Andrew de Villiers
Video Marketing, Covid-19 & You
Unpacking video marketing in the age of Coronavirus
‘Commercial Video Explained’ articles will run every 2 weeks and feature a new topic exploring the topics business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers or project managers need to know about video production before they begin. This series will explain video production in simple terms and talk about the many, complex aspects of hiring, budgeting, scheduling, writing, producing, editing and marketing video for businesses of any size. Week by week we’ll cover topics like finding the right service and setting a reasonable budget to managing expectations and communication. We’ll compare animation explainer videos to live action scripted or unscripted videos. We’ll talk about all the ways you can use video BEYOND simply embedding and forgetting. Decades of experience in video production AND marketing will help inform business owners and marketers of all sizes.
Welcome to the first blog in my new series examining video as a tool for business, non-profit and other organizations. Before we can dive in to some of the exciting topics I have prepared for the weeks and months ahead, I think it's important to address the elephant in the room. Since March 2020, every business has been shaken by the pandemic, some more than others.
For Film Vancouver Productions (then called Production Services), it wasn't so much a case of being forced to close down. Our clients simply could no longer afford the projects they had been planning, and others had to stop mid-way through launch campaigns. In one instance, a video campaign for the launch of a subscription educational baking product, Sweetheart Bakery, was effectively muted by the pandemic, no doubt damaging all of their plans for the year, and making our videos together a misstep in hindsight. Long time client Aspen Clean had planned on ramping up video production on a monthly basis until the pandemic cancelled everything.
Another client I was working with just a day before closures began was meant to produce many videos through the year, but their clients, indirectly tied to professional sports, were also forced to slow down their plans for more video, at least at a volume where they could outsource work to us.
To be honest, despite all that, Film Vancouver got off easy compared to brick and mortar businesses. Shutting down was as easy as hitting pause and I was able to use the break to catch up on old work, produce a new short film and rebrand and relaunch this website. This blog wouldn't have gotten up and running if not for a slow down in work from clients.
The question I want to ask and answer with this blog is, how can you utilize this crisis to grow your business or organization with video? In other words, how can you make lemonade from some truly bitter lemons?
How can you utilize this crisis to grow your business or organization with video? In other words, how can you make lemonade from some truly bitter lemons?
The answer is one most savvy business owners will already be aware of. Use this time to invest in your business, just as I have in mine. For many businesses, the myriad of programs offered by our provincial and federal governments are an opportunity to invest, rebrand, rebuild, restructure and become leaner. Programs like CEBA & BCAP can provide financial support to do just this.
Clients I work with often have a specific problem. They are too busy with their own clients to dedicate the time necessary to the website and social media rebranding they need. It's less a case of money, so much as it is a case of time. Well, thanks to the pandemic, time is one thing a lot of us have in abundance.
Once you make the choice to use this situation to your advantage, the question should become, how? Say you qualify for CEBA and take out a $40k loan with zero interest. What areas of your business can be improved and streamlined, and where do you want to invest to ensure that customers come back and can find you later on?
It starts (and ends) with a good web presence. If we weren't already moving online for education and shopping, we are certainly doing so now. You NEED a reliable Website developer and social media manager to ensure solid SEO (search engine optimization) and to advertise online on your behalf. A lot of small businesses will try to find one stop shop boutique marketing firms to manage all their media and marketing, including their website. That's a good option for some, but if you want video, look for a standalone firm that specializes in video, and thank me later.
Start with a basic checklist of needs and wants. Make sure you know the difference and start checking off the needs one by one. Start with a website, then build in e-commerce, then SEO placement, then social media lower down the list.
I would encourage you to prioritize a powerful, strong website with e-commerce (if applicable) before you invest in a new literal coat of paint. Unless you're a high traffic business like a corner store that is almost exclusively walk-in, you will now find your lead generation moving exclusively online. And with online visitors comes online scrutiny, bugs, glitches and lost business to more reputable 'looking' competition. The last thing you want is to lose business you deserve because of poor presentation.
The last thing you want is to lose business you deserve because of poor presentation.
Once you understand that the website is the anchor to your new business model, you have to ask the next question, which is a two parter. 1.) How will people find my website? 2.) How can I convert a visitor into a high quality lead, into a sale, or even better, into a loyal customer?
The answer to both is video. Surprise! Yes, you need good sales copy and good photos FIRST, but those are a given, and everyone should have them, preferably optimized to improve your SEO. Once you do, you need to stand out from the competition and make your case quickly, with quality and memorably.
If you're like my clients, you have a complex service or product in a crowded marketplace that needs to be explained to impatient people madly clicking through pages and pages of content. Video helps capture the attention you need, long enough to make the most crucial arguments. You can say so much more with a video advertisement on Facebook than you can with a picture ad.
On Google, you're far more likely to get a click on a video explaining your product than a blog post explaining it. Sure, it's easier to write the blog and post it, believe me I know. Then again, one video is all you need to capture that attention for the blog next week, and the week after. The old saying, "a picture lasts a lifetime" is even more true when you add audio and multiply it by a factor of 24 or 30 frames.
Video can serve not only your website, but your advertising, your social media and in some cases, your brick and mortar locations, playing on loop in a window or reception. You can video to showcase your expertise, to demonstrate hot new products, to illustrate your brand to a wide audience in creative and exciting ways. Our clients use video in presentations, at trade shows, in elevators and even movie theatres.
The goal of all your marketing should be to attract as many high quality leads as possible, and video does that better than any other format of advertising, conveying more information per minute than any other format. And in this new online world, you need to stand out, you need to be clear and you need to be exceptional.
Okay, sales pitch over. I did mention that the most important piece of your business to rebuild or rebrand with all this extra time and funding available is the website. I don't do websites, which hopefully tells you something about the honesty of this post. The website comes first. Once you have a strong baseline though, you should consider investing in video while you have this time.
Your media, be it video, photo, meme, podcast or something else, benefits from your involvement. And investing in video at the same time as the rest of your media allows for synergy across your brand. You can plan campaigns that mix multimedia, contests, advertising and real world promotions to maximize impact and grow an online fanbase. Video is the most effective way to do this, and I sure hope you'll come back as we delve into that more in future posts
Film Vancouver Productions has learned through our short film how to safely shoot and produce videos with precautions like masks and social distancing, without sacrificing quality. And the opportunity to shoot new photos and video while you're closed or operating in limited capacity means we won't get in the way as much.
The content you produce will last you an average of two or three years, depending on the video. Compared to other ads which run shorter periods and require more maintenance, video is more affordable than you think. This is the perfect time to get started, and start thinking about a post-Covid marketplace.
One more thing! If you are a struggling business or non-profit looking for video during the pandemic, contact Film Vancouver about special payment options to help make the cost of production and editing more manageable. Until next week, keep your heads up!