In over 30 years of marketing and over 15 years of running my own business nothing can beat the transformational power of video - especially for a small business.
I often speak to business audiences about how to use video to GROW your business, and I want to give you an idea of the sorts of things I talk about.
So here, with all the dogmatism of brevity, are xx of the things I've learned that my audiences find useful...
The Video Advantage
Planning Is Everything
It's About Business, Not Art
Don't Be Fooled
What Do You Really Need?
The Message And The Method
You're Fine Just As You Are.
Preparation Makes It easy
- If it's not planned, it won't work. Video is a powerful tool - but if you shoot from the hip you'll miss. You must take the time to get clear on what you want to achieve, with what people and in what timescale.
- It's not Hollywood. There are lots of wannabe film directors out there who know nothing about marketing. Don't get swept away by artistic sensibilities - they will cost you a fortune and won't work as marketing. Business video is a tool of your trade, not an artistic masterwork. Choose carefully.
- It's not that easy. There also lots of blokes with cameras out there who think they can shoot video 'well enough'. They don't know anything about marketing either. Your customers expect better. Choose carefully.
- It's not that difficult either. You can easily learn to create rock-solid video for yourself. For some kinds of video the responsiveness and low cost of doing it yourself makes sense. But do it properly - your customers expect that of you.
- Get real about your budget. Used properly, video can drive your sales like nothing else. So work out how much increase in sales you expect and invest accordingly. You don't have to spend a fortune but don't do it on the cheap.
This is the text for Stickie 1.
This is part 2
I'm passionate about helping people to feel comfortable with new technology. If creating video seems like a huge step for you then come to one of my speaking appearances and discover how you can get started easily.
- If you're doing it yourself, buy reasonable kit so you can do a good job with the minimum of fuss. And if at all possible, find a way of leaving everything set up permanently so it's always ready to go. If your camera is in a drawer and you have to assemble even a single light you'll find something else to do and your video will never happen.
- Don't be fooled by big expensive cameras - whether your hiring someone or buying one. Ordinary domestic cameras can shoot cinema-quality video these days. Even your iPhone can. So don't pay for technology you don't need.
- Good audio is crucial. The stats show that people will turn off a great looking video if the sound is poor, but stay with a poor-looking video if the sound is good.
- You don't have to be George Clooney or Julia Roberts. Your customers want to see you as you are. No need to hire actors, or worry that your face might be better for radio.
- Nobody is doing it. Look at your competitors' web sites: very few are using video and those that are are doing it badly.
- Software matters. iMovie and MovieMaker are great as far as they go, but they are as limited as you would expect freeware to be. You're serious about your business so invest a little in software that is designed to do the job quickly and professionally. You'll save yourself a huge amount of time and frustration.
- If someone tells you a video should never be more that two minutes long, don't believe them. There are no rules. It should be as long as it needs to be and no longer. And certainly no shorter. Sometimes 30 seconds is plenty. Sometimes an hour. Plan, and test - don't assume. And don't believe the bloke in the pub.
- Take time with your script. With video you have the opportunity to craft a very focused message. Give it the time it deserves.
- Some things don't need scripting. It's fine to do stuff off-the-cuff, but to do it well takes practice.
- Where you need a focused message, use a script, and edit hard.
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
- If you're camera-shy, set your camera up on your desk, pointing at you. And then talk to it, even though it's turned off. You'll soon get used to the lens pointing at you.
- The reason why you might hate seeing yourself on film is probably because you are seeing yourself the right way round. In the mirror your face is reversed and that's what you're used to seeing. The face you see on film is the one the rest of us have to put up with.
- Beware of over-compromising. Your iPhone is perfect for some things - but not for everything. Choose the appropriate kit for the job (but there's no need to go overboard).
- It's no use if it's not seen by anyone. So plan your campaign for outreach as well as production.
- Host your website video somewhere sensible. Some platforms just don't look businesslike and that can damage your credibility. YouTube is fantastic for some things, but not that.
- Pace! Keep it up. Stay energised, edit hard and don't cut corners. Laziness here will drive your viewers away.
- You absolutely must give good content. People won't watch you for the sake of it - they want what you've got and if you don't give it to them you can wave them goodbye.