Videos are a powerful tool to cut through all the marketing noise and resonate with your audience. New ways to leverage them are being devised constantly, and it’s important that we, as marketers, stay up to date.
So with that in mind, June’s Group Chat focused on the topic of videos. Hearing from three marketers who have been especially successful by including videos in their marketing efforts, all in attendance walked away with a treasure trove of creative ideas to put into practice back at the office.
This month, our panelists were:
Now let’s see how videos have put their campaigns in motion.
Why Include Videos in Your Marketing Strategy?
There is an authenticity that comes from being seen on video. Clients and prospects see you as real people. Body language, speech, and facial expressions help break down barriers and let your prospects feel as if they know you and can trust you.
Videos don’t have to be elaborate productions. Sometimes, the simple cell phone video – the “man on the street” approach – can give your social engagement a real boost and show that your presenters are genuine.
Video Content Strategy
Without a firm plan in place, breaking into a new medium like videos is all the more daunting. We all tend to procrastinate; not having a plan is planning to put marketing with videos off indefinitely.
Best advice? Start small. Instead of making an 8 to 10-minute demo video, try breaking it down into several short ones. Each video could deal with just one product feature. Shorter videos are easier to reuse and are more easily consumed by busy people. If not product demos, you could do interviews, “talking head” videos, or professionally explain a topic.
When planning a video project, think about these three key areas:
What do you want to pay for? (This is your big spend, with planning, storyboarding, etc.)
What do you own? (That is, what you can produce?)
What have you earned? (For example, a video spot that could be cut up and used.)
Then plan how you can get maximum use out of your investment. Cut them up and use them on social media to drive traffic to your website. Open a YouTube channel. And be sure your salespeople have access to the demo videos especially.
Budgeting the Time and the Money
You don’t have to go all out in video production. There are reasonably priced options for video editing software and equipment. But when you invest the funds, understand you’re also committing your time. It will take time to learn and become skillful at the process, especially if you’re working remotely. Start small – you can record some great videos with a quality smartphone.
There’s also a balance between producing the videos in-house and outsourcing them. That decision is influenced not just by the funds available but also by the timeframe for your project. The professionals can get it done in a more compressed timeline, but outsourcing is not cheap.
Still, in-house production has its costs. After starting with a smartphone, you might take advantage of someone’s DSLR camera, a tripod, Adobe software, eventually a professional camera, and a quality microphone (boom or lapel.) But it’s an expense spread out over time, as you grow into it.
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the budget landscape has changed. Yes, it’s still in the $1000s to produce a video, but not $10,000+ as it was in the past. Quality expectations have lowered considerably. That doesn’t mean the video is bad, but it means a Microsoft Teams recording can be an acceptable video for marketing.
The end of the matter is this: Your customer is most concerned about the story, not the resolution or the equipment you used to produce it. They want to know if you can answer their questions, help them with their pains, and deliver what they need. Create compelling content, make judicious use of the funds you have available, and you’ll be fine.
What to Consider Before Rolling Camera
Planning for the budget is important, and planning your content is equally essential. Your go-to resource is the Sales department. What do they need to send to prospects? They’re not going to send a 45-minute tutorial; rather, they can get maximum use out of short demos. Make one for each product you sell. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your Sales team leader and find out what’s currently resonating with your customers, then make a list of top stories.
Another hot topic: Customer Testimonials. While case studies are effective and easy to prepare for, a written customer experience just doesn’t have the same power as a live video. Once you have a client willing to record, you need to prepare them well.
Storyboarding is an essential part of the process. Step #1 is always defining the main objective of the video. What is the topic? What are we trying to fulfill with this piece? Then be very specific, outlining what will be said, what shots are included, and details of what animations are included. The person editing and producing the video will follow the storyboard to bring it all together for a polished finished product.
That doesn’t mean you keep a tight rein on everything said. Scripting the dialog can cause the video to lose its authenticity. Try to narrow it down to a list of bullet points, but let the participants use their own words. Keep it real.
Repurpose Your Existing Content in a Video
Take advantage of the labor you’ve invested in existing quality content by making it into a video! Here are a few ideas:
Blogs. These days, people have strong personal preferences for consuming content. Some like to read, but many today prefer to watch informational videos. For example, if you have a how-to blog article, you can use that information to create a tutorial video. You can choose to use screenshots with voiceover explanation, or you could have a subject matter expert record his screen while guiding us through each step of the task. Then it could be embedded in the blog article, giving your visitors a choice of how to consume the content.
Podcasts or Thought Leadership Pieces. This sort of content can be lengthy, which makes them great candidates for an introductory video, like a movie trailer, to whet the appetite of your site visitors. Then you can include a call to action inviting viewers to read the article.
Product Introductions. Leverage your website content by taking your product pages and summarizing them in introductory videos, 30 to 60 seconds, like commercials. Embed them at the top of the page, and after viewing, visitors will be more motivated to continue reading further down the page. You could even feature longer, more comprehensive product videos at the end of the page.
How Long Should These Videos Be?
The length of a video should be determined by where it will be used. It could be 30 to 60 seconds for a social media platform, driving traffic to the longer version hosted on your website. And especially on these short videos should you get to the point. Eliminate personal introductions and focus on the content.
Programmatic digital ads: Very short at just 11 seconds. Informational videos: 3 minutes.
Even webinars are losing popularity. They can be a huge time sink, taking countless hours to produce. And in this increasingly fast-paced business landscape, fewer decision-makers have the time to watch them anymore.
The fact is this: People are impatient. It’s not that you won’t get traffic, but after 3 minutes people can begin to lose interest, or even bypass the video altogether because they’re busy.
Tools to Get the Job Done
There are a plethora of video software options. Filmora is a great tool that helps you with pre-defined transitions, styles, and music, saving you the time it would take to do everything from scratch.
Another useful technique is to record a demo (with screen shares) in Microsoft Teams. Go through and edit where needed to make it more presentable and attractive, and you’ve just produced a video with minimal effort.
Apple (iMovie and Final Cut Pro) and Adobe have first-class video editing tools. For demos, it was also suggested to try Screen Recorder Pro and Flashback to record demos, then eliminate the audio and do a voiceover for a more professional look.
Finally, Camtasia started as a screen capture utility and has evolved to be a full-blown video marketing tool. It makes it easy to create presentations, and they’re always adding new features for marketers.
Other tools mentioned in the chat:
YouTube Optimization Tips
It’s important to get your content on YouTube. Don’t hesitate, waiting for the perfect moment or the perfect circumstances – Just get it up there! And be sure to select the publish date so that it becomes available right when you want it to.
People want to zero in on the part that answers their most pressing questions. Putting in chapter markers, as well as posting the timestamps in the video description, are good ways to feed that need.
Don’t forget – YouTube isn’t primarily a social media platform; it’s perhaps the world’s most popular search engine. Treat it accordingly. Apply SEO techniques, backlinks, etc. Leverage all its features: Publish date, timestamps, tags, description – make each posting as complete as possible for full effect.
Since it’s such a powerful and well-used search engine, if you’re not posting your videos to YouTube, you’re missing out on major exposure.
Video Pet Peeves
So far, we’ve been talking about what you should do in creating videos. Here are a few quick no-no’s:
Stop gating videos. If the person must register to see the video, it reduces the likelihood of them watching it. Some even intentionally avoid them. They’ll simply go to the next video listed on Google.
Technical difficulties. While we’ve mentioned the video doesn’t have to be perfect, it does need to be balanced with professionalism. Take the time to record it again, if possible, when problems arise.
For example, when Lindy received a video on a rushed project, she realized the audio was of poor quality. Not having time to send it back, she quickly had it transcribed, then pulled out a microphone and recorded a high-quality voiceover for the video from the transcript, finishing the video just in time for the upcoming event.
An unclear message. Since videos take time and money to produce (especially if you’re outsourcing a project), you need to take the time up front to clearly define your message, story, or pitch – whatever your main objective is. Don’t describe your product or service in terms of someone or something else. That can leave a viewer confused. Instead, be focused on your dialog. Own it.
Current Video Trends
Video is not going away. Make it a core part of your marketing strategy. Realize that shorter is better. While you want to be authentic, remember it’s not all about you. The viewer isn’t watching the video to learn about you or your company; you need to tell them how you’re going to help them, and as succinctly as possible.
Videos are being more frequently used in the sales cycle; prepare more short videos with the sales team in mind. Don’t fill them with dry, boring content – make them fun! You don’t always have to be in a suit and tie; you can even be comical at times, in good taste.
Video makes for powerful marketing; put these tips into practice to take your campaigns to the next level. We’re appreciative of everything our experts Lindy, Melissa, and Troy shared with us during the June Group Chat, and we’re looking forward to seeing all the videos you’ll create in the near future.
We’ll be back in September with another great topic. Stay tuned!
Would you like to watch the full recording of this CMA Marketing Group Chat? Watch the full recorded version in our Video Library.
By Matthew Alexander, CMA Staff Writer, www.channelmktgacademy.com