Make a promo video: how to create a promo video on a budget

We hate to break it to you, but if you haven’t already begun thinking to create a promo video for your business, then you’re missing out. You see, video is found to be more engaging, more memorable, and more popular than any other type of content out there. Using video content on landing pages can improve conversions by up to 80%, while video on social media alone generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined.

By 2022, it’s estimated that online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic, so now is the perfect time to hop on the video success train. We know what you’re thinking though: producing professional promo videos can be very expensive if you hire an agency, and you’re not wrong. It’s estimated that a 1-2 minute video can cost up to a staggering $50,000 when produced by a premium agency.

Thankfully, there’s a simple and much more affordable solution: freelancers.

Within this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about maximizing your video’s success, including the key elements of a great promo video, what specific video will work for your business, and the steps to getting it produced within budget.

Why should you create a promo video?

One of the very first steps to promo video creation is to understand the “why” behind your video. In other words, what is your end goal? What are you setting out to achieve with this video? Why do you want to create a promotional video?

The four most common reasons for creating a promotional video include:

Brand awareness and education

Statistics show that video is a great medium for making consumers more aware of your brand. A staggering 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands, while 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service when both video and text are available on the same page. 

When you think of brand awareness, you might think about aspects such as logo recognition, but it goes far beyond that. Brand recognition is about creating a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with your target audience and encouraging them to feel certain positive emotions when your brand comes to mind.

Because video is such a visual content method, it’s the perfect medium to educate your audience about your business, products, and services. This is because viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. 

Think about why your audience should care about what you have to offer and how it can help them in their lives. Keep your target audience’s needs at the center of everything you do, and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of success.

Drive sales

Another popular reason for creating a promo video is to attract customers, drive sales, and therefore, increase revenue. Studies show 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video, while 76% of businesses say video has helped them to increase their sales. 

This is because videos are an accessible and entertaining way for viewers to see products up-close and in action, even if it is via a screen. Furthermore, videos reassure the customer by helping them make an informed purchase decision, especially for online shopping when they can’t physically hold the product in their hands.

Don’t just take our word for it though. A study of online fashion retailers showed that those using video on product pages saw a 134% boost in conversions while an A/B test of a fitness product sales page saw a 46% uplift in click-throughs to the purchase page when the sales page included a video.

Drive traffic

Websites with videos attract 2-3 times as many visitors as those that don’t. Not only is video an effective tool for increasing traffic to your website, but it also successfully keeps people there for longer, therefore reducing your bounce rate. According to MistMedia, 88% of visitors will stay longer on a website that has a prominent video displayed. 

The even better news? Those that stay longer are 64% more likely to purchase a product. Again, this links back to the fact that humans are highly visual, so videos allow your site to reach the perfect balance between written and visual content.

Additionally, both search engines and social media (particularly LinkedIn) prioritize multimedia content on a page, as they know videos have a high engagement rate. This extremely beneficial for SEO, as it increases the time spent on the page (also known as dwell time), which is one of Google’s ranking factors. It’s also a great way to drive additional traffic over to your content.

Increase customer engagement and entertainment

When we think of the customer experience, we often think of the sales journey, but it’s so much more than that. Your customers want to feel as though they’re being heard, their questions are being answered, their problems are being fixed, and they’re therefore forming a strong connection to the brand. 

Remember, it’s all about encouraging your target audience to interact with and gain positive effects from the experiences you create for them as a business. All these elements contribute to customer retention and engagement, which when executed well, fosters brand growth and loyalty.

Customer entertainment goes hand-in-hand with engagement. When your audience is entertained, customer engagement levels are high. Videos, of course, play a huge role in entertaining and engaging your audience, as 1 in 4 consumers tend to lose interest in a company if it doesn’t feature any videos on its site.

This all comes down to human psychology. We’re wired to pay attention to four key elements: faces, voices, body language, and movement. By engaging viewers so successfully, video is able to leave a memorable impression, with 80% of customers being able to remember a video they viewed in the past month.

Keep in mind that it’s better to stick to a single “why,” rather than trying to achieve multiple goals with your video. After all, you don’t want your viewer feeling confused or overwhelmed. If you want to address many goals, it is better to complete each one as a separate video project.

Tip: Keep in mind that it’s better to stick to a single “why,” rather than trying to achieve multiple goals with your video. You don’t want your viewer feeling confused or overwhelmed. If you want to address many goals, it is better to complete each one as a separate video project.

What makes a good promo video?

Not all videos are created equally. There are 5 key elements that make a promo video great, allowing it to stand out among the vast sea of video content. These include:

Video length

One of the easiest and most effective ways to increase your promo video’s impact is to keep it within just 1-2 minutes in length. According to a study by Wistia, as video length increases past two minutes, you begin to see huge drops in engagement levels. This can be attributed to our declining attention spans, particularly when consuming online content.

Video size, placement, and dimensions

Firstly, it’s important to place your promo video above the fold or just before your page starts to get too long. According to a recent study, this “removes barriers to pressing play for visitors who are ready to watch a video.” Secondly, it was found that videos with a width between 401 pixels and 600 pixels and a height measuring between 301 and 450 pixels have the highest average play rate.

Video type

The type of promo video you create for your business will play a role in its success as well, as you will need to produce a video format that makes sense for your goal and target audience. Some examples of different types of promo videos and their related uses include:

  • Product launch or instructional video: To inform your audience about your latest product and increase sales, by demonstrating its use, explaining its features, and establishing its necessity to your customers. 
  • Explainer video: To provide a brief overview of your product or service, introduce a problem the target audience is looking to overcome, and then re-iterate the solution your product or service offers. Think of it as a quick and easy explanation aiming to engage viewers, convince them of the product or service’s value, and turn them into customers.
  • Problem-solving video: These focus on a more specific problem the target audience is interested in overcoming and provides the process or a step-by-step example of how they can do this using the business’ products or services. DIY home improvement videos offered by hardware companies are a great example of this.
  • Creative video: These take the form of animation, motion graphics, or any other creative style and can also be used as instructional, explainer, or problem-solving videos. Creative video types are ideal for discussing more difficult concepts and often include graphics such as diagrams, charts, or maps to appeal to an audience’s preference for visual learning.

Video style

If you’re worried you’ll be limited to just one or two styles for a promotional video, you’re in for a treat. There are so many video styles to choose from, including:

You’ll want to consider a variety of important factors when choosing the style for your video. These include your video’s topic, target audience, and type.

Video tone

When a viewer watches your video, how do you want them to feel? This is how you can describe the tone of your video, which is an important aspect for not only helping your audience to connect with your content but also for bringing your message to life. Popular tones include:

  • Conversational
  • Urgent
  • Playful
  • Humorous
  • Youthful
  • Luxurious

How can you maximize the exposure of your promo video?

Before you start creating your promo video, it’s important you’ve established a presence for your business on key video-sharing platforms to maximize its exposure. These include:

A blog: According to Forbes, websites with a blog have 434% more pages indexed by search engines than those who don’t, helping to increase web traffic, exposure, and potential leads. By sharing video content on their blog, however, businesses can further build on this success. Not only is a website 53 times more likely to reach the front page of Google if it includes video, but video also increases organic search traffic on a website by an impressive 157%.

Facebook: With almost 2.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 81% of businesses prefer to use the platform for their video marketing. Sharing video isn’t just a great way to connect with and inform your target audience, but also a great way to generate leads and sales. A whopping 62% of people said they were more interested in a product after seeing it in a Facebook Story.

YouTube: Did you know over one billion hours of YouTube content is viewed per day? That’s a lot of potential extra eyes on your business’ promo video. YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google, so it’s vital that your video can also be discovered and watched on the site.

Instagram: Instagram should also be another vital part of your video sharing strategy, as the platform is home to over 1 billion users. Studies show users interact more with sponsored video content, which generates three times more comments than sponsored Instagram photos.

What types of promo videos can you create to make your business stand out?

Your video’s type and style go hand-in-hand to helping you achieve success, but it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. We’ve listed some of the most effective video type and style combinations below to help your business stand out from among the pack.

Video type: product launch/introductory | Video style: live launch video

A great way to generate buzz prior to a product launch or introduction to your products and services is through a live launch promo video. When done correctly, both of these styles can effectively communicate to an audience the value of your product and help to increase demand. Additionally, appearing live on social media or having an influencer market the product for you can assist with building brand credibility and trust.

Video type: explanatory | Video style: explainer videos

If you want an effective way to communicate to your target audience what your product/service does, as well as its unique features, and how it can benefit them, then an explainer video is the best way to go. Don’t forget to think outside of the box here and provide a video that isn’t just a list of facts, but is entertaining too. This is a great way to increase customer engagement, as viewers love sharing entertaining videos with their networks.

Video type: problem-solving | Video style: storytelling

With a story that intrigues and inspires, you can tell your ideal customers about the problems your product can solve, all while maintaining their interest to the very end. When creating a video of this type and style, it’s vital you focus first and foremost on your target market’s pain points, as well as why your product (as opposed to your competitors) is the solution they’ve been looking for. You may consider using a real-life example of how your product has helped a customer solve a problem.

Video type: brand informational | Video style: promotional

An informational video serves as an effective way to demonstrate your expertise in the field and set your business apart from others within the industry. Think about what you are most knowledgeable about and how this information can help your target market. 

To boost your authority, you might wish to interview professionals within your company, discuss industry trends, or make recommendations for solving problems your audience faces. It’s also an engaging way to convey your brand’s style, energy, and personality.

Video type: creative | Video style: whiteboard animation

By getting creative with your video style, you can create a new and innovative approach to understanding your products and services. The whiteboard animation style tells a creative story with pictures drawn on a background resembling a whiteboard and is perfect for explaining more complex ideas or processes.

What are some promo video mistakes you should avoid at all costs?

While there are a lot of things you should do to create an effective promo video for your business on a budget, there are also plenty that you should not. Here are the promo video mistakes you need to avoid:

Trying to do it all within a single video

Your video should stick to one particular topic that’s in-line with your company’s goals (i.e. to increase sales for a specific product). While it can be tempting to try and cram as much information into a 1-2 minute video, just keep it concise, entertaining, and informational. You don’t want to overwhelm your viewer.

Creating a promo video without producing a script

While some of us are great at providing information off-the-cuff, you should never produce a promo video for your business without preparing what will be said and when. Ensure your script reads well by practicing it out loud multiple times before filming.

Not including a call-to-action (CTA)

Much like any type of promotional content, a video will only be effective and achieve your desired results if you give viewers an action to complete at the end of it, whether that’s navigating to a particular web page, following you on a social media channel, or hitting the ‘buy now’ button. Remember to keep your CTA friendly, professional, and easy to action, as nothing will turn your viewers away faster than being too pushy.

Not cross-promoting your promo video on other platforms

Remember how we mentioned earlier in this guide the key video-sharing platforms to maximize your exposure? Once your promo video has made its way into the world, you’ll also want to share it on your business’ blog, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to reach an even wider section of your target audience.

Not creating a mobile-friendly promo video

Mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year, so it is vital viewers can still view your video on their mobile phones to attract as much engagement as possible. If you include text or subtitles, make sure they’re large enough to be legible on a small screen. Additionally, ensure your video file isn’t too large to cause slow loading times, and that your videos make sense when played back on mute. (85% of the video on Facebook, for example, is watched without any sound.)

How to make a promo video on a budget

There are 12 key production steps you’ll need to focus on before launching your promo video into the world. Several of these steps refer to hiring freelance professionals for your project, as this is how you achieve a promo video on a budget, as opposed to paying top dollar just to outsource your video work to an agency. We’ve outlined each step in detail below.

1. Define your goal

At the beginning of the guide, we talked about the various reasons why you would want to create a promo video, but now it’s time to get specific about your own goal. Not only does this give you specific outcomes to work towards when producing a promo video for your business, but it also helps you establish which KPIs (key performance indicators) you must track to determine if the outcome of your video was successful or not.

A good trick when establishing your goals is that they should be SMART

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)
  • Relevant (realistic, resourced, results-based)
  • Time-bound (time-based, time/cost limited, timely)

We’ve listed three main reasons for making a promo video below, as well as how you can look to related KPIs to turn these into SMART goals.

Attract more visitors

When using a promo video to attract more visitors to your website in the hopes of encouraging them to explore your product or service offering, you’ll want to use the following traffic-related KPIs. These not only measure your campaign’s success but also help you be more specific about what areas you’re looking to improve:

  • Unique Website Visitors
  • New and Returning Visitors
  • Impressions
  • Profile visits
  • Top Landing Pages

Engage more followers

If your end goal is to engage more followers to build trust and loyalty among your brand, then the following KPIs should be considered to give you greater clarity:

  • Reach
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Social referral traffic

Nurture more potential prospects

Is the ultimate aim of your promo video to nurture more potential prospects in the hopes of transitioning them from leads to customers? The following KPIs should be considered to determine which specific areas you will be focusing on to achieve this:

  • Conversion rate
  • Revenue generated
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Time on page
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)

2. Define your target market

You should have a very clear idea about who your target market is, as this will give you the greatest understanding of how and where to reach them. Remember, your target market is the group of people most likely to benefit from, and therefore buy your products or services.

Your target market will be a very specific group of people sharing several demographics (statistical data) and psychographics (personal characteristics).

When considering the demographics of your target market, write down your answers to the following factors:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background

When considering the psychographics of your target market, write down your answers to the following factors:

  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior

The final step is to gain even greater clarity about your target market by brainstorming the following questions:

  • What are their pain points?
  • How does your product or service fit into their lifestyle?
  • How and when will they use your product or service?
  • What can they learn from your video?
  • What type of content do they want to see?
  • Where do they most often watch videos? (i.e. through which platforms or social media channels?)

Once you know what motivates your target audience, it’s easier to formulate video content that will help them achieve their goals, thus helping your business achieve its own goals.

3. Define your target tone and mood

It’s one thing to have a video that looks good, but unless you’re having an emotional effect on your viewer, it’s unlikely they’ll feel motivated to act. According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of our purchase decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind based on how we feel. When it comes to your promotional video, the most effective way to appeal to your viewer’s emotions is through the tone and mood communicated.

To inspire you, we’ve listed the most popular video tones and mood below:

  • Confident
  • Inspirational
  • Educational
  • Informative
  • Relaxed/fun
  • Luxurious/prestigious
  • Urgent
  • Warm/caring

When brainstorming what tone and mood would work best for your promo video, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What tone will best represent your overarching goal and how you want your company to be perceived?
  • Have you run any marketing campaigns in the past (whether video, email, blog content, etc.)? If so, which campaigns have been the most successful and what tone or mood did they portray?
  • What words come to mind when you think of the product or service you’ll be promoting in your video?
  • What words have customers used to describe your products or services in the past?
  • What tone or mood would your target audience be most responsive to and why?

4. Hire a scriptwriter

The first important step in creating your promo video is to hire a professional scriptwriter. While it can be tempting to try and write the script yourself (or outsource it to another member of your company who has some writing experience), it is vital that a scriptwriting professional completes this role.

This is because your script serves as the message you’ll be communicating in your promo video. The benefit of hiring a scriptwriter is that they know how to engage the right audience, how to run a proper script structure, and focus on the brand’s marketing objectives, all at the same time.

The scriptwriter has a very important role in your video, as they’re responsible for things such as creating characters, crafting dialogue, and writing an engaging plot, all while keeping in line with the desired tone and mood of the video. They must also include elements such as stage directions and further instructions relating to the camera, lighting, and shot instructions. These form what is known as a shooting script.

When working on a promo video of just 1-2 minutes in length, the script must be clear and concise in order to engage viewers, make them want to keep watching and learn more.

The main things that should be included in a promo video script
The scene numbers, if there are multiple scenes. These are written as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
The timestamp (the exact time at which something is happening). Be sure to include this down to the very second.
The audio, including dialogue, voice-over, sound effects, music, or anything else the viewer will be hearing.
Descriptions of any other important details required, such as the characters, location, expressions, movements, props, etc.

5. Complete the storyboard

Your storyboard is an arrangement of your video’s vision, ideas, script, and sequence. Its purpose is to bring your script and ideas to life visually, as this not only ensures what you’re proposing to shoot will look great but also that it makes sense in relation to elements such as dialogue, location, characters, etc. This is where the next step comes into play, as you’ll need a professional to execute your storyboard.

6. Hire a designer

As we touched on above, it’s the designer’s responsibility to build on your storyboard to a point where it’s ready to translate into a video. They will also address aspects such as colors, tones, style, motion, and more, to ensure every element of your video is ready to move forward. 

There is a lot of work involved in completing a video’s storyboard, so while it may be tempting to save some of your budget and do it yourself, you’ll actually be costing yourself more time and money (and disappointment) in the long run.

7. Complete the shot list 

Your shot list maps out what needs to happen in each shot, including what elements will be required for each scene or setup. Shot lists are part of the scriptwriting process and form the basis of a shooting schedule. They also help to provide a sense of direction and allow those involved to organize what’s needed before filming.

8. Hire a video animator

If your video will be animated, you’ll need to hire a video animator to bring it to life. Animation has the ability to bring any concept, no matter how complex or unrealistic, to fruition with ease. Professional video animators can help your video to stand out by creating an end product that’s custom and original. They’re also not constrained by elements such as weather, recording equipment, travel between locations, or anything else that applies to a live-action video.

9. Hire a voice actor or a sound effects specialist

When it comes to the audio components of your video, you’ll need to hire a voice actor or sound effects specialist to get the job done. For voice actors, this will involve a casting to find the perfect-sounding voice that matches the tone you had in mind. A sound effects specialist, on the other hand, ensures the most perfect, high-quality sound effects are heard at exactly the right moment in the video.

10. Hire a video editor

Video editors are responsible for editing and assembling the required material into a finished product that’s not only ready for publishing but meets the project brief too. This material may include camera footage, dialogue, sound effects, graphics, and special effects. They also manage and oversee the technical aspects of video recording and editing.

11. Publish

Once you have your finished promo video and it meets your desired vision, it’s time to publish it and share it with your target audience. Remember to focus on the video-sharing platforms we mentioned earlier in this article, as well as those your target audience is most active on.

12. Cross-publish your video

Once your video has been published on your website, it may be tempting to sit back, relax, and forget about it. This is where the most crucial post-publication task comes into play, however: cross-publishing your video for maximum exposure.

Ensure your video can be uploaded to other key video-sharing platforms (such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and more) by preparing it in the following ways:

  • Optimize the titles, descriptions, and other components for SEO purposes
  • Add captions to your social media videos so viewers don’t have to rely on sound to understand your video
  • Optimize the video’s size for each social platform you want to share it on, as each platform has different optimal size requirements
  • Save the video’s embed code (which you can obtain from platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo) to embed it in a blog post or email.

Conclusion

Videos are more engaging, more memorable, and more popular than any other type of content out there, with statistics showing it can improve conversions by 86% and generate a whopping 1200% more shares than text and image content combined.

While the process of creating a promo video may seem daunting, it can be achieved on a tight budget within just a few simple steps, including working with freelance professionals to develop a video script, create a storyboard, complete the required animations, record the necessary scenes and audio, and bring it all to life.

Remember, premium video agencies can charge as high as $50,000 just to create a 1-2 minute promo video for your business, but with the help of experienced freelancers, you’re able to produce a high-quality promo video that doesn’t just meet your goals, but your budget too. 

What separates a highly successful promo video apart from the mediocre ones is understanding key elements, such as why you want to create the video, who your target market is, which video type and style works best for your goals, and what tone and mood will resonate best with your viewers. Understanding these components also helps you focus your video production efforts so you can save time and money

By following these important steps in our guide, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your business goals, whether that’s attracting more visitors, engaging more followers, or nurturing more potential prospects.

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Daniel

Daniel

Contributor @samcx.com. Passionate about everything Sales, Marketing and Account Management.

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