Video is now on every marketer’s to do list. Why? Because web video and rich media engages, persuades and motivates like no other marketing tool. In deference to Mr. Covey I present seven ideas that if done well will help make your next video successful:
1. Tell a good story.
Sure it sounds simple, even trite, but good storytelling is just as important to video marketing and advertising as it is to film making. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. They make us think. They make us feel. If told well, they inspire us.
At the heart of any good story is an emotional appeal – it may be subtle or it may be dramatic, but without that emotional connection, the story is quickly forgotten.
A good story has some or all of the following attributes:
Good stories don’t appeal to everyone – your story should be targeted to the people that you are most interested in communicating with. (These are also the people most likely to socialize your story) – if you try to appeal to everyone, you might end up appealing to no one. (B2N)
Good stories resonate – they are familiar and strike a chord with the audience because they can relate to the story being told. Have you tested your video idea with selected members of your target audience before you start production? If not, why not?
Good stories are credible – the story teller, the content and the outcome of the story have to work together and all have to be believable, trusted – your audience can see through the lies (the hype and the exaggeration).
Good stories are usually simple – they can be grand tales or ripping yarns but in the end the best stories have a simple outcome and a simple message. Keep the razzle to a minimum and forget the dazzle.
The goal should always be to create engaging presentations that tell a good story. What’s your story?
2. Show them, don’t tell them.
A video of someone using your product and extolling it’s virtues is far more powerful (and credible) than animated text or a series of photos. Educators and trainers have long known that the true benefit of video is that it generates much higher retention rates because it engages more than one of the senses at the same time. Retention rates can triple when what you hear is being reinforced by what you see. That doesn’t mean a talking head is necessarily more engaging than an audio podcast or a brochure ‐ you still have to present compelling content that engages your audience.
The ability to show your customers how your product works, how it solves their problems and how it is used by others is where video marketing is unsurpassed as a vehicle to engage and persuade your audience. A page by page walk-through of your software interface may be helpful – but it doesn’t demonstrate to prospects the benefits of your product or how it fits into their processes or business cycles. It’s not about you or your product or service – it’s about how your product or service can help solve your customers problem. Show your customers exactly how your product or service solves their problem! (this is especially important in the early stages of the buying cycle.)
Video, animation and interactive flash programming can build compelling visual examples of exactly how your products work and why they solve your customers’ problems.
• Testimonials are more compelling when you see and hear a customer talk about their experience with your product.
• Case studies are more engaging when you can actually see how a customer integrates your product in to their process and how your product measurably improves your customer’s bottom line.
• Product demos are far more powerful when you illustrate (i.e. using video or information graphics ) exactly how your patented process works and benefits your customers.
The power of video and rich media is in its ability to demonstrate the tangible benefits that a product or service can offer.
3. Choose your words very carefully.
There are many important components that go into creating an effective video: Using the right equipment, the proper location, 0n-screen presenters, motion graphics, and music are all critical components to the creation of engaging communications tools. None of these however, are more important than the script (either a formal script or at least speaking points that summarize what should be mentioned in the video.)
Some things to consider when developing a script or on-screen talking points outline:
•Do you understand the key issues affecting your industry?
•What are the top three messages that you have to communicate?
• Are you clearly outlining the benefits that will best resonate with your target audience?
•Are you speaking your customer’s language?
The script is the ‘what’ in the video development process. Everything else is the ‘how’. Far too many corporate videos simply focus on the ‘how’. It is critical that the video development company you engage has expertise in marketing writing and positioning. Style won’t count for much if your message doesn’t resonate with your audience. Deciding on the right thing to say is always more important than how that information is ultimately presented.
Unscripted doesn’t mean unstructured.‘ Spontaneous’, unscripted videos are becoming more commonplace on the internet as this type of presentation provides a natural tone and authenticity that resonates well with viewers. This doesn’t mean a lot of effort and planning doesn’t go into what questions are asked, how people on-camera respond and how the final product is edited. Even if a formal script is not developed, the business objective, structure and desired outcome of the video should all be considered and coordinated during the pre‐ and post‐production stages. You should never start a video project without knowing EXACTLY what you want the video to communicate.
4. Build‐in Interaction (and ultimately, conversion).
The more interaction you can build into the experience the more engaged the viewer is with your brand. Interest, engagement and interaction should be the goals of web-based video . “Click here to…” is a good start. What do you want the viewer to do when they have finished watching your web video? How deep do you want to take your viewer in
an interactive presentation? Here is a short list of options to include when building your online presentations:
•Click here to find out more about this service
• Click here to read a white paper on this topic
• Click here to watch a related presentation
• Fill out a quick survey to discover if you are qualified for this promotion
• Take a quick poll to see how you stack up in the market
• Click here to have a technical expert answer your questions
• Please help us improve our communications by rating this presentation
• Sign up now for our weekly industry update
Conversion is the goal. Whatever your conversion mechanism is you want your customers and prospects to take the next step.
5. Chose the right format, structure and style of video.
Abraham Maslow’s quote, ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer – every problem looks like a nail’ applies well to video marketing. The number of web marketing service providers is growing. Many of these specialize in one specific format: ”business animation and information graphics” or ”only photo–based flash presentations.” Some proclaim that their presentation time limit (2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, etc.) is “the right one for the web” or that “their platform is the only way to be truly effective”. Of course none of them are necessarily right… or wrong. Every business problem is unique and there is a multitude of rich media tools and methods to solve your important communications problems. Consider alternative approaches and formats before committing.
The term ‘corporate video’ made sense ten years ago when most corporate videos were the same. Today there are many different ways (here are 42 examples) you can use video to promote your brand.
6. Consider the only perspective that matters: Your Customer’s.
It’s not about you or your product. There are lots of companies just like yours and frankly, it’s getting tougher to tell them apart. Posting canned videos of your executives or beauty shots of your facilities to your website won’t move the dial. And unless you are Apple or Victoria’s Secret no one is really that interested in your product. They are only interested in the comfort, status, utility or pleasure that your product conveys. These are the things that you need to be promoting. Like any purpose-built marketing material, your web video should be developed with a single goal in mind: How do I communicate my companies understanding of, and solutions to, my customers’ problems.
7. Define business objectives (and outcomes) first.
As the use of web‐based video grows in popularity it’s important to remember that video marketing is a means to end, not an end in itself. There are far too many marketing articles that discuss how to get video up on your website without ever mentioning why.
Indeed, a well produced video is one of the most persuasive marketing tools available and building interactive presentations is a great way to engage your audience. But putting an unprepared executive in front of a camera, re-purposing old corporate presentations or having some guys from the mail-room put together a ‘viral’ video won’t bear fruit. Worse yet, bad video is even harder to ignore than bad print material.
Consider the following when planning to implement video on your website:
• At what stage of the buying cycle are you targeting your prospects? I.e. Product presentations (that highlight benefits – the customer’s perspective) are more appropriate during the consideration phase. Product demos (that highlight features – your perspective) are more helpful during the comparison phase.
• Who is your audience? If your answer is “…well, everyone really” you’re probably wasting your money. The vast majority of YouTube viewers are not your audience. There is a considerable difference between ‘views’ and ‘targeted views.’ Creating one broadly focused web video might add value but you should also consider breaking your web video into discreet pieces that speak to specific audiences. Successful marketing always starts with targeting.
• What are the measurable business outcomes? How do you measure success? You should be able to quantify the business value by measuring click‐thru’s, registrations, time spent watching the presentation or some other objective business metric.
Note: This post is also found in the Top Ten Posts for this blog.