Dos and Don’ts for Video Content

Video Marketing Best Practices

Getting the Most Out of Video Content Marketing

When you’re making a marketing video, you need to make it count. Production can be expensive, and competition isn’t hard to come by. Most companies have included video content in their marketing to at least some degree. So yours better stand out and justify its cost. If you want conversions, revenue boosts, and more from your marketing video, you’ll need to think about how you produce it. 

Let’s explore some of our favorite tips when it comes to successful video marketing.

DO: plan it out, from your intended audience to the goals you hope to achieve. 

Your goals should be one of the easiest things to uncover. Should this video promote conversions? Is it meant to boost website traffic? Do you want it to increase brand loyalty? Discuss this with your colleagues and/or production staff to make sure your video’s ultimate purpose never gets lost in the shuffle of writing, filming, and distribution.

DO: Determine who your audience will be.

Think in broad demographic categories like age, background, location, income, and the like.

Make sure that a marketing video is indeed a good idea for the audience you want to reach; an elderly audience, for example, might not respond enthusiastically to video in general.

Younger people likely will, especially if your video pays attention to their interests, region, and so forth.

The next two practices go hand-in-hand. 

DO: Tell a story, and create an emotional response.

Luckily, you can do both at the same time if your story is strong enough.  Your story, of course, shouldn’t be the Hollywood kind. Your story is a vehicle for your message, which, in turn, exists to drive interest in your business.

So what kind of story do you need to write to accomplish your marketing goal?

The answer to that question is one in which the customer is the hero.  Everyone likes to feel important. So resist your urge to make your brand the hero and give that agency and focus to the customer. Make them a character who can do great things—especially when paired with your brand.  Think of your brand as the Excalibur to your customer’s Arthur. Alone, your customer is a great person, but holding your brand, they can accomplish anything.  

With your customer positioned as the hero and your brand shown as the perfect solution to their needs, you should be well on your way to an emotionally resonant story. People love stories of triumphs over adversity, so showing your brand give a main character the advantage she needed to, say, ace a job interview or win an Olympic medal would be great ways to stir your audience to positive emotion.

Be wary of pathos and tragedy in your emotional content. Sorrow doesn’t typically lead to thoughts like “I should go buy one of those” as much as happiness does.

DON’T: Get too Complex

No matter who your audience is or what kind of story you’re telling, keep it simple. Your audience isn’t settling in for a seminar, and they don’t want to watch a slow-burning narrative. They want to get the point and move on with their day. So introduce your character or characters. Illuminate the problem that your product will fix. Show them fixing the problem with your product. And, finally, leave them with a call to action.

Your call to action, much as it sounds, is what you’re asking them to do with the information they just watched. Like your storytelling, it works best when it’s simple. “Visit our website” is perfect; so is “Ask your doctor today.” 

The opposite?  “Join your local chapter and pay your dues monthly so that you can attend meetings and vote on proposals that may affect you and your family, not to mention your community.”

Keep your call to action short, memorable, and undemanding. It’s not hard to “ask” about something or to “visit a website,” to keep our examples from above.

It is considerably harder to join, pay, attend, and vote, and remember why.

DON’T: Forget about the Visuals

Apply the same criteria you did earlier, regarding audience: what kinds of imagery will appeal to your target audience? How much of the imagery gets you closer to achieving the goals of this video? Is there eye candy/filler that you can lose? Are there specific images you can’t afford to miss?

As you write and plan visuals, think about appealing to your audience in another way too—humor. With all the focus on the video’s goal and convincing the audience to heed a call of action, many marketing videos end up boring. “They want to laugh, they want to feel enlightened, they want to be pulled out of their boring 9 to 5’s and forget about their realities,” reads the Digital Marketing Institute on the topic of customers—and they’re absolutely right.  

Remember the last time someone said to you, “Hey, you’ve got to watch this ad, it’s extremely straightforward and presents a solid case for this product over its competitors?”


That’s because it’s never happened, except maybe in strategy discussions among marketers. In real life, people talk about marketing videos because they’re funny, because they’re a little odd, because they’re exciting—in short, because of their emotional response to the videos.

Positive emotion is good for business. Humor is a phenomenal way to get there.

DO: Keep it Subtle

Finally, don’t be overtly sales-focused. Very few people enjoy listening to a sales presentation, even if they recognize the value of the product and are seriously considering buying it. Again, think like a non-marketer. If someone tells you upfront that they only care about your money, how likely are you to enjoy that person’s company?

Staying away from blatant salesmanship is easier when you’re already following some of the above advice.

A humorous story will prime your audience to be more comfortable with your brand, even when the video goes into more sales-focused territory. 

Simplicity, in your video and especially in your call to action, will also help audiences to handle the sales moment. Audiences won’t mind your promotion nearly enough if it’s a brief part of an already simple, short video.  They’ll have more trouble with it if it’s the ‘payoff’ at the end of a long and complicated video.

So follow these tips for successful video marketing and see increased engagement and conversions:

  • Plan your video well, with your goals and audience clearly in mind.
  • Tell a story that appeals to their sensibilities and stirs emotion.
  • Use visuals that fit your script and reinforce your message.
  • If you can, use humor to increase your video’s positive emotional effect. 
  • Make sure your story considers the customer the hero, not your brand, and that you keep it simple and concise. 
  • Keep your call to action similarly short and memorable, and don’t be overtly sales-focused.  

Video marketing made with care and forethought can be incredibly effective at driving traffic to your website and revenue into your coffers.  Especially in the pre-production stage, the right focus and decisions will give your video the best chance at achieving your marketing goals.