Promo Video Guide 101 — Master the Art of Creating Promotional Videos

Promotional videos are a go-to medium for many advertisers and companies. With promo videos, you get to combine numerous advertising principles into creating one powerful and engaging video to market your product, service or event.

Why Are Promo Videos Effective?

There are several types of B2B videos, but promos allow you to really show off and get your point across in the shortest amount of time. This is exactly what you need to market a certain event, product or service.

More importantly, it is the qualities you incorporate within that short time-frame that assure that the message has truly hit home for your customers.

  • It is a great medium for getting in the feels

Foremost of these principles is appealing to the emotional side of your audience. We all like to think we are quite rational decision makers. But science tells us that it might just be otherwise.

When it comes to decision making, we typically act with our gut first and use logic later. Advertisers know this. Hence the popularity of emotionally moving promotional videos.

 

  • Your customers get to experience your product before they buy it

With a promo video, you can help your customers visualize what it would be like if they acquire your product or service.

 

  • Video is the king in content creation and marketing

And finally, video is an all-powerful medium for advertising.

Based on this research by WordStream, more than a third of people’s web browsing time is spent watching videos.

Thus, promo videos work best to grasp your customers’ attention. As far more people are likely to watch your video instead of reading about it, video is a great way to get your product, content or service in front of people.

Here a promo video we made for Marc Jacobs

promo video by motioncue

 

Types of Promo Videos

As a dynamic medium for advertising, promo videos can be of many types. Here, we have listed some of the most common types of promo videos you come across.

1.     Product or service promo videos

The best way to market a product is not to rattle your audience’s minds with the product’s benefits and features. Rather, it is to make them experience how it is like to use it. Tell a story. Conjure up images in their minds. And make them long for it.

With a well-planned and well-executed product promo video, you can capture all of that and more.

With product promo videos, you can get up close and personal with your customers, appealing to their human side and delivering your message without it sounding too ‘salesy’. That, in marketing, is a job well done!

promo video by motioncue

 

2.     Event promo videos

If you want to give your audiences a sneak peek into your upcoming event, then event promo videos can help drive the appeal.

An event promo video inspires your audiences to attend your event without giving away too many details. Picture expansive shots and exciting testimonials of attendees expressing how the event has made a difference in their lives. And, that it can change your, the viewer’s, life for the better too.

As you switch back and forth between shots from the principal camera and B-roll, you can create an amazing storyline.

Basically, within a 2-to 3-minute long event promo video, you can spark action and interest in your audience to attend your event without giving away too much.

This SXSW event promo is a great example:

 

3.     Content promo videos

Viewers love videos. In fact, they like it a lot more than reading content. When you market your content, you not only want to get in front of your audiences, ideally, you want the message to stick with them.

You can achieve this perfectly with video. According to insivia, when you deliver your message in a video, there are 95% higher chances that your viewers will remember it.

In contrast, retention is cut to 10% when your viewers read what you tell them.

4.     Company overview promo videos (About Us style)

If you are aiming for giving a simple overview of your company to your customers, here’s a superb example.

Read more: What Does It Take to Make an Amazing ‘About Us’ Video

 

5.     Product launch promo videos

Releasing a product launch video can be just as overwhelming as launching the actual product. This product launch video for FabFitFun by MotionCue can help to give you a clear idea of what to aim for.

 

6.     Product video to highlight product features

A good product video needs to capture the appeal with its audience. Custom code’s promo video is an awesome example. It is brief, to-the-point and incorporates effects brilliantly.

 

Where to Use Promo Videos

Once you have created your promo video, you need to get in front of the right audience.

To target your audience, you first need to specify who your audience is, what is the age bracket you are aiming for and where can you find them. After zooming in on your target, you need to choose the right channel for promoting your video.

Social media is awesome for marketing promo videos, and it needs to be your go-to platform when it comes to promoting your videos.

So, make use of the relevant platforms and improve your promo’s discoverability.

How to Make Promo Videos

With promo videos, it is all about how you are going to tell the story.

So how do you make one? Here is what your approach should be.

1. Set your goal

First thing’s first — you need to keep the goal of promo video in mind. Well, the goal of a promo video is the same as sales.

So remember, you don’t want to spend majority of your time talking about the features of your product or service. Your focus should be on how you are going to help your viewers. Whether it is that you are helping them solve a problem, or accomplish a new thing.

For achieving this, you should always focus on the end result. This will give you an insight on how to connect with people emotionally. And that is what people want.

It is after you have formed an emotional connection with your audience that you can get to answering questions about technical details. Remember, use emotional appeal followed by a logical appeal.

In informing your viewers about the technical details of what you are offering, you answer how your viewers get the outcome you promise.

2. Site survey

If you are filming on site, then make sure to survey the site beforehand. This will help you in two key ways.

First, you will get to evaluate the lighting situation. For instance, you’ll be able to decide what kind of lights would work best for that situation or place.

Second, you’d also come to know what kind of shots you already want to get even before you start shooting.

3. Make a list

Set a gear list. Make a list of all the inventory you require.

Naturally, you would want to bring all of it with you when you start filming.

On the flip side, if you have too much gear you’d be tempted to use as much of it as you can on the shoot. Now the downside is that you’re likely to miss out on capturing the moments as they pass you by if you have too many things to shuffle with.

Because let’s set face it, not everything that you want to include in your promo video is going to be staged. There are going to be shots that you would want to include on the fly.

Sometimes, it’s a one-time thing and you have to capture the moment right then and there. You don’t want to lose it.

So, be cautious about preparing your inventory list. Don’t overdo it. Include only the necessary gear you think you’ll need to film the right shot.

4. Scripting

The script is the foundation of your video. You can leverage the power of video by getting professional copywriters and scriptwriters for your promo video. After all, your script is the framework to ensure that your videos get results so you need to make absolutely sure that it is top-notch.

Whatever your end goal, be it getting your customers to engage with you, getting them to click “buy now”, join your community via an email list or attend your event, your video script is going to deliver that.

Your promo video script will have the following parts.

  • The problem. Remember that you are solving a problem for your customers. Now, whether you open with this right away, or you save it for later, the problem is going to be the pivot around which your entire video moves.

The best practice is to incorporate this in the start of your video. Your customers are likely dealing with a problem. As you open up your video actually talking about that problem, you immediately bridge the gap between what they’re feeling and struggling with to where they actually want to be.

  • The solution. Next, you have to frame your product or service as the solution to their problem. Now that they know that they’re in the right place and you know their problem, they’re ready to hear what you have to offer.

Again, be sure to share it from their perspective.

They’re not worried about the backend or the logistics of what you have to offer.

All they really care about is the outcome they will get by working with you.

  • Simplify further. Here, you need to outline three to five key points of what your customers need to know in order to buy from you. Keep these super simple. Better yet, think about all the obstacles that lie in their path; things that prevent them from buying from you. And debunk them all.
  • Call-to-action. This is the crucial stage where you want them to take the final step — CTA. You want to make sure that there is one action that you are leading your customers to take after watching your video. Ask yourself, what is the first step that they need to take in order to engage with you?

For some people, this might be to buy now. For others, it might be a “schedule a call” or “join the Facebook community.” Whatever it is, keep it simple and clear, and end with a call-to-action.

Read more: How to Write an Excellent Video Script

 

5. Creating a storyboard

Your video’s storyboard is a visual outline of your video. Basically, it is a sequence of images that convey what happens in your video. It is like creating the landscape for your video before having created it.

Now, there aren’t any hard and fast rules on creating storyboards — conveying information is what’s important. Normally, storyboards are hand-drawn, but if you’re not very good at drawing, don’t fret. You can always find a software to create your storyboard.

Why do you need a storyboard?

It helps simplify the process and allows everyone who is involved in the process to be on the same page.

How do you create a storyboard?

  • Define what you want your video to accomplish. Brainstorm, then narrow down all the ideas you have for the video. Discuss them with your colleagues and weed out everything that you think doesn’t make sense.
  • Then, sketch up a timeline where you would identify the beginning, middle, and end of your video, as well as any important transitions.
  • Start drawing, or simply grab a free storyboard template. Make sure to leave enough space underneath every scene to make notes.
  • Add in any extra details you want to add about the effects or other elements.

6. Editing

This is where the magic truly happens. With editing, you have the potential to make great changes that finalize your story and make your audience feel emotions, all the while being virtually undetectable.

Here are some key editing tips to keep in mind while editing your promo videos.

  • To make your edits flow just as smoothly as they do in movies, be clear about your screen direction.

Screen direction refers to how audience perceives the direction of a scene in your video.

A common error among beginners is changing screen direction in the middle of a shot sequence. You should avoid this since it tends to look unnatural and confuses your audience.

To remedy this, you can either simply eliminate the shot from your sequence, or if you have other shots you can choose from them and insert a neutral shot.

  • Shoot with continuity of a video (flow of your story) in mind to avoid continuity errors.
  • The next is jump cut. Jump cuts are incorporated when there is too little difference in the sequence from one angle to the next. It is simply cutting out moments of time in the timeline.

This happens when you cut out frames of one single camera to show the passing of time or to cut out boring parts to so that way it moves quicker.

  • Batch up on your b-rolls. Your principal camera, A, shoots the main shot. The camera B, however, is shooting things that you are talking about. To help in your editing, get as much b-roll footage as you can.

And it’s real easy to get. You simply get all the different angles and shots; change the lens, zoom in more, and get a wider angle. The more you capture, the happier you will be in post-production process.

  • For editing explainer promo videos, use more motion animation or doodle videos to attract viewers’ attention and to deliver your message in an effective way.

Explainer videos are great because they are short. Audiences have short attention spans, so keep them concise. A good length is under three minutes. It is best to be under two. Just strip everything down to the core essentials.

  • Another tip for editing explainer-style promo videos is to consider mixing live action with animation. You don’t necessarily have to make a binary choice between animation and live action for your explainer video. In some cases, the best option can be a combination of the two styles.

Why is this a great choice? Live action adds the element of realism to your video, which can be important in certain cases. For example, if you want to show live footage of your product or present your team. In such cases, you can supplement your live action with animation to add an extra layer of quality. This will help your video stand out and resonate with its viewers.

7. Sound effects

Film makers love engrossing and epic visuals. And there is one fundamental way to enhance them — through sound design. Sound design adds so much to a video. It is truly fascinating how our minds can pick up the smallest details.

You cannot underestimate the power of sound effects in a video. A random sound that you stick in can add life to your video.

If you have watched BBC’s The Blue Planet, you can see how much sound design can add to a clip.

 

At times, it is so subtle that you may not even consciously register it, but it basically makes your video come to life. So, focus on your audio editing and enhancement as much as you do on your shooting and framing.

Read more: Where to Find Background Music for Your Video Content

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Promo Videos

To get the most out of your promo videos, here are some best practices you need to stick with.

1. Play with b-rolls.

The unofficial rule is — you can never have too many b-roll shots. Zoom in, zoom out. Blur some parts. Play with it. Basically, incorporate as many b-roll shots as you can.

Why is switching between a-roll and b-roll shots so important to your promo video?

By switching back and forth between shots, you keep people’s attention. It allows their eyes to look at something else.

For instance, if you were to include vox pops in an event promo video, you would add variety by adding b-rolls while switching to a-roll shots of the speaker.

Another benefit of this practice is that you increase comprehension in your audience’s minds. Again, because you are not just saying what you offer, you are actually showing it.

2. To make any great video, you need to have a great script.

We talked about script before. That’s what sets the tone for everything and that’s why a great script can make or break your video. It’s why you should get a good copywriter. You don’t want to put something together haphazardly.

3. You need to have confidence while shooting.

There are always going to be problems. Lighting might change. You might forget an item for the shoot.

It’s okay. It happens.

Go with the flow. Remember, adaptation is the key.

What you need to do is to know your gear and practice as much as you possibly can with your camera in different situations. That’s the key to becoming a honed filmmaker in your own right.

Same goes for editing post-production; the more you do it, the more you will develop a natural feel for it.

Promo Videos That Will Inspire You

1. Dollar Shave Club

What will go down in history as one of the best promo videos ever made is the product promo by Dollar Shave Club.

This is the type of video, you are highly likely to not click ‘Skip Ad’ on. Enough said.

 

2. The Power of Words

When you can resonate with your audience without saying much, you know you have hit the target.

Purple Feather, a copywriting company, show they are masters of the craft and how your choice of words can make all the difference. They delivered their mastery over content in this deeply moving promo video.

 

3. Pricer Promo – MotionCue

A great promo video combines three key elements. It gets straight to the point in telling you how it is going to benefit you. It captures interest. And, it inspires action.

This promo video we created for Pricer captures all three aspects mentioned.

 

Promo videos are a powerful way to showcase your product or service to the world. They cut to the chase, and provide you with a perfect medium for generating sales.

Plus, they give you the freedom to incorporate different styles and techniques, allowing you to express your creative flare.

Want to see more awesome promo videos created for top businesses by MotionCue? Check out our portfolio.

Posted by Fatima Ali
04.08.2020

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