Updated: Feb 19
Today’s consumer is living face-to-screen.
We wake to the sound of an iPhone jingle, and check our notifications with that first sip of coffee. Smart device in hand, we go about our day giving advertisers constant access to our worlds. Then, we turn down the sheets, turn off the lights and lie in bed for another hour at night; a luminescent glow bouncing off our sleep deprived eyes as we digest one more viral video before falling asleep.
Big brands know this and capitalize on our screen obsessions by pouring capital into high quality video content. They dedicate entire teams to video production utilizing in-house assets and third-party production houses, because the quality of these videos matter.
It matters a lot. We’ll get to that a little later.
Research backing a huge ROI for brands investing in high quality video is vast and growing every year. Why then do small businesses hesitate on adding regular rounds of creative video content to their market strategies?
There are three concerns we hear constantly from small businesses in regards to investing in video marketing: it’s too expensive, we got burned, I don’t understand the process and that makes me nervous.
It’s Too Expensive
Yes, it’s expensive. We never mislead our clients about the cost of video production.
If it’s done well, it’s not cheap.
Before you get intimidated by cost, ask yourself, how much is one customer worth to me? This should act as your budget baseline. If you spend less than that amount, you’re likely to see less of a return on your content investment.
72% of consumers say they prefer video marketing over text marketing. That’s staggering! Your customers want to be reached through a visual medium, and that’s something to consider for your 2020 marketing budget.
Are you weighing the consumer expectation and desire for video appropriately against other marketing techniques? Are mailers, email blasts, brochures, radio and print ads netting you new business? Or could some of those dollars be shifted to regular rounds of video content creation?
Also consider that consumers have high expectations for video content. Bad video content has the potential to irreparably damage your brand. Consumers expect a TV-like quality for every video on every screen they use. If the video quality is poor, they will stop watching (Broadcasting+Cable).
Most creative content producers cannot give you a clear cut cost estimate without understanding the scope of the project. So ask for a meeting to discuss your content goals. Typically, a seasoned content producer will come back with a few different options to achieve those goals within your desired budget.
We Got Burned
Now that nearly every human is armed with a smartphone, everyone thinks they are video savvy. So how do you know you're hiring the right person for the job?
Start by looking for something we refer to as the creative connection.
Is there an energy and enthusiasm for your brand? Can this person or team articulate your brand vision and start to paint you a visual interpretation? If your conversation feels more like a budget meeting than a creative collaboration, move on. Creative energy is a real thing. You should feel it even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person by nature.
Do your due diligence. Watch their body of work. Is it versatile in style and approach? Do they tell clear stories? Or does it feel like one note where all the videos look and feel the same?
Finally, consider the price. Of course cost is important, but it should not be your first and only consideration. You should view cost as a stand alone factor in the larger goal of achieving your vision. This idea holds true for many important investments. If you go to renovate your home, you’ll likely sit down with different contractors or visit a few big box stores. You’re going to draw up plans and find a person or team that best understands your needs. Perhaps, you end up choosing someone more expensive than you initially budgeted for because you know the end result is going to be worth the extra money.
So keep cost in view, but don’t let it blur your vision.
I Don’t Understand The Process and That Makes Me Nervous
Think about the first time you walked into a Starbucks.
You stood in line and tried to concentrate over the baristas shouting out, what sounded like, specialty Italian dessert orders at a five star restaurant. The line seemed to move faster than any line you had ever stood in before. All the while you’re panicking inside. What do I want? What’s that drink? Is that a drink? Why is this line moving so fast? Why am I sweating?!
Anything new can feel intimidating, and when you’re looking at visual content creation, the stakes are far greater than the cost of a specialty brew. The key is to find a contractor or visual production team that empowers you with knowledge.
What does that look like?
They should be able to clearly outline phases of the project with a timeline that includes benchmarks for certain deliverables: script completion, rough edits, shoot dates, product completion. Are they speaking your language? They should be able to answer all your questions keeping industry jargon to a minimum. Production can move quickly once a content plan and contract is in place. You should be able to clearly follow the proposed plan, process and benchmarks at the kickoff meeting. If you’re struggling with this, it’s going to be a rocky road.
Always have a contract even if the project is small in scope. Remember that the quality of production matters greatly to consumers. Even a fifteen second video on social can have huge repercussions for your brand. You want it done right, and there is nothing wrong with getting that in writing.
Be specific about your expectations for cost, deadlines, the addition of third-party contractors (ex:/actors, graphic designers, sound designers) and quality of deliverable. The more you drill down on the details; the more protected you will be should something go wrong.
Don’t let fear or a past mistake keep you from growing your audience and growing your business. Quality video is a smart investment regardless of how big or small the brand. Your consumers are out there, smart device in hand, waiting for you to meet them on their turf. So, let this be the year you introduce yourself to new customers, and build loyalty from your current audience, through the power of visual storytelling.