Read Time: 11 minutesImplement Simple & Effective Video Marketing Content for Your Company
B2B Video Marketing & Why You Should Care
How many videos have you watched on your phone today? Really think about it. The answer might surprise you. According to Cisco, by the year 2020, 75% of all mobile traffic will be video. That means close to three-quarters of your time on your phone will be spent watching video in just a few short years.
When you dig into why this is happening, it’s not that surprising. Social networks such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram have wholly embraced the video trend by providing a real-time “story” platform to share live video updates. We get our news from these same platforms, so news organizations have begun to broadcast shareable updates and stories. Not only that, but video production has become easier than ever as phone cameras become more sophisticated and video production tools become easier to use.
So, what does all this mean for business? While consumer brands have always embraced brand storytelling through video, business-to-business (B2B) has generally shied away from putting the effort into anything outside of a corporate message. And with good reason. The buying cycle in B2B can take months to several years. While a B2C customer may buy from a company after watching a video, chances are the B2B customer won’t. For them, video was a touchpoint, an awareness and sales tool, but not the end-all, be-all of the sales strategy. But this is changing.
B2B is the Market to Watch
We like watching videos. So much so that 64% of people are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it. Video also leads to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates when placed in an email. But most impressively in business, 59% of senior executives would rather watch a video if given the choice versus reading text. So, if your company isn’t doing video already, you’re missing the boat (and the sales!).
Now more than ever, you should be looking to incorporate video into your marketing plans. We are training ourselves everyday to seek stimulating content. We want to find things we can learn from, share and promote. This includes finding engaging content at home AND in the office. So, how do you utilize video for your B2B marketing strategy? In this article we are outlining the simple steps you can take to start as soon as you want. We will explore what it takes to identify the right opportunity, how to quickly film quality video, and ultimately, where you should be promoting it.
B2B Video Marketing Strategy
Let’s outline the basics. Before you start any marketing effort (including video marketing), you should identify four key variables:
- Who is your audience? What group of people do you want to watch this video? What are their expected viewing habits? Would video appeal to them?
- What is the video about? Brainstorm content ideas that will appeal to your audience. At this stage, we are looking to identify the core of what, where, and why you are producing the video.
- What does success look like? What is the goal of this video? To gain awareness in a new market? Solve a problem? Teach a lesson? You will want to clearly define the expectations of this video in order to correctly calculate ROI or success later on.
- What channels should you promote this in? How will this video be used? Will it live on your website? What about a blog? Social media? Trade show? Figure out where you should be promoting the videos you are creating based on your audience, content and goals.
Create A Video Storyboard
Depending on the length and content you are promoting, the next step we recommend is a storyboard. A storyboard is a visual, sometimes sketched view of your video timeline. This can be done as simply as drawing boxes on a piece of paper that quickly outline the order of what you will be recording. This is also the time to decide if you will have any words that will be on screen, or if you’d prefer to have someone read a script as a voice over. Another popular method is to outline your content in an Excel spreadsheet or use a free online tool like Wonder Unit. The key with a storyboard is simplicity. Your goal is to use the storyboard as a general roadmap in achieving your final video.
Storyboards are also a good place to get creative and test out an idea before you shoot the final product. Want to do an overhead shot of a new product to demonstrate a unique feature? What would that look like? Could you use callouts? What about a voice over? Should you zoom in at a certain point or cut to a new view? The more you think through these details ahead of time, the smoother video production will be.
The Right Equipment for the Job
When it comes to shooting video, you’re in luck. Most everyone has a smartphone equipped with a high-powered camera these days. We recommend using a smartphone over expensive cameras when shooting video for social media channels and blogs. (Pro Tip: Shoot your video horizontally if filming a video to post on YouTube. Vertical shooting should be saved for social media stories.) The only caveat to this is sound. If you are placing a voice over or text on image, then you can get away with having sub-par sound quality since you’ll be cutting it out later. However, if you are interviewing someone and aren’t using your computer or aren’t close to your phone (for example, shooting on a shop floor), you may want to invest in a small microphone that you can either plug into your phone or have your video subject wear – like this one. Another consideration for your smartphone is how you will shoot it. You can either hold the camera yourself, or invest in a small tripod that can assist in stabilizing your shots.
If you don’t have a smartphone, or don’t feel comfortable using your device for work, your company could invest in an entry-level video camera. At the very basic level, you have the well-known GoPro. These are great for action shots, grabbing unique angles (think filming from inside a machine), or even time-lapse. These cameras are incredibly portable and intuitive, but they have their limitations. Depending on your model, they aren’t always the highest quality of shots. It may work for a video online or social media, but you may be disappointed if you’re looking for more professional quality. You are also limited by the lens. Like your phone camera, you are limited to the lens that comes with the device. However, the new Fusion GoPro does shoot in 360 degrees, creating even more unique content. But it also comes with a $699.99 price tag.
The next level up in video cameras would be utilizing a DSLR camera (Nikon or Canon) and operating in video mode. Or, if you know you will be doing a lot of video, investing in a handheld camera. For Canon, we recommend either a Canon Rebel or their Vixia line of camcorders. When it comes to Nikon, they also have a great entry-level DSLR, the D3300. If you’re going to invest in this type of equipment, you better be prepared with someone on staff who knows how to operate it. Your best use of this type of investment is in exploring settings outside of “auto.” The benefit to these cameras is you have more creative freedom with utilizing different types of lenses and creative looks. Your images will also be high quality enough for constructing professional-looking video. The con to this type of setup is that it isn’t as portable as some other options, and depending on your model, you may need to download directly to your computer. This adds extra steps and can slow production if you are shooting on-the-go.
The final step up is outsourcing this part of the video production. Whether it be a B2B marketing agency like Vive, or a videographer, you can invest in a professional to shoot your film if you have neither the time nor resources to do so.
Video Lighting Techniques
You have your goals set, your camera ready to go…now what? Now the fun part! Organize your resources and people you need to shoot the scenes you have laid out. Remember, one of the most important things to consider in your plans is lighting. Having the right amount of light for your camera to operate in can make or break your shot. Here are three quick lighting tips to get better shots:
- Use natural light when you can. Go outdoors, or use light coming in from a big window. Natural light looks best in video and will make your subjects look natural. Be careful of direct sunlight when filming people, always try to be shaded or covered by clouds if you can. Also, never, never, never place someone in front of a window. To use light coming from a window, position yourself with your back facing the window. That way, your subject will be illuminated with the natural light.
- Stay away from weird colors. Wall, floor and ceiling colors can all affect the color of your subject. If possible, try to steer clear of any vibrant or distracting colors that might take away from your video (especially reds). Also, all lightbulbs emit a certain color of light. For example, tungsten light bulbs are usually yellow, where fluorescent bulbs can emit green light. If you’re video footage tends to look off color, it may be the light that’s in the room. You can avoid this by replacing bulbs with ones that emit white light, like these. Another reason why natural lighting is always best when available.
- Add your own light. When shooting indoors, or somewhere dark, you sometimes can’t escape adding your own lights. A simple light setup involves two lights. If you are looking straight at the camera, you would have a light placed on either side of it pointing at you. The reason for two lights over one is shadows. You remove the chance of having hard shadows behind you when you have lights coming in from two different directions. You can achieve this with basic lamps in the office, or invest in a cost-effective lighting kit.
If you’re capturing a large office area or building, you don’t have to worry as much about the above. Ultimately, the best outcome is for your video to look consistent, no matter what lighting setup you choose to pursue.
You’re all ready to shoot. But how do you know this will look good and keep people engaged? There are some simple techniques in video that will help keep the attention of your audience and make you look like a pro from day one.
- Let the action do the work. A lot of times, you may feel like you need to move the camera to make a shot more interesting. The truth is, the best thing you can do for your subject is to let your camera be still. If you are filming a person or something moving, focus on them, hit record, and let your camera be. If using a smartphone, it’s best to invest in a small tripod that can stabilize your phone. Don’t let a shaky hand or unnecessary zoom get in the way of the real action.
- Rely on the rule of thirds. If you’re unfamiliar with this basic design principle, do a quick Google search. Your shots will always be visually pleasing if you fall back on this basic photography principle.
- Try something new. Not sure what something will look like? Test it out! There is nothing wrong with trying a new angle or depth of focus for the sake of visual interest. It’s easiest to try new things when shooting places or things so you’re not wasting a subject’s time. But like anything in the creative field, video is a medium and is meant to be explored.
- Flattery always works. Your job when filming is to get the best shot possible, and you do that by making people feel comfortable. Compliment their attire, tell a funny joke, or simply smile to get them to open up. Generally speaking, no one likes to be photographed or filmed, but you can make someone feel better by engaging them first.
- Practice makes perfect. You will not be a rockstar videographer ready to quit your day job on day one. Filming takes time and practice, and the more you do it, the better you will become. Ease into it by doing quick videos you can post to social media, and adapt into webinars and How-To videos. You should be using video as a single tactic in your robust marketing plan, not relying 100% on it. Do what aligns with you and your company’s goals and over time and you will see the return.
Putting It All Together
Professional video software is incredibly robust and useful to those who know how to use it. But if you are looking to create simple videos for your company, it can be a daunting task to learn a program like Adobe AfterEffects or Final Cut Pro. Instead, you should be looking for tools that can get you the results you need by assembling your video, providing graphic options, and streamlining your video process to get content generated quickly and efficiently.
There are several online companies who offer options like this, or you could opt to use a program that comes with your computer like Apple’s iMovie. Below we’ve listed several video editing programs we think are worth a try if you are looking to assemble video yourself:
- Apple’s native Mac program provides almost everything you would want from a video production standpoint. You can easily drag and drop your video files, add text and graphics, add sound or voiceover, and export in several different setups. The limitation to this comes in creating a custom look. Moreover, your videos are templated in pre-set settings in the program and will have a similar albeit consistent look. Also, you need to have a Mac laptop or computer in order to access the program (sorry PC’ers!).
- Soapbox by Wistia. We recently became acquainted with this program and were immediately impressed with its capabilities. This is an online tool that downloads as a Google Chrome extension (no PC requirements) that allows you to record video through your webcam. It simultaneously records you at your computer AND your computer screen. The possibilities for this are endless. You can easily record How-To videos, webinars, event recaps, company reports, onboarding material, etc. Once finished, you control at what points you want to show the recording of yourself vs. the screen, or even a split-screen version. You can also include links and text throughout the video. You do have to pay $7/month if you want to export your videos and place on your own channels. However, this is the most streamlined software we’ve seen for implementing quick videos.
- Adobe Products. These products have a steep learning curve, but if you are looking to make constant video content, it may be worth taking the time to learn how to use an Adobe program. You have three (most popular) options, being Spark, Premiere Pro, and AfterEffects. Each comes with its pros and cons, and commitment to one over the other depends on your skill level. Generally speaking, Spark will be easier for you to learn and implement than Premier Pro or AfterEffects. However, AfterEffects has way more capabilities when it comes to assembling professional videos (and is the program we use here at Vive).
Whatever direction you decide to go, it comes down to what works for you and aligns with the original goals set by the company. A word of advice is to carefully consider whether or not this is something worth the time and investment to handle inside the organization. An alternate option, just like with shooting video, is to outsource to an agency like Vive that can assemble video cuts quickly and efficiently. We do this regularly for clients of ours and are skilled in producing them in an expedited manner.
Promoting Your B2B Video: Channels
You have your final video, now let’s get some eyeballs on it. Depending on the content, you may want to use the video in multiple places, or even repurpose it by posting it a few times on different channels. If you’re stuck on what channels make sense for your video, here are a few examples of types of content and where to post them:
- Employee Focus
- Social Media Channels
- Internal Company Newsletter Email
- Company Website
- Social Media Channels (depending on if it makes sense)
- Sales Emails
- Customer Service Emails
- Company Updates
- Social Media
- Company Website (maybe dedicated page on website)
- Sales Emails
- Customer Service Emails
This is not an exhaustive list, but merely an overview of how your channel strategy should follow the type of content you are providing your audience and customers. Ultimately, it’s up to you on what makes sense for your business in targeting your ideal audience.
Promoting Your B2B Video: Posting
Not all channels will let you post your video as it is. A lot of times (like with email, Facebook and blogs), you need to post your video to a hosting network like YouTube or Vimeo. Sometimes, when you export a video, you may get a file that is a lot larger than you intended. A quick fix for this is to download a video compressing tool like HandBrake. Tools like this are free and will easily scale your video down according to the size or channel you need it optimized for. It’s a handy tool for any marketing team to have readily available.
That’s a Wrap
As video increasingly becomes a person’s preferred way of receiving communication, businesses will need to be savvier in presenting content in new ways to engage customers and invigorate the sales cycle.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this, don’t sweat it. Start slow by finding an internal champion to provide video for your organization. Or, look outside the company for an agency who can be an extension of your marketing efforts and provide engaging content for your organization.