How to use video to market your Northern Ireland business
Would you love to use video in your Northern Ireland business to market your products or services better, but have held off as it can seem expensive or complicated?
Well now you can, because video marketing in NI isn’t as costly or difficult as it might seem.
I’ve used the skills from my marketing and journalism backgrounds to put together this ultimate guide to video marketing for Northern Ireland business … for people just like you.
You might be a professional marketer, or a business owner who does their own marketing – this article will inform your journey into video production in Northern Ireland.
If you’d prefer to concentrate on aminated explainer videos, fear not – check out this post.
The explosion in video is proof video marketing works
It might seem strange now, but it was only back in 2017 that Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg finally conceded his genuine enthusiasm for the explosion in video.
“I see video as a megatrend, same order as mobile,” he told company investors.
Zuckerberg went all-in on video, just as he had on mobile. Short-form video content, social content from friends, video ads from brands, premium content from creators – and much more.
And, boy, was he right. Video, once the preserve of TV and movie-land, has dominated the landscape for at least four years now.
Fast forward to 2020, and surely no-one is under any illusion that video marketing is essential for businesses of any size.
That’s as true here in Northern Ireland as it is everywhere else.
But here’s the thing: video isn’t as easy as it might look. It needs a little bit of thought, skill and planning.
But the great thing is, once you’ve got it, video becomes second nature. It’s engaging, effective, measurable and works on any platform.
By now, you really should be putting video at the heart of your marketing.
This post is dedicated to explaining how anyone can do this – from small and even micro-businesses right up to large companies, charities and other organisations.
Dive in – the only way is up!
Did you know?
The Northern Ireland business video landscape
NI has a diverse ecology of media for such a small place. Not only do we have a vibrant social media community, with Facebook, in particular, having a high adoption rate, but there’s a healthy mainstream media landscape for marketers to use.
We have a well-funded and influential local BBC, but there’s UTV, a plethora of radio stations, three daily newspapers, two Sundays and local editions of national publications like the Mirror and the Sun.
There is also a network of excellent regional weekly newspapers serving our towns. And there’s a healthy business magazine press like Ulster Business and Business Eye. (SmartVideo will be producing a guide to the local business journalism scene – so watch this space).
That’s not counting high levels of engagement with RTE and other all-island platforms. Social media in all its forms is for sure the most important platform for video marketers. But we shouldn’t discount the appetite that mainstream media has for good videos with interesting content.
With the possible exception of BBC NI and UTV, pretty much all of the organisations above will accept video for their websites and social media channels provided they meet their editorial standards. A key part of this, of course, is that the content is news-worthy or informative.
Much local media are keen to use business videos
However, many media groups are keen to show videos via their own websites so they can serve up adverts alongside them. Or just to have a continual stream of relevant content for their social channels.
So don’t underestimate the demand from local newspapers, etc for content, as long as it’s actually newsworthy and of a decent standard that doesn’t conflict with media compliance rules and regulations.
There’s a basic rule of thumb: the bigger the organisation, the harder it will be (but in no way impossible) to get your video or your representative to appear on their platforms.
Local newspapers in particular are usually very keen on video that features local people. (SmartVideo will have a future post on this very subject.)
How and why does video help you engage with customers?
What is important to say is … video connects you to your audience because it shows (where 2D advertising preaches) and creates engagement and trust (where 2D advertising essentially says “trust us…because we say so”).
That’s not to say video is some sort of panacea. Of course not. There can be jiggery-pokery here, and there have been lots of suspect TV ads.
But generally, when we show instead of tell, we are more believable and raise levels of trust levels.
Think of it like this, which of these two would you rather believe:
What has happened in the last ten years with the phenomenal growth of the internet, is that power has shifted from the business to the customer.
They now have the means to validate your sales claims. And if you can convince them of that, they will look deeper.
Video delivers this, and at all stages in the sales and marketing funnel.
Did you know?
How do I put video at the heart of my business marketing strategy?
Ok, hopefully, you’re convinced. So how exactly do you put video at the heart of your marketing strategy?
First of all, let me illustrate this by stating how not to.
The single worst thing you can do is commission a lovely video, and then post links to that video on your social media channel.
That’s not how it works. You will have wasted your money.
I have had several clients who nodded vigorously when I explained this to them. And then they went ahead and did it anyway. Don’t be like them!
Just because you have a video doesn’t mean you are performing the art or science of video marketing.
Please re-read that sentence. It’s really important. You could literally commission Peter Jackson to create the world’s most brilliant video, but if no-one ever sees it then you’d have completely wasted your money (and his time!).
The thing is, putting video at the heart of your marketing strategy isn’t as simple as taking a print campaign and turning it into video.
Look at your company’s strategy and content output with a fresh pair of eyes. Don’t just convert your existing content into video. Think video first… and then create your content.
To put this into actual actionable intelligence: fast forward to the end of your video.
Pay attention: this is probably the critical piece of advice in this entire article
The most important question to ask yourself before you create even one frame of video is this: what do I want the viewer to do once the video ends?
How to shape your video strategy for your Northern Ireland business
Think about your audience:
And ask yourself some questions from a company point of view:
When you have answered these questions, you are at the start of creating your video journey.
How to set out your goals and measurements
Next, start thinking about your goals, and how you are going to measure success?
Be realistic about your Northern Ireland business marketing goals
If you’re a new business, or a small one, it’s important to set your goals to a realistic level.
And it’s very important to understand that the simple act of putting a video somewhere on its own doesn’t mean a lot (although it will help with search engine optimisation).
If organic traffic is your goal, understand you’re in it for the long haul. Otherwise, try paid advertising.
Of course, the best strategy is probably a combination of organic and paid-for, and that applies to businesses or organisations of any size.
Shooting your video content: which type?
First off… relax. Unless you’re a mid-size to big brand, you don’t need a Hollywood-style production. And even larger brands sometimes create inexpensive video promotions.
Think of it on five levels:
Category 1: High-end videos like corporate videos, advertisements, very slick product videos, etc. Most companies and organisations should have a main corporate video. This is key for many reasons, but most importantly: social proof.
Most people when considering buying a product or using a service that costs more than a few quid do some basic research to check out the seller’s credentials: do they have an adequate website, what is their social media offering and have they a professional video to watch. Once reassured, then they’re more likely to purchase.
Category 2: This is still professional video, but not the full production values of category 1. They might be customer testimonials, standard product videos, training videos etc.
Category 3: Innovative video: Think 3D virtual tours, 360 tours, animated video explainers, professional live-streaming.
Category 4: DIY shoot, but professional edit: This might be material shot on a smartphone, but professionally edited. The truth is that learning to shoot half-decent video on a smartphone isn’t that hard. It’s the editing that’s tricky! If you’re struggling call in a pro.
Category 5: Cheap spur-of-the-moment stuff: Live social media broadcasts from a smartphone. Advantages – instant, cheap, personality comes across, can be very effective. Disadvantages – does this fit your brand positioning? Do you or your performer have the right personality? Plus, you can lose control of the medium very easily.
There is no hard and fast rule for any of those. Consider any of the above, although more established businesses and organisations should approach 4 and 5 with care.
How to get your Call to Action right
Remember what I said earlier about the single most important thing in this whole process?
The most important question to ask yourself before you create even one frame of video is this: what do I want the viewer to do once the video ends?
This is where your call to action – also known as a CTA – comes into its own. Once the video ends, you must have a call to action clearly signposting to the viewer where to go next.
Writing CTAs is an art in itself – as this Wordstream blog shows.
The aim is to get the viewer to take an action. This action dovetails with your marketing plan. So, it might be:
So, it’s really important to get this right.
My advice is to create your call to action first, and then start the process of creating your video. You can always update it as the process flows along.
You can be as creative as you like as long as you don’t break the parameters of your brand.
How much should I pay for business video in Northern Ireland?
Ok, so the process is about to get underway. But here’s where the rubber meets the road.
How much does it cost?
Sorry to be evasive, but the short answer to that question is: how long is a piece of string? It depends on what and who is needed for the video.
The long answer is from a few pounds for DIY amateur video to tens of thousands for a top-end global-standard corporate video. Oh, and every stop in between.
I remember back getting involved in commissioning video when I was deputy editor of the Belfast Telegraph back in the noughties. The internet existed back then of course, but video was still owned by broadcasters and was still a monopoly.
We were being quoted £7,000 per minute of video, for example.
That gravy train has well and truly hit the buffers! And rightly so.
Video prices have come way down
Today, video has been democratised, and the price has come way down.
At SmartVideo we have a range of clients including the public sector. But mostly we work with small and medium-sized businesses and organisations.
As a result, our prices are highly competitive. As a rule of thumb, SmartVideo’s business products start at £395+vat for a short video for a very small business to over £1,000+ for bigger video productions.
For the more complex productions, it depends on what you want. Drone, actors, action sequences? Anything can be done, but at a price.
Never, ever underestimate the importance of a video script, for example. After the call to action, this the next most important thing. A good script is invaluable.
Creating the actual video production content
Phew! Only after all of the above are we ready to begin shooting.
The first thing is, who do you use? The choices are:
For almost all videos made in NI for businesses and charities, the answer is a video agency.
Will the jobbing videographer go off sick, or let you down because a bigger job came along?
Even more importantly, will they have the proper insurance? This is a major worry.
To be honest, in my experience many one-man-band videographers don’t have business insurance for their cars, never mind public liability etc.
You should understand that if you hire a videographer and you didn’t check his/her insurance, including motor insurance, you could well be jointly liable if something happens.
So, you can compare your video provider, here’s a bit of inside info: SmartVideo never operates with less than:
You can be sure high-end production companies will have enough insurance. But do you really need to hire a film production company? By all means, if you have deep pockets, a very large reputation and plan to ship internationally, aim high.
But most people need to spend their budget responsibly, which means hiring a firm that provides quality video at low cost.
What about DIY smartphone solutions?
You can choose to shoot your own material on smartphones like the iPhone.
If you know what you’re doing, this can be an excellent way to create low-cost video.
Amateur footage can be very immediate and intimate. Some people love it, but others aren’t so sure. If you’re a mid to large-sized business or organisation, consider the impact on your brand: is the quality good enough?
For smaller businesses or one-man/woman bands, there may well be advantages in self-shooting.
What you’ll need are a smartphone, a tripod, a mic and some editing software.
Anyone can learn it if they put in the time, and you don’t need high-end phones – almost any iPhone will do.
World’s first iPhone video production
In fact, I have met the guy who made the world’s first real iPhone movie – filmed on an iPhone 4!
It’s well done, heavily stylised, although a lot of the trickery is really done in the editing, not the shooting.
He’s a Spaniard called Conrad Mess, and this is the film (note: violent content).
It should be said that the editing is usually the trickiest part of smartphone video. With that in mind, we have launched a DIY shoot/Pro edit product where you film the content and leave us to do the editing for you.
Did you know that SmartVideo runs smartphone video classes that teach you how to shoot and edit on a smartphone?
How do I SEO a video to market my Northern Ireland business?
There’s a whole art and science behind SEO-ing a video, particularly for the big platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
People think you just put your video on YouTube and add a few tags and that’s it. Wrong! There is a whole industry behind successful SEO-ing of videos.
We’re working on a proper post on this subject in the future, but for now, here are some tips:
Promoting and sharing your video marketing content
To many marketers, this is the most interesting bit. This is where they get to use their skills to get traffic to the video.
So, in the same way you’re driving traffic to your website, you need to drive traffic to individual videos as well.
So, you use all the channels at your disposal:
You get the picture. The key thing is that just posting a video isn’t enough. You need to treat it like any other piece of content: develop a campaign and go for it.
If you’re really smart you can use an email capture tool. This means the person inputs their email into the video and it synchs straight into your CRM (customer relationship manager). Magic! We’ll have more of that in a later SmartVideo post.
Conclusion – wrapping all the Northern Ireland business video tips
It’s not good enough just to create a video. As we all know, the days of build-it-and-they-will-come are long gone.
Video marketing is a powerful tool – possibly the most powerful – in your toolbox, but you need to deploy it properly.
If you have a plan and create the goods, then video will give you an emotional and intuitive connection to your audience and a way to build trust. This is the same, whether you’re a brand, a business, a charity or an organisation.
TLDR: This article summed up in two sentences: