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Welcome to Growth Interviews!

Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth.

Our mission is to provide insights and ideas from world-class professionals on the topic of growth and to cut through the noise of so-called marketing tips and tricks, revealing the money-making strategies behind e-commerce.

Each episode is an intriguing challenge involving an insightful expert who reveals some of their best-kept secrets, which you can use right away to boost your business. 

In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our conversation with Dennis Yu, an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing who has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CNN and CBS Evening News. 

Dennis is a co-author of Facebook Nation, a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities and is a regular contributor to Adweek’s SocialTimes column. He is also published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, SocialFresh and Heyo.

In the course of the interview, we picked Dennis’s brain regarding how e-commerce businesses can use one-minute videos to attract more customers and how they can use the world’s biggest social media network, Facebook, to achieve growth. You’ll find many interesting ideas and insights in the video below.


We know you don’t want to miss a single piece of advice from Dennis Yu’s interview, so we’ve also prepared a full transcript below.

The secrets behind the marketing success of one-minute videos

Give us a few tips about how you can achieve growth through video and Facebook.

Dennis: If you want to drive sales, you know that if you connect with people in person, you’re able to establish a relationship. Before there was the Internet, this is how people decided who they trusted enough to be able to make a decision. So, all we’re doing on Facebook or digital is really just extending what we already know how to do in person. I’d like to tell people, ‘If you don’t know how to make a sale in person, you’re not going to be able to make a sale on the Internet!’ 

For Yahoo, twenty years ago, we built Yahoo Personals, which is a dating site. And the joke was that if you weren’t a cool guy in person if you’re a loser in the real world, you would be a loser on the Internet. Just because there are millions of people, it doesn’t somehow really increase your chances or make you a different person.

When I think about video, it’s nothing magic. It’s not about the equipment, it’s about helping people understand who you are, your knowledge, what you stand for; we talk about why, how and what. So, when we make one minute videos about each of those things, we’re giving people the chance to know who we are as a company, to know the stories that other people have as they relate to our company and our product. We’re just building funnels that go from why, to how, to what.

You have one-minute videos on why, telling stories of different customers and figureheads, partners, authorities or other people that they trust, to how, where you’re sharing knowledge – in one-minute videos again, showing just little tidbits of knowledge, all the way down to the what, where now you’ve earned the right to talk about the product because you’ve remarketed all the way down in these sequences, down to the middle.

Video optimization hacks to make your one-minute videos go viral:

?Capture users’ attention: people get a first impression within half a second. Therefore, e-commerce businesses need to get a real understanding of why viewers not only visit a specific page but what is likely to cause them to repeat their visit.
? Optimize triggers and call-to-actions: replacing a text-based CTA (e.g. “Watch this”) to a visual trigger (like a play button) can improve your click-through rate by 500%!
? Choose music and background sounds carefully: music directly impacts users’ emotions, and viewers can lose their interest if the music doesn’t resonate with them. E-commerce businesses should be careful when selecting a specific genre of music because it can either support or hinder the message of a product.
? Think global: the highest drop rate among viewers is caused by their opting not to watch the entire video because of distractions due to disruptive language differences. There are two ways to solve this:

1. Test all product videos with native speakers;
2. Include subtitles that explain the flow of the video.

How to do a short interview: the bicycle example

What should e-commerce marketers do in order to have someone interviewed? 

Dennis: Chose a product and we can go through an example of how we do that.

Valentin Radu: Let’s take a bicycle. 

Dennis: So, the bicycle is the product. That’s the what. But then, if we go into the how, people that love bicycles, what kind of knowledge do they have? Well, they want to get more fit. They want to be able to save money. They want to be able to experience the outdoors and see nature. They want to be competitive and win races. They want to have bigger muscles. There are all these different reasons why people buy.

Then, imagine on the outside who the figures are. Ideally, you’d want to interview Lance Armstrong to sell you a bicycle. But it could be other people that are customers. It could be the founder of the bicycle company because not all bicycles are the same. Some are mountain bikes, some are road bikes, some are recumbent bikes, some are foldable e-bikes that have motors on them. There are different kinds of bikes. The reason why you would buy this particular bicycle versus another bicycle goes back to the why. If I see a story of the founder, and I see other customers, with lots of little one-minute stories that look natural, that are vertical videos, then I’m more likely to buy, instead of just a thirty-minute long commercial or just pictures.

What’s more powerful: a series of pictures or videos? Then, what’s more powerful, still: pictures and videos of the item – like the bicycle – or of the people that are using it and you see them talk about it as part of their daily life?

What can you do when your capacity to produce videos is not that big?

Dennis: Hey, I’m one guy. Last I checked, I had the same 24 hours in the day that you have. I have a phone probably just like you have. But here’s the beauty. If you have a product that people like, then by definition they’re going to be talking about it and you can get them to make videos. You can go to interview them. If I’ve run out of things to talk about, or if I don’t like myself on camera, I can turn this on and I can say, ‘Hey, Valentin, tell me about where you went biking yesterday?

Valentin Radu: In the park and it was actually cool, but I wasn’t biking because I took a new scooter with my daughter. 

Dennis: Then I might ask him, ‘In Romania, what is your favorite place to go biking?

Valentin Radu: Herastrau Park.

Dennis: See? Now, instead of talking about the bicycle – at no point are we talking about the bicycle – we’re talking about why you are riding a bike. How often do you ride the bike? How do you maintain it? Do you ride with your wife or girlfriend? I’m trying to understand who you are as a person and when other people can identify with you – maybe other entrepreneurs see Valentin’s video – they say, ‘You know what? I identify with him. I probably want to have the other items that are in his lifestyle.’ Then, later we can say, ‘Oh, now it’s on sale for twenty percent.’ 

If you do it right, you won’t need to do discounts. Discounting or having a sale – a limited quantity – are just another way of getting around not having a solid product and a great story. Think about Apple. Do they run sales? No, they don’t.

How to make a one-minute video on a tight budget:

? Preparation is key: think about your key messages, and send a message your audience would want to hear. Now is also the time to send your assets to the production house, so they can save time searching for them online, downloading them, up-scaling them for video, etc.
? Invest time in your script: knowing your key messages means you can write a script that goes straight to the point.
? Save money on location by filming in a studio. Get the bulk of the content produced in the studio, using reliable talent and good scripting, and use an outdoor location in order to capture the overlay shots or supporting stories.
? Pay attention to the number of reviews: it might surprise you but it’s actually the number of reviews that can really hurt your budget. Most production houses will allow two rounds of feedback before you have to pay extra for every change, so make sure that everyone in your organization gets to see the video before you send the list of changes.   

Make your business story the best story

There was a recent example with Tesla investing zero amounts in marketing and advertising, while Porsche and Mercedes invested heavily in marketing. Do you think great awareness with zero marketing investment is enough to cut through the Internet noise? 

Dennis: I would argue everything that Tesla does and everything about Elon Musk is actually marketing because he’s always very good at attracting attention. I consider Donald Trump very good at marketing, whether or not you believe in his activities, because they’re able to distinguish. What is it that causes someone to have a greater sense of loyalty to an Apple or a Tesla versus a GMC or some other random kind of product… maybe a Samsung? Do people have crazy loyalty to their Samsung S10?

At the end of the day, it’s about your capacity to tell compelling stories about yourself and your customers? 

Dennis: Absolutely. Isn’t that common sense? Is that some kind of secret trick, some kind of magic, or is it just something you know you need to do it? You need to overcome that fear and start having everyone else collect the videos for you and let them do the marketing for you because ultimately everything in digital is just a word-of-mouth amplifier.

Storytelling for e-commerce businesses:

A narrative description of the product on a webpage does really convince more people to buy it. Standard descriptions are cold; moreover, if you can’t gather good reviews, likes, tweets, +1’s or any other social proof, you have no chance of selling it (of course, this does not apply to market leaders).


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: video is BIG in 2019 and beyond. It’s not just a passing trend, and not including it in your content strategy will really set you back compared to your competitors. 

You don’t have to invest a fortune though! It is totally possible to produce one-minute videos on a tight budget that will positively impact your bottom line.

We had the pleasure to meet Dennis Yu during GPeC (Gala Premiilor eCommerce – E-commerce Awards Gala) in Bucharest, Romania. GPeC is known as the most important E-Commerce Event in Romania and South-Eastern Europe, bringing together the best international experts in the field. Their objective is to become the place where you can find everything about e-commerce and digital marketing.

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