If you’re still relying primarily on print marketing, clickable ads or other forms of digital marketing for your business, you might be missing the most effective marketing tool of all: videos.
Cisco predicts that global internet traffic driven by videos will comprise 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021. “Video posts have 135 percent greater organic reach than photos,” says Rachel Cottam, Marketing Manager for ZipBooks in Utah.
Videos can be an effective way to connect with your customers in an authentic and organic way.
Don’t worry if you’ve never produced videos before, Cottam says. You don’t necessarily have to hire a product crew to create them. “Live videos, Snapchat stories and IGTV have huge audiences and are free to create,” she says.
She believes the best live videos are authentic and personal and filmed wherever you already are, whether that’s your office or your living room. You can even use the equipment you already have, such as your smartphone.
“You may not think that your viewers want to get up close and personal with your brand but 82 percent of audiences actually prefer live video to other social posts,” Cottam says.
Jessica Thiele, director of marketing for VL Omni, in Toronto, Ontario agrees, saying, “Video creation no longer comes with the traditional barriers of cost, time and skill.”
However, when it does come time to hire an external professional, she recommends, “Don’t hire the fancy production agency down the street; instead look to a skilled Millennial with digital chops who freelances.”
KNOW YOUR STRATEGY
While the pressure may be low as to how high-tech your videos have to be, Thiele urges business owners to create a strategy before embarking on video creation. Know what you aim to do, and put analytics in place to track its success.
“If you’re expecting to post your first video and have cash immediately raining from the sky, you’re likely to be unsuccessful in attaining your goals,” Thiele says.
However, if your goal is something like building an online presence via video through answering and addressing problems within your target audience, or creating how-to videos that offer useful content, you’ll be a lot more successful.
“Don’t count on being able to equate video content to revenues in a direct one-to-one relationship. Instead, dig deeper into your analytics to explore what video content performs well, and then iterate,” Cottam says.
She recommends keeping two other key things in mind: your audience and your areas of expertise. Complicated videos won’t gain you views, necessarily, and neither will highly polished videos when your audience wants to connect with someone real. Lastly, don’t try to be more knowledgeable than you are.
“Modern consumers can sniff out a phony a mile away. Don’t be that guy,” she says.
Say you’ve got the concept and the audience down, how long should your videos be?
“Absolutely minimal,” says Thiele. If you’re going to be using YouTube to upload your videos, consider that you’ve got only three to six seconds before most people are offered the opportunity to skip the ad, which they do.
For other platforms, consider making them between one and three minutes, says Megan Sherwood, Director of Client Production for The Whole Brain Group in Michigan.
“If you’re trying to cover a topic more in depth and there is a lot of interest in it, a longer video can certainly work, but if you’re planning to promote it through social media, I’d suggest a shorter video,” Sherwood says.
After length, Sherwood recommends you consider where you’ll distribute it. You could embed it in your website, on a blog, or upload it to YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia, to name a few. “Don’t forget to share on social media and consider emailing to a targeted segment of your database who may be interested,” Sherwood says.
And after you’ve uploaded it, it’s important to run analytics to determine how effective it was. “Do people view the first ten seconds but most people drop off after that point? If so, consider editing the video to grab attention at the beginning,” Sherwood suggests.
If you’re still not sure about investing in video marketing, Cottam says, “We’ve all heard the stat that the modern human has a smaller attention span than a goldfish, so do whatever you can to attract your audience within a matter of seconds.”