Video marketing strategy essentials: Tune into a different channel
Video is the current darling of online marketing and branding. Brands are following in the wake of the likes of UNILAD and Buzzfeed to produce exciting videos. It make sense, as video is 70% more likely to convert than other types of content.
Using video is not a new concept, as marketers are already familiar with TV adverts. However, the growth in online video presents more possibilities and different challenges for marketers. For example, by February this year, BuzzFeed Video’s YouTube channel has racked up more than 9.1 billion views and 11.8 million subscribers.
Success like this can be incredibly intimidating to newcomers. If you’re planning to integrate video into your marketing arsenal, it’s important to have a strategy in place or it could all end up a costly waste of time.
We’ll go through the major areas you need to cover in your video marketing strategy to ensure that your content is a hit with your audiences.
Why you need a video marketing strategy
A picture is worth a thousand words, but how much is video worth? Video arouses much more powerful emotions than words or static imagery, shown by the popularity and profitability of the film industry. Video brings your customers closer to your business by telling them a story that they will remember.
Email campaigns that include video improve click-through rates by 96% [GetResponse]
Videos also increase the time spent on your website and will improve your ranking in the Google search results page (SERPs).
Any company can benefit from a good video marketing strategy, but whether you should allocate some of your limited budget to video is up to the individual company.
First, determine what you’re trying to accomplish. Always have a goal in mind when undertaking any new enterprise for your business. Don’t jump on the bandwagon just because everyone else is doing it.
Ask yourself if your business will actually benefit from using video marketing. Do you have the type of business with complex products that can be much more easily explained in video? Is your CEO or founder particularly charismatic and suited for video? Will your team be motivated to produce video?
If your marketing strategy has plateaued and you want to boost results, or you simply want to go digital, then video marketing is for you.
How to get started with your video marketing strategy
Come up with a one-line video marketing manifesto to guide your efforts. With any content strategy, you need to know why you’re creating your content in order to maximise your chances of success.
This manifesto could be along the lines of:
Our videos will engage, inform and inspire our audiences about the charity work of our organisation.
Our videos will make it easier for our customers to clean their homes and they will promote our company brand.
Our company’s videos are aimed at teaching our audiences the ethos of our company and how to use our products.
Identify your target audience in order to focus your video marketing efforts. This will be related to your audience or customer personas, although the audience for your videos might be slightly different. Knowing your target audience will help to guide the type of topics you will include in your strategy and make them more effective.
Following on from defining your target audience, make an outline plan of the types of topics you’re likely to cover, which you can refer back to at a later date. This gives your video content ideas some potential shape and informs the resources you will be likely to need.
For example, if you plan to make thought leadership videos featuring members of your staff, you’ll need their buy-in.
Decide how your video content fits in with your overall company branding. You should ideally have company brand guidelines or another resource that explicitly explains the key elements to be used in your marketing. This can include design elements like colours and fonts, but also the values and propositions that lie behind your company’s brand.
It’s always good practice to benchmark your efforts against other companies you admire. This can give you inspiration, show you what’s out there, and help you decide how you’re going to be different.
Establish who’s responsible for producing your video content. If you don’t have internal expertise, or you’re feeling nervous about undertaking the work in-house, you’ll probably want to opt for an external video marketing company.
But, if you’re feeling particularly brave, you could go it alone and produce the videos yourself. Depending on the resources at your disposal.
Is it better to outsource to a specialist company?
Empowering your staff to create their own videos is a great way to produce regular content for your video marketing strategy. But there are some videos that must always be shot by a professional.
Before you take the plunge and invest in hiring an independent videographer to work on a part-time basis, you could consider outsourcing your video production to an agency. In the long-term, if your videos prove a hit and you think you’d benefit from in-house resources, you can start recruiting for a full-time videographer.
A video marketing agency will be able to lend their expertise and guide you through this new marketing process so you feel confident going it alone. Get your team used to the process of creating videos before you bring in a new hire.
Determine if you have the time, resources and space to produce videos in-house, or whether you need to outsource. Hiring a new staff member is more of an investment than outsourcing to an agency, so there should be a more compelling business case.
Defining an editorial process for your video content
There needs to be a clear editing process for all your video content. Without it, your content will not be as effective and mistakes will slip through the cracks.
On the other hand, death by committee is one of the most common causes of failure in a project. While more stakeholders can be involved in the creation of the video at an earlier stage, your nominated staff member for video should be able to make the final call.
The video editor or project manager can come up with a constructive format for feedback. This person should be the funnel through which all feedback can be collated, so your sensitive, creative videographer is not overwhelmed with well-meaning comments.
If you’re producing a lot of video, you can set up a monthly feedback session where selected team members can gather to give ideas and approve your videos.
What internal resources are required?
You’ll need your brand guidelines and any supporting marketing materials such as your company logo or an animated logo.
Think about the people who you will need to star in your videos, such as happy customers or staff members. Note down who you will need to contact and how. We’ll delve more into this later.
When it comes to actually producing your videos, you’ll need the right editing software. You can use Apple iMovie, Adobe Premiere Pro or other software of your choice. You may also require animation software if some of your videos will be animated.
Don’t forget to think about the soundtrack for your videos. Most songs are copyrighted but you can find some sites with royalty-free music, or consider purchasing a soundtrack.
What equipment’s needed and how much experience will I need?
Anyone can get involved with making a video and you should empower your staff to do so. But there will still be some videos that require the highest standards of professionalism, such as any corporate videos or product demos.
As we mentioned before, you may need to invest in a professional videographer (either freelancer or internal hire) or hire an external video marketing agency.
If you decide to produce your videos in-house, be sure to establish suitable areas for shooting, that will be quiet enough and also afford a plain background. This will ideally be a conference room that you can leave set up to shoot your videos when inspiration strikes.
If you’re shooting your videos yourself, you’ll also need to invest a few hundred pounds in the right equipment.
List of equipment:
When you’ve selected your room, use a roll of coloured paper to cover the background wall instead of just off-white.
You’ll need that all-important video camera, although some phone cameras are certainly good enough, such as the iPhone 7. You’ll definitely need a tripod to steady your shot, whether you use a camera or a phone.
Block out all natural light coming in from windows by drawing the blinds if you can, or using black paper. The light kit is for maintaining a consistent light for your subjects instead of relying on natural light, which changes, or the harsh overhead glare of the office lights. You just need three lights to achieve the optimum brightness and coverage.
There’s nothing worse when getting to your final video than finding out the sound isn’t quite good enough, because you can’t fix this up during the editing process. Buy a professional microphone to capture the voices of your subjects.
Sound dampeners will ensure that no background echo invades your video, but hanging up blankets to cover the walls will achieve the same effect. Remember to turn off the AC in the room when you shoot.
If you hire a videographer or agency, they will provide most of this equipment, taking the pressure off you.
Who’s going to present your videos?
Videos involving people get far more engagement than ones without. Your videos will be much more authentic if you use genuine people rather than actors, as modern consumers are wise to marketing ploys.
The best people to represent your company are your staff and your customers. You can reach out to your CEO, Head of Marketing, Customer Support agents, or anyone else involved in delivering your operations and services. Individual customers can be enlisted to tell the world how great your company is.
The different types of video
Video marketing is part of content marketing and should be interesting, engaging, useful or emotive for your audiences.
There are many different types of video you could produce, but they won’t all involve the same degree of storytelling. They require different resources, are shared on different platforms and at distinct points in the customer journey.
A list of the different types of video:
1. Marketing video
This is a promotional video that openly spreads the message about your company. These should be well-shot, professional and totally on brand.
They should evoke an emotion to create an impression of your brand that audiences will remember.
2. Thought leadership
Again, thought leadership videos are a subtle form of content marketing aimed at sharing valuable insights with your audience. Their purpose is not to sell, but gain the trust and loyalty of viewers, making them want more.
3. Case study/Customer testimonial
These types of videos will be further down the marketing funnel and be aimed at showcasing the value of your products or services. Your existing customers can be a powerfully persuasive tool to attract new buyers.
4. Product demos
These are a subset of marketing videos that teach your customers more about your product to persuade them to buy it. Videos can bring your products to life in a way that is not captured by words and images.
5. Webinar recording
Webinars are often hosted by companies to share their industry knowledge and are an integral part of the marketing funnel for B2B businesses. Extract more value from your webinars by hosting your recordings online afterwards and sharing them with new audiences.
6. Support documentation
Support documentation videos are an incredibly important part of your customer self-service strategy. If you sell the type of product that requires ongoing technical support, save your agents time and effort with pre-recorded tutorials for using various features of your product.
7. Help video
Help videos can showcase your industry knowledge. These can be at the top of your marketing funnel and will not be focused on the hard sell. These are simply to attract audiences and engage them.
If your business sells hardware products, you could make videos about how to perform various DIY tasks, such as putting up a shelf, sanding down a surface or installing a washing machine.
Or, if your business sells bicycles, you can make videos about cycling-related tasks such as pumping bicycle tyres, changing an inner tube, or repairing a flat while on the road.
Where will your content reside?
Do you have the capacity to store large video files on your servers? You’ll need to keep them organised and easy-to-use in the future, as well as back up your hard work on an external drive in case the worst should happen.
You need to keep your master files in their original format to avoid loss of data during compression.
Decide on a simple but consistent system to label and attribute your videos. This means your staff will always be able to identify your content without having to watch each video all the way through.
Also, think about how you’ll make your videos accessible to your audiences. Can you host them on your website? Where will they go? Work out a system so audiences can navigate your videos when you have lots of them. You could potentially make a ‘video’ category for your company blog.
Where will I promote my video?
You can incorporate which teams are using your video content in your strategy.
Your Sales Team could use video for engaging prospective customers. Customer Support might use your videos to explain your products or services to customers. Your HR team may use your videos to onboard new employees. Your marketing team will almost certainly promote some of your videos online. It could be a mixture of teams.
You might want to brand your videos differently depending on your intended audience. Internal videos should look different to external videos, because your corporate brand is distinct from your customer brand.
Videos are for external audiences can be promoted on a number of different platforms.
A list of main platforms:
Your own website
Social sharing and paid advertising
Think about the platforms where you will be sharing your video, and consider producing different types of video for each.
For example, on social media sites Facebook and Twitter, videos are set to autoplay without sound enabled. The videos that perform best on these platforms are usually subtitled and make sense regardless of sound. Twitter videos must be a lot shorter than your usual video length.
Use a combination of platforms to get the most from your video marketing strategy, and don’t forget to analyse which ones are performing the best!
Determine how you’ll measure return on investment
Now, for the really exciting part. Engagement with video content is very easy to measure. Most video platforms afford a lot of depth when analysing how your videos have performed.
Make the most of in-built analytics on platforms such as Facebook, which tells you how many people watched your videos, for how long and whether they were repeat views. You can also see Facebook shares and likes. Video hosting tools such as Youtube give you even more in-depth information about engagement with your video.
The key metrics to focus on are number of views and average duration. If you get a lot of views but your audiences are skipping off your videos after a second or two, you’ll know there’s something you need to address. If you’re getting repeat views from the same people, you’ve struck gold.
Consider A/B testing slightly different versions of your videos to see which ones work best. Use these results to inform your future video marketing strategy.
Metrics to use:
Video views (how many times your video is watched)
Repeat views (how many times people watched your video more than once)
Play rate (how many people play your video out of the total number who visit the page)
Engagement rate (how long people are watching your video for)
Shares (how many times your video is shared on a particular platform)
If you invest in video marketing software such as Wistia, you can track who goes on to speak to your sales team after watching your videos. This makes your videos a valuable asset to use in lead scoring because it helps your team decide which leads to prioritise.
You must plan your video marketing strategy before launching into creating your videos. This will give your content momentum, direction and consistency.
Collect your thoughts about what exactly you want to achieve with your video marketing. Think how you can align video with the rest of your company branding. Focus on who your audience is and plan your content topics. This is where you can really start getting creative.
Flesh out the types of videos you will be creating, whether webinars, tutorials or marketing videos, and make a note of who you’ll need to present these videos.
Flesh out your editorial process for creating your videos and nominate a video lead. Decide whether you’ll need to hire an agency, freelance videographer, or produce your videos in-house. Make a thorough list of the creative and technical resources you’ll need, as well as the equipment required to make your videos a success.
And it doesn’t stop there. Plan where your content will live internally, where you’ll host it online and the platforms to promote your videos. Finally, anticipate useful metrics for analysing your videos’ performance with your audiences.
Remember, your first videos may not be your best but you have to start somewhere. Stay in in for the long game and see your efforts pay off.
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