Whether you're joining the video revolution for the very first time, or thinking about your next online video project, one thing will be paramount to ensuring its success: preparation.
Like any other marketing strategy, setting clear goals for video production is an essential part of your preparation. Clearly defined goals will stop you from wasting time and money, and ensure your video delivers an effective message to your target audience.
It's all very well deciding you want to increase the use of online video in your marketing strategy, but skipping the vital step of setting realistic goals will limit the success of your project.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said: by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Setting Your Goals
Goal setting is a powerful process to help keep you focused. Identifying goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation, and is a common aspect of modern life.
The classic goal-setting acronym is SMART. This suggests that your goals should be:
Specific: a specific goal is much more achievable, so instead of saying 'I want to make a video,' you would say 'I want to produce a video to promote this new product to this target audience.'
Measureable: what are you hoping to achieve with your video? More subscribers to your mailing list? More traffic to your website? By establishing concrete criteria, you can measure your progress and stay on track.
Achievable: face it – your new explainer video probably won't go viral within seconds of hitting the web. Ensure your goals are achievable so you're not setting yourself up for failure or encouraging unethical behaviour in order to achieve them.
Realistic: make sure the video you want to produce is possible with the time, budget and resources you have available.
Timely: ensure your goals have a timescale – if you want to increase the traffic to your website, when do you want to achieve this by? Without a solid timeframe, there's no sense of urgency and you won't know when you've achieved your goal.
Undoubtedly, you will have many objectives for your video, but the following three are probably the most essential: defining your budget, setting out your marketing objectives, and deciding on a realistic timeframe.
Defining Your Budget
The first goal, whether you're working independently or with a production company, is to set a carefully defined budget. A corporate video can cost as little as £700 or over £70,000 according to your needs, so you must work out what you're prepared to spend.
Determining your budget for the project will depend largely on your overall marketing budget. One of the biggest challenges is estimating the amount of work a project will take – something that gets easier with experience. Be careful not to overstretch yourself, but ensure you factor in the value that the video will add to your company, products and services.
If you're working with a production company, tell them your likely budget from the outset, as they will be able to advise you how you can meet your objectives with the resources at your disposal.
Remember, you don't have to spend a fortune as long as you have a good strategy in place. The following video for dance studio Studie43 is a brilliant example of a low budget video that's gone viral – pure YouTube gold.
Defining Your Marketing Goals
Next, you need to define your marketing goals – realistically. Remember, a minute or two of video is never going to explain all of your products and services, and demonstrate your company ethics. Therefore, you need to work out exactly what you want this video to achieve.
Do you want to market a specific product or service, show off your knowledge and expertise on a certain subject, or demonstrate the human side of your business? Are your motives purely financial, do you want to attract more traffic to your website, or reach a new target audience?
All of these factors will have an impact on the sort of video you're producing, and the more guidance you can give, the more efficient and cost-effective it will be. You also need to think about your call to action, and ensure you give your viewers a nudge in the right direction.
The above video by Who Gives a Crap, which was a crowd-funding sensation last year, is a slice of marketing genius, with clearly defined goals and a strong call to action. The video, a mix of toilet humour with a serious message, hit the spot and achieved its goals – with plenty to spare.
Finally, you need to consider the timescale for your video. After all, there's no point allocating a significant portion of your marketing budget to your project, then running out of time to complete it, resulting in a poor quality video.
Video production can be unpredictable. You may hit kinks in your script, a key person could fall ill, the weather could disrupt filming, and so on. It's essential that you plan your production right, and build in a little bit of flexibility.
Timescale will vary depending on the type of video you're making. Remember to allow enough time for finding a production company, planning your script, and researching before the filming can even begin. In addition, don't forget the post-production work that will need to take place before your video is complete.
Establishing Your Video Production Goals
Before setting out on your video production journey, ensure you spend some time setting realistic goals. At the very least, you should have a set budget and timeframe, and understand your marketing goals, so you can maximise the potential of your investment.
Your goals should be realistic and achievable, and compatible with your long-term business goals. By taking the time to prepare effectively, you will ensure that your project is cost-effective, has the maximum possible impact and quality, and you will be able to evaluate the success of the project.
By Neil Davidson
Neil Davidson is the Founder of MWP Digital Media, a leading Corporate Video Production Company. He also runs My Web Presenters who specialise in creating video spokesperson videos. They work with businesses of all sizes to create and market compelling and emotive videos that get specific and clear results. If you would like to have a conversation about how to create video for the web then please contact Neil here.