Everyone loves a good story. So much so that if I asked you to recall one really great story that touched you in the past, I’d bet you could conjure it up quickly - and with a very vivid memory of how it made you feel.

Stories told through video seem to have a particular knack for sticking in our heads long after we close out the browser tab. That’s why companies are beginning to add video storytelling to their arsenal of marketing tools to engage customers. We’ve all heard a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to James L. McQuivey at Forrester Research.

Here’s one video by Toyota that I think really succeeds at creating that emotional bond for the consumer while also introducing a new feature in their vehicles in an unobtrusive and 'non-salesy' way.

Yes, we all know this is a promotional video for Toyota’s latest technology but it does a pretty good job of tugging at the heartstrings nonetheless. I bet even viewers with zero intention of buying a car will continue to remember it months after watching it.

Video storytelling comes with real ROI

Videos like Toyota’s aren’t just good for turning on the waterworks. As fluffy as they can feel, they also come with some hard-edged empirical evidence for converting viewers into paying customers.

Videos on the landing page of a website can increase conversions by 80 percent or more. And four times as many people would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. The video medium has a persuasive power missing in text alone. And that power translates into real value for the bottom line.

More than just commercials

Video marketing can be many things and they are much more than just commercials housed on YouTube. Think of them as made-for-web stories that can come in both short and long forms. There’s a lot of room for creativity when you’re not beholden to a 20-second blip on the telly.

For instance, we saw the rise of live streaming video content as a new channel for carrying marketing’s message this year. Facebook Live, Snapchat, and YouTube have all changed the face of video sharing with live streaming features that let companies create a real-time connection with consumers. It’s also great for troubleshooting issues on the fly as Southwest Airlines did when they had to cancel over a thousand flights during a system outage.

Need inspiration? Some video ideas to get started:

If you’re a small business, there’s no need to feel daunted by the idea of shooting video content. You’re not trying to create a full-length feature film here, just some entertaining and informational videos worth sharing. Here are some simple video ideas to get started.

  • Post stories from your customers
  • Give product demonstrations
  • Provide a behind-the-scenes look at how your product is made or how your service operates
  • Make a how-to or instructional video
  • Conduct interviews and Q&As with employees or industry experts
  • Compile archive footage and photos to illustrate your company’s origin story
  • Create a fictional mini-series that introduces your latest product

 

If you don’t have an in-house team with video experience, you may want to outsource the work to ensure professional quality footage. But depending on the video content you go for, you may even get away with using a smartphone camera in some cases. You can always experiment with different formats and styles to figure out what your customers engage with the most. Just remember to stay focused on delivering a compelling message in each video. Because what we know already is your customers definitely love a good story.

About the author

Kelly Paik is a freelance writer covering science and technology. She hails from San Francisco where she spent some time in the trenches of Silicon Valley, from where she brings that inside perspective as she serves the latest on innovations and updates in the tech industry.