July 06, 2015

How to Get Great Videos on Any Budget

BassomaticVideos aren't just for blender demonstrations anymore! Companies are adding videos to their marketing toolbox more and more frequently — and with good reason.

  • 65% of executives say they have visited a vendor's website after watching a video, and 59% of senior executives say they prefer to watch a video over reading text, when both are available (Forbes)
  • 70% of marketing professionals say that video converts more frequently than any other medium (MarketingProfs)
  • Including a video in your email can increase click-through rates by 200-300% (Forrester), and using video on your landing pages can increase conversion rates by up to 80% (Unbounce)
  • 64% of consumers say they're more likely to buy a product after watching a video about the product. 
  • 76% of B2B executives use video as part of their content marketing strategy (Content Marketing Institute), and 92% use it for demand generation (Software Advice, a website that compares marketing software)

Astute marketing pros are heeding these statistics and spending accordingly. Emarketer reported that US digital ad spending reached $5.96 billion in 2014, a 56% increase over the previous year. Clearly, videos can play an important role in a thoughtful content marketing strategy. 

The great thing about videos is that you don't always have to invest large amounts of time and money to harness their power; you can create engaging videos on any budget. In addition to high-end professional videos, you may find that "quickies" or "business casual" videos are sufficient. The best video marketing plans often incorporate all of these. 

1. The Video Quickie

By quickie, we mean that someone from your company is simply shooting with a smartphone or consumer-grade camera — and, more often than not, uploading the clip to a social media site, such as your company’s Facebook page or YouTube channel. Editing's generally not required, but when it is, it can easily be done on an app installed on the user’s smartphone, such as the iMovie app for iPhones.

Videos shot with a smartphone are perfectly acceptable in certain instances. If the topic you’re covering is time-sensitive, straightforward and requires little B-roll (footage that plays while someone talks over it), you may be able to shoot with a smartphone or tablet.

Examples of these types of videos include:

  • Fun, informal events (e.g., an impromptu fundraising challenge)
  • "Breaking news" or coverage of time-sensitive topics
  • Conference footage (e.g., a short video taken of an important message during a conference or presentation)

A Word of Caution

Mobile devices (iPhones, tablets, etc.) are handy, easy-to-use and almost always readily available in your back pocket or bag. But before you try to record a video with your smart device, consider this: Will the video need to be edited? If so, you’ll have to either download an app to edit the video on your smart device (such as iMovie for Apple devices). Or, you’ll have to transfer the video from your device to your computer to edit, which will also require editing software.

You’ll need a plan for transferring your iPhone or iPad video to your computer. Consider whether the computer is a Mac or PC. Two options for getting the video to your computer are email and an app called Dropbox.

In most cases, it’s easiest to email the video to yourself, save it to your computer, and begin editing it in video-editing software. If you do a lot of file transferring, create a Dropbox account. Upload video files from your device and download them to your computer.

Other Tips

  • Shorter is better. 90 seconds, tops. Longer makes it difficult to transfer.
  • Most viewers only watch a few seconds of a video online, so if your video is more than 90 seconds, your file is going to be hard to email... and you’ll risk losing viewer interest.
  • Check your inbox to make sure you have enough space to accept a large video file. Save the file to your computer and edit it.

2. Business Casual Videos

If your video needs a little more polishing than a quickie, but doesn’t require highly trained, expert videographers, then business casual may be the way to go. Even someone without a radio/TV/film degree can use affordable, “prosumer” equipment to achieve a high-quality video.

Examples where you might use business casual videos include:

  • Short, interesting tips that you’d like to share with customers
  • New product demonstrations
  • Coverage of a fun campaign or team-building event your company is doing
  • Your company president’s response to a major industry announcement
  • Informal webinars

Business casual videos are ideal for conveying a somewhat relaxed — but still polished — tone. To do it yourself, you'll need equipment that's more sophisticated than a smartphone, along with access to basic editing software. 

Other Tips

  • Think about your company's image. Does business casual fit with your corporate culture? Will it resonate with your customers and prospects? 
  • Consider your setting. You'll need a quiet location with an attractive, non-distracting background for your video. 
  • Your video doesn't have to look or sound low budget, even if it is. Invest your time in getting the details (like sound) right. 

3. Professional Videos

You may need a professional videographer for any video that requires B-roll and lots of editing. If your subject matter needs a detailed explanation, tells a narrative or requires a narrator (i.e., a voiceover), or is intended for a VIP audience, then consider using a professional videographer. Keep in mind these projects usually start at thousands of dollars per day for a professional videography team.

Examples include:

  • Media pitches that you’d like to submit to news outlets as a video news release
  • Customer experiences or retrospectives
  • New services that you’re offering customers
  • Event/campaign-specific videos

Does Your Video ...

  • Need to be longer than 90 seconds?
  • Require more than three speakers?
  • Need background music or special effects?
  • Expect to have a long shelf life?
  • Need to be seen on TV or webcast?
  • Need to be seen by an internal audience (e.g., your employees), external audience, or both?

If you answered "Yes" to more than one of these questions, you may need a professional videographer or skilled camera person for your project. New Call-to-action

Kristin Masters

Kristin Masters is a content marketing specialist with almost a decade's experience in SEO and social marketing. A HubSpot maven, Kristin has developed and implemented inbound marketing strategies for a variety of B2B and B2C clients. Kristin graduated from the University of Florida with an ever-useful specialization in 18th-century British literature. She teaches Bikram yoga.