This is a guest blog post by one of our clients, Caroline Arthur. We recently designed a responsive and photo-rich website for her, that you can view at carolinearthur.com
I run a small (but expanding!) business as a wedding dress designer and dressmaker, and was motivated to create a video to increase interest in my business without overtly waving my website in peoples’ faces. When I was planning my website re-design with Zoe of B:Web towards the end of 2014, I browsed through many great websites and found those with a short video extremely engaging. I actively wanted to watch them.
When planning the content of the film I had two objectives: firstly to address the fact that my Brides-to-be have shown fascination in the actual process of how their unique wedding dress is made; and secondly I’m always struck by how surprised they are when they first come to meet me at the studio, and find this relaxed, beautiful, friendly environment. I wanted to represent both of these without turning it into a tutorial.
I also think family and friends feature very strongly in a wedding, and whilst the dress ultimately reflects the personality and taste of the Bride, she often wants to share something of it in the making. A short film is something she can show for example to her Granny, who might not be able to make it to a fitting, along with looking at the sketch of the dress-to-be, so she also becomes part of this special occasion.
I think this point is applicable to most businesses…when people are thinking about booking a service / buying something, they very rarely do it without mentioning it to someone they know, and often ask what the other person thinks. They enjoy sharing something like a film, and so do I.
When I commissioned the film, I put total trust in the cameraman and film editor – I know nothing about either of these skills, and was very fortunate to find a fabulous team to produce it. Even as a creative person myself, I think if another creative is making something for me and it’s their field… it’s often best to let them do their stuff and avoid micro-managing them!
The film took a day and a half to film, and was quite intense, but really fun and very interesting…lots of repeating the same action, filmed from different angles, so there was enough variety of footage for the editor to work with. I had no idea that so much of making a film is in the editing!
The cost was absolutely worth it for the exposure the film has provided my business and I suspect it’s a “you-get-what-you-pay-for” situation… I was lucky enough to know the filming team anyway, and due to their vast and extremely high-end experience and skills, they were able to identify what it was about the short films I showed them before we started, that created the mood I was hoping for.
My tip for small businesses thinking about creating a video, would be:
- Keep it short – maximum 2 minutes. My stats show on average people watch 1 minute 35 seconds of my 2 minute film, and I have about 250 new views a week on Youtube.
- Keep in mind what your goal is – I personally don’t find openly promotional films very appealing. Create something beautiful and interesting, and people will want to watch and want to share it, and naturally check out your website, without you having to ask them to. Those of you old enough to remember Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams might recall the echo “…if you build it, they will come…” Sorry, got momentarily distracted then, let’s get back on track…
Regarding promoting the video – I posted it on all social media but fully admit this is not my strongest area – I use the excuse that I’m usually busy stitching like a crazy woman for my precious brides. However, I reckon because it wasn’t an openly promotional film, people have voluntarily shared it, and somehow it’s zoomed up to the top of page 1 on google when you type in “How a wedding dress is made”… I’m sure the SEO geniuses at B:Web are the people to ask about how this happened??!
Before the film was made and uploaded onto my website, I was receiving about 30 – 50 unique visitors a day on my website. New website and film, I’m now consistently getting 50 – 70 unique visitors a day, and all of those seem to be watching the film. This in turn, equates to at least 5 new enquiry emails a day = 35 potential wedding dress orders each week = happy days and hopefully very happy brides.
The other huge bonus about having something so professionally made and produced is that once you’ve uploaded it on YouTube, you can send the link to huge organisations and they’ll take you seriously. I had some fairly in-depth chats with one of the commissioning editors at the BBC, entirely on the back of having got their email address, sent the link to the film, and suggesting it might be of interest… Again – don’t make it promotional, and it has much wider appeal.
I believe the video has directly contributed to an increase in bookings in my business, because it’s reached so many people, and presented me as an approachable professional before they’ve even met me. I would recommend it to all business owners, of any size.
I’ve already planned my next video, which involves ballerinas in a barley field with scarecrows. Yes really!
Absolute respect to Simon Reglar at Storydigital and Laura Kettle, designer, model and film editor.
At b:web love working with video and incorporating it into our design, like with the website we created for Source Supplies. If you would like to have a video made for your business, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.