Best practice, Business, corporate video, Creativity, internet marketing, marketing, marketing best practices, marketing video, media-rich marketing, molly media studios, Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, social media marketing, technology, Video, video best practices, video marketing, video production
There’s so many opinions about this out there. The most common are:
1) The video should be short
2) The video should be fast
3) Put a call-to-action at the end of the video
4) It should tell as much about the product/company as possible in as short a time as possible
I have some issues with these practices though, learned through my own video production experience, lots of reading, and lots of conversations with clients and advising them on how best to produce their video. Unfortunately, a lot of clients have their own ideas about how to produce THEIR marketing video – so often my hands are tied between managing the demands of the client, and trying to produce something that meets their needs.
Note how I’ve separated what they WANT from what they NEED. And here’s why.
Most businesses – especially smaller to medium sized businesses who are trying to maximize their ROI with as little investment as possible – believe they are the single best spokesperson for their product (whether that product be a product or their company or their image). This is often not the case. Most times, the owner who runs the business may have the greatest understanding of how his business runs, but he’s either not good on camera, or she’s got a squeaky, small little voice. But they WANT to be front and centre, or at least control the wording of the voiceover text to get as much info in there as possible (they think that maximizing their ROI means getting as much info out there as possible in as little time as possible, remember?)
Yes – they know their product the best. That’s why it’s their job to explain that product to you in such detail that you could have created it yourself. But now comes the hard part. Also, they need to tell you who their ideal client it, and why is this their targeted clientele.
Now comes the hard part.
YOU must figure out what message they need to send.
Look for their story. That’s my best advice. Every product – from a business to a widget to an idea – has a story to tell. Either it’s a story of how it was developed and why it’s so revolutionary. Or it’s the history of the company and how they came through a management crisis. Or it’s a story about the timing of the product and why there are consumers who need it. Or it’s a story about a client WHO USES the product, and how it has improved their performance, their endurance, their health, their productivity, their leisure time, their children’s lives, their reputation, their social standing. Whatever the story – it’s YOUR job to discover it.
And THAT’S the story to tell in your marketing video.
Now, remember that with a medium as powerful as video, you have many controls at your command to develop the story. You have music, voiceover recordings, text, imagery, video footage, logos, interviews, etc. It’s your job to use these elements to craft the most compelling story you can. Because the only reason anyone will watch your video is because it has a story to tell.
Now, let me refute the above best practice guidelines:
1) The video should be short. Wrong. Yes, it’s okay to make a short video that bursts onto the viewers screen and disappears right away. Statistics prove that viewers fall of at a surprising rate after the first minute. So get you most important elements of the story out in the first 10 seconds. Then validate your thesis with 3 value statements in the next 15 seconds. And use the rest of the minute to fill in the details. But you don’t have to stop there. Because if you’ve caught your viewer’s attention – and really caught it – then they’ll stay to view more. And so you use this extra time to present your thesis and validate it again – but also to add more context for the really interested viewer who you are now building a relationship with. A relationship that is developing over more time than simply one minute. And the longer you can develop that relationship – within reason – is worth it’s weight in gold! And if you’re going to offer a call-to-action (and you NEED to present one), then state it clearly within the first 20 – 30 seconds. And then repeat your call-to-action (in stronger, different language) again at the end of the video – for the truly engaged viewer who has been interested enough to wait for the context of your thesis.
An example: For one of my current clients, they wanted to produce two videos, woven together as one. They wanted a longer, in-depth “About Us” video, and they wanted a call-to-action video that would help this non-profit with their goal of raising $3 Million next year. And so we designed the two videos differently – to set them apart from each other. The font colours for the two videos were the same, but the chosen fonts were different, and the opening animated text was designed differently for each video. Then, for their regular site, they’ve uploaded just the longer, in-depth “About Us” video, but on their fundraising site, we’ve combined the two videos with the call-to-action video coming up first immediately followed by the other one. This was a perfect solution for this non-profit client where we got the important stuff out of the way, and then provided context for those really engaged viewers.
2) The video should be fast. Wrong. Sometimes, the subject matter and the client and the story you need to tell MUST be told calmly, quietly, peacefully. Not every video is meant to be a MuchMusic phenomenon.
An example: When we produced the video for the Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH), we decided that the nature of the subject matter required a quiet touch. And so the camera moves slowly. And the voiceover is relaxing and calming. And the music is gentle. And at over 7 minutes, I still have over 40% of my viewers who watch it all the way until the end. 100% of it. Surprised? See the point above, then.
3) Put a call-to-action at the end of every video. Wrong. And right. Yes, put your call-to-action at the end of the video. But place it near the beginning of the video, too. Tell the viewer immediately where you are going. But be gentle with this first call-to-action. It’s not supposed to be a hard sell. It’s more like you are suggesting what is to come. And then you can contextualize why it is so important that your viewer act on your call-to-action, so that when you get to the end and include your second call-to-action, the viewer is ready for a harder sell. Make your point. Don’t be afraid. If you’ve set it up properly, then your viewer will accept it. Really.
4) It should tell as much about the product/company as possible in as short a time as possible. Wrong. Nope, you should be crafting a story to tell about the product, not trying to include everything your client wants to tell about themselves and their product. Be selective. Target your audience. Craft your story FOR your target audience. What do they care about? What can you help them with? What tips can you give them? What ways can you help them? These are your stories. Not the crap the CEO of the company wants you to tell to make him look like a better leader of the company. It’s not about his ego. It’s about his product – and the story.
Take these few short lessons to heart, and you will get results. I’m sure of it.
And if you have any other good advice that goes against what everyone is saying, then post a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say!
And when the second video for the above-mentioned non-profit is done, I’ll be posting a link to it on the blog – so check back!
And until then, have a great marketing day!