Video marketing: What, why and how?

The world of technology is always changing and video production is no exception to that rule. We have seen a large transformation in the last 15 years. Video resolution has gone from standard definition to 4K, and now 6K and 8K. We have seen cameras get smaller and equipment become more affordable for everyone. In a world where content is king and everyone has the means to tell their own story, how do you stand out and break through the noise as a video professional? The answer: Use marketing and strategy to create videos that are designed to reach an ideal audience. 

Video marketing?

Many of you have probably heard buzzwords like “strategy,” “customer journey” and “video marketing.” So many blogs, videos and websites are created around those terms, but what does it all mean? What is video marketing and how can you start using it to see better results? 

According to Hubspot, video marketing is defined as, “using videos to promote and market your product or service, increase engagement on your digital and social channels, educate your consumers and customers, and reach your audience with a new medium.”

In simpler terminology — and the way we explain it to our clients — video marketing is the process of creating videos using a strategy-first approach. Many people may think they’re already using strategy in most professionally created video content. You sit down with a client, come up with a concept for the video, draft the script, organize a production, edit, and then deliver the final video.

Though that production process may be well planned out and you may spend some time strategizing a concept, video marketing strategy goes a step further, starting with “Why?” Why is this video being made and why would someone watch it? Why would someone buy this product or service? Developing a strategy based on these answers is the first step in video marketing. This is something you’ll want to do before you write a script or set up a camera.

Without a plan, plan to fail

The first step in video marketing is talking with your client and defining their ideal customer. Make sure you spend some time really getting to understand who is buying the client’s products or services. Check out this article on creating buyer personas from Hubspot. This is a great place to get started to better understanding who the video should be reaching.

Once you know who is buying from your client, it’s time to figure out where that customer is interacting with content. This could be somewhere your client already has an engaged following. Another strategy to consider is to place your content where your ideal customers are likely spending time. This is an important step because not all platforms require the same style of video. For example, if you are creating a video for Facebook, you’ll need to hook your viewer’s attention while they are scrolling through their news feeds. If you start with your client’s logo graphic instead, their ideal customer may pass right by and never even watch.

After narrowing down a channel, optimize the rest of your video so it feels like it was created for that specific platform. For example, if your video is going to be on Instagram, tell viewers that they can find a link in the bio rather than “check out the link below.” This will confuse your viewers and alert Instagram that your video was not made for their platform. Instagram may think that your video is being repurposed, which can hurt your organic reach. Making a video feel like it was intended for that platform will mean better results from your viewers and from social media algorithms.

Set some goals

Now that you know who you’re talking to, what platform you’re using and how to maximize your reach on that platform, it’s time to set some goals. Goal setting is crucial in any type of digital marketing. If you don’t set goals, you won’t know how your content performed, what worked and what didn’t. Set goals that are realistic and measurable to allow creating better videos as time goes on. Goal setting is a key element in any video marketing strategy.

Goal setting is crucial in any type of digital marketing.

There are two different types of goals you can set for your videos. Data-driven goals use video analytics to check the performance of your content. One example of this is aiming for an 80% retention rate. This would show you that most of your viewers are watching at least 80% of your video.

The second type of goal is customer-driven. If your customer wants to get new people to sign up for their email list or call them to set up a demo, you can have your customer conduct a survey when someone signs up to track how your videos are influencing their ideal customer. If the results for either type are not what you are looking for, make adjustments to your current content and to the future videos you create.

Lights, camera, action

With a video marketing plan and some measurable goals, you can finally move on to write a script and start production. This process is similar to everything you would normally do as a video creator. However, make sure you keep in mind your intended platforms during production and editing. For example, if you are producing a video for Instagram Stories, make sure you are using the 16:9 ratio. Also, if you are producing a video for a platform where a large number of people like to scroll through their newsfeed with their audio off, think about creating burnt-in subtitles to ensure communicating your video hook.

After you produce your video, look back at your goals before you upload. Watch how your videos perform and don’t be afraid to try different things to improve or study your results. Marketing is not an exact science and, oftentimes, testing your content is the only way to find out what is effective or not. Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t get the results you expected. Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture, says “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

That’s a wrap

This is just a brief look into the world of video marketing and how it can be used the next time you create a video for your clients. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re serious about using video marketing for your clients make sure to keep learning, strategizing, creating and implementing. 

There are many great resources like Vidyard, Hubspot and Impact. If you like podcasts, check out Engage Video Marketing, Video Marketing Mastery or Watch Time. Think Marketing and Ben Amos’ YouTube Channels also have great videos. Finally, make sure to explore the many resources Videomaker and Creator Handbook have to offer. There’s a lot to learn but, in the end, it will create better results and make you more valuable to your clients, allowing you to stand out from the rest. 

Bill Baraona
Bill Baraona
Bill Baraona is a video production and marketing professional based in Cleveland, Ohio. He also runs the day-to-day operations at Flex Media.

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