As with all marketing activity, the best way to create an online video is to think about the fundamentals – the objectives, the target audience, the content, the budget and required response.
Think about what you want the video to achieve, and try to be as precise as possible. The goal should be specific and achievable, and include some way of measuring your success.
Know your market
It’s important to understand the audience and what they’re looking for. Talk to customers and potential customers to see what they need, who makes buying decisions, and what influences them.
If you have a particularly successful competitor, it’s also worth looking at what they do and how they interact with their customers and potential customers.
There is evidence that the most important part of an online video is the first ten seconds. Unless you gain the viewer’s attention, they will switch off and go somewhere else. However, avoid aggressive ‘attention-grabbing’ devices – treat the audience with respect, and talk about their needs and your solution.
The script, which should relate directly to the objective and the target audience, needs very careful attention, as do the visual effects. Graphics should be interesting and relevant. Use bullet points and captions where necessary, to emphasise and recap key points.
It’s imperative that your web video as a whole gets across your message effectively. Videos which try to cram in too much information, bombard the viewer with fast and confusing graphics, or repeat the same points over and over won’t be engaging – and may even irritate potential customers.
After creating your video, take a break and view again later – or ask someone with ‘fresh eyes’ to watch it with you. You may be able to identify areas that could be tightened up.
Good videos need not be expensive, but it’s important to set a realistic budget. Talk to video production companies about your objectives, target audience and what you want to achieve, and ask how much it’ll cost. Get them to show you examples of videos they’ve made for that cost, to see if you like the result.
Call to action
Your video should have some way for the audience to respond, so you can measure how well you’ve achieved your objectives. This is fairly straightforward for a video aiming to achieve direct online sales, as you can measure clicks-through to an online shop.
For more complex objectives, such as brand marketing, try to elicit a measurable action such as downloading a document or signing up for a mailing list. Simply measuring how many people have viewed your video won’t tell you how well they engaged with it, or whether it had the intended effect.