Why is video so important for marketing?

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It’s not often we get the big man himself in front of the camera but Visual Cultures Managing Director, Simon Holt, delivered a fantastic presentation to “Your Time Matters” networking group last week and it was a raging success. Here is what he said…

Video is about engagement – it’s the ideal marketing tool to engage your audience.

Video isn’t just about marketing; it’s about communication as a whole:

  • Video can help train your staff
  • Demonstrate your product
  • Deliver an important message

It’s global. Back when I started out way back in 1998, the best way to distribute your videos to a wide audience was through television. It was expensive and it had no specific target audience, other than choosing timeslots for the ads to be shown. We produced promotional videos that were handed out to clients on VHS tapes – I still remember holding a remote about 2 meters away from a bank of 30 VHS recorders, pressing play on the master tape player and then frantically pressing record on the remote to get all of the machines to record at the same time. It was time consuming and it was expensive.

Then DVDs came along – now I could set up the master DVD to duplicate 50 copies over night – still time consuming and expensive and limited by quantity.

Now it’s all about online video – all we need to do is encode and upload our finished video and instantly people around the world can be viewing it. I can specifically target my audience through social channels, I can monitor who is watching those videos.

And in the past, a corporate video or promotional video was just that – one video… There weren’t the platforms to produce and distribute variations of video content like there is today.

Consumers’ appetite for video content is growing stronger every day. You can see it through your Facebook feed, you can see it on the billboards on the side of the highway, and of course you can see it on television. If sat down and thought about all the platforms video content has been displayed to you today, you would be amazed – it’s everywhere.

Try and break some of the myths about video and I want to encourage you to adopt this platform not only to market yourself and your business, but also to communicate with your customers and your team.

Those hesitations to produce video may be budget; it may be time; it may be that you don’t want to get in front of camera. These hesitations shouldn’t be so stressful; video should be something you should be producing on a regular basis – not just a one off video. You team expects it, your customers now expect and more than likely your competitors have embraced it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Before you even consider pressing the record button, planning is essential:

  • Audience
  • Key Messages
  • Schedule your time
  • Content and Scripting

Audience

  • Identify who your audience is – do you want your video to be targeted at anyone and everyone on the global stage?
  • Do you want to promote the video to a select group of clients or team members?
  • Or perhaps you only want your video to be seen by a handful of people, such as an important tender?

Key Messages

After you have decided on your audience, you need to identify your key messages. Sure, you may want to produce a video that promotes every aspect of your company, introduces every team member, and details every service. But you have to consider your audience. If the video is to be shown only on your home page of your website, then it should simply be an overview of your video, enough to entice the viewer to want to find out more about your business. If they are interested in your product or service, a successful video will make them want to research your website even further.

Schedule your time

But if you have a poorly produced video that runs for 10 minutes and has no clear structure to it, then you may risk losing that potential client. Imagine that you have spent tens of thousands of dollars on a beautiful looking website that has brilliant features and interactivity, but a poor video is featured on the home page – most people are going to watch your video before they read the content.

Why stop at the home page, you should be creating content for every page on your website – more and more websites are being built to watch, 80% of internet traffic will be video content in the not too distant future.

Content and Scripting

Make it personal – it’s your business, you should be in front of camera. People not only want to get to know your products and services, much of their buying decision revolves around the person they will be doing business with. Video is powerful tool as an introduction. People feel like they know you before actually meeting you in person.

Time – one reason people don’t produce video content is that they don’t have the time to produce a video every week, month etc. Plan a schedule and film multiple videos in a few hours or a day. Change your wardrobe for each new topic to mix it up and upload a new video every week. And brainstorm a bunch of topics. I’m sure if you sat down for an hour with a piece of paper and wrote down all the questions your customers have asked you, you will soon discover a treasure trove of topics to talk about.

Choose your crew carefully

A client of ours produces an internal communications message for the wider business of a few thousand employees. He picks a topic every few weeks, gets his iPad out and records his content, then hands it to us to edit and put some graphics in. They are really engaging pieces of video and resonate strongly across the business – people want to see more and be inspired by him.

When is it time to use a professional crew versus doing it yourself. I’m not going to stand up and preach to always use a professional crew – again, think of your ROI. How many products do you need to sell to make your investment back – you would be surprised how quickly. Look at the car companies – clearly TV advertising is expensive but on every single ad break there will be one or two car ads, it’s a huge return on investment. Think of it the same way as your services, a potential client is more likely to enquire with you if they have gotten to know your product or service via video.

You may decide to mix it up – hire a professional crew for some great promotional content that leaps off the screen (but not just one, a good production company will work with you to maximize your time, your budget by producing multiple videos in a campaign).

It’s now so easy to produce your own content – perfect for your blogs page or services pages. If you have a 30-minute drive to work – why not get used to setting up the camera on your phone to record you delivering a topic. Purchase an ipad to record a video in your office or speak to your local camera store to set you up with a nice DSLR, some basic lights and an audio kit – it will be money well spent.

Consider monetizing your video content and become an expert. One person I follow on social media is a guy called Philip Bloom. He has set up a great personal brand. Initially it was about reviewing the latest cameras and gear – he became well known in the industry and it also gave him an opportunity to showcase his work. He is an expert in the industry and there are lots of experts out there. Camera companies will come to him with pre-release models to give his review – he isn’t paid for those reviews but he is also never out of work, travelling the world and making great video and photo content.

YouTube and Facebook are also a great platform to monetize content. This is where it’s great to get plenty of views, it’s why you see all those crazy teenagers doing stupid things on camera – get a few million views on YouTube per video and there’s a good stream of revenue coming in. My 4 and 2 year old are obsessed with Ryan’s Toy Review – videos featuring young Ryan playing with toys and his parents filming him. I’m blown away that all these videos have millions of views and I’m sure toy companies are clambering over themselves to get Ryan to play with their toys. I’m sure his parents have already saved plenty in Ryan’s college fund – and what’s next – yes, Ryan has twin baby sisters – I hate to say it, but surely another huge money generator.

So what’s stopping you from being an expert on products you use? Becoming an expert – it’s subtle marketing for your business – you are showing your skills and your expertise.

So let’s look at budgets and ROI of producing video content. Yes, it is possible to produce videos for any budget. But you have to consider where the video will be shown and what its purpose is.

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