How to Leverage the Power of How-to Videos

There’s no question about it: online videos are both popular and among the most effective means of gaining visibility, improving search engine rankings and boosting sales of your products and services.  Views of video ads topped the 3 billion mark by the 2nd quarter of 2014, and even that is not enough to meet consumer demand.  Nevertheless, some 75% of marketers surveyed indicated video was not a priority for their business, and more than half don’t yet believe consumers want to see company videos.

How to videos


Why so many marketers are behind the curve on this wealth of online activity isn’t clear.  What is clear is that video is among the most effective means of concentrating large amounts of information into a relatively small space (according to Forrester, a single minute of video equates to no less than 2 million words), and to do it in a way that engages and persuades consumers.

So, video is popular and effective, and according to eMarketer, of all video types, how-to and tutorial videos are the most popular, the preferred type by more than 2/3 of all video watchers.  A how-to video gives consumers valuable content they can use immediately as it builds loyalty, trust and visibility for the company that produces it. 

That said, not all how-to videos are equal, and creating one that grabs consumer attention and moves them to convert and buy requires following some basic rules of engagement.  Here are 3 to bear in mind as you create your how-to video:

  1. Give your customers what they want:  take the time to research your audience and create buyer personas that create an objective picture of what they want and need.  You want to give them an instructional video that shows them what no one else has, or that no one else has quite as well.  For example, there is a spate of eLearning content development companies, but the most successful research what learning is most popular, then create videos that cater to those needs more effectively than the competition.  Companies like Sweetrush have achieved a high degree of success by providing eLearning solutions which are customized to their clients’ needs, as well as by taking advantage of new technologies like gamification and mo bile.
  2. Convey expertise:  what you share with your customers is the face of your business.  It’s important that you know what you’re talking about, and that the information you convey is accurate and carries the cachet associated with industry expertise.  Give your customers value-added with how-to videos delivered by experts rather than actors.  Be sure to share with them your expert’s credentials to add credibility and build trust.  Remember that your how-to video is meant to educate your customers.  Giving clear directions that help them solve a specific problem will help persuade viewers of your expertise.  For example, if you sell cars, you could show prospective customers how to detail their current vehicle to get maximum trade-in value.  Use a spokesperson with many years’ experience in detailing cars, make your step-by-step description as clear and complete as possible, and be sure to i nclude the kinds of tips that only someone with experience and expertise would know about. The goal is to provide information that will elicit a "wow, I didn't know that" response from your audience.  
  3. Entertain them:  learning doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be boring.  You can do all the research in the world and create accurate how-to videos delivered by recognized experts, but still bore your viewers to tears, a waste of time for you and them.  Make sure your video is entertaining and engaging from start to finish.  Entertainment is all about keeping viewers engaged.  To maintain viewer interest, keep your how-to brief (no more than 3 - 5 minutes) and fast moving, add appropriate, lively background music, incorporate interviews with industry experts to connect with your audience, and add titles (for example, the name and title of the person being interviewed) to grab viewer attention.

Winning videos, how-to or otherwise, don’t just spontaneously generate.  They come from careful audience research, expert knowledge, engaging content and smart distribution.  If you don’t have the in-house talent to do the job, invest in a competent video services company which will deliver the results you’re looking for.

47 Business Video Ideas