In my previous post, “Using Video Content to Drive Brand Awareness, Leads, and Sales,” I took you through the first four steps of the definitive B2B video marketing strategy.
In this second post, we focus on executing your video content strategy, maximizing impact, measuring results, and ensuring that you create sustainable campaigns that add long-term value to your organization.
Step 1: Execution
Now that you’ve completed the planning stages for your video content campaign, including defining the objectives, target market, video style, length, and tone, it’s time you got the ball rolling and produced your first video. But what steps do you need to take?
The first thing you do is take your overall campaign and break it down into single, discrete messages, and hold yourself to one per video, where possible.
You then craft a storyboard around that message, with core components including:
- An attention-grabbing introduction/ initial characterization/ scene setting
- A setup/ problem/ challenge
- An action/ journey/ discovery
- A resolution/ punch line/ solution
- A call to action
With the core message laid out and a storyboard in place, it’s time to call in the professionals to help shape and refine them, and get you toward the finished product.
So who you gonna call? No, not “Ghostbusters.” As with many things, the answer is, it depends.
If you’re going to produce animation, you don’t need to hire a film crew, but you do need an animator or design studio; for customer testimonials you may not need a voiceover, but you will need one for a whiteboard illustration.
In general, you’re most likely to need some combination of the following services:
- A scriptwriter
- A studio/ animator/ film crew
- A voiceover/ interviewer
- Music and sound effects
- An editor
At this point, we’re hoping you have a well-crafted, well-targeted, high-impact video that delivers your brand message to the right market. Brilliant! Let’s go home and watch the leads and $$$ roll in, shall we?
Well, not quite. We’re only half way there at this point. Now we have this awesome video, it is time to get it properly distributed, encourage people to watch and share it, maximize its impact, and measure our success.
Step 2: Choose the right distribution channels
When considering how to get your video content out to the right audiences, you need to consider a few options. The obvious one is to place it on your own website. This should be done of course, but this alone is not enough — unless you already have a very high volume of traffic from your target market. Even then, it has its limitations, as you need to encourage new visitors, not just existing ones, to view your videos.
A second option is YouTube, which is a great free option to put your video content in front of potentially hundreds of millions of viewers. It seems like a no-brainer, but again, there are some limitations. The ability to own your conversion funnel and tailor the way you capture leads is critical to the effectiveness of your campaign, particularly if you’re trying to drive sales and define a high-quality pipeline of prospects. Unfortunately the tools to achieve this are not available on YouTube.
Therefore, you need to look for a more focused, business-centric distribution channel that gives you more control over how you capture leads, encourage direct sales, and represent your brand around the video.
You should also consider how many companies block YouTube because of its non-work related content (a point explained, in detail, by Magnet Video).
There are also the pre-roll adverts you have to consider. Do you want your audience clicking off of your videos before they’ve even begun, or having half their attention span taken up before your content kicks in?
Ideally, what you should be looking for is a hub where executives go to specifically educate themselves about new developments in their industry, watch business videos, and build connections in their market. There are probably some options specific to your industry, but cross-industry platforms that may work for you include BrightTalk, SlideShare, and Xavy.
Step 3: Encourage people to watch your videos
Once your video content has been sent out into the world through the right distribution channels, the next step is to encourage people to watch them, and this can be broken down into three distinct parts:
- Use SEO to help people find you on your chosen channels
- Tell them why they should watch it
- Offer social proof to overcome their skepticism
Let’s tackle each one in turn…
> SEO: Help viewers find your videos: The core components for getting your video found via SEO are pretty straightforward:
- Title: Make sure your title contains the keywords from your core messaging, placing the more important words towards the beginning. Keep it to 60 characters or less if you are placing it on YouTube. Also include keywords in your filename (also known as the meta-title). To find the appropriate keywords, you can use the YouTube keyword tool, Google Trends, the Google Adwords keyword tool or any one of a number of proprietary tools.
- Metadata: Because search engines can’t crawl the actual content of the video, you need to give them a helping hand, and create a description that contains your keywords. Only 55 to 70 characters will typically be displayed on YouTube, but you can write longer descriptions than that.
- Tags: Tag the video properly, again with your keywords.
- Additional text: Use additional text around your video if it’s embedded on your site, or a distribution channel that allows you to customize the real estate around your video. This helps search engines to find it and display it correctly in their results.
- Use a video site map: Even better, create a specific video site map so you can explicitly tell the search engines where and what your videos are. There’s a very useful guide to video sitemaps for major hosting platforms here.
- Choose the right thumbnails: Having the right image as your thumbnail could have a huge impact on click-throughs, so ensure that you use the best one, and test to see if it can be improved.
- Links: Again, like normal SEO, the number of links that point to your video (on YouTube or elsewhere) will help drive up its rankings across search engines.
- User behavior: Late in 2012, YouTube overhauled the basics of its ranking algorithm to specifically focus on engagement — measured by the time a viewer spends watching your video, rather than simply the number of views it gets. So consider these two things: Don’t mislead people about the content, or they’ll simply click off of it straight away and you gain very little; and make sure your content is good all the way through, and not just packed into the first 15 seconds. Comments, “likes,” and shares will all help your overall ranking, too.
> Tell them why they should watch it: One of the keys to getting people to watch your video is providing enough information to help them decide its relevance to them.
As highlighted in an interesting blog post by John Bottom in his blog, Base One:
“People skim-read headlines. This is the big problem: Video is a format that you cannot skim-read. The busy user has to quickly assess whether they will gain from investing their time in a piece of content. Expecting a busy person to choose a 10-minute video over a piece of text/image they can scan in seconds? Forget it.”
To combat this problem you need to provide a really good, accurate synopsis.
For example, think about bullet-pointing the top three benefits they will receive from watching your video, or summarizing the plot points if it has a narrative, or giving a run-down of speakers if it is a highlight reel… you get the picture.
Even better, consider getting the whole video transcribed so that they have a text version to skim if they prefer. This will also help if they are in a situation where they can’t watch a video. Giving them the content in text form will ensure they still take away the message, and if they enjoyed it, then there’s every chance they’ll return to watch the actual video when they can.
> Utilize social proof: Even if you’ve tagged it appropriately and provided a fantastic synopsis, you can still face skepticism from a potential viewer. After all, why should they take your word for it?
This is where the idea of social proof comes in, as you can use “likes,” number of views, vote rankings, comments or any combination of the above to show them that others found it useful. As they see a groundswell of support for the content, they will be more likely to trust it as a useful source of information.
Step 4: Help it spread virally
Once you’ve convinced someone to watch your video(s), the next stage is to encourage them to send it around their network, creating a viral effect that could considerably reduce your own marketing costs, and increase the number of views. So, how can you achieve the “holy grail” of a viral video?
I’ve broken this down into three main areas to consider:
If you don’t ask, you don’t get: Don’t be coy about asking your viewers to share your videos with their networks, particularly if your end objective is brand building, education, or some other purpose that needs wide distribution and isn’t necessarily about creating inbound leads or sales. Make it your call to action: “Enjoyed this? Then share it with your network” is all you need, just to prompt them to pass it on.
Make it easy for them: Make it as easy to share, download or embed your video as possible. Ensure wherever you host it, including on your own site, that you provide quick share buttons to LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, as well as via email. Let them download it so they can watch it offline and show it to anyone they’re with, even when they’re not online. Let them embed it on their own site, and then their audience will be able to find it, too. You may also want any comments to show up in their social feeds.
Content is king: It may be one of the most over-used clichés in marketing, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. What your video contains will ultimately be the key ingredient to whether it is found, watched, and shared with others.
However, if we’re specifically talking about how to get a viewer to share a video, then there are five main themes that will be most effective:
- Controversy: Controversy can simply be going against the established wisdom of your industry by making bold statements, but however you deliver it, controversy always courts interest and spreads fast. As an example, below is a pretty controversial video from Kixeye that picked up a lot of press coverage and viewers:
- Humor: Everyone needs a little light relief during their 9 to 5, and people love to share humorous videos with friends and colleagues. A well-crafted and delivered video that makes your audience laugh will go a long way, literally. Unfortunately, genuinely funny is perhaps the hardest of all these suggestions to do well, so make sure you test it quite widely before doing a “general release,” otherwise you’ll end up with people laughing at you, not with you. Check out this series of videos from Kinaxis that does “humor with a message” well.
- Surprise/novelty: Anything out of the ordinary or remarkable will always get people sharing, just so they can be the ones who helped everyone else “discover” it. Anything that could get you asking questions, thinking differently, or feeling inspired would fall into this category. The RSA series of whiteboard sketches is a good example of thoughtful, interesting videos, as are most of the videos on TED.com.
- Utility: If your videos help executives with a specific problem, give advice, or explore future trends, they are likely to be shared with their colleagues who face similar challenges. Sharing a useful video is an easy way to be helpful to others, and it will likely increase your stature as a thought leader in that particular area, too. Most videos on Xavy provide a good example of this.
- Ego: People love to share videos that feature themselves. Interviews, talking heads and montages are all good ways to capture third parties, who are then more likely to share them with their friends and colleagues. Awards videos would also be good for this purpose. Be somewhat wary of this approach, though, because if the content isn’t very good, then it won’t spread much beyond that first degree of separation.
Step 5: Optimize for conversions
So once you’ve got people watching your videos, how do you make the most of it to achieve your objectives?
If you want the viewer to take an action other than sharing the video with their network, you need to optimize for conversions.
Here is how you can do that:
- Include a call to action: So many videos don’t include a call to action, so they miss the whole point of existing. Make sure yours has a call to action, and make sure it’s in line with your original purpose. If you want leads, ask for their info; if you want sales, ask them to buy; if you want a dialogue, ask them to comment.
- Keep it simple: If your video has a single message, then it’s easier and clearer to ask for a decisive action from the viewer.
- Measure: Ensure that you measure where viewer numbers drop off, and either cut the video length down to that point, or at least place relevant calls for action before the drop-off points.
- Make it easy: Surround your video with calls to action so viewers can just click on a link, fill out the form next to it, or hit the share buttons. Make sure the actions are placed around the video, as well as in the video, so that they are simple to use.
- Make it interactive: With a service like Mozilla’s Popcorn you can now make your videos interactive in the actual video frame, so experiment with how that affects your call to action.
- Give options: You might only ask for one action, but you could offer more than one way to accomplish it. Some people hate web forms and would prefer to email, while others prefer to phone in. Don’t confuse them by giving 10 options, but instead, give two or three that you know are the most-used communication channels for your customers.
- Incentivize: Give viewers some immediate incentive to share their details with you or to buy now — an exclusive white paper, a time-bound discount, a prize draw — to help nudge them over the edge into action.
- Experiment: Don’t just put up your video and calls to action and leave it — experiment. Web copywriters are obsessive about testing the impact of their words, their positioning, their surroundings, and even their color or font to optimize conversions. You should try different things too, and see what works best.
Step 6: Maximize your video’s impact
Now that you have your video content campaign ready, you’ll want to ensure that it has the maximum impact. This means you should consider three main ways to enhance its impact on your overall B2B marketing strategy:
- Make it part of a multichannel campaign with white papers, research, blogging, etc., so that there are multiple touch points and media that executives can engage with. Not everyone loves video, so having a transcript of it is a good idea. Similarly, it’s probably good to offer a white paper around it, as that remains one of the most popular forms of B2B content marketing around. Proprietary research and data, blogs, and podcasts are all also highly ranked for engagement by the business viewer, and effectiveness by B2B marketers.
- Try to time your campaigns around your events calendar. Release your videos in the month leading up to the event, so they help create buzz and build awareness before you get there. It may also help customers to become more familiar with your brand, and to feel like they understand your company before they meet with you or your reps at the show. It’s also a good idea to capture video at the event and release it afterwards. Capture interviews at your stand (remember — ego), create a time-lapse video showing the buzz around your stand, or create a montage of the event’s best moments. It’s likely that the organizer will want to help you distribute that last video, and you want to be in front of his or her audience.
- Don’t rely on YouTube as your only distribution channel. Get it up on your own website, and definitely consider business-specific content portals, where executives go to watch professional content, and it will be easier to get your content discovered by the right people.
Step 7: Analyze the results
Measuring success will ultimately come down to what your original purpose is, and what you decided the outcome should be, but here are four common examples:
- Sales and revenue: In theory, this should be the No. 1 outcome for any commercial company. So how do you analyze the performance of a video when your outcome is to generate more sales and revenue? You can do something like this:
Let’s say the video cost you $1,000 and you got 20,000 views. That cost you 5 cents a view.
If you converted 5 percent into a lead, then it cost you $1 per lead.
Let’s say 70 percent of those leads are time wasters or gave you bad data; so you’re left with a cost of $3.33 per lead.
Then maybe your sales team converts 10 percent of those leads into a sale, so each sale cost you $33.33.
Let’s say each sale is worth $500 to you over a customer lifetime (which is a very small amount in B2B sales). Then the ROI of the campaign is 1,400 percent.
Not a bad return on investment at all
- Leads: Perhaps you’re not judging your marketing team based on the ability of the sales team to convert the leads, but rather on the effectiveness of your videos in generating them in the first place. How should we measure the success of this?
There are a number of options. You could look at the total number of leads a video generates vs. some other form of marketing. (There should usually be a comparison made, as your job is to see not just how effective a marketing channel is, but how much more effective it is than other channels, so you can make smart decisions on where to allocate your finite resources.)You could look at quality of leads (taking it one step further down the sales funnel); man-hours to leads generated to see how time-efficient they are; or you could measure what types of leads they generate vs. other channels (e.g., are they more senior, or from a particular vertical).
My suggestion is to keep it focused on the money, at least in the first instance; i.e., how much are you spending per quality lead versus other forms of marketing?
So it would look something like this:
Let’s take the same number from above for the video, and assume that Channel B is a white paper.
The white paper costs $700 to produce and generates 500 downloads, of which 30 percent again have the correct data and are deemed to be worthwhile contacting by the sales team. This makes each quality lead worth $4.66, which is more expensive than your quality leads per video. Your video also has the added benefit of generating all of that exposure to 20,000 viewers, which is hard to achieve for a white paper.
Therefore in this hypothetical example you may consider spending a larger portion of your content marketing budget on video, supplemented by white papers, to ensure that you’re maximizing the effectiveness of each marketing dollar.
- Market engagement: Perhaps your purpose was not to generate leads, but to create a conversation around your products and brand, and get engaged with your market. How can you measure this? There are three reasonably simple ways:
- The first is to take the total number of views and find out the average length of a view, so that you have some measure of viewers’ engagement in the content.
- The second is to compare how many mentions your brand (or product) gets before, and then after, the video has been released, across the media channels you watch. What is the new total number? What is the percent increase? Can you measure the sentiment? How often is it being tweeted and retweeted, or quoted in the press as part of an ongoing conversation? Has it actually generated a debate?
- Finally, you might look at how many comments it has generated on your own site or other distribution channels that you’ve used, to gauge whether it has been successful at generating a conversational response.
- Brand awareness: You may care most about brand awareness, in which case you’ll have four main metrics to measure:
- Total number of views: How many people are actually watching your videos?
- Number of shares: How often are people sharing it, and with how many people? This is worth diving into deeper. Don’t just look at how many times it’s been shared, but look at who is sharing it (i.e., are there 10 people sharing it, but they have tens of thousands of Twitter followers; or are there 100 people sharing it with little impact beyond their immediate network of 100 followers?).
- Number of mentions: Similar to the engagement metric above, how often is your brand or product now mentioned online, across forums and in groups, via Twitter, and on blogs? You’ll want a special social media monitoring tool to get this measurement, but it’s worth it if this is your core objective.
- Brand recollection: A classic market research technique. How many people are familiar with your brand before, and then after, your campaign?
Step 8: Bring it all together, and repeat
Just like you can’t hope to create one product and reap the rewards forever, it’s the same for your video content campaigns. What was fresh last month won’t be next month, so you need to keep repeating the process, each time learning and getting better at it as you measure and refine your output.
My suggestion would be to aim for something new at least once every month, and base your campaigns on quarterly or four-monthly cycles. So for example, you may plan to produce four videos, all based on brand awareness, which will be released once a month for the first four months of the year (perhaps in the run-up to a major trade show). Then, the next four months will be focused on a lead generation post-event, again with a new video released each month. Finally, with brand recognition, leads, and a whole lot of marketing data and metrics in your pocket, the final four months might push towards sales, with your videos specifically created to target those most likely to buy.
Good luck in your video marketing endeavors, and please keep an eye out for our upcoming eBook, which covers the processes described here, and in our earlier post, in greater detail. If you’d like to add anything to the steps, think we’ve missed anything, or have a case study you’d like to share, please contact us, or leave a comment, below.
Looking for more best practices to help you execute on your content marketing strategy? Read CMI’s Content Marketing Playbook.