Unless you’ve been living in Jeff Bezos’ private zoo for the past decade, you’re probably well acquainted with the meteoric rise of online videos. If you’re a marketer, you’re probably just as familiar with the proliferation of video as a vehicle for selling products and promoting brands online.
At its core, online video marketing isn’t that different from advertising on television. You’re searching for the right combination of visuals and audio, the right balance of storytelling and branding to grab your audience’s attention and leave them with a good feeling about your brand — or, in some cases, to spur them to buy your product on the spot.
Sitting at the intersection of digital marketing and content marketing, video marketing is ubiquitous — open up any social app and you’ll be bombarded with brand videos.
So what’s the attraction for marketers? And how does a small-business owner, or a marketer with no experience in digital video, create a video marketing strategy that works for their business?
The growth in online video marketing has been driven in large part by the decreasing effectiveness of traditional TV commercials.
Millennials and Gen Z consumers have abandoned traditional TV in favor of social media and streaming video, and they’re not going back.
In seeking to ride the demographic shift, social channels are compounding it by pivoting to video-first platforms, prioritizing video-friendly features like Instagram Reels. Meanwhile, the cost of producing video has been falling consistently, with high-quality video cameras built into smartphones and (you know we’re going to say it) apps like Descript that make it easier to produce high-quality video content faster.
If you’re a marketer, you probably need to be producing videos to promote your brand. But like anything, the results won’t come from just doing it. You have to do it well, and do it smart. Here’s how.
How to create a video marketing strategy
Before you make any videos you of course need a concrete plan. Creating a video marketing strategy boils down to answering three key questions:
Who is your audience
Where does your video sit in the marketing funnel?
How will you measure your video’s success?
Know your audience
As with any marketing effort, you need to know who you're targeting. And just as you would for an ad campaign or a content-marketing plan, you’ll want to create customer personas with key data points like median age, income, and gender.
In addition, you’ll want to do some research to try to ascertain what kind of videos and content appeal to your target demographic. Are they into comedy videos? Cooking tutorials? That will be important when you get to the creative stage.
Know where your video sits in the marketing funnel — and how to measure success
The marketing funnel is the thing that helps you pour the marketing without spilling it all over the counter. It can also refer to the step-by-step process that guides a potential customer toward a purchase. There are several parts to this funnel, and each serves a different purpose in your strategy.
The very top of the funnel. It’s where you introduce your product or service, raise brand awareness, and grow your audience. To measure success, keep track of the number and duration of video views.
The middle of the funnel, where you build trust in your brand. You do that by offering the video viewer something valuable to them — information, insights, or entertainment. It’s thought leadership 101. Measure success by looking at the duration of views, followed by clickthrough rate.
Conversion sits at the bottom of the funnel; it’s where you convert a viewer into a customer. You’ve made them aware of your brand and earned their trust. Now you’ve got to get them to buy. New-customer discounts, free trials, and other special offers can do the trick. There’s only one metric that matters here: sales.
Types of video content marketing
Once you have a content strategy, you’ll need to decide what types of marketing videos to make.
The oldest form of video marketing. Basically, they're short, high-production narratives that highlight your company's selling points to increase consumer awareness.
As the name suggests, social videos are created for and posted on social media. Think of platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, to name a few. In general, they're fun to watch, quick to play, and designed to be shareable as possible.
Explainers are a prevalent form of online media that show viewers how to do something. It could be tutorials on your product or parts of your customers’ workflow.
Product videos are similar to commercials, with a little dash of the ol' explainer. Instead of raising brand awareness, however, you're focusing on demonstrating or showcasing, or both, a single item.
Testimonials are case studies from happy customers. In a testimonial video, they often explain their problem and how your product solved it. They’re credible and powerful.
Editorials overlap with content marketing. Usually, they're full-length videos designed to tell a story or provide analysis on a particular topic they find unique or interesting. They highlight a company's expertise, too.
Lastly, infographics are animated or partially animated videos that explain an abstract concept in a visually appealing way.
How to make a video for your business
Making video is complicated and a little fraught — if things go wrong in the early stages, it can be difficult to recover and finish with a satisfactory outcome. It would be difficult to list every step of that process here. So we’ll break it down into three essential parts: pre-production, production, and post-production.
It’s all about planning here. You’re marshaling your marketing strategy, audience research, and goals for the video, then scripting and storyboarding, and lining up the resources you’ll need to make your video.
This is the recording stage You might be filming on a set, screencasting software, or animating a series of graphics.
Now you have to edit your footage, polish it, and publish that video to a hosting platform. Then you need to promote it on social media and track your metrics.
A quick word on quality for marketing video production
Although it may be tempting to slap a video together quickly — and if you spend a few minutes on YouTube you’ll see tons of videos produced that way — you should be very careful about skimping on quality. There’s a place for low-production-value videos that convey authenticity, but publishing a poorly conceived video will do your business more harm than good — it won’t attract the viewers you need, and you’ll end up wasting a bunch of money on production.
Remember, you should always:
Do your market research
Know where your video will reach your audience and how it will resonate with them
Invest in equipment that allows you to maintain higher production values
Reserve some budget should go toward post-production editing tools, too.
Choosing the right video marketing tools
If you’re doing all of your editing in-house, you’ll want a tool that can help you or your team achieve high production value. Something that can record your screen, edit clips, add transitions, effects, subtitles, and other elements.
Fortunately (here we go again!), Descript can do all of that and more.
Descript was designed with individual creators, freelance marketers, and small-business owners in mind. So you can quickly and easily edit your videos without spending weeks learning new software or spending a fortune on complicated tools, all while maintaining big-studio standards.
Other tools you should invest in:
A social planner
Whatever content you’re putting out, you’ll want to have a backlog of that content to queue. You’ll also want to schedule it to post on social media automatically.