video marketing video marketing

Newbie’s guide to getting started with video marketing

Recently, I was involved in Quuu’s second #Qchat Twitter chat – this time, on the subject of video marketing. I wasn’t surprised that the subject got a ton of attention. I’ve shared in the past that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (give or take, according to some sources).

But beyond that, the marketing impact of video content is huge. According to data shared by Hubspot:

  • Including video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%
  • YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year
  • Video in an email leads to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates

You need video in your marketing strategy, and fortunately, most business owners and marketers these days seem to get the message. That said, knowing you need video and actually producing it are two different things. As our #Qchat revealed, content creators have plenty of different hold-ups when it comes to using this powerful form of media.

Why People Avoid Making Video

As part of our chat, we asked participants what their main challenges are in terms of creating video. Their responses – as expected – were all over the board.

Out of all chat participants, reservations about video marketing tended to fall into the following categories:

  • Not knowing how to get started with video
  • Not having the resources to do video well
  • Struggling to find engaging subject matter for videos
  • Not knowing how to distribute video content for maximum ROI

Here, I want to offer you practical solutions to all of these issues, based on the video marketing work I’ve done for myself, as well as the video creation and promotion I’ve done for various brands.

How I Learned to Love Video

I started really investing in video marketing at the start of 2016, and I’m not going to lie – I was pretty camera-shy when I started. I’d look into the camera and stumble. Filming a 3-5 minute video took hours because I was constantly starting, stopping or getting up to fidget with the camera.

Over time, I got better (more on how I did this in the next section). Now, even though my videos only average 100-400 views apiece, roughly 25-30% of these viewers take some action after watching to engage with me further. That’s a huge engagement rate, and it’s more than I’ve ever seen with articles or other forms of content.

For me, what it comes down to is that video lets me get more of my personality across to my audience. You can only put so much passion into the words of an article or blog post. When you’re on camera, your energy really shines through. This kind of passion helps my audience connect with me – and if you pack your videos with helpful information like I do, they’ll do the same for you.

As it turns out, several people from our #Qchat agree with me:

But I’m Too Camera-Shy for Video

We heard this a lot during the #Qchat. You can understand all the stats about how powerful video marketing can be (including the conversion numbers I shared earlier in this article), but if you can’t bring yourself to get on camera, your campaign is dead in the water.

So let’s talk about being camera-shy. It’s not uncommon – in fact, it’s probably the rule. I know far more people who hate getting on camera than I know who love it. Their secrets are that they a) Understand the value of video marketing, and b) Have perfected techniques for overcoming their fear.

Just to throw a few more numbers at you, gathered by Insivia:

  • 90% of users say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision-making process
  • 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website, and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video, according to Forbes
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others, according to Invodo

Still not enough for you to sit down and face the camera? Here are a few tricks to try to overcome your camera-shyness:

  • Be prepared. You don’t have to have your script memorized (in fact, doing so can make you seem wooden in today’s live-streaming environment), but do have a good idea of what you’ll say and how you’ll say it. At the very least, practice your intro and ending. You’ll ruin a great take if you start sputtering at the end because you don’t know how to close out the video.
  • Smile more. This tip comes courtesy of #Qchat participant @TawannaBSmith (who offers more tips at this link). Her suggestion: “Just smile! Pretend you are talking to yourself in the mirror. Just you and your mirror :)”
  • Practice, practice, practice. Few people are immediately good at video creation. Practice filming in different locations so that you know how the lighting translates on screen. Make adjustments if you don’t like what you’re wearing or the facial expressions you’re using. Watch your practice runs. Are your hands fidgeting? Is your energy not coming through? The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll get with the entire process.

How to Create Video on a Tight Budget

A lot of people think that, to do video marketing well, you have to bring in a Hollywood-style film crew with their bossy directors, expensive lights and full craft-services spreads. And I’m not saying there’s not a place for that, but it’s also not the only way to do video.

Here’s a quick peek at what my video marketing setup looks like:

And here’s the kind of video I can produce with this system:

For those of you looking for more tech details, here’s the equipment I use for filming:

  • Two studio lights.
  • A white backdrop.
  • Two cameras affixed to tripods – one directly in front of me and one off to the side.
  • An iPad Pro – I use this to display my notes. It’s attached to and sits directly beneath the central camera.

Besides the cameras (which you can rent from local camera stores or sites like Lumoid) and iPad (I’m assuming you have some kind of tablet at home), that’s just over $300 in equipment to create professional-looking videos.

Don’t forget – you’ve likely got a camera capable of recording 4K video footage in your pocket. Tutorials (like this one from Wistia) can show you how to get professional-grade footage from your smartphone, while others can help you DIY your lighting setup and equipment (here’s one on how to make a ring light for $25).

Once you’ve captured your footage, your only other potential video creation expense is the editing software you’ll use to turn your recordings into video you can share with your followers. While there are plenty of high-end products on the market (Final Cut Pro and Camtasia are two popular options), free software that’s already on your computer (like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie) may be enough to get the job done. You can hire affordable freelance editors through services like Fiverr, Guru and Upwork as well, if you’d rather outsource the work.

Keep in mind also that all of the detail I just shared with you is what goes into a talking-head video. Depending on the type of video you want to create, your setup might be different (though chances are good you can still DIY it on a budget). For instance, you might want to create:

Product demo videos, which can be done on the same white-background setup I just described:

“Candid” videos, including behind-the-scenes looks and Snapchat-style videos intended to make a personal connection:

Animated or explainer videos:

#Qchat participant @FeeneyInc recommends Animoto for creating animated videos, but there are plenty of other budget-friendly video automation options like this. Do your research and find one that matches your style aesthetic at a price you can afford.

Other tools #Qchat participants recommended include, among others:

  • Envato (for stock sounds)
  • Cogi (for voice note recording)
  • Handbrake (for video format conversions)
  • GetStencil (for custom image creation)
  • Screenflow (for screen recording and editing)
  • Ripl (for animated social media video creation)

The bottom line is this: video marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need special equipment, and you don’t need a degree in filmmaking. Use what you have to create the kind of video your audience wants to see, and remember to practice, practice and practice some more!

What Should I Film?

This is another question that came up repeatedly in our #Qchat, especially for participants in “unexciting” industries. And I get it. It’s one thing to create video if you’re a fashion line or a real estate broker. It’s another if you sell something like construction equipment, medical supplies or even gravestones.

But while some industries and niches may have it easier than others, I believe there’s a way to make video work for every company. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What do I want my customers to know about my brand’s ethos?
  2. What questions does my customer service team hear frequently?
  3. Where are potential customers getting hung up in my sales funnel?

These aren’t the only prompts that’ll lead you to video ideas, but they’re three great ones to start with.

First, your brand’s ethos or story. What personality do you want to convey to your customers? How can you use video to tell customers what you’re about and why you’re different from others?

Here are two examples from TAR Productions (featuring Peter Harsch Prosthetics) and GoPro to give you a feel for how these kinds of stories can be told:

(As a side note, keep in mind that you don’t even have to be the one creating the video to benefit from video marketing. GoPro is a great case study of a company that has leveraged user-generated content to drive viral video success).

Next, think about common questions you can answer. Whether you’re handling your customer service yourself or you have a team in place for this purpose, ask around to see what topics come up again and again. Then, film the answer.

River Pools does this exceptionally well (though your videos don’t need to be as involved as going on-site to a dug-out pool!):

My final suggestion from these three questions – filming video based on sales objections – is a bit more complicated, but it serves an important purpose. If you have your sales funnel well-mapped out, look to the stages where you’re losing prospects as opportunities to create video that responds to their objections.

If you don’t know what I mean by “sales funnel,” think of it this way: make video that helps people overcome whatever reasons they have for not buying from you.

Take the example from Modcloth below. Imagine you’re shopping for a dress and see the “Dance Floor Date” dress on the company’s website. Maybe you like it, but you aren’t sure what you’d wear it with or how you’d style it. A video like the one below could help you overcome your hesitation about buying the dress.

Pair these three types of video with other popular formats, including product demo videos, expert interviews and live streaming, and you shouldn’t have any trouble rounding out your video production schedule.

Even better, all of the types of video described above can be used across industries. No matter what you sell, there’s a story behind why you started your company. And whether you’re selling light fixtures, dental services or even pool construction services, you have customers with questions and objections to buying – all of which can be answered with video.

Take a minute to brainstorm 10-20 possible videos using the questions and strategies described above. Put yourself in the minds of your customers, and you should have no trouble figuring out what kind of content will educate or inspire them.

As a bonus strategy, take a look at the content you already have on your website. Do you have anything that could be turned into video content? Could you create a simple video based off of a past blog post (particularly one that’s performed well)? Do you have a slideshow you could transform into a screen capture video? Even your “About Us” page can serve as powerful inspiration for a new piece of brand-building video content.

Where Should I Share My Content?

You’ve built your setup, filmed your first video and edited it to perfection. Now, where should you put it?

Honestly, the answer is… it depends.

I prefer to share video content on YouTube, but #Qchat participants had a number of suggestions:

Really, you have to think about the goals of your video content and the audience you’re trying to reach. If you’re creating videos that answer sales objections, for example, that content needs to be where the objection is happening – as in, embedded on your landing page versus floating around on social media. Alternatively, if your audience doesn’t use Instagram or Snapchat, don’t put videos there just because somebody else found it effective.

To really answer these questions, you need to think about how you’ll measure the success of your video. Possible metrics to measure could include everything from sales to impressions, to social shares and other conversion actions.

Here’s how some of our #Qchat participants track video performance:

The way you measure video marketing success should, ideally, take the time required to create it into consideration. There’s no getting around the fact that it takes longer to make a video than to, say, write a blog post – even if you’re using video formats that don’t require extensive filming or editing.

However, by taking the recommendations above into account, you should be able to produce video quickly and affordably. Weigh your investment in terms of time and resources against the performance of your preferred metrics. With time and practice, I’m sure you’ll see a positive ROI for your efforts.

Got another suggestion on video marketing to share? Leave it for me in the comments below.

  1. Hey there. Great article! As I was reading through the article and clicking through to your resources that would help me, I noticed that some of the links weren’t highlighted so I almost missed them, particularly one that links to the tips that you mention on Qparticipant Tawanna Smith’s site in the Smile More paragraph. Glad that I didn’t miss it because I found some really good tips on that site.

  2. Thanks for this article. Really loved how you included the tweets throughout. Cool idea. I think it’s important to note, though, that all of companies and brands avoid creating video because they don’t have the footage or the “talent” to create something of quality. I know you give great tips here on how to film something technically, but, I know there are great tools online that actually provide footage already. One I found is called Promo ( Tools like Promo really helps eliminate the need to spend too much time worrying about filming and production concerns. The more people continue to use video, the higher the standards will be. Getting ahead starting now and publishing high quality videos will keep you ahead of the trend and at the top of mind of your audience.

  3. Thanks a lot for your insights Sujan! Sad that I missed the chat, as I can see nobody recommended online tool, but it’s very useful if you need to create Instagram square/stories format or change the video format on the fly.

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