December 3, 2014 Amy Dwight

Imagine if your leads came looking for you.

3 keys to videos that work.

Business videos today are where websites were 12 years ago. Today you have to have a website, but 12 years ago they were a bit special, and rare, and most of them were crap.

In 5 years time you will have to have a comprehensive video marketing strategy… but right now videos are a bit special, and rare, and most of them are crap.

We’ve all seen those crap videos, the ones that are so bad they are actually ‘negative advertising’ and push customers away…  But we also know how powerful a good video can be, and savvy business owners know that if they don’t start using video soon, their competitors definitely will!

So if you don’t have a fortune to spend but you don’t want to end up with crap videos… what should you do? You should keep reading!

(That’s me in the background giving Direction to my lead actor in ‘The Hustle’.)

I’ve been in video and film nearly my whole life, I’ve worked on TV episodes, Feature Films, Music Videos, Corporate Videos, and Online Viral Campaigns. I’ve seen them done well, and I’ve seen them done VERY badly.

I’m going to tell you the three steps to creating effective business videos that won’t cost you a fortune, and if they’re done right, will well and truly pay for themselves!

Key #1: Develop a comprehensive video strategy.

Early websites were often built because a business owner wanted to ‘have’ one, rather than for a specific business outcome. Modern videos are the same. Some business owners like the idea of having a video, so they spend the money, get their beloved video, and then have no idea what to do with it so it sits on a ‘videos’ page on their website and no-one ever sees it. The bad news is, it’s already too late and that video will probably never get ANY ROI.

You need to know what you’re going to do with your video(s) BEFORE you make them!

Making it up as you go along is a fast way to burn cash when it comes to video! So what should you DO with your videos, and what can a video do for you? Almost anything, if you approach it with the right strategy.

Video can:

  • Bring new clients to you
  • Compel potential clients to actually get in touch
  • Position your brand and sell your business 24/7
  • Educate existing / potential clients about your business offerings
  • Keep existing clients ‘in your orbit’ so they become long term, repeat clients

But here’s the key: Each video can only do ONE or perhaps two of those things!

If you try to make one video that does everything for everyone, it will do nothing for anyone. (And burn a big hole in your wallet while you’re at it)

Don’t think of video as a once-off ‘Let’s make a video and be done with it’, but rather as an ongoing marketing effort over time where you will continuously release new videos (maybe one a week, maybe two or three per year) which target specific audiences and do specific things for your business.

So let me tell you what in my experience are the three most powerful strategies for business videos:

1. The Professional Intro Video.
This is especially powerful if you are your own brand, but can be just as good for marketing a company or firm. The ‘Intro Video’ is given pride-of-place on the company home-page, is featured on linkedIn and Facebook pages, and can be added to your email signature as well. The Intro Video is designed to compel potential clients (they are already looking at your website / social media, remember?) to actually contact you and do some business. This video needs to be very high quality, and very well scripted because this video will do more to shape a persons perception of your brand and business than anything else. NOTE: This video WILL NOT BRING NEW CUSTOMERS! Its purpose is to activate the potential customers you are already bringing to your website, but which are currently not being converted into active enquiries. This is one of the most common video types out there, but is so often done badly and because of that it often doesn’t provide the ROI that it should.

2. The Content Marketing Vlog.
This is a long-term strategy, and may seem like hard work at first glance, but this strategy will transform your business more than any other! Today people do not go to the internet to search for a business, like they would with a phone book. They go to the internet to search for information BEFORE they go looking for a business. YouTube is now the worlds second largest search engine behind Google so here’s the trick: GIVE THEM THE INFORMATION THEY ARE LOOKING FOR!!! Give the information away for FREE! Yes yes, that seems crazy, giving away information for free will destroy your business… No. No it wont. And I can prove it. I’m doing it to your right now. I’m giving away free advice about video, how to use it, how to make it work for your business etc… Now that you’re half way through reading this, are you LESS likely, or MORE likely to get in touch with me and maybe do some business some day? That’s not to say that EVERYONE who watches your videos will call you and do business, but a percentage will. Because you’ve built trust with them, they feel they ‘know’ you, and you’re their ‘go to’ expert on the subject. NOTE: The bonus of this strategy is that it also gives your existing customers a reason to stick around and keep in touch with you! You keep giving away value for free on an regular basis, so they stay in touch, and when they next need your services they won’t even LOOK elsewhere.

3. ‘Social Proof’ Vlog.
Think of this as a record of your work. Get video testimonials from past clients, document ‘work in progress’ and ‘before and after’ in video and have them somewhere people will find them on your website. Nothing makes a new customer more comfortable doing business with you than to know that your past customers are happy. Written testimonials are great, but video is WAY better. The difference between this and the Content Marketing Vlog is that people do not go out LOOKING for these videos like they will for the content marketing, they will discover these as they explore you and your business, and these will make them far more likely to actually ‘take the plunge’ and do business with you.

Those aren’t the ONLY three strategies, but they are three of the best. Once you know your strategy, you also need to…

Key #2: Create Compelling Content.

It’s not about you. It’s not about you. It’s NOT about you!!!

We all know that the key to a good conversation is to get the other person talking about themselves, and that if you drone on about yourself then you’re the bore that no-one wants to talk to at the party… right?

Then don’t drone on about yourself on video!!!

The more your viewer thinks about themselves while watching your video, the more they will enjoy it!  Don’t start your video by saying your name, or your business name, or listing the services you provide! Your viewer doesn’t care (yet)! Your viewer wants to know what you can do for THEM!

Once your viewer has satisfied themselves that you’re the right person for them, THEN they want to know your name, and to hear about your business, but first they want to hear about themselves and how you can fix their problem.

To do that you need to know WHO is watching your videos and WHY, and with content marketing, that’s pretty easy to figure out. Look at the information you are giving away in that video and ask yourself who would be searching for that information? That’s the beginning of the answer to your question.

Know why someone would have searched on YouTube for the keywords on your video, and you’ll know who you’re talking to and what they want from you. Then give it to them for free! You’ll earn their trust, their loyalty, and for a percentage of them, you’ll earn their business too.

Key #3: Pay For Quality Production.

“If you think it’s expensive to get a professional to do it for you, wait till you see what an amateur will cost you!” (Hint, your reputation, your clients, your business…)

If you’re on a tight budget then fair enough, you can do fewer videos, or make them shorter or simpler, but don’t cut the actual quality of the production values!

Good production values mean:

  • Clear picture, well lit, preferably with a shallow depth-of-field (the blurry background that makes everything look pretty) on a quality camera.
  • Clear sound (this one is harder than you think), remember, all your actual content and information is contained in the audio, not the video! So take the time / spend the money to get the audio right!
  • Smart editing, graphics, music etc. A good editor will make a video flow from start to finish and tell a compelling story which keeps the viewer interested. Simple graphics convey extra information and keep it visually interesting, and well selected music adds energy and builds your brand perception.

For a pro, all of the above is automatic. They have the gear and the experience to walk in, set up some gear, get a great image and clean sound and make it look like it was easy, like anyone could have done it. Don’t be fooled.

The amount of time you would spend away from your business to ‘do it yourself’ is worth more than what you’ll pay a professional, and no matter how hard you try you won’t get the same quality result.

Video doesn’t just cost time, it costs a small fortune in equipment and years spent developing the expertise to create high quality videos efficiently and consistently. THAT is what you’re paying for, and it’s worth every penny. If you don’t believe me, spend some time surfing the web watching some of the truly awful ‘do it yourself’ videos that are out there.

In Conclusion:

Pick your strategy, and carefully think it through. Then give careful thought to your content for EVERY video you make and make sure it’s all about your viewer, not about you. Finally, allocate some budget to get quality production work done so that your videos make your company look good.

If money is tight, keep things simple and only do a few videos per year. But DO them, and do them right!

You know that if you don’t, your competitors will. And in only a few years it will be just as essential to have a video marketing strategy as it is to have a website today.

So get started, stay ahead of the pack, and watch video marketing bring customers to you in 2015!

Chris Field
Producer, Indimax Productions