By Michael Mogill of Young Entrepreneur Council
Creating strong video content for your business is a good way to reach a variety of markets and engage your audience. As the founder of a company that produces video content for some larger-than-life brands (ranging from RedBull toCoca-Cola KO +0.07%), I can tell you that video is a very effective marketing tool when done well. However, more often than not, the videos I see startups and small businesses producing are done so poorly that they often end up doing more harm than good.
In the eyes of the consumer, your video is a reflection of your brand. To help you get off on the right foot with your video marketing strategy, here are the top 10 mistakes in video marketing that I commonly see businesses making — as well as tips for how you can avoid them.
Mistake #10: Making a video just to make a video
When you fail to make a plan, you plan to fail. That saying applies to life and video marketing. Does your video serve a higher strategic purpose? Is it branding you? Why are you making it? If you don’t know the answer, take a step a back.
The Fix: Approach video with a plan as would any other marketing campaign. If you can achieve a clear business objective through video, then go for it.
Mistake #9: Not branding correctly
Hearing someone recall your video is fantastic. But if they can’t remember the name of your company, it’s considered a fail. Many times we get wrapped in the making of the video that we forget its actual purpose: communicating the benefits of and promoting your business.
The Fix: Brand your video with your logo, website URL, or another piece of your identity — especially in the beginning. Here’s an example of a well-branded dental practice showcase video from one of our clients.
Mistake #8: Making your video too long
How long was the last online video you watched? Thirty seconds? Maybe two minutes? Research shows that 20 percent of people click away from a video within the first 10 seconds if it isn’t engaging enough. Plus, the more time you add to a video, the less likely people are to finish watching it.
The Fix: Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. About 60-90 seconds is the magic number.
Mistake #7: Not focusing on a single message
Here is a hypothetical: You just watched an online video for a company that talks about its new product, its heritage, a new location, stellar employees, business awards, recent philanthropic endeavor, personal message from the CEO, and new rewards program. What did you learn?
Probably nothing — in fact, it would be surprising if you even watched it all the way through.
The Fix: Deliver a single message with your video so viewers have a definite takeaway.
Mistake #6: Not calling out your call to action
“Visit our website.” “Give us a call.” “Follow us on our social media outlets.”
Did you include something like this in your video? If you leave your viewers in the lurch, they’ll be unsure of the next step to take — and you just lost a valuable lead, sale or click.
The Fix: Include a clear call to action so your viewers know what to do after they’ve watched your video.
Mistake #5: Failing to use SEO for your video
Getting your audience to see your video online is crucial. Just posting it on YouTube isn’t enough anymore. There are specific tactics and techniques that can drive web traffic to your site and video, and rank your site as number one in search results.
The Fix: Use proper video SEO techniques to increase the online visibility of your work.
Mistake #4: Expecting instant results
Rome wasn’t built in a day. This same mantra can be applied to video marketing. Very rarely do videos go viral. And when they do, most of the time it’s because of an established social media presence.
The Fix: Understand that a good video marketing strategy requires consistency, dedication, and patience.
Mistake #3: Improper placement of selling points
Waiting until the end of your video to convey your selling points is dangerous. The longer a video is, the faster viewer engagement drops (see Mistake #8). As in journalism, put the juicy bits in the beginning and follow them with supporting details.
The Fix: Major selling points belong at the start of your video.
Mistake #2: Failing to address your target audience
Sure, you have products and services that can benefit a wide audience. However, your video will be more effective if you focus on one point and don’t cast too wide a net. Different people have different pain points. You need to decide which ones you want to address. Remember, when you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one.
The Fix: Focus your message on a specific and well-defined target audience.
Mistake #1: Choosing the wrong partner or producer
Your viewers and potential customers are very subjective. They will be critical of the quality of your video and equate it to the quality of your business. Sure, anyone can use a smartphone to make a video, but is that how you want people to see your brand? And if you hire outside talent or an agency to produce the video, does the partner you’re working with know about your industry or understand the market? Ask a lot of questions to get the answers you need. After that, it’s time decide if your video partner can produce something that reflects the quality of your company — or part ways.
The Fix: Do your due diligence before hiring any outside talent or firm to create content for your business.
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A. Brent Lovell