Recently, I was talking with my cousin’s husband and Jeff mentioned that some of his accounting clients had considered video marketing but were put off by the seeming complexity of it all. If you’re confused by Video Marketing or video for your business in general, you are not the only one. In fact, most marketers and even many video production companies don’t have a solid handle on what makes for great Video Marketing. While lots of business filmmakers can create a beautiful video, it takes a thorough understanding of marketing and sales to know at which touch points that video fits and the specific type of message that’s right at that particular time in your Buyers’ Journey. Let’s break it down for you.
It’s pretty easy to just “make a video” for your company, but there’s a better way to get the most benefit of using video in your company.
Truth be told, video marketing IS pretty complicated if you want to do it the right way. And by “right way” I mean using it to get the biggest ROI possible. In fact, it can be a bit complicated to create even a single video, but before a shutter button is ever pushed, there’s another super-important question to ask first: Where does your business need help? In other words, it’s critical to know why you might need video marketing in the first place.
Now, as much as I love creating videos for companies, it’s NOT always the right thing to do. Video can do a lot of things, but it can’t solve every business problem.
Business Strategy before considering Video
A good business strategy looks at where your business needs to go and sets about getting there. Is your challenge to reduce costs? Reduce turnover of employees? Increase retention of clients? Or, are you facing most common challenge when it comes to business: increasing sales. Deciding this strategic direction will help us with the second phase: how best to overcome the challenge.
If it is increasing sales that you’re after, you know that you have other options such as online Ads, Direct Mail, hiring more/better sales reps, cold calling, entering more Trade Shows, writing blog posts, etc. It’s important to look at all of the ways that you could increase sales and most likely it’s going to be a combination of tactics that will work best for you and your company.
After assessing your options and IF it’s decided that video marketing will play a role in growing your top line, then we get to roll up our sleeves, get tactical and figure out exactly where we’re going to use video and what those videos will look like and say.
Who’s it for? What’s it for?
As we begin to see where video may work within your selling process, there’s a great phrase that Seth Godin uses: “Who’s it for? What’s it for?” This is the approach that professional Designers use to create amazing products or get other outcomes and really gets to the heart of any problem-solving endeavor. In order to increase the efficiency of your sales process, we need to know the path(s) that your prospects will take in order to come up with the best ways to use video in your unique company.
For example, if you’re going to run Facebook Ads to a Landing Page so they can get your Lead Magnet, then we need to do all that we can to make sure that the person actually completes the actions to get it. Maybe a short video on your Landing Page reminding them of why they clicked through, what they’ll get from the Lead Magnet and that you’re not going to spam their inbox after they give you their email address, will bump your sign-ups.
Video can help your business in many ways but it’s not right for every situation. Even if you have the right video but it’s put in the wrong place, or vice versa, it may end up being a dud and costing you money. One of the most important things to come to grips with is that a given video can only do so much. A video that was created for the top-of-funnel awareness phase where we’re leading with emotion and customer transformation, isn’t going to work for a bottom-of-the-funnel point in the buyer’s journey where they’re ready for some info on implementation, statistics, case studies and a persuasive script to get them to justify clicking the Buy button.
How do your Customers come to Buy from You?
Content Marketing has continued to thrive because it works. But, Advertising can also work really well. So, what to do?
Like many situations in business it depends. It depends on your company’s product or service, whether you sell B2B or B2C, the length of a typical buying cycle, how long you’ve been in business, your resources, your goals and many other factors. Or maybe you’re simply doing what everyone else in your industry does to find clients and it’s time for a new approach.
It’s often a mix these days of advertising and giving your prospects great information. Outreach (or Push) and Inbound/Content Marketing (or Pull). Maybe cold calls or Google Adwords along with White Papers or Video Case Studies. We need to look at the many touchpoints that happen along the way to your prospects becoming clients.
A really great way to organize your overall marketing strategy is to understand what a potential buyer might need in the way of informational touchpoints to help them understand why they need your product or service.
Should I Use the Buyer’s Journey or a Sales Funnel approach to Organize my Marketing?
The Buyer’s Journey and a Sales Funnel are two sides of the same coin. The Buyer’s Journey is normally viewed as being customer-centric and the Sales Funnel is normally viewed as company-centric. Bottom line, your future customers will need to realize they have a problem, find possible solutions, figure out which company is the right one to buy from, then make their purchase. Or, even more simply, someone has a problem and they need to get it fixed. Either approach is okay as long as we include the steps as they’re needed for your particular set of customers. Below is a chart by Gartner that shows how complicated it can be in the B2B environment, but if you look at the four main steps, it’s pretty straightforward. Heck, I went through the same steps on my own when I bought a carpet cleaner.
- Problem Identification (Hey, I/we have a problem.)
- Solution Exploration (How can we fix this?)
- Requirements Building (What, specifically, will we need to get from a vendor to solve this challenge?)
- Supplier Selection (Ok, we found the vendor that meets all of our criteria.)
Marketing through the Buyer’s Journey/Sales Funnel
“People buy on emotion but justify with logic so they can avoid cognitive dissonance.”
When a prospect first encounters your Brand, you’ll want to lead with an emotional appeal. This emotional approach should focus on your customer’s transformation (from having a problem to the successful solution) after using your service. When someone buys anything, emotion plays a huge and leading role, especially at the beginning of the buying process. To use the Sales Funnel analogy, a top-of-the-funnel video (or really any sort of marketing/advertising piece) should be emotionally charged and highlight the feeling that the customer will get from using your product. The transformation from their current negative state of, perhaps, frustration, to the positive result and the resulting feelings that they’ll end up with. And it’s important to go deeper than just surface-level, tangible outcomes to get at what underlying emotional feelings are achieved. Will they feel safe? Will they have higher status? Will they feel understood? It’s not just a lock for their front door, it’s an opportunity to feel like they’ve protected their family. These emotion-driven videos will get more people to pay attention to what your company does. Lead with emotion.
After a prospective client becomes aware of your company and are aware of the fact that they have the problem that your company solves, then we need to serve them a different type of information. We need to show them how your company is different/better than the others and we’ll also need to educate them on those differences. We can serve them videos about who your company best serves (and does NOT serve well) and show them the benefits of using your company’s product. You can develop your company’s expert authority with White Papers or How-To videos that give them expert info on how to get the best outcomes from using your service. These videos can be fairly simple to create (even done in-house) or can be more elaborate. This will depend on your industry, the competition and your products.
As your prospects get closer to buying, they’ll often need even more information. Customer testimonials, answers to post-purchase questions such as how they’ll implement your service, more info on upfront costs and any maintenance expenditures, financing options, showing how you support your clients after the sale, and others. Another really effective way to use video at the bottom of the funnel is to create a video to help “sell” your solution to your contact’s boss. For larger B2B purchases there are normally many people involved in the final decision and you don’t want to rely on your contact to put your best foot forward for you. Instead, it would be fairly simple for the sales person to create a personalized video with their phone to go over your proposal and essentially tell them “Here, show this to your boss” so that you can make your strongest case to close the sale.
Once you have a new customer, you can also use video very effectively to make sure they know how to get the most out of your product and keep them excited about all of the benefits they’ll be sure to reap. You can think of this as a kind of Welcome video.
The main thing to remember is that prospects need different types on info (content) based on where they’re at in their own Buyer’s Journey. If you can get them the right info at the right time, you’ll speed up your sales cycle.
Let’s talk B2B: How do companies buy these days?
While every purchase that anyone makes has the same general idea; problem >> solution, when we dive into the B2B arena it gets complicated fast. For example, there could be 10-20 people involved in the buying decision. Thatsalotta people!
On top of the general complexity involved, B2B selling has changed dramatically since the advent of the internet and the availability of information online. If we hop in our way-back machine, sales reps were normally in control of much of the selling process. They could control the conversation and the flow of information to the buyer. Those days are over. Period. Now most of the Buyer’s Journey happens without the help of a salesperson and the younger the buyer, the more that’s true. The average amount of time spent talking with a sales rep now is a paltry 17% of the buying activities. (See chart.) The buyers are getting info, just NOT directly from sales reps. Companies have to adjust to this new reality and the quicker and better B2B companies can do this the more success they’ll see.
So, what’s a B2B seller to do?
If you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes for a moment, and you knew you preferred to get more info online before (or instead of) contacting a sales rep, wouldn’t you appreciate it if your potential vendor gave you all the data that you needed to make an informed decision? Of course you would. With or without the pandemic, buyers, especially in B2B environments are relying less and less on sales reps and more and more on doing their own, independent research online. Just think about your own purchases. Once you realize you have a challenge, is your first move to call a company to talk to a salesperson? Yeah, me neither. We go online. We do our own research. Are your customers doing the same thing? So, how to take advantage of this shift? A shift that’s been happening since the internet became a thing decades ago.
“… buyers value suppliers that make it easier for them to navigate the purchase process.” – Gartner
It makes sense for B2B sellers to go to a “Digital First” model of marketing and selling. By giving prospective clients the info and tools they need to get themselves further through the sales process, your company will garner more familiarity and importantly, more trust. But remember, your content can’t be so lopsided that it seems just like a sales pitch. Making the info you present as objective and as helpful as possible will help customers self-select in or out of your sales pipeline. After all, you certainly don’t want a new customer that’s actually a bad fit for your services.
Sales reps, even though they may not be doing as much selling can still be extremely useful to buyers by helping them navigate the massive amount of data that’s likely available to the buyers:
“Gartner research shows that the sales reps most likely to win in this world are far less focused on demonstrating personal expertise by dumping yet even more information into customer interactions, and far more focused on helping customers sort through information already available — acting as a kind of “information connector” to provide the frameworks and tools customers desperately need to efficiently organize and align their thinking. In fact, providing customers with information specifically designed to help them advance their purchase has the single biggest impact on driving deal quality that we’ve ever documented in all of our research. Sales reps must serve as guides to connect and make sense of information for buyers‚ who must navigate a long and difficult journey. By doing so‚ sales reps simplify the buying process to increase the chances that buyers will make a higher-value purchase and decrease the chances they’ll regret the purchase.”
Help your future customers make good decisions and they will often reward you with a better agreement and also be happier with their purchase.
When you go with the Digital First model of sales and marketing, the best place to begin is your website. Fill it with great, objective info and an easily navigable structure and your prospects will thank you for it. Don’t just give them the info, but help your buyers understand what’s most important and why. You could offer:
- Industry Updates
- How-To Tutorials
- Tools for Self-Assessment
- White Papers
- Case Studies (video case studies are particularly effective)
And it’s important to help your sales people know that, instead of ignoring your website, their prospects are actively seeking out info on it. This change of mindset can assist your sales people in embracing the role of information curator for their prospects. “Oh, you have a question about that? Let me forward you this White Paper or Video from our website that explains exactly what’s going on with that topic.” Really simple and really effective.
You know that trust is one of the most important factors when considering a person or company to work with, so this should be one of the primary objectives when marketing. There are many ways to build trust and telling people how good you are is common but not the most effective. But, if you can show them a case study that uncovers the who, what, where, when and how of how your firm brought success to one of your clients, that will build an immensely strong feeling of trust that it will speed up your sales cycle. When you show someone how another of your clients has been helped by your company, it makes it clear to them how you can help. It takes the guesswork out of the equation. “We did it for our other client and we can do it for you.”
Do we always need to use professionally-produced videos?
As you know, mobile phones have pretty decent cameras in them and they can definitely be used to create some of your video content. I recommend that on a regular basis. One of the best places for this DIY approach is for your sales reps to send personalized videos to your prospects and customers. Quick check-ins, explaining concepts in a proposal that may be difficult to digest, providing more details about a subject and many more topics are really great for using DIY mobile phone video.
There are a ton of ways to use video in your business and you definitely don’t need to do it all at once. And importantly, not all of your video content needs to be professionally created. Some does, but not all of it. But because there are so many options, it truly is easy to be overwhelmed by video.
Bottom Line (TL;DR)
Video marketing will definitely help your company’s results, but before you invest in video make sure you know what you want to accomplish and have a game plan for how to make that happen.
If you’re looking for the simplest way to get started, a Brand Video (an overview of your company’s product or service) is the best way to start because nearly every single business on the planet can benefit by being able to put this video asset in front of your prospects.
A fantastic place to put this Brand Video (or Overview Video, or Video Business Card) is right on your website’s home page. If someone has just searched for a solution in your industry and they land on your website, you’ll want to give them a great reason to learn more. Having the Brand Video, which features your PROSPECT as the star of the story (you’ll tell their story, not yours) and show them how great they’ll feel after working with your company is perfect. You can follow that up with other video content but this is a great place to start with video.
MOVING + STILL
If you’ve been considering video for your business, I’d love to talk with you about how it might integrate into your business. I’ll give you my best advice about whether video is the most effective way to get you where you want to go. If it’s not, no worries at all, but if it is, then we’ll dig a little deeper. Together we’ll find out the very best (highest ROI) ways to use video and also which types of video content will be useful at certain points in your business process.
Because Video Marketing has been my thing for over a dozen years, I’m able to help my clients get the most out of their investment in video, and in a way that lets them continue to focus on running their business. Yes, it does take some time but my clients are never overwhelmed. Plus, you’ll have this amazing tool, your videos, that’s always there helping your company prosper.
Please, visit the website and schedule a time to have a conversation about where you want your business to go and whether video is the right tool for the job.