Lights! Camera! Action! Many of us daydreamed as children about being famous actors. Now, thanks to advances in technology, many of us are using video as another tool in our marketing arsenal for reaching a greater number of potential customers.
However, not all video clips are created equal, a fact I’m sure you’re more than aware of if you’ve watched anything on YouTube. Here are five, easy-to-follow tips for making effective marketing videos that will keep your audience watching until the end.
1) Organize your material – There are two basic types of marketing videos: shorter informational videos that promote a product or service, and longer instructional presentations or webinars. No matter which format you’re using, it is very important that the information be presented in a logical format. Don’t think of it as a commercial – a marketing video is a visual, and in most cases, a talking business card. Remember that outstanding videos can and will increase your credibility, trust and consequently your reputation. Even if you have created a great video, you never know what feedback you may get from “users”. Just make sure you have a good reputation management procedure in place, to monitor whatever it is “people are saying about you”.
Anyway, Edit down what you show – you’re not creating an epic adventure. Follow this basic format:
- State a want, need, problem or desire
- Say that you can fulfill, fix and/or solve it
- Show HOW you accomplish that
- Summarize with a call-to-action statement
- Provide your contact information at the beginning and at the end.
Sure it’s obvious, and yet I’ve seen too many videos where I have only a vague sense of what they do after watching, or no idea of how to contact them.
When done correctly, video presentations and webinars are powerful marketing tools. However they present a special challenge due to their length – how to keep the audience engaged. Make sure you do the following:
- Have an agenda at the beginning – specifically state what it is you’re going to discuss.
- Add variety to the format (see below)
- Break up long presentations with summaries along the way.
2) Visual Variety- For all types of videos, it’s best to avoid having only a “talking head” in front of the camera.
- Create an engaging mix of people and objects, even if it’s just the building where the business resides. The message is: this is what we do, this is where we are, come see us.
- A 2-minute video on how to do something on the computer can start with the person talking, cut to a screen shot, and then wrap up with the person summarizing what was shown. It’s similar to a cooking video – you see close-ups of the bowl so you know how the mixture is supposed to look.
- Webinars need to make sure that they are not boring their audience to death with too many slides. Mix in examples of what is being discussed.
3) Visual Appeal
- If there are people in the video, make sure their clothing works with the background colors. You may laugh, but I’ve seen some very odd and distracting combinations.
- This also may seem obvious, but avoid pictures that jiggle all over the place. I know it’s a hot trend in movie making, but remember this is your business card talking.
- Make your pan shots long enough so that people can see them. I’ve seen several construction/remodeling firm videos that zoom through their portfolios too quickly for one to get the details of what they’ve created.
- If there’s a lot of detail in your pan shot, add a voice-over to point out the important sections. Don’t assume your audience will see everything you want them to see.
4) Sound Quality
- Nothing is worse than bad sound. It will turn people off fast. Get feedback to make sure everything spoken is thoroughly understood.
- If you’re using music, make sure it doesn’t overpower any spoken words. Most of us can recall several highly successful commercial “jingles” from upwards of 20 years ago. We may know the song, but do we remember the product? Don’t make the music the star of the show.
5) Keep it Professional
- Some people think a funny video with amusing or even risqué scenes is the way to go – it will go “viral” and people will flock to your website! Be careful. Always treat marketing videos like the valuable tools they are.
- If there are people talking on the video, make sure they project the right image for your company. If your lead engineer is really brilliant but appears uncomfortable in front of camera, then seriously consider using someone else, either from within or hire an actor.
Your videos are powerful tools. Post videos on your website and promote them on social media. They are worth the time and investment to get them right. Actually, you can go as far as monetizing your videos, if that’s the case.