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by John Waghorn on 6th July 2012
Video is a powerful medium and when you create and promote your own they can be used as an additional marketing channel for your business. It’s also a unique and simple way to get a powerful message across to your audience and persuade and encourage potential or existing customers.
We like videos because we don’t have to concentrate too hard. Rather than reading a 500 word document, if the information can be summarised and consumed in an engaging video which takes two minutes to view, most people would prefer to watch the video given the option.
With this in mind, now is the perfect time for your business to use videos to market your products and services, share ideas, promote your company and create brand awareness so that your customers know exactly who you are. Over time, this will bring in its own rewards which we will look into later on in this post.
Everyone can utilise video for their business
No matter what sector or industry you work in, there will always be the possibility to utilise video marketing. Videos may be more commonplace in areas such as fashion and technology due to the nature of promoting specific products. However, this isn’t to say that if you work for a sewage company or a loft insulators there isn’t any scope to start using film and incorporating videos into your marketing campaigns. Every company can find a unique angle to create videos for their brand with a little thinking time, even if there isn’t a major connection to what you are offering and it’s more of a subtle connection.
The basics – video length
Essentially, you have to focus on making any video that you create engaging during the filming, presenting, and editing stages so that your viewers maintain interest in what you have to say. A short 30 second video has the potential to influence a customer and keep them for life, and creating videos and promoting them in the correct light will pay off. Remember this when you are making yours so that you don’t end up putting out a half-hearted effort just because you think that it’s something you should be doing, rather than something you want to do.
So where do you start when it comes to getting your thoughts and ideas together? On a general level, remember that you don’t need to spend 40 minutes presenting the most detailed video possible on let’s say your thoughts on new changes or legislation that have come into existence. People don’t want this, they want to dip in and out of videos, so short summaries will work well in this instance. Obviously there will be a bearing on this depending on what you are trying to get across, if it’s a detailed subject then you will want to spend more time and if it’s a simple concept then keep the video short and simple too.
As a guide, you should focus on anything between 2 – 15 minutes of video, again taking your subject matter into account. A series of shorter videos might work better for you if the issue is fairly complex, not only in terms of length but also in relation to how often you can push and promote each video through other marketing channels. Think carefully about how long you want the video to be and the subject matter that you wish to focus on.
Concepts – What should you film?
As long as you are showing your company in a positive light, you can record anything that you think will be relevant to helping your customers and pushing your business forward. If you sell products via an ecommerce site then you should show videos for the purpose of increasing sales. Fashion websites use business videos a lot to showcase their latest products. These are often found on-site and relate to the product page that you are viewing.
Using the online clothing store Asos as a prime example, in relation to the screenshot below, you can see that the page contains product specific information and also a catwalk video so that visitors can get more of a feel for what they are deciding to purchase. Asos is a popular mainstream online clothing site who have really utilised video as a form of marketing and this is arguably one of the many reasons for the company’s own success.
Although these videos are basic and don’t require a great deal of planning in terms of a verbal script, the website is consistent in producing them so that the majority of products can be viewed online. This helps to convert traffic into sales as the video sways the customer into making their final decision before confidently clicking ‘add to bag’.
Besides video product viewings, you can also use this medium to produce tutorials like we do at Koozai (see below) to help your audience learn about industry updates and provide guidance as well as to teach a range of skills and techniques.
This allows you to engage with your audience and provide them with your knowledge and expertise on a specific subject. If the video comes across in the right way then the knock on effect means that visitors will return, word will get around, your brand will become more recognised and develop, and people will trust you and buy into your services.
Product reviews are also popular. This video reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S3 has over 800,000 views and acts as a guide of the phone highlighting its best features. Videos like this have the power to persuade and reassure customers who are looking to buy products or who are considering changing over from a competing brand such as the Apple iPhone or Blackberry.
Other ideas include creating a video for your homepage to act as an overview of your services and testimonials from your clients. You can be as creative, interesting and wacky as you feel you need to be in order to leave a lasting impression on your customer base and encourage views.
Equipment and location
Once you have your ideas in place, you can begin translating these to film. First of all, you need to get hold of the essential equipment and find a suitable location to film. Softbox lights, clip-on mics to pick up the sound, a computer with sufficient memory to edit the film, and a decent camera and tripod are some of the fundamentals to consider if you want to create the videos yourself. For more details on this see ‘How to Build and Setup a Video Studio‘.
Editing software is another consideration. iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premier Elements are three very good programmes that allow you to make short videos and carry out your own edits if you are struggling for suitable software ideas.
When it comes to filming, you could use a room in the office (space permitting) where colleagues can go and concentrate on making their own video. Make sure you give them time to get the video right. Not everything has to be perfect, however it does need to be professional because your brand will be attached and associated to each one you release.
Film against a lit background so that you are visible and not against a window as this will only produce a silhouette against the light. Also, when it comes to shooting the video, make sure the person is not too close in the frame. No one likes a shot that is too close, so if you aim for a mid-body shot with the presenter’s eyes two thirds of the way up in the frame this should be ideal. Make sure there is also a little bit of headroom at the top of the screen so that the person’s head isn’t cut off. You might do the best take in the world, but when it comes to hitting playback and you discover your head has been cut off in the shot you will only have to record it all over again.
When you are filming, use bullet points either on cards or on a screen next to the camera so that you can keep a steady flow throughout the video. If you get stuck, all you need to do is refer to the bullet points and pick up again where you left off. Don’t be too detailed either, remember that your audience won’t know as much as you, so give yourself time to elaborate your ideas and make sure you are clear at translating your thoughts.
Just as you would for your blog post, come up with a unique and powerful title that will attract the viewer’s attention and draw in traffic. If you also include keywords within the title then it has a better chance of appearing in the search results.
The ideal presenter and adding a call to action
If the video is going to be about a major company restructure or re-brand, make sure the right person is stood in front of the camera. The Managing Director is ideally going to be more suited for this kind of video. Everyone is capable of getting involved with producing content, but sometimes it’s more appropriate to use authority to deliver a message. Think about this when it comes to delivering your messages. Who is a suitable presenter for what you are trying to convey to your audience?
When your video ends, it’s time to add a call to action to draw in your customers. Telling them to “visit our website now for more information” or “call our office to talk to one of our friendly representatives” will help to bring in calls and website visits which in itself is one way to bring in targeted traffic through video.
There are a host of editing programmes available these day, some of the ones we mentioned earlier should be fine for the quality of videos you will be making. If you are really are struggling with the editing process you could always use external services, although this might cost a fair bit as you create more videos. However, you should get hold of the basics fairly quickly but you can always use someone in the company who is more experienced with editing software to get the job done.
Marketing your videos
You’ve completed the filming and editing phase, so now it’s time to market your videos. You have a number of options at your disposal so don’t be afraid to use them in order to generate wider exposure and engagement. Setting up accounts on Vimeo and creating a YouTube Channel are obvious starting places due to the sheer volume of users. With Vimeo you might need to upgrade to their business PRO package in order to get the most out of their services. Alternatively, you could decide to use Wistia. This site enables you to upload and customise videos before promoting them. In addition, you can track audience views and engagement via the site’s video analytics so that you know which videos require more attention and promotion. This is a really good way of monitoring audience engagement as without it you won’t have a gauge for how successful your videos are.
If you have your own company blog then this can act as an additional marketing channel for your videos as they will have direct associations with your brand. You could decide to build up a specific video page over time or even create your own channel, an online space that people will start to recognise and visit for regular updates. Alternatively, seek blogs and popular sites that are specific and relevant to your industry and offer them a preview of your video before asking if they would like to feature it on their own pages. Other sites such as inbound, StumbleUpon and reddit are worth noting too to give it an additional push. The more you put out, the more you will get back in return.
Social networks offer easy way to get likes and shares between your customers and the wider audience. Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter are all key players in the social world and this can even have a bearing on where your videos rank in the SERPs if your videos are optimised. The majority of video content you will be creating is sharable, so remember to upload the relevant links to your social profiles and point traffic towards your site where possible.
If you build up your followers and make this a main focus, you will have a greater chance of more content being shared which all helps for brand recognition. Google Plus has a circles feature, allowing you to group people together in categories. Therefore, if you have been building up your customers or industry contacts, you can group these together in circles and share the video directly to that specific group.
Take time when filming your video and stick to a shorter format where possible as this will be more engaging. Remember, you can film anything you like, but make sure that it looks professional and reflects your colleagues and your brand well, as you don’t want to give out any negative perceptions. When it comes to marketing, use as many channels as you can think of to really push your video and gain exposure from a wider audience. If you produce a regular amount of high quality videos then over time users will return to you as a source of authority and this increases your chances of pushing targeted traffic towards your site and converting.