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4 Keys to Creating the Video Ad Your Business Needs Distributing a message is easier via video than with other media, including your website. The catch is, that video has to be good.

By Hope Horner Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Video marketing pays. Just ask software giant Adobe. After a recent $540 million acquisition, the company now has two major video production products: Adobe Express and TubeMogul.

Adobe is one of a number of big new players in the video production game, and the company isn't just swinging for the fences with this acquisition but investing in advertising tools that target individual users and the SMB market. Its competitors are, too. According to the market research firm eMarketer, U.S. spending on mobile and desktop video advertising is skyrocketing and was on track to hit $10 billion by the end of 2016. Technology conglomerate Cisco predicted that streaming video would account for approximately 80 percent of internet traffic by 2019.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners can't afford to ignore stats like these. The reason: Branded video is just as critical an asset as a company website, and perhaps even more important when it comes to reaching and engaging customers.

Why don't you just tell the whole world?

Unlike your website, which can remain hidden in the depths of the internet for years with only some bot traffic and the occasional visit from a random Slovenian IP address, people will see your video if you want them to. Distributing a message is much easier via video than through other types of media, including your website.

According to a survey conducted by research firm Demand Metric, nearly three-quarters of B2B participating marketers reported that video gave them better conversion rates than any other type of content. On Facebook, the site Socialbakers has written, posting a video will give you, on average, 135 percent more organic reach than a photo.

Moreover, your website can't target specific customers and conveniently appear as they browse their favorite websites. But, given all the online video distribution platforms available today, your video can.

Related: Why You Need to Start Video Marketing Now

Here's the catch, though: If you're going to create a company video and start posting it all over the web, it had better be good. With that in mind, here are four tips for creating that terrific branded video you want the right way.

1. Don't cut corners.

Quality is nonnegotiable. Your video is a direct reflection of your brand. Don't try to skimp on production costs. According to a survey conducted by Accenture Interactive, many people still find video ads intrusive, and low-quality videos -- with ads, or not -- are pretty much unacceptable to consumers.

Fortunately, you can make a high-quality video that's two to three minutes long, for less than $5,000. Still, try to be flexible with your video budget if you can. A number of factors, including costs associated with equipment, location, licensing and other elements of the production life cycle, could affect the amount you ultimately pay for the finished product.

Like most companies that dive into video production, you'll probably be champing at the bit to make a sequel after seeing the return on your initial investment.

2. Highlight your bona fides.

Authenticity is attractive. In video advertising, genuine communication -- not talent -- is what gets people to pay attention.

Take for example Chevrolet's #DayItForward campaign, which it launched as a video series on Leap Day to promote a positive brand image. The video was a hit, but not for the reasons you might imagine. Yes, it featured a number of actors and celebrities, but it also took them out of the spotlight and leaned on real storytelling rather than acting prowess.

If your video includes interviews with company founders or other members of the team, those need to be natural, sincere conversations. So, avoid writing a rigid script and rehearsing lines over and over. If you do, subjects could end up looking and sounding like robots on camera, or come off as phony. Instead, have the production team conduct a casual interview with you. When your personality naturally shines through, your audience will relate to you more.

Related: Let Customers Get to Know You With Video

3. Think inside the box.

Don't spend loads of time and money trying to be the next Dollar Shave Club. Viral videos can certainly lead to sales, but so can videos that achieve a much smaller reach.

The key is to think about your target audience and communicate in a way that they appreciate. "The Glam," a standard, 30-second spot for L'Oréal Paris La Palette Nude, relied on a traditional story line and TV-grade production quality to introduce audiences to a cosmetic product. The spot resonated among older test audiences especially, who are more used to this type of ad.

Regardless of whom you're trying to reach, focus on creating a straightforward, high-quality video that can be easily tested and optimized. Better to have a few variations of a good video than to waste months trying to craft the perfect commercial.

4. Show it off.

Once your video is finished, share it through a variety of channels. Including a video in an email can double or triple click-through rates, and creating space for it on your homepage can increase conversions significantly. Invest some money into paid advertising, too.

Related: Leverage the Undeniable Power of Video Marketing on All Platforms

Social media platforms make it easier than ever to create an effective video ad campaign. Not sure you can do it? Consider this: In 2014, videos on Facebook were viewed 1 billion times a day. A little more than two years later, that number has grown to 8 billion -- every day.

Given the ever-increasing importance of video in today's business landscape, quality video ads are as essential as a website for effectively defining your brand's values, purpose and product. Using these tips and tools, you'll not only be able to reach your target audiences quickly and easily, but you could also attract customers you didn't know you were looking for.

Now is the time to get in on the (lights, camera …) action.

Hope Horner

CEO and Founder, Lemonlight

Hope Horner is CEO and founder of Lemonlight, a video production company that produces and distributes branded video content at scale. Horner is a three-time entrepreneur located in the Silicon Beach community.

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