Done the right way, there are few trust-building, explanatory tools as powerful as a business video, especially for businesses with particularly complex products. But, of course, a poorly produced video will have the opposite effect, making a product and business appear unprofessional or behind the times. Here are our top five tips for designing a compelling business video that describes it all.
1. Plan Your Storytelling
First, clarify your purpose. Will this be a cut and dry video explaining what your product is and how it can be best be used, or are you looking to communicate a little bit more about your company’s background and mission? Next, think carefully about the kind of storytelling approach you’d like to take. Do you prefer a traditional storytelling structure with the description of a problem at the beginning and the discovery of a solution by the video’s end, or do you want to experiment with something more structurally wacky and creative? Will you rely on case studies and anecdotes, or do a few well-chosen facts and figures say it all? Oftentimes, it’s best to make an abstract product or process concrete through the first-person story of fictional customer X, or through the use of a metaphor that relates directly to your audience’s experiences.
If you’re really having trouble discerning your story’s arc, choose from a range of storyboarding or scriptwriting products to help you plan it out. In the end, it may even be worth consulting with a professional writer or editor to get it just right. The last thing you want is to discover you need a change of direction midway through a shoot.
2. Use Relevant Imagery
Sometimes, featuring video footage of a business owner or expert employees is all a video needs to foster familiarity. But, if you’re going for originality, these corporate-style videos have largely been overdone, and won’t help a business stand out in any flooded market.
Contrast that to the unique imagery Dropbox uses in the introductory video on their homepage. Images are always relevant, relating directly to the script and illuminating how processes work by acting them out on screen. For instance, when the narrator talks about having, “Pieces of you everywhere,” and feeling you need to, “Always have your stuff when and where you need it,” both the problem and the solution are made concrete for us visually. What’s more, they become sticky, far more likely to bubble up to the surface when we encounter the problem in our daily lives.
You can get that same look at an affordable rate through stock photography sites (like BigStock, Shutterstock, and others) which are chock full of stock images, stock vectors, and stock videos that can be easily manipulated to enact the story you’re looking to tell.
3. Provide a Call to Action
Just as every website needs sustained, repeated and well-tested CTAs both above and below the fold, a business video needs a powerful CTA. What, after all, is the point of describing a business’ products and services if it’s unclear just how a customer can get involved? While it can be effective to include CTAs throughout the video, a compelling CTA at the end of a video is an absolute must. If the videographer is a lawyer, this is his closing argument. Make it clear; make it good.
4. A/B Test
Powerful as business videos may be, it’s important to ensure yours is doing everything you need it to do. Test whatever you think might be relevant, whether that’s something as broad as an entirely different narrative structure, or something as subtle as a character’s hair color in an important explanatory section. Google Analytics Content Experiments is a great bet for this, as is Optimizely.
Or go the non-scientific route and have your initial fans vote on their favorite versions of the video over social media. This way you’ll be getting real feedback, engaging loyal users, and reaching out to new ones at the same time.
5. Splurge on the Extra Tools
Nothing screams “amateur” quite like poor video and sound quality. Invest in or rent even basic recording and video equipment, including an external microphone and lights. One cheap trick for better sound recording: head to the closet. There’s nothing like a small space and a vibrant wardrobe to deaden any background noise. Once you’ve got your video shot, make sure to invest in good editing software, whether it’s as inexpensive as iMovie or as expensive as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier Pro.
With the right tools and a thoughtful approach, your business video will be effective not just as an educational tool but as a means for converting those customers. Think it out, do it right, and have fun.
About the Author:
Rob Toledo loves CSS3, no longer supports IE7 or lower and still prefers Firefox over Chrome, despite pressures from his management to switch. He can be reached on Twitter @stentontoledo