Video is hot! Not just as consumer entertainment on Web sites like YouTube, but as a business-to-business marketing tool. Let’s face it, when given a choice to watch or read, many people nowadays prefer to watch. Using video in your marketing efforts is about delivering your message in a format your audience is readily willing to consume.
Just a few short years ago, creating a marketing video for your business was time-consuming and expensive. You might spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for a video and end up with a slick high-end production full of dazzling graphics and edgy music.
That’s all changing. Thanks to affordable, easy-to-use video technology, wide adoption of broadband Internet that allows for streaming video, and an acceptance of—some would say a preference for—more “homespun” video productions, video is a widely popular tool for B2B marketing.
Before you pull out the digital video camera and begin your new career as a movie director, keep in mind the following guidelines when producing marketing videos.
Define an Objective
The best way to determine what video to create is to define a marketing objective for the segment. For example, if your goal is to position your company as an industry leader, you might create a video interview of a company executive presenting at a conference, meeting with an analyst or engaging with a customer. If your goal is to showcase products, you can create a video showing those products in action. Other objectives might be to offer training or adding to your library of case studies or customer testimonials.
Complement other Marketing
Your video should not stand in isolation. How can it complement your other marketing efforts? You can add it to a landing page to support a specific campaign, post it to YouTube where it can be searched and found, make it part of a packet of new product launch materials, or use it as part of a Webinar or other presentation. Link to your video from an e-newsletter advertisement and from key pages on your Web site.
Keep it Short
Unless you’re Francis Ford Coppola filming a story as compelling as The Godfather, you need to keep your videos short to keep your audience’s attention. A reasonable length to target is 2-3 minutes. Keeping videos short also helps you focus on a single topic and keep your video on a unified thematic track.
Show, Don’t Tell
One of the rules of good writing is to “Show, Don’t Tell” and this holds especially true for a visual medium. For example, rather than creating a video of a product manager telling potential customers that your product improves production efficiencies, try filming your product in action, including a graph of statistical evidence and cutting to a customer offering a testimonial. While sometimes your video will include people talking, avoid using only “talking heads” and instead try to add more visual variety to your segments.
Consider Your Audience
Make sure that the message of your video appeals to an audience beyond the decision-makers and employees within your organization. The basics of writing effective marketing materials also apply to video – focus on the needs of your target audience and make sure that your content addresses what’s in it for them.
Don’t Obsess Over Production Quality
In many ways, the YouTube generation has lowered the bar for video production quality. Even Hollywood makes use of hand-held cameras and jittery segments to give the impression of “real life.” While there may be times you want a professional video production, most of the time a well-lit segment shot with a basic digital video camera will get the job done. Low cost or free video editing software (most new computers come with video software installed) allows you to edit the video and add text, graphics and music.
Like with any marketing program, you should define and track metrics to measure the effectiveness of video. Two key metrics are: number of views and amount of viewing time. Number of views tells you how interested your audience is in clicking on the video, likely based on where it appears on the Web and the copy you used to promote it. Viewing time tells you how long someone watched. Did they watch the entire video? Did they click away after 30 seconds? This metric will let you know how interesting or relevant the video is to your audience.