Part 1 of 2: Video Production
Video marketing is nothing new. Marketers have been using video to showcase goods and services since the late 40’s when TV broadcasts went mainstream.
The difference between then and now?
The cost of video production then was cost prohibitive; today, it’s virtually free.
As recently as just a few years ago, producing video content for the internet was time consuming, costly, and required a level of technical know-how. Today, with HD capable smartphones, abundant high-speed internet, and increasingly powerful home computers, video marketing is well within reach of construction dealers. And, low-cost software and free video hosting sites make it simple to do.
There are two types of construction dealer videos: Product Demonstrations and Video How-Tos. Product Demonstrations are exactly what they sound like: walk-throughs of equipment, new or used, currently for sale. Video How-Tos are used to inform your audience and cover topics that your prospects would find and interesting and likely search for.
The following is a How-To for construction dealers to get started producing Product Demonstrations. Video How-Tos follow the same format, just substitute the subject (e.g. task for equipment). In the interest of time and readability, some details have been omitted but these steps will get you 90% there. For the other 10%, try searching the world’s second largest search engine: YouTube.
Step 1: Find a Champion
Video marketing is a powerful tool but only if you are consistent and strategic in its execution. Finding someone who is both excited and passionate about its revenue potential is the surest way to success.
Step 2: Get the Equipment
If you have a HD (High Definition) video capable smartphone, you’re halfway there. Any recent model iPhone or Android device will have this feature built in. Even better, any digital SLR camera made within the last five years can record HD video with the benefit of superior optics.
Just about any computer made with the last five years can edit video. Some are simply faster than others. The newer and more expensive the machine, the quicker it will be.
Certainly not required but will ensure steady, more professional shots. Shaky video screams amateur. Here’s a fantastic video tripod for under $130: Ravelli Professional Video Camera Tripod with Fluid Drag Head
For under $100, you can purchase Adobe Premiere Elements. This very powerful software can do 90% of what its industry-leading big-brother Adobe Premiere can do, but at a fraction of the cost. Still to pricey? YouTube now has a free, online video editor: learn more.
Step 3: Plan the Shoot
Items to consider when planning your video:
Who will be your on-screen talent?
They should be charismatic, speak fluidly, and be well-versed in the equipment being demonstrated. For example, a sales rep. Plan on making this individual the face of all your product demonstrations.
What are the best selling points of the equipment that would make a prospect want to purchase?
Keep it short and light:
Anything over three minutes is too long. One minute is even better. The intent is give them just enough so they’ll contact you for more.
Step 4: ACTION!
Now it’s time to capture your footage. Here are some tips to give your movie a little polish:
Keep the camera still:
Until you’re ready to invest in stabilizing equipment (remember, shaky video is shoddy video) keep the camera on the tripod. If you absolutely have to move the camera (for example, the talent moves to the other side of the equipment): stop recording, move the camera, recompose your shot, and start recording again.
This is the action of rotating the camera on the tripod to follow action or capture more of a large object (like an excavator for example). This is perfectly acceptable but helps to have a video tripod for fluid pans.
Don’t do it, period. Most pro cinematic camera lenses don’t zoom.
Take some B-roll:
This is footage that details what the on-screen talent is speaking about (e.g., controls, engine, GPS, etc). Take this after you’ve finished with the core video and cut to it during editing.
Step 5: Editing
If you are able to capture your video in one shot, then congratulations. You are among the best directors in the world and should consider a new career in Hollywood. More than likely, you’ll have at least a few clips that need edited together.
There are many, many resources available to you on the web to help teach you to edit your videos.
At a minimum you should fade from black at the beginning of your video and fade to black at the end.
Begin each video with your company logo and the equipment details such as manufacturer, model, and year. End the video with your company logo again and contact information, such as website, phone number, and physical address. Make this the last frame so that when the video pauses at the end, the information is still visible.
Use the B-Roll:
Use your B-roll to cut to close-ups of the equipment that the talent may be referencing. For example, if in the main video your talent transitions from speaking about overall specs to the new insulated cup holders, cut to a shot of the cup holders while the audio from the main video is still playing.
Video production for construction dealers is likely much easier than you first imagined; like anything, it just take a little planning and research. Next up in part 2 of “How-To: Construction Dealer Video Marketing” we’ll go into detail on publishing your video on YouTube, creating your dealer channel, embedding videos into your dealer website, and posting to social media.
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