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Use video content to build your e-commerce brand


Video can be a powerful marketing tool for e-commerce brands. It can also be time-consuming and expensive. Want to produce high-quality video content without breaking the bank? Our guide will help you take a strategic approach, enabling you to reach more customers and build your market presence.

1. Understand the pros (and cons) of video content

Before you dive in and start creating videos, it’s worth thinking about why video content is different from other types of marketing, such as web copy, blog posts and brochures. This will help you answer the question “When is the right time to make a video?”.

There are three things, in particular, that video excels at:

- Influencing emotions: With video, you get imagery, voices, music and text – sometimes all at the same time! This is the secret of the medium: it appeals to multiple senses. So when you set out to make a video, think about which emotions you want to trigger. Excitement? Hope? Curiosity? Even the most straightforward product demo can inspire emotions in viewers.

- Sticking in peoples’ memories: Emotionally engaging content isn’t just entertaining – it’s also memorable. Want people to remember your brand and recommend it to others? Create videos that make people feel something. This is the key to helping your online shop stand out from the crowd.

- Simplifying complexity: If you need to explain something complex, then video is a great way to get your point across. With video, you can use visual metaphors to help your audience grasp concepts and processes. And you can use voiceover and graphics to emphasize your messages – ensuring viewers understand exactly what you’re trying to say.

Those are some of the positives. But video can also present some challenges, in particular:

- Time and energy: Effective videos take time to make. Before you embark on video production, make sure you’ve got enough time (and emotional energy!) to do the job properly.

- Money: Even if you make videos yourself (rather than hiring a specialist) there can still be costs involved, including hiring lighting, licensing editing software and buying music tracks. Our tip is to put together a video budget before you commit to spending money.

- Specialist skills: If you’re making a very simple video, then you don’t need skills such as editing and graphic design. But if you want to create something sophisticated (for example to promote your brand image) then you’re going to need experienced specialists. You can develop these skills yourself, but this will take some time. If videos are a key part of your marketing strategy, it might be worth mastering these skills. But if you only need videos occasionally, you might be better off paying a freelancer or agency.

2. Use the right format at the right time

Video is a creative medium and there are infinite things you can do with it. But before you get creative, it’s worth looking at the three main video formats that e-commerce brands create:

- Product videos: This term encompasses everything from simple product demos to videos promoting an entire range. The key here is to make sure the video has a clear call to action, making it easy for viewers to take the next step and buy the product.

- Brand ethos videos: The job of a brand video is to tell people why your company exists, rather than what you sell. If your online shop has a strong sense of purpose, then brand videos are an opportunity to build emotional connections with potential customers. You can use creative, metaphorical ways to tell your brand story, or you can take us behind the scenes to meet the team.

- Going live: Got a lot of social media followers? Live video on social platforms is a great way to get interactive with your audience. And if you don’t have enough followers yet, you can practice by doing video-based Q&A sessions with family and friends – to hone your presenting skills.

For product ads and brand ethos videos, there are three main types of video content you can create:

- Live Action: Live action simply means filming real people, places and things. This can be material that you shoot yourself, or footage that you download from video libraries (including archive footage).

- Animation/Motion Graphics: Animation and motion graphics are terms for the same thing: video content that is generated by a computer, rather than footage of live action. Animation and motion graphics are particularly useful if you need to represent complexity – for example technology processes or abstract concepts.

- Hybrid: Hybrid video simply means anything that combines live action and animation. Most professionally-produced video content is hybrid to some degree.

4. Get inspired before you start

New to the world of e-commerce videos? Before you take the plunge and start creating content, take some time to get inspired. Watching great videos will raise your standards and expectations, and will spark ideas for your own marketing. A good place to start is the Webby Awards. Founded in 1995, the Webbys recognize Internet excellence, and include a number of video categories. A feast of inspiring content.

3. Make it yourself vs working with professionals

Anyone with a smartphone can make a video. But there are times when it is worth investing in specialist services. How do you know when to spend money on professionals?

- Speaking from the heart? Make it yourself. If you want to speak directly to your audience, with a lot of authenticity, then go ahead and make video content yourself. For product demos, product background and social media content, viewers are looking for honest, unpolished, entertaining content.

- Want to elevate your brand? Call in the pros. To deliver a complex message, or achieve a big emotional impact, then it’s time to call in the professionals. If you want to hand over the process to others, ask a video production company or video agency to give you a cost estimate. If you want to oversee the work yourself, call on freelance filmmakers to help with filming, editing and motion graphics.

4. Out of cash? How to save money

There are no two ways about it: hiring video professionals costs money. If you can’t stretch to this, there are still ways to make great content with minimal outlay.

- Royalty-free stock footage. Most online footage libraries charge license fees if you download and use their material. However there are some sites that offer royalty-free footage for commercial purposes. It might take a while to find high-quality footage, but if you have time to trawl, this is a great way to save money.

- Online freelancer marketplaces. Online freelancer sites are a great way to connect with specialists – including editors, animators and voice-over artists. If you’ve got a limited budget, you can specify fees and meet people willing to work for your costs.

- Connect with colleges. Film-making students are often looking for projects to work on. Reach out to your local colleges to find out whether their students might be interested in working with you. This route won’t guarantee a professional result, but you might strike it lucky and meet an advertising genius!

5. Know, Feel Do: The art of writing a brief

Whether you’re making a video yourself or working with specialists, get in the habit of writing a project brief. A simple way to structure a brief is the Know, Feel, Do formula:

- Know: What should your viewers know once they’ve watched your video? What facts, statistics and stories should they walk away with?

- Feel: What emotions and sensations do you want to leave your audience with? For example, are you trying to be uplifting and positive, or challenging and hard-hitting?

- Do: What action do you want people to take after watching your video? Click-through to buy? Leave a comment? Join the conversation? Be clear about this to ensure a return on investment.

No video is too short to deserve a brief. Even if you’re making something very simple - jot down the Know, Feel, Do objectives to keep your messaging on track.

6. Get comfortable in front of the camera

Dread the thought of being on camera? It’s time to feel the fear and do it anyway. Because customers love to hear from brand owners. So if you want to build an emotional connection with your customers, take some time to practice your presentation skills. Record messages to camera (on your phone) and ask a friend to give you honest feedback on your performance. The goal is to be clear and comfortable. That’s it. Take your friend’s feedback, and try again. Like all things in life, practice makes perfect.

7. Optimize for SEO

Video titles are important. Make sure to include keywords in your title, so that your videos are optimized for search engines. And don’t let video platforms choose a thumbnail image for you: take the time to choose a great, appealing still from your video.

Share your video content with the world

At get.shop we love to celebrate online entrepreneurs. If you’ve made video content for your .shop website, get in touch to tell us your story. We’re always looking for opportunities to inspire our community of e-commerce business owners.

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