Video is hands down the most powerful digital marketing tool you can invest in. But to take full advantage of this powerful medium, you’ve got to know the tricks of the trade. In this post, we break down our top 10 things to consider when creating a business video.
1. Start with 4 strategic questions
Long before the cameras start rolling and even before you develop the concept for your video, get your strategic bearings by asking and answering four fundamental questions about your video project: what is the specific marketing objective; who is the specific audience; in what context will they be viewing the video (social, webpage, YouTube, etc.); and how will you measure and track results? The answers to these questions will provide the structure and context that your project needs to succeed.
2. Get S.M.A.RT. about your objective
When developing an objective for your business video, make sure that it is S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (or Timely). For example, if you’re looking to increase online sales, a S.M.A.R.T video marketing goal might be to increase a product page conversion rate by 50% by the end of Q1. This is specific (increase a conversion rate), measurable (by 50%), relevant (it’s about increasing sales), and time-bound (by the end of Q1).
Moreover, videos have been shown to boost product page conversion rates by more than 80%. So, generally speaking, this type of objective would also be attainable; though what’s attainable for your specific organization will obviously vary.
3. Anchor your concept to your strategy
Clients will often come to ReelSmart with a creative concept before we’ve had an opportunity to do a strategic analysis of their marketing objectives. While it’s good to let those creative juices flow, it’s important to avoid putting the cart before the horse, or, in this case, your creative vision before your strategy. Without a clear understanding your S.M.A.R.T objective, audience, context and KPIs, you could produce a very creatively clever and beautifully executed video that nevertheless fails to produce results.
On the other hand, with a strong strategic plan in place, you’ll often find that the creative ideas will tend to flow naturally and easily from framework.
4. Budget carefully but spend strategically
These days, effective video content is cheaper than ever to produce, but if you have a more generous marketing budget to work with, don’t underspend on digital video content in favor of more traditional channels. Year after year, surveys show video provides some of the highest ROI for digital marketers (87% report positive ROI in 2020), so keep this in mind when debating how much you are willing to invest to get a product that meets your needs. Again, a good strategy will prove very helpful with the question of budgeting, as it will help you determine whether you can get by with some no-frills content, or whether a complex production is warranted.
When you contact production companies, suggest a budget range that you’d like to try to work within and then ask them to provide a menu of a few production options of varying complexity and cost within that range.
If you’re interested in understanding the types of content you can expect at different price points, check out Wistia’s great web series “One, Ten, One Hundred”.
5. Know when to hire actors or source “talent” in house
Using staff members as company spokespeople, or background “actors” can be a great way to lend an air of authenticity to some of your business video projects. It can also help reduce your production costs.
On the flip side, amateur actors (and especially those who have never been on camera) will often become self-conscious when the camera starts rolling – becoming tongue tied over simple lines, and just generally stiff and awkward. So, what you may save on acting talent, you could end up spending (and then some) in terms of extra production time required to get useable content from your staff. Often, it’s better to hire professional actors do their jobs, while leaving your employees to do their own.
Again, having a good strategy in place will help you determine the best course of action for any particular project.
6. Avoid the company brochure feel
Don’t bore your audience with a video script that feels like it was lifted directly from your about page copy or a company brochure. You might have gotten away with something like this 10 or 15 years ago, but today’s audiences require more to pull them in than a video version of a power-point presentation. Think of your corporate overview video as a kind of appetizer: something light and fresh that will leave them hungry to dig into the rest of the content on your site.
7. Know the optimal video length for your use case
Stats show that, on average, 70% of video viewers will watch online videos to the two-minute mark, but that viewer retention plummets after that point. It’s no surprise then that many businesses tend to aim to come in under that 2-minute mark when generating new video content.
But while “shorter is better” is a good general rule of thumb to follow, optimal video length will vary depending on your video objective, audience and viewing context. For instance, stats also show that viewers at the middle and bottom of the sales funnel (who are digging for additional information and product/service validation) will sit through videos that run considerably beyond two-minutes.
Don’t miss out on engaging this valuable cohort by leaving the extra content on the cutting room floor.
8. Don’t worry about 4K for most web video
4K video is nice, but do you really need that much resolution? Outside the video production industry, there’s a common misconception that 4K resolution means higher image quality. Not only is this untrue (e.g. 4K iPhone video won’t look better than HD cinema camera video), but if your video is going to live on your website or social media, 4K resolution is completely overkill. Most of your viewers will be watching on a phone, tablet, or a standard HD computer screen; not in full-screen mode on a 4K monitor. In most cases, 1080p (full HD) or 720p (HD) will be sufficient for your needs.
10. Have a promotional plan
Even the most engaging video content is only as effective as your efforts to promote it and attract viewers. So, don’t just embed the video on your site or post it on YouTube and then hope for the best; develop a plan to drive viewers toward your content. For instance, you can send out an email to your customers or supporters with an embedded image of the video that links to your website; contact a list of influencers to tweet and share with their networks; create shorter teaser versions for social that link to the full video; do paid promos on social media; and more.
10. Keep the content coming
According to recent research, 72% percent of market respondents would rather learn about a product or a service through video instead of text, and viewers retain a far higher percentage of a message when they view it in a video, versus reading it.
So, don’t just do one and done; think of your business video as merely one asset in an ongoing video marketing plan, then develop that plan and put the resources in place to make it happen. The more video you deploy across your digital platforms, the more engagement you’ll see, the bigger your audience will grow, and the higher your ROI will rise.