July 6, 2009
Everyone knows that first impressions "mean a great deal. That's why we have snappy business cards, a smooth voice at reception and sophisticated websites. A good promotional video, whether it's a DVD or on the home page of your website, is a powerful tool that can create a long-lasting positive impression. Video is a high-impact medium that lets the power and emotion of your message shine through.
People are often temped to equate promotional videos with infomercials and Ginsu knives, but that's far from the truth. Companies selling everything from professional services to accounting software now attribute a lift in sales to cutting-edge video. A one-to-three minute video on the Web site home page can turn indifference into a sale; keep in mind that over 60 percent of business purchases are validated on the Internet. If yours is a small company that wants to look big, a big company that needs to drive home its market leadership position or a one-man band that wants to come off like a corporation, video is a good way to do it. It's all in the set-up and attention to detail. If you follow the cardinal rules, you can create a sophisticated corporate video without breaking the bank and with a tremendous return on investment. Here are the top seven things to keep in mind:
1. Professionalism: Your video is an ambassador of your company. Whether it's shot in the plant or in a boardroom, it has to cast your business in the best possible light. Have a clear backdrop for your video free of clutter and pictures. Whether it's your boardroom, the shop floor or a hotel foyer rented for a few hours, choose a background consistent with the image your business is trying to portray. Quality is enhanced with a selection of camera angles, proper focus and resolution.
2. Expert Delivery: You or your lead salesperson may be able to deliver a clear, compelling pitch in front of the camera, but don't shy away from hiring a professional actor for the day. Smoothness and confidence are key. Whatever you choose to do, have your 'salesperson' speak directly at the camera as if they were having a conversation. Quality video compression is also important, for that other kind of delivery - fast loading on the web site. Make sure your video is clear and has no artifacts as this makes the video look second-rate.
3. Scripting: Don't assume that your audience has ever come into contact with your product or service before. Your video must quickly build knowledge of the product or service while layering on the benefits that your company builds in, in order of the greatest to the least. Also make sure that your tone sounds natural; Read your script out loud to colleagues and ask for feedback.
4. Sound matters: Many budget videos are shot using the built-in camera microphone. Not surprisingly, bad audio is a leading factor in high video bounce rates. Invest in good audio by purchasing a lavaliere microphone (lapel mic) and wire up four to five inches under the chin.
5. Keep it short: Promotional videos are never long - perhaps five minutes at the outside. If you are creating a Web version of the video, it should be a maximum of two and a half minutes. The shorter the better: Only 36 percent of online viewers watch videos longer than two minutes. Training videos are another animal completely and range up to half an hour per topic.
6. Choosing a name: Even if you are writing about your video online, a keyword-laden title can boost your ranking on Google and other search engines. To find what name works best, go to the Google keyword tool (www.adwords.google.ca) and paste in the Web address (URL) of a product page. The tool will browse the content of that page and suggest the best keywords for the title and video description in order to gain more viewers.
7. Clear call to action: Don't leave them hanging. Let prospective buyers know what to do next: Pick up the phone, click here to buy, to e-mail, etc. The marketing dollars you spend has to translate into new business, no two ways about it. Tim Hagen, a partner in eMotionPictureStudios, a company in Burlington, Ontario, which provides an array of Internet marketing and training services, is a certified trainer for Apple and a video compression specialist. He can be reached by calling 905-631-5899.