Blog Viewers to Consumers: 5 audio tips for video marketing that converts

Posted by Kerry Vallins on August 3, 2017

Did you know, audio quality matters as much – if not more – than visual quality when it comes to video marketing. Sceptical? Hear me out.

Want to learn more about how professional voice over talent can help you communicate effectively with your audience? Read our blog, 4 good reasons to source from a professional voice over agency.

While we all want to make great video marketing with stunning visuals, it’s important to understand that the audio plays a monumental role. It turns out most audiences are less forgiving of poor audio quality than they are of poor video quality. So even accompanied by the most basic of visuals, a top-notch soundtrack will take the watchability of your video to the next level. If you’re a marketer, this is wonderful news!

The purpose of this post is to share some tips that will make your next marketing video sound spectacular and keep your audience from closing their browser or turning the channel. I’ll be covering 5 key factors to ensure your video soundtrack hits hard and most importantly, converts leads to engaged customers. 

  1. Use Relevant High-Quality Music

Music prompts several parts of the brain simultaneously, making it a useful shortcut to your viewer’s mind. When we listen to music, the pleasure chemical dopamine is released whilst neurons fire in the amygdala (responsible for how we process emotions) and hippocampus (in charge of our memory). Using the right music can therefore result in a positive impression of your video!

Let’s look at the simplest way to begin deciding what music will be the most relevant and effective for your brand. You’ve probably given lots of thought to demographics already, but it’s useful to have answers to the following questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your product or service?
  • How do you want to present your brand?
  • Will there be a voice over?

Things can get tricky when it comes to choosing the right music, so let’s have a case study! Check out this marketing video. Pretty cool music choices, right? Let’s follow the list above and break it down. 

  • Who is your target audience? Faraday Electric Bicycles seem to be targeting young working professionals.
  • What is your product or service? Futuristic electric bicycles with new technologies.
  • How do you want to present your brand? Creative, innovative, environmentally conscious
  • Will there be a voice over? This video uses a lot of voice over, so music needs to take on a supportive background role.

So what’s relevant about the music?

  • Ambient, washy guitar and vocal sounds are abstract and moody. It’s not a clearly definable genre which sounds creative. (0:00 – 2:17)
  • Genre bending music blends organic and electronic textures. To me, this music communicates the innovative character of the company. (2:21 – 3:20)
  • Soundscape with drums underneath adds forward momentum and pacing. The music swells in energy at 4:32, emphasizing inspiration in the voice over. (3:20 – 5:00)

Last but certainly not least is music quality. Think of mainstream music that you hear on the radio, made in professional studios with experienced producers behind the mixing board. Sometimes raw and gritty tracks are perfect, but as a general rule of thumb, listen with an ear open for radio-quality standard mixes.

The fidelity of your music track should be of a high sonic resolution. Avoid MP3s at all costs. It will minimize the effect and clarity of your music. Always use .wav or .aiff to ensure the best sound quality possible. In simple terms, the larger the file, the better the audio quality. Production music libraries like Bedtracks.com have thousands of high-quality tracks to choose from.

  1. Say it With Voice Over

Voice over is one of the most popular audio additions for any video marketing, and for good reason! A good voice over and script can help to explain a plot, instruct your viewer, emphasize action on screen and even provide some comic relief.

Using the right voice will add authority to your brand, its products and services, and can be a key in nurturing leads and converting sales. By choosing a voice that the customer can relate to, you can capture their attention, increase engagement and boost brand perception.

Better yet, quality voice over doesn’t require expensive recording equipment. Voice Talent Online provides professional voice over talent in over 75 languages, and can work to your budget with a quick turnaround and great sound quality.

  1. Don’t Forget Sound Design & SFX

It’s all in the details. Adding sound effects to your video can really make the pixels pop and increase the watchability of your marketing video. However, the sound of some objects are often difficult to capture in real scenarios, so we may add SFX to our video instead.

Sound design involves the creation of sounds that may be hard to capture in their natural environment. For instance, in the Faraday Bikes video, bicycle pedaling sound effects were used, as the location recording would have included other noises such as car engines, honking, birds chirping and even the wind.

The creative use of sound design can make for unique transitions between sequences in your marketing video, or even a cool video animatic.

  1. Control Dynamics and Match Levels

So far, we’ve covered the creative aspects of audio post-production. Now it’s time we look at how to make your video sound good technically. One rookie mistake is to have spikes and dips in the volume of your audio. To start off, use volume faders to manually move the volume of your dialogue up so it sits at a clear and audible level. If you have multiple dialogue tracks, listen for differences in volume and adjust so that all the dialogue is in the same volume ballpark.

You may occasionally hear sudden spikes in volume even after matching levels; this is when our compressor friend comes in. A compressor will reduce the level of loud sounds and lift the level of quiet ones, which results in a consistent volume. Think of it like an automatic volume knob – if a sound reaches a specific volume, the compressor will pull that sound down by a specified volume.

  1. Utilize Equalization

Equalization (EQ) is the audio technique of boosting and cutting frequencies, so that audio tracks like dialogue and music are audible. When frequencies are shared between more than one sound source, they tend to compete for the listener’s ear, resulting in a “muddy” audio quality.

It doesn’t take a trained audio engineer to wield the EQ plug-in. Basic concepts will go a long way in getting great usable mixes. However, I should give a disclaimer that EQ isn’t a magic wand. A great recording is paramount. EQ can only work with what you give it.

The following tips are pertaining to dialogue editing and mixing:

  • Subtractive EQ focuses on removing unwanted frequencies more than boosting “good” frequencies. A simple way to make subtractive cuts is to scrub through your EQ with a very narrow and boosted bandwidth. You can then zero in on the ugly frequencies and cut them.
  • Use a high pass filter to cut the frequencies below 80 Hz and let high frequencies through.
  • Dipping frequencies with a broad bell curve between 100-300 Hz will add clarity.
  • Cut between 3kHz and 5kHz if there is too much sibilance (“sssss” sounds) in the voice.
  • Cutting between 300-400 Hz will remove “muddiness.”
  • Make subtle boosts and cuts of no more than 3-5 dB. Any more than this, you start to change the tone of the voice. We want to avoid making the speaker sound unnatural.

I begin here when applying EQ to dialogue, but these are merely starting points and not rules. Please, trust your ears. If it sounds good, it probably is good!

I hope this guide has helped you to realize the importance of an effective audio campaign for video marketing. The music, voice over artist, sound effects and post-production are all essential in combining to create great audio that will really grab your viewer. Nail the visual and audio aspects of your marketing video, and watch your conversions grow to the next level.

Do you have any sound tips that you like to use for your video marketing? We‘d love to hear about them!

Written by Jason Cliffen

A little backstory. Jason is a unique combination of marketer and audio professional. Working at the full-service audio company, Bedtracks.com has given him profound insights as to what makes for a great video marketing campaign, not just for clients, but for Bedtracks too. 

Want to learn more about how professional voice over talent can help you communicate effectively with your audience? Read our blog, 4 good reasons to source from a professional voice over agency.

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