Videos can help you document your projects and generate leads. Consider these tips for your business.
For 10 years, Greg Hardwick, owner of Hardwick General Contracting in Winter Park, Fla., created slideshows of his company’s projects using still images of the building sites. When Hardwick was commissioned to build a two-story, Southern plantation-style home in 2010, he wanted to capture its construction in an exciting and engaging way.
So, he decided to create a video portfolio documenting the entire homebuilding process from start to finish. Hardwick contracted a professional videographer through his local homebuilders’ association to create five videos documenting his 20-month construction project.
First, Hardwick had the videographer capture the demolition of the existing home, the pouring of foundation and the installation of a concrete slab. Next, the videographer filmed the energy-efficient features in the home, including the doors, windows and insulated concrete forms behind the drywall. Hardwick then had a post-drywall video made, along with a video to present the completion of the home.
Hardwick says the videos has given prospective customers greater insight into his company. “We use the videos to project our brand and image,” Hardwick says. “To have them accessible [online] puts us ahead of the game.”
Plus, Hardwick says the videos help improve his company’s professional image, while demonstrating the skills and specialties — like green building and building science — that differentiate him from his competitors.
Making a video can be as simple as asking your site supervisor to film daily operations or as complex as contracting out a professional to film your projects. Both options can showcase your work in a creative way and educate clients on complicated projects.
Here are five tips to help use videos to showcase your company.
1. Create an Outstanding Online Portfolio
“All of the construction companies in the world have a portfolio, but if a potential client comes to my website, they can find every job I’ve done with a video associated with it and see jobs that are in progress,” says Mike Russell, owner of Dreambuilders Home Remodeling, a kitchen and bathroom remodeling company in El Dorado Hills, Calif.
2. Be Personable in Videos
“People get bored fast,” Russell says. To keep viewers engaged, Russell introduces himself in each video as “Contractor Mike” and describes specific details of the project, from wiring and plumbing to drywall installation and painting. “Try adding some humor in there, too, and keep it light,” Russell says. “Be upbeat, happy and excited about what you’re talking about to get the viewers on board.”
3. Use Videos to Show Your Expertise
Use videos to show your expertise. When you film complicated projects, you gain credibility in the industry and prove to clients that you can tackle the difficult projects, Hardwick says. “We did a video of a complicated footing project, showing the process of pouring the foundation and putting in the slab,” Hardwick says. “To have credibility, you have to get into the details and show why some building practices are better than others.”
4. Create Videos for Clients and Industry Professionals
Try creating videos for both clients and industry experts. A client video should show the beauty of a project, Hardwick says. But if you plan to show videos at trade shows or post them to association websites as resources for other contractors, demonstrate your technical skills — for instance, try filming a tutorial that shows viewers how to construct drainage flashing detail on a roof.
5. Film a Project from Start to Finish
The most popular video projects are those that show a project from the ground up, Russell says. Plus, these resources help educate potential customers about what remodeling a home entails, and the potential time frame. “People have varying ideas of how a remodel will turn out,” Russell says, “but it helps if they can see one firsthand on a video.”
Tips for Creating A Good Video
When filming your own videos, consider these tips from Hardwick, Russell, and Brian Niles, the director of video production for The Outlaw Partners, a marketing and branding company in Big Sky, Mont.:
1. Ideally, videos shouldn’t be any longer than three minutes.
2. Make sure your subject is well lit from the front, not back. Natural light is best, but you don’t want your subject in front of the sun or have the camera lens pointed directly into the sun.
3. Avoid making your viewers “motion sick.” Keep the camera stable with a tri-pod.
4. You don’t necessarily need to buy a new camera. Instead, use what you have. Smartphones, digital cameras or handheld video cameras will do the job, and most models can film in HD.
5. Be efficient when you shoot — try shooting the video in one take — but don’t be afraid to do another take if it’s needed.
6. Watch the video beforehand to check for obvious mistakes. Sneezing, yawning and other safety hazards could turn into potential liabilities if caught on camera.
7. Create a YouTube channel and upload all of your videos for free. That way, your clients can find your work all in one place.
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