How to start video marketing

Businesses need a video marketing strategy.

Video continues to grow in importance on every platform and channel.  It’s no longer just a piece of your marketing plan, it is fundamental to your outreach, goals, and overall business objectives – especially when it comes to your social marketing strategy.

Just take a look at these stats that HubSpot published on the state of video marketing this year.

It’s no surprise why video is seeing such a surge in popularity; video is some of the easiest content to consume.

But, if you don’t know what you are doing when it comes to video marketing, video can be one of the trickiest types of content to create.  Here are some recommended steps when it comes to developing a video marketing strategy for your brand/business.

Step one: target audience

Before creating an effective video, you need to know who you’re creating it for.  If you clearly define your target audience you can tailor the video’s format, messaging, and content to meet the needs and preferences of your viewers.  Which Buyer Persona are you trying to speak to?

Step two: determine the goal of your video

Before you jump into creating a video, give some thought to what your specific end goals might be – in other words, what do you want the video to do?

Are you aiming to drive traffic to your website? Sell a product or service? Educate the viewer on a new product or technology? Demonstrate “social proof” through real testimonials? Or maybe feature a specific lifestyle that aligns with your brand?  Ultimately, what do you want your audience to do after watching the video?

The goal of your video marketing strategy should be to educate, entertain, and inspire your viewers – this is the kind of content that gets shared and remembered.  

Step three: decide where your video will go live

Thinking about where your video will end up being seen is often an overlooked step, but knowing this can actually help you effectively plan out your video’s style, technical specs, and even the concept.  

Will it live on Facebook?  Behind a landing page form?  You should begin with one target location – where you know your audience will discover it, before you repurpose the video for other channels.  

A few examples of where your video might live:

  • Social Media Post
  • Facebook / Instagram Ad
  • Instagram Story
  • TV
  • Website
  • Email
  • In-Store Display

Step four: determine what type of video content to create

It’s time to figure out which video format will connect best with your audience and your niche.  Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from those that have already been successful (then put your twist on it).  We’ve seen some great marketing campaigns that have pulled a strategy from an unrelated industry and integrated it into their own market.

Some examples of video types to consider are:

  • Brand/Company Video
  • Commercial
  • How-To or Explainer Video
  • Testimonial Video
  • Case Study Video
  • Animated Video

Step five: work up a video budget

Many marketers make the mistake of thinking that putting a ton of money into a video project will automatically make it a huge success. On the flip side, not spending enough on a far-reaching campaign could hurt your brand’s image by letting the messaging come across in a low-quality way.

While bringing up the budget might feel a bit uncomfortable, funding plays a huge role in the video marketing strategy.  Look at the video’s ultimate goal as your key deciding factor. If you achieve your objective with this video, what impact and value does this bring to your company?

You also need to consider Step 3 – where will your video live?  For example, a video made for TV should have a higher production value than a video made for social media.  A brand video should look more polished than a testimonial video… You get the idea.

In the end, your budget will limit your production value as well as your concept scope – but these limitations don’t have to be negative.  

Your video budget should factor in the following:

  • Number of shooting days
  • Number of actors (paid or volunteer)
  • Number and cost of locations
  • Props, set designs and wardrobe
  • Special or visual effects
  • Level of animation and graphics
  • Music and sound effects
  • Number of days for final mastering/editing/amending\

Step six: nail down a video concept

The concept is key.  

What’s a concept?  A concept is the clear description of how and why we will make a video in a particular way.

Many people believe that their concept needs to be viral in order for their video to be a success. In reality, there is no one formula for going viral, so it’s better to focus on the sales, the big-picture goal, and where the video will live to give you the best shot at success.

We’ve found that it can sometimes take a couple of days to flesh out a concept to the point where other people can respond to it. But while “concepting” can take time, it’s a critical factor of making great videos.

Here is how we go about concepting our videos:

  1. Focus on the Message – Don’t fall into the trap of trying to put too much into one video.
  2. Script & Cut – The goal is to get a first draft of the script that includes everything you want to cover to get your message across. Then cut everything that isn’t critical to the message. Most of our scripts lose between 25-50% of their length during this process.
  3. Execution – Assess how likely you are to pull off the script. Do you have someone who has the screen presence to be on camera the whole time? What kind of b-roll should you be featuring? How will you balance the message with the production?

The goal of concepting is to give yourself the best chance of having a great video in the end.  Even with all of this preparation up front, you will probably come up with 10 or more bad concepts before you find your ideal approach.

Having a professional creative agency jump in to lead you through these beginning steps can be a tremendous help in nailing down an innovative video concept that will set you up for success.  When mixing your company’s best and brightest with an experienced team of videographers, writers, and editors – the sky’s the limit!

Step seven: find your pros

Now we need to find who will bring your ideas to life.  When deciding the best way to develop your videos, keep in mind your target audience, your budget, your time availability, and your creativity. By reviewing these elements you should be able to decide which option will be best for your brand.

Here are some options for you to consider:

  • Develop the video on your own or with your team: If you plan to develop videos on a regular basis with a low budget, this may be the best option for you. However, if you do this you still want to ensure that the videos maintain a level of quality – even if they’re amateur productions. Spend some time researching how to create great video and consider taking a course that can provide you with additional insights.
  • Work with a professional agency: This option is more expensive, but if you find the right team they will focus on the business result and how each dollar spent on production will bring you a return on your investment. However, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking to create a single, impactful video (or if you have a healthy marketing budget), working with professionals is certainly a beneficial option.
  • Engage bloggers or influencers to create and promote videos: Rather than dealing with making the videos yourself, or paying someone else and then having to find a way to promote them, why not work with someone who can make and promote your videos? Vloggers with a large and relevant audience will be happy to work with you on a partnership. By integrating your product or service into their current video format, there should be little extra work for them to complete.

Step eight: build your video concept structure

Once you have nailed down your video concept, it’s time to work on structuring your video so that it performs the way you want.

Here are the essential parts of a good video:

  1. The Hook – A hook or grabber is the part that compels an audience to sit up and pay attention (and will stop a viewer from clicking SKIP).
  2. The Problem – Introduce the specific problem your audience is facing and that you intend to fix.  Make the viewer connect to the problem so they are invested in finding a solution.
  3. The Solution – Share your solution with the audience.  Be sure to explain how other customers have benefitted from the product/solution.
  4. The CTA – The call-to-action tells the audience what they are supposed to do next.  Do you want them to follow a link to buy your product, visit your website, learn more, or maybe share the video? Make the next step obvious.

Step eight: understand the production process

We think this is the exciting part!  Now that you are equipped with a solid concept and structure, you can move forward with the production of your video.  There’s a lot of work in this step, so if you are not experienced, it’s highly recommended that you hire a professional team to lead you through the process.

Here is what is involved in the production process:

  • Pre-Production: This is where the planning happens and it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on your concept’s complexity.  Pre-production can include the following:
  • Script Writing
  • Shot List
  • Storyboarding
  • Itemized Breakdown
  • Casting
  • Location sourcing and permits
  • Props / Wardrobe
  • Shot Schedule
  • Production: This is the phase where most of your budget will be spent.  Shooting time can vary and can sometimes take a few days or a few weeks.  A successful production has many moving parts such as:
  • Equipment Prep / Rental
  • Actors / Talent Releases
  • Crew / Payroll
  • Location / Permits
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Scene Lighting and Prep
  • Walkthroughs and Blocking
  • Shooting
  • Post-Production: This is where the magic happens and your concept comes to life. Putting the final touches on your video can take days or weeks depending on the concept and how many people are involved in the approval arena.  Some elements of post-production are:
  • Transferring and Organizing Footage
  • Syncing and Trimming
  • Story Cut
  • First Cut
  • Client Review
  • Final Cut
  • Graphic / Titles
  • Visual Effects
  • Color Mastering
  • Audio Mastering
  • Exporting for Delivery

Step nine: decided how to measure success

What will constitute a successful video for you?  Your boss? Your organization?

Choosing some key performance indicators that correspond with your video goals is an extremely important step.  Without identifying an effective way to track the success of your video, there’s no way you can objectively understand it’s impact or the ways you can improve future video marketing efforts.

Step ten: distribute your video

When your video is completed, your job is not done yet.  It’s important to determine how and where to effectively distribute your published content so that it reaches your intended audience.

If your masterpiece is headed for TV, you’ll need a strong media buying strategy. If the video will be placed on your website, ask your webmaster to tag the video with proper keywords and descriptions. If it’s bound for social media, make sure you have a strategy ready for paid social advertising and the tools and accounts in place to pull this off.

If you have the time, you can also test different variables to optimize your branding video’s performance. Try giving it a different title, changing the call-to-action, or switching up the editing structures to drive different results.  There are several digital marketing agencies out there that can provide this service for you with full reporting capabilities.

Video marketing can be overwhelming at first.  However, if you take it step-by-step, and if needed, engage outside agencies, the rewards of video marketing can be monumental.