Ten Tips For Producing Highly Effective Business Videos

by Hal Landen

(Originally published in Sales & Marketing Executive Report)

Happy clients are the best way to build a solid production business – a far better way than any advertising. And just a few happy clients that keep coming back to update and duplicate older videos, producing new videos and spreading the word about you will eventually add tens of thousands of dollars to your annual income.

One key to producing client-pleasing videos on a small budget is planning.

  • 1. In video this plan is called the script. It is a complete blueprint for the production and editing of the video. It describes every visual and audio element just as an architect’s plans specify every detail of a building. Great buildings, movies and videos are all made on paper first. So whether you hire a script writer or do it yourself, take the time to get the script right before you spend any time or money producing a video.The length of your video is another element that is determined in the script. In marketing videos, shorter is better so try to keep it between 5 – 8 minutes. For YouTube, keep it under 2 minutes. Like an effective TV commercial, your video should be clear, concise, and compelling. Save more detailed information for an online or printed fact sheet.
  • 2. Since the audience is the only reason to make a marketing video, it’s quite important to define the target audience including their concerns and aspirations. Then list a few main benefits – show how your client’s company can solve problems, save money, or improve the lives of this target audience. Every element in the video must build on these benefits rather than merely describing the features of a product or service.
  • 3. Plan the distribution of the video before you produce it. Adding words like “Send for Free Video” to advertisements and other marketing venues will increase the effectiveness of the video. A video can also be shown at trade shows as an “endless loop” and used in one-on-one meetings. A widely distributed video helps both you and your client. You get more duplication business and your client gets more business.If international distribution is a possibility, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to produce a foreign language version if the English version uses an off-camera narrator and text testimonials rather than people who speak on-camera.
  • 4. Study the best TV commercials and marketing videos that promote a similar product or service to the one you’re promoting. Adapting the styles and techniques of others is a time-honored tradition in filmmaking. Just don’t infringe copyrights by reproducing any of the content of other films. One successful technique that is easily adapted to the low-budget video is the series of short testimonials. Rather than hiring actors, ask satisfied customers why they like the company.
  • 5. If your client has attractive publicity photos, consider using them in the video. Some very effective videos and films have been constructed entirely from still photographs. One catch — a photo can appear on the screen for only a few seconds.
  • 6. For the cost of a copy, industry associations and the U.S. Government can provide stunning footage e.g. NASA space shots. This footage can stretch a small budget into an impressive production. For a catalog of government-produced footage that’s copyright free, see our guide to public domain footage entitled “Create Amazing Videos on a Shoestring.”
  • 7. When filming, always shoot a lot of close-ups. On the small screen these close-up shots are generally more compelling than wide shots. They’re also a lot easier and cheaper to light, arrange and shoot.
  • 8. Like script writing, good editing makes a major difference in how successful the video is for both you and your client. Keep the show moving and always directed to the most important viewer – your client’s clients. Ruthlessly eliminate anything that’s weak. Remember, shorter marketing videos are generally better than longer ones.Keep your client involved in the editing process just as you do in the scripting process. Seek their input, criticisms and suggestions on each new script or offline edit master. A professional narrator and just-the-right music are essential.
  • 9. Special effects and cool animations are fun to watch, but can be expensive and time-consuming to produce even when you’re working on your own system. In most cases this “eye candy” contributes little to the sales message. So if the budget is tight, concentrate on a telling a story that addresses the needs of your audience.
  • 10. Let the press know about the video. Send every appropriate local journalist a well-written press release announcing the video you just produced. Send them a copy of the video and be sure to include information about your client. This can help your business and your client’s.
  • 11. Even though I only promised ten tips, I want to give you one more – Never promise more than you deliver. ALWAYS deliver more than you promise. Your clients will keep coming back to you for years to come.The above is distilled from the course Professional Video Producer, item #77

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7 thoughts on “Ten Tips For Producing Highly Effective Business Videos

  1. Jason

    Here’s an 11. for you … And when the proverbial hits the fan, as it always can in the early days of your video production career, do not panic! Things go wrong regardless of all the planning in the world, it happens to the best, and always will. Simply stay calm and find the best solution possible with what you have, and above all, don’t knock yourself. It’s a learning process, and after all … you can’t make a burger without using horse (as tesco’s would say) :)

  2. Jeff

    Thanks for the valuable tips! Do you recommend using video templates? I found nice ones for business (presenting logos) on Stockeon but I haven’t used any templates before

    1. Hal Post author

      We haven’t used them, but they look interesting. When you can, show us a video you’ve produced with one of the templates. It would make for a good conversation.

    2. rogeros

      I’m a wedding videomaker and I have to say that I use templates for openings in my videos and I’m pretty satisfied with the effects. Thanks for mentioning Stockeon, looks like there’s another good marketplace for me.


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