Video is a persuasive medium and has already established itself as a fact of life in online advertising. But it is also rapidly becoming a popular content format for the later stage marketing and sales process. In fact, your marketing and sales team will be at a disadvantage in 2015 if they don’t have a minimum of four videos in their tool kit.
We’ve broken the buying process down into four distinct stages: Awareness, Consideration, Decision and Delight. You may use different labels, but here is how video can play a key role at each buying stage.
Stage 1: Awareness
Marketing owns the awareness stage. Sales reps know they won’t get their chance to sell if your brand doesn’t acquire mindshare. At this stage, the prospective customer is just recognizing a problem and its impact. They may not know solutions exist. This is your opportunity to make them aware of your existence and why your brand may be a fit for something that is on their mind.
Video communicates beautifully. It shows “we get you.” It shows “you’re not alone.” Video communicates that solutions exist, allowing the potential buyer to envision a problem-free future -- one with which your brand can be associated. In this stage, the types of videos that tend to be effective are often “teaser” or “edutainment” in nature. They provide the viewer a core brand promise and refrain from giving too much information at once, or pouring it on too thick.
Below are specific examples of videos that work well to create awareness and early interest.
Edutainment is about making learning fun. Sometimes people aren’t ready to buy because they don’t even know they have a problem. Or maybe they are trying to solve a known problem but going about it in the wrong way. An edutainment video is aimed at this early-stage buyer who needs help or advice. It asks a relevant question, demonstrates the answer, adds a dash of expertise, flaunts your capacity or scope, and gives evidence of your deep audience understanding.
Thought Leadership is another type of video that builds awareness, but these are intended to be inspirational in nature. Think TED talks or other conference fare. Again, these videos are not designed to directly promote your company or products. They are about promoting your people – the stellar internal talent you have available that differentiates your company. Your job here is to engage your audience in the world of ideas. We’re talking thoughtleadership, not market leadership. Share a totally original thought or worldview. Buck a popularly held trend or opinion. Prove someone or something wrong. These are just a few ways to show thought leadership and get people inspired. Don’t forget to link or share videos of your company’s leadership in all their public appearances.
Curated List videos offer tremendous value to viewers because you are eliminating the need for them to spend time finding and accessing the data you’ve compiled. The International CES (built on uStudio technology) includes not just many recorded sessions from the conference, but also 10 Curated List videos that introduced viewers to innovation in categories such as the New Startups, IoT (Internet of Things), Wearable Tech, Personal Security, and more.
Promotional videos have their place, too. Kept short and sweet, they can introduce potential buyers to your brand, products, or services. Think of these promos as a movie trailer. They need to be tempting enough to cause someone to want to see the whole movie, but don’t you dare give away the whole movie in the trailer. Try validate a buyer’s pain or igniting a latent desire and then hint at the solution without giving away the farm.
Stage 2: Consideration
A buyer will explore several paths to reach an objective. The alternatives considered may be direct competitors or entirely different ways of solving a problem or reaching a goal. If a business website is needed, for instance, the shopper may look at hiring a developer to build one from scratch or using a prefab website-in-a-box solution. Consideration videos can be broad, focusing on why a certain way of solving a problem is best, or they may be specific, focused on why your company uniquely stands out among competitors who solve the problem in a similar way.
Virtual Tour videos let buyers take a digital test-drive of your product or service. If you’ve ever purchased a home or shopped for a vacation package, you’ve probably taken a video tour. But even if your product isn’t a physical one, you can still deliver a great tour with video. The key is to show viewers what they should expect. In some cases, 100% of your video may focus on the product itself. In other cases, you may want to show the product in use or being enjoyed. The better you understand your audience, the more targeted your tour will be. A virtual tour such as this one hits the highlights of an offer.
Product Slideshares make for relevant content at this stage and offer a more convenient option than the scheduling and technical headaches associated with live webinars. Like a webinar, these introduce a potential customer to a product, solutuion or knowledge expert within your organization and show how well the speaker understands common problems. Like Thought Leadership videos, this is a good way to surface the talent in your organization and help prospects make a human connection early in the buying process.
Customer Case Study videos are popular in the consideration stage. As a baseline, they provide proof that your products and services have a track record of delivering the benefits promised. But more importantly, they capture a feeling state of what it is like to do business with your company or interact with your brand. These video testimonials can be extremely effective when done right, so don’t miss out on our recent post: From Prep to Polish – Best Practices for Filming Customer Case Studies.
Explainer videos present deeper information about particular aspects of your competitive differentiators. Ensure that your video script anticipates the objections that skeptics might raise, and answers these objections succinctly, with plenty of proof. You want your viewer to experience the thoughtfulness of your approach, and feel that s/he can explain your solution’s superiority.
Stage 3: Decision
To save time and effort, most buyers narrow the list of options down to “the short list.” Some buyers focus solely on price, others on quality, others on Word of Mouth recommendations. Business buyers may ask themselves, “Is this a company I with whom I want to do business for years?” This is the stage where it is critical to know if the key differentiators to your customer are objective (e.g. price) or subjective (e.g. brand preference). Depending on what your customer values, you may opt for:
Meet-the-Team videos introduce prospective customers to your employees. They put a human face on a brand or set of products and contribute to the feeling state of not just buying an affordable product but being in buinsess with a company that your enjoy doing business with. This is true for B2B and B2C. Customers often want to know that a company or brand shares their values, operates ethically, or employs people they find simpatico. Use these videos to help customers get a sense of who you are and what it feels like to be part of the same team.
Live Screen-Sharing Demonstrations can “connect the dots” between your buyers’ pains and your solutions. This works best when the buyer needs a tailored solution for a specific use case already identified on a discovery call. Cover all details and don’t forget to answer frequently asked questions, whether they surface naturally or not.
Interactive Experience videos let customers explore your company or offer(s) on their own time, navigating deeper content as they see fit. The customer is in the driver seat. You are empowering buyers to get what they need, and guiding appropriate actions along the way. Interactive videos turn audiences into collaborators.
One-to-One “Video Voicemail” gives your prospective buyer that “personal touch” that can make or break a deal. With a webcam or smartphone, your sales representative can address last-minute concerns, and benefit from the added credibility of face-to-face communication. Plus - if more than one contact at your buyer’s company needs reassurance– it’s faster and easier to record a message once and deliver multiple times, versus trying to schedule a time when everyone is available.
Stage 4: Delight
While many people would end the buyer’s journey once the contract is signed, at uStudio we insist that the journey has just begun. If your business is subscription-based like ours, then you know that you have to win your customers’ business month after month and year after year. Or - even if you are not in a subscription business - you want to sell existing customers more products at a later date. Every customer is a potential brand ambassador, so why stop sharing when the sale is made. Keep nurturing!
The following types of videos will help you and your customer get where you want to be.
Training and “How-To” videos help everyone get their job done efficiently and effectively. A short “how-to” video will make a customer’s day (or night, or weekend – especially if they need something without delay). Being able to pause, rewind, and zoom into visual instructions is a life-saver on a deadline.
Customer Success videos create community among your client base and inspire customers to use your products and services in creatively. Customer Success videos can be the same “case study” videos you already produced for the Consideration stage or User-Generated videos that your fans created.
Brand Love videos exist to surprise and delight customers, illustrating your team’s creativity, personality, and genuine gratitude for their loyalty. This is a chance to make your customers feel proud to be associated with your brand, just as you are proud to be helping them meet their goals.