By Ingrid Froelich, SDL
“Show, don’t tell” is the rule of thumb for good story telling. This same rule applies when thinking about good marketing. Everyone loves a good story, and how better to tell it than through video. If given the choice between a paragraph of text and a well-crafted video, most website visitors will choose the video.
Unlike text, a video can evoke emotion and create a connection with the viewer through its combination of words, voice, image, music and movement. As marketers, we see the rise of video. Formerly, video was the domain of only big businesses with huge marketing budgets or of YouTube video stars with mass appeal.
Now video has become more accessible as a marketing tactic as video tools have become cheaper, and bandwidth has become (almost) a non-issue. At the same time, while the sexiness of video is undeniable, it can seem like yet another thing to add to the marketing checklist after website, SEO, email, social media and more. At the end of the day, it is about providing a value-added to customers that translates into higher conversion rates.
Using video can help you create brand impact, with increased interactivity and visual stimulation – leading to customers experiencing a memorable online experience. By showing off your customers through video testimonials, you can demonstrate product benefits and USPs - adding a face and personality to your organisation, product and brand. Thankfully, lead generation is now possible within videos through overlays and links that enable sign-ups and calls to action.
Video needs strategy
Before jumping on the video bandwagon, marketers are asking themselves: why video? Despite lower costs, production costs can still be high and there are many types of videos to choose from. We need to think about what it will really add to our marketing portfolio.
Matching video with audience
Different types of videos address different stages in the customer buying cycle, so having a specific goal in mind can really sharpen the effectiveness of any video initiative. Here are some of the most commonly used video types:
We all know these videos, because these are the ones that most commonly pop up in your inbox or RSS feeds with a “you gotta see this” message. Frequently this kind of video has a simple message with high brand impact. Creative and innovative, these types of video catches our attention simply because it creates an emotional reaction and frequently, laughter.
Promotional and showcase ads
These kinds of videos are frequently associated with the launch of a product or as supportive multi-media content on a product page. They often have a sleek sexiness and focus on evoking customer desire to purchase. Messaging should be simple and highlight the key product or service benefits that compel visitors to purchase. The key is that they should be succinct and memorable.
Customer case studies
Who better to talk about your product than a happy customer? Expressed by someone your visitors can relate to, video case studies can be a great way to describe the business pains your product so effectively solves. It’s word-of-mouth times a million.
Short instructional videos can provide a valuable quick-start for many customers who’d much rather see how you use something than read through the much-dreaded user manual. These kinds of videos can even reduce customer service costs since it allows customers to “self-service” based on their direct needs.
Information, lectures or presentations
Aimed at your more cerebral clientele, these kinds of videos can provide a more in-depth look at issues or trends for your business. An influential and well-spoken speaker can raise the perception of your organizations subject matter expertise and raise your status on the “short list”.
User generated content
Both the bane and benefit to marketers, user-created videos can have a huge impact on the general public’s perception of your organisation, products and services. They seem to be the videos we can’t control and frequently express fierce and unexpected loyalty to a product or harsh damning criticism. Some savvy organisations have turned this on their head through contests, awarding submitters with national coverage. Some of these home-shot videos can have a higher impact than those with even the highest production value, since they seem to offer an impartial view.
Dipping your toe in the water
Like any new tool or tactic, a certain amount of deliberateness is necessary to create great results. When devising a video plan, here are some best-practices to consider:
- Target audience: Reflect your target audience profile through language choice, tone, image and music so that your message resonates and creates a memory.
- Time: Your audience’s time is precious. Match the length of your video with actual value. Every frame counts. Recommendations typically fall between 90 to 120 seconds.
- Message: Make it prominent and clear. While the temptation is to say more, think about messages that can best be conveyed visually.
- Passion: No one ever says, “I just saw the most boring video! You should check it out!” Your video should create an emotional response. Make it matter.
- Title & thumbnail: This goes with message and passion, but people decide whether to watch a video in a split second. Well-chosen words and the best possible image from your video can help them choose.
- In house or external? This is a budget issue - remember that videos last - especially if you’ve created something successful. It may make sense to budget for someone with some video-expertise to make the most of your initiative.
- Social media: Spread the word! A well-crafted video is an incredibly powerful draw, so let the world know that you’re proud of your creation.
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