Yes, your business needs video marketing. Here’s how to do it well
It may be prime suspect in the gruesome murder of the radio star (according to The Buggles at least), but for medium-sized businesses, video is nothing but good news.
According to original research by Southport-based video marketers Wyzowl, 96% of people say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service, 79% of people say a brand’s video has convinced them to buy a piece of software or app, and 68% of people say they’d most prefer to learn about a new product or service by watching a short video.
‘A video company claiming video is effective, what a surprise’ you might think. And we agree, a lot of these stats seem self-serving. However, in our direct experience, video marketing has a massive impact on the businesses we work for - from generating awareness, converting customers and returning on investment. In fact, we’d say that every business should consider video as part of their marketing mix. And they can, because getting started has never been easier or cheaper.
There is a but, however. Strategic planning and quality are key. Video for video’s sake is a waste of money, and a bad video can do more damage to a business’ brand than no video at all – particularly in the B2B space.
So before you jump in front of an iPhone and hit record, think twice and think smart. Here’s how to do video marketing the right way for your business.
A note on terms
Before we get started, it’s important to differentiate between videos and video marketing. Anyone can create a video with a smartphone and a tripod. Video ‘marketing’ uses film to achieve strategic marketing objectives, and is the focus of this article.
Put your audience first
Getting your face on camera and proclaiming your views might be tempting, but that doesn’t mean anyone will want to watch it. As with all effective marketing, you must understand the people you’re trying to reach before you start; for two reasons.
First, you need to know what to cover. What are your viewers’ pain points? How do they make decisions in their business? What relationship do you have with them? This will determine the content of your videos.
Next, you need to know where and how they consume video content. This will define the subject, length and style of your videos, and the channels you present them on - YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, directly embedded on your own website, or all of the above.
To hold your audience’s attention, your video must talk to them – which means understanding their needs and context in detail. Customer research is a topic all of its own, so find out how to do it effectively here.
Define your strategy
Strategy is vital to effective video marketing. Your video activity should plug into your wider marketing plan, but also have a rationale of its own. This means having a crystal-clear awareness of the following:
- Your objectives - What must your video help your business achieve? Should it encourage sales, introduce prospects to your brand, or build their trust in you?
- Your messaging - What do you want people to take away from your video, or do once they’ve watched it? Only 59% of viewers make it to the end of a 90-second video, which means your key messages must be clear, take centre-stage throughout your video and be targeted and compelling enough to convert your viewer (which means knowing your audience inside-out.)
- Your brand - How will the video express what your business stands for, and the value you offer to your target audience? How will you ensure your video is consistent with the rest of your marketing output?
- Your metrics for success - Judge your video by the same standards as the rest of your marketing tactics, using metrics that track effectiveness in terms of your business goals. Monitoring the ‘drop-off’ rate for viewers and the actions they take after watching are key.
- Your promotional strategy - What is the team doing around the video to make it succeed? YouTube is littered with brands that have failed with their video marketing efforts with one or two videos and nothing more. The team needs a clear distribution strategy aligned with the overall goals and metrics of success.
Once you’ve defined your audience and have a clear sense of what your company is trying to achieve with video marketing, it comes down to the fun bit - the creative.
Let’s face it, you’re not Steven Spielberg, so it’s unlikely you’ll be stepping behind the camera yourself. But, as the head of the business, there’s a chance you might end up in front of it. So it’s worth knowing what types of video work well for businesses
What works on video?
Businesses use video marketing for all manner of purposes - from attention-grabbing social media adverts to product-focused animations to help convert a warm lead to a sale. In fact, the only thing you’re limited by with video is your imagination and budgets.
Having said that, there are some mainstays of video marketing that work particularly well.
- Brand pieces: The ultimate indulgence: an awareness-builder you’re hoping will go viral. Volvo don’t always reach for Jean-Claude Van Damme for their videos, but they always deliver something spectacular that showcases their reputation for safety.
- Lessons: Videos that position your brand as an industry authority, by sharing valuable advice in an easy-to-follow format. SEO agency Moz’s ‘Whiteboard Friday’ has become an industry go-to for marketers interested in search engine optimisation.
- On-location insight: On-location videos offer a window into the day-to-day life of your business, adding personality to your brand. They’re highly shareable, too, especially if your business is engaged in an interesting or exotic sector, like coffee traders DR Wakefield:
- Talks & speeches: If you’ve hosted an event or conference, maximise the value of your investment by broadcasting your speakers’ expert insight in a recap video. Don’t bore your viewers by showing the whole of a talk or debate; cut to the key insights, as Vistage do:
- The company overview: These showcase your products, services and approach – helping viewers get a ‘feel’ for your business, and helping them qualify you in or out of their search. Architects Holland Green make great use of film across their site:
- Portfolios and case studies: Show, don’t tell. Video portfolios and case studies demonstrate your credibility, courtesy of your clients’ brands, and they make your offering ‘real’ for viewers. This is especially useful if your product or service offering is complex to understand. Grammarly’s range of case studies showcases the value of their product, while allowing their brand personality to shine through:
- Product explainers:
From the top of the funnel to the bottom, video can be an effective marketing medium, and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to do. Nevertheless, if you want to use it to build your brand, you do need to think about the presentation.
How do you start video marketing?
Now we’ve covered the why and the what, the next part is the how. How do you actually get a video made and your video marketing efforts underway? There are three main options here - find a freelancer or a small agency, do it in-house, or reach out to a large video marketing agency. There is no right or wrong here - each has its own pros and cons - but there are a few things to consider
This is the cheapest option in terms of cost, the trade-offs, however, are quality (unless you have talented people in-house) and time (editing, setting up equipment, writing scripts). The DIY option really depends on what type of video you want. If it’s a slick brand video, no way, if it’s on-the-fly, guerilla-style videos or explainer videos (like Moz’s ‘Whiteboard Friday’ mentioned above), they can work. If your company is thinking about dipping its toe into video marketing, the process of setting up, filming, editing and publishing can be a fun project. But without expert guidance from professionals, you can easily end up with something too rough and ready that doesn’t have the requisite impact.
- Freelancers/small agency
For most SMEs, this option will be the first port of call. You will get some strategic insight, but predominantly these one- or two-man bands will be creatives for hire. You need to come to the table with a brief - including your goals as set out above, the target audience, the type of video you want to make etc. - they will bring the creative spark, the equipment, the editing and the rest. Quick, painless and good value - expect prices between £500 to £3000 for one-off videos.
- A larger agency
If money was no object, a large video agency producing regular, slick corporate videos would be everyone’s choice. They will look at your video marketing efforts with a strategic hat on, aligning your brand identity and values with the final product. They’ll pitch scripts, ideas and concepts, they’ll likely try and get involved in distribution across social media channels - acting as both a video marketing consultancy and the creative team. The upside will be an incredibly high-quality final product with not too much input from your side. The downside? Cost.
Video marketing can be daunting and seem challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. Once you’ve done the first one, it’s far easier to produce the next, and the next, and the next. The strategic questions should be the same - why are you video marketing, what are the goals and who are you creating videos for? The content, however, is down to you.
Video marketing isn’t out of reach for your business, and it doesn’t require anything new in terms of strategy. Learn about the fundamentals of marketing with our downloadable eBook guide.