How to Make a Good Video for Your Business (and What Not to Do)
The thing I least want to be when I watch a business marketing video is bored. I get excited when people ask me how to make a good video for their business. The answer is simple: don’t be boring. But what’s boring?
The best and highest use of video is to engage your audience and make an emotional connection—it’s why we watch movies: to feel something. And if you have an opportunity to make an emotional connection with your potential customers through video, they’ll keep watching because they won’t be bored. You’ll inspire their trust and you’ll win their business.
Sure, you can make all kinds of different videos for various purposes. Your carefully scripted, animated, VoiceOver video that explains to new customers how to use your product might be exactly what you need. If you know what works for you, do that!
But if you know you need video for your business and you’re just not really sure how to make a good video, keep reading. This post is about how to make a good video that will be engaging enough to help you sell.
These 7 Deadly Sins are the fastest way to bore your audience into disengagement with your brand. Curious how to make a good video? I provide some approaches you can take instead.
The 7 Deadly Sins of Business Marketing Videos
Deadly Sin #1 Starting with WHAT
It’s tempting to cram every bit of information about what you do in your business video. I get it; you’re excited!
And the way to get your viewer to share your excitement is to get them curious to learn more. You want to build a funnel that directs their attention to take the next step. By learning how to make a good video, you can do that!
Chances are, if someone is watching your business video, they already have enough of an idea of what you do to be curious about you. You can share all the juicy details with them at a later step in your funnel.
How to Make a Good Video Instead: Start with WHY
Channel your excitement for your business into sharing your story with your viewer: the reason, purpose, passion—the why behind your business. Your viewer wants to understand why you’re different, why you do what you do, and why you’re the one to do it.
When you lead with why, you make an emotional connection. You relate. Establishing a relationship is how to make a good video. We think that we buy for rational reasons (because we think that’s smart). But we actually buy when we feel connected to the seller and believe they can solve our problem. Those are feelings.
It’s rare to see a business video from a lawyer that makes an emotional connection; this one does because he leads with his why.
Deadly Sin #2 Trying to Cover Every Aspect of Your Business
Have you ever seen a business video that listed off a whole bunch of things that were totally irrelevant to you? “At XYZ accounting firm, we specialize in yada yada yada. And furthermore, this that and the other thing.” Boring, right? It’s easy to think that by covering everything, you appeal to everyone who might be interested in your services. But what you really do is send people away because it’s too much information to handle. By learning how to make good videos, you skip irrelevant information.
How to Make a Good Video Instead: Focus on a Single Theme
To keep your audience engaged, what you really want to get to is the essence of your business. Tell a story that is specific but not too detailed. By focusing on a single theme, you keep your audience’s mind focused on the exact message you want to share, rather than confusing or boring them with too much information.
Here’s an example of a single-themed business video that also gets the same story from multiple people, all singing the same chorus. It’s effective because it’s focused. That’s how to make good video.
Deadly Sin #3 Describing Your Products or Services
You’ve probably been in the weeds on everything in your business from your certified organic ingredients to the exciting new package design of your new retail boxes. Your attention should be on these details—making sure your customer experiences your brand in the way that you want them to. But your customer doesn’t want to hear about those details in a marketing video. Learn how to make great videos that don’t get into details that only matter to you.
How to Make a Good Video Instead: Talk About How Your Products or Services Make You Feel
Another way to say “experience your brand” is “how it feels to be your customer.” Instead of using precious screen time in your business video to list the vendors you use and the certification stamps you have, talk about why being so meticulous about these details matters to you. You can still get some information out, but frame them within emotionally connected statements.
For example: “When my baby was born, her allergies to laundry detergent gave her a constant rash. That’s why I created this brand. With these products, I feel safe and have peace of mind that I don’t get from store brand products that use harsh chemicals.” This expression of relatable feelings, in before/after story format is what will resonate when you figure out the best way to make a video.
Marketing Tip: You do want to communicate all the details of your business. You should! Just not in video. The better place to do that is on your website instead.
This principle also holds true for service businesses. This yoga instructor video is a great example of focusing on feelings—there’s nothing in this business video about the types of yoga taught or the length of sessions. The goal of this video is to get the viewer to say: I have to work with you. When you understand the best way to make videos for your business, that will be your result.
Deadly Sin #4 Using Carefully Worded Scripts
The cameras are rolling and the clock is ticking and you might be feeling nervous about saying all the right words in your business video. I understand.
But good news! Your business video doesn’t need to have a live audience or be promoted as a live event. It probably won’t. So take your time. If you don’t get it right the first time, who cares? That’s why you edit your business marketing video.
Unless you’re an actor, it’s really hard to memorize or read a script from a teleprompter and sound natural. More often, the result of a carefully worded business video makes you seem less confident than you really are. And that undermines trust—the opposite of what you need to do in your business video.
How to Make a Good Video Instead: Derive Your Story from Natural Conversation
Instead of a script, write down some questions that will prompt you to share your message in a natural way, just by talking. You’re an expert in everything you need to share. And you can often find the best way to say it just by talking it out. Then, cut the rest in your edit. This is the easiest way to make videos in terms of pre-production (everything you do before you get your camera out). But admittedly, it isn’t the easiest way to make videos in post-production (everything after you film). Editing is harder when you’re not using a script, but I promise it’s worth it!
You’ll want to get specific to your business, of course. But, as an example to get started, here are a few general questions I ask my clients at Concurrent Productions (and if you want even more resources, check out our online course):
- Why does your work matter to you?
- Why are you the right person to solve this problem for your customers?
- Why did you start this business?
You could never duplicate or predict the same emotion from a script in this nonprofit video example. This interview took at least an hour and most of that footage wasn’t used. Welcome to the magic of video editing.
Deadly Sin #5 Being “Professional”
It’s easy to think that you should present yourself in a particular way in your business video to please your customers. You might be tempted to wear a tie, for example, even though ties make you itch. Or you might buy a new shirt that represents the person you think you should be rather than the person you really are. New shirts are great but…be you! Making good videos is about authenticity.
How to Make a Good Video Instead: Be Yourself
Humans get a lot of subconscious visual cues to sense authenticity. Authenticity builds trust. And the best way to present yourself as authentic is to, well, be authentic. Be yourself.
Of course, putting on makeup and doing your hair makes you feel good, confident, and camera-ready. Do that! Be the best version of yourself. But don’t bend yourself into something you’re not because you think you need to be more “professional” in a video. That’s not how to create a good video.
This insurance technology company is a great example of a business video that showcases their founders’ personality. By not shying away from who they really are, we believe them and trust them because we sense they’re telling the truth about themselves.
Deadly Sin #6 Hiring an actor to speak for you
If the thought of appearing on camera yourself makes you uncomfortable, you might be tempted to pursue the seemingly brilliant idea to hire an actor for your business video. Don’t do it. Yes, of course this works for certain types of videos—we’ve all seen commercials. But if the goal for your business is to make a real emotional, authentic connection with your prospective customer and tell your story, it has to be you.
How to Make a Good Video Instead: Tell Your Own Story
Vulnerability is so important here. Sharing a bit of yourself and your own story is a powerful tool of connection. If you’re a business owner, your brand is you. And your customers want to know who they’re buying from. They care about the people behind the brand and they need to know you, like you, and trust you. Trust is the key driver in how to make a good video.
OK…there is a work around for this rule if you really can’t muster up the courage (yet!) to be in your own business video. Or if you’re ready to create multiple videos. Your customers can share their experience in customer testimonials and that can be an enormously powerful marketing tool.
Here’s a great example of a remotely recorded customer testimonial that showcases the power of an unrehearsed, unscripted video. Whatever you’re doing, be authentic.
Deadly Sin #7 Using on-screen text or VoiceOver
Video provides a really special opportunity to give people a sense of who you truly are. You might not be comfortable on camera and if you’ve reached #7 and you’re still tempted to hide behind an animation or B-roll, go for it… it just won’t be as powerful. By understanding how to make a good video, you can show yourself more easily instead of hiding.
How to Make a Good Video Instead: Show Yourself
There just isn’t any higher use of business video than you as a business leader speaking honestly to someone who has the same problem to solve as you did. It’s simple and powerful because when we see you, we take all those nonverbal cues and subconsciously ask ourselves: “Can I trust you?” Video is an amazing opportunity to show (instead of tell) your prospective clients: “Yes, you can!”
This is a great example of a business that really needs to establish trust with clients immediately because their business involves going into their clients’ homes. Showing their founder on video is the best way to establish trust. (And in less than 2 minutes!)
Videos with humans talking about how something makes them feel, what they believe, why they care–that’s what establishes an emotional connection and inspires trust. That’s the ultimate goal of a business marketing video.
You might be tempted to do “cool” stuff with your video but nothing beats your story, yourself, a clear and emotional connection that shows your clients that you’re just like them and you can help them solve their problem.
Show up. Be yourself.