In order to be positioned to succeed, online video requires the same level of planning and consideration afforded to the rest of your marketing plan. It needs to be informed by your firm’s values, vision and brand identity.
In order to provide Toronto Marketing Blog readers with suggested tactics and strategies toward the development of successful online videos, I interviewed Evan Aagaard, Creative Director at VMG Cinematic:
How can small to mid-sized Canadian professional service firms leverage online video in a manner that is appropriate and consistent with their ongoing marketing efforts?
Produced professionally, video can be one of the most creative mediums to attract consumer attention and convey a sense of brand personality. For our clients we’ve produced online documentaries, multi-episode Web TV series, instructional how-to videos, digital signage content, narrative short films. Our approach to video content creation is to examine the brand extensively and devise creative ways that video can be employed to both entertain and inform the target audience.
Creating a “brand film”, as we call it, can be a powerful and even emotional way of engaging site visitors while summarizing what your business does without the need for extensive copy or brochures.
How would you recommend a professional service firm launch an online video to their market?
Online video presents some tremendous opportunities to small to mid-sized Canadian businesses for a number of reasons. The most obvious in our opinion is that small to mid-sized businesses can leverage their video content across a variety of social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, blogs and websites etc) to strategically increase brand awareness of their services/products by targeting only the most relevant consumers. Most small to mid-sized businesses already have one platform they can leverage for video content and that’s their website.
Many people believe that viral distribution is a “hope and pray” situation whereby the content is uploaded to a particular video site in the hopes that it will catch a large audience. What works is focusing your distribution strategy to the places where your most relevant audience is going to be. Your video content may not get multi-million view counts but the views that it will get will be from the audience that needs to see it the most and that leads to real transactions.
What can small to mid-sized professional service firms expect in terms of ROI from an online video campaign?
With the right strategy small to mid-sized businesses can generate the same kind of ROI from their online video that they would expect from a far more expensive marketing vertical like print or broadcast.
Also worth noting in that comparison is the inherent longevity you have with an online video piece or campaign versus traditional mediums. If you take an ad out in a newspaper, or buy ad time on a broadcast network, that ad will disappear within a set period. With online video the content you produce has an indefinite stay period allowing ongoing engagement with your customer base.
Can you share online video success stories from small to mid-sized professional service firms?
One of our former clients is a boutique investment firm in Toronto. They were looking at new ways to upgrade their monthly print/email newsletter and were curious about online video. Their online marketing initiatives at the time and been minimal and they knew a large segment of their client base collected their investment information from online sources. They also wanted a more personalized and engaging way of informing their current clients about recent trends and news items in the investment world. Our strategy was to design an ongoing video web series for them featuring their best and brightest analysts offering their opinions and predictions on what they were seeing in the markets. These interviews were filmed on site at their offices and uploaded within 24 hours of filming. Distribution included incorporating a custom made video player into their website with a full archive of all episodes produced as well as a subscription based video podcast, and general distribution across a complement of online video sites including YouTube.
The result was 165,000 views accumulated for the series over the course of a year, a video library that clearly demonstrated their expertise in the field of investment and a strengthened online presence to attract Canadian investors. All aspects of the video campaign from concept to distribution were handled by VMG. Examples of the episodes can be seen here.
Are there any associated risks for professional service firms to consider with an online video marketing campaign? If so, how can such risk be mitigated?
The number one way we see online video being misused by professional service firms is in the trend of “video for the sake of video”. You often see this when a company or brand starts producing or uploading low quality video just to jump into the game of online video. Producing and uploading online video requires a clear and concise strategy that outlines goals and objectives the same way a traditional marketing campaign would. Uploading bad content simply for the sake of having something on your company YouTube channel will quickly muddy the waters of the brand message you’re trying to convey, and diminishes what would otherwise be a great opportunity to connect with online your target consumer.
The ubiquity of simple video equipment has led many individuals to “self-produce” their video content often resulting in an amateur aesthetic that can be very off-putting to viewers (and potential customers). This is not to say that only the pros know how to wield a video camera but what you are getting by working with a proper team of video professionals is an attention to detail (script,cinematography, editing, graphics) that will directly impact the way the audience responds to your content. As we like to say at VMG, the camera is a paintbrush, nothing more and nothing less. In the right hands it can create magic and companies big and small should always consider how they want their image portrayed in the video content they produce.
Marketing Professional Service Firms with Online Video – Q & A with VMG Cinematic is based on an interview between Sandra Bekhor of Bekhor Management and Evan Aagaard, Creative Director at VMG Cinematic.