I was lucky enough to be able to write this article below that first appeared in SmartCompany on 6th June, 2019…

Before we even begin this topic, think about this for a second: great marketers only have two goals, and they are both completely intertwined. The first is to create an ‘emotional connection’ between the customer and the brand, which generates loyalty and trust. The second is to enable more products or services to be sold.  So if you want customers to engage at a deeper level with your video content to ultimately grow sales, you need to always have these two fundamental premises in mind.

Simply put, customers aren’t necessarily buying things based on the price or the attributes of what you are selling. They are buying based on an emotional connection they have to your brand. And the visual, tactile power of video is the fastest way to build this emotional connection and put you top of mind when your customer is ready to purchase.

1. Admit it’s a video world

Across digital devices and social channels, more video content is being watched now than ever before. In fact, more than one-third of all online activity is spent watching video. It’s no wonder YouTube is now the second-largest search engine in the world, processing more than three billion searches a month which equates to 100 hours’ worth of videos uploaded every minute of every day. That’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined.

Of course, where there are people, there’s a deluge of businesses and brands marketing to them. Studies show 81% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool, and in the B2B world, a whopping 96% of businesses use video in their marketing campaigns.

Video has become ingrained as both a powerful brand engagement and lead generation tool. According to Optinmonster, video marketers enjoy 66% more qualified leads per year and can achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness. In fact, 93% of marketers say they’ve landed a new customer simply by using video on social media. 

2. No need to break the bank

Gone are the days where businesses need to spend epic budgets on TV ads to grow brand awareness, build equity and create an emotional connection with customers.

In the age of video marketing in the digital world, smart brands are using simple production set-ups, small-scale scripts, animation, user-generated content and easy-to-use video editing apps to create quality content fast.

What’s more, smart brands are creating content in a ‘digital best practice’ way by re-purposing eBooks, articles and thought leadership and turning these existing assets into video without having to reinvent the wheel every time. This low-cost, run-fast video methodology fits in nicely and supports the next point below.

3. Keep it real

Today’s digitally savvy and spoilt-for-choice consumers seek inspiration, emotional connection and brands they trust. So the last thing they want is a dull corporate video with voiceovers and trying to be all ‘prim and proper.’

The key to getting video content right is to keep it real, using real people and real stories.

Earning the trust of your audience can be achieved through compelling storytelling, bearing in mind the five key pillars of great marketing messaging: inspire, entertain, inform and educate and, when you do this job well enough, talking about your own products and services.

So every video topic you set out to create should fit into one of these buckets that form part of your bespoke strategic marketing content calendar. And in an ideal world, businesses should be creating at least one video per month and then re-purposing it across their various social, digital and media channels, using various edits of the same video.

4. Content doesn’t work in silos

Video content needs to be integrated within a wider content marketing and social media strategy for it to generate as much ROI as possible. One of the common mistakes marketers make is spending thousands of dollars creating a compelling, engaging video, only to have it sit on a boring webpage somewhere.

Every video should have messaging that is carefully crafted enough for it to be able to be used and re-purposed appropriately to generate awareness and create new business leads across various social media channels and customer touch points.  

Using this strategy not only helps you stand out in a sea of ‘same same’, but also saves you money, that you can then use towards the distribution and seeding of your video content more effectively across Youtube, Facebook and other relevant channels.

Why is this important?

Businesses these days don’t typically have enough money for TV advertising to build massive trust and equity in your customers’ mind. The smart brands these days are now using Youtube and other video seeding channels to maximise reach and trust to the right audience at the right time, by allocating a specific budget to each video or each campaign.

The strategy here is simple: you don’t just want to talk to your existing community, you want to always be growing and adding people into your tribe.

The objective, therefore, is to get under their radar by peaking their interest during their Youtube experience, using an inspirational or entertaining branded video. The aim is they will then come back to your website or social pages and ‘opt-in’ to your email database or follow your social media, so you can have an ‘ongoing conversation’ with them and nurture them as a lead.

5. Content marketing or ad?

Before you start throwing money at sponsored ads, it’s also important to highlight there’s a fine line between effective video content marketing and direct advertising. Spend too much media dollars to promote your video content and it starts looking too much like a digital ad, and this goes against the very essence of authentic content marketing that earns customers’ trust.

Therefore, if you want to win at video marketing and leverage the channel to the maximum, then your future plans should include regular videos that solve customer problems in an inspirational and entertaining way, by creating compelling, engaging storytelling that is relevant and which resonates. And if it is done in an authentic and ‘ non-corporate’ way, you’re giving yourself the best chance to stand out, be different and get noticed.  

6. User-generated content is the holy grail

There are ample statistics to show user-generated content (UGC) delivers significant results for brands seeking consumer loyalty and trust. Recent data shows a whopping 87% of consumers trust reviews and recommendations from family and friends who received a free brand experience, and 71% still trust bloggers, vloggers or social media stars who have gotten the same treatment. Meanwhile, customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than marketing coming directly from a brand or organisation.

Of course, the popularity of UGC videos could also increase the risk of negative reviews or exposure, but if managed with due diligence, on the whole, user-generated content offers valuable, audience-trusted insight into your brand’s integrity, value and reliability. And this valuable for both product and service-based businesses.

How to leverage the user-generated content in your organisation will, of course, depend on what industry you are in and what problem you are solving for your customers. However, it could be as easy as this to create a compelling UGC campaign to boost natural word of mouth across your social media channels.  

Here are some key tips to help get you started.

  • Create a campaign or giveaway promotion.
  • Ask your customers to get involved by taking a photo or video and uploading it to your Facebook and/or Instagram page (using tags).
  • Every time someone uploads a piece of content on your page this will be sent to their personal community (based on the algorithm) which acts as free advertising for your brand to their set of friends.
  • Select the winners and promote them across your channels.

7. Business buy-in is fundamental to success

Finally, and most importantly, your video marketing roadmap won’t just happen by itself within your business. As with all content marketing efforts, there are five phases of activity that you, your team or creative partners need to manage:

  • Creative ideation;
  • Production;
  • Project management;
  • Stakeholder approval; and
  • Video implementation (what to do with the videos once complete).

You must create a plan and then be loyal to it.

Like all marketing efforts, smart video marketing will not happen by accident.

You need to be proactive, set up the right support structures, and get the business buy-in to ensure your video marketing investment reaps the rewards you need to deliver the business real, tangible results.

This article that I wrote appeared in SmartCompany and was published on 6th June, 2019.

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