“Dave, I wanna make one killer video for my business to boost my sales”. I had that request bouncing in my brain for days. I got it from a friend who owns a carpet cleaning business and it wasn’t the first time I heard it. Who doesn’t want that? Honestly, I would love to have those in my bag and give them to every client, but unfortunately the companies that produced them are not in business anymore.
Gone are the days when companies could have one single video for their audience that was sitting in front of the TV during the prime time, expecting to see their favorite show filled with long and cheesy commercials. Back in the 80’s and 90’s you could have one video saying that you are the best in the industry, and guess what? people believed it. Today, that sounds like out of this world. Audiences are more savvy and picky in getting the information they want. They have their own agenda and don’t want to play by your rules. They still want to hear about your business but on their own terms. So, what can you do? Do you think that you need one video to boost your sales?, “What you need –my friend– is a “Video Marketing Strategy“, I said.
This is like the enigma “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”, but way easier to answer. You cannot shoot a video if you haven’t thought about your strategy first. When I said that you need a “Video Marketing Strategy“, I didn’t mean that you’d have one long corporate video that explains everything you can do for your viewers. I am thinking more of video series that go according to a plan. Believe me, it sounds more complicated that it really is.
The easiest way to create your Video marketing Strategy is by answering 6 questions:
1. What is the goal of the video?
Before you start talking to the camera, think about the purpose of the video. What are you trying to accomplish with it?. Whether it is to entertain your viewers, educate them, make them call you or introduce them to your brand, you have to know exactly what kind of action you are expecting from them. You have to align your video projects to clearly articulated objectives. For example, if you are making a series of videos to promote your next webinar, then your video should encourage your viewers to register to the event.
Keeping it simple, we can say that the goal of your videos can fit under three main categories:
- Awareness. Here is when you attract the customer’s attention. These kind of videos help to set the context of the conversation with your customer. Usually, in those videos you present a problem and introduce the solution (your product/service). Let’s use AirBnB as case study. They made this awesome video that shows how to find a clean and affordable place to stay on your next trip. I want to travel every time I see this video!
- Education. These videos are targeted to people who need more information before hiring you or buying your product. They have some doubts that need to be clarified. This is your opportunity as a company to build trust with your customer. Let’s continue with AirBnB as an example. They found out that there are lots of concerns from travellers of crashing into a stranger’s house, but also from the host’s point of view, there is a fear to open the door to the wrong person. AirBnB explains in a series of videos how safety is important to them and how they strive to match the right traveler with the right host.
- Persuasion. I call it “the final push”. Usually this video appeals to 100% of the viewer’s emotions, because the latter stage of the sales process is purely emotional. After your customer consciously knows that your product or service is the best of the market, they are willing to be open and captivated with a company they can identify with. They want to feel that they will be using your services not only because you are the best, also because it feels right. In 2015, AirBnB launched a campaign called “Never a Stranger” and I believe that’s a great example of how to “close the deal”.
Remember, if you’re targeting different customers across multiple sales stages, make multiple videos targeted to their needs. Making one video for different kinds of customers can drive poor results. That being said, it’s time to think about your audience.
2. Who is going to see your video?
Always think about in your public. If I ask you, how do you define your friends? I don’t expect you to give me their age, marital status or gender as an answer, that is the same reason why identifying personalities in your different type of customers is more important than demographics. Having clearly defined your audience personas is crucial to choose the right words for your message and the story for your next video. Your script and concepts have to match your audience’s needs and motivations.
3. What are you going to talk about?
Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you have topics that need to be explained to your customers. A good way to identify those topics is to listen to what your target audience is asking and to answer these questions with detailed content. You can also create brand stories to attract your audience’s attention and make them identify with your values and unique way to do business.
Here are some ideas for your videos:
- Explanatory videos.
- DIY videos
- Testimonial / Case study
- Product demonstration
- Video tour
- Recorded webinar / tutorial…
Once you decide what are you going to say, work with your video producer and write a script. Avoid improvisations. Never talk to the camera without having a clear idea of what you are going to say, otherwise, you will end up making a very confusing video, like this lawyer — I hope he doesn’t talk to the jury the same way.
4. Who will produce your content?
Choosing the right video producer is essential. You don’t need a Hollywood style genius that can cost you thousands of dollars per minute. Look for a videographer who has the talent of telling stories and good editing skills. Request samples of his work to see if his style is a good fit for your business. Be careful, your awesome script can end up looking like this if you hire the wrong person to produce your content — These are real producers offering video services:
5. Where are you going to host the video?
Congratulations! Your video is done. Now, before thinking on where are you going to post it, think on where are you going to host it. Think again about your goals. YouTube is a great option, but has its limitations, depending on what you want to achieve with your video.
When you should host your videos in YouTube:
- If your goal is to rank your video on YouTube, using it as a search engine and take advantage of its SEO juice in Google search results.
- For sharing your videos in social media — Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc — I have to mention that Facebook is now encouraging users to upload their videos into their accounts and use embedded codes to add Facebook Videos to your website.
- If you want to advertise on YouTube using TrueView as part of your Marketing Strategy.
- To build a YouTube Channel for people who are looking to know more about your business or services that you provide.
When you should not host your original content in YouTube:
YouTube’s goal is to keep people watching videos on their site. As you can see in the images below, YouTube offers viewers options to see other videos, after your video has been watched, according to their search. Also, the player has links to take your visitor out of your site.
These limitations can make YouTube not the best tool for your marketing strategy if…
- You are thinking of posting your video to your website.
- Your video is part of your paid advertising campaign and it’s embedded in your landing pages. In this case you want to have only one call to action. Having “suggested videos” can distract your visitor from your conversion goal.
- YouTube may include ads in your videos that can take your visitor’s attention away.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to YouTube video hosting for business that offer different plans and free trial periods.
I know, most businesses see YouTube as the best solution for hosting their videos, but they are misunderstanding the purpose of the search engine and how its algorithm works. I won’t go into detail, because this topic deserves a whole article for itself, however I will just leave you this idea that might clarify how to use YouTube for your business efficiently: Imagine that YouTube is a big Broadcast company –like CBC TV– and your channel is your own TV show. How would you structure your show in order to keep your ratings up?
Why do you have to see YouTube in that way? I’ll explain a bit more in the next point.
6. Which are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
No strategy is complete until you specify how are you going to measure success. You have to benchmark your performance indicators to evaluate your campaigns and identify flaws that need to be improved.
If you followed the 5 previous steps, you might have your videos hosted in two platforms: YouTube and a paid hosting provider from your choice. The metrics that matter in both channels are not always the same, simply because the goals for each strategy are different.
YouTube: If you created your channel and hosted your videos here, then keep in mind that everything is about rankings. The idea is simple, when someone searches for a keyword related to your business, you should be showing up on first page.
- Watch Time: Recently, YouTube changed its algorithm and included Watched Time as a new ranking factor. This means that the more your audience is engaged in your channel watching one video after another, the better your videos will rank on search results.
If you’re making videos that people are watching well beyond the first click, those videos will be suggested more often. –YouTube.
- Subscribers and Views: One lead to the other, if you have more subscribers, then your videos can have more views. However, it’s all about how people find your video, and Watch-Time has become the most important variable in the equation, to make your videos rank. .
Paid Hosting Provider: The main goal of these videos is related to generating conversions, whatever these mean to your strategy — to download a white paper, subscribe to a newsletter, book online, register to a webinar, etc. The importance of these metrics go according to your goals.
[I use Wistia as video hosting provider, so I’ll use screen shots of their “Video Stats” dashboard as a visual resource]
- Goals set in Google Analytics: This is the most important metric of your video marketing strategy. You need to know what percentage of your visitors ultimately convert, and if the video you posted actually contributed to the conversion.
- Engagement Rate: This metric tells you how much of your video has been watched in average. This is a very powerful statistic that will actually tell you if people liked your video or not. Are they watching the whole thing? when are they leaving? That will help you to edit your content if its needed to make it more appealing to your viewers.
- Reach: Usually known as ‘views’. This metric is pretty straight forward, it counts how many people view your video.
- Play Rate: This is one of my favorites, because it actually tells you how good you sold your video in your site. This means, from all your visits, which is the percentage of people who click on the play button.
- Heat-maps: What I like about heat maps is that you can see how people consume your video. This feature shows which parts of the video has been watched, re-watched or skipped. This helps to understand how your viewers engage with your video and identify what is working and what needs to be improved.
Having a well developed video marketing strategy will not only help your brand to stand out from the competition, it will help to deliver your message and start a dialog with an audience interested in your business. I hope that you found this post useful. I would love to read your thoughts and experience in the comments below.