An Insider’s Guide to Keeping Your Video Budget in the Black

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September 20, 2018 5 min read
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Video marketing is all the rage, but rapidly changing trends in the medium keep entrepreneurs guessing.

The history of YouTube, for example, features various success stories. BlendTec’s Will It Blend? campaign dominated the late 2000s, as did Old Spice’s string of outrageously manly commercials in 2010. This year, Dr. Mehmet Oz’s inspirational Turkish Airlines commercial has garnered nearly 90 million views.

To be sure, the next big thing in video is always changing. Facebook Live provides authentic-feeling looks inside big brands. And virtual reality is taking immersion to a new level, but not every brand needs to shell out money on VR to make a splash.

Modern brands need to know not only what kinds of videos to make, but also how to shoot them without blowing the budget.

Related: 5 Low-Cost Ways to Get Started With Video Marketing

Video can make you a marketing star.

Just 10 years ago, online video marketing was almost too difficult to warrant the investment. Consumers didn’t have the internet speeds or mobile devices to handle full-time video browsing, which meant brands didn’t benefit as much from a presence on video platforms.

Today, the opposite is true. Videos are everywhere, and consumers are eating them up. Brands benefit greatly from putting out high-quality video content, but creating that content is both expensive and time-consuming.

Despite the challenges, however, the investment is worth it. Livestream reports that 80 percent of online viewers polled said they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog.

Just be sure to keep your video budget in check.

So, how much does it cost to make a marketing video? The answer ranges from almost nothing to a sum that exceeds the cost of a home in San Francisco. It all depends on what your company’s intended goal is. So, determine an objective, build a budget and decide what kind of video to make. Then, use the following four tips to keep costs as low as possible.

1. Leave no detail untouched.

Don’t wait until your producer arrives to start thinking about things such as location, props and talent. Make a list of everything the video will need, and spend your pre-production time seeking out budget-conscious options that meet your brand’s standard of quality.

A lack of planning is a one-way ticket to an out-of-control video-marketing budget. The more due diligence you do before the cameras start rolling, the fewer budgeting blunders your video marketing will incur along the way.

Here’s another tip: Employees make great budget actors in a pinch. Rather than hire actors, tennis platform Courtmatics cut down on costs by featuring its own team members using its products.

Related: Why Videos Are the Next Lucrative Step in Your Marketing Strategy

2. Leverage your B-roll.

Stock footage can add quality and depth to any video project. For everything other than the core focus of the video, use stock footage to round out the environment.

We worked with IT services provider Appinium on this video, which showcases Appinium’s products by merging editing and effects with some existing stock footage.

Case in point: Not every company needs a Hollywood production team to make great videos. Stock footage is a cheap, effective alternative.

3. Avoid any excess.

Rather than spend thousands on unnecessary frills, Angel Fire Optical shot an in-studio commercial in half a day — saving tons of money without losing the core message.

The more focused your video is, the less it will cost. Keep the narrative focused closely on the most engaging, necessary information to deliver the message quickly and keep the audience interested.

Additionally, to further avoid excess, a short video with cost-friendly talent and high production values is far more useful — and less expensive — than a longer video that goes all out on spending.

Keep in mind, though: Even short videos with cheap talent get expensive when the production company can’t focus on one objective. For instance, when the cost of a one-minute video ranges from a couple of thousand dollars for semiprofessional content to $1 million or more for Hollywood-quality ads, as Hinge Marketing has written about, every cent saved counts.

Related: 8 Ways to Avoid Common Video Marketing Mistakes

4. Shoot ahead.

Lean Labs found that anyone can make a decent video for under $5,000. That initial investment can pay dividends quickly when every shoot produces months’-worth of content.

Get more from a video campaign by shooting multiple stories and angles at one time. Create granular scenes that make sense individually and in context, and then use those scenes in multiple lengths and on multiple platforms.

And, when it comes to the type of shoot, according to our findings, narrative videos tend to be cheaper, but they can creep up in cost depending on location, props, talent and other factors. Product demos average between $1,000 and $3,000 per minute based on the complexity of the product shown. Meanwhile, explainer videos that target ready-to-buy leads average around $10,000 for a week’s worth of shooting.

Video marketing isn’t some big mystery, but it can be hard to keep track of all the changes. Take this quiz to see what type of video content your brand should make, and then use the above tips to keep your costs as low as possible.


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