How video can send ordinary marketing 'viral'
A good story is always 'shown rather than told', involving elements of visualisation, imagination and feelings - which is exactly how video media can be used for effective marketing campaigns that aim to 'go viral', according to Ingrid Froelich of SDL Web Content Management Solutions.
Everyone loves a good story, and how better to tell it than through video? Given the choice between reading a paragraph of text and watching a few seconds of well-crafted video, most web site visitors will instinctively choose the video.
Unlike the text, the video can evoke emotion and create a connection with the viewer through its combination of words, voice, image, music and movement. Marketers today are already experiencing the rapid rise of video media in the marketing mix. Until recently, video was the domain of big businesses with huge marketing and production budgets - or of YouTube video stars with mass appeal.
Recently, however, video has become more accessible as a marketing tactic as video tools have become cheaper, coinciding with bandwidth becoming much cheaper in most markets, almost to the point where it is no longer even a consideration.
At the same time, while the 'sex appeal' of a video is undeniable, it can seem like yet another thing to add to the marketing checklist, after the web site, SEO, email, social media and other digital channels. But marketing is about providing a value-added experience that translates into higher conversion rates, so the payoff is worthwhile.
Using video can help you create a definite sense of 'brand impact' through increased interactivity and visual stimulation, so consumers experience a more memorable online experience. And, by showing off your existing customers through video testimonials, you can demonstrate product benefits and USPs (unique selling points), thereby adding both a face and a personality to your organisation, products and brands. Using existing web-based video technologies and tools, lead generation is even possible within videos, thanks to 'overlays' and embedded web links that enable calls to action while the visitor is watching the video.
Types of marketing video But, despite lower costs overall, production costs can still be high and there are many types of video to choose from. Marketers therefore still need to think about what a video can really add to their existing marketing mix. For example, different types of video can address different stages in the customer buying cycle, so having a specific goal in mind can really sharpen the effectiveness of any such initiative.
Some of the most commonly used video types include:
- Entertainment & Advertising We all know these videos, because these are the ones that most commonly pop up in your inbox or RSS feeds with a "you gotta see this" message. Frequently this kind of video has a simple message with high brand impact. Creative and innovative, these types of video catches our attention simply because it creates an emotional reaction and frequently, laughter.
- Promotional or Showcase These kinds of videos are frequently associated with the launch of a product or as supportive multi-media content on a product page. They often have a sleek sexiness and focus on evoking customer desire to purchase. Messaging should be simple and highlight the key product or service benefits that compel visitors to purchase. The key is that they should be succinct and memorable.
- Customer case studies Who better to talk about your product than a happy customer? Expressed by someone your visitors can relate to, video case studies can be a great way to describe the business pains your product so effectively solves.
- How-to videos Short instructional videos can provide a valuable quick-start for many customers who'd much rather see how you use something than read through the much-dreaded user manual. These kinds of videos can even reduce customer service costs since it allows customers to 'self-service' based on their direct needs.
- Information, lectures or presentations Aimed at your more cerebral types, these videos can provide a more in-depth look at issues or trends for your business. An influential and well-spoken speaker can raise the perception of your organisations subject matter expertise and raise your status on the product selection 'short list'.
- User generated content (UGC) Both bane and benefit to marketers, user-created videos can have a huge impact on the general public's perception of your organisation, products and services. They seem to be the videos we can't control and frequently express fierce and unexpected loyalty to a product or harsh damning criticism. Some smart organisations have turned this on its head through contests, rewarding submitters with national coverage. Some of these home-shot videos can have a higher impact than those with even the highest production value, since they seem to offer an impartial view.
Video marketing best practices Like any new tool or tactic, a certain amount of deliberateness is necessary to create great results. When devising a video plan, here are seven best-practices to consider:
- Target audience Reflect your target audience profile through language choice, tone, image and music so that your message resonates and creates a memory.
- Time Your audience's time is precious. Match the length of your video with actual value. Every frame counts. Recommendations typically fall between 90 to 120 seconds.
- Message Make it prominent and clear. While the temptation is to say more, think about messages that can best be conveyed visually.
- Passion No one ever says, "I just saw the most boring video - you should check it out!" Your video should create an emotional response. Make it matter.
- Title and thumbnail This goes with message and passion, but people decide whether to watch a video in a split second. Well-chosen words and the best possible image from your video can help them choose.
- In-house or external This is a budget issue - remember that videos last - especially if you've created something successful. It may make sense to budget for someone with some video-expertise to make the most of your initiative.
- Social media Spread the word. A well-crafted video is an incredibly powerful draw, so let the world know that you're proud of your creation.