Out of all of the marketing tools at our disposal—print, web, audio, podcast, radio, social media—video continually comes out on top for the most engaging, viral, educational, and immersive format. But not all videos are created equal, and in today’s economy of experienced (somewhat jaded) shoppers, it’s more important than ever to have a well produced, edited, direct, and engaging marketing video. Here are our top tips for making this advertising avenue work for your business, not against it.
1) Tell the consumer a story
We know the purpose is to make a sale, gain a client, or garner interest in your product or service. Guarantee the viewer knows this too. So instead of being super direct and “sales-y,” take a story-telling approach, and help the viewer connect with your business in a way that feels organic and on an equal level with the consumer. Videos that are too clearly trying to drive sales will be ignored. Viewers love stories about what your brand or organization can do, stories about you yourself, or a combination of the two.
2) Connect with the viewer
The most shared videos—commercial or otherwise—have some sort of relatability and connection. No one is going to finish watching or share a video that doesn't mean anything to them, or that doesn’t make them think of someone to immediately send it to. Consider what you’re offering, and then consider how you can use your platform to form connections with new or existing customers. What kind of value are you trying to bring to your viewer, and what do you want them to take away from it? From there, you can start building interest, connection, and loyalty.
3) The first few frames matter a lot
This is the internet age, and our attention spans have never been worse. From the bottomless scroll of social media to the constant bombardment of videos in advertising and streaming options, if someone isn’t immediately drawn into the video, they’re going to scroll past it, or hover over the “skip in 5 seconds” button. That means the first few seconds of your video are critically important. Consider what a hook might look like for your message. What is a preview of what the rest of the video will be about? If you only had a few seconds to grab the consumer’s attention and make them want to keep watching, what would that look like?
4) Your stills also matter
If you have a video page with product info, advertising campaigns, or media connected to your brand or company, your visuals matter a lot. Viewers like a streamlined, aesthetically pleasing grid (thanks, Instagram) that makes them feel like they’re being told (or sold) something on a professional, trustworthy level. Choose high-res, high-quality images for your thumbnails, consistent, easy-to-read text that aligns nicely with the row of thumbnails to choose from. A good thumbnail, still, or preview will give the viewer an idea of what they’re going to watch and learn, and the video title should entice them to click and learn more.
5) Accessibility is important
This goes back to the bottomless scroll of today’s social media. Oftentimes people are scrolling social media while listening to music, and when a video starts auto-playing, they don’t want the sound to interrupt what they’re listening to. Or they’re out and about and noise will disrupt their surroundings. Lastly and most importantly, multiple avenues of captioning and audio will make sure your video can be seen, heard, and understood by people with all abilities. This can be as simple as captioning your videos, or having an auto-caption fill in for dialogue and voiceover. If your video has dialogue and a narrator, captioning can work here too, and many social channels come with the option of auto captioning, or if you’ve hired a firm, make sure to ask that the video includes real-time visual captions.
6) What is the takeaway?
This is also called a call-to-action, or a hard-line message. What is the point of the video, in the end? Are you trying to sell something? Bring in audience members? Gain subscribers? Simply garner interest in your service or product? The end of the video (and sometimes all the way through in a bottom-feed scroll) is the final element in making an impactful video that will help your ROI on advertising dollars. This call to action can be as simple as embedding a “subscribe” button at the end, where people can sign up to learn more, and you can grab their contact info. It can also look like a follow button, which will help grow your audience, or maybe it’s a link for a product or even a free trial. No matter what it is, you want some kind of contact or conversion option to help track viewers and actually get something out of the effort, resources, and money you put into the video.