The question of whether you should be using video content as part of your marketing strategy is really a no brainer – you just have to look at the stats on its use, impact and effectiveness to see why.
64% of businesses who use video marketing believe that it has directly led to increased sales, while 72% say it has improved the conversion rate of their website.
While there’s no escaping that B2C companies are well ahead of the game when it comes to using video, B2B firms are increasingly recognizing its potential. Because it can work for any company with a product or service to sell.
B2B may be about selling to companies, but the reality is it’s ultimately still about selling to people. The B2B buyers you’re marketing to will do loads of research online before ever making a purchase. They’ll consume loads of information in a range of different formats, with some preferring video to the written word.
But video costs a lot of money to produce – right?
Well actually, the answer is yes and no.
As the volume of video being consumed grows and grows, so too are the options for producing it. It’s now quicker and easier than ever before. You could choose to simply take the phone out of your pocket and broadcast live from any location where there is internet access.
This concept of point and shoot would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. And while a video created this way may not be broadcast quality, it will certainly be authentic and that’s something audiences strongly appreciate.
It’s no secret that using a viral video campaign as part of your content marketing plans can boost brand awareness. They have been working wonders for businesses for years now – emerging long before anyone even came up with the term ‘inbound marketing’.
This type of video content is the perfect example of how you can sell without actually selling, and it’s far removed from commercial advertising videos.
Of course, not every video campaign will turn out perfectly. Some will fade away, despite having huge budgets thrown at them. To try and reduce the risk of this happening, what’s needed is a solid plan and strategy, before you ever think of investing in any kind of video.
There’s a place for highly polished videos, just like there’s a place for quirky, live updates. And of course, everything in between.
How B2B marketers can take advantage of video marketing
As with any activity that forms part of your marketing plans, you need to go start at the beginning and ask yourself why you’re doing it:
- Why do you want to do a video?
- Who do you want to reach? With what message?
- What should they do after they’ve seen the video?
You need to be sure that the medium of video will help you get your message across. It should offer something extra, compared to any word-based alternative that you might instead produce.
Different types of video content
B2B video can take many shapes and forms. Here is a run through of some of the most common:
Brand video – your public image
For most B2B companies, producing a great brand video is usually the first thing they’ll consider. The aim of this type of video content is to help the audience understand exactly who they are dealing with.
Just like any other content, it will always be more effective if you can tailor your offering for your different audiences. So, for example, you may want to produce a video for potential clients and another one aimed at potential employees (particularly if recruitment is a big deal for you).
Video is a great medium to tell your story. You may choose to cover how the company came about, who is at the helm, who key team members are, what problems you help solve and how you do it.
Brand videos are one of the most complex types and they need to be done in a highly professional manner. You’re aiming to show off the company in the best possible light and to forge a great first impression.
If you’re in the early throws of building your company, then you probably won’t have the budget you need for this straight away. If that’s the case, then try and think of other ways you could put video to use. Instead of filming with a camera, you could always string together a few high quality images and explanatory slides, to form a presentation in the meantime.
Whatever you produce, if the storyline and overall concept are well thought through (and that’s where investing money will pay off) you’ll already be putting yourself ahead of the competition.
Product launch video
Adding video to the mix can also help kickstart a product launch. Internet marketers selling digital goods have become masters at this, using product launch videos to fill their sales funnel. One trick they use is to publish their information as a set of videos (usually four), which makes people hungry for more and eagerly anticipating the next.
Educational videos can work well, both before and after a sale, depending on your offering. They are the only type of video that can get away with being quite lengthy, even running up to an hour or two. As long as the content is precise and something people want and need. These videos will be very different to any promotional-style videos you may do. Again, creating a video series can be a great way to go here.
Video content marketing
This type of video content has the sole purpose of feeding your content marketing machine. It will be aiming to help you reach your broader marketing goals – such as raising brand awareness, extending your reach, or lead generation. This is also where the most growth is happening in the video sphere, due to how easy it is to use video on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, etc.
These videos are about telling a story, not pushing for a sale and they are being consumed more and more.
Anything you produce needs to work across all channels and devices (be it mobile phone, tablet, PC). So, whether someone’s sitting on the tube, or at their desk, watching your video should be easy.
Buffer recently posted a great article on how to get started with video content marketing and they mention these three ‘E’s’ as being super important:
For B2B marketers, keeping these three elements in mind is going to be key to your success. There is nothing worse than posting a boring, corporate video online. There are far better options out there that will resonate strongly with your target audiences.
Always keep your videos light hearted, as this will increase viewer numbers too and consider adding a touch of humor. Just because it’s B2B marketing, doesn’t mean it has to be all serious and corporate. Even B2B buyers like to laugh and smile! As we’ve said, you’re still marketing to a person, at the end of the day.
Ideas for various video content especially for B2B marketers
Here is a short list of different kinds of videos you should consider producing as part of your overall marketing plans. Remember, any video you choose to do needs to fit within your wider marketing strategies. Don’t just single it out, or even worse, try and do a video only campaign.
They rarely work, as video is best used together with other types of content (photos, text, presentations) that complement and enhance each other.
To create awareness
- Film a ‘behind the scenes’ style video
You can include the audience even further by using interactive video tools (such as allowing comments and likes, and looking at other ways to build engagement).
To pass on thought leadership
- Arrange and record a roundtable discussion
- Turn a case study into video format
- Film a comment or opinion on something being discussed in the wider industry or national news agenda
To create educational and informative content
- Film some tutorials
- Video a demonstration
- Produce a video guide
Other practical resources
Have one of your experts talk via live video. Make it a two-way conversation, with the audience posting and sending in questions and comments that are then addressed. This can be a great way to add authenticity and generate a feeling of being part of something.
Don’t forget the value of repurposing content. If you went to all the trouble and effort to produce a great video, then make it into a slide share or pull out key statements and elaborate on them in a blog post. The sky’s the limit in what you can create out of your existing content.
DIY versus outsourcing
When it comes to producing video content, a key question that quickly arises is whether you should try and do it yourself, or to hire in professionals.
And it’s a simple choice – if you hire professionals, you’ll get the best quality possible.
However, when budgets are tight, it’s not always going to be an option. But don’t worry, if the independent film industry has shown us anything, it’s that it’s possible to produce great content on a shoestring budget.
You must weigh up the key factors – time, quality and price. The main areas in video production that cost money are:
- Camera equipment – Again, you don’t need the most expensive camera to shoot the best video. A good photographer will be able to produce a good image and video on a phone camera.
- Lighting – This is an area worth investing in. Light is everything in photography. If you have money to put towards either the camera or the lighting, it will always be better to put it into the lighting.
- Audio equipment – Another area where budget will be wisely spent. Strong lighting and sound quality will make an effective video, so invest in a good microphone. Make sure you’ve got the right microphone for the right job too, as there are various options.
- Storytelling/scripting – This is an often overlooked area of video production. Take a leaf out of the books of professional film makers and spend time getting the script right. Tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end. Avoid jargon and long, complicated sentences. Keep it conversational. Also make sure you include a CTA (call to action) at the end, guiding the next steps.
- Editing – This is an important part of storytelling. The way you manage any transitions will impact on the story. Leave it to a professional if you can.
More thoughts on production
You can produce a video either by pointing a camera at something and then process those images, or by stringing together images you’ve created on your computer to turn them into a video.
Animations are kind of a hybrid and work just as well, particularly for explaining a complex topic in a simple way.
The simplicity of animation forces you to break your concept down into a simple idea, which is always a good thing.
The quality of your video will depend on the thought process you invested in, before you created it.
What you need to know before starting:
- Intended audience
- What is the message
- What is the story
- How and where will it be published
- How will you promote the video
- What you want the viewer to do after watching
With that in mind, the content and process should fall into place.
Publishing and promoting your videos
Once your videos are finished the next question is how will you get them out there?
You can either host them yourself, via services like Vimeo, Brightcover or Wistia (who have a great interview with Ann Handley about why you should make video part of your content marketing). This option gives you maximum flexibility, in terms of what you and your audience can do with the video.
However, to reach the widest audience possible, you should consider hosting your video on key platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook.
If Facebook marketing is a part of your plan (and it should) then host your videos there directly. Due to Facebook’s algorithms, they will favour original content hosted on their platform, rather than shared clips from You Tube.
Tags and description
Either way, make sure that when you host your video you add all the relevant tags and include a detailed description. This will help with SEO and make your video more easily found. YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world, but your video will only be found if you describe and tag it well.
Adding a transcript will also enhance your SEO efforts, as well as offering people who do not have the time to watch your video the gist of what it’s about.
Never post a video without subtitles. People nowadays watch videos with the sound off for all sorts of reasons. If you provide subtitles your viewing times will be far higher than without. If you don’t have them, you can upload your video to YouTube and use a feature there to create the subtitles, then export them into what is called a SRT file. That way you can then upload them to your Facebook video too.
Promote – tell everyone
Take a screenshot of your video and along with a link, add it into an email that goes out to your existing audience. Contact key influencers about your video. If it’s helpful to their audiences, they may also consider posting it on their platforms.
It could work with a QR code in your brochures too. Make the code link straight to the video and make sure you have at least as CTA, or even better, a lead capturing option at the end.
Finally – remember the 10 second rule
If your video doesn’t grab the audience in the first 10 seconds – or mostly likely 5 – you’ll have lost them for good. No matter what comes afterwards, it won’t make any difference.
Unfortunately, this is the world we now live in. Our attention spans are short, so you’ve got to instantly grab your audience with a blog post headline, email subject line or in the first few seconds of a video.
Generally, it’s always better to keep the length of any videos short. Just aim to get your message across quickly and precisely. And never be afraid to be creative.
Good luck and roll film!