Almost every day it seems like a new video pops up on YouTube or Facebook showing a funny animal, a cute baby or a clip from a TV show that generates millions of views. If you’re trying to use video as a marketing tool in B2B, the time and resources that go into making a clip might sometimes seem like a lot more work compared to these more amateur efforts.
These viral hits don’t really have a lot in common with using video marketing, however. That’s because engagement, in this case, should be thought of as more of a one-to-one concept than one-to-many. Video works well in marketing because it can convey a message quickly, with the personality and emotional intimacy of a real-life conversation, and because it reflects the way content is increasingly being consumed across a wide range of devices.
On the other hand, creating videos for B2B customers doesn’t have to have Hollywood-style production values (not that this could be within budget for most Canadian small and medium-sized businesses anyway). Just keep in mind the following before you hit “record” – and especially as you prepare to hit “play.”
Aim For Theatre-Worthy Audio
No one wants to watch a video that’s poorly lit, or fuzzy, or features jagged camera angles because the filmmaker decided to use their hand instead of a tripod. Here’s the thing, though: all those flaws are a lot more forgivable than a video you can’t properly hear.
These are a few tips to ensure your clips will have an audience that’s able (and therefore more willing) to listen:
- Backup mics: If you’re filming with a basic camera or even with a mobile phone, consider having a backup microphone using either an electronic recorder or something more advanced. Better to have a file that can be swapped in for the main audio rather than reshooting everything.
- Turn everything off: Mobile phones should be silenced when the cameras are rolling, but so should tablets and even PCs if they’re not a part of what’s being shot. Electromagnic sounds may only show up in playback.
- Do the “stand up/stand back” test: In an ideal world, your customer or prospect will not only watch and share the video but invite people in to watch. Imagine a small office where this happens. Play the role of the boss or co-worker standing in the doorway of that office. Play the video at a regular volume. How much can you make out? If it’s not crystal-clear, it’s not going to engage.
Cancel The Opening Credits
Remember the good old days of TV, with the catch theme songs and the still shots of the main cast that took up the first minute or 30 seconds? Most of those don’t exist anymore but have been replaced with a simple title card with the name of the show.
Marketing videos should be treated the same way. You may have only seconds to grab the viewer’s attention, so don’t feel the need to create a “bumper,” which is production industry jargon for a sequence that introduces the video. Even if your clip is part of an ongoing series, you’re better starting with that gets right to the heart of your main message. These are just some ideas:
- A subject matter expert who sums up the “pitch” by framing it based on what’s known about the viewer’s biggest business challenge.
- Testimonials repurposed from existing video case studies featuring other customers
- Stats that reflect industry trends towards investing in your product or service area
Layer Value Into Your Lower Thirds
Skipping the opening credits doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce people properly, however. In fact, what’s often called the “lower thirds” – the area where you tend to see someone’s name, location or title mentioned when they’re interviewed on the news – represents valuable real estate for video marketers.
Besides making sure the viewer understands who the speaker is (assuming it’s not their sales rep, use the lower thirds to offer additional stats or details about what’s being discussed on camera. Make it easy to find other ways to learn more, whether it’s short URLs, social media account names or an e-mail address. If you think of video marketing as a sort of conversation between you and your customer (which you should), the lower thirds should be a space where some of the most common follow-up questions can be addressed proactively.
Back Up Your Points With B-Roll
When you’re sitting the same room with someone, it’s not easy for them to look away, but people will only stare at a talking head on a screen for so long. That’s why TV shows and films use multiple cameras to “jump cut” from one scene to another and keep viewers stimulated.
Video marketing planning should not only cover what will be said or shown, but what other footage – otherwise known as B-roll – could be added to the mix. Some B-roll can be brand-new footage, or something recycled from other sources:
- Webinars – if you’ve already ran an educational event online with a slide presentation or other visual elements, steal what might help your marketing clips.
- Conferences – If there’s enough lead time, take a video camera of some kind along to the next industry event you attend (particularly if your firm is an exhibitor or speaker) to capture your involvement in marketing clips.
- Behind the scenes – some offices don’t seem interesting, but consider filming your next team meeting, or show some of the faces in areas like customer service who aren’t always visible but play an important part in making your products and service offerings successful.
Not every marketing video you make will be a masterpiece, but that’s okay. What’s important is continuing to refine your production process so they become as solid and valuable as your products and services are.