Ready A.I.M.Now that online video has proven to be such a powerful marketing tool, entrepreneurs and small business owners seem to be falling all over themselves in a race to get their marketing videos online.

Creating marketing videos is the smart thing to do, since we’re now in the “lead, follow or get out of the way” stage of video.  However, in our haste to establish a presence on YouTube, Vine, Instagram or the latest video site du jour, we’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

Unfortunately, many business owners are taking a “ready, fire, aim” approach to video marketing.  And you can imagine how badly that ends up.  Taking aim is the missing element in most video efforts, and if you skip the “aim” piece, you’re toast.

I see this time and time again in my work as a video marketing consultant.  “Why do you want to do video?” I ask.  The initial responses are often the same: “Everyone else is doing video, and we don’t want to be left behind,” or “We want our message to go viral.”

Let’s get real.  If you want your video marketing to produce a return on investment, then you’ve first got to decide exactly what you want that video to accomplish for you.  You need to know what your specific goals are before you write the first word of your script or fire up the webcam.

You would think that this “taking aim” method is painfully obvious, but there are thousands of videos in the YouTube graveyard that prove otherwise.  In fact, the vast majority of YouTube videos never get more than 1,000 views.  Think your video can top one million views on YouTube?  Good luck, since TubeMogul reports that an infinitesimal 0.33% of videos ever get more than a million views.

If you’re only goal is to upload a nice Valentine’s Day video for your mom and you’re happy with 6 views, then don’t worry about your video goals and objectives.  But if you want to produce a video that moves the dial for your business, then you’ve got to plan accordingly.

I’ve created the A.I.M. Method for creating videos to accomplish your business objectives.  AIM stands for Audience, Intent, and Motivation:

A – Audience: Who is your target market for this video?  Who are you trying to reach?  Do you know the specific audience for your video? Where is the best place to reach that audience?

I – Intent: What’s the Intent of your video? What do you want the viewer to do after they watch the video?  Click the buy button?  Opt-in to your mailing list?  Share the video with others? What is your call to action (CTA)?  Is your CTA clear and compelling?

M – Motivation: How are you going to move the viewer to action?  What’s their motivation?  How will you compel them to act?  Is the incentive strong enough to justify the action?  Are the benefits powerful and appealing enough?

When you follow the A.I.M. Method, your other considerations for video will become much clearer:  You’ll be able to determine what type of video will serve you best (on-camera vs. off-camera); you’ll know exactly what your message has to say; and you’ll have a much better sense of the best delivery platforms for your video (i.e., YouTube, Facebook, Google Hangout, etc.)

Use the AIM sequence for success and your videos will be focused, engaging and on target.  Simply remember: “Ready. AIM. Shoot!”