Using video in the past was in the realm of specialist crews and production companies. Because of current simple everyday technology, easy-to-use software and the internet, online marketing videos are fast becoming an effective way for businesses to better connect with their audiences, and given 69 percent of internet traffic is predicted to be video content by 2017 (Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013-2018), it’s something marketers should be considering to add to the mix.
Using video helps bring a brand to life by communicating key messages and campaigns in a highly visual and lineal format. This makes it an effective way to convey a message or idea in a simple way that is easy to understand, digest and share.
And this ‘sharability’ is a key benefit for businesses. Videos can be reused repeatedly across businesses: on a website, in e-newsletters, showcased to new business targets, pushed out through social media and presented during events. And the nature of video means that users can also share content with each other, creating a viral effect that can increase your reach for free.
Video can be a great way to tell a story in a simple way, helping cut through the marketing noise but with the opportunity to share it virally. It is fundamental to get the message and engagement right. The best marketing videos will engage the viewer and elicit the desired feeling or response.
One of the best examples of effective online video is the Victorian Metro Trains safety message to engage a younger demographic. The Dumb Ways to Die video uses a catchy script and tune with simple animation; it creatively captured the attention of its audience and successfully spread the message through a massive word of mouth response that to date has received over 85 million views on YouTube.
However, to get it right, businesses must understand that for a video to be truly successful and engaging, they must start by thinking about what they want to say to who, and what they want their audience to do before creating the content. The trick is in balancing the brand message with an idea that is interesting for the target audience.
There are several things to consider if you want to get the most out of an online video.
How to tell your story succinctly
People online are unlikely to watch lengthy videos. Ideally videos should be no longer than a minute. Because of this limited time it is important you focus on defining key messages – the “what” you want to say – and using this as the platform for creating an engaging “idea” that helps tell the story. It makes it easier if you separate the objective of your communication from the idea and use this to create a narrative you want to tell. For example, the idea for ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ comes from the objective – to draw attention to people taking risks with trains. Dumb Ways to Die becomes the narrative that illustrates the objective.
Using this key information point makes up the ‘platform’ for communication. A truly compelling video seeking to get cut through and shared uptake should communicate this concept in an engaging way, so best to avoid simply talking about a product or service. The creative direction, the script, voice overs, the look, the feel, any music or sound effects, font, design and colours are all factors that contribute to the kind of emotion that will be sparked amongst viewers and must be in line with the message and the idea.
Charles Stuart University, for example, created a short video piece as part of their marketing campaign to attract new students. The video captured the essence of what the university stands for: better outcomes through partnership – using curiosity as the idea that carries the narrative. The word ‘curiosity’ encapsulates everything about university life at CSU: curiosity about what you could learn, where your qualifications might lead and what you can really achieve given the chance.
The video takes the audience on a journey into the possibilities of studying with CSU.
Financial services information firm, Veda, also uses marketing videos to help explain complex concepts in a simple way. When Veda launched its marketing services brand Inivio, they used video to succinctly and creatively explain their vision and point of difference in the market.
The video is fun and quirky, while still portraying the benefits Inivio can provide businesses. The music and narration is also emotive, aiming to stimulate emotion amongst viewers.
Production Costs and Standards
Many businesses are discouraged by the perceived high costs of making videos. Cost needn’t be a restriction however.
Production costs have fallen significantly and you no longer have to be technologically savvy to create a video. In fact, some organisations have created videos using nothing more than an iPhone.
In 2009 Queensland Tourism ran the “Best Job in the World” campaign – advertising for job applicants to submit online video applications. The approach allowed users to generate and showcase their own content while at the same time tapping into the power of social media sharing, which in turn drew worldwide attention to Queensland.
The approach can easily be extended to other industries. For example, food services companies could easily showcase their product via the use of video by creating YouTube channels that allows consumers to upload them.
How to Maximise the Value You Get From the Video
The true value from videos comes from their multiple potential uses. A well-produced video will focus on connecting the brand to the communication of the product or service benefit. To maximise a business’s online marketing video investment, the marketing team should aim to showcase and distribute the video in a variety of ways.
The company’s website is a natural starting point. Ensure the video can be easily seen by placing it somewhere obvious like the home page. It’s also a good idea to provide written content around the video to deliver context as to why the video has been produced.
Link to videos via e-newsletters. Send the video to existing customers, new business targets and also internal staff members to ensure they are aware of the video and so they can also spread the word externally.
Even showcase the video during events, whether it is part of a presentation or simply playing in the background or on an attendee app. A video can make a presentation much more visually appealing and can attract attendees’ attention.
Good online videos are also great for social media. Posting a video on an organisation’s Facebook page, on YouTube, Twitter, blog, or on LinkedIn can inspire conversation with your target audience. Make sure appropriate keywords are included as tags to maximise Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
For some strong, high-level, corporate-type videos, playing them in your office’s reception can be a great welcome for visitors.
An online marketing video will be most effective when used as part of an organisation’s marketing and pipeline development plan.
Online videos are undoubtedly part of the future of marketing. There are benefits for businesses wanting to succinctly communicate their brand to target audiences. For a video to be effective and worth the investment, it’s important to keep videos short, communicate the brand’s essence, and ensure the music, font, design and colours are all in line with the brand. Production is also an important consideration. A video doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to catch the viewer’s eye. Finally, make sure your video is used as much as possible, remembering that repetition via different media is the key.