Getting video marketing right for your business

Part 3 of our series on video marketing

I recently attended a ‘themed’ networking event in Edinburgh (no, not that kind of theme, there were no superman outfits). While there was the usual mingling and nervous biscuit munching, the event also included a series of presentations on a particular theme. I happened to be delivering one of those presentations, but that’s not really relevant to the story.

What is relevant though, is that one of the presentations was very far from being informative. In fact all I can remember about the talk was that it was about Vodafone and how great Vodafone is. The talk could have been anywhere between 5 minutes and 5 days, who knows when it felt like an eternity? But what I do know is that the talk was indulgent, salesy and turgid. And that even though I was one of the speakers at that event, I can’t for the life of me remember what we were meant to be talking about. But I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be Vodafone. If it was, I failed miserably.

What I took away from that event was a) no-one wants to sit through a sales pitch and b) much as I may be to public speaking what Ashley Cole is to feminism, I’m still a much better speaker than this guy was.

Avoid the sales video

What this brings me to, is the importance of avoiding a ‘salesy’ video. I.e. one that shamelessly sells your company or products, but without sparing a thought for what the viewer wants to know.

Inevitably, anything that you put together about your business is going to be a bit salesy, that’s just the nature of promoting your business. But there are ways to prevent diving into a mind-numbing sales pitch.

1 – The brand promotion

The brand promotion is usually between 60-90 seconds and includes information about how your business works and what it does. It’s ideal for the home page of your website, because it offers a quick fix for the hungry web user, who’s tired of reading reams of paragraphs about businesses endeavouring to surpass all of their competition when it comes to customer service. They’ve read all that guff about a thousand times before, they don’t need to read it again.

The video brand promotion should be a gentle business overview that aims to give a real feel for your business. It’s crucial to include snippets from people who have a key role within the organisation, so you can give a literal face to your business – whether that’s your best sales guy or the MD.

The brand promotion is meant to reassure web visitors that there’s a real business behind the web page and that it’s one that they can trust. Incorporating one or two customer testimonials can be dynamite for building trust, while showing something of your office space helps people to see you as individuals rather than a faceless corporation.

And remember, easy does it.

2 – The show & tell

Again the show and tell is between 60-90 seconds. This style of video is more of an in-depth look at the way you do something. For example if you’re manufacturing widgets, your resellers may well be interested in how you go about creating those widgets. It tells them that the product is robust and reliable and that you’re doing it in a proper factory, rather than on the bathroom floor.

3 - Tips & hints

Tips and hints are absolutely magic when it comes to engaging your audience, mainly because they are the direct opposite of the sales pitch.  In essence, this style of video is the selfless ‘giving’ video. It’s a powerful brand tool, because it shows that you know what you’re talking about (unless you start spouting gobbledy gook), but you’re willing to impart knowledge without getting people to pay for it.

It’s basically a taster of things to come and sows the seed that for every bit that you’re selling, you’re also being helpful and advisory too.

Keep it to 60 seconds and you’ll find it easier to engage and to produce – so everyone’s a winner.

4 - Expert opinion

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but remember that a bit of personality and controversy can do a lot to make you a more memorable business.

For consultants and other professional service providers, shooting a video with your opinion on topical issues, allows you to stand out from other, more banal competitors, and it shows that you can think for yourself. When it comes to difficult business decisions, your prospects need to know that you’re the people they can go to.  

5 - Video blog

The video blog is the friendlier version of the expert opinion. It’s usually a more entertaining, lighter reflection on topics that are relevant to your sector and it’s something that you’ll want to produce reasonably regularly - perhaps once a month – to build up a strong portfolio and following. The idea is to get people interested in what you have to say and get them coming back for more.

This is definitely one to promote aggressively via social media.

6 – The event video

The event video is a 60-120 second video that captures highlights of an event to share with a wider audience. It’s valuable for your audience because it’s giving them something of the event without requiring them to attend or pay for it. This is particularly true if you include valuable snippets from advisory talks, so the audience can still take something away.

7 – The news report

The video news report is a 60-90 second in-house news style report on a product, event, launch or service, using interview clips and video, graphics etc.

The news report needs to be pacy and exciting to engage your viewers. Make sure you focus on truly interesting items that will mean something to the viewer.

8 – The look around

This is a 30-90 second video, which is a relatively simple format that’s used frequently by hotels, and estate agents. Here you’re literally just showing people around your venue/property/facilities, to entice people for a viewing or booking.

These are absolutely invaluable for any business where the focus is on experience rather than product.  

9 – The testimonial

Everyone loves a good, solid testimonial. Video testimonials are so valuable because they are difficult to fake, which makes them much more powerful and believable than written ones.

Get as many of your happiest customers as you can and include any big brand names if you’ve got them.

But don’t forget...

Always put yourself in the shoes of the viewer. What do they really want to know and hear from your business? Will your video really be watched and valued by them. Think about videos that you’ve really loved and engaged with, and budget permitting, try to emulate them.

About the author - Rosie Heptonstall

Rosie is the marketing manager for Clever Business Websites. She used to love public speaking, until someone pointed out that she had a habit of snarling at the audience. Now she puts that aggression into her blog posts - for good or for bad...