So, you’re going to make a video for your business (and why wouldn’t you – the benefits can be huge) but that’s something you’ve never done before and you don’t really know what you’re doing. Don’t worry, I’m going to talk you through it. We’re going to look at some common and fairly simple types of video and then we’re going to look at planning your production.
The first thing to do is decide what kind of video you want. The main types of video you want to consider are:
As it suggests, this video gives a flavour of all of the major areas of your business. The purpose is to convince any potential customer who is searching (for the kinds of product or service that you provide) that your business can give them what they want. This could be showing the service a customer can expect when they come to your Accountancy firm, or the layout and style of your Italian caffe, or the skill of your engineers on the factory floor.
The How to
In this video you will give away some of your hard-earned expertise. That may sound crazy. Surely you want to sell your hard-earned expertise? The point here is to establish yourself as an expert in the mind of the viewer. For example, a bicycle shop may well post a short video showing, in simple steps, how to repair a puncture. People will search for this when they need it, and if they can follow the steps successfully, they will come to think of this shop as an expert centre. Then some time later when they need a service, or a repair or even a new bike they know exactly where to go for expert service.
The Product demo
This video is as straightforward as it sounds. The point is to show just how and why your product is better than all of the competition.
You may have noticed that at no point have I mentioned attracting new customers into the market. That is absolutely deliberate. Attractor videos (like the traditional TV advert which are designed to attract customers who don’t even know that they want your product yet) are a a whole other, complex, psychological beast of a production and require in depth discussion all by themselves… so we’ll leave them to another day. The most straight forward type of video production is what I call the confirmer. That’s a video designed for a potential customer who is already searching for the product or service they want, and the purpose of the video they watch will be to persuade them that your company can meet their needs and that they should stop looking for anyone else and phone you now.
Planning your video
First of all, look at who your customers are, and be honest. There is no point in making a video focused on high-end kitchens for large detached houses if your product range is made up of value range products for customers on a tight budget (unless of course your video is part of a marketing strategy to re-brand your business and make a drive for more affluent customers). Are your customers predominantly older or younger? Are they urban or rural? Are they single people or families or couples? When you know your customers, stop for a moment and think about what they will be looking for. For example, if your business sells and leases mobility scooters, your customers will invariably be older but the people doing the searching online will probably be their middle-aged children.
Next, think about what your customers want to see. In our example the children of the product end user want to see that the product they are arranging for their parent is suitable, that the cost is reasonable and that their parent will be looked after. In short they want to know that they can trust you. So what story are we going to tell in our video? “Wait – a story? I thought we were just making an advert,” I hear you cry. Well I don’t hear you cry that, you’re reading this on a screen somewhere else in the world so obviously I can’t hear you. This is merely a rhetorical device so that I can talk briefly about story telling in business videos.
Humans are suckers for a good story. We like them and we look for them all of the time, in drama, in sport and even in the news. Reality TV producers know this and that’s why talent shows are filled with contestants who have sympathy-drawing (sob) stories to tell. A good story gives us someone to root for. They also simplify the world and allow us to gain an understanding of incredibly complex issues. This is also the danger of our predilection for stories. Unless a subject can be told in the form of an easily relatable story, we don’t form a connection. We don’t engage. Which brings us neatly back to our business video. We need to engage our customers a little with our video so that they can then choose to engage fully with our business and make contact. None of this means that the story needs to be complex or epic in scope it just means that we need a narrative to which our target customer can relate. Let’s imagine an example.
Mrs. Kelley’s lovely old mum is taking a weekend break. She’s going to the seaside town where she went on her honeymoon 60 years ago. She’s going with her elderly friend Mrs. Dahoon. Both Mrs. Kelley’s mum, Mrs Keonig, and Mrs. Dahoon have difficulty in walking distances and they both use mobility scooters. They cannot take their own scooters along with them. So Mrs. Kelley now has to find a place where the two old friends can hire scooters for the 4 days they will be staying by the seaside. The place has to be quite close to the hotel. I’m not going to presume that Mrs. Kelley searches on Google, I don’t know what her preferred search engine is… ok it’s Google. She finds that there are 3 places in the town where mobility scooters can be hired. The first business has a website and on that site there is a page which deals with their terms for scooter hire and has a price list. The second business only has a listing on a business site. The third business has a website and on the homepage is an overview video. Mrs. Kelley watches the video. It’s short, only thirty seconds long. In the video an old man walks into the store with a younger man. Mrs. Kelley presumes it’s his son. They are both greeted by a smiling woman who shakes their hands. They look at some scooters, choose one and sign some paperwork. They shake hands again and the old man drives out with his son walking beside him, they are both smiling. The video closes with a caption screen. It reads: Shatner Mobility. Scooters for sale or hire from £500 or £10 per day. For information call 01648 xxx xxx.
Mrs. Kelley has seen everything she wants to. The customers being looked after and well treated. A good selection of scooters. Scooters that obviously work, and reasonable prices. She calls and books two scooters for the long weekend trip.
That particular video has a simple story, no dialogue and a call to action. It could be made with several cameras and professional lighting and original music and graphics OR it could be shot on a good quality smartphone and edited together using a simple video app like WeVideo, Magisto, or Montaj. When deciding how to shoot and edit your video, it is -as with your story – vital to cater to your customers and consider their expectations. But the important thing to note here is that the plan for this video probably looked a bit like this.
- Customers = older people & middle aged children
- show good service
- show range of scooters
- show happy customers driving away
- call to action with starting prices
Old man and his son come to the shop to browse the selection of mobility scooters. They are shown the scooters by helpful and friendly member of staff. They choose one that is right for the old man. They sign the paperwork. It is a very simple process. They drive away very happy. End the video with contact details and prices.
- Old man and son approach shop
- They enter
- They are greeted by smiling staff member
- They browse two or three different scooters
- They talk to the staff member
- They sign paperwork
- They leave with the old man riding his new scooter, they are both very happy
- Still image with text, contact details and prices
Once this list of requirements was jotted down the story became self evident. Then from the story came the shot list. As with most complex processes the trick is to break it down into small component steps. The next steps are to shoot the video and then we need to edit it and I’ll talk about both of these stages in my next blog.