by Sharon Jones
Video marketing is becoming more and more popular, and with good reason: if you get it right, it can be a highly effective way to get the word out about your company. They predict that by 2020, some 80% of internet traffic is going to be video streaming -- this means that there’s going to be a lot of people watching videos! And you can capture some of the market by posting videos of your own. Beware, however, that you don’t make some fundamental errors that’ll compromise the effectiveness of your videos. We take a look at some of the more damaging mistakes you can make.
What Your Audience Want
It is tempting to believe that internet users are going to have an automatic interest in your video, but this is not the case. You need to give them a reason to be interested. For example, if the video looks and feels like one big advert for your business, then you’ll struggle to get people interested. Research what people want from their videos (such as being entertained/getting information) and then build up the concept of your video from there.
You don’t need to spend big bucks on your video, but unless you’re a master video maker, you will have to spend something. A video that is low-budget might look good on your expenditures sheet, but it’s not going to look good on the screen. If you don’t have a ton of money to work with, then keep your ambitions modest. You might have to make some concessions (it’s better to leave out anything advanced rather than try to do it on a budget), but at least it won’t have that “this looks poorly made” vibe to it.
A Lack of Access
A great video isn’t going to work as well as it could if it’s not accessible. For example, if you’re a company that trades in other countries, then you might publish a video that can’t be understood by your customers who don’t have English as a first language. In other cases, you might find that your videos are not accessible by your target demographic - if your customers are generally older, and can’t hear as well, then the message of your video will struggle to get through. As such, it’s recommended to work with a company that offers close captioning services. It’ll help your video be more accessible, which means more views and a better understanding of your message.
Hosting in one Place
When people decide to publish a video, then normally look at just one site - YouTube. While, of course, this most likely will be the site where your video gets the most views, it’s not the only streaming site out there. If you’ve gone to all the trouble to create a video, then you may as well put it as many places as possible. If it has high production values and is less salesy than your average corporate video, then take a look at Vimeo. Also, it’s important to remember that while you’ll want to host your video on one of the big platforms, that’s not the only place it should be available - you’ll also want to embed the video into your own website.
Some things about your business, and indeed about life, have to be serious, but your marketing video is not one of them. Treat it seriously, but don’t make it a humorless way to pass some time. People aren’t going online for serious content, and if they are, they’re not looking for marketing videos. You’ve got a lot of freedom when it comes to your videos, which can be much more playful than, say, a printed ad made for the real world. If all your ideas so far seem a little too serious and rigid, inject a bit of humor and lightheartedness in there.
By far the biggest and dumbest mistake that a company can make is to make a video, and then give it a title that’s either unclear or makes no sense, or, perhaps worse, not even give it a title. If you’re not a natural whizz when it comes to titles, use a generator to pick it for you. It’ll come up with something that grabs the interest of a potential viewer and it’ll also give the video’s SEO credentials a nudge in the right direction.
Feature Length Marketing
Most business owners are aware that people’s attention span isn’t what it used to be. Compared to the old days, we’re an impatient bunch, and if something isn’t entertaining we’re usually pretty comfortable with switching it off and finding something new to entertain us. However, though everyone knows this, they usually don’t factor it in when it comes to making a video. Resist the temptation to make a video that’s overly long - even if it’s a great video, people might hit the ‘X’ button once they see how long they have to commit. Keep things short and snappy.
Your video should be used for marketing, but remember that marketing isn’t necessarily another word for ‘advertising.’ So don’t get to thinking that your videos have to be adverts -- indeed, it’s better if you don’t think this way. Your marketing will include things that don’t seem salesy at all. For example, if you’re selling, say, gardening tools, then you might make videos that show how to best use and care for the tools you sell, or some useful gardening tips. You’re there to provide a use for your customers both existing and new.
Why Would Someone Watch?
When it comes to finalizing your video, it’s important that you take a strict, cut-throat approach. For every second, you need to look at through the lens of “why would a person watch this video?” It’ll prevent you from publishing a video that’s too self-serving. Your videos have to primarily function for the benefit of the viewers, not your company - the benefits will just be a happy side effect, if you’ve done things correctly.