Responsible for a Video Marketing Budget? Five Terrible Ways to Spend Your Money

Responsible for a Video Marketing Budget? Five Terrible Ways to Spend Your Money

Responsible budgeting isn’t about how much you have; it’s about how you spent it. The internet is awash with advice on how to build and spend a video marketing budget, but it’s harder to find a heads up on what not to buy.

Video content will always be just one part of a larger marketing strategy encompassing everything from targeted digital advertising and billboards to social media and email campaigns. You’re never going to have access to the entire budget, so you must keep your expenditure as efficient as possible.

Before you do anything else, ask yourself some basic questions. What’s the purpose of your video? Are you trying to sell, educate, or entertain? Who are your customers? What are the best platforms to reach them using video content? Are we talking online video or traditional adverts and product placement on broadcast media?

Make sure that you know what you want and how you want to produce it. Are you going to go down the do-it-yourself route or hire a production company? Set clear goals, define a creative direction and a manageable timeline, and make sure you avoid making these five mistakes when allocating your budget.


1. Paid Digital Distribution

Paid advertisements may seem great in the short term. Especially on social media, where you’ll almost certainly gain more views and click-throughs. But these kinds of investments, without tracking and monitoring, will exhaust your budget with close to no results.


Views and clicks don’t always equate to conversions. Instead, focus on bringing in organic leads. Share your video on social media and let the quality of your content do the talking for you. Organic leads are the most valuable as they come to access your content or buy your products on their own accord.

If you do want to use content promotion tools, pick ones that are budget-friendly but still get the job done. YouTube is an obvious one with a much greater reach than any cable network, especially among younger audiences.

ContentAmp is another right choice, allowing you to distribute your video content to a network of social media influencers. They will promote your content on social media, quickly increasing both traffic and engagement. Plus, it’s pay-per-click, so only pay for traffic that’s driven to your content.

You might also like Outbrain, which provides opportunities to promote your content on other websites. Much like ContentAmp, it works on a pay-per-click basis, and you can set a daily budget, so you never overspend.

Another option is to create a word-of-mouth network by leveraging your contacts to help with video promotion in return for a similar favor on your end. Instead of paying other sites to promote your video, ask other marketers to do a casual content swap – you’ll be surprised how effective this can be!


2. Lengthy Videos

Keeping a video short and to the point can help minimize production costs and increase the amount of time viewers keep watching.

You’re unlikely to hold their attention after the two-minute mark. Concentrate your efforts on producing short, high-quality content that can help retain viewers. This, in turn will improve your video’s ranking on sites like YouTube, ensuring that they promote it to a broader audience.

Go for quality over quantity. And remember that this doesn’t just apply to video length; why spend more than you need to on ten mediocre videos as opposed to two or three high-quality ones?

However, always keep in mind that even a short video can quickly become expensive when a production company can’t focus on a single objective. The cost of a one-minute video can range from a couple of thousand dollars for semi-professional content to a million or more for movies-quality ads.


3. More original footage than you need

Creating original footage is expensive, and it takes time to produce. Stock footage, on the other hand, can be a cheap and effective alternative that’s easy to access. It doesn’t require specialist equipment or knowledge to produce.

Using stock footage can add quality and depth to a video project without the vast expenditure incurred when you have to hire actors, a studio and production team, and sets or other locations where you can film. Just make sure that the core of your footage is original; stock footage should only be used as B-roll.

It’s also worth repurposing footage whenever possible. Use the same videos on your landing page, on social media, and in blog posts. Ask your design team to provide you with a selection of alternate cuts to make it easier to share on different platforms and keep your content fresh.


4. Actors

Employees are an underrated resource for video production. Hiring a crew and going down the traditional route is almost always going to be expensive and could very well be unnecessary. Use your existing team as cast members or try animation. You could even consider puppets if appropriate.

Creativity is the key to cost-effective video marketing. Try to find alternatives to high-cost elements of the production process, keep an open mind, and look for inventive ways to cut costs. With that in mind, it’s also worth remembering about smartphones.

Hiring a production company is never going to be the wrong choice. Still, it could be expensively redundant since most of us have smartphones that can shoot high-quality content at no extra cost. Slick, Hollywood-style content might look cool, but honesty and realness often get more engagement.

Another option is to opt-out of the production process entirely via influencer marketing. Rather than making videos yourself – or paying someone else to do it, then working out distribution – why not work with someone who can create and distribute video content for you?

Bloggers and vloggers with a large, relevant audience will be more than happy to partner with you. By integrating your product or service into their existing video format, there should be little extra work for either you or them.


5. Licenses

Unless you can afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on an excellent soundtrack, you’ll almost certainly want to avoid the strain that a license will add to your budget. They’re expensive and usually one-production-use only, which means you’ll need to pay twice if you want to use a track in another project.

The same goes for stock footage, still images, and sound effects that come with a license attached. Try looking for unlicensed content that’s still high quality but isn’t going to cost the Earth and which can be reused as often as you like. Note that it’s best practice to credit the owner of such footage in some way.

Pixabay, for example, offers over 1.2 million images and videos, all under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) License, which means you don’t need to get permission or give credit to the artist to use or modify the content, even if you’re using it for commercial purposes.

Another great option is Life of Videos, a collection of free stock videos, clips, and loops from a Canadian advertising agency based in Montreal. There are no copyright restrictions on the use of their content, but redistribution is limited to ten videos.

Splitshire is an excellent resource for unique videos that are entirely free for both personal and commercial use. Created by web designer Daniel Nanescu, the videos are primarily drone footage of beautiful outdoor scenes. You’re free to use them across all social media channels.

There are new videos added every week to Vidsplay’s collection, and you can download and use any of their content without paying royalties. The same is true for Videezy, who asks that you credit them when using their footage (or buy credits that allow you to use footage without attribution).

How to make most of your video marketing budget

Now that we’ve ascertained what not to do let’s take a quick look at the flip side and discuss the best ways to make video marketing cost-efficient. There are a lot of videos out there, so you’re going to need to cut through a lot of noise if your video’s going to be successful.

Do your research and develop a solid strategy that works specifically for your business. What works for someone else may not work for you. Define your target audience, then find out what makes them tick.

Why do they share and like content, why do they click through from a video, and how can you use video to generate solid leads and conversions? Create content that you can be sure your audience will want, need, or appreciate in one way or another.

Look into the different types of marketing videos that you could produce, and choose one that best reflects your business goals and aligns with your audience’s interests. Speaking of your audience, this is the time to talk to them and find out if there’s any user-generated content out there that you could use.

Knowing when and how to distribute your videos (hint: hashtags are super important online) can mean the difference between a flop and the next viral hit.

Repurpose footage when appropriate but make sure that your content stays fresh, and never sacrifice the quality of your content. A short video with high production values will always outperform a long one with low production values – and it’s more cost-effective than a long-video with high production values.

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