Editors Note: There are no affiliate links in this article that benefit the writer. This list was made for our clients, not to make money off of clicks.
Your first impression with a client matters. Being hard to hear clearly, having low quality video or poor lighting that makes you look dark and tired… these are all things that can affect your ability to connect with someone online, and ultimately, your ability to sell.
My clients are making 100’s of thousands to millions of dollars through their ability to connect with people and build trust, so I researched what they would need to upgrade their video setups… and I decided to share that research with you!
Whether on Zoom, or recording a video podcast, this is the one investment that will improve your brand and production quality for years to come.
The criteria for choosing items on this list:
- Keep things simple for non-techy people. I wanted it to be as close to plug and play as possible.
- No cheap going cheap, but not breaking the bank either.
This whole setup if you choose all the upgrades is about $1000. If you’re having 2 virtual meetings a day, you can easily have 300-400 meetings in a year. That’s less then the cup of coffee you would be spending to meet someone, and way less than the gas you used to spend going per meeting.
- Be flexible enough to handle most situations. – There are cheaper setups, or more complicated setups that do one thing better… but I wanted something that can be flexible to adjust to the changing condition of your home office setup.
The most important upgrade is your audio.
This is the #1 way to improve your content and your production value to your web meetings, as well as making social media videos for your pages. Getting a good microphone is important, but even more important is getting a microphone close to your mouth.
NO BLUETOOTH HEADSETS.
Bluetooth mics all are bad. All of them. Don’t get them. The audio quality is very poor due to the low bandwidth connection. If you want wireless, I included an option below. Go with a name brand wireless mic that uses radio frequencies, not Bluetooth.
My two top recommendations:
A Wireless Microphone you can clip onto your shirt
This will give you a good quality microphone, that is close to your mouth, as well as the freedom of not having a bulky mic in your video shot. It’s also simple, and reliable.
The Blue Yeti USB mic
There are many microphones that are better than the Blue Yeti. However, they require buying external sound cards, XLR cables, and other things no one wants to mess with.
The Yeti just works.
Plug it in and it’s ready to go. The only caveat with it is you have to not be afraid of putting the microphone close to your mouth. If you do, you’ll get a nice rich, and full podcaster voice. Try 3 inches away and adjust as needed.
Upgrade your Webcam
Your laptop camera sucks. Upgrade it.
I personally use a DSLR to a capture card, which is way more complicated and has many options. For my clients, I suggest using webcams. If you’re ambitious, you can use your phone, which has an excellent camera on it, but requires downloading an app on your phone and computer, and syncing them via wifi.
Both of these are Logitech. They make awesome webcams. There are cheaper ones, and knock offs, but they all have flaws that are not worth the time working around it.
3: If you want to use your phone for web conferences, you will need a tripod for it, and then software. I really enjoyed using this setup, but I found there to be a lot of things to tinker with, and of course, you need reliable wifi. I Left this an option because it’s not that complicated to set up, but it is more work, and not 100% reliable.
If you want to go big, you can buy a lower end mirrorless camera,($500) tripod, and a lens($250), and a 4k capture card ($200 for ar reliable one) But not only is that more expensive, it’s a lot to mess around with.
Get those bulky headphones out of sight
While it doesn’t look bad, not having big headphones on just looks better. And if you can
1: Either use your speaker on your laptop ( you sometimes might have issues with echo and feedback)
2: Wireless earbuds. Goes in your ear, and very subtle
Get better lightings
It doesn’t matter how good your camera is. If there is not enough light, the camera quality will degrade as it tries to compensate for it by artificially boosting the signal.
This light setup I recommend is a really simple one that doesn’t take any professional video person to setup. Just blast the light at a wall in front of your computer, and you will get a nice even light as it fills the room in front of your camera with light.
And as a bonus, it can be easily adjusted by just tilting it a little towards you or away if you want more or less intensity, and you can even dial it back.
Upgrade your zoom background
I actually prefer a real background, to a virtual background, or a “staged” backdrop. Authenticity is a powerful signal, and fancy backdrops and virtual backgrounds can often come across like a salesman that has a slick suit that’s just a little too slick.
However, sometimes life circumstances don’t always allow that ideal to happen.
Virtual backgrounds work in a pinch but are not even close to professional looking. And backdrops can be cumbersome, and difficult to setup.
I found this product by a company called Anyvoo that gives you a simple real backdrop to put behind you. As a bonus, it has a green screen on the back that you can turn around to get a better virtual background effect if needed.
And as a bonus, it comes with a stand and everything to get going.
There are many colours and you can even design your own, I recommend using a natural wood background or something neutral. And then a green screen backing vs the black.
The purpose is to make your clients comfortable.
The purpose of all these upgrades is not to sell better. It’s to give your clients confidence and trust that you are a professional, that takes their job seriously. While no fancy video equipment is ever going to make up for poor relationship building skills, having good equipment eliminates being disqualified because of a technical glitch.