Basics of Video Marketing and Video Production

In the process of lead generation and sales, we are engaged in conveying information to our potential clients. Generally speaking, we can single out the following information mediums:

  •             Texts (emails, articles, etc.)
  •             Texts and visualization (infographics, presentations, websites)
  •             Videos
  •             Verbal communication

Depending on many factors that include the type of client, the cost and characteristics of the product/service, the stage of the decision-making cycle, etc. we tend to choose one or another medium. Our task is to catch the eye, convey information and convince.

In the course of his research, American Edgar Dale proved that after two weeks we are able to remember only 10% of what we read, but 50% of what we saw and heard at the same time. This is not surprising. After all, visual perception is person’s priority channel of perception (we receive more than 80% of the information through our eyes), therefore, in the process of evolution, people have learned to trust this channel above all the rest. That is why videos are becoming an increasingly popular information medium in marketing.

At the same time, we cannot claim that video content is going to fully replace texts or infographics. As mentioned earlier, each information medium has a context in which it is most effective. Texts allow their readers to quickly grasp whether or not the material contains the information they need. When it comes to videos, it is often necessary to watch them all the way through and you cannot search for keywords in them. You can work with the text, copy it, send excerpts, etc. In addition to this, text reading is a faster way to get information than watching a video – though not as memorable and understandable. Therefore, even though videos are reasonably gaining momentum in marketing, they should be considered as an element in a comprehensive marketing strategy and should be supported by other information mediums.

In this regard, it makes sense to figure out to what kind of client, how, and with the help of which medium we convey information. Modern marketing strategies comprehensively describe all activities including video marketing.

It is important to understand for what purpose and when it is effective to resort to videos. At the top level, the sales funnel can look as follows:

  • Awareness of the product/service – the task is to inform the client about your existence;
  • Consideration – the task is to explain to the client about your place in the industry, what kind of problems you solve and how you do it;
  • Decision making – the task is to convince the client to work with your company;
  • Retention – work with the client, upsales and repeat sales.

In general, I recommend linking video marketing to the conversion of stages of your sales funnel. Conversions are the main factor that influences the final result of your work and you would want to make a video particularly with the aim of increasing certain conversions. This is what gives the understanding of what the video should be like – with a storyline or an informational one, long or short, what key messages it should contain, etc.

In my opinion, this is the most important step in creating a video – to understand why you need it and what measurable result you want to obtain.

So, what kind of video can be used to raise certain conversions in the sales funnel:

  1. Product/service awareness – a promotional video (typical ad of 10-45 seconds). Since the main task here is to make sure that the clients learn about you, the key metric of such videos will be the number of views and clicks on your link.
  2. Consideration – an educational video. Usually, this is a 3-5-minute video that tells about problems in the industry, what place your company/product has in it, what problems it solves best, and teaches how to solve certain problems. At this stage, the main task is to help the potential client choose the most appropriate solution to their problem. The video should teach, not sell. The main metric is the specific viewing time (per user).
  3. Decision making – an explainer video. The task is to convince the client to work precisely with your company. Therefore, such videos are often quite versatile and can be used to enhance other conversions as well. Usually, in 60-120 seconds such videos explain all the most important things for the client – what problems you solve, in what way, what the additional benefits are, etc. The key metric is the number of purchases or completed forms.
  4. Customer retention – educational or explainer videos. To increase the number of repeat purchases, you can create educational videos not only about yourself but also about other related problems that your customers face. Also, you can create explainer videos for your additional services and products.

Other types of videos:

  • Brand video is a video that doesn’t directly tell about you but still advertises you. For example, you tell a story of the creation of a programming language and at the end of the video, you have your logo unobtrusively featured. The first and foremost task of such videos is not to let your brand fall off the radar; but sometimes such videos can become viral and flood you with leads.
  • Tutorials are very detailed videos about how to use your software, for example. They can last 5-10-30 minutes or more. Their two main tasks are to convince a potential client that your software works as well as it is written on the website by demonstrating it in action and, of course, to teach how to use it.
  • Internal videos are a tool for communication within the company, especially an international one. The main task is to tell about a certain initiative or project which concerns a large group of employees.

Additional ways of using videos and their benefits:

  • Videos are an auxiliary tool for sales (for example, when meeting with a client, instead of explaining something in words, you can show your video using a projector);
  • When using video on the website you increase not only the conversion but also the average duration of the session, which has a positive effect on SEO;
  • Videos blend well into long articles from the blog and email marketing;
  • If you place the video on YouTube in a proper way, you can catch additional traffic;
  • Your video can become viral and bring leads.

What types of videos are there?

Animation. It is easier to explain a complex concept with it. With animation, it is possible to show things that will be very expensive or impossible to shoot. It is easier to change animation in the process of the company’s development. Animation is usually cheaper to produce (for marketing videos).

Live shoot. You can show real people, company offices, which helps create the environment of trust. Usually, this type of video is cheaper to produce for educational videos and more expensive for marketing.

Hybrid. Usually, these are animated elements inserted into a live shoot, which helps explain some difficult concept.

How to create a video?

There are several ways to answer this question depending on the expected ROI, budget and willingness to invest. Here are the main options:

  • to record the video yourself;
  • to hire freelancers;
  • to hire a production studio.

So let’s consider different options:

Recording the video yourself.

It is as simple as it gets – you put the camera on a tripod or you ask your colleague to film you, or you film someone from your colleagues yourself. You can borrow a camera or film with your phone. There are many video editors that allow editing videos without the knowledge of any specialized software.

In this case, you are unlikely to make an animated video if you don’t possess the relevant competencies.

What is this suitable for?

This is a good format for communicating with clients. The video itself will look like a video blog, so you should not be judged for amateur shooting. You can send your video to existing and potential clients, place it on your personal page or even create your own video blog. In the video, you can tell about some interesting case, new technology, share your experience. That is, most likely, this will be an educational video for attracting leads. Placing this type of video on corporate accounts can be risky, since a higher level of content preparation is expected from companies.

Tips:

Since this is a budget option and you do not plan large investments, you can consider a selective engagement of the following specialists:

  • a scriptwriter will help create a proper text;
  • a cameraman with a professional camera can cost several hundred dollars, but the quality of the video will be much higher;
  • an editor – if you do not want to edit the video yourself 🙂

Hiring a freelancer.

If you resort to this option in order to improve the quality of the video to such a level so that it could be used on corporate accounts, then you should understand that in the video production of such a level there is no concept of a generalist who could make a proper video. That is, you will need to hire a group of freelancers. The simplest projects require a team of 4-5 people. Therefore, your task will be to find a freelancer who has a team. There is also a third option – to assume the roles of a producer/director/art director rolled into one and additionally hire a scriptwriter, storyboard designer, illustrator, animator and sound engineer.

The undoubted and only advantage of this option is significant budget savings. At the same time, there are higher risks of encountering problems with the quality and delays of the project. In such teams, when one of the artists gets ill, for example, sometimes there is no one to replace him/her, and when the artists run behind the schedule, there is no extra pair of hands to meet the deadline.

What is this suitable for?

In general, you can create videos of any type – advertisements, explainer videos, educational videos, etc.

Tips:

It is very desirable to take an active part in the creation of the video and provide steady feedback at each stage of the project. In my opinion, the success of the final result will depend heavily on whether you were lucky enough to find talented freelancers and on your ability to give creative feedback.

Hiring a video agency or a production studio.

The difference between the first and the second is in the presence of marketing competence in the former. Both should be distinguished from an advertising agency, which traditionally possesses marketing competence and in case of need to produce a video will hire a video-production studio.

What does a team creating videos look like? In the case of an animated video, we have a producer (“project manager”), art director, director, scriptwriter, artist (might be several of them), animator (might be several of them), sound designer.

Animated Video Production Process.

1. Brief: video goals, target audience, key messages, communication channels, product/service description.
2. Concept: the main idea of the video, the estimated duration, visual style (illustration/animation), as well as the preferences regarding the narrators.
3. a) Writing the script. The script is not only the text that the narrator will record, but it is also a text description of the scenes that will be on the screen during the voice-over.
b) Selection and auditioning of the narrator. Voice-over recording.
4. Storyboard. At the storyboarding stage, the director and the storyboard artist create sketches of each scene to understand how each scene will be shown.
5. Animatic. Usually used for projects with complex plot and style. An animatic is a very rough video in which objects from the storyboard move in a very simplified way. It is needed to understand how the video will look.
6. Illustrations. First of all, a style is created – one illustration that contains the main characters, objects and some location from the storyboard. After approval of the style, the rest of the illustrations are developed in this style.
7. Animation. At this stage, the illustrations come to life, the voice-over is added, the soundtrack and sounds are written. The video is ready.

After each stage, there are usually 1-2 stages of edits and approval. With rare exceptions, the beginning of the next stage is impossible before the approval of the previous one. If you want to make changes to the previous stages when your team is already working on the following one, then be ready for additional budget and time expenses.

As a rule, the process of creating an animated video takes about 6 weeks for regular videos and up to 8-10 weeks for the videos with a complex animation style.

How to calculate the budget for the video?

The budget for the video should be considered as an investment that should increase your profits. For example, it makes sense to invest $X in the production of the video, if it increases the conversion of the sales funnel in such a way that your sales will grow and profits will increase by $X+. To compare different investment options, we use the Return on investment (ROI) indicator, which is calculated as the ratio of the money received to the invested money.

Let’s take a look at two examples.

You want to increase the number of leads through an advertising campaign. You choose video advertising as a communication tool and allocate a specific budget on your ad impressions. Thus, your investment consists of the budget for video production and the advertising campaign. You know the lead/sales conversion rate, how much profit an average client brings and you can estimate how many advertising dollars one lead will cost (although it’s best to find out this indicator from tests or at least ask marketing experts working with a similar market and segment).

ROI = X*(profit from the client)/((budget for video production) + X*(lead/sales conversion)*(lead cost)), where X is the number of clients you will receive or the “multiplier” of the advertising budget.

The second example. You want to increase your website conversion. You know how many target visitors you have on average and how many of them become your customers or complete forms. By increasing this conversion with an explainer video you increase your profits at the same time. In this case, you do not need the advertising budget, so your only investment will be video production.

ROI=(profit from the current customer flow from the website)*Y/(budget for video production), where Y is the percentage by which the conversion will increase. Therefore, in a perfect world, we could count the ROI of different options and choose the more profitable one. In reality, X and Y can be predicted only if you have already had a similar experience, therefore ROI is difficult to predict. Nevertheless, having the above idea in your head you will have a clearer vision of how to make a decision.

Results measurement.

It is worth paying special attention to measuring the results of your video campaigns.

Not many do this, but if we want to measure the effectiveness of our investments, analyze the results and reasonably plan/correct the next steps, then we cannot do without metrics. Youtube provides quite basic metrics that will not provide video specialists with a sufficient base for analytics. In general, it is good to post videos on Youtube and Vimeo to get additional organic traffic. For full-fledged statistics on video views, I recommend using Wistia hosting service. Here is one of the examples of the high-level viewing statistics of an explainer video on Wistia:

In this case, the client – a payment system for American veterinary clinics – posted an explainer video on its landing page. As a result, every third visitor of the page watched 86% of the video on average, so that the page conversion made up 8.5%.

Meanwhile, Facebook recommends placing videos on their hosting to ensure higher audience involvement. As an example of an advertising campaign on Facebook, we can refer to a German online auto parts store, which advertised its mobile application with the help of video advertising. With a budget of $587, the company managed to get 35 installations and 2 purchases immediately after the installations. Knowing the average life cycle of each client installing the application, the company can calculate how profitable it is for them to continue to invest funds in Facebook advertising.

Wistia also allows tracking each individual viewing in terms of its duration, rewind, A/B testing, etc. Recently, I received a direct cold mail sent to me by an employee of a service for the selection of speakers. When I did not respond to the first letter, she sent the next one, which contained a video recorded for me personally. This was very “catchy” and I had to answer that we were already using their services 🙂 By the way, the video was posted on Wistia, so that the employee could find out how I watched her video, whether I fast forwarded or rewound it, what I did not watch, etc., and thus obtain additional information before the next contact with me. This is something like an email tracker but for videos.

Here are some more services:

Why are there cheap and expensive studios?

The production of a video by a professional studio may cost on average from $2k to $20k depending on the duration of the video, style and studio with which you will work. Top American studios can charge up to $150k.

By the way, we are recognized as a top Video Production Company on DesignRush.

I will try to explain briefly why there is such a big difference in prices. Part of the price is due to the geographic location of the studio (American studios have much higher expenses than, for example, Ukrainian ones). In addition, an important factor is the qualification of the specialists who, for example, in Ukraine receive salaries similar to the programmers’ ones. It is worth noting that the video production process is labor-intensive and the creation of a simple video of 90 seconds takes up to 150-250 hours of teamwork.

The question of why professionalism is important seems to be redundant, but let’s try to answer it. Let’s say you are watching a Disney cartoon and you like it.

Why? Because all artistic rules and canons are observed there at the highest level. Professionals worked on each and every frame thinking how light should fall, in which direction the character should look, why she should be dressed in this particular dress whose color suits the background, etc. Because the animation looks very realistic, because each camera movement is thought out to the last detail, the characters move naturally and smoothly, in each movement there is support for the messages of the scene and the whole cartoon. Therefore, subconsciously we perceive the picture as real and we “trust” the animation movie. It’s a pleasure to watch it and sometimes we can’t even explain why. In our head, we have the vision of how the world should look like. When watching a video, we subconsciously compare the video we see with our vision of the world; as a result, our subconsciousness issues us a signal whether to trust what we see or not. That’s actually what companies pay for when they want their videos to gain the confidence of potential customers.

I hope that this publication helped you learn about the basics of video production in the context of your marketing activities. 

 

Tim Aleksandronets,

CEO Blue Carrot Animation Studio

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