Online video marketing is a relatively youthful industry, and within that, we at MWP Digital are professionals. After eight years of working with thousands of business clients, we’ve learned important lessons worth sharing. If you run your own business, you will find this post useful as we outline the key points we think you should spend your time and money on, when using video in your marketing strategy.
Know your customers and what they need
The biggest mistake that video marketers can make is to not think. They get carried away with creative ideas and forget to link the videos they are creating to the bigger picture of a) their customers and b) what their business is doing to help their customers. This is our advice for avoiding falling into that trap:
In the same way that you would carry out research when developing your product or service for your customer, you also need to carry out research when creating videos that will target those customers. Start simple. What are the most common comments and complaints that your customer service team hears? What are the most frequently asked questions? In other words, what are your customers big frustrations or misunderstandings? The answers to these questions will provide you with relevant video ideas.
For example, maybe you get a high rate of queries about how to use a particular element of your product. A product demonstration video on your website could be an instant and accessible way for customers to find the answers they are looking for, without taking up the time of your staff – allowing them to concentrate on more pressing work.
A great example of the use of product demo videos is Digital Rev. They embed videos like the one below onto webpages that relate to those specific products. Not only do the videos demonstrate the features of the products, they also compare them to other similar products. For something like a camera, where the investment can be fairly substantial, this is a really useful offering.
In terms of where you should be distributing or placing your videos, spend some time looking at Google Analytics. Where are the key bottlenecks or weaknesses that need to be rectified, and how might you use video to solve these problems.
For example, maybe the purpose of your landing page is to get visitors to sign up to your mailing list. But the bounce rate for the page is high and you aren’t getting the results you want. A video, such as a web presenter video, could help by a) making the page more interesting and b) by having a strong call to action and telling the visitor exactly what they need to do to sign up.
Along with working out where to place your videos, you also need to be savvy enough to recognize where NOT to place them. We have learned that sometimes, copy or images really are more appropriate – and are more likely to achieve the desired effect for a particular webpage.
Your video marketing needs to be consistent with your wider business goals and with your branding. We have seen the pitfalls from deviating too far from who you are.
If your videos don’t match up with who you are, you will either actively damage the reputation you have with your customers, or you will be failing to maximize the potential of video to reinforce your brand to your audience. Either way, you are wasting funds.
In the same breath, we have also seen how important it is to be creative. But consistency doesn’t have to stop you from being creative – we are simply talking about keeping yourself reigned in and not going off on a tangent that is irrelevant to you or your customers.
Here are some examples of companies who have successfully remained aligned with their brand, but have also been creative in engaging their audience:
BlendTec took a relatively boring household appliance and created a viral video series – ‘Will it Blend?’. Not only have they blended elves, but also every Apple product currently available, including an iPad. By adding some comedy value to their product, they have created an opportunity for their product to be seen (in action) by millions of people who may not have known about them otherwise.
3) A long-term approach
Another common mistake is to approach video marketing with a degree of tokenism. Some businesses get told they need video, so they get a video made by a production company, stick it on YouTube and hope for the best; this is a waste of time and money.
If you want to see any return on your investment from video marketing, you need a video marketing strategy. This means approaching videos as a process, not a one-off. You need to monitor and evaluate the successes and failures of your first attempts, and then improve upon them with future videos.
Old Spice used videos to completely turn their prospects around. They were on their way out, with their older but loyal customers. Their video campaign ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ has engaged a younger audience, reinvented their brand, and had an impact on their bottom line. This wouldn’t have happened from one video.
A distribution plan should also be part of your strategy. It is not enough to just put a video on YouTube. If you want your customers and potential customers to see your video, you need to think about the appropriate marketing channels for reaching them – e.g. within email marketing, on social media sites, on video sharing platforms or embedded on your own website. Making the video is only the beginning. Getting it seen is where the hard work really begins.
Finally, video production costs need to be understood when planning your strategy. This post gives a very detailed overview of our costs for creating 3 different types of video. Many businesses have unclear expectations around costs as different production companies’ costs vary so widely.
We hope that we have saved you some time by sharing these lessons – we have certainly found them very useful.
Neil Davidson is the Founder of MWP Digital Media, a leading video production company. They work with businesses of all sizes to create and market compelling and emotive videos that deliver a return on investment. They also write a video marketing blog with clear, practical tips.