Lights, Camera, Traction! How to Create an Effective Promo Video for Your Tech Startup

Excited by the explosive demand for the Next Big Thing, new tech startups sprout up almost every year, but unfortunately, over 90% of startups fail. One of the leading causes? Insufficient marketing.

According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, there are more than 557,000 software and IT services companies in the United States. That’s 555,700 screaming voices in the marketplace, and to think of competing without a solid marketing strategy is setting yourself up for failure.

But we understand that tight budgets often stifle the most promising of bootstrapped startups. If you have to spend on one thing at the beginning, we recommend starting a website, and a well-crafted promo video to go with it.

Promo videos are a quick and effective way to get information about your product out into the world, and their short format makes them perfect for sharing across various platforms. In this article, we’ll:

1. Explain what a promo video is
2. Describe what makes a good promo video.
3. 4 steps to making a promo video

What is a Promo Video?

A promo (or promotional) video is a short, shareable, and engaging marketing tool used to inspire attention and excitement for a new product, service, event, or business launch. Promo videos can build brand awareness, highlight key features of your product or service, drive engagement and attract customers and investors.

Promo videos come in various formats, including:

What Makes a Good Promotional Video?

A good promotional video:

  • Instantly captures the viewer’s interest and emotional investment with an evocative narrative and intriguing hook.
  • Succinctly delivers its message, packing every second with value in a fluff-free manner.
  • Powerfully and persuasively showcases the product or service, its features, benefits, and advantages.
  • Uses sophisticated video storytelling techniques, including visuals, editing, and sound design.
  • Leaves viewers with a clear understanding of the next step, whether it’s visiting a website, downloading an app, or signing up for a demo.
  • Tailors itself to the specific requirements and audience of the platform it is published on.

How to Make a Promo Video: 4 Steps

Step 1: Make a detailed creative brief

Your promotional video can only be as good as your brief. The more specific and thought-through, the better. Your brief, whether it is provided to a video production company, like Rock Creek Productions (or to your internal team), must balance your video marketing strategy and creativity equally. Include the following information:

1. A detailed analysis of your ideal customers, including demographics, psychographics, fears, frustrations, and where your product or service fits into their lives.

2. A list of quantifiable target outcomes and metrics like website visits, leads, social engagement, or sign ups. It could read something like “Increasing pre-orders for the product by 50%.”

3. The emotion you intend to evoke with your video. Is it a sense of urgency? Is it to agitate a problem that your viewer is facing? Or is it a feeling of hopefulness, that there is finally a solution that perfectly fits your viewers’ needs?

4. The right format(s). Will your promo be a brand storyteller, explainer, demo, testimonial, or behind-the-scenes?

Step 2: Create your concept

Evolved from the brief you created in step 1, create a script and storyboard that clearly lays down everything your production team will need to to take your video from concept to creation. 

1. Craft a narrative: What problem does your product solve? How does it transform lives? Don’t just list features; tell a story.

2. Write a script: Make it concise, engaging, and focused on your core message. It can often be hard for first-time script writers to be able to imagine how the dialogues, music, and imagery would play out on screen, so make sure to run it past Rock Creek Productions (or even better, get us to write it!).

3. Storyboard every shot: Visualize your video frame by frame and translate your vision into quick and dirty drawings on paper. This looks a lot like a sequence of images in a comic book. This will help you nail down camera angles, movements and transitions, and think through possible problems and resolve them without having to reckon with them on shoot day.

Step 3: Execute your idea

This stage includes pre-production services, filming, and post-production services. Each of these phases of the video making process is highly specialized, so it is advisable to enlist professional video production services at this point. Also note that while there are many parts of this process that you can bootstrap, production quality is what makes the difference between a high-performing, credible and trustworthy brand and a low-performing one.

Do not take the decision of hiring a video production company lightly. Find a company that has done the type of work you’re looking to hire them for, and feel free to grill them with pointed questions. The right filmmakers will be happy to answer them. 

Step 4: Amplify your reach

Remember that the storytelling, the fun, creative part of filming, is only part of the bigger picture. Once the director yells “It’s a wrap!” and the editor emerges red-eyed and eyebaggy after their long hours in the dark editing room, it all comes down to the distribution. This is the part that brings all the hard work you’ve put in into fruition – getting eyes on your video.

Some of the many, many items to put on your to-do list here are:

1. Develop a distribution strategy. Website, social media, email, broadcast ads—each channel has its strengths. Create multiple versions of the video to suit the platform. For instance, TikTok wants short, snappy videos; while YouTube videos can be longer. B-roll and other types of extra footage come in handy here.

2. Include a strong CTA. CTAs go a long way in improving conversions and engaging your viewers. Tell them what to do next. For example, you can direct them to visit your website, pre-order your product, or share your video.

3. Track performance. Most platforms come with free analytics tools. Keep a close watch on metrics like views, engagement, click-through rates, and conversions. This data will help you understand what’s working and what’s not, so you can refine your strategy and create even more effective videos in the future.

Learn About Our Video Production Services in Washington DC

For over two decades, Rock Creek Productions has worked with major brands like Xerox, Verizon, and Caterpillar to make brand and promotional videos. 

For all the work you’ve put in, your tech startup deserves the spotlight. Let’s give it the best chance at succeeding with a promotional video that will make your brand sparkle and catapult it to the top of your target market’s mind. 

Partner with us to tell your story, your way. Give us a call at 703.481.6590.

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