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Creating compelling video, on a budget

According to a recent survey by the Web Video Marketing Council, a whopping 88 percent of marketers who included video in their email marketing reported a positive impact. And yet, many marketers shy away from video because of the perceived difficulty and cost.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret – you don’t need a production crew, an advertising agency or a big budget to create some brilliant video content.

In most cases, you can create videos yourself and it’s much easier (and cheaper) than you might think.

As someone who knows a thing or two about creating videos, I’d like to share some tricks of the trade for creating compelling videos that add impact to your email marketing.

1. You don’t need to buy expensive equipment

Nearly everything records video these days including phones, webcams and digital cameras. If you’re just starting out, remember that web video doesn’t need to be in ‘full glorious HD 1920 x 1080’ even 640 x 480 (which you can get from a standard iPhone) is more than adequate. Of course, if you’ve got access to a video camera, that will make life easier.

To help make your videos stand out, there are a few quick things you can do:

  • Don’t underestimate lighting. Video loves light, the more light you have; generally the sharper your video will look. Try to shoot your video so natural light falls on your subject.
  • Use a lamp or two to help highlight a face or subject. Just remember the closer the lamp, the more concentrated the light and the harsher the shadows.
  • Find an interesting background. Sometimes easier said than done, but an interesting texture, a nice view or anything other than a plain white wall (a brick wall perhaps?).
  • Mind the noise. Traffic, construction or shouting nearby will be incredibly disruptive for your viewer. If you’re using the on-camera microphone, you need to be more careful, a lot of the time these microphones are omni-directional and will pick up any environment sounds.
  • Try to buy or borrow a microphone. There are heaps of low cost options out there which can really push your video to the next level. There are also plenty of ‘podcast ready’ microphones that can plug straight into your device and computer.

2. Filming is easy, but you just need to get started

There is a huge range of circumstances where a video can help your email marketing. Just think about things that are hard to put in writing and chances are video will help you communicate more clearly. For example product demonstrations, interviews, event previews, location tours, and so on.

Remember that you generally don’t want to make your video too long so if you’re filming an event just grab a few of the best snippets. If you don’t have time to stay with the camera, set it up on a tripod, check that everything looks great and hit record.

If you don’t have events to film, simply grab someone in your organisation who’s knowledgeable on a particular topic and get them to sit in front of the camera and talk. A great way to do this is to interview them. This will help them come across much more relaxed than if they were to just talk at the camera.

3. Free, easy to use software is readily available

There is a huge range of free video editing software around and most of these come with tutorials. Some easy to learn software includes:

As always, a paid option like Adobe Premiere elements, Avid Studio or Sony Vegas can really open up more features, options and help you create more engaging content, but it really depends how big a role video content plays in your overall strategy and how much you’re willing to invest. As always, trial any software before making a purchase to ensure it works well with your current system and can read the files your camera generates.

4. YouTube is a great place to start hosting your videos

YouTube is a great place to start for nearly everyone. The videos show up in Google searches, are easy to embed or link and they load fast. There’s a multitude of options out there like Blip, Vzaar and Brightcove, but having a YouTube channel is a great place to start uploading.

Being part of the Google suite of web applications means you can easily setup an account, track views, traffic and demographics of people who watch your videos. Being able to quickly see what works in YouTube will allow you to create better content, improve title and keyword SEO and really boost your viewership and overall web visibility.

5. Video and email are best good friends

As I mentioned at the top of this post, video in email often leads to a positive result. However, most email clients don’t allow the playing of video right in the email. So the best way to add video into your email is to include an image of your video and link it to a landing page that has your video embedded.

In the Video Marketing Survey nearly 60 percent of respondents indicated that linking to video landing pages is the preferred choice for incorporating video into email marketing programs.

To help you do this I have created an example email and landing page that has a video embedded in it. Click here to view this example and full instructions.

So don’t be scared to create a video for your next email. The potential impact it may have on your audience is vast.

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Christopher Bentley

Christopher Bentley

Christopher Bentley is the Media and Production Coordinator at Vision6 where he creates all of the many <a href="http://www.vision6.com.au/">Vision6</a> promotion and educational videos. With a Bachelor of Creative Industries majoring in Television, Chris is talented at video production and has a unique understanding of how video can be used to enhance email and social media marketing. In his spare time Chris also works on a number of freelance projects.

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