At a glance
When forensic accountants Worrells released its annual guide to insolvency in the middle of a pandemic, partner Graeme Beattie FCPA decided to do something a little different.
He and another partner filmed an introductory video to explain what was in the guide for their clients in New South Wales, while each of the company’s other five offices did the same for the clients in their respective states.
Beattie says the response from clients was great.
“It gave the report a human touch and a feeling of connection with us... I did get told I had a head for radio,” he laughs.
Like Worrells, many other companies started using video as a business tool for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, retail and marketing video views via smartphones increased by 98 per cent in Australia and New Zealand.
This increase was partly driven by the rising prominence of video in online search. Google is now transcribing and indexing the content of videos, not just their title and description.
More people are seeking out information in video format. Google’s video platform, YouTube, is the second biggest search engine in the world, after Google Search. It has become a hub for information, entertainment and social networking.
The good news is that, as Worrells’ video clearly shows, a huge marketing budget and expert videography skills are not required to make an impact on clients.
Start small with video
Some of the most effective business videos are explanatory “screencasts”, which explain how to use a piece of software, says Michael (MC) Carter, founder of Practice Paradox, a specialist marketing agency servicing accounting firms.
“That’s such an easy way to create a quality video. When clients see this, it usually has a ‘wow effect’.”
When filming a screencast, you should always include a smaller video of yourself inset in the corner of the screen, Carter suggests.
This is important to build familiarity, because “the more they see you the more familiar they feel and the more they will like you,” Carter says. It is also a great way to harness the power of non-verbal communication, such as body language and facial expressions.
Brush up on presentation skills
Video can be used to build your authority as an expert, generate leads, hire staff, onboard clients and communicate news. Doing this well comes down to your general skills as a presenter.
“If you’re boring [presenting] to a group, you’ll be boring on camera,” Carter says. “Speaking to video is a communications skillset that can be learned and improved.”
Any public speaking opportunity and interaction, be it with your employees or with your customers, should be used to improve the way you express your ideas and values, which will then translate to better on-camera presentation skills.
Learn by doing
Greg Armshaw, senior sales director at video platform Brightcove, says the increased volume of corporate video being produced – from Town Hall style meetings to quarterly updates – can be used to gather engagement data and hone your approach.
Video platforms like Brightcove track metrics such as how much of the video people have seen. This offers the opportunity to target audiences and to identify at what point viewers lose interest, so that next time the video can be filmed and edited differently to keep people engaged.
For video aimed at staff, companies can track precisely who has viewed the video and who has not, much more precisely than with email messages or text messages. This can gauge staff engagement and identify possible information gaps.
One Brightcove customer is accounting software company Xero, which has developed a sophisticated video strategy that drives its marketing automation. Xero uses video in a variety of ways, such as frequently asked questions [FAQ], how-to videos and more general brand promotion.
Armshaw says that, when planning video content, Xero’s marketing team is focused on the goal it is trying to achieve with the content, and then checks to see that it is working.
Video can be especially powerful when linked to email marketing, sales and customer relationship management [CRM] software.
For example, if a customer watches a video sent by email, the software could flag them as someone more likely to buy that particular product and alert the sales staff to follow up the lead.
With the low cost of making, publishing and distributing video electronically, the medium may well follow the trajectory of the typed electronic message. When marketing emails first arrived on the scene, it took a little while to work out how long they should be and what they should contain for maximum effectiveness. Now we send dozens a day with barely a thought.
“At the end of the day, becoming good at video is like swimming or riding a bike. You won’t get better just by thinking about it,” Carter says.