Gone are the days when a single video on your website would help you stand out. Brands have been using video content to capture the attention of consumers for decades. Perhaps a friendly lizard and a slightly annoying duck come to mind?
The concept of the company website itself emerged in the mid-90s, and by the turn of the millennium, it had become a basic requirement for anyone running a business. What began as a novel way to explain what your business offered is no longer enough. Today, in addition to a website, you must develop a strong presence across multiple social media channels and a well-orchestrated content marketing strategy to help you share information and engage prospective customers and clients.
Online video has followed a similar timeline and evolution. When YouTube emerged in 2005 and internet videos rose in popularity, it became commonplace for company websites to feature explainer videos that give prospective customers a quick and easy way to digest information about the business. In 2018, however, you need a robust video marketing plan designed to reach your clients in each stage of the marketing funnel.
When 70 percent of businesses that switch from plain text to video advertisements see an improved conversion rate, most companies, regardless of size, now realize that video is an effective way to reach and engage with their target audience. Savvy marketers are also extending the reach of video beyond televised commercials.
Lyft’s YouTube channel, for example, features dozens of videos that will never run as commercials or be featured on its website outside of its blog. Instead, these videos are used to nurture an audience on social media, and the “Undercover Lyft” ad campaign generated one of the most watched YouTube videos in January 2017.
Plotting your strategy, stage by stage
A well-conceived video marketing strategy will incorporate video at each stage of the funnel. Focus on creating compelling videos that align with these four stages to help guide customers through your sales pipeline.
At the top of the funnel, your goal is to attract new customers to your brand. Key ingredients at this stage include shorter length, eye-catching content. You might want to consider making web commercials or short promotional videos that contain evergreen content to run on Facebook or as preroll ads.
Industry and educational videos also excel in this stage of the funnel. These videos focus more on industry challenges and solutions and less on the company, which helps convince potential customers that they actually have a problem. Think about the constant stream of commercials run by personal injury lawyers: “Have you been injured in an accident?”
They continue to run because they’re effective, but why? Because prospective customers who are experiencing problems your business can solve will immediately relate, whether or not they are actively seeking a solution.
If step one is attracting visitors to your website, app store, or other industry page, the goal of step two is to educate them about your brand and either lead them to buy your product or capture their information so that you can reach out to them later.
An explainer video is the most popular way to engage audiences by giving them a high-level overview of your brand. Busy customers don’t want to read extensive product descriptions — in fact, nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer to see it in action and decide for themselves. Learning about a product by watching a video is just far more engaging than reading text on a page.
Product or service videos are other options that drive customer engagement, and they’re gaining popularity on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. Day in the life videos or before and after videos also serve the engagement function because they help customers envision themselves using your products.
There are plenty of people who know about your brand but aren’t ready to buy, and video is the perfect way to nurture these prospects. Share these videos through social media in addition to email marketing and retargeting endeavors. They’ll give the viewers more information and keep your brand top of mind, ensuring that when they are ready to buy, they’ll think of you.
Video content that is helpful to prospects is most effective in this stage and might include a FAQ series, tips and tricks, customer spotlight videos, or testimonials. In addition to a helpful tone, entertainment value never hurts — if your target audience members enjoy your video content, research suggests that 83 percent will consider passing it along to a friend.
Now that you have a bunch of happy customers, delight them by sharing video content that demonstrates how to get the most out of your brand, like this video we created for our client, BurgerFi, that played on a loop in its locations. The video not only showed customers what went into the food they were enjoying, but it also informed them about online ordering options through BurgerFi’s app.
A welcome video is a great way to get customers excited just after they’ve signed up for your services. Have a complicated product or app? Create tutorial videos that show your customers exactly how to use your products. You can also spice up traditionally boring thank-you emails with a video that shows customers how to make the most of their purchase. Another great idea is to create a referral video that rewards and encourages them to share your product with their friends.
Once customers convert, use video strategically to keep them happy.
Implementing your plan, step by step
So, what does it take to develop a robust video content strategy? Take a methodical approach to see the best results. Here are four steps you can follow to ensure the return on investment you’re seeking.
1. Define your goal
Why, exactly, are you investing in a video marketing strategy? Do you want to attract more customers? Convert more website viewers? Increase referrals or convert the long-time prospects? It’s okay to want it all — video can be used throughout the sales funnel. But first, you need to outline your goals to figure out what kinds of videos to make.
Returning to the example of one of Lemonlight’s clients that have been successful at incorporating video throughout its marketing funnel, BurgerFi has also been able to repurpose these assets to help train and grow its teams.
2. Select your video types and styles
Your video content should always align with your goals. Trying to attract customers? Short, catchy content is your best bet. Website engagement, on the other hand, demands a bit more depth to convey a better understanding of what you’re offering, but these videos should still be under 90 seconds, ideally.
This is also when you should decide which style will work best: animation or live action? Do you need to hire actors, or can you do it mini-documentary style, where you use your own team and customers?
3. Make the videos!
Not surprisingly, this is where most projects get held up. Can you film your own videos? Do you need to hire a freelancer or agency? Your video content is a direct reflection of your brand, so you’ll probably want to hire someone with experience — just as you would to design your logo or website.
Make sure you shop around, as there are a lot of affordable options available today.
4. Distribute your content
Merely uploading your videos to your YouTube channel won’t be enough. You’ll need to host it, post it, link it, share it, pitch it, promote it, and advertise the holy heck out of it to really reach and engage your target audience in a meaningful way.
The point of posting videos on a site like YouTube is to drive viewers back to your website. Once there, viewers can consume more of your content — and do so without millions of other videos competing for their attention. Your website also offers excellent access to analytics data, which allows you to analyze viewer engagement rates and determine how effective your videos are.
Video is an incredibly powerful tool for reaching your audience, and it’s only increasing in relevance. But don’t mistake it for a silver bullet — more than any one aspect of ideation or production, your overall strategy is the most important element in any video marketing initiative.
Many different kinds of videos can be used to engage audiences in all stages of the sales and marketing funnel. Come up with a clear plan for distributing your video once it’s been created and watch your brand’s content resonate with customers and prospects like never before.