Video Marketing: 8 Steps to Develop an Unbeatable Strategy
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million.” – Troy Olson & Jeff Loquist (2019)
Unlike many of the ever-changing digital marketing trends, video has only become more valuable in the decade since this quote first appeared on the official YouTube blog.
What has changed is that savvy marketers must now integrate video marketing across multiple channels–a couple YouTube videos does not a video marketing strategy make. Today, video is a holistic marketing strategy, meaning video content should be rooted in customer and industry insights, measured, and integrated throughout your overall marketing strategy.
Put simply, video marketing is the strategic use of video to promote your brand, product, or service. Like any other marketing effort, video marketing should be rooted in specific, measurable goals and driven by data. All businesses can benefit from adding some amount of video to their marketing strategies. Whether you’re a freelancer, small business, or multi-national corporation, if you’re not creating video, you’re probably falling behind.
Continue reading to learn how video marketing can boost your small business, master the 8 steps to creating a solid video marketing strategy in 2020, and finally be inspired by 17 popular types of marketing videos.
How Video Marketing Can Help Your Business
You probably already know that video marketing is immensely popular–we’ve all watched as more and more video appears on our timelines, in search results, and during our web browsing sessions.
However, you might still wonder exactly how video marketing is going to help your business. After all, video creation requires extra planning, tools, and time to create. Why bother? What’s in it for you?
Top 6 Benefits of Video Marketing
- Skyrocket your SEO. Properly done, video marketing can improve your search engine rankings and click-through rates. Utilizing YouTube marketing is especially powerful for improving your SEO, since the video platform is owned by Google. In fact, some research has found that video can increase organic search traffic by up to 157% (WordStream).
- Increase conversion rates. It’s impossible to convey enough information about your business and products to persuade consumers to purchase in the 5.59 seconds that users spend looking at a website’s written content (SWEOR.com). By combining visuals, movement, and audio, videos quickly deliver rich information, which is probably why videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 80% or more (WordStream).
- Grow social media engagement, reach, and shares. Many social networks are following Facebook’s lead by prioritizing video content in their algorithms, meaning videos increase your social reach. Plus, posts with videos earn more engagement, about 48% more views than non-video content (HubSpot), and generate 1200% more shares than text and video content combined (G2 Crowd).
- Attract new visitors. Video is by far consumers’ preferred content format, with over half of consumers (54%) reporting they wanted marketers to create more video content (HubSpot). The lure of video content can drive 2-3 times more monthly visitors to websites (WordStream).
- Maximize ROI & grow revenue. The majority of worldwide marketers (51%) name video as highest-ROI content. In fact, marketers that use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video marketers (WordStream).
- Increase brand recognition. Video is uniquely capable of helping viewers remember what they’ve seen and heard. The more consumers remember your video content, the more likely they are to remember (and consider) your products, services, and brand. Viewers retain 95% of video messaging, compared to a 10% retention when reading that same information (WordStream).
Developing a Video Marketing Strategy in 2023
While most entrepreneurs and marketers appreciate the importance of video, many fail to build a real video marketing strategy. This is a huge mistake. Great videos require tons of planning, time, and resources. Without creating and following a thoughtful video marketing strategy, there’s a good chance you’ll invest in videos that just don’t work.
Your video marketing strategy will guide every step of the process: from planning, to filming and editing, to distribution, measurement, and more. Follow our 8 steps outlined below to develop a brilliant video marketing strategy.
1. Set Video & Campaign Goals
As always, skillful marketing starts with careful goal setting. Video can belong on any channel, in any stage of your marketing strategy, and accomplish just about any goal, so it’s up to you to get specific.
Using the basic marketing funnel can help you pinpoint your video’s purpose. It’s also referred to as the buyer’s journey because it visualizes their path from the moment they first hear your name, to purchase, and even beyond. There are many versions of the marketing funnel, but let’s start with a simple overview.
Although the marketing funnel is starting to fall out of use for newer “cycles”, the general idea is still the same. Just remember that the marketing funnel is a strategy tool, not an exact model of marketing and sales cycles.
- Awareness: This is where you introduce your brand to new audiences. Consumers might just be recognizing that they have a problem or pain point and begin looking for potential solutions. Marketing activities in this stage include marketing campaigns, social media, content creation, brand films, explainer videos, and more.
- Consideration: Consumers are now weighing the solutions available to them. Here, businesses need to be present and helpful as consumers research their options. Marketing activities in this stage include segmented email campaigns, case studies, testimonial videos, product review videos, and more.
- Decision: At the bottom of the funnel, consumers make their final purchasing decisions. Brands must convince prospects that their solution offers the most value. Marketing and sales work together to offer product demo videos, whitepapers, optimized landing pages, and other content that helps close the sale.
- Loyalty: After the purchase is made, it’s important to retain customers. Continuing to support and engage past and current customers increases repeat purchases, brand loyalty, and customer advocacy. Customers at this stage are incredibly valuable, because they provide word-of-mouth recommendations and ongoing support to your business.
Eventually, you’ll want to create video for every stage of the marketing funnel, but it’s best to start with just one. Think about where your business needs the biggest boost. Are you generating lots of leads organically, but losing them at the consideration stage? Then perhaps a mid-funnel video that helps your audience see your USP (unique selling proposition) is the way to go. Similarly, if you’re struggling to convert prospects into customers, you might create a bottom-funnel video designed to drive sales.
Once you’ve determined your video goal, you can easily identify the KPIs you’ll use to guide your strategy, creation process, and measure success. We’ll talk more about metrics and KPIs in step #8: measurement.
2. Understand Your Audience
As always, a thorough understanding of your audience is essential to creating successful content and maximizing your ROI.
Hopefully, you already have a detailed customer persona at hand. If not, it’s time to sit down and create one ASAP. These research documents answer important questions about your target audience so that you can create relevant content that speaks directly to them.
After all, you don’t want to go through the trouble of scripting, filming, and editing a great video to discover that you’re not engaging (or even reaching) your target audience.
Download our free customer persona template to jump-start your video marketing strategy.
3. Define the Scope
Successful marketing videos come in a massive range of production scales. For some businesses, a short, home-made smartphone video can achieve their goals. On the other hand, giant brands can invest anywhere between thousands to millions for multi-channel campaigns. Before you start creating your own videos, decide how much of an investment (time, money, resources, etc.) you’re going to make into each video.
A word of caution: more money does not automatically equal success. Production value is important, but it doesn’t replace a well-built video marketing strategy. In fact, with a bit of planning and ingenuity, you can create high-quality marketing videos on a shoestring budget; read guide here and get your free ______.
4. Start a Video Distribution Plan
Video can now live anywhere– social media, YouTube, your website, and even email marketing campaigns. The best practices and technical requirements for each channel differ greatly, so it’s important to identify your distribution channels ahead of time so you don’t run the risk of being rejected by your platform(s) of choice.
Your video goal and target audience will also guide your distribution plan. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where does your audience hang out? What sites do they visit regularly on their desktop devices? On their mobile devices?
- How do they get there? How do they get to their favorite sites– search engines, link aggregators, email subscriptions, etc.?
- Attraction stage videos: How do they find and discover the products and services like yours?
- Consideration stage videos: Where do they go online to research and compare products/services like yours?
- Decision stage videos: How do they prefer to make purchases? How can we make it as easy as possible for them to complete their purchase?
- Loyalty stage videos: How can you nurture your relationship with customers? What resources or information would give them confidence in their purchase and make them likely to re-purchase?
In short, you have a few options for video distribution: your website, key landing pages, video email marketing, blog posts, and social media.
Be strategic and selective by choosing channels that you’re most likely to achieve desired results. Consider how video will fit into your current marketing strategy. Where are you already successfully engaging your target audience? Most likely, no one’s going to see videos shared from brand-new social accounts.
It’s vital to identify distribution plans early so you can optimize your video for each of its intended channels (see step #6)
5. Develop Video Branding & Storytelling Tactics
Even if you’ve never created marketing videos before, it’s important that video viewers understand who is speaking to them. For top-of-funnel videos, establishing branding might be the primary goal of your video. But even if you’re focused on lower-funnel goals (sales, email sign-ups, etc.), it’s essential that your brand voice comes through loud and clear.
Use any logos, color schemes, or fonts you’ve already associated with your brand. Beyond the visuals, think about how your brand story, mission, and vision can shine through in your video messaging & storytelling.
In some types of marketing videos, you can use storytelling conventions to convey your brand and demonstrate relevance to your audience. For example, featuring a protagonist that reflects your target audience struggling with a conflict (pain point) that your business resolves takes viewers on an emotional journey that’s aligned with your brand mission.
Remember, it’s not just about entertaining or educating– it’s also about providing new information about you and your brand in a memorable way.
Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was one of the most successful rebrandings in recent history. By focusing on one lead character, speaking directly to their target audience, and consistently using a unique tone, Old Spice successfully reintroduced their brand to a new generation.
6. Maximize ROI with Channel Optimization
Creating high-quality videos is just part of the equation. You must also make sure your videos follow best practices for each of their distribution channels.
Optimizing videos by channel includes a mixture of hitting technical requirements and recommendations and using other marketing tactics (SEO, copywriting, etc.) to ensure your videos drive marketing goals. On the most basic level, video optimization ensures that your video will be accepted and work on each of your channels. At its best, video optimization improves your video ROI by supporting video with skillfully following each channel’s best practices.
Before we break down video marketing optimization by channel, let’s review the central techniques that work for every digital channel.
- Capture attention quickly. Research indicates that you have about 3-8 seconds to demonstrate your video’s value and grab viewers’ attention. Open with a hook that will persuade people to keep watching.
- Keep it short. Best video length changes by platform, generally, shorter (2 minutes or less) is better.
- Try out vertical video. Vertical video used to be perceived as totally amateurish, but that’s quickly changing. Depending on your distribution channels, vertical video might actually look better than traditional landscape.
- Anticipate viewers to watch without sound. Make sure your video works without sound so you don’t miss growing percentages of users on each channel that watch silently. Capture attention with motion and graphics and include captions or text so viewers can still follow along.
- Choose or create a compelling thumbnail. Thumbnails are small images viewers see before clicking to watch your video. Strong thumbnails communicate your video’s subject, your brand, and entice viewers to click-through to your video.
- Weigh the pros and cons of native videos. Native social videos always perform stronger than linked or embedded videos, but make it more difficult to direct viewers to your website or YouTube channel. Weigh the unique pros and cons of publishing native social video to your goals and marketing strategy.
- Keep it mobile friendly. Customer expectations of mobile experiences are rising as mobile usage increases across channels and industries. Make sure your videos perform well on mobile or risk viewers giving up on your content before they’ve even pressed play..
- Include “Video” in the headline. Capitalize on consumers’ preference for video content by highlighting it in your blog articles, email subject lines, and page descriptions to increase click-through rates.
- Follow best practices for each social platform. Just because video is the top-performing social content type, doesn’t mean you can ignore the best practices you follow for other posts (posting times, hashtag use, etc.).
- always include a call to action. Don’t leave viewers wondering what the next step should be. Include a CTA in the video itself, then feel free to repeat it in captions or descriptions.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of video optimization for the most popular video marketing distribution channels.
Video Marketing on Facebook
When distributing videos as a regular Facebook feed post or ad, don’t overlook the video description, which will serve as a sort of headline. Write an irresistible, easy to read description that will make users stop scrolling to watch your video.
If you plan to run your videos as ads, you might want to target people by device and network connection so you can be confident your ads will display well.
Facebook Feed Video
- Recommended aspect ratio: Facebook recommends either 1:1 or 4:5 for organic Facebook Feed posts. Different paid placements have different suggested ratios, as you can see on this aspect ratio chart.
- Maximum frame rate: 30 FPS
- Maximum file size: 10 GB
- Min/Max Length: 1 second – 4 hours
- Recommended length: 15 seconds – 3 minutes
- Recommended file type:264 video compression with AAC audio in .MOV or .MP4 format
Video Marketing on Instagram
Owned by the same company, Instagram video has a great deal in common with Facebook video optimization. The major difference here is the length: Instagram places much greater restrictions on file size and video length.
Bonus tip: If you plan to distribute the same video on Facebook and Instagram, you can optimize for both channels by using a vertical aspect ratio of 4:5.
Instagram Feed Video
- Recommended aspect ratio: square (1:1) or vertical (9:16 or 4:5)
- Maximum frame rate: 30 FPS
- Maximum file size: 30 MB
- Min/Max Length:5 – 120 seconds
- Recommended length: 26 seconds – 1 minute
- Recommended file type:264 video compression with AAC audio in .MOV or .MP4 format (same as Facebook)
Check out video specs for all other Facebook and Instagram video placements (including ads) at Facebook for Business.
Video Marketing on Twitter
When sharing videos on Twitter, keep it short and sweet. Things move quickly on Twitter, so you might want to pin videos to the top of your profile to increase video reach.
- Recommended aspect ratio: 16:9 (landscape or portrait); 1:1 (square)
- Maximum frame rate: 60 FPS
- Maximum file size: 512 MB
- Min/Max Length: 5 seconds – 2 minutes, 20 seconds
- Recommended length: 30 – 45 seconds
- Recommended file type: MP4 video file (also supports .MOV files)
Video Marketing on Pinterest
In addition to video optimization, don’t neglect Pinterest SEO to help your Video Pins appear in search results and home feeds.
- Recommended aspect ratio:
- For standard video: 1:1, 2:3, 4:5, 9:16 (vertical)
- For max width video: 1:1 or 16:9
- Maximum frame rate: 25 FPS
- Maximum file size: 2GB
- Min/Max Length: 4 seconds – 15 minutes (6-15 seconds recommended for ads)
- Recommended length: 30 seconds – 3 minutes
- Encoding:264 or H.265
- Supported file types: .MP4, .MOV, .M4V
Video Marketing on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a rising star in the world of video marketing, allowing B2B marketers to captivate audiences with compelling video content. Just keep your video’s tone and imagery in-line with the professional atmosphere of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Shared Video
- Supported aspect ratios: 16:9, 1:1, 9:16
- Maximum frame rate: 60 FPS (30 FPS recommended)
- Maximum file size: 5 GB
- Min/Max Length: 3 seconds – 10 minutes
- Recommended length: 30 seconds – 10 minutes, depending on goals
- Recommended file type: .MP4, H.264
Video Marketing on YouTube
Many businesses use YouTube to host their videos and leave it at that. YouTube can be used to host your videos, but it shouldn’t be treated like a junk drawer where you just throw your videos in without a rhyme or reason. Remember that YouTube is just as much a social network, with its own marketing opportunities and advertising best practices.
Recommended aspect ratio: 16:9
- Maximum frame rate: 60 FPS
- Maximum file size: 128GB
- Min/Max Length: or 12 hours
- Recommended length: 2 minutes – 15 minutes (depending on search intent)
- Accepted file type: .MOV, .MPEG4, .MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, WebM
Video Marketing on Your Website
Videos on important website pages, landing pages, product pages, or blog posts can drive traffic and increase conversions.
First, you’ll have to decide if you want to self-host your videos or embed them from a third-party platform (like YouTube). Most businesses choose not to self-host because it’s expensive and can really slow down streaming and loading times, tanking your SEO. On the other hand, embedding videos from external websites can unintentionally encourage viewers to leave your website with their “watch next” features. Decide which is best for your business.
You’ll also want to practice some basic video SEO optimization so that besides delighting visitors, your videos drive more web traffic. A few easy ways to improve your video SEO include: inserting a video transcript, compressing video and thumbnail files, making the video the focal point of the page, writing compelling titles and meta descriptions, and publishing only one highly relevant video per page.
Finally, format your video appropriately for its exact location on your website:
- Landing pages: Consider adding an animation at the end of your video to direct viewers attention to the next action they should take. Avoid auto-playing your video, because it often causes visitors to bounce (immediately leave) your web page. Instead, try to entice visitors to click “play” with your copy, page design, and video thumbnail.
- Product pages: Follow the best practices of your e-commerce platform to make sure your video is clearly visible, easily played, and works within the product page.
- Blog posts: Adjust your video size to fit the width of your blog so it sits naturally on the page, rather than sticking out or looking too small.
Video Email Marketing Campaigns
Combining the power of video with the steady power of email marketing can generate some seriously impressive results.
The biggest challenge of email marketing is the variety of email clients– it’s just not possible to optimize your email design for Outlook, Gmail, Mailbox, iOS Mail, Yahoo! and five other email clients. Luckily, email experts still recommend the following best practices for video email marketing:
- Optimize for the majority. You can’t win ‘em all, but you can optimize your emails for the most frequently used email clients used among your subscribers. Marketing software can help you figure this out, or you can look over your list to see the most popular domain names.
- Use an animated thumbnail. Using animated GIF thumbnails grabs attention and earns more clicks than standard image thumbnails.
- Reduce thumbnail file size. Keep your file sizes low to avoid triggering spam filters and slowing down load times.
7. Testing Makes Perfect
No matter how educated they are, any guesses about what will resonate with viewers are still just that: a guess. Because all exceptional marketing relies on data and insights, testing is an essential step to any video marketing strategy.
Split testing (or A/B testing) is a powerful way to learn which elements of a video work well and what needs improvement. There’s no limit to the number of factors you can measure with A/B testing: video length, calls to action, thumbnails, channels, post times, caption/video description, music, etcetera. The more testing you conduct, the more opportunities you gain to improve this video and future videos.
So before you take out your camera, identify at least 1 or two variables you can test to refine your video marketing strategy.
8. Measure for Success
It’s all too easy to get swept up in vanity metrics like view count. Instead of focusing on that single metric (which might not be that relevant to your video’s goals), refer back to goals and KPIs you set for yourself in step one.
Here’s a brief overview of common video metrics and when you might want to closely track them:
- View count: Your video’s reach, or how many times your video has been viewed. Track this if you’re hoping to increase brand awareness. (Just keep in mind different platforms calculate views differently.)
- Video completions: Refers to how many times your video was watched from start to end. Some find this metric more helpful than view count to measure success.
- Completion rate: This is the number of people who finished your video, divided by the total number of people who played it. Low completion rates can signal that your content isn’t resonating with your viewers.
- Play rate: Play rate is the percentage of people who watched your video, divided by its total impressions. This metric can show how well your thumbnail, description, and other supporting content are succeeding at persuading visitors to watch your video.
- Social sharing: Measuring social shares can be a great indicator of how relevant and valuable viewers find your content. Social shares are also good to monitor if you’re hoping to reach lots of people.
- Click-through rate: CTR is the number of times your CTA is clicked, divided by view count. This is the second-most important metric to measure if your goal was to increase conversions, after conversion rate.
- Conversion rate: The first metric to track in videos designed to increase conversions, this is the number of times visitors converted, divided by CTR.
In addition to these metrics, don’t forget to check in video performance on each social media platform. Use this information to decide which networks are right for your video marketing strategy.
Finally, keep an eye on metrics and views throughout your video’s life. Unlike fleeting social posts, videos can have life spans of weeks, months, or even years. By tracking and comparing video engagement over time, you can refine your strategy and understand when it’s time to update older videos.
Now that your video marketing strategy is finally ready, let’s spark your imagination by checking out 17 common types of marketing videos used today.
17 Types of Marketing Videos for Small Business
Branded video content has evolved greatly since the days of traditional video commercials. As you decide what type of marketing videos to make, it’s helpful to visualize your video marketing strategy using the marketing funnel.
Top of Funnel Videos: Awareness
- Brand Films
Brand films showcase a company’s mission, values, larger goals, and the soul of your brand. Brand videos can give a look behind-the-scenes, showcase your company culture, provide entertainment, and so much more.They’re a powerful way to introduce yourself to new audience members and begin building brand awareness, recognition, and loyalty.
- Round-Up Videos
The video equivalent of “listicles”, round-up videos present themed lists, like “The 5 Best New York Pizza Places” and “10 Must-Have Travel Accessories for Long Flights.” Round-ups are quick and entertaining, and help viewers associate your brand with the related experiences, solutions, and activities.
- Expert Interviews
Interviewing experts or thought leaders in your industry builds trust and authority with your target audience. Recognizable figures can also attract new audience members and build brand awareness.
- Explainer Videos
Yep, you guessed it– these videos explain your product or service. They’ll also explain why viewers need it by drawing attention to a problem they (probably) have and exactly how your business solves it.
- Educational / Instructional Videos
Many people watch videos to learn something new. Creating educational videos is a great way to provide value to your audience, while offering fundamental knowledge that will help them better see the value of your business and solutions.Middle Funnel Videos: Consideration
- Video Emails
Adding video to your marketing emails can totally change the game. With video emails, you can combine the personalization of email marketing with the attention-grabbing power of video for increased open and click-through rates.
- Product Demos
Product demos show consumers how your product works and how it will benefit them. These can take the form of virtual product tours, unboxing videos, or showing a physical product being put to the test.Bottom of Funnel Videos: Decision
- Testimonials & Product Reviews
Testimonials & product review videos can build trust and credibility while showcasing benefits. These are very persuasive when consumers are choosing between different options while shopping because 95% of consumers check online reviews before making purchases (Spiegel Research Center). Working with influencers to offer samples in exchange for reviews is a tried and true tactic for creating compelling testimonial & review videos.
- Tutorial / Instructional Videos
Besides explaining how your product/service works, these videos help potential customers visualize themselves flourishing, thanks to your business.
- FAQ / Q&A Videos
All the way down at the bottom of the funnel, leads are looking for those last few answers they need before they can make their decision. Identifying these commonly asked questions and addressing them in videos provides proactive customer service and helps prospects feel confident in their purchasing decision.
- Personalized Videos
These videos use AI, user data, and statistics to create custom video messages. These can be remarkably effective because they capitalize on two of the biggest trends in digital marketing–video and personalization.Post-Purchase: Loyalty
- Thank You Videos
Connecting with your customers after they’ve made a purchase is a great first step towards creating a meaningful connection and building brand loyalty.
- Product Training Videos
Ensure customers feel supported even after they’ve purchased by providing video tutorials on how to use their new product or service. This goes a long way towards improving the customer experience and building loyalty.Non-Traditional Video Formats
- Animated Videos
Animation provides more flexibility, which is especially helpful when you’re trying to communicate abstract or intangible ideas.
- 360° & Virtual Reality Videos
360° videos arrived on YouTube in 2015, and allows people to explore the video in all directions on their desktop or mobile screen. VR (virtual reality) videos use headset technology to provide truly immersive viewing experiences.
- AR (Augmented Reality) Videos
AR videos add a digital layer on top of real-world picture or video. Think of Instagram’s filters… the filters impose AR elements on top of the images and videos users capture with their cameras.
- Live Video
Live video is increasingly popular on social networks, drawing longer view sessions and higher engagement rates. These can include anything from live-streamed presentations, events, behind-the-scenes tours, and more.
We hope you’re not feeling too overwhelmed right now. Video marketing can be intimidating, which is why (despite its obvious value), only x percent of small businesses use video marketing. With the help of our resources here at Success Envy, you can become a video marketing pro, no matter your company size or budget.
Even when following efficient, modest production approaches, video marketing still demands a substantial slice of your content creation budget. Creating a rock-solid video marketing strategy and improving it over time with testing results maximizes your ROI.
Now that your video marketing strategy is in place, you’re ready to start planning, filming, and editing your first video. Head over to our guide to creating high-quality marketing videos on a tiny budget. Don’t wait any longer—make video a major part of your marketing strategy today!
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