You may be surprised to learn that video marketing, or at least successful video marketing, is not about which camera to use, what’s the best microphone, or even lighting and editing. That’s production, not marketing.
To be effective with video, the emphasis needs to be on your marketing strategy. You must ask: What is the goal of the video? What business objective will it accomplish? Who will be viewing the video, and what do you want the viewer to do after they watch it? These are just a few of the marketing questions that must be addressed before you ever set up a light or fire up the webcam.
Obviously, production is important (and we’ll get to that), but it’s still not marketing. Start with strategy and that will determine how much (or how little) equipment you need. So think strategy first, tools, equipment and technology later. Goals over gadgets, as I like to say!
Many video “newbies” make the mistake of stocking up on fancy equipment, high-end video cameras or expensive software. Once all their gear is finally in place, they often have a “now what?” (or more likely, “oh shit!”) moment when they realize they’ve put the cart before the horse.
Thinking that equipment alone with help you produce great video is just like thinking that simply buying a treadmill or stair master will get you in shape. You still have to know how to use it and do the work!
Depending on your video marketing goals, you may not need a lot of equipment. It’s more likely that you can get a great start just by using the video camera on your smartphone or the webcam on your laptop or tablet. Again, goals before tech.
Let’s take Tania, for instance, a wellness coach who wants to build her online business and eventually sell wellness workshops and health-related products online. Tania’s video goals include establishing her expertise in her niche and developing trust and credibility among her target-market of health-conscious boomers.
Because she needs to build her online visibility and credibility, Tania decides to create a video tips series to post on YouTube and her blog. Since content matters more than quality to her audience, Tania doesn’t need to invest in high- end equipment. In fact, she can simply use the webcam on her computer to record her health tips, and then do some quick edits in iMovie (or even using YouTube’s onboard editor). No big production is needed here — Just get those video tips posted quickly and consistently.
If Tania’s goal was to get paid speaking gigs or appearances on TV news or talk shows, she may have taken a different approach and hired a professional camera crew to tape her segments. Production values would be more important for that more discerning audience. Let your strategy drive your technology requirements…
We’ll do a much deeper dive into video production and equipment in Module 3, but if you’ve already got a good sense of your video goals and you simply can’t wait to jump in, here are the essentials. All you really need to start creating videos is:
- A computer with good Internet access, or at the very least a smartphone that connects you to the web.
- Any kind of video camera, whether it’s a webcam, smartphone, tablet, traditional cam corder, or whatever device you have available that records video.
- You should have a YouTube account, where you can upload and host your videos for free.
- You should also have a Facebook account, since Facebook has become so video-centric. This will also give you the ability to broadcast from your smartphone to Facebook Live.
- And perhaps most important, you’ll also need commitment and persistence!
As you begin your journey into the world of video, your mantra should be “keep it simple!” The goal should always be to simplify and streamline the process so you can get your videos done and out to the world. Especially when you’re just starting out, focus on content over quality!
That brings us back to step one: Video Purpose: Establishing Your Video Goals and Objectives.
The video process all starts with your marketing goals. There must be reason you’re doing video, aside from the fact that everyone else is doing it! Recognizing that reason is the first step. What’s your “why” when it comes to video? What do you want to accomplish?
- Are you looking to increase visibility and awareness for a product or service?
- Are you trying to establish and build a brand? Launching or updating a website?
- Do you need to grow your online presence or create a fan base? Are you promoting an event or a project or a new book?
- Trying to be “found” on the Internet and increase your Google search rankings?
- Or perhaps you simply need to drive traffic to your website and attract new clients?
Knowing your video “why” will clarify and simplify the entire video process.
When I work with my private consulting clients, we typically begin with a “Video IQ” assessment to determine where they are in terms of video and where they want to go. I’ve included that “Video IQ” worksheet here, and I suggest that you take a few moments to review and complete it.
This exercise will really help you hone in on your video goals so, once you do get to the nuts and bolts, the process will be much smoother, and the outcome will be far more powerful.
Rookie Mistakes: Six Video Marketing Missteps and How to Avoid Them
With so many businesses realizing that video marketing is the key communications tool of the future, business owners are falling over themselves to get onboard the video bandwagon.
Deciding to use this powerful visual resource to get your message out is smart. However, once entrepreneurs jump into the video waters, most soon realize that it’s a tough swim. There are several common pitfalls most business owners experience as they begin their video marketing efforts. Fortunately, most of these rookie mistakes are easily corrected.
Here are the six video missteps that will sink you faster than you can say “lights, camera, action.”
Mistake #1: Not Thinking Strategically
As mentioned earlier, when you decide to create a video, you’ve got to know your goals! Too many people dive head first into their video production without setting a specific business objective.
What do you want THIS video to accomplish? How is the video tied to your business goals? What is the call to action at the end of the video?
I’ve seen many videos that left me scratching my head wondering, “what was the point?” Know your goals going in.
Mistake #2: Message Mishigash
Closely related to rookie mistake # 1 is not having a clear message in your video. What are you trying to communicate and how can you get that message across simply and succinctly? Your video should have one key message, and you should know (and tell your viewer) exactly what you want them to do.
Mistake #3: Tech Obsession
Too many video neophytes get tangled up in the technology. If you let the tech trip you up, you’ll never get your video done. The truth is the equipment choices should be the least of your worries. It doesn’t matter what camera you use! Even a webcam or an iPhone will suffice. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Remember, goals over gadgets! When it comes to technology, chances are you are over-thinking it. Point. Shoot. Post. Repeat.
Mistake #4: Picking the Wrong Platform
There are dozens of ways to create great video, from traditional talking head videos to off-camera PowerPoint videos or animation. Don’t get tied down to one perception or method of video. On-camera talking head videos are fine, but think outside the screen for other options that may be more appropriate for your personality or your message.
You can use www.Powtoon.com to produce your own animated video, or publish with www.Prezi.com to turn your slide show into a dynamic, engaging video.
Facebook Live has exploded in popularity and provides an instant way to connect and engage with your audience in real time.
There are numerous platforms available, so find the one that’s best for your business. We’ll go into much greater detail about some of the most popular platforms in later modules.
Mistake #5: Selling Too Soon
Online video is an excellent sales tool, and you could argue that every video is somewhat promotional in nature — even if it’s just building your visibility or credibility. But starting out with a sales pitch video can be short-sighted.
It’s vital that you first establish trust, add value and build your likability factor. (Video is great for this!) In short, you’ve got to serve first and sell second. Once you’ve developed some goodwill with your videos, then you can ask for the sale.
Like any marketing tool, it’s a process, and you don’t want to pitch until you’ve had a chance to earn their trust.
Mistake #6: Post and Pray
The final rookie mistake is all too common. Newbies think once the video is done, their work is done. In truth, it’s just beginning. Too many businesses adapt a “post and pray” strategy — which isn’t really a strategy at all! They upload the video to YouTube or their own site and wait for the views to magically appear.
In this “Field of Dreams” scenario, if you upload it, they will not come. At least not until you effectively promote your new upload.
Post and Pray is not a marketing strategy — you have to create a mini marketing plan for each video and determine how you’re going to get eyeballs to your video.
One easy and often overlooked tactic is to simply leverage your video and get it on to as many platforms as possible. Start with YouTube, but share your video to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even Slideshare.net. More outlets means more views.
If you’re guilty of any of these video marketing offenses, the good news is that they are all easily avoided. Steer clear of these six common video “fails” and you can go from video newbie to video ninja in no time!
Plan for Success
The best way to avoid these common video pitfalls is to simply have a plan! With a specific goal and plan for each video, you can simplify and streamline the process. While you may think that the structure and discipline of video planning limits your creativity, the opposite is true. Staying on point with your video goal will actually provide more freedom and flexibility.
As you develop a plan for each video you create, there are a few things to consider for keeping your video strategy from going off the rails. Here are a few suggestions to provide “video focus:”
- Always keep simplicity in mind: What is the shortest distance between you and a completed video?
- You are using video as a business marketing tool. Know your “why” before you fly!
- As we mentioned earlier, there are dozens of styles and platforms for video. What’s the best option for you and your business?
- Always put your goals and strategy before your technology and equipment.
- There are both on-camera and off-camera solutions, so you must determine the best option for your unique situation.
Being crystal clear on your video goal before you begin will save you time and help you avoid the common “video overwhelm” trap. While you may be eager to dive in and start creating, prep time is going to save production time. At the same time, you may also need to steer clear of the perfectionism trap. In most cases, your mantra should be: “done is better than perfect!”
Unlike the wild, wild west, where you could “shoot first and ask questions later,” making effective video requires you to ask questions first and shoot later! Here are few of the key questions you should ask to clarify your video goals:
- What do your want your video to accomplish?
- What type of video will help you reach this goal?
- How will you measure your video’s success?
- Is this video part of an overall marketing campaign?
- What can this video do for you and your business?
- Where will it have the most impact on your business?
As you develop your “video vision,” and your video marketing strategy, keep in mind that you want to build and integrate video into your overall marketing strategy. Video should support and enhance your company’s larger marketing objectives. Video should not be an “add on” or a “one off;” it’s got to be baked into the big picture.
That means you’ve got to decide where and when to use video to support your company’s goals. Where does it make sense to integrate video to strengthen or accelerate your plans? How and where will video give you the biggest “bump?” In addition, you have to consider how to make video a consistent part of your strategy. As I like to tell my clients, “One and done won’t get it done!”
I also recommend that my clients (and you) create a “Video Editorial Calendar.” Similar to a blog editorial calendar or a social media calendar, a Video Editorial Calendar will enhance your bigger marketing plan and keep you on track.
You can start with your annual marketing calendar, then begin adding video to the marketing mix where and when appropriate. Plot out key initiatives, product launches, sales, campaigns and other priorities, and determine how video can support those activities.
Your Video Editorial Calendar will also help you build in time for video production, video distribution and video promotion. Think of it as an overlay to your master planning calendar. You can do this every 90 days so each quarter’s video activities are planned in advance.
A Video Editorial Calendar will keep you on track and ahead of the curve when it comes to producing your videos. If you know, for instance, that you’ve got a new product launch or a big webinar to promote in March, you can work backwards and determine when you’ll need to shoot and produce a promo video. Consider the old Ben Franklin adage that says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Use the A.I.M. Method to Create Great Video
Another tactic for your video planning is to use what I call the AIM Method. This consists of three key questions you can ask before you create your video.
Oftentimes entrepreneurs are in such a rush to establish a presence on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or the latest video site du jour, that they miss a huge piece of the puzzle. Many business owners are taking a “ready, fire, aim” approach to video marketing. Taking aim is the missing element in most video efforts, and if you skip the “aim” piece, you’re likely to fail.
I see this time and time again in my work as a video marketing consultant. “Why do you want to do video?” I ask. The initial responses are often the same: “Everyone else is doing video, and we don’t want to be left behind,” or “We want our message to go viral.”
But let’s be practical. If you want your video marketing to produce a return on investment, then you’ve first got to decide exactly what you want that video to accomplish for you. You need to know what your specific goals are before you write the first word of your script or fire up the webcam.
You would think that this “taking aim” method is painfully obvious, but there are thousands of videos in the YouTube graveyard that prove otherwise. In fact, the vast majority of YouTube videos never get more than 1,000 views. Think your video can top one million views on YouTube? Good luck, since TubeMogul reports that an infinitesimal 0.33% of videos ever get more than a million views.
If you’re only goal is to upload a nice Valentine’s Day video for your mom and you’re happy with 6 views, then don’t worry about your video goals and objectives. But if you want to produce a video that moves the dial for your business, then you’ve got to plan accordingly.
I’ve created the A.I.M. Method for creating videos that accomplish your business objectives. AIM stands for Audience, Intent, and Motivation:
A – Audience: Who is your target market for this video? Who are you trying to reach? Do you know the specific audience for your video? Where is the best place to reach that audience?
I – Intent: What’s the Intent of your video? What do you want the viewer to do after they watch the video? Click the buy button? Opt-in to your mailing list? Share the video with others? What is your call to action? Is your call to action clear and compelling?
M – Motivation: How are you going to move the viewer to action? What’s their motivation? How will you compel them to act? Is the incentive strong enough to justify the action? Are the benefits powerful and appealing enough?
When you follow the AIM Method, your other considerations for video will become much clearer: You’ll be able to determine what type of video will serve you best (on-camera vs. off-camera); you’ll know exactly what your message has to say; and you’ll have a much better sense of the best delivery platforms for your video (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
Use the AIM sequence for success and your videos will be focused, engaging and on target. Audience. Intent. Motivation. Simply remember: “Ready. AIM. Shoot!”
How to Create a Video Plan That Works
For most entrepreneurs, the biggest challenge with online video is just getting started. For many small businesses, even those who have no problem cranking out content, creating video content can be daunting and intimidating.
And once you’ve got that first momentous video finished, you’ve only just begun. As I’ve said, “one and done” does not work when it comes to video marketing, so you need a process and you need a plan!
The key to a successful, ongoing video marketing strategy is to develop a video plan that supports your overall business objectives. In fact, it’s not enough to just “do video,” you’ve got to create videos as a means to an end. Your videos should be designed to help achieve specific business goals.
What do you want your video to accomplish? Are you doing video for the visibility and exposure? Are you trying to build credibility and establish yourself as an expert in your niche?
Do you want to improve your search engine rankings? Or perhaps you’re looking to video as a way to generate leads and sales for your business. Again, your goals will determine your video direction.
Be sure to set realistic goals that support your business. Specific video goals may include:
- Developing a video presence online
- Adding an opt-in or welcome video to home page
- Creating a “video tips” series on YouTube to establish credibility and expert status
- Building a promotional platform to sell books or information products
- Creating a sales video to launch a product
- Starting a weekly videoblog series to consistently deliver your content
- Creating tutorials or demos to sell as video product
Try not to think of video as an “add on” or an extra thing you have to do. Video can be integrated into your current marketing plans. Make a list of your regular marketing activities (i.e. email marketing, blogging, social media) and decide how adding video can enhance or improve those marketing tools.
That may mean turning blog posts into video blogs, doing a video version of your ezine, or just adding video to your email marketing efforts by sending video mail. (Two services for easy video mail include BombBomb.com and MailVu.com).
Once you’ve set your goals and determined how to integrate video into your existing marketing plans, you can get more specific by scheduling your video activities using your Video Editorial Calendar.
Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row with planning and scheduling, you just need to refine your video process. Obviously, the process will vary depending on the type of video you are producing, such as on-camera or off-camera. Either way, you’ve got to create a step-by-step system that you’re comfortable with — and one that can be easily repeated as needed.
If you’re doing a typical on camera “talking head” video, your process might consist of:
- Scripting—Having an outline or script so you’re ready with what to say
- Appearance—Are you ready for your close-up?
- Stagingandsetting—Finding an appropriate spot where you can shoot your video
- Lighting—Making sure you’ve got adequate light
- Audio—Testing your sound to ensure good audio quality
- Camera—Testing your webcam or video camera to make sure the shot looks good
- Recording—Getting the right take that you’re happy with
- Editing — Making edits and embellishments as needed
Again, your process can be as simple and streamlined as you want to make it. As long as it works for you, and you can repeat the process whenever you want, you’ll be good to go!
As you can see, the best videos are actually created before your ever fire up the webcam. Planning your video is the key to a successful shoot. Taking the time to plan ahead will make it much easier to create your videos — and to crank out quality videos consistently.
By now, I hope you’re completely convinced that video marketing can rock your world and transform your business. And you’re no doubt eager to jump right in and start creating videos.
Although you’ll be a seasoned pro by the time you get through this guide, I can certainly understand that you want to test the waters right away.
10 Compelling Reasons to Add Video to Your Marketing Mix Now
Online Video seems to be everywhere these days, and with good reason. Video works! Most experts agree that web video has become THE “must have” marketing tool for the survival of your business. And as if that’s not reason enough, here are ten more compelling reasons why you need video — right here, right now!
- Google Loves Video! And not just because they own YouTube. Video puts your SEO on steroids. With video, you can dramatically improve your search engine rankings.
- Video is Personal. You can enhance your know, like and trust fact or very quickly by appearing on video. Let your customers get to know you by seeing and hearing you!
- Video is Immediate. Got an idea or a message?Got a webcam? Then you can make a video instantly and be online in minutes. Pull out your smartphone anytime, anywhere, and broadcast live to the world, on the fly and in the moment!
- Video Connects. Nothing establishes a better connection with your clients and customers than video. Video creates that immediate bond. Video is engaging and captivating. Use it to bond with your customers, colleagues and prospects.
- Video is Growing Fast. Video is way past the trend stage and has become a mainstream marketing tool. The Internet today is driven by video, so the sooner you get up to speed with this valuable resource, the better!
- Video is (mostly) Free! With a free account on YouTube and a webcam or smartphone, you’re good to go with online video. Facebook, Instagram and dozens of video apps are easily accessible at no cost.
- Video gives you worldwide exposure, 24/7. Having videos online increases your visibility across the globe. Let your video work for you while you sleep!
- YouTube Rocks! With an audience of a gazillion viewers, YouTube is the place to be seen online. Not only is YouTube now the 2nd most popular website on the Internet, and it’s also the 2nd biggest search engine! Want a piece of the action? Create and upload your video to YouTube!
- It’s Easier Than You Think! iPhones, iPads, smartphones and even tablets make it easier than ever to capture and upload video. Most of these cameras let you upload directly to YouTube.
- Video Accelerates the Sales Process! The best news of all about adding video to your marketing mix is that it greatly accelerates the sales process. People buy from someone they know, like and trust – and video can rapidly speed up that process. That means more customers, more quickly, and more coins in your pocket!
Recommendation: The Best Software For Creating Marketing Videos
If you want to save time creating high-quality marketing videos, I recommend using VideoCreator.
Using VideoCreator, you can now create all types of videos for any marketing objective.
The software includes animated transitions, 3D elements, and animations. You may have seen other video creation apps before, but VideoCreator offers over 600+ unique templates on its front end alone.
In just a few clicks, you can easily create scroll stoppers, product promos, e-commerce videos, motion tracking videos, explainer videos, animated videos, social media videos, and any other type of video you can possibly imagine.
Using other apps, users can only create short videos of 30 seconds. The VideoCreator application lets you create animated videos of any length.
Whatever your skill level may be, you can create videos with hundreds of customizable templates in minutes. Aside from that, the collection of royalty-free assets lets you customize any video to your liking.
To learn more about VideoCreator, you can read my comprehensive VideoCreator review first.