You still need to be in front of your prospects and customers during the coronavirus crisis. We’ve discussed some corporate communication strategies for how brands are responding as well as some examples of how brands are tackling the COVID-19 crisis.
Face-to-face meetings are an important part of the sales process. COVID-19 has made face to face meetings difficult. The next best thing to a face-to-face meeting is video. This is why video conferencing has become so important. However, using a service like Zoom for video conferencing only goes so far. This is where other types of videos pick up the slack. Social media marketing is most effective when it includes video, and that’s why video marketing is a must for ANY company, regardless of industry.
Even with all the challenges of COVID-19, when people buy a product or a service, they are buying from other real-life, living, breathing people, not some faceless company. We have seen a lot of brands create TV commercials during this time that are absolutely awful. The commercials lack creativity and failed to understand their value proposition.
We can learn from this failure by first realizing we need to use video to humanize our company, even though we are physically disconnected from each other. The most effective videos feature real people in real places. The question on many companies’ minds is, “Can we make an effective video given all the regulations and guidelines of COVID-19?” You still need the right locations and lighting. With the right help, professional-looking video can be brought to any location, even one in your home.
This is when you have a professional director coach you, using a service like Zoom, as you record your video with your camera. They help you choose the best location to record your video, help you position your lighting and frame your video properly using your camera and hold you accountable to getting the video recorded. A professional director knows the little tricks that can be done that make a big difference between an OK video and a great video.
For example, little things like removing distracting objects from the background or raising the camera two inches can contribute to the success of your video. While this will never replace the quality and experience of a full production crew and professional equipment, it is a good compromise between doing it yourself and having a full crew.
Remote directed video production service did not come along because of COVID-19. The idea has been around for years. I started remotely directing client videos in 2014 but it has become more popular in recent months. I see a lot of casting calls for actors to participate in commercial video shoots done this way. A lot of the videos we record through remote directed video production are recorded on a smartphone. However, we have also helped some of our clients build small remote camera systems that allow them to record with higher quality cameras. Once the recording is done, you upload it and it is edited professionally.
All the remaining video types listed in this article can benefit from remote directed video.
1-to-1 video is also a fairly new form of video and doesn’t need any professional directing help. It is when the video is created for just one person. These videos are a great sales tool and can also be used for internal communications when trying to explain or show something on your computer. I use this type of video when I am reviewing a client’s website with my development team.
There are a few different companies offering the ability to create a 1-to-1 video. Vidyard makes a plugin for chrome that allows you to create these videos on your desktop or Apple smartphone. They have a free and paid version of this service. The free version lets you track if the video was watched. The paid version of the software offers additional tools; such as CRM reporting and more engagement analytics.
In a 1-to-1 video, you want to start the video by letting the person who it is for know you are talking to them and only them. This is done simply by saying hi and saying their name at the beginning of the video. When the video is for sales I like to hold up a handwritten sign with their name on it as the video starts so it shows in the video thumbnail. I think a handwritten sign is important because there are some software products that will put people’s name in automatically and a handwritten sign shows that this video is truly for them. Once you have the introduction out of the way, go on to the rest of your video.
There are two main types of product demos: real-life and screen capture. The type you use will depend on your product. If you have a physical product, a real-life demo is best, with someone showing the product. The second is for software companies and that is screen capture.
If you are creating a screen capture demo, I would recommend including a real person to introduce the video. As I talked about earlier, it is important to have real people in your videos. I believe that a software company that starts their demo videos with a real person and ends with a real person after the demo is over has a competitive advantage over other software company videos that are faceless. The person only needs to be on cameras for a few seconds for this to work.
You can also add some animation for extra production value and audience engagement. Product videos need a real person to add scale to the product. The best product videos have a person demoing the product to the camera, not just a VO. These videos should have good lighting and show the right sequence of shots to properly show off the product.
A customer testimonial video from a happy customer has always helped build creditability for your product or service way before COVID-19. If you tell people how great your company is, it sounds like bragging. If someone else says it about your business, it sounds natural and they do the selling for you. This builds trust for your brand with prospects and customers.
Written testimonials are good for your business, but they are easy to fake and lack the credibility of a testimonial video. Video testimonials are more credible because someone is willing to publicly stand behind the experience they have had with your brand. You don’t need to write the script out, but you should, at the very least, have an outline. It’s good to interview the person in advance to help you know if they are a good fit and if their story will make a good testimonial. You will then use this pre-interview to map out any additional questions and to make sure they hit all the bullet points in your outline. This will also help you to make a plan for what footage you need to create the video.
Production quality isn’t as important with a testimonial, but the video needs to be watchable, the audio should be good, and the video shouldn’t be shaky or make the person look bad. So, put the camera on a tripod and get a mic and plug it into the camera. That being said, a well-produced testimonial video will have a 5 – 10-year shelf life, so, if you can afford it, spend the money it takes to do it right. Make sure they are on the front page of your website and every salesperson has a plan for how to use them in the sales process.
Influencer marketing is a very powerful way to get your message out to the world. Having someone who already has a social media following record a video about your product and service can be risky. What if they don’t say the right thing or the video comes out poorly. Using a remote director and working with experienced influencers who are willing to use the brand approved language can help. You don’t need to use influencers with huge audiences, someone, with a smaller audience that talks about things related to your product or services will be a better investment than someone who talks to millions of people about something that has nothing in common with your brand.
Animated video is a popular choice because you don’t need people or locations, but I don’t recommend it. Videos with real people in them help your brand sell more effectively than animated video. When animated video became popular around 2010, it was used to explain complex ideas and is still best used for this purpose. In the last few years, animated videos have all started to look alike and fail to provide any value to the viewer. It is best to stay away from this form of video. However, if you plan to combine the animation with real people, that is still a winning formula.
The thing to remember is, whatever you decide to do during COVID-19, you need to get started right away. The internet is crowded with video, making it hard to stand out and the longer you wait, the harder it will be. That doesn’t mean you should give up, but it does mean you need to create the best video that your budget will allow. Will your company go for it alone or hire a video marketer to help you through the process?