Visual marketing and communications: Setting your plan in motion

By Mike Stephenson  

More than 60 percent of marketers and small business owners say they plan to invest more in video marketing this year. 

Visual marketing and communications are surging in importance as we’ve discussed in parts one and two of our series for AMA Tampa Bay. In our final installment, we’ll look at how you can produce video marketing that will make your products and services pop. We’ll focus here on planned videos rather than live streaming, which was discussed at December’s AMA Tampa Bay luncheon

Seventy-eight percent of people watch videos online every week and more than half do so every day. Just using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19 percent and clickthrough rates by 65 percent. More than half of videos now are watched on mobile devices and that number is surging. 

But how can you incorporate video marketing into your strategy?

Don’t be intimidated. The explosion of video makes the audience accepting of a variety of production levels. You need to decide what works for your business and brand. Whether you are recording on a mobile device or have more specialized equipment such as a digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, camera, here are some tips for producing good video marketing:

  • Create a storyboard: Good videos don’t just happen. You need to plan your shots and script (see below) before you get your camera out. Prep your subjects and think about your B-roll needs. Developing a plan up front will save time in the end. 
  • Keep them short: Clarity of message is key. Videos under five minutes account for 55 percent of consumption time. Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies says good videos are focused and don’t waste time. Don’t hesitate to cut extraneous words and material.
  • Make the visual count: Viewers watch 85 percent of Facebook videos without the sound, so make your content and call to action clear visually. 
  • Consider a tripod: Your hand may not be steady enough to produce a video you want to share. Tripods are an inexpensive solution.
  • Rely on the apps: For those who don’t have much video editing experience, mobile device apps can save the day. For instance, Videolicious can help you piece together a video from clips and still images. You can even do a voiceover without being on camera. It allows you to add your brand’s logos and watermarks for consistency. iMovie offers a few more tools for those who have more skill and use an iOS device.

Writing your script

The Poynter Institute’s News University offers several webinars on producing videos that have useful tips that can be applied to content marketing.

  • Keep motivators in mind: Tompkins, from Poynter, points to key motivators that draw people’s interest: money, community, health, safety, family, curiousity, moral outrage and trending items.
  • Explain, don’t narrate: People can see the visuals, so you should add context rather than play-by-play of what they can see, Tompkins says.
  • Simple writing: Stick with declarative sentences with power words and phrases at the end. Those are what stick. Listen to Morgan Freeman for Visa here. 
  • Use music: Music can create mood and tone and mark tension points or twists in the story. is a good source for inexpensive, open-source music.

Getting good audio

Few things are more irritating than watching a video with poor sound quality. Even without sophisticated equipment, you can take steps to improve your audio.

  • Pick your spot: Try to choose a location to record that doesn’t have distracting noises, such as loud air vents, traffic noises or other people moving about.
  • Proximity: If possible, get your microphone close to the subject.
  • Double up: If you’re using a mobile device such as an iPhone, you might be able to get the combination of sound quality and video you need by recording the audio through voice memos on a friend’s phone while shooting the video with yours, though you would need to import them both to iMovie to sync them. 
  • External mic: If you are creating videos on a regular basis, you might want to invest in an external microphone. They come in a variety of price ranges, but can dramatically improve the quality of your audio.

With planning and a small investment in equipment, any business can add video marketing to its toolkit.

Key takeaways

  1. Video is becoming an essential part of marketing strategy.
  2. Creating video requires planning but doesn’t need to be expensive.
  3. Apps and reasonable equipment additions can help you create effective videos.

Mike Stephenson is editorial manager at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He does freelance editing and writes personal histories through his website, He joined AMA Tampa Bay in September and wrote on email marketing for the blog in November.