The Complete Guide to Video Marketing Strategy
There are plenty of ways to present your company to potential customers, but no method is quite as popular as video marketing. It’s well known that video is one of the most engaging forms of advertising to use on the…
There are plenty of ways to present your company to potential customers, but no method is quite as popular as video marketing. It’s well known that video is one of the most engaging forms of advertising to use on the internet.
Messages about your brand’s intention, unique features, benefits, culture and more can be communicated (even without words) in just under a few minutes. With such a strong medium, it may seem like it’s hard to go wrong. However, poorly executed video marketing campaigns can do more harm than good for your company.
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to video marketing. Often, it can be difficult to balance everything with even a single video project. Unlike a short film or a podcast, video marketing has a goal beyond entertainment (although that’s certainly part of it).
In the end, you are competing for the attention of your audience and trying to convince them that your solution is worth the money. To have the best effect, you’ll need to consider everything. That includes the core advertising strategy, the creation of the video itself, the method of distribution, and the content that surrounds it.
At Vidico, we have enough experience helping businesses meet their marketing goals with high-quality video to know what it takes. In this piece, we’ll cover everything you need to know about creating a video marketing strategy. This way, even if you’re starting from scratch, you can start building a winning campaign for your brand.
Stages of a Video Marketing Campaign
If you have never developed a complete video marketing strategy before, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why it’s important to develop a plan in stages and track your progress to completion.
That said, just about any content creation cycle can be broken down into three main stages. We will call these the strategy phase, the creation phase, and the promotion phase.
First, you’ll need a plan or strategy for your marketing campaign. This will determine what you are going to create and how it will relate to the audience. This phase is all about brainstorming about which types of videos will best get your message across. Here you will form goals and work to understand your audience.
Second, you will have to create the video content itself. Although you won’t be making a feature film, video production in any form is no small task. This phase involves the script, equipment, set design, acting, shooting, and editing of your video project. Depending on the size of the campaign, you will likely have more than one video to produce and polish for release.
Lastly, you have to promote your video on the proper channels. This phase is about distributing your videos at the right time and making sure it is seen by the right people. Your strategy from the first phase will inform how you get people interested in what you have created for your campaign.
Developing a Video Marketing Strategy
If done right, many different people will see your video. You will want to understand how to move them in your direction at every stage. This means considering your target audience and the types of videos you can use in this campaign to best influence decisions.
As the first stage in the process, the strategy portion is where you develop the core ideas behind your campaign. You will start by setting goals, planning benchmarks, assigning key roles, and taking many other practical steps toward success.
There are a lot of ways to attract more customers to your business. Developing a strategy is about choosing a consistent method to bring viewers on a journey toward becoming a customer.
The Buyer’s Journey
While each viewer will be different, and the dynamics of each target audience will vary, sales is about guiding strangers on the path toward your company. In this case, the path is both a natural and a manufactured one.
There is a real path to decision-making that people naturally follow for most choices. At the same time, there is a path of influence that is paved by the marketer. For this reason, it’s best to think of your strategy in relation to the emotional and psychological path that people travel on when making a purchase.
Essentially, there are four parts to influencing the buyer’s journey that are relevant to your video marketing strategy. Here’s what you will want to do, in order:
Generate Awareness > Convert to Leads > Close Deals > Retain Customers
Actions at each stage intercept the decision-maker at a key point in the buying process. Let’s look at each stage individually.
Before you make a single sale, understand that you are dealing with complete strangers. In reality, no one knows about your company until they hear about it from a friend, see a piece of advertising, a store sign, a flyer, or in this case, a video.
Now, you probably already have a customer base that’s fairly regular. But it’s good to think in these terms. Your unreached potential customers are complete strangers from the start, so you have to start by simply getting the word out. In a media-flooded world, you are competing for attention with thousands of other 30-second clips. To be most effective, try to make a quick, memorable connection first off.
You are competing for attention with thousands of other 30-second clips. To be most effective, try to make a quick, memorable connection first off.
Any experienced salesperson knows the difference between a warm and cold lead. This second stage of the journey is where buyers go from being aware to interested. The difference may seem as subtle as a harmless website visit, but it’s actually huge.
Think about all of the websites you visit just one time and then never again. Now think about all of the websites you never visit even once. You probably can’t even imagine that number. While you might not ever purchase from those one-time visit sites anyway, you will never purchase from the zero-visit sites (if you never visit them).
The change occurs when the customer starts to think that your brand might be a good fit for them. In this stage, customers will fill out a form, make contact with your company, share it on social media, or take some other step in your direction.
This is where every video marketing campaign is aiming to move people. Creating interest means almost nothing without making actual sales. This stage is about getting the customer to exchange money for your product or service.
This is marketing’s goal, and it often requires a more in-depth solution to convince an interested lead to spend money on your brand. You will need to show them more valuable aspects of your brand at this stage and relate it to their lives more directly. Studies have shown that many people make buying decisions based largely on emotion. While this does not mean that a purely subliminal marketing strategy is the best way to go, it does mean that you will need to influence your leads with more than just the facts. It will have to speak to something in their lives and meet some level of need within them.
A business without repeat customers will become volatile or die. For this reason, it’s important to keep your existing customers engaged with the relationship to your brand. To do this, you will need to make them feel welcome in the short term and valued in the long term. There are a number of ways you can do this through customer service, but your video marketing strategy will play a key role in presenting new ideas that keep your brand fresh.
Your video marketing strategy will play a key role in presenting new ideas that keep your brand fresh.
Developing A Plan
A long-term video marketing plan will have multiple people working to complete a larger project. This project should be scheduled with time-dependent goals and a clear mission for the company.
At first, it’s best to just start brainstorming. Ride inspiration from good ideas and motivation until you start to get a general idea of your angle on your target market. Then, you can nail things down to a more solid plan.
To start, try answering the following questions:
What is the Goal of the Project?
We know that the goal of any profitable business is to make more money. That’s obvious, but it doesn’t quite nail down what your marketing strategy is going to accomplish for you. To keep your campaign strategy focused, you will need to document specific and measurable objectives.
Ask how you can use video marketing to make more money. For instance, you might want to gain more traffic on the website, increase sales on a certain item, encourage more form submissions, or a number of other things.
A good way to do this is by creating a mission statement. This isn’t something you’ll need to publish or share, but it will help keep your team focused for the duration of the project or campaign. For instance, you could write out something like this: “At (company name), we make (type) video content for (specific buyer personas), so that they (exactly what you want them to do).”
Create a mission statement that looks something like this: “At (company name), we make (type) video content for (specific buyer personas), so that they (exactly what you want them to do).”
Keep in mind that you will likely need a variety of goals and different videos in your campaign to achieve those goals (we’ll talk more about that coming up). For now, just remember to avoid the “One-Goal-Fits-All” approach. Customer acquisition isn’t always the best strategy, either. Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer and nurturing and retaining customers is just as important as acquiring new ones.
What is your Budget and Timeline?
Many creative projects work best when you disregard all your limits until the editing process. A video marketing campaign is not one of those projects.
Businesses will often justify spending only what is available within the marketing budget. They also usually have a timeline for completing creative projects. For this reason, it’s best to know your budget and deadlines and then plan to create something that’s achievable well within those boundaries.
You do not want to sell your creative team on the idea of a big budget video with lots of special effects and highly paid actors if your financial team won’t sign off for it later. More extravagant video projects also take a long time to shoot and edit than smaller-scale pieces.
Who Can Help You Achieve this?
Once you have an idea for your goals, budget, and timeline, start assigning people to key roles within each aspect of the project. Who will handle the funding, shooting, scripting, editing, promotion, hosting, and the maintenance among everything else? You probably already have some idea of this, and there may also be room to change as you do more planning and understand the needs of the project overall. Start by simply getting an idea for the tasks required and assigning key roles for each.
Who is your Target Audience?
One thing that can truly derail your video marketing strategy is a lack of audience research. Because of this, understanding how your audience behaves on each platform is essential to choose the right creative approach and messaging. An undefined target audience will often miss the mark for engagement and may even offend the people you’re trying to reach.
A target audience is always imaginary, but it should be based on real profiles, data, and insight from the market you sell to. Start by creating personas with characteristics of different people who might be interested in your brand. This will help you tailor your video toward their interests and core values.
Tailor your video toward your audience interests and core values considering some of the most common (and some uncommon) use cases for your brand or product.
Consider some of the most common (and some uncommon) use cases for your brand or product. How does each persona’s interest in your product differ? You can also start considering what channels your target audience might frequent and gain insight on how to communicate to them from there.
How Can you Meet your Audience at Each Stage of the Journey?
To create a truly winning video marketing strategy, you will want to meet your audience with a decision-driving video at each stage of the buyer’s journey. While a lot of this work is done during the promotion phase, you’ll want to have a general idea of what messages are most important to your audience. Brainstorm ideas for how visual and emotional messages can influence those decisions along the way and what conversion techniques you can utilize.
To create a truly winning video marketing strategy, you will want to meet your audience with a decision-driving video at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Types of Videos
Sometimes a good single-run commercial will emerge that carries the entire campaign (such as during the Super Bowl). However, these are usually rare and require a lot of money to produce and distribute properly. Instead, you will likely want to use a variety of videos that are each defined by a different goal or intention. There are a number of ways you can accomplish these goals when you consider video styles and tones later on. First, simply focus on how you want to approach the audience and what each video is aiming for.
To decide this, break up the overall goal of your strategy into smaller goals. Think of these videos like players on a team. Each person has a different strategic purpose, and each plays a role in achieving the larger goal. Here are a few common types of videos that you might use:
Acquisition videos aim to create interest in something, hence the name. This type of video is used to acquire more traffic or generate awareness of the brand. Often, these videos present an ideal image of what it looks like to be a customer. Because they are mainly trying to make an impression, most acquisition videos don’t carry a lot of tangible information. Some of them don’t even have words or speaking parts. Instead, messages in this type of video will be absorbed quickly through the visuals or music alone.
Social Media Promotion
Much like acquisition videos, social media promotional videos aim to create content that is easily shared and interesting to talk about. Not only do they try to make an impression, but they also want to give others a reason to share that content with their friends. Because of this, social media promotions are geared toward the social aspects of a brand and often contain minimal information.
This type of video creates interest and makes an impression by explaining how a product works. While this might not seem like such an interesting thing to watch, these videos are often very good at conversion. Viewers come away from the experience saying, “That makes sense, and it sounds like a good idea.”
Although they do have more depth, explainers are more like acquisition videos disguised as demos. In other words, they don’t lay out the whole picture. They explain the practical value and features of the product, but just enough to get viewers to explore further. They can also help present unique solutions in a way that helps skeptical buyers believe in them.
Brand Culture / Awareness
Often, brand culture videos are created for recruiting. Their goal is to make a good impression for the company’s employment brand by promoting company culture, values, and benefits. In these videos, you often see employee testimonials and motivating visual messages. However, you can also use brand culture videos to attract new customers. These videos will often do a bit of explaining for your product as well. Sometimes, people want to understand the ethical qualities of a company before making a purchase from them.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow participants to broadcast themselves live at any given moment. Live videos drive interest by making the content seem exclusive and allowing the presenter to speak directly to audience comments in real time. In this way, live videos can keep some members interested in your company or help repeat customers feel valued and connected to your brand.
While they may not have much of an effect on strangers, conversion demo videos play a key role in convincing leads to become customers. For example, you might have some leads that need more information about the technical aspects of a product before making a purchase. A good example of this is found in software demos. Many customers will want to watch the tool in action to decide if it would be worth the money. Conversion demos are similar to explainers, but tend to go more in depth and focus on showing off all the important features of a product.
Testimonials and case studies show how your product or service impacted someone’s life or met someone’s needs in a positive way. Much like product reviews on Amazon, video testimonials are a powerful way to build up credibility with your target audience. Show off your history of satisfied customers by having them tell their own stories about your brand.
You can also increase the impact of some testimonials by asking prominent social media influencers to try your product and review it on their platforms. While this can sometimes take away from the authenticity, it can be very effective to those who value that person’s opinion.
Most of your effort in your video marketing strategy will be on the front end. In other words, you will likely produce more videos for potential customers than you will for existing ones. Because of this, there is less variety when it comes to customer retention videos. Still, it’s essential to remind them of things like upcoming promotions or new features for your product or service. You might even produce a video saying, “Thank you for being a new customer.” Either way, any video content that keeps them on your website longer will usually be good for your business.
Especially for more complex products like software, existing customers will want to watch orientation videos that help them better understand what they are using. Customers who don’t know how to use a product will naturally feel like it has no use to them.
You can curb most of the early frustration by creating educational tutorial videos about your product or service. This will make your customers feel well-supported in their recent purchase while also showing them how the product has value to them.
Style and Tone
Now that you have an idea for some of the video types that are available, you can start to think of how you will convey your message and achieve the goal of each piece. This will largely depend on your target audience, your business goals, and what you are trying to sell.
Consider how your target audience will respond to certain aesthetic choices. Also, think about the voice and culture of your audience. Since the variety of options for modern video creation is expanding even for low-budget productions, you have room to be creative in how you present your message. Your audience will often reward you for it.
While the best videos allow these styles to overlap, here are some common video styles you might use:
Scenario videos tell a story using actors, sets, props, and dialogue. While these are not real people or situations, they are imagined to present the ideal use case for your product or service. The scenario then presents your brand in what customers can imagine as their own narrative for success. This style of video can be very effective in helping customers make decisions at any stage.
Documentary videos are about presenting the facts of your brand in a way that also tells a story. These might also include some testimonials from customers, employees, and other experts that provide an ethos to your company. People also have a unique attachment to history. Because of this, you might also choose to showcase a brief history of the company or at least highlight historical elements to create credibility in a certain community.
Lifestyle / Aesthetic
A lifestyle/aesthetic video can be hard to describe, but you usually know one when you see it. They present stylized images, music, montages, and a variety of mood-driven striking visuals to evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Lots of athletic brands and designer clothing brands will use this type of video to communicate something about how it feels to use their product. Much like delicious food commercials, the selling points are often sensational. Because of this, these videos are usually pleasing to watch.
Animation is now so common in video advertising that we might not even notice it some of the time. Because of this, it is often good for any stage of your campaign. Not only is animation cheaper than live-action, but it can also be visually engaging when done right.
Animated explainer videos have the potential to create highly detailed visual representations that would be hard to communicate in narration or text. Beyond that, if your aim is to be inclusive, many styles of animation can present iconic images of people without being stereotypical or offensive.
Classic presentation videos (in which someone speaks directly to the camera) can also be impactful, depending on your audience. Because they mimic the intimacy of a classroom setting, people often feel connected to the presenter in a similar way. These can be used to welcome customers to your platform or to address leads in a more personal way.
Most often used for software demos, screencasting videos record your computer screen and present the interface of the program as you use it. This style of video is great for introducing viewers to the layout of your program and teaching them how to use it. Often, you can use a combination of styles to make the concept of watching a screen a bit more interesting. When done right, these work well for orientation and conversion demos especially.
360 View and AR
While 360 video and augmented reality are not as popular as some of the other video styles, the attraction to these styles is often in the novelty itself. They may not be practical for all situations, but when used well they can create some really stunning and engaging interactions for your viewers. In the end, it’s good to keep an eye out for new technology and creative ways to present video content.
Videos for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Now that you have some idea of what videos you could create, think about how each type of video and style might impact your customers. An effective video strategy should include a mix of video types, styles and messages for different points in the buyer’s journey. Keep in mind how these might overlap as well.
A good exercise is to think about what different kinds of content might address your personas’ questions at different stages of the buying process. For instance, the video that introduces a persona to your company will be different from the one they’ll need when they’re in consideration mode.
Think about what different kinds of content might address your personas’ questions at different stages of the buying process.
During the first stages of video marketing, there isn’t a strong need for information depth just yet. For this reason, acquisition videos and social media promotions work great for generating awareness of your brand. Exciting or compelling media creates interest and a desire to share that content with others. Most messages you would want to communicate at this point will likely be emotional or subliminal, so a lifestyle or aesthetic video could work well.
Once you have people visiting the website or looking for your name, it’s time to show them more about why your brand is worth considering. This is where you could use an explainer video that lays out how your brand works for certain situations.
There are multiple style options for this. An explainer video could show a person in front of a camera demonstrating your product in their hands. However, a different business with a different audience might have an animated explainer video to show off how the service works. You could also use a brand awareness video to introduce them to what you stand for as a company. Whichever type of video you choose, it should aim at getting people to submit their information or otherwise become a lead so that your sales team can help bring them to a close.
Smart buyers are careful about where they spend money. To convince them to take a chance on your brand, you will need to put a little more thought or information into your third-stage videos.
For this reason, both conversion demos and testimonials work great here. Your leads might be interested in your solution and many others, but until they watch it in action through a demo video, they might not decide yours is the right fit. For software, screencasting is a natural choice in this stage. Even still, some people might not be convinced until they hear from someone who also tried your brand. A testimonial video with reviews of your product may be enough to tip the scales in your favor.
Once your customer has made a purchase, you will want to make them feel welcome. Most often, you will greet your customers with walkthroughs or tutorials about your product or service. Videos that highlight new or existing features are also a good practice.
Live videos also work great here to make the customer feel like they are part of your crew. Videos like this often show behind-the-scenes content. Plus, being able to comment on your product live with an employee of the company (and receive live responses) can create a solid connection with your audience. Since these videos happen post-sale, there is less need to convince the viewer of anything new. Instead, there is room to focus more on the information itself and simply delighting your customer with engaging content.
Creating the Video Content
Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time for the fun part: shooting your videos. It’s likely that you will have at least one video for each stage of the project, and you won’t want to cut back on quality to make each one worth watching.
There is a lot that goes into creating a video, and often companies choose to hire a video production agency for the best results.
Video production requires a lot of planning before shooting day. Start by writing out a script and storyboard, then rehearse this with the actors or voiceover narrators you choose to hire. Creating a shot list will also help you plan ahead. You will need the right lighting and camera equipment, and a list of props that will help you achieve this.
On shooting day, it’s important to practice good cinematography and follow your shooting schedule. Consider the lighting and angles for each shot to match the high quality expectations of your audience members.
Then, it’s time for editing. Using programs like Premiere Pro and Final Cut, you can put your shots together with music or voiceover narration (or both). Spend a good amount of time in the editing phase to be sure your project is as clean as possible before releasing it.
Promoting and Releasing Your Videos
By this point, you now have a collection of videos at your disposal that you can use to reach your audience. Promotion is all about placing them in the right place at the right time. Much of your work in convincing the audience has already been done in the content of the video. Now, it’s time to work on the strategic side of releasing your product.
For this part, be sure to set metrics in place so that you can track the effectiveness of your video campaign. Ad tracking and analytics are essential to how you formulate a plan to release your videos. You will likely have some of this information on hand, based on figures from market research. However, you will want to have your own system in place so that you can track metrics and re-evaluate the placement of your videos as necessary. Keep in mind that tracking like this can also help you better understand your ROI.
Ad tracking and analytics are essential to how you formulate a plan to release your videos. You will likely have some of this information on hand, based on figures from market research.
Consider also what channels your target audience will best respond to. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great for sharing promotional videos, but you should also put your videos on your own website. Since you already own this channel, it’s much easier to control how people encounter your content.
While outside platforms like YouTube can offer more discoverability, it’s important that you at the very least maintain control of the original video files. At the end of the day, any outside platform can change their terms at any time, and you want to maintain control of this hard-earned asset.
Whichever channel you choose, consider the culture of that channel. Some lend themselves to different types of content than others, thus leading some types of content to become popular while others go unseen. It’s also good practice for SEO to be sure your videos are embedded in good quality written content.
Overall, a video marketing strategy is difficult to create and release effectively. Different companies have different needs, and so will your unique target audience. There will be a lot of different people involved in the creation and distribution of your videos. Strategy is key here.
Unlike a Hollywood movie, you are not going to release this product into theaters for a limited run. These videos can be released on multiple platforms for extended periods of time. You now have these at your disposal to reach your audience at multiple points in their journey.
At Vidico, we believe that high quality video is the only type of video worth creating. It’s our passion to create content that tells the unique story of your brand’s mission and vision in a way that engages the audience both visually and emotionally. Check out some of the videos we’ve created for other companies you know.
There are a lot of possibilities available to anyone willing to use video to market their brand, but it’s hard to know what option is best for reaching your audience. Let us show how your next video can impact your audience with a free script and video concept today.