By now, we’ve all become quietly (or loudly) familiar with the idea of content marketing. It started with words, then pictures and rapidly progressed to include all other forms of content that marketers could get their hands on.

And if a picture says 1,000 words, then a video says a whopping 1.8 billion (according to recent studies). So although you may have blogging and graphic design down to a fine art, what are you missing out on by not tapping into the power of video marketing?

In this article, we are going to break down everything you need to get your video marketing strategy up to scratch for the year ahead.

From questions to ask yourself before you begin, to an in-depth breakdown of the various forms of video, we’re going to talk you through the key components that will help you create a video marketing strategy that sticks.

Believe it or not - video marketing has been around since 1941 but with such a wealth of content available to the world’s 2.9 billion smartphone users, paired with their ever-decreasing attention span, your first foray into video marketing can seem like a daunting idea for any business owner to try to overcome.

So let’s start by getting all your marketing ducks in a row with important questions to answer before you go into production:

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Who is your target audience?

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of planning, it is important to first establish who exactly you want to watch your videos. For example, if your product or service is aimed towards new or expectant mothers, then the style of video you need to make will be very different to the video used to market to young, single socialites in their early twenties. That’s why having a clear idea of who you want to watch your video, and indeed those who your video will actually reach will dictate the way you storyboard, plan and release your video.

What is your goal?

By using video as a marketing tool for your business you have the opportunity to speak directly to your audience and convince them to take your desired action. Do you want to attract new leads? Get existing customers to make more purchases? Or do you simply want to create better brand recognition? A few short years ago, GoPro and their cameras were relatively unknown - until they decided to utilise the unique selling pointing of their product and delight viewers with high-octane footage and therefore increase brand awareness. These videos showcased the quality of their product as a result led to 30+ million cameras flying out the door and into the homes of people looking to emulate the amazing footage that their videos depict. By setting a clear goal before putting your video marketing strategy into action, you will not only have a point of reference to keep you focused throughout your project but also provide the flagstone in which you can measure your strategy’s success.

What is your budget?

As with all elements of your business, you have to be realistic when determining the resources and money that you have behind you. By setting a budget for your video marketing strategy you can determine the creative resources that you will need, where you can post your videos and how much money you can put into your video’s paid promotion. If you’re part of a multinational company then hiring a film crew could be a great way of producing high-quality and engaging videos that resonant with your viewer. But if a Hollywood budget isn’t in your company’s plan, there are plenty of resources online that can help you create an engaging marketing video for your business. Design Wizard’s online video editor, for example, has thousands of video templates that can be customized and broadcast to your audience for as little as $4.99.

Where and when will you post your videos?

Once you have established a budget for your video marketing strategy, selecting the platforms on which to publish your video will become a lot easier to determine. But before you get to the ‘when’ of posting, you need to establish the ‘where’. Each video publishing platform has its own strengths and weaknesses so it’s important to know what each platform has to offer before beginning video production - especially when it comes to determining how long or short your video will be. To make things easier, we’ve created this handy graphic that breaks down the time limits in place on each platform: But just establishing the ‘where’ isn’t enough to ensure success. Reaching people at the wrong time could affect how they receive and retain the information that your video conveys. Thankfully, however, there has been a tonne of research done over the last number of years into the best time of day to post content online. So let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you want to upload a 2.5 minute video to Instagram at 2pm on a Tuesday - that isn’t going to work for many reasons. Firstly, because Instagram caps a video upload at 60 seconds, unless you choose to utilise their new IGTV feature. Secondly, studies show that if you want your video to get noticed on Instagram, the best time to post is on a Wednesday at either 10am or 10pm!

What will constitute success for your business?

If you are looking to attract new prospects, then an increase in traffic and time on your website is a good marker of success. If you are looking to increase repeat purchases, then an increase in revenue or subscriptions may constitute success for your video marketing strategy. Fortunately, the insights and statistics needed to define your video marketing strategy’s success are available to analyse on all of the major publishing platforms and we will dive into those metrics in a little more towards the end of this post. Even with the best video marketing strategy, without a great video hosting platform, all your team’s time and efforts would be undermined. In fact, there is nothing that would negatively affect your viewer's engagement more than slow loading videos

Explainer Videos

A great way to kick off your video marketing efforts is to go ‘back to basics’ with an explainer video. You may know your product or service like the back of your hand, but what key selling points that you want your viewers to know? Some of the best marketing videos are those that the time to illustrate exactly how a company came to be and leave viewers with a clear idea of what they can expect when they purchase your product or service. The shorter your explainer video is the better! Take Stitch Fix’s brilliant 30 seconds explainer video for example: Stitch Fix is an an online subscription and personal styling service that takes the hassle out of shopping. Their 30 second video is to the point and talks its viewers through the process with little to nothing left unclear surrounding their subscription service.

Tutorials

Now that your viewers have gained a basic knowledge of your product or service, it’s time to move them down the funnel. Tutorials, whether written or recorded, have been a marketing must for years. Not only do they give you a chance to move engaged viewers further down the funnel, but also allow you to address specific areas of your business in a bit more detail. Tutorial should be concise with little jargon and don’t have to have the production value of other formats such as interviews or customer testimonials. In Design Wizard’s ‘How to Add Images’ tutorial, you’ll see that the video is only 45 seconds long but adds practical value for Design Wizard users looking to create better designs.

Users Generated Content/ Customer Testimonials

We’ve already talked about allowing potential customers a glimpse behind the brand but what about the people how love and use your product/ service everyday? Getting real customers to participate in the creation of a video for your business can result in an engaging piece of content that is sure to peak interest in your brand. Companies such as Pampers, Freshbooks and workplace favourite, Slack have all harnessed the power of customer storytelling to create emotional, funny and most importantly engaging videos for their video marketing campaigns. You can do this in a few different way but for this piece we’re going to focus on the most successful - by reaching out to customers, as Slack did, asking them to contribute clips which you can then edit into a 1/1.5 minute long video compilation with an overarching narrative that speaks to your company’s values. By handing the power of storytelling over to the team at Sandwich Video, Slack were able to create a humorous video that shows just how much easier office communication can be by using their instant messaging system.

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Webinars

If you want to establish your company as a thought-leader in your industry, then short-form video may not cut the mustard when it come to effectively communicating with your target audience. While a lot of work goes into marketing and organising a webinar, typical webinar viewers have a longer attention span when compared to more common video formats - 54 minutes more to be exact. A great example of a company that has used webinars to their advantage is HubSpot. As a SaaS company that provides a platform for businesses to manage their sales and marketing activities, they have used the webinar format to not only improve user experience but also establish themselves as marketing and sales experts. HubSpot has a webinar for almost every sales and marketing techniques - from the science of webinars to (you guessed it) video marketing! By teaming up with Wista and Blueleadz, Hubspot were able to provide 60 minutes of highly-relevant content and wrapped it all up with a crucial Q&A section.

Live-Streaming

The beauty of live streaming is that you can make any of the above mentioned videos - except live! All the major social media platforms have rolled with the rise of live content by launching live streaming capabilities that have proved a hit with consumers. Live video above all other types of video allows your business to be more authentic and human. There is a vulnerability that comes with live streaming that is almost guaranteed to endear you to your viewers - if done correctly! The devil in the detail so making sure everything is in place before that red light starts flashing is key. There are plenty of resources available to first-time live streamers so do a quick search and see if you have everything on your livestreaming checklist before you get set up. A brilliant example of a well organised and executed live-stream is that of Martha Stewart and Home Depot in which they streamed a sneak peak of The Martha Stewart Living Holiday Collections which was available exclusively in Home Depot. Although Martha Stewart is veteran on American screens, notice the detail that went into the layout of the set, the flow of the conversation and the products they highlight in the 35 minute Facebook Live. Everything has been carefully prepared to allow for minimum disruption during their live stream.

Video Optimisation

Just like all other content for your business marketing efforts, videos need to be optimised in order to maximise visibility. But no need to worry, video optimisation isn’t as scary as it seems. Keyword research is crucial and there are plenty of useful guides online to help you make sure your video doesn’t fall at the final hurdle. Top tip for video optimisation: Remember that optimisation starts as early as naming your file so remember to include your primary keyword in it before uploading it to your platform of choice.

View Count

You’ve optimized your video and hit the upload but what next? Now it’s time to take a look at how you’re going to determine whether all your hard work has paid off by looking at your metrics: While view count may see like a pretty self-explanatory metric, there is quite a bit to unpack when it comes to truly understanding this metric - especially if it’s lower than your goal. Although recent studies show that video is more likely to appear of user’s newsfeed, having a user click on your video is not enough to get your view count on the up and up! While the likes of Snapchat and Periscope count views through initial clicks, other social media platforms such a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram won’t count a view that is shorter than 3 seconds. YouTube has perhaps the toughest criteria with a 30 second viewing needed to count as a view. So bring yourself back to Slack’s customer testimonial video that we mentioned a few moments ago - with a whopping 1,087,110 views, it’s pretty safe to consider their video as resounding success!

Engagement

While engagement in the realm of email marketing, for example, may be your open rate, when it comes to video marketing it has a slightly different definition. Engagement, in the world of video marketing can be measured in two ways: average view duration and average completion rate. On the surface this may seem similar to your view count metric - I would argue that is metric a better indicator of success. While view count is anywhere between 0-30 seconds, view duration or completion rate show the most engaged viewers. Those who were interested enough to watch the majority if not the entirety of your video.

Social Shares

The more your video is shared and commented on, the more it appears on other people’s newsfeed. It’s as simple as that. Not only will social sharing help increase your reach but it will also allow you to gain further insights on your target audience. Are people writing negative or positive comments underneath it? Are they tagging their friends? If the answer is a resounding no to those questions, then something isn’t working and you’ll need to revisit it in order to improve your results. You’ll see when you take a deeper dive into Martha Stewart and Home Depot’s live-stream that they’ve amassed a staggering 7k reactions and 1,296 shares on the platform. And while those may seem like a lifetime away for your business, it’s all about the information that can be deducted from these numbers!

Click-through-rate

The idea of click-through-rates should be a familiar one to any business owner looking to drive traffic to their website or generate quality leads in numerous areas of digital marketing. As previously mentioned, if the main goal of your video marketing strategy is to increase traffic to your homepage or specific landing page, then the CTR on your video will be your main point of reference when it comes times to determining whether your strategy worked or not. Your click-through-rate is a stepping stone to helping to increase your business’ conversion rate. After all, a lead has to view your product page in order to execute the action that will ultimately convert them into a customer!

Conversion Rate

Creating a killer video is great and can be a lot of fun, if done correctly. But if your video is not bring in new prospects or customers, is it really working? Your conversion rate can be measured in a lot of different ways, depending on what the desired action was when viewers clicked the link in your video. Did you ask viewers to sign up to your newsletter? Or did you go hell for leather and ask them to make a purchase? By measuring the increase in newsletter sign-ups or revenue, it will become pretty clear whether you achieved the goal you set at the start of your video marketing strategy.

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And there you have it - everything you need to create the perfect video marketing strategy for your business, from start to finish.

Well begun is half done, as they say. By creating a clear and concise strategy with distinct start, middle and end, it will help yourself and your team remain focussed as you embark upon your first video marketing campaign.

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