Video marketing is a topic right now that many businesses and individuals seemed to be focused on. Unfortunately far too many are suggesting that doing a video for video's sake, or trying to leverage “viral videos” as a magic bullet, can grow their business. When I have conversations with people about video marketing, I’m brutally honest: it is difficult, it takes time, there will not be immediate, measurable results, and it is a huge commitment and investment. I also recommend that just about any business that wants to grow over the next 5 to 10 years, needs to explore this and figure out how to make it work.
Video marketing is the next best thing to being in person, in fact, it may be even more powerful. Through video, you have the ability to be in all places at once, at all times, on demand. Maybe it is a “magical bullet” for your business, at least if you do it correctly. If you could appear before those people in person, you’d want to make a good impression, communicate the value of your brand, and give them some upfront value while building trust and credibility. Yet, when we see businesses approach video marketing, they often fail to accomplish those things and devolve into “hard selling” and pushing what is essentially an advertisement, masquerading as content.
If you’re going to leverage video marketing, you have to do it a practical way. If you do things half way, you can’t expect anything to come of it, and far too many businesses feel this is something to throw on an entry level employee, and intern or an already overextended marketing manager. When you produce a video, you are asking for a commitment from a viewer (a potential customer/client) of their time and attention. If you have failed to make that investment up front in the content you are presenting, you will damage your relationship with them and lose credibility.
10 Simple and Effective Tips to Use Video to Grow Your Business
1. Precisely Define the Goals of Your Video Content
Before you ever hit the record button, you need to have a clear internal thought process for what this video should accomplish. You should know what the viewer gets out of watching it, and also what you would like to get out of it as a creator. While sales seem like the obvious answer, that goal should be reserved for creating an advertisement. If your video is an ad, then, by all means, use sales as the success metric. If your video is part of your marketing effort, you have to understand that it may not convert directly, but position you to convert by being part of a sales funnel.
A particular video or series of videos may be to get people to call your service number to get a quote or an estimate, in which case the video is for lead generation, not sales. The video may be making your audience aware of a free offering/lead magnet if they join your mailing list, which is far cheaper than purchasing an unqualified list for thousands of dollars. Map your content to clearly define goals, develop a content strategy, and content calendar. Do not make videos for the sake of making videos, or to grow a large subscriber count, or “go viral.”
2. Identify Your Value for the Audience and Deliver on It Quickly
A viewer should not be 10 seconds into your video and still wonder what it's about and whether you can deliver on the promise. Be direct and clear in how you communicate to the audience and what the bottom line is for them. Even this article didn’t take very long to make its value proposition clear and move directly into delivering on it. Think about the audience first and foremost, and then you have permission to ask for what you want. Make it very clear in the title of your videos, the description, the thumbnails, and the overall content what's in it for them.
Most marketers will tell you that if you post a video on YouTube, the first line should have a link to your website or offering. That advice is intended for business people, and completely short-sighted. For one thing, it doesn’t help YouTube understand what your video is about; it just tells YouTube that you want to get people off of their website and on to your own as quickly as possible. That is not the largest incentive for YouTube to promote video content. It also doesn’t help the search engine or a person looking at the description identify your video as relevant. Make sure you are focused on being clear more than you are on closing. I know it’s painful, but it is what is going to work.
3. Tie Your Video Content to Your Website and Blog
There is an appropriate way to get viewers from your video content to your website, articles, or blog post. To get people to click through to your website, they need a compelling reason, not just a link that enables them to do it. In your video, you can mention a resource or more information that would be valuable to them and direct them to click on a link or go to a URL. This is what is known as a “Call to Action,” which most of you are familiar with, but this is how it works in the context of video marketing. It is an audio or visual call out that takes place organically within the content.
In the case of YouTube, if you’ve connected your website with your YouTube account you can use annotations and info cards that are interactive on-screen components that a viewer can click on to be directed to your website. Info cards work across all devices, including mobile, whereas annotations only work on desktops and laptops.
4. Use Video to Promote a Lead Magnet and Grow Your List
Email lists are expensive to build and maintain. However, video marketing can help make list building practical and affordable for you, while at the same time engaging your audience. You can actually promote your existing lead magnets and enhance them with video content, all while costing you nothing but time. For example, if you have a free e-book that you offer to your list, you can highlight some content from that in a video and let people know that if they join the mailing list, they can get more tips from the free e-book. Even just a video that makes your audience aware of the free e-book and the subject it covers is enough to grow your list. The beauty of a video like this on YouTube is that it exist indefinitely and helps grow your list regularly as long as the content remains valuable and relevant.
5. Provide Instructional Content Around Your Product and Service Without Selling
Not selling directly is a painful position for most people, but consider how you would feel as a customer. The odds are that even as you read this, you have AdBlock enabled, or just finished fast forwarding through commercials on your DVR earlier. If you can provide information about your product or service, from the perspective of the problem it solves, or the enjoyment it creates, you won’t have to ask for the sale; the audience will ask you how they can buy it.
In building my most recent desktop computer, I researched parts watching various experts demonstrate how to install the components or explaining their buying decision. As a result, I purchased these expensive technical components, happily using their affiliate links. They represented the products accurately and provided the proper information and reassurance. Thus, they earned my trust and won a sale.
6. Offer Free Monthly Webinars to Generate Qualified Leads and Prospects
The key word to focus on in this case is “qualified.” Qualified leads don’t have to be elusive or hard to combine. If you offer information that would be required for a buying decision, and you offer it for free (or only require an email address) then you should be able to easily attract and audience for 30 minutes to an hour, which will result in conversions or at least follow-ups.
Webinars were a popular strategy for large companies in the late 90s and early 00s but have become popular again because of the convenience of live video, broadband internet, and public awareness of online video platforms. They are also more affordable for small businesses than ever and only require a $70 webcam, a strong internet connection, and computer. If you use Google Hangouts on Air, YouTube Live, or even now Facebook Live, you can easily produce a quality live webinar experience, answer questions from your audience in real time, and direct them to your offering.
7. Provide Easy to Understand Information About Your Industry
If you become the easy point of entry for a person trying to gain an understanding of your industry, then for those individuals you become the authority they trust. By using video marketing as a content strategy when your competitors don’t, then you are giving yourself leverage and creating lifetime value. There is a temptation to offer information that nobody has ever seen or heard before, or to be wildly unique and flash. Basics are the foundation of everything. There will always be more people purchasing a bike with training wheels than a flash BMX stunt bike or unicycle; everyone starts at zero. If you are there for them at the start, then there is a better chance of you keeping them the whole way to the finish line.
Be the gateway to understanding for your audience: uncomplicate things, eliminate jargon, and simplify everything for them. Bring them up to a level of understanding that allows you to create unique value or offer something advanced that they can actually use. We buy from people we respect, like, and trust. As my friend Amy Schmittauer, another video marketing expert, would say: “You have to be their favorite.”
8. Start with Simple, Easy to Consume Content
One of the most practical and actionable pieces of advice I give anyone interested in video marketing for business is to create videos that answer the ten most frequently asked questions they get from paying customers or clients. When it comes to how long your content should be, it should be as long as it needs to be to deliver on the promise of the title, in as short a time as possible. What that means in practical terms is not to focus on making a 5-minute video if it requires 8 minutes to explain it clearly. Use the whole 8 minutes, but do not make it 10 minutes without a good reason.
9. Learn to Measure Success and Play the Long Game
Your video content should be considered an investment in your relationship with your existing customers and new potential customers. There is an overwhelming temptation to write content off as a failure if it does not generate a certain number of views, subscribers, or comments. This is referred to as “social proof.” If the number is zero, then you could have a valid argument for this thesis.
Consider that in customer service call centers, 15-30 minutes is spent helping an individual customer, and there is a huge amount of staffing and payroll that goes into that. If you could offset that with 5-10 minute videos that only had to be produced once, by 1-2 people, and it only got a few hundred views, why wouldn’t that be considered a success?
A video does not have to go viral or build up a large following to have value. Video content can buy back precious time, both for the business and the viewers. Think of your video content strategy from the perspective of an investment and build momentum towards long-term value. If nothing else, it is a very practical way to gain valuable data, since the analytics in YouTube are particularly helpful.
10. Use Video Testimonials to Build Trust and Credibility
Not all of your content has to come from you. By using video testimonials and showing how real people react to your products or services and what their experiences or stories are, you can build credibility with new potential customers. Video testimonials go a long way because of how much we value authenticity. It’s also very practical for business owners to combat fake negative reviews from competitors, which has become a growing problem. You can also take this a step further depending on your business model, by creating videos that serve as case studies.
Roberto Blake is a Designer and Marketer with a background in Advertising and Brand Development. He works primarily with businesses, entrepreneurs, and creative services professionals to help them engage with the audiences that matter most to them through effective marketing and media. He covers a broad range of clients from entertainment companies, ad agencies and small businesses, to social media personalities like Chelsea Krost and Tayo Rockson. Whether strategy, technical implementation or creative execution, Roberto helps position his clients to align their messaging and media to create awesome experiences for the audience, while achieving the desired goal. As a designer, storyteller, YouTube creator and speaker, he educates and motivates his clients and contemporaries by focusing on creating value.