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Getting Down with Demos

Posted on 9.30.2012

Have you ever asked how a certain product works, just to be promptly answered with “Let me show you”?

Although a simple explanation may have been all you were looking for, the on-the-spot demonstration probably shed some light on key aspects of the product that you weren’t aware of, and could have even led you into making a purchasing decision.

This demonstration process actually happens quite frequently in everyday life, and the virtual world is no different. In fact, many online videos leverage the power of demonstrations to explain a specific message to consumers, which can lead to a boost in conversion rates, a decrease in abandonment rates and an increase in search visibility.

So how can your business start implementing demos into its online strategy? Let me show you…

The Idea Process

There are many ways that you can go about adding demonstration videos onto your website. However, before you take a look at some of the vendors, the first step is deciding exactly what you are going to demonstrate. According to JC Stites, CEO of Autodemo, a good starting point is to identify a particular need that is going to have a high return on investment — such as reducing customer service costs, increasing sign-ups or reducing abandonment rates.

For example, if a travel website is receiving an increase of customer emails and phone calls with questions regarding a recently launched service, the company may want to create a demonstration that shows their customers exactly how to use the new service. The demo can be featured on the website and launched in email and social media marketing campaigns in order to help reduce customer service costs and increase engagement.

It is also imperative to create a video that will stay fresh for as long as possible, according to Erik Kretschmar, co-founder of DemoFlick. This is especially important to keep in mind when featuring time sensitive content within videos, including website screen shots, because if your site goes through a redesign, the demonstration video that you put a lot of time and money into can quickly appear to be outdated.

The Creation Process

After your company has identified a need in which a demonstration could be useful, the next step is the creation process. While some businesses might want to take a do-it-yourself approach, others will want the help of professionals.

There are a variety of video editing softwares available for those who take the do-it-yourself avenue — including Screenr, which allows users to quickly create and launch screencast tutorials. (Visit for a list of other video editing softwares.)

However, companies that want a more polished creative process should check out platforms like Autodemo and DemoFlick. Both of these companies work with clients to create a customized and personalized video that can be viewed on all channels, including mobile and tablet devices. With these companies, the entire creation process typically takes about three weeks.

Autodemo provides its clients with the ability to create both long- and short-form videos. The long-form videos are very detailed and can showcase multiple products, while the short-form demos, which are called AutoTips, can be integrated throughout a site. Autodemo also gives clients the ability to translate screens and voiceovers into more than 40 different languages.

“We come in and learn about your solution and help you tell a compelling story about it,” says Stites, Autodemo’s CEO. “We take the ball and run with it at every stage, but we get important input from our clients when we need it.”

On the other hand, users who choose DemoFlick can expect to collaborate with the company through a 10-step process that incorporates scripting and storyboarding into the production procedure. The company’s demo video packages include motion design, sound effects, background music and animations.

Measuring the Results

After a demonstration is created and launched, the next step is measuring results.

While neither Autodemo nor DemoFlick’s videos come with built-in analytics, both companies recommend that clients implement their own Web analytics tools to track results. However, another way that companies can monitor results is by including a survey at the end of the demo to gather feedback from customers. In fact, one of Autodemo’s merchants did just that, and the results revealed that 91 percent of the 7,000- plus customers who were surveyed found the demo useful, while 87 percent claimed they would also view demos for other topics.

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