By Emily Shea, Executive Creative Director
May 21, 2016
Lots of business owners are intimidated by video. They think it’s expensive, time-consuming and difficult to do.
If you don’t already use video in your marketing mix, it’s very likely that some marketing expert has tried to pressure you to do so.
“It’s easier than you think!” They’ve said. “It’s effective!” They’ve said.
And while I hate to nag—I also have to agree.
There are plenty of reasons to include video in your marketing mix:
- Video is naturally engaging, in ways that text and photos can’t be. It’s estimated that a one minute video is worth 1.8 million words.
- Video is shared more than any other kind of online content.
- Video works. According to Video Brewery, retailers who provide online video to show off their products report that the products with video sell a lot more than products with no video.
- Movement gets attention. Squirrel!
- We’re hardwired to pay attention to faces. There’s no better way to project emotion and authenticity than through a real, talking person.
Still not convinced? Take a look at these compelling video marketing statistics. You can’t argue with numbers.
Fine, video is a good thing. Now what?
Assuming you’re at least somewhat on board with the value of pursuing video marketing, let’s talk about how it might actually fit into your marketing mix.
I’ll start with a story.
In the early days of the great social media marketing brewhaha, there was a lot of misguided activity. People created Facebook pages for their businesses because that’s what they were told to do. They started Twitter accounts (which sat dormant for weeks or months at a time) in the name of “staying current.”
They wanted results, of course, but they weren’t exactly sure which ones they were after.
Now, the same thing is happening to video marketing. People know they should be creating videos, per the latest marketing gossip, so they pick an idea and run with it. How about a testimonial? Or a how to? Heck, let’s create a viral video!
It’s easy to get caught up in the what over the why. But as with any marketing tactic, that’s just bad strategy.
Start with purpose
Before you pursue a marketing video, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re hoping to accomplish (outside of obeying the marketing geniuses). Then, you can zero in on the kind of the video that will help you get there.
Perhaps you want to…
Enhance web engagement
In the hierarchy of web engagement tools, text is great, photos are better, but video trumps them all. What a smiling human face does for a website homepage, a talking human face does even better.
This extremely personal element becomes especially powerful when there’s a lot of money on the table, or if the interaction involves risk for the client. In those cases, people are reassured by real, human interactions above all else.
It’s especially reassuring when you can use a video to express how in touch you are with your target audience’s needs. Last year, we created a series of videos that supported the campaign promise we developed for Badgerland Financial: “We know ag because we are ag.” This promise is based on the fact that many of the organization’s employees come from agricultural backgrounds. With the videos, we don’t just say it, we prove it.
Another perk of the website video is that it simply sets you apart. If your competitors’ sites are video-free, this is a golden opportunity for you to differentiate yourself as a company.
Explain your products or services
Recently, I was looking at a piece of clothing online that can be worn four different ways. I wasn’t impressed at all by the way the item looked in the pictures—the model just wasn’t wearing it well—and I never would have dreamed of buying it if it weren’t for the accompanying video, in which a real person demoed the four different stylings. Once I saw the video, I had to have it.
Seeing a product “live” is incredibly powerful for boosting consumer confidence. Zappos famously claimed that adding videos to their product pages (and changing absolutely nothing else) had a sales impact of 6 to 30 percent.
If you don’t have a physical product to sell, you might be more focused on establishing expertise in your field. How To videos are great for this purpose. Maybe a lawn care company does a quick video on the proper way to lay fertilizer. Maybe a yoga studio posts a video explaining how to do a new yoga pose each week (that’s actually a real example that my yoga studio uses, and I almost always watch the videos).
I’m willing to bet that there are processes you follow every day that seem obvious and instinctual to you in your job role, but that others would be fascinated to learn. I’m not asking you to reveal trade secrets—these videos should be short and specific, leaving room for your business to fill in the blanks.
Your goal is simply to demonstrate both your knowledge and your willingness to help. After all, agenda-free helpfulness is the currency of modern marketing.
Another great perk of these kinds of videos is that they can be evergreen—always relevant and easily recyclable for years to come.
Increase email click-throughs
Video in email is said to be able to boost conversion rates by as much as 50 percent.
Last Thanksgiving, we included a video in a client email, thanking the client’s customers for their partnership. The email generated a click-through rate of 11.2%, which was 256% higher than average. Other emails for the same client that have featured videos have all performed above average as well.
Video provides a powerful, personal touch that makes your emails stand out. Plus, unlike videos posted on websites, videos in emails are naturally shareable. If your reader likes what you have to say, he might just forward it to a friend.
Humanize your company
Modern consumers care just as much about who you are and what you believe in as what you sell. They want to align themselves with organizations that share, or at least understand, their views on the world.
An increasingly popular way to humanize your company is by inviting viewers “behind the scenes.” Instead of (or in addition to) the traditional staff photos and bios on your About Us page, maybe you take visitors through a live tour of your office, interacting with employees as you go.
Another great way to infuse your company with personality (and, by extension, authenticity) is by showing your fun side. Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia, took some of the most boring raw material out there—public transportation safety—and turned it into the hugely creative viral video campaign Dumb Ways to Die.
The Dollar Shave Club is another example of a company that successfully uses humor to bring personality to a relatively personality-free product.
Everything we’ve talked about so far can play a role in building trust with potential clients, but one of the most powerful ways to do this is by having someone outside of your company vouch for you. I’m talking about customer testimonials.
Customer testimonials are a tragically under-utilized form of social proof. One obvious obstacle is the general population’s lack of interest in being featured in videos (although you might be surprised how comfortable some people are on camera!). You might lessen the pressure by compiling a montage of short testimonial clips, as opposed to a multi-question interview with a single person.
Sometimes, the point of connecting with your audience is just that. Connecting.
Socializing with your audience is a well-studied marketing method that shouldn’t be overlooked. Sure, conversions are always the ultimate goal, but there are several steps that come before that on the road to a buying decision, and there’s nothing wrong with targeting one of them directly.
Find the right match
Once you’ve identified a purpose for your video, you can start thinking about the kind of video that will best meet that need. This list is a great place to start.
According to comScore Inc., a global digital marketing measurement service, the average internet user watches an astounding 186 videos a month.
Could one of those be yours?
Are you currently using video in your marketing mix? If so, how? Which of these purposes resonates with your organization’s needs the most?