Getting Started With Video Marketing for Under $200

video marketing setup

Including a video in your email can increase click through by 96%.

59% of senior executives would rather watch a video than read text.

100 million people watch a video online everyday.1

Clearly, video marketing is unbelievably valuable. The problem is that it can also seem unbelievably daunting.

It’s easy to get bogged down in litany of to-dos surrounding your first video, but there are really just a handful of things you need to get right to be successful:

  • First, you need the right equipment, including camera, microphone, and something to stabilize the recording devices.
  • Second, you need the right software to combine, edit, and augment what you record.
  • Finally, you need an adventurous spirit and a willingness to get out there and possibly make a terrible video the first time you try.

Remember your first blog post? Your first tweet? Those probably aren’t your best work, and your first video probably won’t be either. Just put it out there, and start again.

It won’t be hard to improve, because with a couple of smart purchases (and using what you already own), you can create the video recording suite that you need to produce good quality marketing videos efficiently.

Basic Hardware for Getting Started With Video Marketing

The good news here is that you almost certainly already have a video camera that will produce reasonably high quality video. Either your phone or your computer should record at an appropriate resolution (1080p).

That means you’re just missing a microphone and something to stabilize your camera.

Microphones are Vital For Getting the Best Sound Quality

It’s true that your “camera,” whether it’s a phone, tablet, or laptop, comes with a microphone built in. Unfortunately, if you use the microphone that comes with your phone, you’ll get very poor output.

These microphones have not progressed at the same pace as their video counterparts. For example, they don’t handle hard speech sounds like “b,” “t,” and “p” (called “plosives”) very well. This leads to awkward recordings where it sounds like someone is putting their mouth right into the microphone when they use those letters, especially at the beginning of a word.

Fortunately there are hardware options that will give you high quality sound without destroying your marketing budget.

video marketing microphoneRode offers high quality microphones that you can plug right into a headphone jack on your phone, tablet, or computer for under $100. Their SmartLav option (pictured to the left) is small, portable, and gives you great audio, with an average price around $77.

For a super detailed dive into other options for recording audio with your phone, check out this post from WildMountainEchoes. It discusses the microphones that you can plug into your phone jack as well as some that work via the charging port and bluetooth.

Keep Images Stable With Mounting Hardware

Strictly speaking, you could make do without a tripod or other hardware to stabilize your video camera. But do you really want to spend all the time to record and edit a video, only to have its instability make your audience nauseous?

If you’re using a laptop or other computer to record, you can probably skip the mounting hardware because the camera will be sitting on a stable surface.

But if your camera is coming from a phone or tablet, you really need some stabilizing hardware.

Exactly what you need will depend on your recording setup. If you’re going to set a tablet on a table and record yourself, there are simple $50 video marketing tripodmounts like the one pictured to the right.

A more versatile option if you’re using a “real” camera may be a more traditional tripod that doesn’t require a table. These aren’t going to be any more expensive, and they’ll let you change the height of your camera more easily. Many options work for cameras as well as phones/tablets.

Have a DIY streak? You can lower the cost of a camera stabilizer even more by making one yourself. LifeHacker has a guide that will walk you through it.

The important thing to remember is to stabilize your camera somehow.

Don’t just have someone hold it, or you’ll end up with a terribly amateur-looking video.

(Note: if you’re just doing screencasts, or otherwise recording what’s on your computer screen, you don’t need any stabilizing equipment.)

Video Software Options: From Free to Paid

If you’re an Apple person, you’ve got iMovie ready and waiting for you. PC folks, there are some free options out there, but you’ll be better off spending a little bit of money on better software.

Pinnacle software gives you three tiers to choose from. Ranging from a mere $60 up to a very reasonable $130, you can almost certainly justify buying this software with your current marketing budget.

Another option is Sony Movie Studio, which is available for just $49.95. Or, if you’ve got a little more budget to burn, there’s the Vegas Pro option (also from Sony) for $400.

Any of this software will let you start recording today. If you don’t want to try to make the case for an upgrade in the future, spending a little more now may be the way to go.

On the other hand if you don’t think an expansion of video marketing is in your near future, one of the more basic options is a safe bet.

Professional Touches for Novice Video Marketers

Once you’ve got your video marketing hardware and software working like they should, you can take your first shot a making a video. To give it an extra special touch for minimal effort, try using a green screen and adding music.

The majority of video editing software now lets you use chroma keying, which just means you can select a color and remove it.

Check for software that features “chroma keying” or “green-screening” capabilities, and you’ll have this fun and professional-looking option at your disposal.

By simply recording your video in front of a well-lit, wrinkle-free piece of green paper you can take advantage of this capability and swap out your background for something more polished (or just something cool).

Finally, devote a few minutes to finding the right music. Some software, like the Sony Movie Studio package mentioned above, includes license-free tracks. But don’t just go with the first rights-free song you find.

Ensure that your music, like your script and visuals, is driving toward a deliberate point.

Make a Connection With Video Marketing

Videos don’t have to be big-budget affairs to resonate with your audience. In most cases, the feeling of connection you can create with video far outweighs any detrimental effects that might come from low-budget videos.

But there is a limit to your audience’s goodwill. At a certain point, they will start to assume that your low quality video is a reflection of your low quality product.

That’s why exerting just a little effort to create the right video marketing setup is so vital.

As long as you’ve got the right foundation of hardware and software and a willingness to try a new way of marketing, you’ve got the all the ingredients needed for successful video marketing.


Sources:

1. Video Marketing Statistics

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Andrea Fryrear
About the Author:

Andrea Fryrear

Andrea loves to dissect marketing buzzwords and fads looking for the pearls of wisdom at their cores. Her favorite topic is agile marketing, which she believes holds the key to a more fulfilling (and less stressful) marketing career for individuals and a more powerful marketing department for business. When not scrutinizing the latest agile methodologies, Andrea can be found on the volleyball court, at the park with her two delightful kids, or baking “calorie-free” cookies. Connect with her on Twitter @AndreaFryrear, or on LinkedIn.




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