Animoto: Easy, Cost-Effective Video Content to Go

Good video content engages customers and prospects like no white paper or webinar can. Videos are easily accessible at any time, from any place, and adapt readily to mobile devices. And integrating video content into a campaign microsite or lead nurturing program is an effective way to add spark and visual interest and drive response.

So why don’t more B2B companies use video? Well, one reason is cost. At a recent marketing conference I attended, an exec from CRM giant Salesforce.com tagged video as far and away their heaviest focus for new marketing investment, but not all of us have the same kind of marketing spend at our disposal. Sure, in theory, anyone with a Webcam and a YouTube account can create and share video content, but is the lack of production quality worth the risk to your brand? Most savvy marketers would say no.

Enter Animoto. Animoto is a Web-based service that empowers any company to create video quickly and inexpensively, and with (surprisingly, I have to confess) professional-looking results. All you provide are the images (photos, screen shots, logos); Animoto supplies the animation, transitions, music, and other post-production wizardry to create the finished product.

“Wait,” you say (suspiciously.) “Sounds like a slide show with music. That might be fine for my friend’s rehearsal dinner, but not for my high-tech Website.” I thought the same at first, especially when you note the fact that Animoto offers a free consumer version (Animoto Lite) that’s ideal, it’s true, for sharing images from your college reunion last summer.

However, take a quick glance at the sample business videos on the Animoto Website and you very quickly come to appreciate the potential for the kind of content that Animoto enables. Businesses that rely heavily on imagery – real estate is a prime example, travel and hospitality would be another – are ideal candidates, but with a little imagination, potential B2B applications abound:

• customer welcome video
• highlights of last year’s user conference
• customer or industry spotlight
• key features in the new product release
• employee or partner recruitment

The free version of Animoto isn’t licensed for commercial use, but pony up a mere $39 per month ($249 per year) for Animoto Pro and you get to choose from more than 1,000 commercially licensed music tracks, and the ability to code a unique URL or other Call to Action at the end of your video, creating a vehicle for measurable, trackable lead generation and direct response. You can also easily embed Animoto into a Website or blog, or add the video to your company’s YouTube channel.

To the right is a short video our team created using Animoto to showcase our agency’s recent client work. The process was remarkably simple and hassle-free. In fact, the creative process is so easy and flexible that by far the most time-intensive task was fiddling with the sequencing of the slides and transition copy. (Yes, we are our own worst client.) The results: well, judge for yourself.

How could you see using this kind of content for your company? Comments and suggestions welcome.

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