The Internet is crowded with videos – music videos, sales videos, cute kitten videos – lots of options, but not a whole lot of useful content for viewers. Sure, if you want to kill some time until you punch out, watching puppies on YouTube may do the trick.
On the other hand, if you want to boost sales, lower customer care costs, and show prospects what you’re all about, videos are a low cost option – as long as they don’t look low cost.
Creating the right video, with the right information or message, takes planning.
The Pros And Cons Of Video Content
The positives far outweigh the negatives when posting a video, but there is a downside to using video to sell a product or build a brand.
- Videos are a useful means of presenting a great deal of information in a short time, so if you want to show prospects why your company beats the competition, you include a lot of business benefits of engaging you company in a short video that appears on your website.
- Videos are also excellent trust builders. If the company CEO, dressed in a nice suit, talks into the camera (to the viewer) a bond is created. Use high-level managers and the company directors in your videos to create trust on the part of viewers.
- The downside of videos? Videos are linear. The viewer can’t click a link to move on to a slightly different subject. Videos start at Point A, move in a straight, non-stop line, to conclude at Point B – the final credits.
- Another downside? Videos move at a set speed. The viewer can’t slow it down or speed it up to get to the one point she needs. Oh sure, you can use the video screen slider at the bottom of most screens but finding that exact quote, or the exact procedure, may take a little time.
- When developing a video, keep in mind that the viewer must watch at the speed you set. If the information is complex, slow down the pace of the narration.
- The last big negative to videos? Search engine spiders can’t crawl a video (or any other type of graphics presentation). So, even though a 5-minute video can cost a bundle, you won’t improve your page rank just by presenting new content in video format.
However, the best videos aren’t designed to improve search engine page rank. The best videos help prospects, help existing customers, and help small business owners.
Video Production Do’s And Don’ts
- Make sure the narration describes the information coming ahead, details your message, and delivers an understandable recap. In other words, tell them what you’re going to say, say it, recap key points, and find the exit.
- Use video images to clarify the narration and vice-versa. Narration and images should complement each other, delivering a 1 + 1 = 3 equation. The audience sees and hears key points, strengthening your message.
- Production values matter. Today, you can shoot a video with a smartphone but the footage may look grainy, and editing out the “selfies” will require video editing software. The narrator should be a professional and you or your representative should be present at the recording session to direct.
- Music really helps. Video editing software allows for multiple audio tracks, so adding a sound bed adds viewer benefits. Slowly fade out music when you get to the meat of the presentation. Bring up the music when you introduce a new point to serve as an aural cue to viewers that “something” is happening, i.e. a change of topics, a different speaker, etc.
- Add text to your video using video editing software. This text, sometimes called “text burns” should appear each time the video introduces a new term or a new concept. This reinforces important information.
- Keep it short. A 10-minute video is too long unless you have a highly motivated viewer. Keep it short – five minutes maximum – 90 seconds is even better. A video is an introduction or a “how-to” – not a doctoral thesis.
- If you sell a product that requires “some assembly” create a video showing consumers how to put the thing together properly. Post the video on your website AND on YouTube. Direct customer queries to these how-to video clips to greatly reduce the cost of customer care.
Which leads us to the final point – re-purpose that video. If you plan it from the start you can use a well-produced video on your company website, YouTube and other video platforms, you can run it as a loop at your next trade show, and use it in the office or on the road to boost sales.
Here’s an example.
If you’re clueless about creating videos, hire a production company and provide a detailed script (or at least a content outline). Expect to pay for quality, but also expect to see more calls from prospective buyers of your goods or services, and fewer calls from customers looking for support.
It’s not rocket science. You can shoot, edit and mix a good-looking video on your computer. Keep it short, keep production values high, stay on point, and maintain a comfortable pace.Ready? ACTION!