Case study: using video marketing successfully

by Kirsten Hodgson

Sue Viskovic runs Elixir Consulting, a business coaching firm for financial advisers.

The nature of her business means that clients have to open up and really talk about their businesses to benefit from her team’s help. Elixir has a good brand and is well known in the Australian market. However, before choosing to work with a prospective coach financial advisers really need to know that they can trust the person and have the confidence that he or she isn’t going to change things against their will.

It’s easy to break down these barriers in a face-to-face meeting, but how can you seek to demonstrate your trustworthiness and beliefs before you’ve met someone?

Sue and her team turned to video.

Because their strategies and tactics need to work for individual business owners the team realised they could only use video to share concepts and examples of what’s worked for others.

What did they do?

Sue has tried a few ways to capture video and has learnt heaps from the process.

“At one extreme we got a professional firm to do everything and at the other I’ve recorded video interviews with clients over Skype.” 

The first set of videos Sue had recorded were profile videos of the team. She got an external producer to do this and then sat off screen and asked her colleagues questions so they’d appear more natural on camera.

“I don’t like scripts. If someone is relaxed then it looks good but if they’re over-thinking it can have a negative impact. I advise people to plan roughly what they want to say and then just talk.”

Sue and her team then helped with the editing process because they know their clients and can immediately see what the powerful bits are. They reviewed the footage and told the editor the bits they wanted to use.

Now all Elixir consultants have their own camera, tripod and lapel mic. so they can record their own pieces. They send in their raw footage for a video editor to edit (Sue found someone on Elance and has worked with him for a while now. She advises others to look at the person’s credentials and ensure they have positive recommendations from others prior to hiring them).

The consultants are aware of the location they’re using and ensure there are no shadows, and that there is something of interest in the background. For example, some videos are shots of someone on a couch with a view of the landscape behind.

Sue is shortly launching Elixir TV, a more human version of their blog. Each clip is 3-4 minutes duration and provides either a tip or story to help people in their business.

She wanted an intro footage Elixir could use on every clip, with a music track. After narrowing it down to two music pieces, Sue asked her contacts on LinkedIn to vote for their favourite. She used Shutterstock.com to find an appropriate stock video to use as background to the intro segment and looked on royaltyfreemusic.com and premiumbeat.com to source the music.

“You pay for the music once and then you can keep on using it without having to pay again.” 

How is Elixir using video?

In addition to Elixir TV, the team are planning to record webinars they run and to break these down into short segments they can post.

Following a consulting session with a client, a consultant might put together a short video after covering an ‘ah-ha’ moment the client had or giving them some tips for overcoming an issue they had. They’d then send the video to the client a few days after the session to prompt them to take action and to remind them they’re there to help. Client feedback on these is really positive.

The team also record videos to send when submitting proposals. This allows them to explain why they have included certain things e.g. ‘The reason X is in the proposal is you said Y was important to you.’ Obviously, in this scenario, it’s important that no-one else can see the video. Sue and her team use Sproutvideo.com to store videos because it allows you to keep videos private and to set passwords where desired. It also has great tracking features allowing you to see how many people opened each video and how much of it they watched.

What didn’t work so well? 

Sue says, Long videos don’t work well - I fell into the trap of producing 9 minute videos because I couldn’t decide which content to leave out. Now I keep videos to a couple of minutes. If there is a lot of good content, we put the videos up as a series.”

She also wanted to ensure that when someone clicks on a video on the Elixir website, it doesn’t take them off to YouTube where they might get distracted. That’s where Sproutvideo.com comes in. It allows users to view a video within your website, and enables more control. It also has great analytics features that allow you to see how many times the video has been viewed, how much of it is viewed, right down to the countries the viewers are located in, what sites they arrived from, and what device they viewed it on.

Youtube can be a good option if you want your videos to be found by people searching on your topic. If you do want to put something up on YouTube, Sue advises unticking the box  to automatically allow the video flicking over to suggested sites at the end. While you can’t stop the suggestions on the right hand side from coming up you can prevent those at the end – and there’s good reason why you might want to. At the end of one of Elixir’s videos YouTube suggested viewers might want to watch a clip of two nuns in bras!

Another suggestion is to get clever with your tagging. If you put up a series of videos with the same/similar tags, you can ensure that your stuff comes up in suggested views on the right hand side.

Another great piece of advice from Sue: Be aware of your surroundings. We shot a video by the beach and in the 15 minutes we were there the wind had got up. I knew it was messing with my hair but it didn’t even occur to me that it was also messing with the sound as it hit the microphone a couple of times and we didn’t realise until afterwards. Had we checked things we would have realised this and could have turned in the other direction to stop it happening.”

What would you do differently if you were starting again now?

“I’d do more research and not be afraid to project manage videos myself. If you do decide to get videos done professionally, get the company you use to give you the raw footage so that you can use your knowledge of your clients to work out the ‘gems’ you want to keep.”

Sue has found a recent graduate who charges $350 for half a day’s work in Perth who she uses to record some videos. She’s also found a video editor she really likes in the USA via Elance so gets him to edit all internally produced videos.

Knowing little about video (I’ve self recorded a couple of pretty poor quality ones), I got so much from my chat with Sue. Her tips should give even the most video-phobic (is that a word?) of people the  confidence to put something together.

Sue’s tips:

1.Choose your format to suit your purpose. Do you need all the bells and whistles? Be mindful of the message you’re sending – it may be professional but does it also make you look too expensive?

2. If you use a professional team ask for the raw footage. You know what will be of most benefit to your clients so let the video team know the snippets they should include in the final version.

3. Give it a go. Don’t be afraid. If you can’t get good footage then don’t put the video up. It will reflect badly on you.

4. Sit to the side of the camera and ask your colleague questions so it appears more of a natural conversation.

5. Be aware of the background and any noises that may interfere with your recording.

6. Get someone else to check your footage as you can get too close to it.

7. If you’ve self-recorded, get a professional to edit your video. Elance is a good place to find people. Make sure the person you choose has some good recommendations from others.

8. Think about the different ways in which video can support your business e.g. updates on topical issues, to support new business proposals, as a summary of coaching sessions etc.

Have you used video successfully in your firm? What other tips would you share? 

Photo courtesy Paul at Freedigitalphotos.net

Specialising in professional services and law firm marketing. I help firms to retain and grow existing clients and attract more of their ideal clients. My core services include social media for lead generation, voice of the client programmes and tender strategy and development. Outside of work I love to run. I’m a bit like Forest Gump in that I’m not that quick but can keep going for ages. I also enjoy coming up with new inventions. Unfortunately, most of them have already been invented! | * Professional services marketing consultant | * Legal marketing consultant | * Law firm marketing consultant