Why Video Presentations?

#7 of 100

Seventh in a series of 100 Hubs for my 100 in 30 Days HubChallenge!
Seventh in a series of 100 Hubs for my 100 in 30 Days HubChallenge!

Do Video Presentations Really Sell Self Employment Programs?

 Have you ever bought a service or signed up for a work at home program or bought a site or  business of any kind because of a video presentation? Do you know anyone who did?

I run into these all over the place. As soon as I see the topic of the video they linked to, usually hosted on YouTube or some similar service, is to sell me something, my eyes glaze over and I reach for my mouse to click away in the exact state of revulsion that I experience when I see spam getting past the spamfilter in my email.

It sets me on edge if the page does not give any information about the topic I clicked on but says "See this video to find out about this opportunity" or whatever it is.

I don't have time to sit through a video presentation. I don't want to listen to some actor who looks like a white suburban middle class mainstream type start a sales pitch, and have to sit through him talking down to me and wrapping lots of cheery fluff around any point or fact involved in the product or system, then breaking it down to a dummy-level so that maybe an eight year old would get snowed by it and believe that you can get $70,000 a day on this hype without doing any actual work.

The video presentations look like scams even when they're not. I've occasionally clicked one just to analyze it -- and the information is spread so thin throughout the video that you're left wading through all this babble about how great it is to have money and free time to get to any information about the program. Then all the testimonials get quoted aloud. Those may occasionally have tiny nuggets of information on what is actually involved in using the product or software, on what personality types are more likely to succeed in this specific type of business and so on. Information is there sometimes in testimonials.

I almost passed up the one online business opportunity I'm actually succeeding with because the whole first page consisted of testimonials and links to video presentations and I didn't find an easy link to a transcript of the presentation to just read the facts and decide for myself. It took someone who already had it to explain the program in a much shorter simpler way and direct me through several cilcks to get to the facts, including important ones like how much it costs and what I can reasonably expect to get out of using it.

The video presentation sounded scammish until I got well into the facts and understood that they're debunking some obvious expectations about things you can do to get income working for yourself at home. Key phrases did pop out at me, like "This will take time and effort to work it, we have a lot of successes, read the testimonials, but none of them did it without doing the work," and realistic "It may take a year or several years to see serious returns, but those of our members who stick with it report these great results." And some solid statistics supporting that -- yep, a lot of people wash out in the first year or don't renew, of those that do the number of successes in second year owners goes way up and by third year if they stick around they're getting good money out of it.

So that was the debunking point that finally convinced me this wasn't a scam. I appreciated their honesty because a lot of these programs, while perfectly real, fluff over the fact that only people who are capable of the type of work needed to succeed in the program will get the decent money it can pay out and will point at the one fluke millionaire success more than the average income of the average successful user. Realistic expectations are a plus in any presentation for an online business service or software.

The meaningful numbers came later -- way pages in, about the sixth or seventh page I visited, I found out the thing that would've sold me right at the start. That of people who actually did finislh creating the sites and use all of the software instead of just some of it, a staggeringly high percentage went beyond breaking even and got some profit -- I mean loony high basic success rate, something like 85% were past breaking even and a good solid number of people were doing it full time -- and ranged between one-site hits and people who just patiently built a dozen of them so all the different trickles added into a livable level of earnings.

I read fast.

I take in information rapidly by reading and retain it much easier. Quirk of my brain -- that's my personal learning mode, it's visual and that meant schoolwork was often much easier than for other kids who complained about "heavy reading" but meant I could never pay attention in class. I have a great deal of trouble with audio information because I've got some slight hearing problems and a serious resentment that dates all the way back to grade school of having to sit through endlessly slow repetitive lectures trying to fish information out of repetitions of something I'd already read and knew.

I know that a lot of people are audio learners and will retain information better if someone says it aloud -- that for them, just having a friend read the textbook aloud to them can triple their grades because if they read it, they'll forget what they read. But why don't these places also put their information on the same page as the video, so I can scroll down and skim it and know whether to keep going or understand whether this is just another variation on multi-level marketing -- which I'm not very good at.

I found this out on several programs at various points in my life I was broke and needed income, discovered that I don't have a natural sales personality and don't actually enjoy the process of selling even if I know the product's decent and would use it myself. That's a bottom line, my ethics would get in the way of selling anything if I didn't know it was worth buying at that price. I'm not a scammer and couldn't stomach even a little bit of ripoff mentality.

I'm not motivated by money either and decorating the site with cartoon bags of money only convinces me that they're going to try to convince me to care more about money than about whether I'm actually enjoying what I'm doing with my time -- my unique, never-to-return-again, personal time and effort that could have gone into writing a Hub about my latest new art book or my favorite dinosaur or something else that's a lot more fun and could also bring in enough money to let me go on farting off at the computer instead of working hard.

Ideally, I should go through the rest of my life without ever working hard and if I do nothing, I already have that. I've got Social Security. So they're no longer waving bags of money at me while I'm worried about eviction, no, the check comes every month because I go on breathing and being disabled and when I'm dead I won't need it.

The presentations themselves are often studio made and look a lot more slick than most YouTube videos. The company head or someone reasonably charismatic, usually white and sorta clean-cut and prosperous in style, starts talking about money as if it's terribly important and sounds like... a salesman. Okay, more often than not it's a short haired guy. Sometimes it's a woman who's dressed in Business Casual and looks like she pays someone to do her hair every week. The image they create is Business Class.

Does this actually appeal to people who want to work at home so they never have to wear a tie? Am I just weird that way that the infomercials aren't that entertaining?

I'm not in it for the money. I'm not the kind of person who'd do anything to get money. Or even just limit it to "anything legal to get money." I'm not willing to be bored, humiliated, pushy, dress funny (in comparison to my real tastes) or distort who I am in order to get money. I'm one of these counterculture people who'd be happy with less money but lower expenses and never having to wear Business Casual in my life.

So why doesn't one of these work at home places come out with a grinning bald tattooed man wearing black leather and speaking intelligently with a nose piercing selling the freedom of working at home and doing your own thing? I would think that would actually reach a whole class of people who are the ones more likely to do it.

Or some pleasant adult single mom in a sweatshirt and scruffy hair with a paint splatter in her eyebrow and a big table of Donna Dewberry stuff and a couple of kids in background playing and behaving themselves decently because Mom's actually there to give them attention, talk about her success with the work at home thing and how great it is that she no longer pays enough to support two more people getting daycare folks who don't even know her kids to watch them while she slaved in the office grind?

Isn't that the sort of person who actually works from home?

Okay, if it's Avon, you do expect the Avon Lady to look super groomed and use all their products and show that a middle aged woman with a few extra pounds can look great on a bargain budget using the products she's obviously very skilled with. Avon is the special case in these things because Avon is a cultural institution. I have a friend who sells it so if you're an Avon rep, sorry, I have a close friend to connect with if I ever want to buy any gifts for women.

I'm thinking more about the assorted and numerous multilevel marketing programs, which can work out for people who have a sales personality rather well, though you need to be aware there are scams and if you're interested in doing that work, you're best off looking at the big old established programs that have been around for a long time. Amway or Shaklee and so on have knocked a lot of the bugs out of it and it's what it is.

And of course the program I am actually using, which is more of a site hosting and business software solution that's actually getting me good traffic. But anything involving working at home and any tool for business or self employment seems to get this "pretend you're corporate" pitch.

Does it really work?

I don't sit here pretending I'm the CEO of a big company. I wouldn't want to be, any more than I'd want to be at its lowest rung. I got out of working for big companies the first time I ever wound up in one by accident because I don't like that impersonal business atmosphere.

What makes these videos so popular?

I grew up like most people with TV commercials and with the late-night infomercial often being the only thing that's on. I developed a healthy sales resistance to anything said during a commercial and didn't get it why anyone would tune in for a half-hour long commercial that doesn't even have a program interrupting it. Very few people I've known actually like commercials and ads.

Those few are usually fonder of the fast-paced humor or art style advertising anyway --/ not the clean desk office presentation sort of thing.

So what makes these so popular? Do they actually sell things? If so, why and how?

Do most people really have lower sales resistance and just automatically tune in when a video presentation goes on?

My daughter says it's because in corporate culture, sales presentations, PowerPoint presentations and video presentations are the custom. That it is exactly to make the customer feel like you're the CEO of your own one-person company being treated with all the status-perks of a CEO because you're in charge of you -- 100% true actually, and that includes when you work for someone else, you contracted to do certain services and might have been snowed into a bad contract that invades your personal life in various ways. If you cut your hair for work you can't exactly grow it out again for the weekend.

So maybe that is the image they want to present, and maybe it is successful for most of the people they're reaching -- a number of successful site owners are people like dentists or landscapers or various other self employment out in offline life looking to build an online branch of the business or just get enough traffic to get enough clients to keep it going.  It works too.

But it's one of those areas of life where I do feel a wide cultural gulf. Now I'm curious about the culture it reaches -- and why it matters to go on with a preamble about how wonderful having money is before getting to the point of the real benefits of the system or program being presented -- why the hard sell is acceptable to people.

Most things in life that I've bought it's been on personal recommendation from trusted people or on my deciding on my own that I needed something like it and choosing among the alternatives. I tend to be pretty independent. I do look for actual content in advertising and there are some categories of ads that will immediately grab my interest on topic.

Invent a new art supply. Come up with a variation on pencils that's never been done. Demonstrate it and describe it accurately. It'll be on my wish list while I'm halfway down the page looking at the print ad and seeing where it fits in my arsenal of Assorted Pencils whether it's all bright new colors or this one has the soft neutral variations on graphite that can give me a different effect. If you don't draw, you could care less about these pencils.

But in terms of successful advertising, one image always gets me by the gut -- a rainbow spread of the color product in spectrum order, especially if it has a large range. When I see fifty or sixty hues all in order, it sets off my imagination and I know I'm going to find out exactly what texture and pigment strength and best surface and what works well with it and want to do something with it right now. I could not only buy it but would probably if I were rich have the full range overnight-flown to my hands and still be itching to get it sooner.

Someone go to England for me and just buy me one of everything Derwent makes and deliver it as a surprise, you would have me hitting ecstasies barely known to humanity and probably get one of the greatest works of art I did in my life for the trade. Do that with Caran d'Ache and I might even do you a mural sized painting with it.

Seriously -- when it comes to people already interested in the product or service by category, advertising serves an informative function -- and the sight of the range usually also gives me a good idea of its uses. It'll tell me if this range is good for doing florals or if it's the best set for doing people with a gazillion earth tones, or if this one's about landscapes and has more greens and blues than I've ever seen in one set of anything. A landscape artist can never get too many greens in a dry medium.

I know the video presentation is immensely popular for this type of sales -- the business-to-business for the small entrepreneur. If you have any ideas on why, I'm very curious to read them. My daughter's comment does make sense, but am I the only one who thinks there ought to be a pitch designed for the single mom and the guy who doesn't want to wear a tie? Or even... a print version where you can get the interesting and relevant facts for comparison right off rather than sitting through a hard sell when you're half sold anyway because you were looking.

The one I bought is a particularly odd example because when I waded through to the facts, they did and do stand up to every comparison I can make. It was and is exactly right for me, the best version of what it is for the best price with the most benefits. I almost didn't look because of that presentation -- so this really has me curious, please, share your thoughts and views on video presentations and whether they're actually more useful or less useful to you than print presentations.

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