Cut to the week before… and I am busily researching the potential for businesses to use video in their marketing strategies. I am finding that many business owners believe one (and sometimes both) of the following two statements:
- I cannot afford to create videos for my business
- My business is not filmworthy
Do you know what is wrong about these statements?
Your business—no matter how tight your marketing budget—can afford to use video. And, believe me, your business is worthy of video—no matter what industry you are in. Skeptical? No problem, I am here to prove it to you.
By the time you reach the end of this post you will be able to make powerful marketing videos for your business website, quickly, easily—and, in many cases, for free.
Why your business needs video
When I started my business, I knew that I wanted to use video as a major part of my content creation strategy. For me, it was a complete no-brainer.
However, the reason behind that decision is, perhaps, not so obvious.
Who can resist the phenomenon that is YouTube with its one billion users? Did you know that over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute? And yet, YouTube isn’t the reason why I wanted to focus on video. Not even after the platform became the second largest search engine after its parent company, Google.
And it also wasn’t the move by, let’s see, almost every social media channel out there towards featuring video content.
The reason I want to use video in my business is because you cannot beat it for creating a truly powerful, emotional, and engaging connection with your audience.
You just can’t.
Have you ever watched a video and experienced a real, emotional connection? I know that I have and it is a powerful feeling indeed. Wouldn’t you want to create a similar depth of connection and feeling in your own audience?
The first step to take as you incorporate video into your website and marketing strategies is to consider what video content you want to create. Regardless of the industry that you are in, you can create lots of different types of videos for your website, including:
- Business introduction videos
- Product/service videos
- Customer testimonials
- Video tutorials
- "Explainer" videos
- Online presentations
Video production tools
With all the different types of videos that you can produce for your website, let's look at the tools that can help you create them (always my favorite part). Online video tools have been getting better and better over the years, and today you'd be amazed at how easy and intuitive they have become. You don't need any special software, video equipment, or skills to make something that looks polished and engaging.
Okay, so remember the actress from the start of this post? Well, let me explain exactly what happened.
I love to experiment with new tools and I was intrigued when I came across Mediavoo. I looked around the website for an idea of the costs involved but couldn’t see any pricing information. Undeterred, I decided to take a look at the Mediavoo process. (I felt sure that I wouldn’t get far before I discovered all of the details relating to prices.)
The process is very straightforward. First, you choose your actor from a range of options. You then submit the script that you would like this actor to use. Since I was just testing Mediavoo, I simply copied in some of my website content.
Next, I was asked to choose a video background and some music from Mediavoo’s audio library. I then uploaded some of my own images (a couple of blog post graphics). These are called cutaways. You can place these cutaways in the most appropriate places in your script.
Finally, I was invited to send my video off to the "studio" to be produced. This entire process took me… well, ten minutes tops.
I was now fully expecting to be told to hand over some cash. But no… my email went off and I didn’t hear a thing.
Strange, I thought. And then I received my late night call.
I felt awful when I realized that an actual person was giving up her time to record a video for me—particularly when I was only roadtesting the platform.
I was quick to explain my predicament and, thankfully, Mediavoo couldn’t have been more understanding. Interested in my thoughts about the Mediavoo video production process, they recorded my video for me so that I could see what they could produce.
In a few days I recieved my video and I was so excited by the results (if a little annoyed at myself for not putting a tad more thought into my script and cutaways!). You can see the video below:
If you want a professional explainer or business presentation video for your business, I would highly recommend Mediavoo. The production process was so smooth. It is not free, but, then, you really wouldn’t expect it to be. Each video costs $499.
Ideal for: Introducing your business or service.
Pros: Mediavoo produces extremely professional videos quickly and easily.
Cons: You will pay for the quality as Mediavoo is more expensive than many other video tools that are available.
I have used Animoto to make videos for my business and for my clients for years. Animoto videos are a breeze to produce and it is easy to share them on your social networks and embed them into your website or blog. Animoto also works well even if you don’t have any of your own video footage—you can whip up a video using still images and text, plus Animoto’s music and animations.
You can try a free 14-day trial of Animoto, but after that you'll need to upgrade. Their plans start at $120 per year, up to $360 per year for the full slate of features. They also offer monthly pricing.
Ideal for: Introductory videos, repurposing blog content, testimonials, or product descriptions.
Pros: It is easy to create engaging videos with Animoto that you can embed and share online.
Cons: Many templates restrict the amount of video footage that you can include.
If you would like to create professional videos for your business, I would recommend Camtasia. While not free, if you are committed to video, this tool will be well worth your investment (the PC version costs $299 and the Mac version costs $99).
I use Camtasia to create and edit my videos. I also use its screen capture functionality to create ‘how to’ videos and online video courses.
Ideal for: Introductory videos, tutorials, video courses.
Pros: Camtasia allows you to create a wide variety of video types.
Cons: It can take time to learn how to use Camtasia.
Magisto is another online video maker and is similar in some ways to Animoto. You can upload your photos and videos, choose some music, a theme, and some effects and then the tool mixes it all together to create a video. The cool thing about Magisto is that it analyzes your footage and pieces it together automatically, so you don't have to do any editing yourself.
When I first tested this tool, I quickly uploaded a random selection of blog post images just to get an idea of the Magisto experience (see below—this was a rough version just to see how to tool works).
I was asked to choose a video style and I chose "happiness." I then selected a soundtrack for my video (I could also upload my own audio). The process was all very easy and I was really pleased with the results. You can easily use the free version, or upgrade to the Premium version if you want to create longer movies.
Ideal for: Fun introductory videos and product/service videos.
Pros: Super easy to use.
Cons: You have less control over the final look of the video.
Animation is a great way to mix up your video content. With GoAnimate, you can either start a video from scratch or select one of the pre-made templates that are available. Once you have chosen your characters, themes and music, you build your video frame by frame.
You can make your animated characters talk by clicking on the character and selecting an animation style that suits the tone of your video. Here you can either upload some pre-recorded dialogue, record some dialogue into the mic or create some type-to-voice dialogue.
(The type-to-voice generator is fun but does sound a little robotic so you may decide to investigate the other dialogue options.)
Once you have created your animation, you are free to email it, share it on social media or embed it onto your website.
GoAnimate has a free 14-day trial, but you'll have to subscribe to download or export any videos you make. You also need to upgrade to one of their more expensive packages if you want to get rid of their watermark on your video.
Ideal for: Business introductory videos, tutorials, and online presentations.
Pros: GoAnimate is simple to use and you can create fun and engaging animations.
Cons: The subscriptions are a little expensive, but they do have monthly billing.
PowToon is another great animation tool. You start by selecting a template to customize (or you can create your video from scratch). There are lots of design options available to help you produce your animated video including text effects and image effects.
When you are finished, you can upload your video to YouTube, embed it into your website, or share it on your social media channels.
PowToon does have a free version. However, you are restricted to the standard resolution option and you have to accept some PowToon branding.
Ideal for: Introductory videos, tutorials, event marketing, customer engagement.
Pros: Lots of templates and design effects enable you to create a great business video.
Cons: PowToon’s free version features pretty extensive branding.
Mobile video appsWe are all consuming more video content on our mobile devices. As a result, there are a number of great apps to help us produce short, snackable videos on the move. Some of these can create standalone videos, while others can help you create the footage you need for using the more complete video tools listed above.
1. HyperlapseHyperlapse is an app from Instagram that enables you to capture high quality time lapse videos. I love it because it removes the issue of having to hold your camera still while creating time lapse footage. It does this via in-built stabilization technology.
You can use Hyperlapse in your business to show your audience how your product is made. Alternatively, you can use it in your event or ‘behind the scenes’ videos.
2. Adobe VoiceIf you would like to create a storytelling video for your business, consider using the Adobe Voice iPad app. This app allows you to record your story one line at a time. You can then match each part of your story with a visual from Adobe Voice’s library of 100,000 images and icons.
Create the mood of your video by selecting some background music and customize with a range of styles and themes—you can create an impressive video in a matter of minutes.
3. FlipagramFlipagram allows you to create short video stories by incorporating photos and images, text overlays and music.
4. VideohanceVideohance lets you edit video footage by adding filters and gradients, adjusting colors, adding light leaks, and other fun visual effects.
This tool is very similar to the apps we are now used to using for photo editing. You can add these effects in real time video recordings or edit existing footage.
5. PicPlayPostBy using the PicPlayPost app you can create video collages and slideshows. You can also use this tool to produce a video with a split screen. This functionality is great if you want to show and also tell a customer how to solve a problem.
Now it’s over to youAt the beginning of this post, I set myself a challenge to demonstrate how you can use video to market your business.
I do hope that I was successful because—whichever platform you choose, whichever tool you use—it is becoming increasingly vital that you get into the game and start making videos for your business. Good luck!