underneath. Common modals include sign-in requests, requirements to enter birthdates to continue, requests to verify users are over 21, requests to accept or deny cookies, CAPTCHAs, and other legal or paywall specific content. If modals appear right after the page loads, aren’t repeated once the user has provided the requested action, and are easy to understand, interact with, and close, Google will not penalize the use of that kind of media content. You can run into problems when using modals for advertisements or if the visual content is spam-like. If you have to use a modal, make sure it is not taking away from the UX or slowing down the load time of your site.

Interstitials:

Some sites, like Forbes.com, for example, use interstitials. Forbes uses them to show advertisements for their sponsors on their landing page. Interstitials are essentially timed overlays that cover part of the screen for a few seconds when you enter a site. These interstitials, or “interstitial experiences,” will stop you from interacting with a page or cover a large part of the screen as you scroll down. Even though they only last seconds, they can significantly damage the UX, and most search engines do not favor websites that use interstitials. Large brands like Forbes can get away with using interstitial advertisements on their landing pages, but most sites will see a decrease in SEO when they use interstitial elements. However, interstitials can be used effectively in very limited applications. They may be useful in making a user stop and acknowledge something before interacting with your site or to add some fun elements to your site’s entryway (such as this “Species in Pieces” interactive exhibition site). If you plan to use an interstitial, it may be beneficial to offer users the option to skip the experience.

Improve the UX of Your Site

For each of these elements, there is a lot to consider when taking into account how they will impact your SEO. Primarily, if you can utilize these elements to improve the UX, you can deter the negative impact they might have on your SERP ranking. If your website loads quickly and meets the needs of user queries while incorporating any of these types of media, Google and other search engines will be less likely to penalize your site. Tracking bounce rates, conversions, and other evidence of positive or negative user reactions will help you analyze how these elements are affecting the UX of your site. Have a backup plan if you have to remove these elements due to poor user interaction results.

Site Speed

The timing of these elements is also important. Generally, these elements should appear right when your site loads and only for short periods of time (or as long as users want to engage). Some exceptions to this rule could include an overlay that appears after a user reads a page or adds a product to their cart. Installing these elements into your site should also not pose damage to the user experience. If users can’t click past an element, if an element appears untrustworthy, if it slows down your site’s load time, or if it jumbles the primary design and informativeness of your main site, you probably want to avoid incorporating these types of media. Keep in mind that even if you install these elements and they don’t result in a bad UX, Google and other search engine algorithms might penalize your SEO results.

To learn more about web development in St. Paul, MN and how different elements of design can impact your SEO, or to get started with our team of skilled content creators and marketing experts, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

Increasing Traffic and Reducing Bounce Rate with Quality Site Design and SEO/Marketing in Rochester, MN

In today’s highly accessible digital world, truly anyone can make a website. There are many website design systems available to individuals, small businesses, and even large corporations. These site builder tools range in price; some are free, while others charge a monthly subscription fee or flat cost. When you use these systems to design your website, you almost always pay for what you get. Site builders like Squarespace and Wix, utilize templates that make it easy to build a decent site quickly. However, these templates often lead to a cookie cutter display that can’t fully support your unique brand aesthetics, while lacking optimization that can help a site rank on search engines. If you aren’t able to afford a custom site design, a site builder tool can help you establish an online presence, but when you work with a marketing firm that provides comprehensive web design and search engine optimization (SEO) services, you increase brand awareness, grow your audience, and go above and beyond the quality a cookie cutter template provides. MLT Group offers complete web services, including custom site design, marketing, SEO, social media marketing, graphic design, and video production for web. Based in Rochester Minnesota, we work with a broad variety of customers across the US. From service companies to manufacturers, if you’re looking to develop a website or expand an online brand, MLT Group can provide effective SEO/marketing in Rochester, MN and across the country.

Analytics

With any website, performing analytics regularly to measure the success rate of user interaction is important. If your site is effective, you’ll see positive conversion rates. Conversions occur whenever a user takes a “next step” on your website that creates a contact. This could be signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, downloading a white paper or coupon, or another form of interaction. If your conversion rates are low, you’re likely experiencing a high rate of user bounce. Users will click away from a site without taking “next step” conversion actions for many reasons.

Why Bounce Rates Occur

Let’s look more at users. Everyone fills the role of “user” as they interact with various websites daily. You don’t have to be a website designer to understand if a site offers a good user experience. If you consider the websites that you use, you can likely identify aspects of the sites that make them better or worse to utilize. Bounce rates increase for websites that are unpleasant or difficult to use. Some common causes of user bounce include:

Loading time:

Websites with pages that load slower than three seconds often experience significant bounce rates. In fact, many users report they will click away from a site that takes longer than two seconds to load. Increasing your site’s loading time will almost certainly guarantee a reduced rate of user bounce. Additionally, faster loading sites encourage better ranking results because search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo all value quick content loading pages higher in their ranking systems.

Content fulfillment:

When users enter a query into a search engine, they are often looking for something specific, but exactly what they are asking can be difficult to determine. If a user searches for “sustainable clothing,” for example, you can’t always be sure if they are looking to purchase sustainable clothing, learn more about what sustainable clothing is, or read reviews of sustainable clothing brands. If your site is coming up on a search engine results page (SERP) with a “sustainable clothing” query but your site’s content doesn’t answer the user’s question, you may experience a bounce. By analyzing your site’s keywords, comparing competing sites that rank with those various keyword searches, and expanding your content based on the intent of users you would like to attract, you can reduce those bounces with more targeted content fulfillment.

Site design:

The aesthetics of your brand can be engaging and reduce bounce rates because of the immediate user interest the aesthetics induce, but a more significant reduction in bounce rate will come from the core of your site design. First of all, your site should be clear, easy to use, and intuitive. Brand aesthetics are important, but user experience is key in retaining users and creating conversions. Ever heard the expression “a place for everything and everything in its place”? Your website should emulate that idea so that users understand how to get around the site and can easily find what they are looking for.  “Rage” and “dead” clicks come from users becoming frustrated with content that looks like a hyperlink or button but doesn’t take them anywhere or confusing navigation that wastes their time. Sites of any significant size may benefit from an option to search your site. A simple search system will encourage users to engage with your site to find more information or narrow their query results. Sites without a search system often experience bounce rates from users returning to the Google search bar because they didn’t find exactly what they need from that site’s landing page. Another design tool you can use is the inverted pyramid style. An inverted pyramid for text or media content can generate a hook of a user’s attention with a lead, move into details below, and finally answer the user’s initial question.

Calls to action:

When users interact with a website, they are invited to respond to a range of calls to action (CTAs). CTAs include prompts to sign up for a mailing list, subscribe to a newsletter, make an account with the brand, use a coupon code, make a purchase, view similar products, contact the company, and more. There are many kinds of CTAs for different scenarios. Strategic placement of CTAs, without compromising the quality of user experience, can improve conversion rates. Additionally, if you adjust your CTAs to include keywords pertinent to your SEO and site content, you can enhance your ranking on SERPs. For example, if you own a sustainable clothing brand, you can change a CTA from “Learn More” to “How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.” Navigation links that more clearly target what the user will find are good for users and search engines.

Bounce Rank Analysis

There are many other causes of user bounce, and it can be a difficult thing to analyze. In fact, some user bounce is because the site is working the way it should. For example, if people are coming to your website looking for your phone number and they find it immediately when they hit the home page, without having to visit a contact page, they get what they need and bounce off the site quickly. That’s a positive conversion, so a high bounce rate doesn’t always equate to ineffective user engagement. Still, understanding how users are interacting with your site is important to enhancing results. No matter how you engage users and increase conversion rates, it all starts with effective SEO and marketing action. Without quality SEO/Marketing tactics, your site won’t be ranked high enough on search engines to even be on the radar of users important to you. Learn more information about the basics of SEO and how a marketing firm can help.

Why SEO/marketing Works

Google and other search engines each use their own algorithm to crawl, index, and rank website pages. This means they send crawling “bots” to examine all the pages on the web for keywords, metadata, and other information. These bots return the gathered information and the search engine uses it to categorize or index each page. The pages are then provided on a SERP, ranked in an order that the algorithm judges to best answer the user query. A website can change its format and use tools to influence that ranking system to its favor. If you utilize search engine optimization techniques approved by Google, like intelligent placement of keywords, fresh content generation, and fast load times, you can increase the likelihood of a higher SERP ranking.

Digital SEO/Marketing Campaign

An effective digital marketing campaign will use SEO/Marketing and a good quality website as foundational to guiding the entire system. You need an online presence that serves your target audiences and ways to help those users find you. Social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising can also figure into a strategy for being easy to find and easy to do business with.

Ever-Changing Best Practices

The highly specific and ever-changing best practices of SEO and site design can be complex for website owners. If you are unsure of how to adjust your SEO/Marketing and website to reduce bounce rates and increase conversions, we can help. To learn more about our services for SEO/marketing in Rochester, MN and across the US, contact MLT Group at 507-281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

Generating Timely New Content for SEO Marketing in Minnesota’s Twin Cities

One of the most effective search engine optimization (SEO) practices for encouraging improved website rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) is the publication of fresh content on a regular basis. Whether it’s in the form of a blog or other source on your site allocated to the release of informational text content, search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo all favor websites that can provide users with current, relevant, and original information. The most popular tool for regular content additions is a blog utility. These can be integrated into new or existing websites with the help of a marketing and content development agency. At MLT Group LLC, we provide SEO, digital marketing, social media marketing, graphic design, web design, and video production services for a broad range of clients. Our SEO marketing services in Minnesota’s Twin Cities and throughout the region offer a comprehensive range of support for small businesses, nonprofits, local brands, and customers. Our team of marketing experts, writers, graphic designers, project managers, and videographers work with customers to meet their exact needs while following the technical and design trends that improve website quality and SERP rankings to expand audiences and improve conversions.

Content Creation

One aspect of content creation that we work into blogs and informational articles we write for our customers is the idea of newsworthy or timely content. Search engine algorithms approve of websites that stay up to date on their data and user trends. Publishing timely content that will also be attractive and helpful to users will make your website more likely to get a higher ranking from a search query. For example, if a user searches for “best rated toasters,” Google and other search engines will favor sites with blogs that rank the newest toasters. Blogs or articles that are titled “Best Toasters of 2022” or “Top Rated Toasters of 2022, Tested by Chefs,” for instance, will likely improve your ranking for that query.

Headlines

Headlines and title cards are important parts of SEO marketing when it comes to publishing new content, but the use of keywords and having information that is actually helpful to users is important too. The information in your content, the relevance of the data to your brand and audience, and the interest or “humanization” of that data are all important parts of publishing newsworthy, timely stories.

Internal and External Information

When choosing a topic for a timely blog or news article, there can be multiple sources for your information. Having accurate data that can be backed by internal studies, reports, or analytics or by reputable external sources is important because it improves your brand’s credibility, establishes trust with your users, and improves your professional image. However, most of the companies and brands that host websites and publish content to grow their audiences don’t have access to reporters and newsrooms. Many scholarly articles, scientific studies, or other rich, data driven sources of information are housed behind pay walls.

Data

To get the right data for timely stories, you’ll have to tap into the resources you do have at hand. This can include your company’s own operations and expertise, staff knowledge, internal data, public information, surveys and other customer feedback, social media, and many other sources of knowledge, advice, facts, and other statistics that could be useful to your audience. Your internal data resources can provide analytics and statistics that you can use to build relevant information for the contemporary user. In fact, most companies have a rich source of information about their day-to-day operations that many customers might be interested to know.

Transparency

Think about the companies that you purchase goods and services from or the brands that you support. Would it be of interest to you to learn how those goods are made, what training staff is given, how things are cleaned, what equipment is used, or how facilities are maintained? What about the information that guides brands to develop a certain product or build their site tools in a specific way? You can lend some transparency to your company’s operations, expertise, and analytics to give important information to users that will make your brand more likeable to the customer and better ranked on SERPs.

Public Data

Another important resource for data you can use as a foundation for timely content is public data from the municipal, state, or federal governments, data published in open studies, ranking systems, articles, peer reviewed papers, books, journals, and more. Wikipedia is not considered a credible database because it is built with crowd sourced information, but you can often use the Wikipedia resources section of a page to backtrack to references listed that are accredited or legitimized data citations.

Customer Feedback

You can also gather information from users and your own customers by conducting surveys, asking for reviews and feedback, and analyzing user interaction with your brand. By gathering your own data this way, you can prove to readers the reliability of your information by disclosing the numbers and way you learned about the topic for a certain blog or article. There are many ways to gather survey information available to companies today, such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Google Survey.

Having information to create timely content is key but, you still need to be able to determine its relevancy to users. If your blogs or articles are not relevant to the users that interact with your website, you can lose their attention and your site may seem less relevant to search engines.

Relevance

To determine the relevance of your data, you need to decide if it is serviceable to the reader, contextualized, and localized. In order for your content to be serviceable, it needs to help users in some way. Most companies perform analytics to gather data about their audience demographic. This often includes age, cultural background, location, economic status, and community. If you have a dataset you can use to write content, you need to write around that information to make it helpful to your user demographic. For example, if an appliance company has a group of statistics showing that 80% of homeowners store their toasters off of the counter when not in use, they can use that information to recommend the best toasters in their collection for efficient storage or toasters that cool down the fastest or are the easiest to clean. The company could also gather further information about where their customers most frequently store toasters in the kitchen and relay that in a timely blog post.

Relay News

To generate content that is contextualized, you need to stay in the loop for trends significant to your brand. The purpose of digital marketing with SEO content is not necessarily to break the news to the public, but you can relay news about your brand in the form of industry trends. Think about what’s happening in the world to your business format, your audience, your products, and more. If your brand falls into a niche or industry category, publishing data with regard to the current events and trends of those areas will give that information a strong relevancy because of the way SEO and search engine algorithms work. Continuing with the toaster example, an appliance company could publish content overviewing their most popular toaster models and parallel that with trends in kitchen aesthetics and varying degrees of gadgetry consumers currently desire.

Localization

You can also use localization to make global data or large-scale conclusions gathered from reputable studies accessible to your audience. Localizing data brings it to a community level. For example, if there was the release of a brand-new toaster like a smart phone-controlled, portable, and rechargeable toaster with a USB port (we don’t know if this exists) it could spark conversation among your audience if you write a blog discussing pros, cons, and whether such a device is necessary. Localized content gives users the chance to interact more personally with information and allows you to speak more directly with your audience.

Humanizing the Story

Finally, you need to humanize your story to make it relatable to your living, breathing users. While a search engine will process your data and content based only on merits written into a software algorithm, users will go one step beyond this and process information on an emotional level that can manifest in many ways, including surprise, care, joy, fear, anger, and much more. As humans, we process things in emotional ways naturally even if we are also considering the numbers and logic of informational content. Unlike journalistic news providers who have to report objectively, marketers and brands can instill a humanized aspect to their content with the subjection of emotion in positive, constructive ways.

Pairing data relevant to your brand and your users with a humanized delivery will help you create more successful timely content. To learn more about using these tools for SEO marketing in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as surrounding areas, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

Understanding the Important Role of Explainer Video Production in Minneapolis, MN

There are many aspects of videography and film production that can go into a marketing campaign, from product descriptions to full company commercials. Graphics, scripts, lighting, makeup, audio, and other components all go into making video production so complex that it can be a difficult venture for small companies and brands with less access to expensive equipment, software, and training. Because of that, many companies outsource videography to marketing agencies with a dedicated film department. Not only does this make the entire process less stressful and more efficient without compromising control over the creative process, it’s also often a less expensive way to get a quality product. The return on your investment (ROI) for videos is typically one of the highest when compared to other marketing systems, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and even other visual media. Modern video content has proven time and again to be one of the most engaging formats of marketing media. MLT Group Creative Solutions provides comprehensive video production in Minneapolis, MN, Rochester, and the surrounding area. Our expertise extends to corporate, social media, industrial, training, education, and commercial videos, animation, video duplication, surveillance video enhancement, and even aerial video with our 4K drone technology.

Other Services

In addition to complete videography services, MLT Group also offers digital marketing strategies, graphic design, social media and SEO services, web design, and more. With MLT Group, high quality video production is within reach because we know how to provide scalable video production to meet most budgets. Throughout any project we work on, we operate as your partner. Our customers maintain creative control from start to finish while our videography experts provide continued communication, state-of-the-art equipment, and talent.

Marketing Videos

Because there are so many different kinds of marketing videos, videos that can be used to boost your audience and website traffic, and videos that can improve communication with your users, it can be hard to know where to start. The video format that will benefit your company most will depend greatly on your goals and current standing as a brand. However, for many companies and digital brands, the format of “explainer videos” can be highly beneficial and even change the way your website is ranked on search engine results pages (SERPs).

What are explainer videos?

Explainer videos are short, often animated videos that walk users through a clear explanation of a company’s services, products, or goals. Quality explainer videos have proven to have extremely high conversion rates, some even as high as over 100%. Conversion rates, the measurement of how many users take the next step on your site to click a product, read a new page, sign up for an email list, etc are important key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you determine your ROI, user engagement, and other factors. Explainer videos are usually placed prominently on a home page or landing page so they are your site’s first line of significant user interaction.

There are many types of explainers videos, though animated graphics are the most popular format of explanation today. Some basic types of explainer videos include:

Live-action:

If you have a staff that’s camera ready or if you are able to hire commercial actors, you can make a highly effective live-action explainer video. Live-action explainers are most effective for companies with goods or services targeted for physical use. For example, a live-action video might be more effective for a company selling a special type of toothbrush rather than for a company offering more abstract services like customer relationship management (CRM) technology. Having a cast of real people using physical products or services can also help create an emotional connection with viewers.

Animated:

This format of explainer video is one of the more prevalent styles used today, often used for companies offering digital services, software, and other internet tools. Animated explainer videos can be very useful for walking the viewer through complex subject matter with interesting or fun graphics. Many people learn better with visual aids, so an animated explainer video can capture the viewer’s attention throughout a full breakdown of a more abstract concept or process. Additionally, animated explainer videos often have a better retention rate of technical or intangible information when compared to live-action explainer videos of the same material. Animations give companies a chance to instill creativity and their brand’s aesthetic into information-rich video content.

Live stream:

Social media live streams can be made into casual live-action videos that reach a high level of user engagement. Live streams don’t give you the ability to edit the information given in real time or the ability to erase stumbles in the script, but they are highly effective in reaching your viewers on a very human level. They also show that your company feels comfortable showing raw footage, meaning you have nothing to hide. Live streams can increase the trustworthiness and friendliness of your brand.

How are they made?

The way explainer videos are made will vary slightly from format to format, but every process will follow the same general guidelines. Most effective explainer videos will have a well-defined topic, a script or at least key talking points, style/aesthetics, sound design, an introduction, and a conclusion. Depending on what format of explainer video you’re making, your production process could also include a storyboard, voiceover, animation, transitions, and other aspects of videography. Some of the most important parts of any good explainer video include:

Script:

The finished video design quality can make an explainer video more effective, but nothing communicates the information more quickly and precisely than a well-written script. When writing a script, consider what key information you need to relay to the viewer. Try to answer the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” (five Ws and an H) of your video topic. The script should always include a brief introduction to the topic, a clear explanation that answers the five Ws and H of the video, and a conclusion that increases conversion rates. A good script will convert users to click to learn more, view a product or service page, sign up for a newsletter, or even make a purchase. If you aren’t using a full script, for example, if you are filming a live stream on social media, make sure the people featured in the video have in front of them key talking points to cover.

Style:

From a fully edited animation to a casual live stream explainer video, you should always produce the video in your company’s style. Using the design aesthetics and stylization of your brand will help incorporate your video into the map of your website and boost your marketing image. It will also help make your marketing campaign and overall online presence into a cohesive unit. Your company has its own unique style and using those aesthetics in your explainer videos will solidify their inclusion into your website design.

Sound design:

For both the technical and aesthetic aspects of your explainer videos, sound design is critical. When it comes down to it, your viewers need to be able to clearly hear the explanation given of a product, service, or company goal. Clear sound capturing with mid to high quality equipment and a crisp production of the script will both help you improve the value of any explainer video. Additionally, when used effectively, music, sound effects, and other components of creative sound design increase the viewer’s retention of the information relayed and improve conversion rates.

There are many other steps that go into the making of an explainer video in addition to these basic requirements. Explainer videos range from as simple as an informal, spontaneous live stream to as complex as a full animation taking many hours to produce.

If you are ready to incorporate an animation or live-action explainer video or other audiovisual content into your website, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490  or at sales@mltgroup.com for more information about our video production in Minneapolis, MN and across Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.