Video is like a lot of things that might be unfamiliar to you. Taking the first step is always the hardest, so if you’re a marketing video newbie… don’t worry. I have some tips to get you started on your first project.
First Question To Answer
Will this be a do-it-yourself or professional project? I do have some basic guidelines for DIY vs. Pro video production. Basically, if you’re a new or micro business with zero marketing budget, feel free to DIY. If you are planning a video with the intent of it looking unprofessional or kitschy, feel free to DIY.
However, if you are producing a video for a respected company where reputation matters, you should definitely hire a professional video producer. Please consider the many benefits to hiring a pro.
New Project Preps
The next thing… you need a plan. Your video needs to be a part of a greater marketing strategy. Which is why you need to start asking some questions.
You might even want to write them down along with the answers. Here are the pre-project questions I ask when speaking with clients:
Who’s the audience?
Where will they see the video? Website? Social media? Email campaign? At a live event? Et cetera.
What’s your goal for the video? Education? Brand awareness? Enhance reputation? Help sales? Et cetera.
What’s the story you’d like to tell?
How are you planning to promote the video?
Let’s expand a bit on each of those things.
This is the most critical question you’re going to ask. It influences everything that goes into the video because this is who you are making the video for. You have to put the audience first. Make sure the story and information are focused on what’s important to them.
This will help you with timing… think push versus pull. If the video is bound for a social media email campaign, you’re pushing it at your audience so keep it short. I typically recommend 1-minute or less.
On the other hand, if the video is mainly for a company’s website, your audience has sought you out so you can let it run a bit longer. Pull them in with a 2-3 minute video.
Showing the video at a live event? That’s a captive audience, so you have some more leeway. Just make sure it’s good, don’t put your viewers to sleep.
Video is a terrific marketing tactic, but don’t just produce a video because it’s cool or fun. Think seriously about the reason behind creating your videos. What is it you hope they’ll help you achieve?
Keep in mind the immortal words of Zig Ziglar, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
What’s your story?
Okay… now on to the fun part! Decide on a story that’s going to take into account the answers to all of those questions. Remember, video isn’t about facts and figures. Video is all about emotion. Pick a story that’s going to connect with viewers.
You might have produced the best video ever, but if you don’t have a plan to get it in front of viewers… what’s the point? Video should just be a tactic in a greater digital marketing strategy. Looking for ideas? Check out our 7 Ways To Promote A New Video.
Feeling a little better now? Start each video project with that Q & A and you’ll be on your way to a successful campaign.
Another Content Jam has come and gone, and again I’m left with so many great insights. I was really impressed with the diversity of the speakers this year.
The morning and afternoon keynotes spoke to some big picture issues we should all consider, and the other sessions were filled with action items we can get started on right away.
Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from this year’s event.
Gini Dietrich | How To Shape Shift Into Your Ideal Self
I have seen Gini Dietrich speak on a number of occasions. Both her PR firm (Arment Dietrich) and blog (Spin Sucks) are T60 customers, and more importantly, she’s become a good friend.
Which is why I was so excited to see her and hear this presentation. She’s always good with the x’s and o’s when it comes to communication strategies, but this presentation was totally different and in many ways very personal.
She talked a lot about solution-based routines versus option-based routines. My take… when many of us face tough decisions we tend to use the most immediate solution. Gini argues we need to take some time to examine our options before making a decision on a solution.
Instead of jumping to a quick solution, she challenged everyone to:
Imagine your future
Create a routine to realize that future
Do something small every single day
It makes total sense. Set a goal, make a plan, do the work, be willing to change… this is stuff we should all be doing.
I especially like the idea behind looking at options first. It’s so easy to jump to the quick solution and clear the issue off your plate. We shouldn’t do that. We really should think about our best options before making a decision.
I try to do this when producing videos. When some sort of issue arises, my first reaction is to solve it as quickly as possible. However, this can lead to other complications down the road if it doesn’t end up being the right course of action.
What I do is take a deep breathe and doing my best to think things though. I’ve even had customers ask me on occasion what I’m doing as I simply stand there considering my options.
“I’m just thinking things through,” I tell them. While it can seem painful to give-up time to wait for a solution, I have found taking five minutes to think things through can often save you time in the long run.
Gini totally nailed it!
Roberto Blake | YouTube Marketing for Businesses and Brands
I met Roberto Blake at this year’s Content Jam and walked away super-impressed. He’s a fellow video guy, so considering I run a Milwaukee video production company, no surprise the two of us were speaking the same language.
His presentation focused on using YouTube as a marketing channel, and even though I’m pretty well-versed in this area, Roberto provided some stuff I’d like to work on.
Specifically, I liked a lot of what he talked about regarding call-to-actions and how to position them in and around your videos.
CTAs can be…
Spoken in the video itself
Included as a visual component in the video itself
Roberto also suggested uploading the video as “Unlisted” and doing all of your optimization before making it public.
This is really smart. YouTube bases which videos it promotes based on things like number of views in the initial hours the video is public, so it makes sense to have all of your optimization done before it is sent to the masses.
Joanna Wiebe | Creating Content That Converts
Joanna Wiebe made a really big impression on me. The message I received? I’m doing it wrong.
Okay, maybe I’m not getting content marketing entirely wrong, but I definitely need to broaden my perspective.
I think my personal experience probably mirrors that of many content marketers. When I produce a piece of content, I want it to be the best content I can produce. I want it to be super helpful to the person looking at it. And I want the readers/viewers to walk away feeling good about T60 Productions.
Now? Well, now I kind of hear Joanna in my head saying, “Don’t forget, content needs to sell.”
She’s absolutely right. It’s great to educate people, but we still need to make money.
The whole reason we’re engaging in content marketing is to help us make sales, and yet many of us are afraid to ask for the sale… no matter how that might look.
Whether you’re pushing a product/service, or simply trying to build an email list. There needs to be some sort of a call-to-action.
Which means our content objectives need to be:
Drive sales and leads
Joanna is a copy writer at heart, and she says there’s a difference between the way many people write for content versus copy. A lot of, if not most, content is written to educate people, while copy is what gets people to say, “yes.”
She says we’re trying to be so elegant with our content that we forget to ask for the sale.
I know I’m guilty of that. How about you?
I’ve often lived by the belief that if you want something in life, you have to ask for it. Why haven’t I been applying that to my content marketing?
Well, I’m going to change that.
Andy Crestodina | Super Advanced Content Marketing and SEO
Last but not least, Andy Crestodina. Like Gini Dietrich, Andy has become a good friend over the years. When Orbit Media Studios revamped its website, Andy asked T60 to produce a series of videos for the site and I was so proud he chose us.
I’ve seen Andy speak a bunch of times… a bunch!… but I always manage to walk away with great stuff to try.
This time it’s centered on refreshing old blog posts and doing a better job of optimizing them. Focusing specifically on posts that might be on page two of Google, but are in good position for a move to page one.
I’ve been working really hard on our content over the past few years. Thanks in large part to guidance from both Gini and Andy, we have two posts ranking number one for key phrases. Not just on page one, we have the number one post.
I’m not going to lie, I love getting my Moz report every week showing those number one rankings, but over the last few months I’ve grown increasingly unsatisfied… because I want more! More posts ranking!
While I’m all for producing more content and will continue to do so, I know Andy is right. One look at our analytics and I can see several posts begging for a little love to get from page two to page one.
I’m definitely going to get on that ASAP.
Content Jam Wrap-Up
Finally, something else I’ll takeaway from Content Jam 2017 is another point Andy talked about. There’s no substitute for hard work.
This was possibly my favorite part of this year’s event. It was vintage Andy. His enthusiasm for content marketing is one of his biggest assets as a speaker, and I loved his message about getting to bed early so we can wake-up early to produce better content.
“Stop watching zombie TV shows at night. Go to bed!” he told me later.
He said we need a crossfit mentality about producing content. We need the voice of a sports coach in our heads urging us to push ourselves more.
For the record Andy, I’m writing this at 6:15 a.m., I’m over 1000 words at this point, and I don’t even like zombie TV shows.
Anyway, it was a fun reminder that while we’re all about working smarter these days, working harder can and should still be part of the equation to success.
You know you want a new marketing video. Heck, you know you NEED a new marketing video… and next year is the year you’re going to make it happen! But knowing you need a video and creating a video strategy are two different things, and trust me, planning ahead will make things much easier on you.
Who’s Your Audience
The first step seems like an easy one, but in my opinion a lot of people tend to get off on the wrong foot.
It seems logical to decide on the type of video you want to produce (About Us, testimonial, product video, et cetera). Now, there’s nothing wrong with starting this way, but I look at the process differently.
Your first step should be identifying your audience.
Is it customers? Prospects? Your employees? Who are the people who will ultimately be watching and benefitting from your video.
Here’s why I like to start here. It’s the most important factor in putting together the video, and I want it to be front of mind from the get go.
Anytime you’re faced with a tough decision to make regarding the project, your first consideration should be how it impacts your viewers. You should base your actions on what’s going to appeal to them most.
That’s one of the reasons I think it’s important to make audience identification the top priority when you start a project. Let me give you an example.
Your first instinct might be… we need an explainer video for a product. However, maybe the audience you want to reach is first-time buyers as opposed to existing customers. Instead of an explainer video, a testimonial might be more effective since you’ll need to build trust.
Identifying your audience will guide you in making a more informed decision.
Have a Goal
A big failure for many video projects is that people don’t establish a goal. This is a huge mistake since there is so much data we can now collect.
Think about it ahead of time… what do you ultimately want this video to accomplish for you?
Push people through the sales funnel?
There are all sorts of goals you can establish for video, so make sure to pick something and then decide on how you’re going to measure success.
You can use the video analytics provided through YouTube, Facebook, and Google… or whatever video platform you might be using.
Those numbers can tell you who’s watching, how long they’re watching, what they clicked on next… all sorts of stats to help show you how effective your video is and guide decisions you make on future video projects.
Selecting the Type of Video
Now that you know who your viewers are, you can pick the type of video you need. Here’s a basic list to get you started:
About Us video
Marketing campaign video
Product or service video
Mission or corporate culture video
Now, this is just a starter list. The possibilities are endless. I encourage you to consider video any time you need to communicate with a large audience.
Next up, how are you going to deliver your video? Will it live on your website? Pumped out through social media? Used in an email campaign? Displayed on monitors in your lobby? Shown at a live event?
You might be thinking… well, we’ll definitely post the video on our website, but we also might want it for social, and maybe we can use it in sales presentations.
That’s totally fine. I love it when companies find multiple delivery methods! We want as many eyeballs on your video as possible. The key thing is to simply figure out which is the most important delivery method.
For example, maybe you’ve decided you need a new About Us video to go along with a website redesign. Sure… that video has the potential to be shown across many platforms, but the main reason for it is to create a good first-impression on people who visit your website.
Knowing this impacts how long the video should be. Websites are a pull, not push delivery method. Since people have come to your site to learn more about the company, you can get away with a little longer video (2-3 minutes).
Had you decided your primary use for the video was social media, you’d want it to be far shorter, like a minute or less.
Budget is always an important consideration and video projects are no different. Do you need to produce low cost videos, or will you have a decent amount of money to work with? Deciding how much you want to spend will greatly impact the scope of what you produce.
Here are a few things to think about:
DIY or professional production?
Do you want a big production team or something less obtrusive?
Do you just need someone to execute your plan or do you need someone to help with the storytelling?
How many days will it take to shoot?
Are any special permissions needed for production venues?
Will consent forms for participants be necessary?
Who will “star” in the video?
What’s the deadline like? Quick turnarounds tend to cost more.
These are good things to keep in mind as you plan your budget, but if you want some really helpful information start contacting video production companies now. Production houses like ours are usually more than happy to help you plan how much money you’ll need for your project.
This falls under the category of… last, but not least. How are you planning to promote your video?
I can’t tell you how many companies mess this up. They produce an awesome video, post it on their website, upload to YouTube and Facebook that first week… and that’s it. Then, they wonder why nobody is watching.
Have a plan in place regarding promotion. It’s not good enough to just share it once. You have to make it a part of your regular content marketing calendar. Not just for that first week… for the entire year!
Now, maybe you plan to show it several times during that first week, and then you scale it back over the course of the coming months. That’s fine. Just don’t forget about it.
Promote! Promote! Promote!
Wrapping-up Your Video Strategy
Video is a great tool for your communications toolbelt, but remember… you need a plan.
It’s not good enough to simply produce a good video. You need a plan in place before production starts to maximize your video’s potential.
And there’s no time like the present! Start working on your video strategy now, so that you have a good foundation to work from next year.
Marketing is crucial to survival as an entrepreneur, and these days an important part of any marketing strategy is video.
Now, you might think video marketing is for big companies with big budgets. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to create low cost videos, and there are different types you need to consider producing right now.
The About Us video is the one video every company needs to produce. There are plenty of others that can help your business, but this is the one everybody should start with.
A good About Us video tells viewers who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Think of this as your first-impression video. When new customers visit your website, the About Us video is your best chance to get in front of them and introduce yourself.
Unlike text, video is great for this because people get to see and hear from you. You’re a real person they can relate to. You’re a real person they can do business with. Video gives them a chance to get to know you, and we all know people are more likely to buy from someone they know and like.
Andy Crestodina is the co-founder at Orbit Media Studios in Chicago. His team builds high-end business websites, and he says they recommend video because it’s the next best thing next to face-to-face.
Creating an About Us video is like that first handshake with your prospects. Your website, social media, email newsletter… they should all feature this video.
Once you’ve produced your About Us video you’re free to test other waters. One that I recommend is the product or service video.
Produce a video on each of the products and/or services you offer customers. Now, if you offer 50 products, you don’t have to create 50 videos. It wouldn’t be wrong, but I’m also realistic about budgets.
Instead, think about how you can group your products, then produce videos on the various product groups. You can do the same thing with services.
In each case, share with viewers what the product is, how it can help them, and what sets it apart from competitors. If it’s a unique product, share the story about how you came up with it.
There are few marketing tools as valuable as a customer testimonial. Get them on video and you only amplify their power.
Having someone on-camera telling viewers who they are, what they do, and how your business helped them… well… it’s a home run.
We live in a customer review world. Thumbs up or thumbs down. How many stars did it get? These are the things we consult before making a purchase. Whether it’s a diapers on Amazon, a movie on Netflix, or a multi-million-dollar B2B transaction. Everyone wants some validation that they’re making a good purchase.
Providing customer testimonial videos is a great way to do that.
Just like your About Us video, they work because we get to see and hear from real people. This isn’t some name at the the end of a quote. It’s an actual human being telling viewers how you helped them.
Video testimonials are one more way to help your audience relate to your business.
Why These Three Low Cost Videos
There are plenty of other types of videos I could mention, but I chose these three for a specific reason. Think about the journey your customer is on.
They’ve found you online, or someone has told them about you. They visit your website to learn more and come across your About Us video. Feeling good, they move on to take a look at the various products or services you offer. After watching some of those videos, they’re becoming interested. Finally, they see that one of your existing customers has endorsed you, so they watch the video to hear what they have to say.
Chances are after going on this journey, the next step will be to contact you.
About Us, product/service, testimonial… it’s a natural progression… all three can become part of your sales funnel.
Thinking about DIY?
This might be the point where you’re thinking about how you can produce all three on the cheap, and that could lead you to consider a do-it-yourself project. Here’s what I have to say about that… beware.
Anybody can produce a video these days. We all have smart phones with HD video cameras in our pockets, and there’s free editing software to be had. But just because anyone can do it, doesn’t mean they can do it well.
Here’s the deal… if you have zero marketing budget and your audience knows (and may appreciates) this about you, go for it. I’m fine with you producing your own videos.
However, if you and your business’ reputation is important to you, find a professional to produce your videos. It might mean producing them one at a time over a longer period of time than you’d like. It’s worth it.
Nothing screams “unprofessional” more than a poorly produced video. The last thing you want is to look unprofessional, so why would you risk that by creating your own videos. Remember, that About Us DIY video you’re considering in many cases will be the first impression people have of your company. Don’t blow it by attempting to do-it-yourself.
Need some help? There are plenty of talented production companies and independent producers out there standing by. As a matter of fact, we even developed a specific process to produce high quality, low cost videos called, 3-Step Storytelling. ;-)
One Last Thought
Now that you’re psyched about producing some videos, one final thing to keep in mind. These videos aren’t for your business. They’re not for you, the entrepreneur. These videos… are for your customers. They’re for your prospects.
Every video you produce should be focused on them. If you’re wondering whether or not to produce a specific video… or to include something in a video… simply ask this simple question. Why would my customers care?
If you don’t think your customers would care… about this video… about this snippet of information… then don’t include it.
This might entail killing video ideas you really like, something you think is really cool. Again, this video isn’t for you. Set your ego aside and ask… why would my customers care?
Video marketing is a great way to endear yourself to customers. Used properly, it’s a tactic that will help earn you business. The best part… the more videos you produce… the more people will feel like they’re getting to know you and your business. The more they feel that… the more business you’ll earn.
There’s just no way around it. The way many businesses handle website videos… it’s wrong. A website video is an awesome tool, so let’s do our best to clear-up how they should be used and provide a helpful case study as well.
First Things First
The first thing you need to understand is that if you put a video on any webpage… it’s an eye magnet. People are drawn to videos. Whether it’s a video that’s already playing, or simply an image with a play button on it. The promise of video catches people’s eye, and in many cases entices them to click.
So… knowing that… why is it that many businesses make visitors seek out video? How many websites have you been to where they gather all the videos in one place? A bunch… I’m sure.
Even when the location makes sense, something else tends to be weird… placement. I’ve been to many sites where I’ve clicked on the “About” page to learn more about the business, then found a good video sitting at the bottom of the page as I scrolled through.
Why would you bury the most interesting element on the page at the bottom where someone might miss it?
You Need a Website Video Plan
What I’m getting at here is you need to think strategically about where you place your video. Having a video to display is great, but you’re doing your site a disservice if you don’t figure out the best way to use it.
Now, before I go any further, I’m going to assume you like your video(s). If you don’t, if you’re not proud of them, don’t display them. Remember, videos are eye magnets. There’s no point in drawing attention to something that’s not going to reflect well on your company.
The One Video Every Company Needs
Alright, let’s start with an easy fix… the About Us video. If you can only afford one video, this is typically the one to produce. It shows people who you are and what you do. It’s the video that starts you down the path of earning that visitor’s trust.
The About Us video is a natural fit for… where? Don’t overthink this… it’s the “About” page. In some cases, you might put it on the “Home” page, but for the most part the “About” page is the natural location for this video.
And don’t be shy! Put that sucker up top where people are going to notice it. This is your chance to create a good first impression. We want them to see and click on the video.
Now let’s move on to the really good stuff. You know and understand the power of video, and you want to start adding videos to your website. What’s the best way to go about it?
Case Study: Orbit Media Studios
It should come as no surprise, but Orbit Media Studios totally gets it. The company’s team members not only talk-the-talk when it comes to website design and content creation, they walk-the-walk. They are some of the best in the business… bar none.
Disclosure time… Orbit is one of our customers and has been for years. Having said that, when I proclaim them as some of the best in the business… it’s just the truth. They design sites for major brands, and Co-Founder Andy Crestodina has been a keynote speaker at Content Marketing World. They’re the experts at this stuff. They’re big time.
So… when the Orbiteers decided to re-do their own website, we were honored when they asked us to produce some new videos for it.
The Orbit Strategy
Their plan… see, they had a plan going in!… was exactly what I recommend to most businesses, which is why they’re the perfect case study.
produce an About Us video highlighting who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart.
identify your key business offerings (products and/or services), and create web pages for each one.
produce a video on each of those business offerings.
display the corresponding video on the page for each offering.
If you are looking for any further proof of how highly these website and content experts value video, simply click on each of those pages and see how they have chosen to display them.
They’re not sticking them on a “Videos” page, forcing people to seek them out. They’re not burying them at the bottom of each service page. Each video is the main component of each of those pages. You can’t miss them. The way they’re displayed screams, “Click me! Watch this video!”
Why do they value video so much? I’ll let Andy tell you himself. It’s the focus of what he talks about in a testimonial video he agreed to do for us.
More Website Video Options
Orbit did this with the various services they offer, but I know they have plans for additional videos as well and you should too. Here are some more ideas for website videos:
Testimonials: you just can’t go wrong with this. It’s one thing tooting your own horn, but when your customers do it for you, website visitors take notice.
Employee/Team Member Videos: we’re more likely buy from people we know and like. Let your prospects get to know your team by creating videos that shine a light on each of them!
Company Culture: if you’re proud of your company culture, show it off. If it looks like a good place to work, it’s probably a good place to do business as well.
Event Videos: hosting events is a great way to drum-up business. Producing a video during the event allows you to share it with people who couldn’t attend. The event effectively lives on after it’s over.
Community Support: do you give back to the community? These days consumers reward community-friendly companies with their businesses.
Hopefully, that gets you started. Again, if you can only produce one video, start with the About Us video. Then, move on from there.
You’re on your way to a digital platform you can be proud of!
Videos are way too expensive. Videos are where your marketing budget goes to die. There isn’t a way to produce high quality, low cost videos.
Blah. I’ve heard it all before… excuses… and in this case those excuses are hurting your business.
The statistics are in and the evidence is clear. Video is no longer a cool marketing tactic that would be nice to have, but you can live without.
Visual content is critical to PR and marketing, and the top dog is video. It’s no wonder why. Research shows that 76% of marketers and small business owners who have used video marketing say it had a direct impact on their business.
I know what many of you are thinking… great… I get it… but my business still can’t afford it.
Ugg… that’s not true! When you do a little research, you’ll find there are plenty of ways to produce videos on a tight budget. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right spot because I’ll help you navigate some of your choices.
Now, let’s get this straight upfront. These suggestions don’t involve animation or whiteboard videos. That’s a whole separate thing, and there are plenty of low cost online options for those types of videos. The videos I’m talking about here are the types of videos that require a video camera.
Professional Video Production Companies
The first option is surprisingly not as obvious as it might seem. Sure, it makes sense for pros to produce your videos, but if you’re concerned about price many might bypass this group.
Don’t do that. There are plenty of video production companies who will work with your tight budget. Our company has a specific process just for producing high quality, low cost videos for customers all over the country.
Now, it’s true. You will find plenty of production houses that won’t even pick-up their cameras for less than $10,000. You’ll have to do some research here, but I’m going to give you an awesome tip to save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
As you’re researching an contacting local video production companies… share your budget with them.
This can be a tough one for many people to swallow. It’s engrained in us not to share how much we’re willing to spend. Everyone is always hopeful that they’re going to get a great deal. I only have $1000 to spend on the video, but who knows… someone might quote me $500 for my project!
Umm… yeah… that’s probably not going to happen here. Is it possible? Sure, but it’s far more likely you’ll spend all sorts of time talking with a production company about your project, waiting on them to put together a proposal, only to find out it’s more expensive that what you have budgeted.
Sharing your budget in advance solves all of this and saves you time and aggravation.
Hi, Joe Video Production Company. I’d like to produce a short marketing video for my business, but my budget is only $1000 (or $800, $700, $100… whatever). Is that a budget you can work with?
Many of them will say, “No,” but there will be some that’ll work with you. There will probably be restrictions on what you’ll get, but in most cases the skill and ability of working with a pro will outweigh those limitations.
Remember, these are people who produce videos like this everyday. It’s what they do, and they’ll likely do it better and faster than anyone in our next two options… certainly the last option.
Independent Video Producers
Your next best option is to turn to independent video producers. You can find these folks on various websites like SmartShoot and Thumbtack, or you can always look at Craigslist.
This is a close second to hiring a production company. Actually, if video production companies are option 1A, independent video producers might be 1B.
In many cases, you might be getting just as qualified a professional as hiring a production company. They’re also going to be much more willing to work with your limited budget.
The trick is finding the right one. With bigger production companies, they’ll have a nice website. There will be all sorts of video examples for you to watch. There will be content there to help you learn more about the company and the people who work there.
When you go to hire an independent pro… those things might be in short supply, or they might relay on a less polished website or YouTube/Vimeo to share their examples.
Bottomline, it’s possible to find a really good independent video pro. You might just need to look past a lack or marketing refinement on their part.
Your last low cost video option is to do-it-yourself. I’ll give you a few reasons why I like this option the least, but don’t worry… I’m actually a video pro who advocates producing DIY videos in certain circumstances. I’ll get to those in a minute.
Here’s why I don’t like DIY videos:
They’re terrible: let’s be honest, most DIY marketing videos stink. You’re never going to be able to create a video as good as a pro who has devoted their life to the craft.
They’re embarrassing: the goal of your video should be to impress your customers and prospects. A DIY video usually looks so bad, it makes your company or organization look bad.
They don’t save you money: say what?! Yeah, they don’t save you money. Sure, you’re not paying someone to produce the videos for you, but you’ve heard it before… time is money. Producing a video can be very time consuming, especially if you’re a rookie or amateur. You will spend a ton of time working on your project. Time you could be spending servicing your customers or adding new ones. In other words, you’ll lose out on business while you’re making your video.
However, as I mentioned… there are certain circumstances when I’ll give you a pass to DIY:
You have zero marketing budget: if you’re a micro-business or a solo-preneur, forget having a small budget. You might not have a marketing budget at all! If this is a case and your customers know this about you, by all means DIY.
If your image is kitschy: does your team wear t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops to work? Is there a ping pong table in your office? Do your customers think of you as cool and hip? If so, feel free to DIY. An amateur-looking video might play into your image and work well for your audience.
Short Social Media Videos: if all you’re doing is Facebook Live or posting a short video to Instagram, feel free to DIY. You don’t need a big production for these.
Well, there you have it. Three ways to produce low cost videos. It might take a little research on your part, but it’s worth it. Put the power of video to work for your business.
Trying to decide between a DIY video project and hiring a video production company? You’re not alone.
I know there are some who might balk at paying $5,000 for a video… heck… even $800 for a basic video.
What do you get for that money? It may seem like a simple video file, but really you’re purchasing much more.
What your video budget gets you
the first thing you get seems simple enough. You get professional video equipment. That might not seem like a big deal considering every smart phone these days can shoot HD video. The difference is you probably don’t have the equipment to truly make it professional… tripods, lights and the often overlooked… professional audio gear.
having all the toys is one thing, it’s another thing knowing how to use them. Not all videographers are created equal, and everyone has their own shooting style. The good one’s will make your video shine.
your budget also pays for a seasoned storyteller. Someone who knows what to shoot, what questions to ask, how to put it on paper in script form and to translate that script into a finished video.
you also get a video editor. Video editing has become far more accessible in recent years, but just like professional videographers… not all editors are created equal. The good ones can save you a lot of time and add polish to your video.
you get a manager. Coordinating all of the above can be quite the task. Chances are, if you hired a company to produce your video, all of these things are being handled without you having to lift a finger.
Duh, I almost forgot the most important thing
Oh yeah… not to mention you’re going to get a professional video at the end that you’ll be proud to post at the company website, send out in the company newsletter, and share on your social networks. A video that will create a great first impression for people about your business.
Your video budget will provide a marketing tool to help set your company apart from the competition.
Big businesses have it easy. They’re big companies with big marketing budgets. They can use that money for all sorts of things, including… marketing videos. Small businesses… not so lucky. Every dollar spent on marketing materials is closely considered.
Which is why small business owners and marketing pros need to be more savvy. They need to know how to maximize the money spent on their marketing tactics. Tough to do when it comes to video. Video can be expensive, but there are bargains to be had… if you know where to look.
Video Production Companies
Believe it or not, there are plenty of video production companies that will take on low-budget projects. You just need to ask them.
We have customers who were surprised to find out they can get a really good video for $1000. As a matter of fact, we designed a whole video production process (3-Step Storytelling) specifically to produce low cost videos.
There are other video production companies willing to take on small projects. Here’s the tough part though… you have to be honest about your budget and share it upfront.
I know… you don’t want to share your budget because maybe they’ll charge you less, and then you’ll miss out on a great deal.
Reality check… if you’re looking to get a marketing video for less than $2000, you’re already getting a deal. Sharing your budget in advance will save you and the production company a lot of time.
Some video crews won’t even pick-up their cameras for less than $10,000, so why waste all that time talking through your project with them only to find out something like that when you get a proposal from them.
On the other hand, if you tell someone upfront… I have $1000 budget… a $500 budget… you’ll weed through production companies much more quickly.
If you’re striking out on production companies, finding an independent producer or videographer might be the way to go. There are websites out there devoted to finding these people, or you can always check/post on Craigslist.
This part is critical though, make sure you see some of their work in advance. Not only that, dig deeper to find out if it’s REALLY their work.
Did they shoot and edit it? If they answer yes, ask them what kind of camera they used. Ask them what kind of editing software they used.
The type of camera and editing software doesn’t really matter, but someone who didn’t really do the work will stumble over those questions.
If they give you a vague answer… I shot it on a Sony… insist on the actual model. Anybody worth their salt as a videographer is going to be able to tell you exactly what type of camera they used. We’re kind of obsessive about our gear.
Worst Case Scenario
Maybe you have no budget at all for marketing videos, but you’d still like some. You can always do it yourself.
Will wonders never cease!? A video pro advocating DIY video!?
Yup. If you are a small business with no marketing budget, I think it’s perfectly fine for you to DIY.
Get your friends and family involved. Have them help you. Just do it! Video is too good of a marketing tool for you to miss out on because you don’t have a budget for it.
If you run a medium-sized company or up, it’s a terrible idea for all sorts of reasons. The main one being you don’t want to ruin your reputation by producing a cheap looking video.
On the other hand, you small business owners and managers… I’m giving you a DIY video pass. If you’re known as a small business, your audience won’t hold a less than professional video against you.
Marketing videos are no longer a luxury… they’re a necessity. Video is the way companies now communicate with their customers. Don’t let a small budget keep you from using the same marketing tactic as big business.
Remember the first time you saw a Harry Potter movie and the portraits on the wall talked? Suddenly, a flat, static prop came alive! In that moment, what would have been just part of the set in any other movie, had its own starring role. Video does that. Because pictures that move are infinitely more exciting that those that don’t. That’s why when you’re creating a marketing plan for your business, in-house or through an agency, you should consider devoting part of your budget to video.
Here are seven reasons why using video can increase website traffic and make your brand story more appealing, engaging and attractive to your target audience than ever before.
Video can boost your marketing plan SEO by up to 80%
There are many reasons for this, but for now – let’s just consider two. Google owns YouTube and not surprisingly, tends to favor it as the destination of a search. Second, Youtube is, in its own right, the second largest and most popular search engine after Google. So if someone is doing a search, having video on your site will significantly increase the likelihood they’ll find your site through one or both of these online resources.
Seeing is believing
Businesses have always depended on marketing to boost sales and profits through advertising and public relations campaigns. Nevertheless, the truth is – no one likes to be “sold.” (That’s why TiVo and guerilla marketing were invented.) Today, the contempt people feel toward traditional advertising is greater than ever, and folks are equally suspicious and distrustful of other forms of communication such as newspapers and TV shows.
However, one form of marketing – product demonstration – has always enjoyed a high degree of credibility, no matter the product or the audience. Just check out this classic Cheer commercial demonstrating the power of pre-treating clothes to remove stains. Or this contemporary spot for Flex-seal showing how effectively it repairs leaks. And this brilliant Youtube video from Purple Feather, an agency in Glasgow, proving just how effective a good copywriter can be.
The message is obvious. To overcome your target market’s skepticism about your brand’s value, create a video clip that shows how your product works in real time. With just a little effort and imagination, you can make your marketing so engaging, memorable and impressive that customers will beat a path to your door.
People like to do business with people they know
In today’s global economy, few business owners or their sales people can personally introduce themselves to every customer. Fortunately, having video clips on your website is a great way to show your staff in action. Site visitors can not only learn about your staff’s experience, but see how they move, what they sound like and the little quirks in their body language that add a dimension of authenticity to their persona. No question about it: video is infinitely better at conveying someone’s personality, sense of humor and ability to connect with others than a studio head shot and a written biography could ever be.
Video interviews make viewers feel like they know you – and can trust you
Building long term, mutually beneficial business relationships always comes down to whom do you trust. Seeing someone in a video – especially if it’s shot simply and on the job – gives a sense of reality and integrity to their brand message that copy content and static images can’t possibly match.
Video has a greater impact on our emotions than any other communications format
Why does this matter? Because every buying decision is ultimately made based on our emotional response to the product. Although we gather and analyze information with the rational, left side of our brains, only the right side, the side that governs our emotions, is capable of making a decision. This is why marketers are always looking for the emotional hook when constructing a sales approach for a product. It’s our emotional reaction to a sales message that not only helps us remember the product’s name and promise, but also provides the impetus to complete the purchase.
Furthermore, emotions are provoked and enhanced by many things – images, sounds, words and music. Only video lets you combine all four of these elements to increase the emotional impact and the appeal of your message. This video on open adoption for Lutheran Social Services is a great example of what we mean.
Video is the sales tool of today and tomorrow. Using it in your marketing plan puts you ahead of the crowd
How you present your marketing story reveals as much about your company’s culture as the information you share. For example, are you still using images, typefaces and a copy style that Don Draper might have used? Using video immediately marks you as being on the cutting edge of your industry and that could be a major point of difference between you and your competition.
Now almost every business can afford to use video
In the old Mad Men days, using moving images to sell a product was a major expense. For one thing, commercials were usually shot on film and needed not only an expert behind the camera, but a sound engineer and a lighting crew as well Editing was a whole other expense that could take days to accomplish and cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Today, highly professional videographers can shoot and edit everything from a 30-second TV spot to an hour-long documentary at very reasonable rates in a very short timeframe. Some videographers, including T60 Productions, will teach you the basics of creating your own videos for an affordable consultation fee. With just a little help, you can produce credible videos on your own that can be used on your site, posted on social media and shown at new business presentations.
So – what are you waiting for? To paraphrase an old song, “your business ought to be in pictures for everyone to see.” Why not call T60 Productions and find out how you can become your own movie star.
Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and creative director who has been writing TV spots and sales videos for over 20 years. She is CD of Crux Creative in Milwaukee and strongly encourages the agency’s clients to make video part of their marketing plan for digital and experiential marketing communications.
Marketing videos can be a fantastic way to promote your company, product or service. Here are a few statistics in case you need convincing:
Video shared on social media generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined
74% of millennials find video helpful when comparison shopping
4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it
So we’re in agreement – video can be an awesome part of a marketing strategy. However, it has to be executed effectively. Now, I’m not talking about the actual creation of the video. We’ll leave that to experts like Tony Gnau. I’m talking about what happens after you create the video. You upload it to YouTube, maybe put it on your website—and then what?
Don’t make this mistake
Here’s where the mistake commonly happens. Companies will invest money into creating a great marketing video, upload it to YouTube, and expect the magic to happen from there. However, just like any marketing strategy, it’s simply not enough just to create the video itself. You also need to make sure your target audience (your customers and prospective customers) see it. You need to promote it. There are so many ways you can do this, so I’ll share just a few ideas below.
Place it prominently on your website
Depending on your video content, you may want to put it on your Home page, About Us page, Testimonials page, Services/Products page, etc. It may make sense to go on more than one page as well, and that’s okay too.
Announce your new video
If you send out a periodic newsletter or other email updates, include your new video in your next email message. This email could go to current customers, prospective customers, or both. Make sure when you send your email, you don’t just say “Check out our cool new video!” but instead give the recipient a reason to watch it. Here are a few examples:
“Get a behind-the-scenes peek at our company in our latest video!”
“Based on your past purchases, I thought our newest product would interest you. Check out this short video to learn more.”
Use your social media channels
Again, you shouldn’t just share it once on your Facebook page and be done. Make a plan to share your new video multiple times across your social networks when it’s new, and also remember to periodically share it when it’s not new anymore for those who didn’t see it the first time. Consider opportunities to put your video on a social page longer term, such as the ability to add media to your LinkedIn profile or the option to pin posts to the top of your Facebook page.
Incorporate your video into other marketing initiatives
Once you have a corporate marketing video, it’s a great opportunity to use within other marketing initiatives and campaigns. You could include in a prospecting email campaign, use as part of a digital advertising campaign, include in your latest blog, put a link in your email signature or many other possibilities to make it a part of your company’s overall marketing plan.
Alicia Olsen is the owner of Olsen Marketing Solutions, a full-service marketing firm offering marketing strategy and planning, web design, copywriting, social media management and more.