Updated: Dec 5, 2019
1. Why you need video
If you’ve been wondering whether it’s worth spending your time and money on video content as part of your marketing strategy, or if you’re already convinced on video but just don’t know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place.
In today’s world, video content has become an essential component of any online marketing strategy. Demand for online video content continues to grow. According to Cisco “by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic”.
Consumers love video. Studies show when given the option of video or text on the same webpage 72% of people would rather watch a video to learn about a product or service. Social video is also affecting consumer behaviour and changing the way businesses communicate. 73% of consumers claim that they have been influenced by a brand’s social media presence when making a purchasing decision and video is playing a huge part in that. It’s no surprise then when platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram continue to expand the ability for users to interact with brands via video.
This is big news for business. Whether you’re a content marketer or the MD of a company, online video should be your growing concern as it impacts your brand and bottom line. Choosing not to create videos will reduce the impact of your brands voice among the overcrowded online marketplace so having a solid video content strategy is key to providing consumers the information they need to make their buying decisions.
The issue however, is not with the demand, or the supply of video content, but the type of content, the frequency and the delivery method marketers are using to provide video to their target audiences.
Hi, I’m Ben Kumanovski of Global Pictures. I’ve been producing videos for more than a decade and I can tell you consumer demand for video is higher than it’s ever been, and it’s not going to stop. Online audiences are hungry for video. In this article I’m going to walk you through what you need to know to get your video marketing strategy up and running.
Understanding your audience
Choosing which type of video content is best for your brand and your audience
Creating compelling, entertaining, or informative video content that sells
Actually producing video content and what it will cost, and
Various distribution strategies to reach your target audience
So let’s get started. Next, we'll begin to break down your target audience so you’ll know exactly what type of videos will best suit your video content marketing strategy.
2. Understanding your audience
The type of video content you’ll create rests on understanding your audience. Your audience is your target market. These are the people you sell to. Ask yourself a series of questions that will help drill down to the core of your audience. Things like:
· What are you selling?
· Who buys your product?
· How do you provide a solution to a problem that people pay you for?
· What’s the unique thing about your business that people want?
· What are their special interests, and are you servicing a niche?
· Plus, demographic info like where do they live, what are they interested in, how old are they, etc.
Chances are you already know your audience demographics because you’ve been selling to them for as long as you’ve been in business. So the big question is, what are they looking for? What piece of information can you provide that will be the solution to their problem?
Maybe they’re keen DIY’ers and you’re a hardware store. What are your top selling products? What are people coming in and asking for advice about? Do you think a series of ‘How to’ videos could encourage those customers to engage with your brand online? Could there be a mutual benefit to creating a series of videos that show the customer how to build something themselves using the products your selling? Without getting ahead of ourselves on what types of video content you can create, this example illustrates how answering key questions on who your target audience is will help you identify later what type of video is best suited to your content marketing strategy.
Where do your customers hangout online? Are they Instagrammers? Instagram has had a massive spike in video traffic since the release of IGTV and is the fastest-growing platform for driving purchases with video.
Are they Facebookers? Sponsored content can drill right down into those demographics you came up with earlier so that your video reaches exactly the person it’s intended for.
Are there Facebook groups that relate to your industry? I like camera gear, no surprise there. I’m a member of a number of camera and cinematography related Facebook groups. Some of these groups are extremely active in sharing their thoughts on new gear, new work they’ve shot, and technical support type questions. Many of these groups act like a community because of their shared interests. Therefore videos that address this group of consumers interests are leaning into a niche.
Not every industry is going to have a relevant group for you to join and share video content with, but if you are in this kettle of fish, there’s a huge marketing opportunity in it for you. You just need to know how to take advantage of it in a way that works for the group. We’ll talk more about this in our chapter on various distribution strategies to reach your target audience.
Whoever your customer is, these people make up your target market and in video terms your audience. Have a good think about who these people are and what they need and then read on where we’ll discuss what type of video content is going to be most effective for your brand.
3. Choosing which type of video content is best for your brand and your audience
In my years as a producer and director I’ve delivered thousands of videos, from animated explainer videos, to corporate interviews, ads, documentaries and even scripted drama. There are endless ways to use video to tell your story, deliver your message, educate your customers, and engage your audience.
Unfortunately many marketers simply opt for the “more bang for your buck” option, and choose the cheapest form of video content creation, and then do piles of it thinking that this will tick the video marketing box for them. I’m talking mainly about talking head type testimonial videos, and lots of them. Yes, they’re cheap to produce. Yes, producing piles of them provides a bucket load of video content. But no, nobody is watching them. Why is nobody watching them? Because they’re unoriginal, and there’s loads more interesting video content out there to distract your audience. I will drop one caveat to this however. There are ways to do interesting corporate testimonial videos that engage the audience and a good video producer will know how. It will cost you a little more though, but instead of producing 4 awful testimonial videos that no one will watch anyway, put the same dollars into 1 really good one and have something people will actually care to see.
So, the question is then, when it comes to working out what type of video content to create, which is right for your business?
Hopefully now that you have an understanding of your audience, you’ll have a better idea of what your target audience is looking for. That is, the type of information they’re searching for online and the things that grab their interests. Knowing all this will help your videos to resonate with your target audience, and they may even share them with other prospective customers.
Say for example you’re in a niche market selling four-wheel drive products. Do you think there’s a Facebook group for four-wheel drive enthusiasts? You bet there is! Are they active in posting pictures of their vehicles, new mods, new gear, videos of their adventures, product reviews, and questions asking for advice on which accessory to buy next? Absolutely they are. So what if you created a series of short videos showcasing cool custom four-wheel drive builds and detailed out some of the individual products these vehicles had that you just happen to sell in your store? Do you think prospective customers are going to want to watch that?
Understanding your audience and then coming up with ideas for the type of video content they might actually want to watch is key to providing video content that actually adds value for the customer, and in turn will deliver a positive ROI for your business.
Let’s dive into a some examples of the types of videos you might produce:
A product demo video should be a short video showing how a product works, it’s key features and benefits. You’ve seen one before, and quite likely the video has convinced you that the product is what you’re after and this lead you to buy. According to Hubspot, 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process and after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.
Explainers are those cute little animated videos that are designed to explain how something complex and often intangible works – like for example how a new online service works and the benefits the customer will gain.
There’s a wide variety of ways the explainer video can be utilised to tackle complex ideas and they’re a simple yet effective communication tool that you can use to promote your product or service with; and they can be used to tell a story in a creative, or abstract way that engages the customer.
We touched on this in our hardware store example, but there are so many other ways How to videos can be put to use for different businesses. How to videos have been hugely popular since YouTube’s inception as people flock to the internet to quickly and easily find out how to do something. You’ve no doubt watched one before, but have you ever thought about how you could create your own how to videos for your audience? How to videos place you as an authority on a topic. What are you an authority on? How to videos can be great way to show how a product works, and what you can do with it.
Think of all the different ways you could engage your audience with simple how to videos. For example, a confectionary producer might create a series of videos on how to make delicious deserts by combining their chocolate with other complimentary products. Their audience will find value in this because it gets them thinking more broadly about the creative possibilities of buying their chocolates, and if the desert looks enticing enough, the content is likely going to be shared with their peers online.
Now think more broadly about this idea. Could a manufacturer of kitchenware produce this exact same video using their ice cream scoop and cutlery? What about the company that makes the little glass bowl? My point is, you don’t need to be in the chocolate making business to produce delicious food videos. Think about what your audience wants. Why do they buy your ice cream scoop? To scoop ice cream of course. So give them a damn sexy ice cream and make sure your scoop is very visble during the scooping.
How about something funny? Short sharp comical videos are sharable content. In online ad land the kind of ads that become viral videos only do so because they’ve either tugged on someone’s heartstrings with a great story, or they make people laugh.
Producing on brand comedy is an artform in itself and you’ll probably find the majority of video producers will struggle when it comes to coming up with an idea that’s funny, on brand and appropriate, but if you can find a production agency with the skills necessary you’re basically cutting out the creative agency middlemen – and this can be a huge cost benefit. Now the execution of your “something funny” videos can be delivered in a range of ways:
Web series – think about creating a short comical web series that will deliver your brand message but also engage your audience in a creative way. I’ve seen a tertiary education institute produce a series of six – two to three minute documentary style episodes with a known comedian on a quest to discover what career options were available to him if he was to study with them. The series gained a lot of views with prospective students and off the back of its success the institute went on to produce a second series.
Ads – Many companies have successfully created ads with funny recurring characters that deliver the same key message over and over again but in a different and comical way each time.
Take for example Geico Insurance’s recurring Gecko commercials. There are dozens of these because the company has created a loveable and humours character and then stuck with it for the long game. These things can take time to catch on, but with view counts in the millions per episode, it’s obvious the Geico Gecko was a winning formula.
In this ad for a local dentist, we set up an outdated looking dental surgery and filmed two ads back to back that took two awful, yet all too familiar experiences of visiting the dentist and contrasted them with the new modern and comfortable dental technology on offer at this particular surgery. The brand message was “hey, don’t settle for this awful experience any longer. Come to us and enjoy the modern tech we’re using that will make your treatment more comfortable.” It’s funny, and people can really connect with this because the humorous outdated experiences were extremely relatable, and the new stuff looks a lot more pleasant if you need to see the dentist.
Chat with an expert
Say you’re a tertiary education provider. Rather than making interview style videos that ask past students why they chose you to study with, why not ask a professor a series of questions relating to the content in the course they teach. Create a 2-minute mentor’s series, where in each episode the professor hits on a core course topic and has 2 minutes to blow your audiences’ minds with it. Do you think keen prospective students will lap that up? Could it potentially excite the student and encourage enrolments? I bet if this existed to drop a key filmmaking tip on me when I was looking for a university degree in film studies, it would have helped me make my choice on where to go. Of course when I left high school YouTube wasn’t actually created yet, but you get my drift.
This might fall into a similar category as the product demo, but it’s worth mentioned simply to expand your idea on what a product demo could look like. Imagine you’re a home builder. Before customers head out to your show home, take them on a virtual tour around your homes with video. It’s not going to stop them from coming out to see the home and talk to one of your sales reps. If anything, it will weed out the people who were never going to buy anyway and excite the ones who are actually interested in buying, encouraging them to now make that trip out to your show home and touch it for themselves.
The same style of video could be used for any number of businesses. For example, experience based businesses. Imagine you’re an indoor trampoline franchise. Put the camera at a child’s height and jump through this exciting trampoline world. Or an indoor rock climbing franchise. Mount a 360 degree video camera to a helmet and show them the experience using first person 360VR video. YouTube has the capacity to enable users to experience 360 video with their mobile phones now. It’s an immersive way to bring the excitement of an experience directly to the audience. If they like what they see, they’ll love doing it for real.
4. Creating compelling, entertaining, or informative video content that sells
Audience first thinking means considering both your prospective customers and existing customers. The objective should be to engage new viewers, whilst also retaining the attention of the old ones. In most cases, the difference will be in how you distribute the content. Sending the video via an EDM to your existing database will target engagement with old customers, while boosting your video with social media will target engagement with new customers. Creating content that appeals to both customer groups is key to building your audience of committed customers. Below are a few ways different types of video content can be tailored to achieve this:
A gym might create a series of workout and nutrition videos. Sharing directly with existing customers via a monthly email will aim to engage them with the brand, whist delivering info they can actually use in the gym and at home. Likewise, the prospective customer thinking about joining the gym and eating healthy but doesn’t know where to start, just found the answers they were looking for.
An airline could make a series of tourism videos on the local attractions to destinations they fly to. Again, existing customers who already use said airline might be happy to fly with them again, but now they have a destination to get excited about and hopefully will be flying again sooner. Prospective customers on the other hand may be interested in the destinations but hadn’t yet chosen an airline. Now the airline’s branding has been placed in front of them. See how this type of video is doing the selling? It's not loud "ra, ra" type selling. No, it's a softer approach that gets the audience excited about travelling to new and exotic places. All the airline needs to do now is finish the video off with a subtle call to action to get the customer to look at what flights might actually cost to go to this place.
The example above is just one video in a series of styling videos we produced for the well-known Australian menswear brand showing customers how to suit up, mix and match casual wear, and the latest seasons trends. It's doing the selling by showcasing the stock the brand has to offer, but it's delivering it in an informative way.
Can you see how each of these ideas can have a dual purpose in delivering both existing and prospective customer engagement with the brand? Can you see how they sell? There's a lot of merit to scripting content like this in order to build and retain an audience that actually wants to see more of your branded video content.
5. Producing Video Content - What are the costs?
The cost of actually producing video content is often the biggest issue for brands who need to get a lot of content out there but are limited by budget, and sometimes not knowing can lead to the assumption that creating video content will be far too expensive. However, this is simply not true. Finding a video content strategy that works for your budget will take some time and planning but is the best way to decide what sorts of videos you can afford to create. Remember, not creating videos will significantly reduce the strength of your voice in the online arena.
Without a doubt, audiences can tell the difference between a good quality video production and a bad one, so try not to squeeze too much blood from the stone. Create videos that will align with your budget and goals.
There's no easy way to put a dollar figure on what video actually costs. Asking "how much does video cost?" is like asking "how long is a piece of string?". Every video production is different. If for example you've got an annual budget of $30,000 for video content, there's no point coming up with creative ideas that will use up the whole budget in just one or two productions because while they'll be pretty nice looking videos, you won't be able to reach your target audience with much level of consistency. Instead, plan to spread that $30k over 10 months and work with your producer to plan video content that will only cost you $3k per video and produce 10 videos that you can then distribute monthly. This way, your audience engagement level will be 10x more effective because you have 10 opportunities to engage with them over the course of the year compared to if you had spent the whole budget on just one (albeit really awesome) video.
Now let's talk about how to find economies of scale with your videos to dramatically increase your bang for buck! For a previous client we were able to create enormous economies of scale with their video productions by creating video content that could be planned to take a huge advantage of the shoot day and maximise the output. By scripting 4-5 short video scripts that could easily be produced in a single location using the same set, backdrop and presenter, we were able to shoot a variety of product videos all in the one day. The editing process was also streamlined by creating re-usable brand assets and a certain style to the edit so that the postproduction process could be quick and therefore more cost effective. The result... With a budget of approximately $60k we were able to schedule 5 shoot days to create a video content series consisting of about twenty 1-3 minute videos. This makes the cost of each video only $3,000 with the power of economies of scale coming from the fact that the production value we were able to achieve for each video was much higher than the production value we could achieve if the client had chosen to only shoot one $3,000 video at a time. The level of crew, studio space and special equipment we had for each shoot day alone would cost more than triple that of a single video, and this doesn't include the costs associated with preproduction and postproduction.
(This post is currently under construction. Please check back soon for more.)