The Future of Marketing Is Video: Here’s How to Get Started Allie Wolff One-third of all activity on the web is spent watching video so a smart marketer would be remiss to leave video out of their social media marketing campaign. And internet users aren’t just flocking to obvious video hubs like YouTube. In fact, 82 percent of Twitter users watch video on the platform, and half a billion people watch video on Facebook every day. It’s clear that people love video. But if you’re a solopreneur on a budget, or you’re just not ready to hire a professional production crew, video marketing can be intimidating. While your blog and email marketing are familiar and easy to edit in a pinch, a marketing video has many more moving parts. You have to write your script, deliver it in a compelling way, and pay attention to technical components like lighting, sound, and setting. You have plan time to record multiple takes and plan more time to edit your footage. Finally, there are optimization best practices to employ when using your videos in your marketing campaigns, too. But don’t let that scare you off. Part of the reason why video content is so prevalent nowadays is due to the relative ease of its creation. In fact, you may already have some of the tools you need to get started with video marketing. The Right Video Marketing Equipment To get started with video marketing, the first thing you need is good equipment. This doesn’t always mean expensive, however. Today’s smartphones are capable of recording video at a level of quality that internet users are already accustomed to — so unless you’re certain your audience will expect professional-grade videos, you can use your smartphone to film your marketing video. In addition to your smartphone, you’ll have the most success if you invest in the following three things: A microphone. If you’re using your phone, the built-in audio will sound canned — and if you’re filming outside, it will pick up background noise. A corded lavalier mic is relatively inexpensive ($20-100) and plugs right into your phone’s audio jack. Stabilization. Unless you’re tremendously confident in your camera skills (or a nauseating effect is part of your video marketing strategy), you’ll need a tripod or a hand-held gimbal to keep your viewers from feeling like they’re on a roller coaster. And if you’re doing the whole thing yourself, a tripod is essential. A video editing program. Some computers have simple video editing apps built-in. You can also find a slew of free editing software options online that may require a little bit of a learning curve but ultimately ensure you get a seamless marketing video. Everything else, like artificial lighting, green screens, or fancy editing software can be helpful but aren’t essential. Plan Your Video Content Simply creating a video doesn’t ensure people will watch it. The content in your marketing video is key, and you can use many of the same tactics you use for your other marketing content to inspire your video creation. For example, imagine you have a very successful blog post that provides little-known stats about your industry. You can take those stats and weave them into your video script, or use one of them as a hook at the beginning of your video. The type of video you create depends largely on which stage of the marketing funnel you’re using it for. A video demonstration of your product is great for warm leads but may come across as pushy or presumptuous to a cold audience. Here are a few common styles of marketing videos that, when customized, can work at any stage of the marketing funnel: The storytelling video. If your business has a unique backstory, inspiring founder, or particularly hilarious employee, you may be able to capture your audience’s attention using creative storytelling. The educational video. What are your prospects interested in? If your company sells POS software to retailers, for example, you might create an educational video on the top technology trends in retail. The product/service video. Sometimes, a straightforward explanation of your product or service is best — especially if you let your natural enthusiasm shine through. The testimonial or case study video. People are inspired by social proof, and what better way to apply the “show, don’t tell” mantra than to let your customers speak for your business? Plan Your Filming Session It goes without saying that you should have all of your equipment ready and charged the day before you film. But here are a couple of other essential things to have in place: Lighting. Even the best video content can’t mask a poorly-lit video. Choose a location that’s well-lit but not oppressive (fluorescent lights and high noon are generally a no-no). Morning and evening tend to be best for filming outside, and avoid mixing indoor and outdoor light. Practice. Spend a little time in front of your camera (or phone) before filming day, reading your script. Amend the parts that feel awkward; it’s essential that you appear confident in your video. Make time to review your footage — especially if you’re filming in an unusual location, enlisting the help of others, or facing some other logistical restraint. There is little more frustrating about filming than believing you’ve captured the shots you need, only to realize later that your microphone wasn’t on or the lighting was poor. When editing, save frequently. Editing is all-consuming when you’re new to it, and it’s easy to forget to save your work when you’re immersed. Save early and often to avoid rework. Optimize Your Finished Product Once you’ve created your first marketing video, put it to use in multiple arenas to see what works best. Use them in social ads, on social media posts, in your email marketing, and on your webpage. Optimize each video for the platform where you’re sharing it. For example, many Facebook users watch video with the sound off — so you’ll have the best results if you add captions before hitting “publish.” Get Creative Gone are the days of cheesy local ads featuring a too-enthusiastic business owner yelling at his viewers (we hope). With relative ease, you can create stunning videos with custom animations, special effects, and slideshows using one of the many apps or services available online. Video has always been one of the most entertaining mediums for viewers around the world, so get creative when considering different ways to imprint your brand on your customers’ mind. Once you get over the initial jitters, you may find that creating videos is your new favorite marketing tactic.