Few marketing techniques give you more impact than video content. In the US 183 million people watched more than 37 billion online videos in September 2012 — and that’s just one of a host of compelling statistics about the power of video you can see here .
Most tellingly, B2B companies using video have experienced in annual sales increase of up to 36%, according to Brightcove.
Where do you start if you want to tell your story through video? In the Irish market here are the three main options to choose from, in increasing order of cost:
Option 1: Screen capture €
Screen capture is the most cost-effective way to get some video content onto your company’s YouTube channel. Using a free tool like www.screenr.com and a microphone-equipped headset, you can talk your way through a presentation on your desktop, recording your voice as if you were giving the presentation to a roomful of people. Your voice and what’s showing on your desktop will be recorded as video. Screenr allows you to resize the area of your desktop that is captured, letting you frame out anything you don’t want to show, like other open tabs on your browser or your bookmarks. Once you’ve finished, you can download the recording; or if you already have a YouTube account, click “publish to YouTube.” YouTube will then give you code to let you embed your video as a blog post on your website. While Screenr is free, your time is money, and it could take you one to two hours to create a finished product you are happy with.
Option 2: Customer success stories on video €€
You can have a finished corporate video for between €1500 and €5000, but filming your M.D. talking about your products isn’t the way to go. Instead, work with a video production company to capture your customer success stories. Video your happiest customers talking to camera about the problem you solved for them, and how you’re different from other providers they’ve worked with. A scriptwriter or director typically pre-interviews the person to be filmed, then pieces together a narrative and a rough shot list, for use on the day of filming.
Option 3: Animation €€
This is at the high end of budget, in the €5,000 to €10,000 range, but the impact can be impressive, at a price point not dissimilar to the cost of printing and distributing a traditional glossy brochure. If you have a complex product or service to explain, like the software that Drogheda-based Armac Systems sells to the global aviation sector, animation in particular does a great job at helping your target market grasp what you do. The usual process is to work with an agency or scriptwriter to develop the concept and the voiceover, and then move into production. A typical way to approach an explanatory animation is to show the old and problematic way of doing things, followed by the new way, ending with a clear call to action. Animations can easily be localised for international markets: when recording the voiceover artist’s script in studio, a second artist and translated script in your target market language can be recorded for a small incremental cost.
When you post your video onto YouTube, please don’t omit the essential step of writing relevant descriptive information — this is vital for helping your service to be found through YouTube search or another search engine. A detailed description of your video allows potential buyers to zero in on your video, no matter how niche your product or service. Hubspot has created a good guide to optimising your video descriptions on YouTube for search engine visibility.
If you have your eye on a range of international markets, it’s possible to set up a dedicated YouTube channel for each, as retail giant Lidl has done for territories like Spain, Poland, Germany and so on. YouTube is localised in 43 countries and available in 60 languages, so there is ample opportunity to reach the market you’re looking to penetrate.
What are your experiences of online video? Are there good examples of business-to-business video marketing you could share?
Sheila Averbuch is a former business journalist and managing director for the content services agency ENNclick .