How to Make Product Videos That Actually Drive Sales (Article 1 of 3)

Particularly when you’re dealing with B2B prospects and clients, product videos provide a direct and effective form of communication that can speed up the decision-making process. If you do them right. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Product videos are one of the most compelling types of marketing content for showing audiences what you’re offering—not just a product or service, but a solution to their problems.

When done right, they are amazing at prompting potential customers into closing a sale. Particularly when you’re dealing with B2B prospects and clients, product videos provide a direct and effective form of communication that can speed up the decision-making process.

If you do them right.

As the best video production companies out there will tell you, there’s more to it than just describing your product’s features and calling it a day. You need to focus on sparking interest among your prospects.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through the essentials of making awesome product videos that deliver results. I’ll show you how to choose the right type of product video (yes, there’s more than just one), how to polish your script, and what options you have to promote your competed masterpiece.

Showcasing Your Product’s Key Value Propositions to Your Audience

One of the most common mistakes of most failing marketing efforts is the inability to explain the product in a way that fits the target audience’s perception. Yet, figuring out what your product’s value proposition is should come way before planning the specifics of any marketing strategy.

Take the time to understand what your potential customer’s needs are and how your product satisfies them.

After all, nothing sounds as impossible as trying to sell something you don’t fully understand, to an audience you don’t know.

So, before you even begin to think about your video, you need to be able to answer the following two questions. Try to be as specific as you can when gathering the information you need to answer them; that information will determine the positioning of your product video and your overall marketing strategy.

Question 1: What are your potential clients interested in?

Each company has a distinguishable culture and identity, with specific needs: You might say every B2B client is, like an individual, unique in its own way. So, your video should as if you’re talking directly to them—addressing their specific preferences and interests.

Sure, you may think that in a business environment everybody just wants to either save money or make more of it. But B2B clients also value efficiency and trust—among other concerns.

So, dig deeper into your ideal client’s mind. If you understand what your audience wants, you’ll be more likely to know how to compose a video that appeals to them.

Question 2: How do your products or services make work easier for them?

Consumer make impulse decisions when shopping, but B2B buyers have established purchase processes that include weighing all kinds of considerations and involving multiple stakeholders.

In today’s digital world, your message needs to be honest and transparent. Your audiences want and need to know exactly how the product or service you’re offering will benefit their business.

Your message will stick with them insofar as it addresses their interests and problems. Does your product make everyday tasks easier for them? Will they be able to drive revenue faster? Why is your service better than your competitors?

Choosing the Right Type of Product Video

Specific kinds of product videos best fit specific marketing needs. Let’s talk a bit about what the three most popular types are and how to get them right.

1. Product Demos

This is your classic product video, the one that showcases how your product looks and what its key benefits are. Good demos should also show the product in action, to give audiences a clear idea of how it works.

Product demos are the most traditional form of marketing videos, but there are things you can do to can spice things up and illustrate your product in creative ways. In other words, don’t stay at the level of simply description!

2. Explainer Videos

As I’ve noted, you’re selling more than just an object: Your product or service aims to solve a problem. And there are few tools as effective as explainer videos to explain that to an audience.

These videos use all sorts of resources—storytelling, whiteboard animation, motion graphics, and sound design—to show exactly how your clients can benefit from your product.

Following a simple two-act structure, explainers begin by introducing a relatable character with an issue, then showing how your product solves that problem.

3. Customer Testimonials

If you’re looking to show the value of your product by way of example and illustration, go with a customer testimonial. These types of videos often take the form of interviews with your most satisfied customers about how your product or service benefited their company.

Empathy plays an essential part in effective storytelling, and testimonials are all about letting your happy clients do the convincing for you. There’s a reason user reviews are so popular: people trust people who are like them or who are in similar circumstances.

Perfecting the Foundations: Script and Storyboard

Once you have an idea about the type of video you’re going to make, it’s time to start scripting! Here are a few tips to guide you along the way.

1. Start with a script—always

The script is the backbone of every successful video. If you develop and polish your script before moving on to other tasks, you’ll save yourself plenty of headaches during production.

If you have your message set down clearly on paper, your video will unfold from there.

2. Keep it short and simple

Your script will set the tone and approximate length of your video. Of course, you’ll probably start with a long outline of your ideas, but sooner rather than later you’ll start editing and cutting.

As a general rule, keep your script short and simple: Nobody wants to sit through a long and complex piece!

3. End with a CTA

Always include a call to action on your message, with clear instructions on where your clients can find out more about your company or how they can get in touch with a sales representative.

4. Create a storyboard

A storyboard is a great way of getting a clear idea of how you want your video to look—and even discovering contradictions you hadn’t noticed on your script.

There’s no need to illustrate every scene, but drawing the key moments of your script is a useful technique.

Promoting Your Finished Product Video

Once you’ve made the final cut of your video, it’s time to get your audience to watch it. So, where can you upload your piece? Here are a few ideas.

Landing Page

Product videos fit perfectly on company websites, where interested customers can easily find them. If you’re going to embed your video on your landing page, make it the centerpiece. You can place it in the top-center space and arrange your other content around it.

Social Media

Social media has become the end-all and be-all of branded content for a reason. Upload your video on the platforms you know your targeted audience uses and consider promoting your content to get more leads. Plus, you can adapt your content to each specific platform and upload natively to enhance engagement.

Direct Marketing

You can use your video as part of your direct marketing strategy, embedding your piece in your newsletter or in other forms of messaging. Most audiences aren’t expecting an engaging video like yours in their mailbox, so you’ll be noticed!

* * *

An effective product video can speak directly to your B2B clients and attract their attention.

But it’s important to remember that these tips aren’t written in stone.

Your video should be a mutable project that adapts to your strategy needs and the profiles of businesses you are appealing to.

Do it right, and you’ll have content that’s able to deliver amazing results.

Editor’s note: Articles 2 and 3 in this three-part article series, to be published fortnightly, are “How to Make Company-Culture Videos That Captivate Your Customers’ Hearts” and “Five Tips for Making an Explainer Video.”

This $20 Marketing Course Can Teach You to Create and Edit Videos on a Budget

How to meet the demands of the masses.
August 27, 2020 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

More than two-thirds of marketers are using video as a communication channel. More importantly, 54 percent of consumers want to see even more video from their favorite brands in 2020 and beyond. Video marketing can be complicated but it’s also an essential marketing element for your business.

Do you want to focus more on your ideas and less on the actual technical details of creating videos? Learn how to create video content yourself in the Video Marketing Course.

This course will introduce you to InVideo, an online tool that can help you create and edit videos quickly and on a budget. Forget hiring expensive videographers and designers, with InVideo you can do it all on your own, as long as you know what you’re doing.

In this one-hour course, instructor Ermin Dedic will get you up to speed using InVideo’s interface and built-in tools. You’ll learn about InVideo’s pre-made, customizable templates that can give you a great foundation from where to build your video, and how to make them absolutely your own. Dedic will show you how to create promotional, introductory, and other types of videos quickly and seamlessly by leveraging InVideo’s simple, in-built tools. In just a few minutes, you could have a professional-quality ad that’s ready for social media.

Build up your video marketing infrastructure on a budget. This Video Marketing Course is on sale now for just $19.99.

How Your Business Can Make Professional-Grade Videos on a Bootstrapped Budget

When every cent of your brand’s marketing budget counts, the quality of your video content might suffer. Fortunately, there’s a better way of doing things.
July 2, 2020 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The importance of video in today’s marketing world is no secret. According to research from HubSpot, 88 percent of marketers state that video generates a positive return on investment for their brand — a huge increase from the 33 percent who felt this way in 2015.

Online viewing trends are a big part of this shift in marketers’ attitudes. A report from MediaPost estimates that the average internet user will watch 100 minutes of online video per day by 2021, resulting in growing online video budgets that offset a decline in TV advertising.

All of this sounds great if you have a big film budget or a full-service marketing agency on your side. But what if you don’t have these resources? The good news is that even on a bootstrapped budget, your startup can produce professional-grade videos.

Give the planning stage the attention it deserves

Planning is an essential part of any marketing campaign, and this is especially true of something as involved as video. Extensive creative planning will help you figure out how to work within your budget and cut costs while still creating something of quality.

Start by identifying your video’s purpose and primary call to action. This will help you home in on your target audience, as well as the type of video you should create, be it an explainer or “standard” advertisement.

Write your script and storyboards while keeping any production limitations in mind. You might not be able to hire actors, so who on your team will be most comfortable in front of a camera? Would it be easier to apply your Photoshop skills to editing an animated video, rather than filming a live-action video? Addressing these important issues in advance will help the rest of the filming and editing process go much easier.

Invest in basic video gear and tools

Before you can start filming, you need to have some equipment to make sure everything turns out well. The good news is that you don’t need to invest in an expensive camera. Today’s smartphones take clear, crisp video that will look great for your needs — especially after editing.

Beyond your smartphone, you’ll want to purchase a tripod and a basic lighting kit. A smartphone tripod will stabilize your camera. This is especially helpful for longer shots, as you won’t have to worry about your hand wobbling and messing up the image.

Proper lighting will dramatically affect how the video looks. As the Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts explains, “Pinpointing lighting directly on specific objects or people helps persuade the viewers to direct their eyes to the intended spot, which ensures that important aspects of the video are not missed. Lighting can also be used to add color and texture to otherwise bland environments and scenes.”

Once you’ve filmed video and recorded audio, you’ll need to bring everything together using an editing program, and low-cost tools like Videoleap even allow you to edit directly on your phone. Sound mixing, stock footage and film filters are just a few of the features available to help your video look its best.

Related: Here’s How to Make Stunning Social Media Videos (Without Being a Tech Wiz)

Keep it short and simple

When making your first “bootstrapped” video, you’ll likely want to keep things short. But as your confidence in your video capabilities grows, you might be tempted to make longer and longer videos.

Don’t make this mistake! Shorter videos don’t just consume less of your time and budget — they are also more likely to make a strong impression with your customers. This is especially true of those who are simply browsing through social media. Survey data from TechSmith found that 41 percent of online users preferred under four minutes in length, with engagement generally declining as videos grew longer.

In addition, platforms like Twitter and Instagram have set limits regarding length. Using these parameters as a guideline will allow you to more easily share your videos across multiple platforms.

This is a key part of what has helped six-second ads rise to prominence — the short length delivers a clear, memorable, bite-sized message. According to a report from DigiDay, this short-form content can be “40 percent more emotionally engaging for digital natives.”

While longer-form content may be appropriate for webinars or detailed explainer videos, it’s generally best reserved for consumers farther along in the sales funnel. Even then, you want to keep things as concise as possible for greater engagement and less work on your end.

Related: What All High-Performing Social Media Posts Have in Common

Tackling your business’s videos on a bootstrapped budget may seem intimidating, but it’s far from impossible. By following these simple steps, even teams with almost no marketing budget can produce videos that look and sound great, and getting this distinct content out there will make all the difference in leaving your target audience with a positive first impression.

Why You Need to Create Accessible Videos

In addition to being easier to understand and consume, video in general is more likely to be shared by users, making it an excellent marketing tool. They’re also capable of being viewed or listened to by anyone, including those with disabilities–which is why you need to create accessible videos. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Video content is favored among users as well as search engines. For users, video can make even the most complex topic digestible in a matter of minutes. And the search engines know that users often prefer to consume video content if it contains information they’re looking for, and so they rank video content higher in search results.

In addition to being easier to understand and consume, video in general is more likely to be shared by users, making it an excellent marketing tool. Videos also capable of being viewed or listened to by anyone, including those with disabilities.

That’s why companies should create accessible videos—i.e., those that are 508-compliant, especially in the case of videos distributed by federal government agencies. (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a US law that protects those with disabilities and, inter alia, requires that certain elements, like captions and other audio descriptors, be included with video used by the government or for educational purposes.)

Whether you’ve already implemented a video strategy or you’re looking to add video to your marketing toolkit, here are a few reasons you need to create accessible videos.

First, what are accessible videos?

How to Create Amazing Branded Interview Videos

Take your company’s marketing game to the next level by appealing to both your in-house staff and future customers.
January 29, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Internal communications don’t always remain internal. This past summer, a Lowe’s executive found that out the hard way when an in-house company video — one in which he made an insensitive racial comment — surfaced on social media. The incident quickly became a PR headache for Joe McFarland, Lowe’s executive vice president of stores, who found himself apologizing to both his colleagues and the general public.

Branded videos, whether intended for use internally or externally, are a reflection of your company’s values, capabilities and commitment to quality. They should be thoughtfully produced every time. Otherwise, you’ll inevitably find yourself trying to explain why you weren’t more careful.

Take Two

In 2020, more companies will turn to on-camera interviews for recruiting and marketing purposes, but also to create engaging internal content for employee training and sales enablement. Oftentimes, people see the word “interview” and get filled with anxiety, imagining a formal setting that feels more like an interrogation than a chat. In reality, an interview is just an opportunity to share a story in a Q&A format.

Related: 5 Reasons Businesses Should Focus on Creating Video Content

Video interviews add personality to any story your business seeks to share. Still, in order to see the opportunities, you may have to reframe the way you think about interviews. Consider all the questions you might ask at work in the course of a day or the questions new hires typically ask company veterans. These types of natural, authentic inquiries lend themselves to a video interview, which can provide answers in an engaging and relatable way.

Let’s look at some of the most common work scenarios that can be turned into valuable video content:

Employee interviews. Your employees are critical to company success; they’re a reflection of its culture, too. Highlighting them in videos puts a face on your brand, giving customers and prospective employees a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your everyday work environment. Employee interviews allow you to show the world what kind of people you want working for you, and they can also be used to subtly discourage poor-fit job seekers from applying. For example, if your company culture is hands-off and values proactive self-starters, an interview with a current employee can help reveal that information to job seekers who might be looking for more structure.

Customer interviews. A thoughtful customer interview can be far more compelling than a typical testimonial. Without an interviewer to guide the conversation, testimonials tend to feel bland or choppy, especially because most customers aren’t used to articulating the value they’ve experienced from a company’s product or service. You know your customers best. During an interview, you can point them in the right direction, getting to the heart of an experience or the benefits you want to convey.

Related: 7 Secrets for a Successful Video Marketing Strategy

Founder interviews. Every business has an origin story. If you think yours isn’t that special, it’s likely you’re too immersed in bringing it to life to fully see the intriguing narrative elements. Especially in today’s hustle culture, people love to hear stories about how entrepreneurs got started and the challenges they’ve overcome. These kinds of interviews can make you and your company more relatable and human. They’re a great opportunity to share the emotion behind a brand, as well as its mission, vision and values with both internal and external audiences.

We’re Live

One of the best examples of a great branded video interview strategy comes from Bumble, the mobile dating app. The company conducted a series of “morning routine” interviews with current employees, who candidly discussed their career paths and daily responsibilities. The employees also gave fun tidbits of information about their personal lives and experiences at Bumble. An interview with Bumble’s legal counsel, for example, puts a fun spin on the traditional interview by incorporating a hyper-casual setting and untraditional questions. While the questions themselves are left out of the video, viewers can understand what the likely prompts are.

Like Bumble’s videos, the best interview videos abide by four universal rules:

1. Shoot for authenticity.

Most people get a little anxious in front of a camera. It’s the interviewer’s job to make the entire production feel more natural by putting the interviewee at ease. Work to build a rapport with subjects before an interview, and keep the mood light once the cameras start rolling. In this interview with employees, Warby Parker asks a simple question that doesn’t put too much strain on interviewees. The producers make sure to bring the camera to them, in a setting they’re used to, perhaps setting the stage for longer-form content to feel more natural in the future.

2. Make the context clear.

St. John Properties, a Baltimore-based real estate firm, made headlines in December 2019 after surprising employees with $10 million in bonuses at a holiday party. The firm captured the event in a video that soon went viral. The questions interviewees were asked aren’t included in the final cut, but the producers included enough context to create a cohesive message, still allowing space for individual answers to be effective.

Related: The 4 Pillars of Stellar Video Marketing

3. Ensure interview questions are purposeful.

Sean Evans, host of the popular program Hot Ones, is an expert when it comes to structuring an interview. In this exchange with comedian and actor Nick Offerman, Evans deliberately asks easy questions first, saving the heavy hitters for the end. This tactic allows him to build a rapport with his guests and make them feel comfortable (even while they’re uncomfortably eating ultra-spicy chicken wings). Clearly, the approach is working, as his YouTube channel has more than seven million subscribers.

4. Take your time.

It may take a while for an interviewee to relax enough to answer questions naturally. If you didn’t get the take you wanted when you asked the most important questions, wait until the initial interview is over, then shoot those responses again. That gives the interviewee time to settle into the process. A video should flow naturally from beginning to end — if the first few moments feel stilted, shoot them again once everyone is on the same page.

Not every branded video is intended for an external audience, but if you strive to shoot every video the right way, you won’t have to worry about who sees it. Video interviews, in particular, can be a versatile tool for in-house content or external collateral, and they’re relatively easy to produce — regardless of your internal capabilities.