9 Tips for an Effective Video Ad

The quality and execution of your company video can speak volumes about your business. Here's how make a video the right way.
October 24, 2012

As a business owner, you have a limited advertising budget so you want to make absolutely sure that you’re using your money effectively. A good video ad can be inexpensive to produce and can be used on social media sites, your webpage and in e-mails. If you’re lucky, it may even go viral.

According to ComScore, online video continues its growth trajectory as “more than 184 million U.S. Internet users watched 36.9 billion online content videos in July, while video ad views totaled 9.6 billion.” But you’re not Steven Spielberg, so how do you create an effective video ad that will capitalize on these figures?  Here are a few tips:

1. Put together a plan. To figure out what type of message you’d like to convey, consider the following questions:

  • Is it a general introduction to your services?                              
  • Are you promoting a new product or service?
  • Do you have a “special offer” that you want to emphasize?
  • How does your product or service make your customer’s life easier, better or happier?
  • How can you emphasize your experience and reputation?
  • Can you convey how your customers feel about your product or service through testimonials or quotes?

2. Personalize the video. Include pictures of yourself, your employees and your customers. If you have customer testimonials, include them. If possible, show a customer using your product or service. Just to save yourself a possible headache down the road, have your “actors” sign a release granting you permission to use their name and likeness.

3. Write a script. Don’t try to wing it; it usually doesn’t work. You know your business best, so you are probably the best person to tell people about it. But if you don’t have the time or inclination to come up with your own script, you can post an ad on a website such as Elance to find a good, low-cost script writer.    

4. Find a voice. If you’re not comfortable speaking in front of a camera, have someone else record your message for you, which can then be laid in over your chosen visuals. For example, my company, vADz, offers professional voice artists known as “vadzvoices” to do voiceover on your script.

5. Select an appropriate setting. If you have a restaurant, you might want to capture your chef at work in the kitchen. If you are a service business, like a plumber, show one of your employees arriving at your customer’s door in a spotless uniform bearing your logo. Your video reflects your business so be sure to present the image that you want your customer to remember.

6. Check the lighting. If you don’t have professional lighting, make sure your video is recorded during the day in front of a window, and turn on the overhead lights. If you you’re making multiple videos, you can buy a video light kit online for about $100. It is usually better to film indoors where you can control the lighting and background noise.

7. Consider wardrobe. The “actors” in your video should wear neutral-colored, clean, attractive clothing. You want your customers focusing on your message, not on your clothing (unless of course you’re a clothing retailer in which case the above doesn’t apply!)

8. Keep it short and sweet. A typical advertising video should last no more than 30 seconds. It may easier to shoot multiple short clips that can be combined later rather than one long video that has to be edited down. You may have to shoot multiple short videos to get the look and feel you want. 

9. Include a “call to action.” Give your customers a reason to click through to your business from your video ad. This can simply be your contact information, but a coupon or special offer couldn’t hurt. You may want to consider creating a special landing page that corresponds specifically to the message in your video. From there, visitors can easily explore the rest of your site.

Are you ready to grab your iPad, iPhone or video camera and start shooting video for your company’s first video ad? For more tips on how to get the most of your video marketing, see my previous articles on OPEN Forum.

OPEN Cardmember Carol Meinhardt is co-Managing Member of Chicago West Pullman, an investment holding company and the COO of vADz, Inc, a social video advertising platform, and OurTown Media, a hyper-local news network.

What's your best advice for shooting a company video? Post a comment below. 

Photo: Loic Venance / AFP / Getty Images