What’s the most common advice you’ve heard regarding consumer behavior when watching videos online? Hold on to that bit of so-called wisdom for a moment because we’ll come back to it. In the meantime, let’s talk about three strategies to level up your video marketing efforts.
Three Strategies to Engage Customers
My lender sent me a personalized video (PV) recently to celebrate my mortgage anniversary. My husband and I did not bake a cake or make a Champagne toast to celebrate the occasion. I wouldn’t have even known to mark the day without the reminder. But you know what? They took an otherwise benign moment and prompted me to consider the memories our family has made and the milestones we’ve marked in our home. I watched the whole video and felt all the warm and fuzzies while I was at it! Definitely not what I expected.
Even though I know there was not someone on the other end of that interaction who thought of me personally, it still created a sense of connection. In a world with endless impersonal emails and information rushing at us through all our screens, customers are looking for connection. They want to feel some sense of being understood or known and personalized videos can make them feel seen and important to your business. At the very least, it sets you apart from all the other generic messages your target audience gets flooded with every day.
Increase Production Quality
Video technology is quickly advancing and there are certainly occasions where a full crew and post-production team are the best way to accomplish your goals, but in this case, I’m not talking about that kind of production quality.
The combination of social media and our years of working from home and seeing people’s home offices through our screens have changed what’s acceptable. Some big brands are foregoing the full-fledged light kits and 8K production quality cameras for ring lights, a tripod, and a phone.
These intimate, down-to-earth videos often accomplish a different goal than a fully-produced product. Plenty of people have made a company announcement or described a course or product from their home office and come across as professional and worthy of trust.
So when we say you should increase your production value, it’s not necessarily about hiring a Hollywood-level team, but you also don’t want to make people motion sick. Just take the time to master basic shot composition, use a nice ring light, have your face fill most of the screen, and use a tripod or a stabilizer if you’re on the move.
Focus on Values
Customers are increasingly interested in supporting companies that reflect their values. Note Patagonia’s recent headline-making news and the good will/proclamations of loyalty it garnered among consumers. If they have the options, workers and consumers alike are more likely to pick a company that aligns with their own values, whether those are work/life balance, sustainability, or a commitment to human rights. In an increasingly impersonal world, consumers want to feel like they can feel good about who they are doing business with.
Here’s what’s really fun: Videos don’t even have to be directly related to your business to engage consumers and even make them more loyal to you. Patagonia’s current series, called Working Knowledge, is “a new series of stories grounded in wild places and activism.” I don’t see anything about outdoor gear in that description, but it does communicate Patagonia’s values and engages customers who hold the same ones.
For many video marketing goals, such as this kind of cinematic storytelling, you really do need a professional crew to do it well. You need a director of photography who can execute powerful and cinematic shots, a soundtrack that inspires, an editor who understands the emotional impact of a perfect cut, and the producer who can put it all together. This is where the money you invest in a professional crew will be worth every penny.
Let’s Bust That Myth, Shall We?
Okay, what is the bit of wisdom that comes to mind when you hear what consumers are looking for in a video? Here’s mine: the shorter the video, the better. Your video should be three minutes tops and 30 seconds really is ideal. You know what, if you can say everything in 15 seconds, that’s even better. People’s measly attention spans can’t handle the long-form videos anymore.
Well, it turns out that studies are now showing that’s not true! We are not only capable of watching longer videos (yes, even online!), but we can actually be really interested in that video. Let’s go back to Patagonia because they have a reputation for doing this so incredibly well. They’ve been putting together stunning long-form videos for years. They’ve used the longer-form videos to tell a story and take viewers on a journey where they sense the purpose of the brand. The incredible thing is that they aren’t talking about the brand at all. But they accomplish a true feat in making viewers feel something. They get inspired by a greater cause or feel compelled to head out into nature (for which they might need some gear, but whatever).
The Bottom Line
If you aren’t thinking about your video marketing, you really should be. Personalizing videos, creating a product that is easy to watch (whether professionally-produced or more casual), and connecting with a viewer’s values will help you level up your video marketing efforts. And don’t be shy about long videos because your viewers aren’t shying away from watching them (as long as they’re worth watching).