The Comprehensive Guide to B2B Video Marketing
Everything your business needs to know about B2B video marketing — from DIY video to hiring a film crew, promoting your video and more.
Note: Be sure to bookmark this guide for reference later.
While video has been hailed as a top recommended marketing investment for years now, many businesses still feel reluctant to incorporate video in their marketing mix, typically because of either an assumed high price tag or lack of time and resources to create video in-house.
When there’s inexpensive content tactics like blogging and social at your fingertips, why bother with video, right?
If you’re thinking you can ignore video because your customers don’t watch videos online anyway, here are a couple statistics to consider. According to Forbes:
- Over 500 million people are watching video every day on Facebook alone
- In four years, global internet video traffic will be over 80% of all consumer internet traffic
Then there’s this study from HubSpot, which found that if text and video are both the same webpage, 72% of people would rather watch the video to learn about the product or service.
In short, video isn’t going anywhere, and if your organization hasn’t already created some form of video content, then you’re likely behind your competitors who have.
But there’s much more to discuss. Scroll on or use the buttons above to learn about how your organization can create strategic, valuable video marketing content at a budget that works for you.
Questions to Ask
As with any marketing effort, whether or not you should invest in video marketing should be determined only after you have thoroughly researched the opportunity.
First and most importantly, does your audience want videos? Ask yourself, have they shown themselves to be receptive to video content? Is there evidence of demand for video explainers?
The answer might be a clear yes, but if not, consider the following:
- Are my competitors using video? If so, do they appear to be seeing some success (view counts, likes on social, etc.). Limited interest either means that your audience just isn’t that interested or your competitors aren’t doing a very good job creating/promoting the content. Take the video’s quality into consideration!
- Is video the best medium for the message new want to get across? Is my product visual? As a general rule, abstract ideas are usually better communicated via some other means, like infographics or a text document where you can really take the time to explain the message you are trying to get across. Of course, you can always hire an animator to create essentially an infographic video, but these are rarely as engaging as a live shoot.
Thinking these questions through will help you decide whether or not video is a good fit for you while also providing you with firm footing for thinking through your next project.
What should a business consider before deciding on making a video?
Who are we trying to push this messaging out to? What’s our goal with the content? Who in our organization will use this and how? Where will we display this, platform wise? What’s our story and what type of look, vibe, and feel do we want to display to viewers/ customers?
Tyler Mose, Indirap Productions
DIY or Vendor?
The biggest question any small business will consider once they’ve decided to move forward with video is whether or not to shoot it themselves or hire a firm to do it for them.
This mostly comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish and how much you’re willing to spend. Sure, if you lack a budget hiring a professional might be out of the question, but you should also consider the channel you want to promote your video on.
Uploading to a social media site built around more informal videos, like Instagram, IGTV and Twitter, allows you to make a looser, less polished video. If you’d like a “showcase” company or product video housed on your main website on the other hand, then you’ll want to hire a video production company.
Here’s a DIY example posted on Instagram from one of our clients, United Abrasives, a manufacturer of abrasives used in welding and construction.
View this post on Instagram
Some Monday’s you just want to see sparks fly ✨✨ Why are our HOBO portable saw cut-off wheels so great? They have both the highest quality fiberglass reinforcements and highest density grain to withstand the toughest metals. #unitedabrasives #sait #abrasives #madeinamerica?? #americanmadeindustrialgrade #quality #cutoffwheel #heavymetal
And here’s an example of a professionally shot video we had made for them:
These two videos are hard to compare because they were created with very different outcomes in mind. The former to provide quick yet interesting content for their Instagram audience, and the latter to serve as a showcase video for their overall brand and messaging.
That’s not to say that you can’t make DIY videos similar to United Abrasives’ showcase video, just that you should first think through what your primary usage of this video will be before deciding to hire or DIY.
One last factor to consider: your time commitment. A DIY video will take up a lot of your time. If you don’t have the hours to sink into scripting, shooting, reshooting and multiple rounds of edits, then hiring a firm is likely your best bet.
How much should a company budget when hiring a video company?
Cost is only partly related to the duration of the video, but if you only have $2-3,000, you will be limited in your creative options. If you can afford to work in the $8-15K area, you’ll be able to have the things that make a video more professional looking – art direction, lighting, a hair and make-up person, a setting that’s more creative than your conference room, and so on.
T.W. Li, Video Parachute
DIY-ing: Gear Suggestions and Free Tools
Your first step will be figuring out what gear you plan on shooting with. Your smartphone camera will work great for social videos and in general can create acceptable looking videos even if your concept is visually demanding, you’ll just want to purchase a smartphone tripod or a stabilizer if you plan on moving the camera.
If you’d like a higher-quality picture and have someone on staff with some video or photography experience, then a DSLR camera can help take your visuals up a notch.
If you plan on recording someone speaking, consider purchasing a mic for either the smartphone or the camera. Otherwise, you can get an inexpensive microphone for voiceover that will work well.
Free Tools to Download
If you’ve decided to make your own video, then you could probably use some suggestions for free tools for editing and generally helping through the process.
If you need to record any voiceover, consider these free programs.
- GarageBand – Standard on all Macs, this is a simple and popular way to record music and voiceover.
- Soundtrap — An online-based recording system with an interface similar to Garageband, Soundtrap allows multiple people to access your audio and made edits/record their own content without having to share large physical files between computers.
- Adobe Audition (Free Trial) —A more sophisticated editing software worth purchasing if you intend on making regular DIY videos, this software is very versatile and will ensure your voiceover is in excellent form.
The success of your video is often determined in the editing stage. Here are three tools that can handle what you need.
- iMovie — Another Apple freebie that is very flexible and reliable.
- Animoto — While you will ultimately have to pay to remove the watermark this service puts on your videos, this easy-to-use video editing tool lets you create professional videos with easy to add options like text overlays and transitions.
- FilmoraGo — A free editing app for mobile devices, this software allows you to do a whole suite of basic edits (adding music, moving around clips, adjusting aspect ratios) directly on your smartphone without adding timestamps or watermarks.
DIY-ing: Creating a Concept
Once you’ve decided that DIY video is right for your business, you want to first develop the concept and visuals for your project.
Use a creative brief to guide your efforts and ensure that your video concept has firm legs to stand on (click here to learn more about creative briefs). Your brief should try to answer essential questions, including:
- What will the video be focusing on, and what is the intended outcome/goal?
- Who will the video be designed for? (Draw from buyer personas)
- How will the video achieve this goal? (What’s the concept/idea?)
- Why will the buyer believe us? (What insight are we leveraging?)
- Where will this video be used? (Social only? Throughout your websites? As a piece of a larger campaign?
To keep an audience engaged, you’ll need to be able to show them something actionable, like a how-to video showing a physical action taking place. Here are some examples you can draw on for inspiration, and below is an example of an engaging B2B testimonial video created using Animoto.
As this video is a good example of, if your message requires narration, then you don’t want to just be standing there against a wall, monotonously reading from your script. Frequent cuts and clips that stay on a narrator for only a few seconds creates a much more dynamic viewing experience.
Of course, the famous Dollar Shave Club video is the most referenced example for how businesses can make basic narration videos entertaining.
You can even use existing clips to put together an engaging video. Below is a short video we made for one of our clients, Switchfast Technologies, using old free stock footage and some basic imagery.
These clips were pulled from Pond5’s Public Domain Project, which features almost 10,000 royalty-free video clips, though they are generally all older. However, if you’re looking for more modern clips, there are still a variety of options available to you, though you’ll likely have to pay for them. Pond5 also hosts a variety of stock clips available for purchase while other large stock sites like Shutterstock also offer video. (Click here for more info on using stock footage.)
Coming up with what kind of visuals and the format your video will take (voiceover or not, text overlays, etc.) will play a large role in your next step: writing a script.
DIY-ing: Writing the Script
Don’t think you can just walk into a video shoot, without any script, and have it all go flawlessly. Though it may seem like an unnecessary technicality, there are a variety of issues that having a script can help you through.
Writing down your lines and memorizing them obviously adds an aura of professionalism to your video. But beyond just helping with line delivery, a script will also greatly assist with planning the video.
For example, after scripting you’ll find that your original idea is either too short or too long. If you’re under 30 seconds or over a minute and a half, you probably need to work toward a medium in the middle, around one minute. By scripting, you’ll be able to see if you should add more info before shooting or break this one video up into a series.
Scripting will also help you determine what the postproduction process will be like. If what you write calls for the use of graphics or some extra editing, then you’ll know to build this into your project timeline.
In your opinion, what makes a successful video?
It really depends on a lot of things, but if I had to pick one, I’d say solid pre-production. Careful planning and thoughtful scriptwriting are among the most important elements for success. Also, budget and plan for the ideas you haven’t thought of yet. Leave yourself some room so when a good idea presents itself you can act on it to make your good video a great video.
DIY-ing: Recording Audio
Whether you’re recording voiceover or live audio with one of the mics we recommended earlier — or relying on a phone’s internal mic — shoot a couple test shots to be sure your speaker can be heard. You’ll also want to shoot in a quiet location; no sudden air condition bursts or noises from the next room over.
If you’re recording narration, I also recommend purchasing a pop filter (like this) which will cover up the blast of air created by “p” and “b” sounds.
Garageband Tutorial: Here’s a simple wikiHow that can talk you through the basics of recording.
Once you’ve recorded your voiceover, export it as a .wav file (the sound quality will be better in this format) and load it into your video editing software of choice.
Adobe Audition Tutorial: This video will walk you through the basics of recording and editing audio in Audition.
DIY-ing: Editing Your Video
The last step before uploading the video to your chosen destination is to edit it. Rely on your original script and video concept to guide you, but if something isn’t working out, feel free to make adjustments. Don’t be too precious with your original idea; your goal here to make your video work and effectively communicate your message.
Whichever app or software you choose for the editing process, keep an eye on the following:
- Flow. Does any section of the video seem off, whether it moves too slow or too fast? Trimming a few seconds here or there can lead to drastic improvements.
- Sound. If you use music, make sure it doesn’t overpower any narration. You want it to lightly enhance the mood of your video — not take it over.
- Are reshoots needed? Sometimes you don’t realize a shot is off until you start going through it second by second. If this is the case, don’t try to force lacking clips through your project. Take your time and reshoot whatever needs updates. It’ll lead to a much better final product.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, feel free to experiment and get more creative with your videos. The more energy and creativity behind it, the more likely your audience is to be drawn in.
Hiring a Video Crew
DIY isn’t right for all video projects. If you need an exceptionally well-shot and produced video, then hiring a video crew is your best bet. But how do you find the right vendor for your needs?
This can be a tricky question, as video crews can offer a wide-range of services. Some will come in, shoot a script you’ve provided them with, work with you on edits and call it a day. Others will help you build your concept from the ground up, script it and then guide your promotional efforts. Then there’s everything in the middle.
Before you start looking for a crew, you need to answer some questions. These include:
- Will you write the script or are you counting on them?
- Is there a date you’ll need the final product by?
- How much budget can you allocate to this project?
- Do you need help with promotion?
Once you’ve outlined your answers, it’s time to find a crew. One of the simplest ways is a simple Google search in your nearby area. Look at reviews from past clients and browse portfolios to see who seems like the best fit for you.
You can also use a website like Thumbtack to go out to bid for videographers. This should be your first step with all video projects, as it allows you to outline how much budget you have, how long you want your videos to be (and how many you need) and what dates you’d like to shoot on, along with any other important notes.
This way you’ll only receive bids from companies interested in your job willing to do work on your budget.
Once you’ve reviewed all your options, schedule calls or meetings with those at the top of your list. You want to be sure you choose a firm who really understands your concept and needs and, most importantly, has ideas of their own they can bring to the table.
What should businesses have prepared before contacting a production company?
The more you prepare, the more likely you will achieve your desired outcome. A goal or a plan puts everyone on the same page so there is focus from the start. If you and 6 friends wanted to go out to dinner, you’d probably have some kind of a plan, after all.
Having a pretty good idea of what needs to be accomplished saves the business time and money.
Working Together and Coordinating Edits
Once you’ve hired a crew, developed your concept and shot your footage (make sure your shooting location is clean and any employees featured are dressed appropriately!), your next step is to work with your crew through the editorial process.
They will likely send you links to a portal where you can watch rough cuts of your videos and respond with any notes or edits you have.
Begin by watching the video at least two times before taking any notes or beginning to think about revisions. You want to get what you imagined these videos would like out of your system and evaluate them for what they are.
In these initial viewings, similar to completing DIY edits, you want to look for a few basic things:
- Does the video capture the mood you were looking for? Do the graphics, clips, music and dialogue (if any) accurately reflect your organization’s message?
- Does any portion of the video drag or feel like it’s gone on for too long?
- Does your message still work? Is the video on brand? Are logos appropriately used? While you should give your film crew some leeway to be creative, you want to be sure that the content still adheres to core tenets of the brand.
Send your edits back and repeat this process as many times as needed. If you did your research correctly and hired the right crew, this shouldn’t take more than a couple rounds.
Also, be sure to have all important internal stakeholders in your video view the initial cuts and sign off on your edits. You don’t want to show what you thought was your final cut to your boss only to have them request further edits. This might lead to additional costs if your video crew outlined a set number of edits in your contract.
Whether you DIY or hire a crew, the last step in the video process is promotion.
Upload your videos to your preferred video hosting service, whether that be Vimeo, YouTube or a social media platform, give the video a title, write your description and ensure your video account links back to your website. Then spread the word!
Attach it to your landing pages to add authority and credibility to your content offers. Schedule multiple posts promoting it on social. Place it on relevant pages throughout your website, including your homepage. Feature it in blog posts and in emails. The options are only as limited as your imagination.
We recommend you take a look at the following blog posts for guidance on how to create a marketing campaign that will get the most of your video:
- Best Practices for a B2B Lead Generation Campaign
- Getting Started with Social Media Content Planning
Once some time has passed – more than likely a couple weeks – take stock of how your video(s) have performed. Did people actually watch it? Did you get any feedback? If so, what did your audience like/not like so much about your video?
Take what you’ve learned, then apply it to your next video project. With some practice, it’ll become easier and easier and you’ll find your grasp on the video medium will only tighten. The more you make, the better your videos will be, increasing the odds your content will bring in more and better leads.
Video marketing is a big investment. From time required to budget management, it’s essential that your video is strategically planned and executed for maximum success. We can help.
Simple Machines can develop video concepts, write scripts, find the right video vendor for your organization or we can even do some video production in-house too.
To learn more, contact us today.