This article was originally published on the Hearst Bay Area blog. Reprinted with permission.
Years ago, when my company was just starting out, I needed portfolio material. I was more than happy to barter my video production services for a friend in exchange for private yoga instruction.
My company created four beautiful videos for her. She posted them on Facebook once and (eventually) on her website.
And then they sat. As stagnant as I had been before she got my body moving into a vinyasa flow.
We made the mistake of not realizing she also needed an effective video marketing strategy, not just beautiful videos.
Now, I know better. Videos are an investment. An end-to-end strategy will help you make the most of what you have. A good video marketing strategy means that you not only have a great collection of video assets to share, but that people are watching them, and they’re helping you move the needle.
By having a strategy in place, you keep your team aligned and on track to hit your business goals.
So, how do you get started with your video marketing strategy?
Like any strategy, understanding the problem you need to solve will help you develop the most effective solution.
Let’s get to it.
Why You Need a Video Marketing Strategy
“You need video,” says everyone everywhere. And it’s true for a lot of reasons.
For starters, you can increase your click-through rate by 13% just by adding the word ‘video’ in the subject line of your email. (And you better deliver on your promise by including a video!)
Having a digital video marketing strategy will help you stand out among a sea of brands who make videos just because everyone else makes videos.
Video marketing is a fantastic way to connect with prospects when you can’t meet them in person. Unlike text and images, it can quickly answer your prospects’ real question: Can I trust you?
If you’re wondering how to do video marketing, you’re in good company.
Benefits Of A Video Marketing Strategy
The most important benefit of a video marketing strategy is that the investment you make in creating videos becomes a revenue generator instead of a cost center. When video is seen as a cost center—even if you know you need it—your company can end up stuck on the idea that “videos are a nice-to-have.”
One of my recent clients is in the insuretech business – an industry about as exciting as counting fire hydrants, which is literally what they do for a living. As a company that does a lot of in-person selling, they rely on their personalities to draw prospects to their product.
When the global pandemic suddenly turned their in-person sales process upside down, they needed to pivot.
Their strong video marketing strategy helped them see how video could make their prospects feel connected while they can’t meet them in person. As a result, my company provided content designed to drive specific business outcomes in their sales pipeline. Videos became a revenue generator because of strategy.
As this case illustrates, a video marketing strategy can be as simple as knowing how and where you’re going to use your videos to increase revenue.
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5 Signs It’s Time for Your Company to Invest in a Video Marketing Strategy
Sign #1: You have a lengthy, high-touch sales process and current travel restrictions or other limitations make in-person meetings difficult or impossible.
In this case, consider creating an unscripted brand video to introduce yourself and your personality to your potential customers.
Sign #2: It takes every cell in your brain not to let your boredom show while you explain the same thing repeatedly to your clients or prospects.
Consider an FAQ-style video or a product demo video so you can automate this process and save yourself time while still offering a user-friendly experience.
Sign #3: Your company is growing fast, and as you hire new staff (perhaps all working remotely), you need to make sure your company culture stays intact, and everyone is on board with your mission.
Especially in these times, establishing and preserving a company culture is critical. Keep an emotional connection between your top leadership and new hires to consistently motivate your team and stay focused on a common mission—authentic passion goes a long way here.
Sign #4: Your company or brand undergoes a significant change.
No one needs more uncertainty right now, especially your customers.
If you just acquired a company or were acquired yourself, it’s time to talk to your customers through video. Or, if there’s any PR crisis, use video to have a meaningful and directly honest chat. Even a new website launch can trigger the need to communicate with your loyal customers that your brand is still the brand they know and love.
Communicating a personal message to your customer community when things change gives your customers peace of mind.
Sign #5: “Video Marketing 2020!” was at the top of your goals list this year…and now we’re rounding the corner into 2021, and you still have no videos.
You already know: there are many video marketing benefits.
You may still be wondering: What is a video marketing strategy?
It’s a step-by-step process designed to support your success. With the right strategy in place, your investment in video will pay off and can be a fun, enjoyable process for your team.
How to Create a Video Marketing Strategy: 6 Steps to Take
Step 1: Determine Your Goals
When you begin your strategy process, think about the following question: what are you designing your video content to do for you?
That will give you a sense of what you’re trying to accomplish, and a clear goal informs your entire strategy from content types to metrics and how you measure success.
Ensure all internal stakeholders involved in creating and promoting your video content are part of the conversation from the beginning. If you agree on and understand the goal(s) of each video and prioritize the types of videos you need from the very beginning, your video marketing strategy will have sustained buy-in from your team throughout the process.
Step 2: Decide Which Types Of Marketing Videos You’ll Create
As you think through the types of videos you need to create, get curious:
- Who needs to see this video?
- What is relevant about your message to your audience? Why now? Is it evergreen?
- Where are your customers hanging out online, and what are they doing when they see your video?
- When are they likely seeing your video?
- Why are they watching your video?
Once you have these answers, consider your options. There are over a dozen different types of marketing videos for business applications.
Here are just a few types of videos to consider including in your strategy:
- Demo videos
- Brand videos
- Instructional videos
- Explainer videos
- Animated videos
- Company culture/onboarding videos
- Case study/customer testimonial videos
As you consider the type of video you’ll create, also think about how you will deliver it to your audience most effectively…
Step 3: Create A Promotion Plan
Think of your promotion plan as your video content marketing plan.
How are you going to get eyes on your video? Who needs to see it? What platforms will most effectively deliver your message? Where does your target audience spend time online?
It’s good to be aware of video marketing trends to get ideas and stay modern, but just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for your company. Be authentic and be clear about what you need as a small business.
Social video marketing requires coordination from the beginning since every platform algorithm has specific formatting requirements and preferences. Here’s a helpful social media image and video size guide you can refer to.
Are you planning for YouTube marketing or YouTube advertising? Don’t expect to be stumbled upon in the vast library of YouTube content, but you can use it effectively as a hosting platform. You can also engage in paid pre-roll ads. Consider the associated costs when putting together your strategy and budget.
Streaming platforms are catching on to the need for video advertising opportunities at rates that don’t require big budgets. There are increasingly available and affordable OTT and CTV advertising options. For example, Hulu recently launched an affordable self-service video advertising program with small businesses in mind ($500 minimum spend – currently in beta).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone! Never be afraid to ask for help with your video advertising.
Step 4: Create Your Videos With An Agency That Will Work Within Your Plan
Ensure you have all the conversations you need to loop in your internal team and your outsourced production team to make sure you’re on the same page. Then produce content that will meet your goals.
If you’re stuck without any video marketing ideas that work for you, a good agency will usually take some time to help you think through some ideas as part of a discovery process at no charge. The insight you gain from a conversation with an agency can also be a useful starting point for your team’s discussions.
You also want to make sure to factor in the production timeline to your strategy.
So, how do you make a marketing video?
Once you’ve hired an agency, there are three stages to creating videos:
If your agency is doing a great job of providing a seamless customer experience, you won’t see behind the curtain of their process.
Still, since you’re here (and in case you’re going DIY), I’ll give you a peek at a sample checklist for pre-production of a brand video with unscripted interviews:
- Get signed talent agreements.
- Schedule and conduct pre-interview call with each person appearing on camera
- Send wardrobe notes
- Plan and pre-order lunch, with dietary restrictions in mind
- Create shot list (or storyboard)
- Create and send production day schedule
- Send pre-production email to the client
- Book any necessary production crew members you don’t have in-house.
- Check or purchase storage media
- Secure and confirm shooting location(s)
- Reserve any necessary gear you don’t have in-house
My clients are often surprised by how long it takes to produce a short video clip. As you strategize, it can help to understand what goes into making a video to plan a realistic timeline.
Each agency probably has its specific process to make sure they have enough time on production day to capture a complete and compelling story. Make sure you understand the timeline of their particular production process as part of your video marketing strategy.
For example, if you’re working with me at Concurrent Productions, I specialize in working with camera-shy business owners and their clients. Because of this, I plan for extra time to make sure everyone is comfortable on camera.
Those lights get bright and hot. Even the most confident person can get nervous when they’re in the hot seat in front of a crew with all eyes on them. Even if you’re doing a simple DIY video, keep this in mind and take some time to center yourself before turning on the camera (and don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes a while to capture what you want).
Because production and setup time is so intensive, I always recommend filming much more content than you know you need. Suppose your immediate strategy is to create one brand video, but you might be interested in social clips too. In that case, you can capture footage that can meet your future needs, too – this is all part of the detailed planning process for your video marketing strategy.
Also, keep in mind that it takes time to create quality content. There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate. Leave plenty of time for schedule changes that may arise.
It may also be worth considering a remotely recorded video if you can’t meet in person due to gathering restrictions or limitations like a dispersed team across the country.
However, keep in mind that some in-person production can be done while respecting physical distancing measures. Interviews might look close up, but cameras are usually 6-10 feet away filmed with a zoomed lens. Filming outside may also be a favorable option.
You might have heard people say about movies, “the story happens in the edit,” and it’s often true for business videos as well.
Unless you’re making a scripted animation video, even the most well-planned video marketing strategy should plan for some flexibility in the editing room. You’ll likely have some happy surprises, and you might need to get a little creative if you couldn’t get the exact b-roll you wanted, for example.
In post-production, make a plan and budget for:
- Revisions and team review/note gathering
- Sound engineering
- Color correction
- Stock footage
- Graphic effects
Your agency may allow for a limited number of revisions, so make sure you’re clear ahead of time on expectations and adjustments. (My company offers unlimited revisions until final delivery; you may want to include this as a point of negotiation.)
Step 5: Implement Your Promotion Plan And Maintain Your Budget
When you plan ahead and know the platforms where you’re going to upload your video content, you can communicate with your editor or production team from the beginning to make sure you meet each platform’s specifications.
Keep in mind that if you have a complete video that is 90 seconds long and later decide you need it to be 60 seconds, your editor will need to figure out how to chop off 30 seconds without compromising the story’s essence. The work to make a video shorter can be much more complicated than creating a longer video.
Knowing your promotion plan ahead of time will make it much easier to implement it and avoid last-minute rush charges or impossible-to-meet timelines with your video team.
Step 6: Track And Adjust
How do video marketers generate leads most effectively? By testing to see what works and adjusting their content along the way.
The obvious metric to track is view count, but that might not be very meaningful if it doesn’t correlate to your business goal(s) for your video. There are several key metrics you can track, depending on your goals….
Creating a Video Marketing Strategy: Final Thoughts
If you’re investing in video for the first time, the main things to remember are:
- Plan ahead, with enough time and money, and involve your entire team.
- Know why you’re using video as your communication medium and what you hope it will accomplish for you that text and images can’t.
- Work with a production agency that can create a specific type of video you know you need.
- Don’t be boring. Tell a complete story of change and share your passion. Videos have a unique ability to convey emotion and connect authentically with an audience. Use that opportunity to its fullest extent!