How to Generate Sales Leads with Video

sales, handshake

Investing in video may or may not be a difficult decision. Some think of video as a tool in a larger process to help prospects work their way to a purchase. Others think of video as a line item expense that must have a return on the investment. Both are technically correct, but which one you are can determine if you view video as a good thing or simply an expense (therefore a waste of time and money). In this post, we’ll consider both and how to use video to generate sales leads.

Video as a Tool

If you view video as a tool, you’re probably one step ahead of your competition already. You know that it is necessary to make a solid connection with your prospect and may even know how to use video to guide them through the process. While you might still consider video production a line item on the P&L, you also recognize there isn’t always a direct correlation between watching a video and making a purchase, except in certain circumstances. For example, product videos on product pages have been tested and found to have a strong correlation to purchase intent and making a purchase (source: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/EJM-11-2016-0619/full/html). Those who believe video is a tool in a greater process of marketing also understand that it is more difficult to measure the impact of a video advertisement when use as a YouTube ad or on broadcast television. It’s difficult because the viewer can’t be directly tracked when they call (except by some savvy video marketers who do it right by using specific phone numbers in their videos, etc.). What video does is reinforces the several other tools being used to get a potential buyer to heed a call to action and make the call.

Video as an Expense

On the other hand, if you believe that video is simply an expense and must have an ROI, you feel like every dollar spent must retrieve a multiple in return. This is a great way to ensure success, but it can also be a difficult way to grow a business. When we grew as a company, we knew we had to invest in some high-quality equipment. We borrowed a little money and invested it into a high-quality 4K camera and other equipment. While this was difficult to do at the time and it showed no direct return on investment; however, it has provided us with high-quality footage that helps us stand apart from our competitor…thus nudging the prospect one step closer to giving us a call. Is there a direct correlation? No, but that camera has made Plum successful and allowed us to grow. This is something that is difficult to measure. The same goes with video content.

How to Use Video to Generate Sales Leads

The ultimate goal of generating sales leads is obtaining contact information (such as an email address), bringing a buyer to a landing page, and bringing the prospect to the sales team. While you can achieve this via text-based pages, the conversion rate may not be as high as a highly interactive or engaging lead generation process. By creating video, you will begin the prospect on a journey to discovering their needs and ultimately giving you (or someone else) a call. The next question might be, “What video do I need to create?” Whether it’s a YouTube video, a video for your website, or a video series, it must be interactive. Let’s explore the types of video you should consider for your business. Below are the types of issues you might be trying to resolve along with the type of video that will help you illustrate that you can solve it.

Trust and Confidence. Typically, people or businesses trying to build trust and confidence are the professional services field. These individuals are trying to illustrate how they can achieve goals for their clients and want to do so with a high level of authenticity. Videos that can capture the individual’s genuine personality are videos like Testimonial, About Us, and Meet Me videos. These videos usually include the person or people involved in the process achieving the client’s goals. They introduce the viewer to the people involved, explain what they bring to the job that’s special, highlight experience and credentials, and include personal details to help the viewer feel comfortable and connected.

Establishing Credibility. If you’re trying to accomplish this, you’ll want to explain why you’re covering the topic, talk to the viewer, and leave them wanting more. This type of video is typically a case study video, explainer video, product demo video, or advice video blog.

Product Explanation. A product or service that is a little more complex and requires some more detail typically needs a product demonstration video. These videos typically explain why the product exists, highlight specific components of the product, and show the end result or effectiveness of the product. These videos can be highly effective the more complex the product or service.

Recruitment. If you’re trying to recruit more and better talent to the organization, you might try a Culture video or a Position Profile video. A culture video will provide the viewer with a strong sense of what it’s like to work at the company. The position profile video is like combining a job description and job posting while showing some of the important elements of the job. Be very explicit that you are hiring and be sure to include specific details about benefits. Most of all, make it fun! Lastly, these get the best results when shared via social networks and social media. You might even be able to create this using some existing video you already have!

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us! We’d be happy to answer any questions!

Best Video Production Trends That Will Carry Into 2020

YouTube icon on iPad

Video has made a huge impact in the marketing world. In fact, video is oftentimes mentioned as one of the fastest growing categories in marketing. Many say that video is growing at an incredible rate and the number of hours being watch is astounding. We take issue with some of this. We take issue that video is growing so fast. We concede that video is growing rapidly, but we also believe companies like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon are driving the viewership and hours watched. When it comes to productive business video and video marketing, the number of hours has increased, but we don’t believe it’s as quickly as the overall video world. There are several components that drive video interactivity, and that’s what business owners want. Getting people to watch the video is one thing, getting people to act is another. In this post, we’ll share with you the top 4 Video Trends that any business should be keenly aware of before 2020.

If you asked what some of the video trends would be two years ago, you would have heard stuff like 3D video or 360-degree video or Virtual Reality video. All those types of videos have a place, but they certainly weren’t the trend for the year 2018, 2019, and probably won’t be for 2020. If you want to be on the cutting edge of trends related to video, you can get very experimental, but it’ll be tough to get a high (or mediocre) return on that investment. That starts by understanding what is important when measuring ROI. Is it search results on any one of the search engines? Or is it calls or orders? Whether the business is a product or service business, it doesn’t matter…video content can help. By varying the marketing campaign slightly, one can get slightly different results. The key is to have some online video because there is online activity happening 24 hours a day.

Marketing agencies will push you to build the brand according to the marketing strategy…and this is critical and why stuff like 3D video or 360-degree video is just hype and cool stuff…but not necessarily for you. That type of video typically needs a lot of planning, a larger budget and more time to get the perfect video. The issue at hand is on the consumption side of the equation. How do people view a 3D video if they don’t have a 3D television? Or how does one view a Virtual Reality video if they don’t have the headset? That’s why we don’t think it’s the right tool for most businesses.

The reality is people are using all kinds of methods to access answers to their questions, including voice search and artificial intelligence. Most digital marketing agencies will tell you that you must have all the bases covered by having digital pieces that support stuff like voice search and the like. For a small business, a medium sized business or a large business, it’s tough to know how to exactly create brand awareness or to have a budget for stuff you don’t know will be worth the investment until much later. More so, even the largest of companies that invest in these types of videos are finding that it’s tough to measure whether it’s worth the work and the investment. Typically, they’ll use one of those videos to get some chatter or shares online. Does that convert to new sales? Probably not.

What are the best video trends to follow for success?

With the above in mind, what are the marketing trends and the video trends that will provide the best results to the most amount of businesses? Here’s our list:

Explainer Videos. This may seem to be elementary and unexpected when talking about trends, the explainer video does several things for the business. It provides transparency for the viewer that helps them feel a level of comfort to take action. Businesses that provide a level of frankness in their messaging can provide a disarming feeling and a sense of integrity. For example, in this video below, the viewer gets a sense that the company can deliver what it promises with it’s Primula cold brew coffee carafe. Want one after you’ve watched this video? Click the link!

 

Bite-Sized Videos. Our potential clients typically ask us how long their video should be and then blurt out that they think it should be short. While that may be the case, it’s not always the case. Sometimes longer videos are better. For example, a long video might be helpful when its answering a question, explaining something complex, or providing better insights into who or what something is. Think of these types of videos as a silent level of customer service. But, shorter video can be highly effective when used appropriately. We find shorter videos are more productive when used in marketing materials and social media. No one wants to watch a long video that sells to the viewer; therefore, keep a sales message video a little shorter than you think. Below, this video is shorter (relatively speaking) but allows the viewer enough time to understand how and what the product is and does.

 

Product Videos. Product videos will most likely never go out of style. These videos help the viewer understand what the product does and how it solves a problem without having to purchase it. Once the viewer understands, they can make a will informed decision to purchase it. We’ve heard from many sources (such as from Impact Learning Center & HubSpot’s Importance of Product Videos for E-Commerce, and there’s more) that video increases product conversion to sales by an incredible amount. This happens because of the educational and informational way that product videos will present the product.

Story Videos/TV Style Videos. This type of video is one that feels like a television show and not a sales tool. For business, the three videos above are important, but they also are very promotional in nature. That can be good and can create results, but sometimes at the cost of irritating the viewer because they must sit through the promotional nature of the video. A trend we’re noticing with our clients is the acceptance of slightly longer videos that tell a story. For example, the video below shows the viewer what is about to happen and the challenges they may face. It provides a little conflict to the story. Then, we do a mid-point check in. This allows the viewer to see the project complexity and the challenges first hand. Ever wonder what your contractor would be doing during your project? This gives a glimpse into the construction world and what a high-quality construction contractor would be doing. Finally, the reveal. Here’s what the contractor did to complete project and how the project turned out. Obviously, the concept showed how the complexity was overcome by the competent team. This company was able to boast and show how they completed a difficult task. Who would you call after viewing this if you were a restaurant?

 

Another example of this type of video is the ChairSpeaker video. This video shows (in a slightly comical and relatable way) how those who have lost their hearing often times feel left out of conversations when they try to watch television with a headset that helps them hear. The ChairSpeaker solves this problem by providing a product that helps the hearing impaired stay engaged in conversation while still being able to watch and listen to television (just like everyone else).

 

SEO Videos. SEO videos are used to help improve search engine optimization while answering questions the viewer wants to know. These videos are typically topical in nature and typically answer a question that someone has typed into Google or Bing. For example, this attorney answers why Uninsured Motorist insurance is important to anyone who owns a car and drives on the roadway. The purpose of the video is to answer the question and to serve as an indicator to Google what their website is all about. We also might recommend doing some additional live videos with a mobile phone and answering questions with viewers on Facebook or YouTube. This serves the same purpose, only on those social media sites. Google and the like love content. Anytime a business website can provide more content it gets rewarded.

While this may sound like a boring list and one that doesn’t include the coolest, latest and greatest technology, it does include video options that will create a return on your investment (if used properly). One of the biggest changes we are seeing in the industry is the use of videos that feel like a television show and not a sales tool. This is nothing new, but we’re seeing it used more and more… and we think that’s a good thing. It requires a little more flexibility and planning, but if done correctly, it can provide the viewer with an experience that is much different than the typical sales piece. We will always go back to the point of how it is used. One of the ways we recommend using that type of video is prior to the call. Let the prospect find the video and understand who you are in a different light; thus connecting with your purpose and style before the call. This goes a long way to create an emotional bond prior to making the phone call.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss some possible video ideas for you and your business, give us a call or drop us a line via our contact us form. We’d love to find a creative way to make your business stand out from your competitors and get more business!

How to Convert Shoppers to Buyers Using Video

ChairSpeaker image

In this article, we’ll discuss how you might change, “I’m just looking” to “I’ll buy it!” We’ll talk about whether video does convert to higher sales or not, types of videos you might consider creating for products, and some of the strategies you might want to consider before starting. (An approximately 6 minute read)

Imagine you’re selling your product or service on your website. The visitor wants to buy, but instead decides to abandon the cart, leaving you without a sale. Why did they abandon the sale and what could have converted them to buy? These are questions every marketer will ponder at one time or another. There are several factors that can affect whether a potential buyer becomes a buyer, and one of which may be video.

Several of our clients have told us that the conversion rate of products they are selling on their website or on other retailing sites (like Amazon.com, etc.) have a significant increase in sales if the product listing includes a video. They have also shared with us that when an online video is watched at the point of potential purchase, the odds of a sale increase dramatically. They tell us that visitors who watch product videos are more educated and better informed about the product so they can be a more informed buyer.

If you sell products, you might wonder what type of video will help increase your odds of a buy at the point of purchase. Let’s discuss a few video options that may be useful in increasing conversion rates. These types of video can work if used by a small business or big business, and anything in between.

  • How It’s Made. People want to know how something is made, and more importantly, they love to watch it happen. How many times have you been intrigued by a video illustrating the manufacturing process?
  • Durability Test Video. This type of video shows the consumer how well a product will stand up to abuse over time. This might be a good one to place on your product page to increase purchases, particularly with those buyers who are concerned about whether the product is sturdy enough for them.
  • Location Tour. This type of video will incorporate the product in a space that it would be expected to be found. For example, a door manufacturing company like Dayoris Doors might want to create a video that shows design elements that fit into a specific type of room. By showing the fashionable side of the product, buyers are more likely to make a high-end purchase.
  • How to. Some products simply need some instruction. Whether it’s a how to assemble, how to use, or how to wash/maintain/store…the list goes on. These types of videos can apply to single products, multiple products, or entire product lines.
  • Competing Products. If you ever want to show how one product compares to another, this might be a good way to do it. Just make sure you’re following the legal protocol before you make too many claims.
  • The Reveal. Some products warrant a reveal video…like technology products or fashion products. Imagine your business fans wanting to know more about an upcoming product line that you’re about to release. Now might be a good time to create and post a Reveal Video.

Whichever video you choose, make sure people are watching a video that you have created and tells the viewer what you want them to learn and know. Video Marketing is a powerful tool to use when moving product, and many business owners have told us that they’ve been happy with the effects of video on product sales.

Once you’ve identified what type of video you’d like to create, you might want to consider the video strategy you want to use to convert visitors into buyers with your video. Video can potential buyers to paying buyers by using a few strategies.

You have seconds to get the viewer engaged and interested. Once they’ve passed that point, they will either finish the video or make a decision to leave it.

You want to make sure you’re in the crowd that keeps the viewer engaged. There are few things to consider when creating engaging video. First, how ‘salesy’ do you want your video to be? That was a trick question. If you’re looking to have engaging content, ‘salesy’ is not the way to go. People do not want to be sold to, they want to be educated and guided to the right decision (whether that’s to buy or decide not to buy). You might also be surprised that sales videos typically need to be short to get the point across and move on. BUT, an educational video might end up being longer and more engaging… these videos are typically longer than the traditional 30 seconds. They tend to last 2, 3, even 5 minutes (depending on how engaging it is). Longer videos also get shared more, leading to a reinforced brand and improved word-of-mouth marketing.

Here’s an example of a longer video that has a little more story to it.

Creating longer videos can be tricky, but we love to come up with some awesome content ideas that you’ll be able to share and have shared. Contact us if you’d like some ideas!

How to Choose the Best Video Production Company

stamp stating best quality

Finding a Quality Video Production Company

Now that you’ve decided to add video to your digital marketing strategy, how do you decide which company to work with? Do you employ the same tactics you do with other vendors, such as putting out an RFP, waiting for everyone to bid, interview all the ones that look the best, and then decide which one to use? That depends on whether you’re looking for a vendor or a partner.

Our clients have told us they’re looking for a partner to help them improve their video game or they want someone from the outside to help them identify opportunities to sell more of their product or services. If you treat them as a vendor, will you get the best out of them? If you’re looking for the best video production company, you’ll want to do some research and find an awesome partner. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Good Fit. If you’re looking for a fit within your company, you’ll want to consider your culture and ask questions related to you company’s way of doing things. If you work in a top down organization, you’ll need a vendor. If you work in a collaborative environment, you’ll need to find a solid partner who can fit in and who doesn’t think they’re more important than you. Choosing the right video production company is more than just the selection, it’s also about the fit.
  • Don’t Get Dazzled. While you are looking at their work, you may come across their demo reel. When you do, don’t get too dazzled by cool graphics and animations that you’ve never seen before. Chances are they’re templates they’ve inserted. Yes they’re cool, but did the production team identify the target audience and market to the needs of the potential clients? Did the video perform? If all you see is their demo reel, you may not know what any of those finished projects actually looked like in the end. They might just be the best parts of a poor performing video.
  • Recently Produced Videos. When you choose a video production company, dig into their previous work. Video companies are usually working hard to create quality videos, but they are sometimes not the best at posting current stuff. If you don’t see any recent work, check out their Vimeo page because that’s where they probably posted the most recent stuff. The other area to check out is their social media pages. If they’re a full service video company, they’ll have stuff posted there too.
  • Get A Few Quotes. When compiling your list of video production companies to create your corporate video, you’ll get a few quotes. One thing we’ve learned is that pricing can vary dramatically. One time we found out a client posted a job on a website to get quotes. Without talking to 80% of the companies who responded, they said they had quotes from $850 to $21,500…for the same job! How is that possible? We don’t know. We just recommend that you consider the value for the price your being quoted.
  • Value. This is simply an area of “You Get What You Pay For.” If your budget is $850, you’ll be able to find someone who wants to do it for that. They may be brand new in the business, but they’re hungry to build their portfolio. On the other hand, if your budget is $21,500, you’ll be able to find someone to do it for that as well. Your expectations will be high, so make sure they can handle what you’re giving them. Professionals who require a larger investment are able to command that because they are confident in their results and will be able to make your video a success.

Regardless of your project, finding the right video production company will be the key to your video’s success. The time you invest to finding the right one is critical and we recommend using the ideas above to find the right one for you. Obviously we can answer any questions you have, but we also may not be the right one for you…only you can decide that (and we promise we won’t be offended if you tell us we’re not the right one). If you’ve never done video before, you might want to read some of our other blog posts to help you learn as much about the process and critical factors to a successful marketing video production process.

Steps to Video Production

Here’s a step by step list of how the video production process works and why you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Many people think that corporate video production is a big, scary process the requires a lot of people and a lot of resources. It might, but it doesn’t always need to be that complicated. Most potential clients we speak to are a little apprehensive about shooting video…they have a lot of questions, like: How long does it take? Who should be on camera? How much does it cost? But most of all, they want to know what it takes to get their video.

Steps to Video Production

To make it simple, we’ve boiled down the most important steps to creating your video into simple bite sized pieces. Ready? Here they are:

Pre-Production

1. Goals

First, before you begin, you have to have some objective. To do video without a goal or objective, you’re doing yourself a disservice. What are you trying to accomplish, in what amount of time? Is this realistically possible? If you’re not sure where to start, we can help, but most clients want to measure views, calls, or purchases when they create video. Whichever your goal, share that with your video production company and use that in the next step.

2. Know The Audience

Who are you trying to reach and why are you trying to reach them? Your video should be engaging to the exact audience you’re trying to reach, so knowing who they are is a critical start. Do your research and identify your target audience, their needs, wants and desires. Know what they like and how they like to get it. This will help you craft your message in precisely the way they like to receive it. You might want to consider creating a target audience persona (or personas). By creating personas, you’ll know how to speak to them in their preferred method of communication. If your product or service solves a problem they face, make sure your message reflects that and speaks directly to the issues they face.

3. Create a Script

Whether you write the script or the video production company writes the script, make sure you have a solid, well-thought out script that will make the shoot easier. When we talk about script, we’re not just talking about the words being spoken on camera, but also the visuals…what will be seen on screen…a shot list of sorts. By spelling out what is being said and what is being shown, your video crew will know what they must capture to create the perfect video for you. Again, this should also incorporate the first two steps above (knowing your audience and what goals you’re measuring). Remember, the script should be engaging and/or thought provoking so the viewer will take action once they’ve finished watching.

4. Have a Placement Strategy

Plan ahead of the shoot by knowing where you’ll be placing the video(s). If you’re just placing them on YouTube, how will you get them to be suggested or referred or shared? People won’t just do it because you’ve put it out there, you need a bit of a plan. That might include using ads, setting up the YouTube channel properly, publishing consistently, and several other things. Have your plan no matter which platform you’ll use.

5. Develop the Idea Further

Once you’ve crafted the script and started planning placement, you might need to develop the concept/script a little further. If you’ve identified one platform that will outperform over the others, does the script you created make sense or does it need some fine-tuning? It might or it might not. This is the time to revise and solidify.

6. Plan and Schedule the Shoot

During this step, several “mini” steps must happen. Your production crew should scout the location (virtually or in person). By scouting the location, they will mentally be able to identify where various shots will be set up, how they’ll set it up, and where they can stage their equipment while shooting or where hair and makeup can be set up.

Also in this step might be casting talent. If you’re using talent in your video, you’ll want options to choose from, and this is where we provide them. You’ll want to select the individual who best represents your brand.

Are permits or licenses necessary? If they are, this is when you’ll submit and get approvals. Allow sufficient time to get these if the production is larger or if you need to work with multiple agencies or locations.

Backup plans are critical at this point. When planning for a shoot, ask the production company what things can go wrong and how to have a backup plan to mitigate those issues.

Finally, the production company should be creating and delivering a call sheet. The call sheet will inform all parties (crew, client, staff, location, etc.) when everything will be happening. It’s basically a schedule for the day(s) with all the information need to communicate and know who will be where and when.

Production

7. Shoot/Capture the Raw Video

If you’re creating a corporate video, you’ll want someone on-set to ensure all the important pieces are captured and that everything is visually on brand. That person (or persons) may also need to wrangle the next person on camera so they’re prepared and in place on time and on schedule. During this part of the production you’ll notice the crew following the plan. You’ll notice when the crew is ahead or behind schedule and you’ll know if things are going perfect or if there’s an adjustment that will need to be made. Sometimes one person who can’t get the words out on camera can put the crew a little behind, but a seasoned crew will make sure that even when that happens they stay on schedule and on plan. If the crew is seasoned you should have a high level of confidence in their abilities once you see them execute the plan.

Post Production

8. Editing

Once the shoot is complete, you should have a rough idea from the crew when the first version of your video will be delivered. If you have a seasoned editor, most corporate videos require between a week to two weeks to see your first version. Variability in this may happen if the video is longer than a couple of minutes or branding materials aren’t delivered quickly to the production team (editor). The editor will need high-resolution logos and other similar materials related to the video (something they may have asked for prior to the shoot).

Good editing will be based on good planning…which is why we recommend the plan be finalized before shooting every time…no matter how many times you’ve done this. While every video production company is different, most will allow around two rounds of revision after receiving your first version. If you’re editing more than one video, a good editor will also recommend providing you with one of the videos first to get any revisions you might have and then apply all those revisions to the rest of the videos to streamline the editing process for you and for them. For example, if you didn’t like the color of the font they used and you provide that feedback, the rest of the videos you’ll receive will already contain those revisions…saving you time.

Your editor will also incorporate 2D graphics, 3D Animation, music, and any professional narration at this point. Graphics and animation should make sense for the video. Adding them to wow you isn’t working with your strategy we started with, so it should make sense if the graphics or animation is added.

Music should also reflect the mood and tone of the video. If the music is upbeat, but the person on camera is talking about the problems the viewer is facing, something will feel wrong by the viewer… making it less likely they will take the next measurable step (think about your goals).

It is also at this point that any professional narration that was recorded is tracked to the video. Typically a good editor will time verbal statements with music, changes in mood, and visual elements to make the finished piece emotionally connected.

9. Delivery

Once you’ve provided all the feedback and it’s been edited to your satisfaction, you should receive a download link from the production company so you can place your video where you would like to place it. You might place it on: your website, YouTube channel, social media sites, Vimeo, Wistia, or a few other places that will help you monitor and analyze your results. You’ll want to make sure you place it in a place that allows you to fully control, own, and monitor all the analytics. Without that, you won’t know if you’re successful or not.

10. Distribute Your Video

Not everyone distributes video the same way, so we’ll provide a few options here, but know there are always more. You might: use social media, email campaigns, coordinate with influencers in your space, use a PR firm to distribute your video, use the video in online video ads, place the video on broadcast television or cable, or use SEO tactics on your website to funnel viewers to a landing page to watch the video. One isn’t necessarily better than the other but understanding your strategy and knowing your goals will help you decide where to distribute/place your video.

We hope this helps you better understand the steps it takes to create a corporate video and why each step is important to the overall project. The next thing you might want to do is consider reading 6 Qualities To Look For In A Video Production Company or Why Do Production Companies Quote Different Rates for the Same Project?

4 Video Production Services Businesses Should Use

Video shoot with lights and camera

By now most everyone realizes that video is a major tool for businesses to use in their marketing, sales, training, and operations. We’ve been told that video is more valuable than ever because it can be used on several platforms, in several locations, simultaneously. It can also be accessed on several types of devices, like phones, computers, iPads, etc. So, what are the most important video production services you could maximize to improve your video marketing strategy? Here are the top 4 services you might want to consider hiring out for your video projects.

1. Production Strategy

First, it’s important to understand why you’re creating video. If you’re creating video because everyone else is, but don’t have a strategy for using it, we think you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. At this point, you’ll want to think about where you’ll be placing your video. Will it be social media? Will it be a stand alone web video on your site? Having video is only half the battle, using video to its maximum potential can help you win the battle. Imagine placing a video somewhere that your potential clients will see. What would happen? Now imagine if you placed the finished product where your ideal clients will never see. Big difference! You may want to say, “No kidding!” but we’ve seen it too many times where a potential client wants to make a video without a strategic plan on how they’ll use it effectively and return on their investment of time and money.

image of storyboard drawing

2. Planning

While some call this producing, we refer to it as planning or pre production. Whether you’re creating a real estate video, an explainer video, or a high-quality commercial production, this is probably the most important task to achieving a successful video campaign. Through proper planning, you and the production team will be more effective with time, finances, and any manpower involved in the process. Planning and pre production includes tasks like: crafting a strategic script, identifying a location, creating a plan for the day of the shoot, lining up talent (appropriate for your potential viewers and overall branding guidelines), finalizing scripts, and all the other little pieces that line up to make a successful shoot. With a shot list based on the script in hand, you can ensure a solid shoot day.

image of planning

3. The Shoot

People often tell us that shooting this should only take 15 minutes…after all, the script is only 60-seconds long. While some of it may take 15 minutes, there are several other things that go into capturing the shot perfectly. Lighting, audio, angles, … the list goes on and on. Most people don’t realize that video production deals in the science of millimeters. Move the camera left, right, up or down on any given shot and you might capture a reflection in a mirror or a coffee cup left behind by the person on camera. It always takes a longer than expected to get the right shot. If you’re not after quality, then it usually doesn’t take too long to capture, but most clients want it done right the first time. That can be the difference between a professional video and an amateur video.

When working with any video production company, during the shoot, you’ll also see a variety of people involved: camera operator, producers, directors, production assistants, lighting and/or audio assistants, hair and/or makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, etc. For every shoot, the script dictates who is needed and for how long. If you’re working with a professional team, you’ll see them working together seamlessly to ensure the right shot is captured perfectly.

Photo from a Plum Productions Shoot

4. Editing

Sometimes called production and post production, this is where most people and most videographers don’t like to spend time. It’s the least fun. Not for us! We feel like a solid, well-executed plan and well-executed shoot make the editing process go smooth. This part is one of the final steps to the video production process, and one of the most common need by businesses. When video is captured, it can be edited in several different ways. While we always work to the plan we agreed to, we know that sometimes soundbites can lead to additional videos that will enhance the branding message. Our recommendation is to think about all the potential uses and potential videos you’d like to edit prior to the shoot so you can get all the footage you need in the shoot time allotted. Once you have that footage, it can be sliced and diced into several different types of videos…all with the same look and feel to fit into the brand, including any motion graphics elements.

image of video editor

These are four types of video production services every business can use. Many companies call us to do all of it, but there are times when we’re called in to do just one of these pieces. That’s OK with us…as long as the business is getting what it needs to ensure a successful campaign.

Plum Productions offers a wide range of video production services including scripting, planning, storyboarding, acquiring talent, drone video capture, shooting, and editing. Give us a call for any of your corporate video production needs.

Planning A Successful Corporate Video

Image of video production shoot

When a company wants to create video content, there’s more to it than, “Hey, let’s create a video about our business!” A lot of planning and strategy should go into the process. What are the goals for the video? Who will be in it? What is the purpose of creating this video? Are you trying to increase sales? Trying to improve the corporate image? Trying to attract new employees or executive? …and so much more.

Many marketers are using high quality video to improve rankings on Google, provide site visitors information that differentiates them from their competitors, or answer questions to increase authority. Some are shrewdly thinking about how they can turn what the company does into content or how to place the video in the right places to get views and conversions into sales.

Planning a corporate video has many components and depends on what you’re shooting, where you’re shooting, and variables that impact the finished video. Most of the plan should be completed in the pre production portion of the project. During the pre production, you’ll work on the creative portions: the script, the visuals, the shot list, the talent, the location, and a few other minor elements.

Here are a couple of simple things you can do to plan for your corporate video production:

1. Clarify the Goals of the Video

Before you ever create a call sheet, why are you creating this video? Are you using it to become an influencer? Educate others on a topic? Improve the brand image? While you create this list of reasons, think about who wants this information and how it will reach them. What will you do to measure the success of this video? Calls? Requests? Views? This is also where you consider if the video aligns with your marketing strategies and is what your target audience is looking for.

2. Time Content Delivery with Key Dates

When you deliver (post or show) this video, how will it relate to any key or pertinent dates related to the business? For example, do sales usually dip during a certain time of the year? Are certain products or services on sale on a specific date? Plan to post the video with appropriate key dates in mind. Layer on top the timeline to complete the video project (make sure you have sufficient time to complete the shoot and edit prior to beginning the project). Key events could be an annual event, marketing campaigns, product launches, etc.

3. Where and How Will You Share the Video?

You’ve set your goals, now where will you post or use the video? Where does it make sense? Some of our clients will use it on a product end cap in a retail store or on the Amazon product page to increase conversion. Where it is placed is just as important is the overall objective of the video. Several options of where you could place it is: website, landing page, email campaign, Vimeo/YouTube, Social Media pages like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, television (broadcast, cable), and several others. The nice part is you can place video at all, some, or one of these platforms. When considering where to place the video, you’ll want to identify what conversion rates look like and how many and who is actually watching your video. You want to create content that your customers want, including the types of content needed to convert.

4. Create a Budget (or a range)

You should determine what is the appropriate amount you’d like to invest in creating a video. Sometimes what you want to do or what the script says will determine the budget, but you should have an idea. Some people come to us with very high or very low numbers, and while you can always find someone to do what you need at any number, we recommend finding someone who can do what you need near the budget you’d like to spend without sacrificing quality and know-how to craft your message successfully. One time we saw a potential client hire a freelancer, single-person production company only to find out that half of what they wanted in the video could not be done because they didn’t have the equipment or know-how to get the job done. We were grateful they called us back to take care of their project.

5. Use Brand Guidelines

Whether you own a small business or are part of a large national or international organization, keep your identity on brand. It’s critical to keep the look, feel, and sound of your business in check with your all areas of marketing. When a potential client or customer thinks of your brand, what image is sparked in his or her mind? What do you stand for? What differentiates you from competitors? How would one describe your brand? By creating a list of qualities related to your brand, you can use this to steer your creative approach and final messaging. Because your video script should be evergreen, you must clearly identify qualities and traits that describe your brand and use them in your messaging.

While there is more to it than that, these are five critical components for crafting and creating a successful corporate video to incorporate into your video marketing campaign. When everything ties together a magical result can, and usually does, occur. Plan your message to match your brand and while creating the types of video your audience wants and you’ll find a much more successful outcome to your video project.

 

How to Prepare Your Office for a Video Shoot

question mark on table representing questions people ask

You’ve decided to create a short video (or a series of videos) to help your business improve it’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or to help your potential customers understand who you are, what you do, and why you do it better. Great! Now what? You should get lots of tips from your video production company (if you’ve hired one) on how to set up or prepare your office for the video shoot. If not, you may want to ask more questions of your video production company or find a new one. After all, it should be easy, not stressful to create your video.

So, what do you need to do? Here are some of the top steps to preparing your office for a video shoot:

  1. Get the Shoot Scheduled. Obvious, yes. But if it’s not scheduled, people can’t plan. Once it’s scheduled, communicate the shoot date to your team and make sure they’re ready. Make sure they know what’s happening and when it’s happening that day. You may not have this information, but it should be shared before the day of so everyone is ready and knowledgeable about what is happening.
  2. Prior to the Shoot Date. A day or two (or more, if needed) walk through the office with a different set of eyes. Look for opportunities to tidy up, clean up, and put away all the extra stuff you and your team have collected over the years that is unnecessary to the video. For example, take a look at this photo of an office prior to the shoot. If we had to take a few shots of someone working at their desk, what would look better? The before photo or the after photo? Remember, you want it to look like someone is there working regularly, but not like they’re a “pack rat” or “file piler.” You want to look organized and effective. Here’s a messy and a clean version of an office space: image of messy working deskimage of a clean working desk
  3. Do You Need Props? You might need some props or areas where you can show some client interaction or work shots. The video below shows B-Roll (secondary video) shots of employee interactions…notice it’s clean and visually appealing. Each area was selected prior to the shoot to ensure the best possible shots were incorporated into the video. One other thing to think about: if your office decorates for any holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.) all the decorations need to be removed from the office or else you’ll look like you celebrate that holiday every day of the year in your video! Probably something you want to avoid.
  4. Looking Good? The other question we get a lot is what to wear on camera. That is a great question and we’ve answered it here in this blog post about What to Wear On Camera. The key is to look your best on camera and what you choose can make a difference. Solid, warm colors are best. Refrain from wearing black, white, or red; and refrain from wearing certain patterns that buzz on camera. If you’re going to wear jewelry, don’t wear dangling jewelry because it can make noise when you speak. Finally, bring options. Again, refer to our previous post if you want to learn more.
  5. Script Ready? Whether we create your script or you’re creating the script, it must be ready to go before the day of the shoot. We’ve pushed back shoots because clients weren’t prepared and the script didn’t align with the objective of the video. It’s critical to get a video production company who can get that script to you well enough in advance so you’re ready to perform it. We shoot to the script, so having this prepared will make your shoot go very smooth!

You may not have any questions after reading this, but if you do, feel free to pick up the phone and call us if you have any questions. We don’t mind if you’re not a client, we just want to make sure your shoot goes smoothly.

Where Should Video Be Placed On My Website?

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You’ve decided to hire a crew to make your professional video. Your web development company has insisted you have it. They have some ideas of where and what they want, but you want to know, “Where should my video live on my website to get the greatest impact?”

When you create a professional video for your website, you want to think about where you are going to place it. Whether it will be hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or your own site, knowing what to do with it is key. To answer the question of where to place it, we have a few questions we’d ask in return. First, what type of video are you creating? (If you’re not sure what type of video you should have, see the blog post titled What Type of Video Should My Business Have in 2018?) Next, why did you decide this is the video you wanted to create? You might have a little motivation as to why you’ve create this video, so help us understand that. Once we understand what video and why, we can help you better decide where to place it on your site. Here are a few options in terms of where to place your video(s) on your website:

  • Home Page (Above the Fold). This might be a good place for video that doesn’t have music or speaking parts. Here’s an example of a website that uses video in the background above the fold. The Yacht Company does a great job showing off yachts before you travel through the rest of the site. This is a simple video you should ask for when shooting video. You never know when your site might lend itself to a snippet like this.
  • Home Page (Below the Fold). The types of videos that you use here are usually the About Us style videos. A recent client, HyDroneClean, created a short informational video about what they do and placed it on their home page (scroll down a little). When a potential client lands on a website, they tend to scroll a little bit anyway to see if they can learn more. Once they see a video, the play button beckons them to push it!
  • About Us Page. Again, this is where you might find the About Us video. It features a story about the business and allows the viewer to better understand how they might benefit from working with the business.
  • Testimonials Page. So many times businesses have written testimonials listed on their site, and that’s awesome. If you’re looking to kick up the value of the testimonials, a video testimonial is even better. Check out Credit Brain’s testimonials that we shot for them a while back. They have a dedicated web page on their site to feature these videos, telling us, a video is even more valuable than just the written words.
  • Blog. Does your site have a blog? Has it been helpful to create content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results? That’s the number one way you can create great SEO results is to constantly create content. If you want to “level up” your blogging game, add video. There are several ways to do it. One option is to create videos based on what you wrote or write the blog based on what you say in the video. Another option is to feature a written blog about one topic linked to a video blog you created on YouTube. A great example of this is our video blogging site MyVideo101.com. This site is based on the YouTube Channel created by our very own Jennifer Jager. She blogs about all aspects of video and the blog is created based on what she shares on her YouTube Channel. Check it out.

These are just a few uses of a video. Where you place them is based on it’s purpose and expected outcome. If you expect people to call you after viewing the video, the best types of video are the Testimonial and About Us videos. If you want people to better understand what you do in a short amount of time, an About Us video is your best bet. Finally, when you have a need for improved SEO, consider a video blog (with a written portion to ensure all the search engines find you).

Why Do Production Companies Quote Different Rates for the Same Project?

Paper ripped to expose words pricing secrets

How Much Does a Corporate Video Cost?

Recently we had someone ask us to provide an idea of cost for their video project. During the conversation they shared with us that they had two other quotes and wanted to know why each quoted drastically different prices. They shared that one was nearly half our project price and the other was nearly double. What gives, right?

We completely understand and couldn’t agree more. Each production company can have wildly different pricing strategies, but they usually vary for different reasons. Here are several reasons why you might be getting different quotes for what seems like the same thing.

  • Experience. Yes, you probably knew this already. The more experience they have, the more projects they have, and the customers they already have can all illustrate the production company’s competence. If they’ve been doing it for 9 or 10 years (like us), they more than likely have encountered several issues that can come up on the shoot and they know how to prevent them. They probably don’t need to prove themselves because they have enough work to show they can do it already. We’ve said this before, but you can find a production company for ANY budget! You want a production company that can do the work for a few hundred bucks? No problem, there are several people out there who work from home who can do this type of work for that rate. They don’t mind building their portfolio by being highly aggressive in their pricing. If you want to hire a large, high budget crew, you can find them as well….and everything in between.
  • Equipment. Recently we lost a project because we didn’t charge enough. We were a couple thousand dollars less than who we were up against. We were surprised to hear this, but when the potential client shared with us that the other company was going to be renting their equipment, we were not longer surprised. When the company doesn’t own the equipment, they are forced to markup rental equipment to have a successful shoot. While this potential client couldn’t get over spending less for the quality work, don’t be fooled by higher prices…it doesn’t ALWAYS mean better quality. It might! But it also might not.
  • Approach. Each production company approaches their projects a little differently. We’ve heard one company say they want to allocate a full day for an interview (with B-roll shots) when it really only warrants a half day shoot. Their logic was that the person on camera would feel more relaxed and engaged. While we don’t think a full day is necessary to get someone to feel relaxed in front of the camera, others use this as an excuse to charge a little more (especially if the budget is large enough).
    • Approach (part 2). The more the shoot is planned, the smoother the shoot. Not all production companies approach their shoot the same. Planning the day should include time slots for each person on camera, shooting specific B-roll shots, allocating time for additional product shots (when appropriate), and much more. How important is a plan? It’s the most important part of the process. Without it, we won’t shoot because there’s nothing worse than shooting and trying to figure out how to put it together later. The client won’t be happy and we won’t be proud of our work.
  • Add-Ons. There are several features that can be added on in the shoot and in post production. Examples might include:
    • Drone & Drone Pilot
    • Additional Locations
    • Professional Talent
    • Make Up Artist
    • Stock Video (can sometimes be an extra)
    • Additional Equipment (due to specific needs of client)
    • Custom 3D Animation
    • Professional Narration
    • Location Costs & Permitting (sometimes free, sometimes not)
    • Additional Shoot Days
    • …and on and on.

Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes we feel like some companies treat the video world like the Wild West while others are respectable and forthcoming. Those that have been around for many years, typically have done the right thing for their clients. Do a little research, like this article about Questions to Ask a Video Production Crew Before You Hire Them or this follow up article that shares More Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Production Crew. Speak to their current clients, their past clients, people they’re connected to on LinkedIn. There are several ways to confirm the production company you are interviewing is right for you. If they don’t understand your project or concept, move on to the next company, there’s always one right for you.

Got a question? Want to know more or want to compare us to someone you’ve gotten a quote from, we’d be honored to help.