How to get started with video marketing
Creating effective videos takes time, effort and planning. Before you begin work on your video production, there are a few factors you’ll have to consider.
What’s your strategy?
Rather than creating videos for the sake of jumping on the bandwagon, you should have clear goals and objectives in mind from the very beginning. What are you trying to achieve with your video marketing efforts? How will it complement your existing strategies? How will you stand out from your competitors?
Think about your customers and what they’d be most interested in seeing. For example, if your research reveals that customers are concerned about the reliability of your service, you might want to prioritize testimonials or explainer videos that highlight reliability. If your search engine traffic reveals that a lot of people are searching for a specific topic, it might be worth recording a video on it.
What equipment will you need?
The equipment you need will depend on the kind of video you want to make. If you’re going for a live-action video, you’ll need the following:
- A camera. Fortunately, most of us are carrying around a decent camera on our mobile phones. If you’re creating a personalized pitch or hosting a webinar, a webcam or mobile phone camera will likely be enough to meet your needs. However, if you want to create product videos or are committing to a regular series, it might be worth investing in a professional DSLR that will give you greater control. Remember to use a tripod to avoid shaky camera work.
- A microphone. As with the camera, most of us already have access to a microphone, whether that’s on our phone or with a webcam. However, these microphones usually aren’t powerful enough, leading to weak audio that viewers will struggle to make out. A dedicated microphone (either a shotgun mic attached to your camera or a lavalier mic clipped onto your subject) will allow you to capture high-quality audio for your videos.
- Lighting. The quality of your lighting will directly affect the quality of your video. If you’re in a well-lit office sat opposite a window, you might be able to get away with natural lighting. However, if you want to guarantee a professional feel to your videos, you’ll want some additional lighting. Techsmith’s post covers the best lights for any budget, along with how to set them up correctly.
- Editing software. Finally, unless you’re intending to stick to live videos published in real time, you’ll need software to edit your videos. This allows you to cut any mistakes and add some finishing touches, such as subtitles or a call-to-action (CTA). The Photos app (Windows 10) and iMovie (Apple) offer basic video editing capabilities for free. For more advanced options, Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects are popular choices.
How much will it cost?
While more affordable than ever, creating and editing videos still comes with a cost.
Unless you intend to do it all yourself, you’ll need to hire scriptwriters, animators, actors and/or voiceover talent, depending on the exact video you want to record. You’ll also likely need some additional equipment unless you outsource the whole process to an agency or use a platform like Upwork. According to Wyzowl’s video marketing statistics, prices for animated videos range anywhere from $700 to $70,000, with the industry average for live-action videos at $5,000.
It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll have to produce more than one video before you start seeing results, so ideally you’ll plan a series of videos rather than committing to a one-off. As a result, it’s essential to count the costs before you start filming a project you can’t realistically afford.
How will you structure and create your videos?
Before you start filming, you’ll need a script with a beginning, middle and end.
You may only have seconds to grab their attention (especially if your video is an ad), so you need a strong hook straight away. Why should someone watch this video? What’s in it for them? Rather than wasting time on backstory or long-winded introductions, spell out the benefits clearly and give your viewer a compelling reason to stick around.
In the middle, deliver on your initial promise. If this is a product video or a pitch, showcase how the product or service can solve your prospect’s problems. If it’s a how-to or a webinar, get into the actionable steps people can take to achieve the desired objective.
Finish your video with a call to action (CTA) that aligns with your strategy. If you’re trying to build awareness, encourage them to sign-up or subscribe for future videos. If you’re showing a testimonial of a happy customer, tell them where they can buy the product and become a happy customer too.
How will you publish and promote your videos?
Once you’ve finished your masterpiece, you now need to make sure the right people see it.
If you’re using video as part of your email strategy, you could host the video on your website and link back to it in your email, driving traffic back to your site. Alternatively, dedicated software such as Livestorm, Vidyard and Wistia allows you to host your videos and then analyze the results.
If you want to use video marketing to promote your business on social media channels, you need to pick the right channel for your audience. Uploading a YouTube video is the most popular option, but it isn’t necessarily the best choice.
Wyzowl’s survey found that LinkedIn was the most successful video channel, with 87% of video marketers who used the platform describing it as effective. Alternatively, when Animoto asked consumers which social media platforms had influenced a purchasing decision, Facebook video came out on top, with 64% saying a video had led to making a purchase.
How will you measure performance?
To determine if your video campaign has been a success, you’ll have to decide what metrics to track and use to optimize future videos. Depending on your objectives, as well as which metrics are recorded by your chosen platform, you might want to measure the following:
- Views. How many times has your content been watched? A high video view rate indicates that it’s being seen by enough people and that they’ve found the title compelling. If you’re hosting the video on different platforms, check to see how a view is defined. For example, for paid ads on YouTube, a view is counted when the video has been watched for at least 30 seconds. On LinkedIn it’s after just two or more continuous seconds.
- View length. How much of the video has been watched? The more time people spend watching your video, the better. However, if you see views drop off after a certain time, it may be that your video wasn’t strong enough or the topic interesting enough to hold their attention all the way through.
- Click-through rate. Out of all the people who watched the video, how many were motivated to take action and click through? This metric will help determine the strength of your CTA in relation to your video.
- Conversion rates. Out of everyone who’s clicked through on your video, how many have actually converted? If your click-through rate is high but people don't go on to take the desired action, check that your CTA messaging and video match your overall objective; asking someone to click through to ‘learn more’ then taking them straight to a checkout page is going to result in a sharp drop to your conversion rate.
- Social Engagement. If your video is on social media, what do people do after watching it? Do they subscribe? Share it with their friends? Leave a comment? If people are taking the time to engage with you and your content, it’s a good sign that it has resonated with them.
- Bounce Rate. If you’re hosting and displaying the video on your company web pages, you’ll be looking for different metrics. For example, a low bounce rate is a good sign that the video is encouraging people to stick around on your site.