How video can help brands sell

Ahh, video content. Sometimes I find there’s so much out there to watch these days that reading a good article is just damn refreshing. This week, I wanted to touch on the value of video coming towards the back end of 2017. More specifically, its role within the unpredictable sales/conversion funnel we digital marketers strive to master day in, day out. So, let’s get our creative marketing hats on chaps.

The purchasing journey

To understand video’s value within the funnel, we first need to understand a consumer’s purchasing journey — that which defines the funnel. Yes, a purchasing journey online is never the same but if we loosely structure it within a purely content context, it might look something like this:

    1. High funnel content: industry-related blog, ‘inspire me’ video or another form of multimedia
    2. Middle funnel content: branded video, article, or imagery
    3. Low funnel content: product-specific content and testimonials

That’s a pretty loose structure from a content point of view, but through each stage, it’s clear that video can have an integral role to play if you want it to. And you should, because, according to Google, almost 50% of internet users search for a product/service-related video before visiting a store. Which makes sense, frankly: an image may paint a thousand words, but a video paints a thousand images.

So, what you need to figure out, is how video should reflect key moments within your ideal purchasing journey: what you want to convey when new or repeat customers engage with your brand. However, this needs to be strategic and well thought out. As with any type of content, creating it for the sake of creating is going to get you nowhere. For instance, if a new customer is high-funnel and not engaged with your brand, a product video might seem a tad intrusive because there’s no context to it. It’s just another annoying ad.

How do you get people interested in your brand, then? Well, video is the ideal tool to help you with effective brand awareness. Yet, there is the other problem of wading through the most of the rubbish that’s already out there, and finding a real gap in the market where your video can be seen — while still being relevant to your brand. It’s difficult to get right, and it certainly won’t happen overnight (unless you have the biggest budget ever!). Over 72 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every single day, and, yes, 99% of that won’t be relevant to your brand but still, the sheer volume of video out there is staggering.

These problems and niggles are the reason why taking a strategic approach and thinking about a consumer’s purchasing journey in relation to the video content you produce is vital. It gives you a marketing plan to work with in order to be seen, rather than just stabbing in the dark with a video you think is cool but in reality, just gets lost underneath the existing sludge.

High funnel videos

Right then, higher funnel video: what is it? Well, this type of video should be one of the first pieces of content your target customers should engage with. Let’s assume they haven’t ever heard of your brand and you’re selling in a competitive market; a difficult situation to be in.

Your goal should be in to inspire people with this first video. Think about one of your brand’s core values. If you champion sustainability, for example, then these first videos can look to showcase why and how you incorporate that aspect into your brand. Of course, this will link to specific products that are the result of this value, but the focus is on why you put the effort into sustainability.

This content can draw on consumer emotions, and those who share the same values are likely to become interested. At Curated, we like to say you’re ‘reaching’ to these customers: drawing them in with shared values and interests to start building a community. That’s the goal of your higher funnel videos. If you go in with the full “Guys, look at my new product!” from the off you’re just going to end up in the spam folder. Don’t be one of those people.

Middle funnel videos

So now we come to the middle funnel. Your target customers have seen the inspirational videos you’ve pushed on social media and are now thinking, “Oh hey there, yeah, I like what you’re doing over there. Tell me more about you”. Be careful here, again you don’t want to be rushing in with a product video that screams “You liked my first video so you should totally buy my stuff right now!” It’s kind of like any needy relationship you’ve ever had: it’s way too much.

This is where you want to be nurturing. What do I mean by that? Well, the potential customer is now interested, and they’ve engaged with the first video. What you need to do now is tell them more about your company; talking to them on a human, personal level. Again, products are not the focus here, although they will play an inevitable supporting role. The focus, and the main character of your mid-funnel video, is you. Introduce them to who you are, why you started the brand, what else you stand for, why they should care about you. By giving your brand a history and a story to tell, it serves to nurture a potential customer’s interest in you.

Brand storytelling is 101 marketing, and doing it through the use of video is one of the best decisions you can make when done right. After all, people take some sort of action after watching a video: 46% in fact, according to the Online Publishers Association. And that’s what you want them to do, right?

Low funnel videos

So, when they take that action, after being nurtured through lovely branded video content, where do you want them to go? Now we can give products and services proper attention. Once you consider a customer to be at the lower end of the sales funnel — a quantifiable lead — we can start to target them with conversion videos: customer testimonials, product/service videos and other forms of content tailored exclusively to sell.

But what makes a great conversion video? Well, this is your chance to showcase why your products are worth buying. Going back to the higher-funnel, sustainability video example, I talked about focusing on a core brand value to inspire consumers to invest their interest in the brand. The key element of that video is context). The same applies to conversion videos.

It’s no good simply showcasing a bunch of product shots, regardless of how nice they look. To sell well, give your product or service context. Highlight the purpose of its creation in the simplest, most efficient way. A great example to use actually is looking at sportswear brands. You see big sports brands advertising products through how they’re meant to be used: running shoes are shown running, gym wear is shown in the gym, you get where I’m going. Do the same — showcase purpose. It allows consumers to visually see how the product/service will directly benefit them, and benefits are selling points.

Hopefully, this gives you a basic idea in terms of how you can structure a video content plan when selling a product or a service. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes strategy. If you need a hand coming up with a plan for video promotion, retargeting, onsite positioning, and developing your sales funnel into a holistic, multi-channel digital marketing approach, then just give us a call. We’re dead good.

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