Arnie Kuenn is President of Vertical Measures, who offer services in link building, content creation and notably their content marketing guide. We met at Pubcon, and he’ll be speaking at Conversion Conference on video. He was kind enough to give us this sweeeeet interview . (I previously interviewed another Conversion Con speaker, Keith Hagen
Can you give me a little background about you?
You bet. Well first I am the founder and president of Vertical Measures, a search, social & content marketing company. Our focus is helping our clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business from their websites. I am an entrepreneur who had had two previous businesses in the world of new technologies and marketing. I am also a frequent speaker and author of Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing (available on Amazon).
What knowledge level are you addressing in your preso at ConvConf?
This particular session is on video marketing and using video to increase conversions. Therefore I would say the people attending this session will be a little more marketing oriented as opposed to technically oriented.
You’re talking about video for conversion. What video content can your average ecommerce merchant create to lift sales?
It is a bit difficult to define the “average merchant” due to all the product possibilities, however, in general, videos that help demonstrate the product or video reviews of the product tend to be most successful in providing an increased conversion rate.
We’ve seen this at some of the major ecommerce sites like Amazon and Zappos, but even the little guy is finding success with video. [Emphasis added.]
For example there is a guy selling a home fitness product who saw a 46% increase in conversions when he used video. In addition to product demos and reviews, how-to videos can be pretty powerful too. In fact, I will be discussing a case study where one business grew exponentially over the past several years all based on how-to videos.
Can you share some links with companies going DIY with their video, please?
Sure. One would actually be Vertical Measures. We have actually turned one of our offices into a small studio and are doing more and more video in there: http://www.verticalmeasures.com/content/how-do-you-use-yahoo-answers-for-internet-marketing-video/
Here is a Golf School creating their own videos:
And here is a link to one of the examples I will use in my presentation:
What attracted you to Conversion Conference vs another show?
I have known Tim Ash for quite a while now. Tim and I have spoken at many of the same events.
About two years ago I wrote a book about content marketing and Vertical Measures added content marketing services to our mix. Tim and I were talking one day and he asked if the kinds of things we were doing were helping clients with conversions. Of course the answer was “yes” so he invited me to speak at his San Francisco event.
I guess I didn’t mess that up too bad, so he invited me back to talk about video.
I will say, Tim runs one of the best conferences I have spoken at. He has a real eye for detail and takes the attendee and speaker feedback to heart.
Can you specify what feedback you’ve seen Tim take to heart and implement to improve the show?
I can think of two examples but I can’t say that I have seen it implemented yet, as I have only done the one event so far. But in San Francisco, Tim joined our lunch table for a few minutes, one of the attendees at the table made a suggestion and Tim quickly pulled out a piece of paper and started jotting down notes. He then asked the entire table for feedback. It’s not very often you see the person in charge of the event doing something like that.
The second example, was someone complaining about the sightline in one of the presentation rooms being obstructed by a pillar. You could tell Tim was already aware of the issue as he just bristled. I am pretty darn sure, there won’t be any pillars in the way in the future.
You’ve been to the show before. Who makes up the audience, in terms of job position?
Yes, as I mention above I was at the San Francisco event. I can only speak for the group that attended my particular session, but I saw quite a cross-section of people there.
There were developers, marketers and business owners there.
But all of them were focused on how to get more out of their website. I spoke on how to generate content ideas, so I think my group was a little more slanted towards the marketers, as opposed to designers.
Who are you looking to network with most, and why? (Can mean some specific person/people or types – eg other speakers to learn, inhouse ux people for lead gen etc).
Since I am not a UX guy or a developer, I tend to gravitate to the business owners and marketers.
I love to hear what others are experiencing, the challenges they are facing, and some of the solutions they have come up with to grow their businesses.
Everything in our world is moving at such a fast pace that it’s great to have a chance to get out and talk to people who can totally relate to each other.
What tips would you offer for people to get the most out of their networking, besides the standard ‘don’t start with self-promotion’?
Pretty short answer: ask questions. Like you said, don’t talk about yourself, ask question about others and their business. It’s the best way to learn and engage.
What’s a growing trend that you see in video for conversion (besides increased usage)? What are people getting right that they used to get wrong?
I think the biggest trend is the DIY aspect.
Rather than hiring a production firm, some businesses are talking the bull by the horns and creating their own videos. This might mean they hire a videographer on staff or it might mean they just use webcams and simple equipment to produce decent video all on their own. To me, just trying is doing it right.
My only real caveat is that most viewers are pretty tolerant of less than professional grade videos, but you must get the sound and lighting right. People will just click away if they cannot hear or see the video due to low quality production.
Now with respect to conversions, little things do matter. Something as simple as pointing (in the video) to the form you want them to complete can see a drastic improvement in conversion rates.
Your company specializes in link building. How can link building consultants satisfy customers in the short term, when relationship building is a long-term effort?
Vertical Measures is definitely known for our link building, but more and more of our link building efforts are centered around creating link attraction through great content.
And Penguin/Panda have only accelerated that area of our business. Most clients are now convinced that patience is a virtue when it comes to obtaining the proper back link profile.
The Google updates in March & April went a long way in helping us explain this to our clients, but we also have many case studies demonstrating where creating solid content, then promoting it, drove backlinks to their website.
In many cases the cost per link was substantially lower than the standard “ordering 10 links for $2500” approach. The only difference being it took a couple months longer with the content approach.
This would have been a different answer just a few months ago, but anyone paying attention to SEO these days seems to totally get it.