In “Learning from Infomercials for Product Demonstration,” my article last month, I discussed the importance of product demonstration and video in selling online. This month, I’ll explain how to make product videos that get results.
Given the rise in well-produced online video, it can seem daunting to get started. But, rest assured, there are some good tools and a few tricks that can help you produce impactful product videos quickly and inexpensively.
1. Script, Film, Edit, Repeat
This is the traditional approach to video production. You write a script, film it being acted out, and then edit the footage to a final version. It used to be that every element of this process was expensive and time consuming. But now with easy access to smartphones, low-cost cameras with a video record mode, and software like iMovie, most anyone can create a professional looking video with much less hassle. Don’t overlook the video record mode on recent DSLR cameras. This can help you achieve stunning visual quality using a device you may already own.
Although “script, film, edit, repeat” is the most time intensive way to make a product demo, it gives the most flexibility and control. And for those with time, it can become a rewarding creative outlet.
Many entrepreneurs are familiar with outsourcing sites like Elance and oDesk. There are similar online services for video production, as well.
One popular site, Fiverr, posts tasks that individuals are willing to do for only $5. Video production and product video reviews are highly requested tasks.
Others enable you to tap into diverse networks of professional talent. These include — for agency-level quality at lower prices — poptent, Tongal, and SmartShoot.
3. Make Them Short
The viral six-second social video platform Vine is becoming a great — and very fun — venue for creating and sharing product videos. The Vine iPhone app has an elegant and simple user interface and an Android version is apparently in the works. Here is an example vine of a red shoe.
Other examples from Doggy Loot and CakeStyle showcase products in different ways.
Not only does Vine provide a compelling way to demonstrate your products and engage potential customers, it also gives you access to a rapidly growing social network. More than 100,000 vines were posted during one weekend last February.
Much like Instagram, you create a Vine account using the iPhone app, start posting interesting videos that include captions with hashtags like #fashion and #toys to help people find your videos, and accumulate followers and likes. Now is the time to stake out valuable real estate in this emerging social network.
4. Narrow your Focus
Oftentimes people are overwhelmed by the open-ended task of making a good video. They ask, “Where do I start? Who do I cast? What is the story?”
It’s often very helpful to narrow the focus of what you are doing. This is where 360 product photography really shines. These are effectively videos that allow interactively rotating an object. They can serve as highly effective and affordable product display mechanisms.
By narrowing your task to something easy to understand like “capture a video of your product making a 360 degree rotation on a turntable,” the outcome is often much higher quality and easier to achieve.
The software company Treepodia offers a service that will take your current product catalog and create customized product videos using existing images and text you may already have available. This is a very low cost and fast way of generating videos for your inventory.
Alternatively, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 allows you to export a presentation as a video. With this option, you can use a familiar tool to author your own product videos complete with text, images, and narration.
Nearly every large online retailer now uses video. But smaller companies can create effective videos without shouldering the cost and time of finding and hiring an entire production company. While you may not win any Oscars with the methods I’ve mentioned, they can help you get going with video on your store.