How Do I Make Video Work for My Marketing Program?

In a business context, video is becoming one of the most effective ways for companies to engage, inspire, educate and connect more effectively with customers. However, few companies leverage the power of video to its full extent, and in today’s digital age, video is becoming almost as easy to create as PowerPoint presentations. According to a Cisco Visual Networking Index forecast, video will account for nearly 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2017, up from 59 percent in 2012. Given this statistic, it is no surprise that most of us have something to learn if we are going to create videos that grab attention and inspire viewers to act. To reach our most important audiences, including current and potential customers, video for business should include content relevant for the viewer, the right timing and pace, and it must be measurable. Above all, it must communicate how your products or services help solve a real problem for viewers. Remember, they’re watching to find solutions.

Personal: Know Your Audience

The first and most essential element of a successful business video is an understanding of the target audience. For viewers to press play and then keep watching a video, we need to know what problems the video will help solve. The better you as the creator understand how your products and services help viewers get “unstuck,” the more effective you’ll be at keeping their attention and creating preference for your wares.

An important consideration when making content personally relevant is the structure and style of your script. What kind of approach should you take? Is it humor? Does it include jazz or blues music?  Should you invest in speakers with British accents or someone a little off-beat? The answer to that question is all of the above, if it will inspire viewers. Use whatever works for your audience and is consistent with your company’s brand personality. One structure most often used, and one that almost always fails? – “This is my widget. Let me tell you all of the attributes I built into it that make it superior.” On the other hand, a structure that almost always works well approaches content from the viewer’s perspective – “Here’s problem XYZ. Here’s how we solved the problem and how you can too.”

Make Sure the Video Length Hits in the “Sweet Spot”

Did you know that the average attention span of an adult is 2.8 seconds? On the Internet, attention spans are about half that. This is why it’s essential to know your audience and grab the viewer within the first few seconds. I think we can blame attention span a little bit, but the ‘sweet spot’ is that a video should only be as long as it needs to be. Cut the fat out, make sure it’s stays highly focused. Each piece should be helping to tell the ‘story’ and moving the viewer forward to resolution. TechSmith recently did some research on viewers – we found that depending on the type of content, some viewers will watch longer videos. For entertainment videos, you have about 60 seconds. For informational videos you have three to four minutes. For instructional videos, as long as eight minutes.

Cut Once, Measure Twice

How do you know if your video is bearing the fruit that you hoped? Web analytics lets you know more than which videos are driving traffic to your site. Many analytics services can dig deeper to understand how viewers are interacting with content and what actions are being taken, if any. Google Analytics, Salesforce and Optimizely are just a few that can get you started. While some options are free, others come at a reasonable cost and provide insights like where people stop watching, which sections are most effective at eliciting response, and when people choose to share a video on social networks. All valuable information for improving your future videos.

The paradox of video’s success is that consumers are becoming more selective about what they watch, making it paramount for companies to understand the nuances of video creation in order to get it right. It’s important for all of us who are moving toward video as a marketing tool to create content that is personable, to the point and measurable. Making video doesn’t have to be hard and there are many instructional tools available to ensure success. Bottom line is, if businesses are not using video or using it incorrectly, they are losing out. So what are you waiting for?

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