Marketing Videos: The Importance of a Call to Action

The script is just right, the set looks great, and the actors are ready to go. But something’s missing and you can’t quite put your finger on it. As you shoot your marketing video, you begin to relax as the actors and the video crew do their jobs spectacularly. Looking over the director’s shoulder, you see that the close up shots of your product are fabulous. The video’s going to be a smashing success!

However, when the marketing video goes live, nothing happens. Your phones don’t start ringing off the hook as expected and orders come in at a trickle at best. That nagging feeling you had on the set was real, and it was right. Something’s missing – something important and all too easy to overlook: the call to action.

A call to action can be as simple as putting a toll free phone number or website address on the screen. It can be as easy as having the talent say, “Take a short survey and tell us what you think” or “Order by midnight tonight and receive free shipping.”

While your audience may be sophisticated and understand without prompting that your product is great, without a call to action, your viewers may simply do nothing. Using a simple call to action, not only can you prompt viewers to act, you can prompt them to do exactly what you want them to do! With just a few simple words, you can direct the entire viewing audience of your marketing videos to: sign up for a newsletter, order a product, try a free demo, download a whitepaper or information sheet, or tell a friend about your service.

Here’s a simple video marketing formula:

  • Present a problem or need
  • Position your product or service as the solution
  • Discuss the benefits of your product or service (in other words, how will viewers benefit personally?)
  • Tell viewers what you want them to do (call to action)

No matter what form your marketing video script takes, these four factors progressively lead your viewers to take a specific action. If the problem doesn’t resonate, if the product or service doesn’t solve the problem, if the benefits aren’t great enough, and if there’s no clear call to action, your marketing video will fall flat no matter how nice the set looks and how well the actors performed.

Before you tackle your next marketing video, pay attention to the marketing campaigns you encounter. Can you identify the problem? Solution? Benefits? Call to action? Which campaigns compelled you to do something? Which ones didn’t? Can you spot any that lack a call to action? Get in the habit of critiquing other marketing videos based on these factors and you’ll be less likely to overlook the ever important call to action on your own videos, blogs, and websites.

Have you ever seen an ad that left out a call to action? Share your experiences and thoughts below:

Website Video Spokesperson: More than Just a Pretty Face

spokespeopleThere’s more to a website video spokesperson than meets the eye. While you’ll likely want to choose an attractive virtual spokesperson for your website, other considerations exist. In addition to choosing a professional actor to play the role of Web video spokesperson, the video itself must be produced so that the final product looks and sounds as professional as possible.

What is a website video spokesperson? A website video spokesperson serves as a virtual spokesperson who greets visitors when they land on your website. These pre-recorded videos can either play automatically or when the user clicks on them. Using green screen technology, the image of the Web video spokesperson plays on top of the website.

Because your website video spokesperson serves as the face of your website, it’s important to choose a professional actor. In some cases, it makes sense for the head of the company to serve as a virtual spokesperson. If you will be playing this role yourself, make sure that you’re comfortable speaking in front of a camera. Your video production company can help you with the script and provide you with some basic coaching. In both cases, your Web video spokesperson must be able to:

  • Look and play the part
  • Memorize a script or read off of a teleprompter
  • Deliver lines as directed
  • Speak clearly

In addition to the abilities of the person playing the role of website video spokesperson, it’s also important that the behind-the-scenes team is skilled at virtual spokesperson production. For example, what will your virtual spokesperson say? The script should be developed in conjunction with your Web content so that the Web video spokesperson guides visitors through a sales process.

In addition, the video production company will need to shoot the Web video spokesperson in a studio with a green screen so that only the virtual spokesperson appears on the website. Camera operators will also need to frame the shot appropriately as well. The director will work closely with you to determine the best camera angles based on your website design and the ultimate placement of the website video spokesperson. For example, if your website has blank vertical sidebars, it may make sense to have your Web video spokesperson appear in one of the sidebars in full length. Similarly, if you want the website video spokesperson to walk onto the screen, your director will need to frame the shot appropriately.

Broadcast quality production values are a must at all stages of the production including sound quality. When you choose a professional video production company to produce the virtual spokesperson video, you’re usually getting an entire team of video professionals committed to making sure that the Web video spokesperson looks and sounds good.

Once the footage of the website video spokesperson has been shot and edited, the next step involves putting the virtual spokesperson on the website. You will need to make several decisions such as which video player to use and whether or not the Web video spokesperson should begin speaking automatically.

Clearly, putting a website video spokesperson on your website is a process that involves making the right decisions. Not only will you need a person to play the role of virtual spokesperson, that person must be a skilled speaker. Your Web video spokesperson will need a compelling script to follow and a video production team working behind the scenes to produce broadcast quality video.

While a website video spokesperson may indeed have a pretty face, make sure all of the other pieces are in place. What do you think is a must for any website video spokesperson? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Online Video Marketing: Strategies for Getting Seen

watching online videoOnline video marketing is a complex process involving far more than the actual production of the promotional video. Not only must you plan, produce, and polish your video, you need solid Internet video marketing strategies to ensure that your message is seen, heard, and ready to deliver results. Put the following two strategies to work and make sure your promotional video finds its audience.

Online Video Marketing Strategy #1 – Optimize
One of the reasons that Internet video marketing has become increasingly popular is because an optimized promotional video can rank well on Google for competitive keywords. While a page loaded with informative content may struggle to rank well due to extreme competition, a page featuring a promotional video could appear on the first page of Google in the video listings section because there’s less competition.

However, this doesn’t happen by accident. On-page online video marketing requires that you “optimize” certain elements so that Google can understand that your promotional video is relevant for a given keyword phrase. Just as you use keywords and alt tags in traditional Internet marketing pages, you need to do the same with Internet video marketing pages. Optimizations steps include:

  • Giving your promotional video file a descriptive filename containing your keyword phrase
  • Giving your video a keyword-rich title
  • Using alt text to describe the promotional video, again using your keyword phrase
  • Including supporting text on the page, optimized with the same keyword phrase

Online Video Marketing Strategy #2 – Socialize
Social media has changed the way many people use the Internet, and successful Internet video marketing campaigns address this. In the past, searchers came to your website after conducting a search, following a link, or entering your URL; Today’s users are spending more time on Facebook and other social media sites interacting with a stream of content that they’ve previously subscribed to. Your promotional video has the potential to be pushed to users – if you get social with your online video marketing efforts.

With a subtle push, your Internet video marketing campaign could get in front of a much larger audience than if you simply posted your promotional video on your site and waited for users to find you.

How does social online video marketing work? It starts by encouraging sharing. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, an important Internet video marketing step to take involves putting a “like” button alongside your promotional video. Below are several easy steps that encourage sharing:

  • Include a “Like” button next to your promotional video. Facebook has a special “developers” section where you can grab the code to generate this button.
  • Include other social sharing buttons – Numerous plugins are available that automatically place a variety of social bookmarking buttons below your posts.
  • Make sure that your video has an embed code so users can embed it on their own sites and blogs.

While including sharing buttons and embed codes is good, your Internet video marketing should go further. For example, did you know that if a Facebook user likes, shares, or comments on a video, that original Facebook user’s friends can see the conversation? If a Facebook user watches your promotional video and makes a comment about it via Facebook, then that user’s friends will see the comment and may be inspired to watch the video. By encouraging comments, your online video marketing campaign can reach vast networks and sub-networks of viewers.

Optimize and socialize and your next online video marketing campaign is sure to find its audience! What do you think? Which online video marketing strategies work well for you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Purple Lips and Fuzzy Neckties: What to Avoid When Appearing in Marketing Videos

You’ve been asked to appear in a marketing videoand love the thought of being a star for the day. Unlike a Hollywood set, it’s doubtful that you’ll have a team of makeup artists and costume designers dedicated to ensuring that you look your best on camera. In fact, you’ll likely be responsible for selecting the wardrobe and applying your own makeup. Make the right choices and you’ll look great; make the wrong ones and you may end up with purple lips or a shirt that confuses the camera lens.

Because of the way cameras handle reds, it’s smart to avoid red colors. For example, your red lipstick could appear purple on camera! Similarly, red colors can “bloom” on camera, making you appear as if you’re on fire. While modern camera equipment has become more capable of handling reds, it’s smart to avoid this color if possible. Other colors to avoid are black and white.

While you’d never dream of wearing a fuzzy necktie or scarf in real life, the camera can wreak havoc on patterned fabric. Your beautifully patterned necktie or scarf could take on a life of its own on camera, appearing “fuzzy” or causing a distracting flicker. Choose solid fabrics whenever possible. If you must go with a patterned fabric, avoid fine prints. This doesn’t mean you should opt for large patterns or geometric prints as these can be just as distracting visually.

When choosing jewelry, pay close attention to two important aspects: shine and noise. Shiny jewelry will reflect light and appear flashy on camera, causing a visual distraction. Noisy jewelry will clank as you move, again causing a distraction. Even worse, the sound equipment will amplify that noise.

As you go through your wardrobe in search of a suitable outfit in camera-friendly fabrics, try on at least three or four different outfits and evaluate them in terms of comfort and appearance. Does the outfit look nice when standing? How about when you’re seated? Have a friend take photos of you wearing each outfit in both sitting and standing poses. For example, if you’re wearing slacks, the photos may reveal that you need to wear longer socks.

While you’re at it, consider where you’ll clip on the microphone. Lapel microphones can be unobtrusively clipped on neckties, lapels, and on button-down shirts. The wires can also be routed underneath some shirts and blouses. However, high-necked blouses and dresses without a vest or jacket are more challenging.

Both men and women can benefit by wearing special makeup designed for high definition video cameras. Not only can this makeup help you look good on camera, it can reduce glare from the lights.

After you’ve assembled the perfect wardrobe for your marketing video, spend some time speaking in front of a camera. Not only do you want to become more comfortable in front of a camera, the recordings may show you areas to work on. Pay close attention to your hand gestures and any inadvertent mannerisms such as fiddling with your hair or touching your face.

Making the right wardrobe choices is essential before appearing in a marketing video. Choose wisely and you’ll look great on camera. Take a haphazard approach and you may be dismayed at your unflattering appearance.

What Video Quality Says About Your Product, Service, and Brand

You’ve spent years carefully developing your product and your image. Your product is perfect, the marketing materials are brilliant, the website is gorgeous, but your marketing video looks like you handed your forklift driver a Flip camera and set him loose. While your forklift driver may be handy with a video camera and have a creative streak, communicating a quality image with your potential customers requires as much care as your product’s development.

Video production values speak volumes about your product, service, and brand. Shaky camera work, boring segments, inaudible audio, and other undesirable factors relay a not-so-subtle message to your viewers. It’s a message about quality and since the quality is poor, it’s a message that says that you don’t care about quality.

Is that the message you want to send to your customers?

Unfortunately, in the digital age of YouTube and viral online videos, production values have taken a back seat to the immediate gratification of a few laughs. This doesn’t mean that poor quality videos have become a viable replacement for marketing videos. Video production values matter as much now as they ever did. Consumers are willing to watch amateur videos if the payoff is good enough. However, today’s television viewers are used to Hollywood effects, high definition video, crisp soundtracks, and realistic, fast-paced dialogue. If you’re going to develop a marketing video lacking a well-framed, crystal clear image and audible, easy-to-understand dialogue, your marketing message will be drowned out by the message the video screams out about quality.

Video Production Values – What are they?

Just as your company newsletter conforms to a set of predefined guidelines, so too do marketing videos. With your newsletter, you expect an attractive layout, a nice use of white space, well written and error-free text, and interesting content. You wouldn’t tolerate blank columns or pages, blurry photos, smudged ink, or ripped pages. With a video production, you expect a properly framed shot, clear focus, clear audio, attractive talent, and interesting content. You wouldn’t tolerate blurry images, a lack of audio, shaky cameras, unlit subjects, or “dead air.”

There’s more involved to video production values than these examples. For example, the quality of the camera, lighting, stage direction, set, editing, and other factors all work together to create a video with strong production values.

A marketing video with strong production values actually downplays those values because they’re expected while one with weak production values draws attention to itself. If you find yourself struggling to see a product or image, straining to hear, or simply bored out of your mind while the onscreen talent babbles nonsense, you can bet that video needs work. If you find yourself questioning the quality or credibility of a product, service, brand, or company, the marketing video likely lacks one or more production values.

Excellent video quality is a must; it shows you value quality. A lack of it shows the opposite. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.