Video Marketing: Level Up Your Video Game

This article is part one of a three-part series about marketing with video.

For the past five years, participants in Demand Metric’s The State of Video Marketing study have acknowledged the key role video plays in marketing. In 2018, 83 percent of survey respondents said video is becoming more important as a form of marketing content.

Animoto’s 2018 State of Social Video: Consumer Trends Report revealed that video ads are the No. 1 way consumers find out about a new brand or product before purchasing. Their survey of 500 marketers also found:

  • A whopping 93 percent say they landed a new customer because of a social media video.
  • About 88 percent are satisfied with the ROI of their social media video marketing efforts.
  • Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are the top three platforms for posting social marketing videos and video ads.

Today, it’s easier than ever to produce and share marketing videos. For better or worse, mobile phones and social media have lowered expectations for production quality, so the cost to get started is very minimal.

Maybe you’re already posting videos of freshly finished floors or fast-motion videos of crews sanding or staining floors. Of course, those make great portfolio pieces, but do they accomplish your marketing goals?

Let’s assume customers frequently ask if sanding and refinishing a large stain will leave a depression or sunken area on their wood floor. A video that’s part how-to, part case study, and part testimonial can show how you repair the floor, showcase your expertise, and highlight a happy customer – all while alleviating their fears.

Start with strategy
Good video marketing starts with strategy. You should answer the following questions before starting any video project.

These questions provide context for why you need a video, who to target, and what information to include.

  • How did this project come about? How did the need become apparent?
  • What is the product or service being featured?
  • Who is the target audience? What are their jobs or positions? What do they know and how do they feel about the subject matter?
  • How would you describe one or two “typical” customers for this product or service?
  • Do you have brochures, proposals, presentations, web content, or other information that will streamline writing or production?

The next set of questions focuses on goals and objectives – the substance of the marketing strategy.

Communication strategy
Every video should serve a purpose for your company; otherwise, why bother creating it?

  • What broader company goal or objective does this video address?
  • What problem does the subject matter solve for the customer?
  • What is your position in the marketplace? What does the target audience currently think of you?
  • What is your promise to the target audience?
  • What do you offer? Why should they work with you?
  • What is the objective? What should the target audience think, feel, or do as a result?
  • What barriers or challenges does the company, product, or service currently face?

Next, we’ll focus on the message – what to say and how to say it.

Message strategy
Gather the creative team – writers, graphic designers, your employees who are always watching the latest YouTube videos – to answer these questions:

  • What is the key message – the most important piece of information the target audience wants or needs to know?
  • What do you know about the target audience that might affect the message? What motivates them?
  • Why should they believe you? What facts, expertise, or research – rational and emotional – support your claims?
  • Should the tone be helpful, educational, expert, persuasive, formal, friendly, or something else?

Try to visualize how the final video will look, feel, and sound. Find samples of videos you like, even if they’re from outside your industry. Will you use animation, still photos, live action, a narrator, a talking head, or a combination? Look over the list of formats in the next section and consider which work best for your situation.

Practical considerations
These are mostly “housekeeping” issues.

  • What logos, certifications, websites, words, images, messages, or other content must be included?
  • Where should the video appear? Where do you have existing relationships or contracts?
  • How long should the message be and in what format?
  • How and how often will success be evaluated? What metrics should you use?

(We’ll cover metrics more extensively in part three of this series in the December/January issue.)

Choose the right format
The goal of any marketing piece is to move the prospect one step closer to buying. That’s why it’s good to build a library of content that addresses customers at each stage of their buying journey. An image search for “content marketing funnel” or “video marketing funnel” will yield something like the image at left. Consider where viewers are in their journey and develop content accordingly.

Brand/Company video
This should be a short (two- to three-minute), unique, and fun introductory video to create awareness of your company or brand. Make a good first impression and give viewers a sense of the company’s personality.

Explainer video
These are also very short videos that explain a company, service, product, or idea, very simply and clearly, with concise language and engaging illustrations that keep the viewer’s attention. They often feature a 2D illustration or simple cartoons.

Promotional video
Use promotional videos to build brand awareness; drive traffic to your blog, website, or landing page; and generate leads. It’s like a commercial for your company, your product, or even your content library.

Situational overview
Perfect for customers in the early phases of their journey, this may be part of a campaign to generate interest from a niche market or generate leads using emails. Consider producing videos for each of your vertical markets, product lines, or types of service. Rather than a hard sell, use an empathetic approach that tells customers you understand them; answer the question “What’s in it for me?” from their perspective.

Talking head interview
Although they’re the least dynamic, talking head interviews can create brand awareness, quickly build your video library, enhance SEO, and attract customers with industry-specific interests. They’re quick, easy, and inexpensive to produce. Invite guests your customers already know (and like) to discuss topics customers really care about.

Company culture video
Company culture videos are used for recruiting, brand building, or rebranding, or to address a public relations issue. They should reflect your core values in the words, images, people, and production style. This is an opportunity to humanize your company and connect emotionally with
your target audience.

Customer testimonials/case study
A testimonial is a stamp of approval from an existing customer that shows how you addressed their problem, provided an excellent customer experience, and delivered a solution. It also allows you to associate your company with a specific customer while making them (not you) the focus of the story.

Live streams
Live streaming is best for capturing live action, events, interviews, or behind-the-scenes shots of what you do. Great for training, live Q&As, and breaking news, live streams let you connect with your audience by satisfying their curiosity, need to belong, and desire to be acknowledged or recognized.

How-to video
How-to videos help move people from the discovery to consideration phase by answering their more in-depth questions about your product or service. They also position your company as experts who can help.

Webinars/Webinar segments
Usually longer than a how-to video, webinar segments are 10 to 15 minutes of a presentation or training session, shared as a stand-alone video or one part in a series of videos. They demonstrate your knowledge, establish credibility, and help start conversations with prospects.

Introduce a new feature or product, highlight an underutilized service or resource, show how a technical product or service works, or demonstrate something hard to describe with words. Demonstrations are also quick, easy, and inexpensive to produce and can highlight your staff’s personality and expertise.

When a customer is close to a final purchase decision, a demonstration can answer the customer’s detailed questions and address any final concerns. Use them for email follow-up or as an adjunct to a closing sales call.

Thought leadership
These videos may feature an owner, a president, a CEO, or another executive answering “big picture” questions about a topic on the target audience’s minds. They position and solidify the company’s position as an authority in an industry, strengthen the brand, generate new business, and keep customers engaged.

When choosing a format, don’t feel limited to just one. Use several formats and even combine one or two if the situation warrants it, as long as an individual video doesn’t get too long.

Try, try again
If you’ve tried video before and it didn’t work, it probably warrants another shot. The problem may have been the strategy, target audience, message, format, production quality, media placement, or any combination. Or maybe it was just a lack of practice.

Video is too important to ignore, so try again. Learn by experimenting with different formats and content to create the best strategy. Tweak one element at a time and track results to see if metrics like view count, play rate, or social sharing improve.

Marketing experts agree that video is on the rise, and it’s a worthwhile investment. Companies of all sizes can implement video into their marketing strategy. In part two of this series, we’ll discuss how to get it done, suggest some resources, and share best practices in video marketing.

Katrina Olson is a marketing consultant, trainer, writer, and principal of Katrina Olson Marketing + Training. Reach her at

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