Anyone paying close attention to digital marketing trends understands the immense promotional power of video. Smartphones increasingly dominate online activity, and with the intensity of social media feeds making most content blend together, video has the inherent advantage of being relatively eye-catching — and once it has grabbed that attention, it can maintain it far better than written content.
Video content isn’t a magic bullet, though. If you produce low-quality videos, they won’t achieve anything more than low-quality articles would. They might even prove counterproductive by making your company look bad. In this guide, we’re going to cover how you can create marketing videos that actually work, boosting brand recognition and driving conversions.
Review the digital landscape
Research is always a good preliminary move when you’re planning a marketing campaign of any kind, and it’s important here because video has a high creative ceiling. That means you can achieve some really interesting things with it, but it also means you can get it massively wrong — and if you want to avoid the latter, you must see what other companies in your industry are doing. This will also give you an idea of which topics haven’t been covered well (or at all).
Go to relevant pages on Facebook, channels on YouTube, and accounts on Twitter, and see what video ads show up (if any). Visit your competitors’ websites and look for their YouTube channels. Are any of your rivals doing TV marketing? It’s getting less common, but it’s possible, depending on your industry.
What titles are being used? What’s the typical presentation like? Is it slick or gritty? Are the videos based on narratives or presented as purely informational? Think about what your target audience will like, and what will fit your brand. Take all the inspiration you can and use it to come up with some ideas that will work for you.
Define your desired outcome
What action do you want someone to take when they’ve watched your marketing video? Order your product, sign up to your newsletter, follow you on social media? There are various ways in which you can add a CTA to a video: you can provide a clickable overlay on YouTube, or add a QR code with a link, or just make the video itself a link (as is common in PPC ads).
Whatever that action may be, your video must be built around it. Don’t get distracted by the creative possibilities and spend so much time playing around with the edits that you forget about the goal. Think about how a long-time YouTuber will address the same points in each video (“like this video, leave a comment, subscribe to the channel, follow me on Twitter”, etc.) and make sure your video is similarly actionable.
Remember that your video is providing value to the viewer for free, entertaining and/or informing them for nothing — don’t be demanding, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you’d like in return.
Choose the most relevant video type (or types)
There are numerous types of video that can be used for marketing. There’s the product review, the testimonial, the feature highlight, the abstract promo, the guide (informing customers is huge for branding), the behind-the-scenes exploration — if you’re just trying to get more attention for your company, then almost any kind of video can function well for marketing.
That said, keep the following things in mind: firstly, some video types are much harder to produce than others, and secondly, you need to aim for a stylistic match. Making an existential short film might get you some attention in the world of cinema, but unless that also happens to be your target audience, it will prove a waste of time.
Particularly while you’re starting out with video content, it’s best to focus on quality and forget about quantity. If you get somewhere with your videos, you can always scale up production at a later date. Accordingly, stick to maybe one or two types at first, and make them exceptional.
Script your content
Don’t just start recording and improvise your content. It looks incredibly amateurish, and though there are rare occasions on which it’s good to come across that way, it’s usually a bad idea. You want to seem professional, competent, and skilled — plus the more tightly you script your content, the less time you’ll waste in the footage. If you can fit your points into a 20-second video, the viewers will appreciate it.
This doesn’t mean you have to write your script before you do any recording, though. It can be useful to play around with the recording, improvising different things and seeing what works, before using that experimentation to finish the script. That way, you’ll get wording that feels natural without wasting any time.
Use solid recording equipment
I’ve said “solid” here, but not “expensive”, because it doesn’t need to cost a lot to record decent video footage. The average smartphone today can handle smooth HD footage, after all — set up a tripod in an environment with good lighting and you should achieve a level of quality that’s perfectly sufficient for general online marketing.
Something you might want to spend more on, though, is the microphone. Sound quality is really important, particularly for guides and anything with speech. Look up podcasting microphones and find something that fits your budget — spend as much as you can within that restriction, because a good mic will last you for years and more than return its value.
As for the editing, you don’t need to invest in high-end software at this stage. Tech advancement hasn’t just improved hardware accessibility — software is now easier and cheaper to use than ever before. As a result, you can edit audio without spending anything at all. If you start making a lot of money through your video marketing, you can think about buying an industry-leading video suite.
Get the distribution right
Let’s say that you’ve created a video on a topic you think is relevant and valuable for your audience, complete with a solid CTA that returns value to you. We’ll call it “4 Reasons You’re Paying Too Much in Taxes”, a slick listicle video that leads up to a CTA guiding viewers to try your simple tax-handling software because it will save them money. What do you do with it?
Well, you don’t want to just upload it to some sites and leave it there. In fact, that’s going to prove disastrous for YouTube, because upload timing is critical on that platform. Get the timing right and you go viral — get it wrong and you’re never noticed. And once you’ve added it, get maximum value from it through embedding the link elsewhere. If you’ve created a product guide, for instance, you should place it front and centre on the corresponding product page: if you’ve used a code-free store creator like Shopify, adding video content to will be as simple as taking the YouTube embed code and inserting it via the text editor.
And when you’re using your video for PPC through a platform such as Facebook, you need to think not only about the timing of your ads but also about your targeting. Facebook allows you to target so many niche parameters that you can get incredibly in-depth about your target audience. If you’re selling simple tax software, for instance, then there’s no point in targeting people who work in accountancy — they’ll already have much more sophisticated systems.
Tie in other marketing tactics
Video is incredibly effective when used well, but the best marketing strategies today are broad, bringing numerous channels together to pursue specific goals. That means not stopping with video — if you’re providing a guide, for instance, transcribe it and offer it as a script as well, and strip the video to make it a podcast you can let people download.
People have so many media options now that you need a flexible campaign capable of reaching them anywhere they go: websites, social media networks, messaging channels, video platforms, even streaming services such as Twitch. Spread your marketing videos wherever your audience is likely to see them, and complement them with other forms of marketing (text ads, infographics, templates, etc.).
Follow each of these steps, then keep a close eye on feedback from commenters and followers. How are people responding to your video content? Don’t make knee-jerk alterations to your strategy based on the occasional negative comment, but also don’t persist with a video strategy if it clearly isn’t working. Use the metrics at your disposal to make sensible choices, and keep experimenting until you gain some traction.