Marketing Video Marketing Video Production Visual Storytelling

Value-Added Video

Value-Added Video

Business is about building trust. Whether you sell shoes or mortgages, if you can show potential customers that you’re an expert, you’ll win their confidence. The internet is full of videos that describe what a company sells. Why not offer something more?

A promotional video that teaches people something they want to know fosters goodwill. Who doesn’t appreciate helpful advice from an expert? Plus, a value-added video demonstrates your expertise and it may just give you a following. Answer a useful question well, and people will not only appreciate your efforts, they’ll look to you the next time they have a question.

As a business owner, you’re passionate about what your company has to offer. A value-added video gives you the opportunity to share that passion with the world. It could be how to fold a fitted bedsheet or why you need different types of wine glasses. Teach, empower and engage your customers.

Would you rather buy a barbeque from the store that shows you rows of product, or from the store that taught you how to prepare meat for smoking? What about the landscaping service that gives you a video on how to plant spring bulbs? Or, the tool rental place that shows you how to power wash?

See how this video describes a service, while teaching the importance of a good bike fit.

Now that you know the importance of a proper fit, where will you go to have it done? That’s the power of a value-added video. Show and sell your expertise. We all have special knowledge and skills that make us valuable to our customers. What can you teach yours?

You have an expertise to share. We have the expertise to capture it in an engaging video. Let’s get together and talk about how to showcase your business.

Video Marketing

Co-operative social networking is a win-win

Co-op social networking sets off the fireworks
Co-op social networking sets off the fireworks

by Debbie Bateman

I’m sure that you know how important networking is for connecting with potential customers. When we need a product or service, we all tend to ask someone we know for a recommendation. The advantage of this approach is that it gives us confidence in the quality of the product or service being offered. If the person we know was satisfied, we believe we will be satisfied too.

It used to be that word-of-mouth spread by phone or face-to-face contact. Nowadays it spreads by the internet and the message reaches an exponentially increasing audience. Thanks to social media for business, satisfied customers can share recommendations and business owners can share their expertise with a huge audience.

The key to sharing expertise and winning new customers is to provide value-added content. It demonstrates your expertise and it makes people happy because it solves a problem. Video is a great platform for this purpose because it grabs people’s attention.

But what is value-added content? If you figure out what your customers need to know and give that information to them, you are providing value-added content. For example, a lawn care service might explain how to remove fairy rings. A roofing company might explain how to tell when a roof needs replacement.

Customer recommendations and value-added content are good, but what if your marketing budget is limited? You may think that you can’t afford videos. The driving force behind all social media is people helping each other. The same force can be used to expand the budget available for video and the number of people who will see the video. If businesses that market to a similar customer base combine their resources and create a video that is shared on all of their social networks, the reach of the message virtually explodes.

Let’s look at a simple example. A butcher shop wants to highlight the quality of the meat it provides. Local chefs want to showcase the wonderful meals they prepare at their restaurant. They decide to join forces for marketing. The butcher shop provides the steak and the chefs prepare a meal—all of this is captured on video. You can almost taste the steak it looks so good. Both businesses share the video on their social networks. The message reaches more people. Both businesses gain new customers as a result and they both were able to stretch their marketing budget. Talk about a win/win.

Here are a few other potential matches:

  • a cheese shop and a wine shop
  • a business offering kayak tours and a nearby resort
  • a photographer and a wedding planner
  • a realtor and a landscaper
  • a childcare service and a yoga studio

There are hundreds of combinations. You already know which businesses fit best with yours because you already network with them. Share the cost, fun, creativity and adventure while increasing your social reach. Let’s find someone you can team up with and together we can create that next great video sensation.


Video Production Visual Storytelling

Shooting video with a smartphone

Smartphone videoLots of articles have been written about how to produce videos with a smartphone. Most of them describe how to use the equipment and skip over the need for video production skills. This can be misleading. If you don’t have video production skills, you won’t create useful videos and it doesn’t matter what type of equipment you use.

Don’t get me wrong. I think using a smartphone to shoot video is a great idea. Why? Because it enables you to see if you can develop the skills that go into producing an effective video. And you can do that without spending a lot of money. If you’ve decided to shoot your own video using a smartphone, these are some of the skills you’ll need.

Skill #1: Shooting strong visuals

A smartphone lets you practice the basics of capturing strong visuals: composition, camera moves and lighting. With a smartphone, you can experiment with angles and level of focus. You can try simple camera moves like panning and tilting. You can also learn about effective lighting. Try shooting under various lighting conditions. See what the shadows say when they move across a person’s face. Lighting allows you to capture mood, but when used carelessly it can ruin a video.

Most people go through a few stages in their discovery. Your first reaction may be, this is cool. I can actually shoot video. Wow. Your friends and family will cheer you on. Then the next stage will arrive. You will start to discover errors. If you care about improving, you will likely reach the stage at which you think everything you shoot sucks. Congratulations, you are on your way. The everything-I-shoot-sucks stage is the most important stage because it means you are actually learning to tell the difference. Dig in. Soon you will begin to improve in significant ways. There will be plateaus, yes. Never mind. Keep pushing and soon you’ll move up the learning path.

Skill #2: Capturing quality sound

As your images improve, you may come to realize that the sound quality is not on par. Try watching a selection of YouTube videos. People will stop watching a video with poor sound sooner than they will stop watching poor visuals. If you’re going to produce your own videos, you need to learn how to capture quality sound. This will likely involve using a better microphone than the one on your smartphone. You’ll need to test microphones and different techniques until you find the best ways to get quality sound. This will take you as much time and effort as developing visual skills.

Skill #3: Telling an interesting story

The whole time you’ve been learning about visuals and sound, you should be developing your storytelling skills. Without story, videos are boring. Watch anything good. The more a video sticks with you, the better its story. A person who cares about creating good stories should be constantly looking for them in books, movies, newspapers, TV shows and everyday conversation. Whenever you find a good story, ask yourself what makes that story good. Many books have been written about story plots and how they work. You can excel at storytelling if you take the time to study these books.

Skill #4: Editing down to the essentials

The final step is editing. Without editing, you will not have a video people will watch. Everybody shoots stuff that is not useful or engaging. If material doesn’t add to the story, take it out. Keep reducing, always challenging yourself to remove more. The better you trim, the sharper the end result.

So those are the essential skills and they take time to learn. As with any skills, the more you practise, the better you will become. And yes, you can do all of this with a smartphone.


Video Production Visual Storytelling

What is pre-production and why should I care?

Pre-production counts
Like a glassblower we pre-plan our productions

People tend to associate video production with pointing the camera and shooting scenes. They think about location, lighting and who will appear on camera. All of that is important. Yet, the work that comes before the shoot is every bit as important.

The work before the shoot is referred to as pre-production. During pre-production, we imagine the end result in increasing detail with input from you at each step of the way. By the time that we show up to shoot the video, we know exactly what we’re looking for and why it’s important.

We begin with a needs analysis. What do you expect your videos to achieve for your business? A video that looks good is fine and dandy, but the real test of success is whether the video helps your business achieve the intended results. For example, an irrigation supply store might bring in new customers by showing how their timing device saves money. A resort might attract new tourists by showing them a day-in-the-life of a visitor.

Once we know the business results that you need, we suggest creative ways of shaping that message into a story in a brief document called a treatment. The treatment helps everyone begin to visualize what the final video will look like.

With a clear agreement on the best approach, we detail our plan of attack. This comes in the form of a storyboard or script. Again, we check with you to make sure the content is accurate and serves your business objectives.

Then we create a shot list and a schedule, so that when we show up at your business we are as efficient as possible. This reduces the impact on your business.

By the time the pre-production work has been completed, we will have shot the entire video in our heads many times. We will have refined our approach and given careful thought to how we might best tell the story visually. More importantly, every aspect of the production will have been planned to meet your business objectives.

Video Marketing

Mini videos are right on target

Debbie Bateman

When adding video to their website, many small businesses create a single video that provides general information about what their company offers. They combine site tours, testimonials and the other elements that suit their business into a single video. But this type of video may not be the best way of drawing in new customers.

It’s true. Some topics demand more length. For example, if you want to use a video to teach a technical skill or demonstrate a complex process, it will probably have to be longer. That’s okay because the people watching the video are willing to put time into learning the skill or understanding the process.

But if your purpose is to market your business to new customers, you may achieve better results with a series of mini videos that are each less than a minute long. An effective mini video might even be as short as ten seconds. Let’s face it. Nowadays people are inundated with information, and they favor sources that are quick and snappy.

The main advantage of a mini video is that it can be targeted at the specific needs of your customers. A mini video can answer a question, solve a problem, or broadcast testimonials from satisfied customers. It’s all about choosing a subject your customers care about. Do that well and they will not only watch your video, they will share it with their friends. Now that’s effective marketing!

These are a few ways you can use mini videos to engage your customers:

  • A frequently asked question video gives customers the answer to something they really want to know. For example, a lawn care company might post a video on how to remove moss. They’d be a hero to countless gardeners on Vancouver Island and their mini video would spread at breakneck speed. (Kind of like moss in a rainforest.)
  • A quick tips video gives customers expert advice on matters they care about. Realtors could give homeowners tips for selling their property. Furniture makers could explain how to maintain a fine piece of furniture.
  • A video tour highlights your products and services. It’s like a visit without the cost of gas. A high-end shoe store could attract out-of-town visitors with a video tour. A marina could showcase the range of services it provides.
  • A video profile of a key staff member gives new customers a personal connection. Show potential customers your face and they will feel like they have met you. This is particularly important for businesses that offer personal or professional services, such as dentists, hair stylists, realtors and more.
  • A special service video lets you stand out from your competition. If you offer something other businesses don’t, show it off. An exclusive resort that offers gourmet picnics and one-of-a-kind wedding facilities can showcase these services to the world.
  • A community event video spreads goodwill. Make people feel good and they’ll feel good about your business. If you sponsor an event that benefits the community, let your customers know. We only have to think of WestJet to know how effective this can be.
  • A testimonials video gives voice to your satisfied customers. It’s as good as a word-of-mouth referral and it spreads much faster. Testimonials bring in new business. In today’s tech savvy world, consumers check customer reviews before they buy. So make sure you give that to them.

When it comes to mini videos, there are many possibilities. Remember, the key is to think like your customers. Once you’ve figured out what they need, give it to them as a mini video. You’ll win their trust and their business.

Mini videos hold your customers’ attention and are more likely to be shared on social media. Plus, if you post five or six mini videos separately, you’ll move up on the search results. As you know, strong marketing is all about repeat visits.

So next time you’re ready to up your marketing with video, don’t assume that a single video provides all the answers. You might achieve more with a series of mini videos.