Chances are when you see a piece of video content from another business, you know pretty quickly whether you like it or not. First impressions matter, and for your video content, that means you have just a few seconds to convince viewers that your content is worth watching.
We have good news and bad news about what this means for your business. The bad news is that there’s no secret formula for how to create a video that your audience will love. Each business (and its audience) is unique, and it’s up to you to determine what’s most likely to resonate with your viewers.
The good news is that there are key traits that many successful videos have in common. You can take these big-picture suggestions and apply them to your specific scenario to maximize your chances of success.
That being said, here are 12 do’s and don’ts of successful video marketing for your business. Try them out with your next video and let us know what you think!
Do’s of Video Marketing for Your Business
1. Do share authentic content
Authenticity may be the most-used word on the Lemonlight blog after “video” or “marketing.” Why? Today’s audiences are bombarded with content, and they can see right through videos (or images or text) that are disingenuous. To stay on your audience’s good side, make sure to add a dose of reality to your content. Here are a few ways to work this into your overall video marketing strategy:
- When you plan a batch of content, make sure some of your videos aren’t too focused on high production value or presenting the perfect scenario to your audience. Casual on-the-fly content is often more relatable to audiences.
- Consider showing both the ups and downs of your business. While it’s natural to share when things are going great, consider how you can let your audience in on some of the tough moments, too.
- Speak to your audience the way you’d speak to your audience if you knew them closely. How do you describe your business to friends and loved ones? How would you pitch your product to a former colleague? Use this same language in your video content for a more authentic feel.
2. Do tailor your approach to your goals
The number one mistake we see with businesses that are new to video marketing is not aligning your content with a larger purpose or goal. Making video content is great, but sharing content just for the sake of sharing content may mean that you miss out on opportunities to connect with marketing or sales initiatives and really level up your business.
After all, certain types of video content are better suited to specific goals than others. “About Us” videos work well for brand awareness, while product demonstration videos often drive purchases. If your strategy begins with a specific video execution rather than a goal, you’re approaching production from the wrong side.
Instead, start with a goal like “generate engagement on social posts with new followers” or “drive purchases from customers who click on product pages on our website.” You don’t necessarily need to quantify these goals (although you definitely can!), but having a specific outcome in mind will help to ensure that the video you create is the right video for your business.
3. Do put thought into your distribution strategy
Once your video is produced and you’re celebrating a successful project in the books, it can be tempting to share your video once and move onto the next initiative. Even worse, some companies create a beautiful video asset and then neglect to actually share it anywhere at all. While these brands may have the best intentions about finding the perfect use case down the line, your video isn’t doing you any good unless your audience is actually watching it.
Here’s a list of distribution options to consider for your next video to connect with the right viewers. And while you’re at it, consider how you can repurpose or redistribute your content across other channels. If your video is going on your social media page, should it also be on your website? If you’re posting it on YouTube, can you share a teaser in your marketing emails? We’ve yet to find a case where a video can’t be repurposed somehow, so make sure you’re maximizing the ROI on your video projects.
4. Do nail the lighting and audio
Lighting and audio quality are two of the features that immediately signal to viewers whether they should keep watching your content or not. If either of these elements is subpar, expect your audience to scroll right past your video in favor of higher-quality options.
For lighting, the most basic setup should ensure that your subject is evenly lit without shadows. This often means finding natural light or turning on additional overhead lights or lamps to get the right balance. For audio, it’s often best to record your audio clips with a separate mic rather than using the output of the camera.
Because it’s so simple to accomplish decent-looking content these days, putting a tiny bit of thought and effort into your lighting and audio helps to keep your audience from being distracted by low-quality video.
5. Do educate or entertain (or both!)
Have you heard the term edu-tainment lately? As you might guess from the word itself, edu-taining content is content that’s both educational and entertaining. Many videos will lean slightly one way or the other, but today’s viewers expect to be engaged by even the most boring of topics. If your content serves neither of these purposes, you have a clear signal to start from scratch and get to work on a new video that’s more likely to attract viewers.
6. Do measure performance
Rounding out the “do” list, make sure to measure the performance of your video content after it’s been distributed. Too often, marketers assume that it’s too difficult to measure the ROI of video content and decide not to track the results at all. This is a huge mistake! Even if you don’t go so far as to calculate ROI, make sure to take note of views, engagement numbers, watch time, and even sales or revenue changes that could be attributed to your content.
Monitoring these data points helps to paint a clear picture of what your audience likes, what they don’t like, and what you might want to try to do differently for your next shoot. If one video style is consistently performing better than the others, you’d likely want to prioritize that style for most of your content in the future. If short-form content delivers better results than long-form content, note that takeaway and keep your future video content on the shorter side. These are key findings that will help you to improve the results of your video strategy over time.
Don’ts of Video Marketing for Your Business
1. Don’t forget your call-to-action
Next, let’s dive into the things you should not do when approaching your video marketing strategy. First and most important on the list, don’t forget to include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of pretty much every video.
There are a few rare cases where it might be okay to leave this out, but in general, every video should be designed to get viewers to take one specific action. To increase the likelihood that that action is taken, make sure to call it out noticeably in the video itself.
It can often work well to hint at your CTA early in the video for anyone who doesn’t watch to the end, then include a more significant call-out at the end. Consider also using both on-screen text and dialogue or voice-over in your CTA to ensure that all viewers notice the plea.
2. Don’t aim to go viral
We’re a broken record when it comes to explaining the ineffectiveness of attempting to “go viral,” but we’ll share the gist here again to make sure it really sinks in. “Going viral” is not a helpful goal for your content. For one thing, it’s not a specific goal that’s tied to results for your brand, and the true goal you’re probably going after with virility is brand awareness. For another thing, it’s virtually impossible to “make” content go viral—even for famous content creators whose entire lives revolve around making hit videos.
A better approach is to tailor your campaign to brand awareness goals, create a video that’s designed to help reach that goal, and apply some of the features that many viral videos have in common to your content. If you succeed and your content takes off, you’ll be especially pleased with your efforts. If not, at least you have a useful asset that will still help you reach new viewers.
3. Don’t assume viewers will watch with audio
Gone are the days of content being watched entirely with sound enabled. Visual-heavy content is often the default today, meaning that it’s imperative for the main message of your video to stand alone without sound. In practice, this means that you should include captions for any dialogue or voice-over and consider calling out key messages with graphic on-screen text. This extra step also ensures that your content is accessible to deaf or hard-of-hearing audiences.
If you’re not sure if you’ve executed this step correctly, have someone who hasn’t been working on the video (or, even better, doesn’t know your brand or product) watch the video with audio disabled. If they still grasp the key takeaways, you’re likely on the right track.
4. Don’t just share your video once
One of the biggest missed opportunities for brands beginning a video marketing strategy is adopting the mindset that your video is “done” once you’ve shared it somewhere. While you should definitely celebrate your video’s initial launch, don’t forget that there are tons of channels and platforms out there that accommodate video content.
After you’re done with your initial video debut, note how it performs on your primary distribution channel and adjust accordingly to re-share or repurpose the content elsewhere.
5. Don’t follow what your competitors are doing
When you’re new to the video space, it can be tempting to take a look at what other brands in your industry are doing and adopt the same strategy for your own content. While there’s something to be said for conducting a quick audit of existing video content that may be relevant to your business, those videos should be a starting point for your own inspiration.
Why? First, you never really know how your competitors’ content is actually performing. While you may be able to see some metrics like engagement numbers and view counts, you’re one step removed from the important figures like ROI or conversion rates. A video you may think is performing well based on Instagram likes may be falling especially short when it comes to delivering real results for the business. You also may have different goals than your competitors, and you have a chance to excel beyond what they’re doing rather than becoming a second-class substitute.
We’d recommend taking a look at their content, noting what you like and what you don’t, and using those learnings as a springboard for your own team brainstorm. In most cases, you’ll be able to come up with something that has potential to succeed far beyond your competitors’ videos.
6. Don’t DIY all your content
Last but not least, there’s a place for DIY video production in every video marketing strategy, but it should almost never make up your entire strategy. DIY content is great for anything that benefits from an authentic feel, like Instagram Stories content or TikTok clips. For executions like product videos, customer testimonial videos, or commercials, trying to tackle production yourself can be a recipe for disaster.
While you may end up with a decent final video, you’ll often get better results with a video that’s more polished and noticeably higher quality. We’d recommend bringing in the pros (by either hiring a production company or bringing in freelance support) for your most important or “official” pieces of content and saving the DIY approach for content that’s designed to be more casual.
We’re confident that applying these 12 do’s and don’ts to your video marketing strategy will set you up for success—and set you apart from your competitors. Let us know how these tips work for your next video or give our expert production team a call if you need custom support.