With customers’ increasingly short attention spans, fewer companies are using words to relay their marketing messages. According to the 2014 Online Video Production Survey and Trends Report, 81 percent of companies are producing video content for their websites and 69 percent are posting them on social media. Followers are more likely to click on videos and photos rather than just text posts. Unfortunately, a lot of the videos that are supposed to help build relationships with prospects fall short and could end up hurting your efforts.
Creating effective video marketing starts with an authentic video. John Jantsch of The Referral Engine reminds every company that people buy from who they “know, like and trust.” Consumers only want to do business with those brands that are “real." Make sure that your company’s videos match the authenticity of your brand. Prospects will have a better opportunity to relate to your company if they can see themselves as someone that wants to do business with you. This is why there should be close-up shots of people's faces in the video and not just pictures of landscapes, buildings or products. People remember other faces, not other things.
The video quality is also critical. This doesn't mean it needs to be movie-like production. With so much video currently being shot on smartphones, the issue isn’t typically poor quality, but that the video reflects the company accurately. For example, if your business is a production company, all videos should showcase what your company can do. If your business is a delivery company, your video can be a shaky handheld type that follows your driver's route. Most importantly, don’t just use the thumbnail that YouTube or any other service automatically chooses. The picture representing the video is a critical part of the marketing process and may have to be custom made. Remember that the prospect will decide based on that picture if they will click the play button. Think about how this thumbnail relates to the goal of your overall marketing piece and what the prospect should feel before hitting play.
According to Sally Hogshead, the average person’s attention span is only nine seconds. By this standard, many videos are either too long or take too much time to get to the point. If the video doesn't interest viewers in the first nine seconds, they'll stop watching. To make sure you're getting to your message fast, plan out the goal of the video and how you want to achieve it before shooting.
Map out the sequence before the shooting starts by carefully choosing and counting every word. This takes a lot of practice and discipline. You may shoot “B-roll” of spontaneous scenes, but it's most important to capture the essential elements. The length of the entire video should be as short as possible. Years ago, conventional wisdom said that videos should be less than three minutes. Now, the most shareable ones are about 60 seconds.
Keep It Clear
Leave out the special effects since they can further distract from the video’s message. The sound quality also needs to be clear. Don’t depend on the mic built into a smartphone to give the optimal result; these devices pick up too much background noise, which can be very distracting. Invest in a higher quality microphone that plugs into any audio jack. I recommend the Olympus ME-51S mic or the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 mic. For desktop USB connected microphones, I recommend the Blue Snowball.
Watch the Pros
Finally, watch other business videos that are effective small marketing tools. I recommend checking out Mike Michalowicz’s video library. He starts with the consistent high energy introduction that matches his brand. The video is only one minute and 10 seconds. In the first few seconds, he talks about slashing costs for a business. He then proceeds to discuss how to do that. The video then displays key messages on the screen to reinforce what Mike just taught. He includes some “bonus humor at the end.” In another example, Clearview Social helps lawyers share content online. Its two-minute video, which lives on its home page, clearly states who they are, the problem they solve and how the software works upfront.
Video is an effective marketing tool that anyone can use. Just remember to plan ahead and stay focused on your message.
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