This article originally appeared in WQP May 2020 issue as "Lights, Camera, Action!"
What if someone told you that you could dramatically increase engagement with your social media, drive more traffic to your website and give your brand a personality? What if that person also told you that you could do this with a minimal investment and that you likely already have much of what is required to make this happen?
What is Video Marketing?
What is this secret sauce, this magic wand to wave over your next marketing campaign? Video marketing. It has been growing in popularity over the last few years, and it continues to become the go-to marketing tool that every business owner should be using. Video marketing is simply using videos to promote your product, service or organization. Notice, this is not necessarily about television, though it could include that. Video is a whole new ballgame thanks to the low barriers to entry, improving technology and social media.
Gone are the days of hiring expensive production crews or paying excessive fees to be seen on TV. The gatekeepers of old (the networks, the station owners) are no longer in charge. Just as e-books and websites disrupted the book publishing and newspaper industries, so the video revolution has democratized the world of video marketing.
Video has become a major component of marketing for many companies in just about any industry. Water treatment is no exception. Video is great for showing how something works, demonstrating how to accomplish a certain task (think cooking shows), capturing the emotion and imagery of an event or simply letting you connect one-on-one with a person on the other side of the lens.
How Popular is Video?
Facebook says there are more than 4 billion video views every day. YouTube says its customers watch 1 billion hours of videos each day. We love video. We watch at our desks. We watch on our tablets. We watch video on our phones while standing in line.
It is not just cat videos either. We learn through video. We are exposed to new ideas, new places and new experts.
Once 5G mobile networks are up and running, video quality and streaming capabilities will make today’s technology look antiquated.
Getting the picture? If you have been putting off including video in your overall messaging and marketing mix the time could not be better to get started. Dive in and get wet. You can dog paddle for awhile and still see success.
There are some quick and inexpensive ways to get started. If you have a smartphone you can create video. Today’s smartphone cameras shoot high definition quality video. You will find some extremely well produced videos that were shot entirely on an iPhone or iPad.
Three Keys to Professional Video Filming
However, it is not just the phone or the camera. You need three more elements to make your video as professional as possible. Forget any one of these and people will notice.
- Tripod. Do not try to hand-hold the phone or camera for an extended recording. This is not a selfie that you would post on a personal Facebook account. There is a time and place for hand-held video, especially if you are trying to follow someone walking, but generally speaking, use a tripod, and keep the camera still.
- Lighting. Today’s smartphones do a good job even in poor lighting conditions. However, a dim, poorly-lit setting is a dead giveaway that this is an amateur production. You can purchase some fairly inexpensive but effective lights online or at your local camera store. There is also a no-cost solution: record near or in front of a window or step outside. Sunshine is a beautiful solution, assuming your subject is not squinting in the sunlight.
- Audio. This is perhaps the most important of all three elements. Given the choice most people would rather watch a poorly shot video with great audio than watch a beautiful video with poor audio quality. Straining to hear what the person is saying or listening to distracting background noise or room echo will have viewers clicking to something else in a hurry. The solution? Use an external microphone that plugs directly into the phone or camera. Do not rely on the built-in mics.
Seven Types of Video to Enhance Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Let us say you have those elements covered; what kind of video do your produce? There are actually several different options to consider. Here are seven suggested types of videos:
- Product. Showcase your product while you discuss what it does or how to assemble it.
- How-to. This is more of an explanation of how to do something not necessarily product specific.
- Brand awareness. Talk about and underscore the underlying purpose and vision of your organization.
- Events. Show highlights of a live event, such as a conference or grand opening.
- Customer Testimonials. Turn on the camera and capture delighted customers talking about how they love your product or service.
- Promotional. Promote your next event or upcoming product offering.
- Live. Offer a Facebook Live stream. Not only will it live on your Facebook page for people to find weeks and months later, but you can share it on other platforms or download the video and use it for other productions.
How long should the video be? To borrow from the conventional wisdom on writing, a video should be as long as it needs to be and no longer. However, people have short attention spans these days. They are scrolling through a barrage of competing posts, videos and emojis. Unless you are doing a Facebook Live stream or webinar, you probably want to think of 1:30 to 3 minutes as the ideal length. That should be more than enough time to connect with your viewer and get your point across.
The Next Step: Editing Your Video
After you have shot the video, now what? You are going to need some video editing software to put all of the clips together into a meaningful sequence. This is not difficult, but there is a learning curve in the beginning.
You will need some kind of editing software. This can be everything from an app on your phone to a professional video editing program like Adobe Premier Pro. This might be the point at which you outsource the project to a professional editor who can save you time and aggravation. You might also have someone on staff who can help, or you might find a local student who is willing to take on the project to boost their skills.
Once the video is edited, you can post it on YouTube, social media and, of course, your website. You have now expanded your marketing mix while giving your brand some personality. It can be exciting.
Moving forward, you can continue to produce videos by simply repurposing content your already have. If you have written several blog posts, consider turning each one into a short video. If you have brochures that you normally give out to customers, consider making a video version of the brochure, using some of the same graphic elements to stay consistent with branding.
What if you are convinced you ought to be doing video, but you also hate the thought of appearing on camera? You have a few options. Find someone else on staff willing to do it, or use screen shots, PowerPoint slides, images and graphics and narrate the video without ever being seen. It is still effective.
So, where to start? The easiest, believe it or not, is Facebook Live. You just press “Start Live Video,” and you are rolling. All you need to do is look at the camera and talk. Easier said than done, right? The point is that it is technically easy to do. Once you are finished, you now have a video that can continue to be found by people looking for what you do and maybe generate some leads.
Consumers are watching videos. Videos are fun, engaging and educational. Why not begin to take advantage of the opportunity? Do not look back with regret that you did not at least try to use video as part of your marketing strategy.