Written by Binh An Nguyen
Many businesses are incorporating video into their content marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many of them are doing it simply because they feel like they should. But let me be the one to let you off the hook: While video marketing can be very successful for certain types of businesses, that doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for everyone.
Video marketing can be a particularly difficult endeavor for small businesses, due to a number of key barriers:
Cost: Certain types of videos (think along the lines of the hyper-viral Dollar Shave Club video) can cost upwards of $25,000. If you have your sights set on creating a professional looking video, chances are you’re going to need a relatively big budget.
Skills: Not everyone is a natural born actor, and not everyone has the necessary skills to produce a professional quality video. If your goal is a simple, 2-minute monologue you can throw up onto YouTube, that’s easy enough. But smaller businesses may not have the skills or in-house resources to create videos of higher production value.
Desire: Let’s be realistic: not everyone wants to create videos. If you’re currently seeing good results with your text-only content strategy, you may not feel the need to branch out into video (and that’s okay).
For businesses that do have the interest and the necessary resources, however, there are a number of considerations to take into account when planning your video campaign.
1. Decide why you want to make the video
When you’re going to invest your time and resources into video creation and promotion, you need to first have a clear understanding of your specific goals for the campaign. Why are you creating this video? What do you hope to accomplish? Increased sales? Customer retention? Website traffic? Be very clear about your ultimate aim in creating your video, and decide how you’ll know whether or not you’ve accomplished your goals.
2. Make sure it’s about your audience, not about your business
Generally speaking, people don’t want to watch videos promoting your products or advertising your company. Anything that smells remotely of advertising is likely to turn your customers off and actually do you more harm than good.
Ask yourself instead what it is your audience wants to see, and wants to learn. Are they looking primarily for product information? For a detailed tutorial? Or are they simply wanting to be entertained? Give your audience what they’re looking for, and your customers will thank you for it.
3. Don’t advertise… Tell a story
Think of your video as a narrative, not as a product pitch. Compose your script much in the same way you would a story, with a clear and compelling progression from beginning to end. Add interest by intentionally incorporating different elements into your ‘plot’, rather than simply reading a script or talking off the cuff.
A simple, low-cost video that tells a story can be far more engaging and effective than even the most elaborate and expensive product pitch. When in doubt, focus on creating an emotional connection with your audience rather than simply stating facts, features or benefits.
4. Make sure the video speaks to your brand’s values and culture
Even with a professionally produced, highly entertaining video, it’s possible to completely miss the mark. A video that isn’t congruent with your brand’s values can end up damaging your reputation and alienating your customers.
For instance, if a core value of your business is a commitment to family values, and yet your video is risqué or a little too ‘edgy’, your audience is likely to quickly spot the incongruity. Your business’s core values should be your target market’s core values; and if your video doesn’t align with these values, it’s very likely to be ineffective.
5. Decide how you’re going to promote your video
Your work is far from done once your video has been created. When budgeting and planning for your video campaign, it’s important to factor in how you’re going to promote your video. Some of your options could include:
Keep in mind that some of these options will require a significant investment of time and money, so be sure to consider this in your pre-production planning.
Not every business owner needs to incorporate video into his or her marketing strategy. Depending on your niche, your audience and your resources, there could be other strategies that will work just as well.
However, if you do decide to tackle video marketing, it’s important to understand why you’re doing it, and how you can do it in a way that meets the needs and desires of your audience. This will ensure your marketing dollars are spent effectively, and that your video marketing campaign achieves the goals you’ve set out for it.