Video is perhaps the most engaging form of media. Moving images and audio add new dimensions to your message that does not exist in other forms of media. In addition, video elicits a greater emotional response from your audience than still images or print.
The amount of video in marketing has exploded during the last ten years. This popularity has created a marketing frenzy with the media. Before you create your next video, however, you ought to ask yourself six questions:
- What type of content should I create?
- What factors will lead to greater engagement among my audience?
- How long should my video be?
- Where should I deliver my video?
- How should I promote it?
- How can I create video within my marketing budget?
The following are six tips that answer these questions.
Tip #1: Create Engaging Video that Fits the Needs of Your Audience
No matter what type of video you set out to create, you need to make it engaging for your audience. In general, there are five categories of videos you can create for your business. These categories include:
- promotional commercials
- product demonstration
- testimonial videos
- infomercial/video sales letter
- educational content
Promotional commercials are similar to what you see on television and cable. In fact, you can find these same commercials on select websites that broadcast news, such as CNN and ESPN.
The purpose of a promotional commercial is to increase awareness of your product or service. They should contain just enough content to spark an interest among your audience members. However, they are not long enough to contain sufficient content to close the sale.
Product demonstration videos show your audience the features and benefits of the item you are selling. They may also show the audience how to assemble and use the product.
Testimonial videos show existing customers communicating to prospects. The best types of testimonial videos are the ones that contain emotional messages. You must videotape many customers to find the gems, and it’s best you do NOT tell the person you are interviewing what to say. Instead, ask them questions about your product and their experience and you’ll be surprised at not only what they say in response, but also how they say it. Good testimonials can lead to new sales.
Infomercials are long sales presentations that aim to close the sale. You’ve seen many on television in years past, but now with the Internet, many companies are also creating a new form called video sales letters. The difference between the two is an infomercial will usually contain more images of the product and people using it, whereas a video sales letter is a persuasive letter shown on the screen with a narrator speaking the words. They are very effective at closing sales.
Videos are a great form of media to teach or train your audience. This is especially true when the content requires more showing than telling. Nonetheless, educational content can be for customers, employers, vendors etc. depending on the topic and audience.
To make your video more engaging, you need to have a dramatic story with great imagery and a clear voice. Use music to bring your story to life.
Tip #2: Survey Your Target Audience to Increase Engagement
Engagement is a key factor in the success of your video. Before video creation, it’s a good idea to research your target audience to learn how to increase engagement.
Ask questions about what your audience likes, dislikes, fears, and has passion for in life. Chances are you will discover something about the psychographic nature of your audience that can give you an edge in creating and sustaining engagement when viewing your video.
Failing to address your target audience is a common mistake among many businesses, according to a report by Forbes in October, 2013. The report suggests you focus your message on a specific and well-defined target audience. Since different people have different pain points, you need to find out the one(s) that best fits your audience.
Tip #3: Make Your Video as Short as Possible
Consider the story of Goldilocks and the three bears.
In the story, Goldilocks enters the bears’ cabin and sees three bowls of porridge. The porridge in the first bowl was too hot. The porridge in the second bowl was too cold, and the porridge in the third bowl was just right.
You want the length of your video to be just right.
The best length to make your video is as short as possible to get your message across, but that length depends on various factors and may differ by topic and audience.
The key is to hold the attention of your audience for as long as you can, according to Yoav Hornung, an award-winning filmmaker, co-founder and CEO of Veed.me.
With the rapid rise of digital content and social media, people have less of an attention span due in part to the deluge of content vying for attention every moment of every day.
There is one thing to keep in mind when publishing your video. Your audience will likely look at how long the video is before they decide to play it. The shorter the video length is, the more likely they will hit the play button.
Consider the study conducted by Wistia. A video 30 seconds and shorter will engage about 80% of your audience, whereas a video 2 to 3 minutes long will engage 60% of your audience.
On further inspection, they found that viewers drop off as the video length increases.
It is vital you include key information at the beginning of the video, so if you are using a post-roll call-to-action, you ought to execute a harder stop to your video rather than a wrap-up. This can help you get more viewers to stay to the end to see your call-to-action.
You should also know that there is a wide variation in engagement among viewers. This is especially true at the beginning of the video.
Therefore, the best way to engage your audience at the beginning is to make your message dramatic. The more conflict there is in your story, the greater the drama and more engaging it will be for your audience.
Shorter videos are best for promotional and educational content. Most commercials on television are either 30 or 60 seconds. You can bump the length of a promotional video on your website to 2 to 3 minutes to get more information across.
However, for educational content it’s best that you split each lesson into 2 minute videos. Instead of having a long twenty-minute tutorial on one topic, you create ten 2 minute videos on each lesson associated with that topic.
Tip #4: Take Your Video to the People
Creating a quality video at the right length gets you only so far as the number of people in your target audience who view it. You must consider carefully where to deliver your video.
The first place to start is your website. Many of your marketing programs will most likely promote your website address. Plus, many of your prospects and customers will want to go to your website to learn more about your company, products and services.
But your website is not enough. You should also consider broadcasting your video on YouTube or Vimeo. By doing so, you now have access to millions of viewers who otherwise may never find you.
You should include your video as part of your email and social media campaigns. These campaigns give you control to push your video to the audience you want to reach. Once your video reaches its destination, there is a good chance some of your audience will share it with others.
Tip #5: Promote Your Video Aggressively
Once you create your video and determine where you will deliver it, you still must promote it. In fact, this may be your toughest challenge and the one objective many managers ignore.
The more you promote your video, the more website traffic you can generate and the more sales you can make. So what are the best ways to promote your video?
Think of your video as its own product. You need to provide an incentive for your audience to view it. One way to do this is by offering a reward for everyone who completes the viewing of the video. Perhaps you offer a discount code or a free report code at the end of your video. Or, if you put the video on a landing page, you can have a link appear on the screen when the video reaches the end. The link can take the audience to get their reward.
Another way to promote your video is to offer a reward to those in your social media network who refer the most people to view your video. This can increase your lead network, which can boost your customer number.
Tip #6: Create an Awesome Video with a Small Budget by Doing Three Things
Video can be expensive. In fact, it can be very expensive if you do something similar to the commercials you see on television. These videos involve elaborate settings, actors, equipment and technical and artistic personnel.
However, you can create a video with a message that is just as good, if not a better, on a shoestring budget. Sujan Patel in his article published by Entrepreneur in April, 2014 shares three strategies to reduce the costs of video production.
These strategies include:
- Renting equipment instead of buying it. Unless you are planning to produce lots of videos, you can save the investment required for a video camera, microphone, lighting equipment, tripod, and more by renting these instead. The one caveat here is that the rental company may charge a day rate, so you need to get all of your shooting done in one or two days. You can also save money by outsourcing the post production rather than investing in the hardware, software and staff.
- Adding digital graphics to live camera action can help you cut down on the video footage you need to shoot. Plus, digital graphics can give you more control on color and movement than live shoots.
- Crowd sourcing some or all of your video footage. Instead of shooting the footage yourself, ask your target audience to contribute footage of them using and talking about your product or service. Nonetheless, you must make sure you retain full rights to the footage, so you’ll likely have to consult your attorney about this.
You can also create videos on a small budget by creating a whiteboard animation instead of a live shoot. With whiteboard animation you do NOT need any production equipment, personnel or location, so you save a big amount right there. All you need is one animation artist to create your video. If you do this in-house, then you’ll need to invest in a computer with video editing software. You’ll also need to license music and perhaps hire a voiceover artist.
The great thing about whiteboard animation is people are fascinated with doodling and cartoon characters, so you’ll have a video that will surely engage your audience.
If you don’t have video in your marketing plans this year, stop and ask yourself why not. Videos are powerful and can lead to more sales of your products or services. They do not need to be long, and they do not need to cost much. Make it a priority to add videos to your marketing plan.