Why the hell NOT? Video is the most effective medium to communicate your message. Let’s face it, word-of-mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising. But in terms of broadcasting your message yourself, nothing can beat video. Why?
You know the saying: "An image is worth a thousand words." Imagine 24 images per second! For a 2-3min promo video, that’s 3.6million words!!!! According to the Huffington Post, the average novel is 64,531 words in length. Ironically, this is the exact word-count of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, my favorite novel. Based on these numbers, a promo video for your business has as much power as 55 novels. HAHA!
These days, people are much more willing to watch a video than look at an ad, listen to a podcast, or read an article. People want to watch stuff! Now every business is in the media business, competing for customers' attention.Video keeps people on your website or Facebook page longer, spending more time with your content instead of your competitor's. But ironically, we are most interested in cat videos.
There is plenty of science behind the effects of moving images on the brain and why video is such a powerful tool. Back in the 1950s, the government actually funded research and development of the television(Human Resources Documentary: Social Engineering in the 20th Century, 2010). Their studies found that moving images indeed have hypnotic effects on the human brain, making people more docile and complacent. These findings motivated the government to invest in using broadcast television as the “primary medium for molding public opinion" (Strategic Public Relations: Audience Focused Practice, 2011). Charming.
Based on studying how thousands of individual brains absorb and retain information, educationist Edgar Dale's "Cone of Learning," shows that the brain retains only 10% of what it reads, 20% of what it hears, 30% of what it sees, but 50% of what it hears and sees (by watching a video or demonstration). Because of his findings, Edgar Dale became very interested in using film to teach students, which eventually led to a position at Eastman Kodak on the editorial staff of Eastman Teaching Films (Biographical Dictionary of American Educators, Volume 1). You ever see any movies set in the 1950s that invariably have a scene in a classroom where the students are watching an old 16mm projector showing some kind of black-and-white educational film on sex ed or how to "duck and cover"? That actually happened(and still does), and that was his idea. I have one of those old projectors. No sex ed films, though.
Here are some awesome video stats you should be aware of...
• 50% of users watch business-related videos on YouTube once a week (Digital Sherpa)
• 65% visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video (Forbes)
• 12% of viewers purchase the specific product featured in the ad
• Real Estate listings with videos receive 403% more inquiries (Business2)
• Including a video in an introductory email increased the click-through rate by 96% (Implix email marketing survey 2010). That's an increase of 200%–300% (The Forrester Marketing group survey 2010).
• 20% of your viewers will click away from a video in 10 seconds or fewer (Visible Measures research).
• You’ll lose about 33% of your viewers by 30 seconds, 45% by 1 minute, and almost 58% by 2 minutes.
• Video increases people’s understanding of your product or service by 74% (Digital Sherpa)
• Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords.
What does it cost to use the ultimate power of video? Here are some numbers to digest: fresh out of college, I was a P.A. for a commercial production company in L.A. and made $200/day, while my friends were making $100/day working on film sets IF ANYTHING AT ALL. That's because the average commercial production is done over 3 days for $1mil-$2mil. You can spend $5mil-$10mil for a 7-day production to shoot 3 spots, including national air time for a 3-month campaign. Today, a simple internet spot that you would see on YouTube or Hulu can be produced for $30K-$50K. Online advertising pricing is determined by pay-per-click, so it depends on how many clicks you want to generate. Remember, these are only thirty second spots. Quality video is expensive even for web. So how can you create the same quality promotional video content for your business WITHOUT tens of thousands of dollars? I am here to help.
The Art of Making Kick-Ass Promo Videos
I've been making promo videos for ten years now – it's my primary source of income. My father and grandfather both had their own marketing/advertising companies. So I guess you could say that it's in my blood, though I knew NOTHING about marketing or advertising when I first started. But I got my first client when I was 16. The truth is, good advertising is simply good art. Now, there are many ways to use video to get exposure and produce income for your business: branding, vlogging, commercial/advertising, YouTube ad revenue, video training, educational, video products, even feature documentaries. But here are some quick tips on how to make kick-ass promo videos for your business that exceed what most production companies can do for you by: communicating what you do effectively, telling your story, enticing customers, increasing turnover, creating repeat customers, driving traffic, and making you money.
Here are several questions you should answer for yourself before doing any marketing of any kind.
1. Who are your customers? Define your target/niche market. The more specific the better.
2. What are their interests? Perform market research on their demographic and psychographic data. How do they like to spend their time and money? How can you communicate best with them?
3. Where do they hang out? How do you get in front of them? What online communities would allow you access to large quantities of your target market, whether it's marketing channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or even other communities like blogs, magazines, festivals/events, etc.
4. Who is your competition? Perform market research on your competitors. Who else is providing the same product/service in your market, what are their prices, and how do they market themselves?
5. How are you different? Stand out in the marketplace. This will increase your visibility.
6. What is your brand? Branding is an art unto itself. Determine several descriptors that define your personality when it comes to your business – are you fun, nurturing, motherly, professional, quick/efficient, high-quality? The more specific the better – this may take some personal growth to know yourself better. These descriptors will come in handy later when deciding the design and visual elements of your marketing materials, including your video. Crafting a brand is challenging, but incredibly powerful in appealing to the right customers and being remembered within the mind of the consumer (psychological niche). I'd say a well-crafted brand should be somewhere between your personal brand and a brand that resonates with your target customers. Better yet: they should be one in the same.
Promo Video Structure
There are several elements you will need to gather for your kick-ass promo video: logo, motion graphics, interviews(of you and any team members), testimonial interviews(your best customers), clean sound, b-roll(shots that tell the story), voice over(maybe), and music. Here's how I'd suggest you organize these elements in a 2-3min promo video.
1. Open with a bang. Remember, you have 10 seconds to capture viewers' attention before they click away. Give them a reason to keep watching. This can be an awesome graphic intro, a personal anecdote, a leading question that is answered later in the video, or better yet: something funny and entertaining (make sure you have a good sense of humor for this one or else it may backfire badly).
2. Graphic intro with your logo. If you are doing the editing yourself, this can be something very simple like your logo fading-in over a white background. Or you may want to hire a graphic designer or motion graphics artist to do something cool and quick (5 sec max). Your logo title card is also where you would want to put any "as seen in" logos or other distinction/certification to build credibility and legitimacy. "Certified Technician" "Speaker of the Year Award Winner" "#1 rated"
3. Tell the story of your business. Video is a visual storytelling medium. Use interviews and b-roll to tell the story of your business.
a. How did your business get started? Highlight any drama, conflict, tension, obstacles, or antagonizing forces you or your business may have encountered along it's journey and how you overcame them. This is good storytelling.
b. What do you believe and what is your WHY? Simon Sinek's market-changing book Start With Why illustrates the power of sharing what you believe. Most businesses advertise their products by communicating what the product is or does: it's faster, cheaper, better, smaller, "buy it." Simon uses the example of Apple, which advertised to its customers from the inside out with it's "Think Different" campaign by sharing Apple's most cherished core value: "We think differently." Simon argues that by sharing your beliefs, you are not only selling products, you are building your tribe of like-minded individuals who will follow you and continue to buy what you sell for years to come.
c. What is your value proposition? What product or service do you provide?
d. How is it different from others? (not necessarily BETTER, but DIFFERENT)
e. B-roll over these interviews will SHOW the story of what is being said by the interview subjects. These images can include you or your employees at work – on the phone, working with customers, etc. But be as visual as possible. If you are a real estate agent, get images of you showing off beautiful houses and include the details of the houses. If you are an author, get images of you writing and/or speaking at events. Vary your shot design: close shots of your hands at work, close shots of faces, medium shots from the waste up, wide shots of the entire room. If you are new to cinematography, you may want to hire a videographer who knows what they are doing to shoot your b-roll and interviews for you. If you schedule all interviews and testimonials on the same day, you can hire a local videographer for $100-$300/day. Don't be afraid of reshoots if the footage doesn't come out well. Quality is key. You want to put your best foot forward. Please don't just shoot everything on your iPhone.
f. Voice Over can fill in the missing pieces of the story or transition between sections. These days, voice over is sorta cheesy and newsy, but can still tell your story. Be aware of your brand – would a voice over fit your brand? For a company with a "young" or "hip" brand, probably not.
4. Customer testimonials. Why should a viewer listen to you? Don't let them take your word for it, have somebody else sell you. Build credibility with endorsements, "as seen in" logos, certifications, special recognition or awards. Basically, handle any and all objections a potential customer may have. Shooting interviews is an art unto itself. 3-D human faces are difficult to flatten into a 2-D image, and nobody has ever told me, "Oh! I look great the way you shot me." It's quite the opposite.
5. Special offer. Or promotion.
6. Create some kind of urgency. "For a limited time only" "Redeem by Aug 15."
7. Closing graphics and logo. (This can be the same as the beginning.)
8. CTA (Call to Action). You just got a potential customer super excited about your brand or product, what do you want them to do now? Drive that traffic SOMEPLACE – to subscribe, to follow, to sign-up, to call you, buy, etc.
9. Copyright. Always end with your copyright info: "© 2015 Conedera Studios. All Rights Reserved."
10. Music. Music is a challenge. Because of copyright issues, it is technically illegal to use somebody else's music without permission in the form of a license agreement. And your favorite music on the radio costs tens of thousands of dollars to license. YouTube's algorithms are also designed to search through the audio waveforms of your video to find copyrighted music – they will not allow you to monetize your video without proof that you have the rights to the music. So for promotional purposes, you can find a musician friend who will allow you to use some of their tracks, OR search online for royalty free music. There are a few resources that allow you to download royalty free music for free likeFreeplayMusic.com. Most are paid services likeKillerTracks.com, PremiumBeat.com,RoyaltyFreeMusic.com. Finding the right music is even more difficult. Remember those descriptors that you chose to define your brand? These will come in handy as search terms, but you will have to use your artistic judgement to choose good music that will match your brand. Do not use music with lyrics. The frequency of a male/female singing voice sits in the same frequency range as spoken word, so if song lyrics are playing under the dialogue of an interview, you won't be able to hear the interviewee very well. It is also difficult to fit a specific music track into the exact length of your video. What I do is cut the video up into a few different sections and use three different tracks to separate each section. This gives a good emotional arc to the video. Caution: Royalty free music can be cheesy and actually damage your brand. This is why I prefer to use a composer who will make something to fit your brand and time it to fit each section of the video PERFECTLY. However, composers can be expensive. Expect around $500 for 2-3min of music composition. ***Music should be mixed a little quieter than interview dialogue.
Here's an example of a finished promo video I did recently for an event. The only thing missing in the video is an interview with the creators of the event. But besides that, it's pretty solid. This will give you a good idea of a pretty advanced structure for a promo video. On the editing timeline below(from FCP7), you can see how the interviews create the skeleton and structure, and how b-roll lies on top to show the story visually. Check it out!
Now that you have a kick-ass promo video, how do you use it to get leads, increase turnover/conversion, influence sales, and create repeat customers??? Don't just put that video on your YouTube. Just because it's on YouTube doesn't necessarily mean anybody will watch it. This video WILL be your most powerful marketing material so USE IT!
1. Yes, of course post it on your website and Facebook. Whenever anybody wants to know more about your business/product/service or YOU, a video is the best way to represent yourself.
2. E-mail marketing. E-mail the video to EVERYBODY you know. If you aren't already building an e-mail list of customers, then start NOW with your personal address book. E-mail advertising is very powerful. Send the first e-mail blast with a video. It will increase your interaction and click-through by 2-3 times.
3. More e-mail marketing. Google searching makes it is easy to find businesses or online communities that already have a huge list of your target customers. A lot of these communities get barraged by inquiries for affiliate marketing or cross-promotion all the time. Using your fancy new video can make you stand out from the rest. Sharing your beliefs in your video can be instrumental in recruiting those allies to help you promote your business to their lists. Just reach out and ask – see what happens. It is better to already be an active member of these communities.
4. Facebook Post Boosting. You can pay very little money to get GREAT exposure to your Facebook friends and your friends' friends. $60 on Facebook will guarantee that you reach 15,000 people in your community. And since your initial list of contacts are your most important asset in beginning your business, this type of advertising can be VERY powerful. I posted an ad for a limited-time holiday-special of an autographed version of my SHARP DVD for $20 flat (usually $30 with shipping). I paid $60 to boost it, it reached 16,000 people in my community, got 56 likes, 15 comments, and generated 13 sales which resulted in $260 gross and $200 net. Off of ONE Facebook post that took 60 seconds! Pretty cool.
5. Facebook Sponsored Ads. You can do the same thing with Sponsored Ads that show up on people's feeds. The cool thing about internet advertising is that you can hone-in on exactly the types of people you want to get in front of based on what they like and their demographic information. Users can tell that it is a sponsored ad (I'm sure you've seen them on your own Facebook feed), so it may backfire. But if it is indeed something they are interested in, they'll think "Wow, they really know me!" And the great thing about Facebook video is that the video starts playing immediately once it's visible on a user's feed. Moving images are distracting and hypnotizing, so it is easy to get people's attention.
6. Google Adwords on YouTube. I have yet to try this, but I am anxious to! Prices also depend on pay-per-click. Just to give you an idea: $10 will get you 250-1000 views.
7. Traditional Mail Marketing. You can print DVDs of your video for about $1 each through Discmakers. This is a great way to give out physical copies of your video at festivals, networking conferences, industry events, or to a potential client that you meet at a grocery store. It is a much more professional and useful business card. You can also purchase address lists and do mass mailings to potential customers. Yes, it is junk mail, and it may be expensive, but a DVD stands out from the other junk mail you get. Imagine if you got a DVD in the mail with a short video on using a Vitamix blender. If you are health-conscious, you like to make protein shakes or smoothies, or you just like food, you may just want to pop it in the DVD player just to see what it is!
8. Guerilla Marketing. Get creative. Building a digital street team of fans or employees who post and share for you can increase your video's exposure tenfold. Project your video on the side of a building at night.
9. Affiliate marketing. Share the wealth. Kickback a percentage of sales to those who are willing to promote your video to their platforms. It is better to incentivize people to help you instead of just asking without offering anything in return. Better yet: Help them first without expecting anything in return. Then ask for help.
10. Build an audience. Publishing CONSISTENT content is the KEY to building a consistent audience. If your content is valuable, short, bite-sized, fun, or emotional, weekly vlogging can be a very powerful tool for you to build a large audience. But it takes time and commitment.
11. The end all be all, the holy grail, the golden goose:VIRAL VIDEO. This happens very seldom. And it is almost impossible to control or predict. But some are actually saying that there are now strategies to effectively getting your video to go VIRAL to one million views; a formula if you will. The chances that your video will go viral is pretty slim, but having a strategy in place before you launch can greatly increase your exposure.
Whew that was a lot! Any questions? Comment below!
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