Our clients know how to successfully run their business, but often they don’t know much about effectively using online video to advertise it. We want to share three key components that every small business video should have in order to be sucessful.
- Effectively cast for the script.
- Value your customer’s (Internet) time.
- The power of episodic content.
Casting For The Script
Ever watch a movie and think it would have been a lot better if someone else was cast in a particular role? Yep, so have we.
Even at the earliest stages of creating a brief for our client’s video, we are “casting for the script”, meaning that we are not just refining what the message of the video should be, but considering who should be delivering that message in the video. From the start you need to consider the impact or reaction the end viewer will have to the talent on screen.
For example, if you have a business where 70% of initial contact is done by women (ex. beauty spa, yoga studio) then you need to ensure that the person appearing in the video appeals to that demographic, but also realistically represents your business. Picking the person who knows the business well and is comfortable in front of a camera isn’t always the best choice. Going with an actor or actress can work as well, but it still requires casting the right person who can visually connect to your demographic.
You might have the right message, but if the face or voice delivering that message to your customer doesn’t resonate with them, then the entire video promotion is likely to achieve less than stellar results. The key is to reflect what the customer is looking for in the business, not how the person running the business sees it reflected in themselves.
Value Your Customers Internet Time
We are often asked how long a business video should be? Generally around 60 – 90 seconds works very well. That might not seem very long, but remember that most people view 2-3 commercials during that same period of time while watching TV.
Given the growing trend of using a second screen such as a tablet or phone while watching TV means that most viewers have blocks of 60 seconds to watch your video before their TV show comes back on.
A lot of production companies want to create amazing videos that tell the complete story of a brand or stylistically show off the business in a stylish and cinematic way. The result can be visually impressive but often times these types of videos benefit the production company’s showreel more than help the client promote their business. Companies with established branding or that offer a product or service that is an emotional buy, can lean towards longer, more creative videos, but the vast majority will do better keeping their message on point.
If a business is trying to build brand awareness, they should consider starting with shorter videos initially to gauge interest and gain viewers. For most businesses getting to the core of what is offered is key to convert a potential lead into a solid customer within the duration of the video.
This doesn’t mean that your video shouldn’t be professionally done with clear sound, even lighting, good camera work and editing, however all of those things need to be take into consideration the business’s customers reason for viewing the video in the first place.
People don’t give away their Internet surfing time lightly, so it’s vital that your video has a clear message and provides enough information for the client to take the next step in making their purchasing decision or engaging with the business further. Once you’ve effectively built your client base, then expand your marketing to reaffirm your brand and create further content such as that, “Here’s our story” video.
The Power of Episodic Content
The power of episodic content in relation to Internet video is undeniable. Just look to Netflix’s House of Cards as clear evidence that people are willing to consume good content one tasty piece at a time. This isn’t just the case for fictional content. The same format works just as well for video marketing.
Often, clients will come to us with enough content for a five or six minute video. Initially that leaves three simple choices:
- Edit the content down to fit a one minute video format.
- Make a five minute video that probably isn’t going to get watched all the way through.
- Structure the content into shorter segments that build the overall concept with each video, or refresh the core branding idea in each individual piece.
The key to making successful episodic videos is to know how to break up the content so that each video contains enough detail to keep the viewer engaged and satisfied while watching individual piece so that they want to the complete story.
TV sitcoms are really just episodic content broken up by groups of commercials. Knowing when a scene should end to before cutting to commercials is key to get viewers to hang through all those advertisements and stay tuned to watch the rest of the program.
The same tactic can be applied to commercial video on the Internet, but can pay even greater dividends. Episodic content can be spread out over a period of time to help launch a new campaign, tie into a new product or business service or be used to get viewers to give you contact information like email in order to sign up for notification of future content being released.
Another great benefit of episodic content is that viewers are more likely to share shorter videos with friends because they feel they aren’t asking them to give up much of their time.
One last thing to consider is that the majority of internet video is watched on mobile phones and tablets that have carrier plans with data caps that viewers have to consider. They’re more likely to start watching a series of shorter videos than one giant mega video.
There is a lot of planning that needs to go into creating really engaging business videos and each business and brand needs to carefully consider how to approach using video best for their own needs. By considering who will be seen communicating to your customers, valuing your customers time, and presenting your message in well organized segments, your video will have the core components need to be a total success.