In a TV commercial for Qwest (telecommunications company) that aired in 1999 a business traveler arrives to a motel and asks about amenities and entertainment; the bored girl at the front desk responds: “all rooms have every movie ever made in any language, anytime, day or night“. The commercial ends with a narrator asking: “Could your business use the bandwidth to change everything?”
Years later Qwest was acquired by another company, but the commercial, which proved to be a harbinger of things to come, continues to live on YouTube.
Digital video has changed the way we promote our businesses, in any language, anytime, day or night. However, business owners are intimidated by the medium and are either afraid to experiment or unsure of how to produce their videos.
I wanted to share with you some practical tips to get you started with a compelling video for your business:
1. Story is EVERYTHING: Your video will be just as compelling as your story is. Take the time to craft a memorable story of your business, product, or service. Look for inspiration in other videos or even your favorite movies (there is a reason why Hollywood has been in business for over 100 years, right?). Write a simple script of the story you want to tell. The script will become the foundation of your video.
2. Identify your audiences: The more you know about your audiences the more your video will resonate with them. What do they like? What business language do they speak? Should you be sensitive to cultural differences or customs? What are their pain points or desires?
3. Be creative without going overboard: in the example above, the commercial was shot in one location with two actors (which proves that story is everything). Nobody wants to watch a video of you pitching your business. Engage the audience and then find a creative way to sell to them.
4. Include a “call to action” in your video: What do you want your audience to do after they watch the video? Call your 800 number? Visit your website? Subscribe to your newsletter? Purchase your product? Tell their friends? Make it clear what do you want them to do upon watching the video.
5. Quality over quantity: If your business is local or regional, don’t obsess over thousands or millions of views on your video. Instead, focus on “Engagement” (people commenting and “liking” your video) and “Conversions” (people acting upon your “call to action” after watching the video). Reaching out to the right audiences is more important than reaching the entire world.
6. Don’t infringe on copyrights: You can’t use your favorite Bruce Springsteen song or piece of copyrighted media (photograph, video, product) in your video unless you pay a lot of money (if the rights are available). The fair use doctrine does not apply to business videos (consult an attorney). Do you want to whistle the “Happy Birthday” song in your video? You are out of luck, you have to pay for the right to use it.
7. Promote, promote, promote: The only way for your video to go viral is to tell a great story and then spend a significant amount of effort promoting your video among your customers, partners, employees, and friends. Anytime, day or night. Create a YouTube channel and add links to your video in all of your social media outlets, in the home page of your website, and even add it to your email signatures. If possible, allocate money in your marketing budget to buy ads that link to your video. Promote a little bit more, and then some more!
8. Hire a professional video production company, like Identika to produce your video. It won’t be as expensive as you may think and, if you follow the steps above, you will save time and money and your video will look much better. Eventually, you will be able to produce compelling videos on your own, leaving the work to professionals for more high profile video campaigns.
Video is a new, powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. Don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage and get ready to promote your video in any language, anytime, day or night!
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