These days, virtually any kind of business can increase its exposure and acquire new customers by producing a compelling video. Because of the Web – and also because the cost of video technology has decreased dramatically in recent years – professional-quality promotional videos are now within the means of entrepreneurs with limited budgets. A good promotional video can:
1. Help you to explain the benefits of your new product or service to existing customers and new prospects
2. Engage various stakeholders, including prospective investors, employees, and customers
3. Teach customers a new skill
4. Give you “viral” exposure on the Web, vastly increasing your audience
Determine your purposeThe biggest mistake most people make when they set out to create a corporate or nonprofit video is trying to make it be all things to all people. Just like a great advertising slogan, the best videos send a single message, or one primary and one secondary message, simply and with focus. Ask yourself what you want your viewers to do after they see your video. Buy your product? Donate to your nonprofit? Write to their congresswoman? The answer should help you stay on track.
Empathize with your viewerThere are a few types of videos that people will watch at length. For instance, some “webinars,” or online classes, run 60 minutes and manage to hold their viewers’ attention, although even live, interactive online classes can feel long at an hour. In general, viewers have short attention spans – it’s best to keep your promotional video under seven or eight minutes. Make it compelling with effective storytelling techniques and engaging, colorful video. Help your viewer “enter” your story by using good “B-roll,” music, graphics – and by allowing articulate subjects to tell the story in their own words.
Find a specialistMost small companies are hardly in the financial position to employ in-house videographers. But there are numerous ways to get your video produced. At the low end – for a “quick-and-dirty” video that you want to post on YouTube or another free video-sharing site -- you might try a college intern with an inexpensive video camera. For a professional quality product for use as a video news release, a trade show video or an investor presentation, you’ll need a video production house or even an ad agency that will ensure your video works with your communications campaign. Ask for demos and get a proposal, with time frame and financial estimate, before starting your project.
Hire a writerIt’s been said that everyone thinks they’re a writer. And because videos employ dialogue and conversational narration, it seems like it would be easy to write a great script. Not true! If you’re not a professional writer, hire one. Bad writing is the downfall of many a nice-looking video.
Post your video onlineYou’d be foolish not to post your video on your corporate Web site and possibly even on free video-sharing Web sites. A recent study by Wharton Business School showed that video is three times more likely than text alone to convert a Web site visitor.
Create a video blogHave a visually interesting business? Or maybe your employees have a knack for making pithy comments about your industry? Try a video blog, or “vlog” to get your message out. It’s an affordable way to achieve frequency of exposure. But don’t make your vlogs barely concealed sales pitches or people will turn them – and your business -- off.
- Don’t forget the follow-up. Make sure the video prominently includes your URL.
- Video increases your chances of being found on search engines. If you want to track where your Web visitors are coming from, create a unique landing page and edit that URL into the video.
- When you work with a video production house, you can keep your costs down by doing a lot of the pre-production work, such as finding subjects, yourself.