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The Video Revolution – Part 4
Using Video for Marketing
In a world where reading has become increasingly passé, video is emerging as the go-to tool for businesses to deliver information quickly and easily. Videos give customers information about a product or service without overwhelming them with text. In thirty or sixty seconds, a prospect can learn a lot about a business through a short, impactful video. If a picture paints a thousand words, then a video paints a million.
The upside is that creating videos has become ever easier. Thanks to technology, almost anyone can create an affordable video. Anyone with a smartphone can record video segments. There are also countless vendors that use software programs to create animated explainer videos. But easier and cheaper is not always what is best. Perhaps more than ever before companies must create marketing videos that connect with their audiences. They must have a refined balance of information, visuals, sound, and action. So, what should a marketing video include?
Marketing Video Strategy
Like any other marketing efforts, marketing videos must be planned as part of an overall strategy. The marketing department must think about purpose, audience, goals, schedule, content, and mediums.
Before spending a minute or a dollar to create marketing videos, everyone on the marketing team and in the company’s leadership should be clear on why marketing videos are needed. Everyone should be on the same page. It’s impossible to gauge whether marketing videos are effective if everyone is not in agreement as to why they were created in the first place. It’s not enough for everyone to agree that videos are needed. There should be consensus as to the reasons why video should be a part of the company’s marketing endeavors.
Mind you, there are plenty of good reasons to create marketing videos. For example, using video in content marketing improves SEO. According to ComScore, adding a marketing video to a website increases the chance of a front-page Google result by 5,300%. Another good reason is that videos drive more consumer engagement than any other type of content. Given the amount of information overload out there, the ability to capture attention is really important. Not only are consumers more likely to watch videos, they are 10 times more likely to respond to, share, and link to video content than other social media posts or blogs.
In addition to those valid reasons for creating marketing videos, there are other reasons as well. Technologies are leaning increasingly toward video marketing. For instance, Facebook recently added an auto-play feature. Clearly, video demands more attention as a status update or a link than text content. Also, video allows a company to measure more easily click-thru rates, drop off points, and number of times viewed. Other types of content simply do not offer that kind of feedback. So video lets a business know specifically which messages work and which don’t. Along those same lines, people are more likely to watch most of a video rather than read the same type of information. In fact, studies have found that 65% of viewers will watch more than 75% percent of a video, if the video has been done well. And, for companies that want to increase their email open rate, use of video in emails has been shown to double email open rates. Who can say no to more effective emails?
All those reasons aside, the most important reason for creating video content for most companies is that video is powerful. Video evokes emotion. It offers facial expressions, music, tone, voice, inflection, etc. That goes far beyond the emotion that mere words can convey. Smart companies want to form an emotional bond with their potential customers. Emotion in marketing has been proven to have a positive impact on the consumer decision-making process. These are all valid reasons for creating marketing videos, but it is important for everyone in an organization to know their own specific reasons for making them.
Just like any ad campaign has a target audience, so must a marketing video or video series. The mantra of any marketer should be ‘Know Thy Audience’. If, for example, a builder was selling condos to Millennials, those marketing videos would probably need to be brief, fun, visually stimulating, and exciting or humorous. However, if a mortgage lender was speaking to Baby Boomers about refinancing a condo, the marketing videos should probably be more informative, technical, reassuring, and sophisticated. The age, education, and background of the audience should help to set the tone and approach of the marketing videos.
Like any other marketing strategy, it is important to know what the company hopes to achieve with the video or video series. It’s not enough to say “increase sales.” That’s every company’s goal. The goal must be more specific. Goals should be measurable, achievable, and specific. They can’t be too abstract but they also can’t be too detailed. The goal must have a specific, reasonable deadline. At first, figuring out what is reasonable may be a challenge. The initial goal of a marketing video might be to have 10,000 views in three months. But a company might find that it is more realistic to achieve 5,000 views in three months. Knowing what constitutes a reasonable goal requires research and comes with practice.
Possible goals might include achieving many views, reaching many unique viewers, or successfully communicating with a specific target audience. Other goals might be to nurture loyalty if the videos are part of an ongoing series, or to encourage engagement if the videos are being posted on social media. Similarly, a goal might be to increase sharing through social media channels or generate click-thrus to the company’s website. Ideally, the goal should include some way for the company to identify each potential customer’s existence and be able to reach that person later. So, the goal might be to encourage viewers to register on the company’s website or subscribe to a blog. For companies that sell services or products online, a goal might be for a video to generate actual sales. Expect goals to shift and change as it becomes clearer what is realistic and what is just a ‘pipe dream’.
Just as marketing plans will publish Linked In posts and blog posts to run on a consistent schedule, marketing videos should also be published regularly. It is important to think big picture when creating marketing videos. Instead of creating a single video to showcase a particular service, a company might want to plan a series of videos showcasing a variety of services. These videos could be released on a regular basis, such as bi-weekly or monthly ,or a company could develop a series of videos that tell a story in installments. The story could be told in multiple parts over several weeks or months. The videos could be used leading up to a big event such as the Grand Opening of a new office or the expansion of a division into a new market. A well-told video story, timed sequentially, can keep a brand top-of-mind with consumers for an extended period of time… long after the event or milestone.
The point of all marketing video content is to drive awareness, generate leads, and ultimately result in increased sales. The idea should be to make videos as engaging as possible while being efficient and economical, but also creative. On the one hand, it is tempting to blow the budget on creating one or a few high quality, dazzling videos with the hope of their going viral. On the other hand, that’s risky business. There is so much competition for viewer attention that spending a fortune on a few videos may end up being a poor marketing gamble. Most companies should try to find a happy place between either extreme. Marketing videos should be done well without breaking the bank to deliver good content. This is especially true for those attempting to make marketing videos for the first time. As in all things, there is a learning curve to creating good content marketing videos. It’s best to be frugal and careful with budget during the learning process. Once a company has the hang of it, then it can choose to spend more to create great marketing videos.
A good place to start in creating the content for marketing videos is to use some of what already exists. Most companies have a wealth of potential content at their fingertips. Past blog posts. PR articles. Client recommendations. Written case studies. Copy used on video and brochures. Flyers. Video footage taken at events. Etc. The first step then is to inventory what there is to decide what can be used. Next, create additional content that can work in a video, such as staff interviews, customer interviews, a tour of the office, video of company functions, or a ‘day in the life of’ video of an employee in operations or leadership. These can all provide valuable footage for a marketing video.
With this in hand, the process begins. The sales and marketing teams can work together to create a basic concept. Then a writer or team of writers must take the premise and write a script from concept to delivery. Once the script is completed, a graphic designer or animation artist must create the storyboard. When the graphics are approved, the narration must be recorded, setting the pace of delivery of each verse and scene. The voice of the narrator must align with be chosen that aligns with the concept and audience. The voice over session must have multiple takes that can be used in post-production. If music is going to be incorporated in the video, that must be decided and included during the recording session. Sound is then added to the animation to create a first version for review. From there, the video is then tweaked and prepared for final viewing. If possible, the video can be made using interactive using tools like Mozilla’s Popcorn. Popcorn has expanded the possibilities of what a company can do in-screen, such as adding dynamic content and maps, or what a viewer can do such as providing a response within the frame of the video.
Before disseminating a marketing video, it is essential to ensure that it works across devices. This is something that is often overlooked by leadership and creative types. But a video that is awesome but cannot be viewed by anyone is pointless. More and more consumers are accessing content across multiple devices including iPads, tablets, and smartphones. Videos must be optimally displayed when viewed on these devices, as well as the real estate that surrounds them, which provides a place to include calls to action and other conversion tools. When choosing distribution channels, the marketing team must ensure that it is properly formatted for responsive design and allows for video playback across multiple devices. For example, iPads don’t support Flash.
Companies need to stop thinking of ‘marketing videos’ as this separate entity that is optional for a business. Video is an effective form of communication that needs to be integrated into each and every aspect of existing marketing efforts.
Quote of the Week
“More than 150 million people view videos online every year, most of them ripe to hear your business’s pitch if you produce and market your video effectively.” Vern Marker
© 2017, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.