Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Using Video For Marketing A/E Services

Why is it that an industry of professionals who understand better than most the need to visualize and demonstrate are not embracing the newest generation of visually rich, digital communications tools? When it comes to social media marketing, the A/E/C industry lags behind other professions. Perhaps it’s a case of not knowing enough about it, or an assumption that the cost of video is prohibitive.

These obstacles can be easily resolved by speaking with professional content development and production companies. Prices are down and most quality production organizations are more than happy to educate you as part of their engagement. The industry is based on very specific, detailed cost management and comparative pricing that is shared with the client up front. This allows you to really understand where and how your marketing dollars are being spent.

Video marketing allows every firm to create an online presence that animates your unique projects, personnel and thought leadership. You may automatically imagine a “talking heads” interview with your reluctant CEO or award-winning partner. Ho hum, but OK. Interviews make fine videos and a professional interviewer can make any subject feel comfortable in front of the camera. It works well and is done often, but video can add an element of richness and depth beyond the normal “blah, blah, blah” of why your firm is so great.

One alternative is to let your satisfied clients do the talking for you. Let your hundreds of professional project photographs talk as well. Video embraces multiple techniques like motion graphics, kinetic text, white board animation, and voice-overs to tell your story, so viewers are both educated and entertained. Here are 7 practical tips to leveraging video marketing and online digital content:

Keep them hooked! Viewers give a video 20 seconds on average before turning away. So make sure that first 20 seconds pops, and try to keep the same momentum going throughout.
Use strong visuals. If your team has great hand or computer generated renderings to sell your firm’s ideas, show them! If you have fly-through videos of projects, use them, too! Photographs of projects (no more than three seconds per shot) look great in videos.
Talking heads are (relatively) boring. You won’t be able to eliminate them totally from your video. (We all want to meet the people behind the company we are doing business with.) But don’t over-rely on them if you have other, more visually compelling content to include. Putting your CEO on camera may create familiarity. It may build comfort. It may also bore your viewers.
Ditch the scripts - Scripts and prepared remarks are the death of many a promising video. A simple two-sentence paragraph takes 15 seconds or more to read. That three page diatribe from your brochure would be longer than Avatar! So go for authenticity and be unscripted. Anyone on the video should be natural and authentic. Hire a good director to make sure that you get the best out of everyone. Some of those back room colleagues are the most interesting assets you have - leverage them, script free.
Don’t be afraid to experiment - You have control over the message and what goes out. So unplug and relax as you describe how you work, what makes you tick and what your firm brings to the table that is unique. You have a firm full of creative people, so take advantage of them to experiment in a safe way. Anything you don’t like can be edited, rearranged or eliminated altogether. Remember, it’s a visual medium and that’s your specialty.
YouTube is for you - Many organizations still don’t understand how powerful a YouTube channel can be for both promoting services, creating in-bound interest, and delivering free HD videos on a website.
If it’s your first time, look for a guide - The world of online communications change is the norm. Don’t go it alone or hire cousin Joe’s nephew. This is your firm and your online reputation we are talking about here. So use a professio nal production company. 

Bottom line – your firm can stand out from the crowd, show off your team and projects, and be a leader in your space, using online videos. Social media can be a powerful new business development tool. Online videos are just one platform your company can use to connect your business to an almost unending stream of new and interested prospects.

For more vital information on how to effectivly approach business development, register for PSMJ’s Win Work Now: Three 1-Day Business Development Programs.This fall, PSMJ is providing 5 locations all across North America and Canada to give your whole firm the tools and confidence you need to succeed in bringing in more work for the firm. Register today!

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