Video marketing can, literally,

make or break a company.

Video is a fantastic medium for promoting new products and developing stories around businesses and brands. Unfortunately, it’s also prone to error when rushed or undertaken without the aid of a steady, experienced hand.

Sometimes, the results of errors within video marketing aren’t always immediately apparent. What you consider to be a fantastic, engaging piece of work may in fact be more harmful than good thanks to ten seconds of ill-conceived footage or a throwaway line that offends.

video ideas coming out megaphone

Video should be a part of your marketing strategy, there’s no doubt. And, whether the production is big or small, you’re still at risk of slipping on the same banana skins that have tripped up video experts and novices alike.

We don’t want you to fall into that trap; we want the marketing videos you create to be nothing less than successful.

That’s why we’ve picked out 15 terrible video marketing mistakes everyone should avoid:

1. Way too promotional

Video marketing isn’t about you, and your customers don’t care about you – sorry. They care only about themselves.

This is a tough business lesson, but an absolutely vital one. If you create a video for your business, it’ll of course be designed to promote something – be it your brand or a specific product – but the content needs to speak directly to the audience by answering a question or providing a solution to a problem.

2. Bad placement on your website

Videos need to be seen if the return on investment is to have any hope of being worthwhile. So, where do you put them? It depends. The video placement will be different depending on your goals, if you are going after a viral video then a platform like YouTube will be a much better spot than your website. When you are explaining your service or product then placing it on your website makes much more sense.

3. Treating it like product brochure rather than a story

Let’s be honest – even the most glossy of product brochures can be rather boring. They’re flicked through, scoured for the important information and then, eventually, tossed in the bin.

Marketing videos should tell stories. If you simply transpose your latest brochure into video form, no one will watch it. Why should they?

4. Youre fixated with going viral

Newsflash: your video probably won’t go viral. Sorry. Very few do.

Concentrate on producing an awesome, engaging video and don’t think about how ‘big’ it could go. If you’re lucky, it will, but it isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t.

5. Trying to be funny (when you’re not)

Comedy is hard. Unless you’re genuinely skilled in the art of making people laugh, steer clear of comic content. If you want your video to be funny, invest in the services of someone who knows how to make humour work.

a man with glasses laughing

6. Rambling on

There are many schools of thought when it comes to the ideal length for videos designed to sell products, but the general rule of thumb is: keep it short.

You may have an awful lot to say, but a long, rambling video simply will not get watched. People will look at the duration of a video before deciding whether or not to view it, and if yours extends beyond two minutes and doesn’t hit them instantly with something captivating, they’ll move on – quickly.

7. Competitor Bashing

It may be tempting to have a pop at a competitor in your video, but such a tactic really can backfire.

A classic example: Apple and Microsoft used to go hammer and tong at each other in their commercials. And, while it started off as mildly amusing, it quickly turned into nothing more than a very public spat where any sense of product promotion was all but lost and both brands began to look rather pathetic.

You’re producing a video to strengthen your brand and get more sales – don’t resort to cheap tactics that will end up in a tit-for-tat battle everyone can see.

8. Assuming B2B videos should be boring

Just because you sell ink to printer companies doesn’t mean you need to invest your time in dull, industry-related videos that contain nothing more than statistics, acronyms and tours of your processing plant.

Think about car insurance; with the best will in the world, it isn’t particularly exciting, but the ingenious inclusion of two Russian meerkats in one particular company’s marketing strategy proved that even the most mundane of industries can be entertaining with the right content approach.

9. Forgetting to give it a (good) title

You’d be surprised by how common this mistake is. Marketing videos should be given a name, much like a blockbuster movie or TV series.

Naming your masterpiece adds to the sense of a story and gives people something to refer to when they share it on social media (which you absolutely want them to do).

man with headache and confusion

10. Too much information

Don’t overload people with video content. Keep it as simple as possible and deliver the pertinent points in bite-sized chunks.

People need to be stimulated with video, not lectured. If yours involves a script, keep it tight, as you would do a blog post. Avoid throwing too many stats and imagery at the screen; the days of MTV video assault are long gone.

11. Forgetting the CTA

What do you want people to do at the end of your video? You could create the best production ever to hit the internet, but if it doesn’t ask the audience to do something at the end, it simply won’t offer any kind of return on investment. Always include a call-to-action (CTA) in your marketing videos.

12. Assuming your smartphone is all you need

We now live in a world where our mobile phones are capable of shooting 1080P HD video and – in some cases – beautiful 4K. You can even edit video on your iPhone with software such as iMovie.

However – nothing beats a professionally-produced video when it comes to business. Unless you’re going for a Blair Witch-style, handheld home movie affair, it pays to invest in the production if you’re to create a splash.

13. Not defining your audience

Who do you want to watch your video? If you can’t answer that question before planning the content, you need to define your audience.

Getting this part wrong or ignoring it entirely could result in a video that will either go completely unnoticed, attract entirely the wrong type of customer or – at worst – offend.

14. Forgetting to show the product

There have been plenty of episodes of The Apprentice where Lord Sugar has lamented the contestants for failing to show the product in a video dedicated to selling it.

It’s a surprisingly easy mistake to make. You can get far too involved in character development, plot lines and trying to make people laugh and completely forget to show the audience the very thing you want them to buy.

Make sure you give the product its own starring role in your video, otherwise it really has been a wasted endeavour.

15. Ignoring analytics

How did your last video perform? Did you simply put it on your website and wait for the number of sales to increase?

Even if you have seen a marked increase in website performance following the introduction of a video, you need to make sure it really has had an impact. Video analytics are a goldmine of information. Ignore them and you’ll never learn what mistakes you made with the production and placement of the video.

data analytics for business video

That’s it – 15 video marketing mistakes you’ll never have to worry about making. Nothing is infallible and there are, of course, more than those above, but this is the simple, basic stuff of video production. You’re allowed to make different mistakes (that’s how we all learn), but please keep the ones above away from your business!