How to Develop a Video Marketing Strategy and Why

The evolutionary process of communication en masse went from writing and reading, to capturing still images and then on to moving images or videos. The same pattern is being played out in the digital space. Leading brands around the world now use written content, stills and video to drive their message home. It is relatively easy to develop marketing strategies for writing and pictures but not so for videos. Videos are more expensive and time consuming than the other two options but it is becoming more and more important to include in one’s overall communication. Therefore, planning a good video marketing strategy is super important.

To stress the importance of video, Facebook Inc, CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself was quoted saying “I see video as a mega trend” and is part of the reason why Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram have been pushing features like Facebook Watch, Stories, Instagram TV and the latest feature in line with their vision for the future – Instagram Reels. In addition we have live streaming, interactive 360 videos, augmented reality, documentaries and more to engage with for videos. In the United States alone, the digital video marketing industry is touted to be worth $135 billion. This is because brands, celebrities and influencers are increasingly realising the value of video and investing in strategies for its creation and distribution.

Video content is more likely to drive a higher impact and is adaptable to several platforms, be it Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, Linkedin and more. Being that video is the most popular format of online content it is also shared more than any other form of content.

It is understood that before creating a commercial you would research and strategise with a plan; a video marketing strategy should be approached the same way. Typically, it would include your budget, timelines, production processes, conversion metrics and some other stuff. Having said that, coming up with a basic strategy doesn’t need to be complex, you could use the following guide to get you started on what type of video you need and how to distribute it:

  1. Video Goals

The very first step of creating a video marketing strategy is to pen down the objective you’re looking to meet with your videos – what are your goals? Ideally, you should have videos for each marketing funnel. However, you could start by deciding which stage is currently the most important and thereby the audience you should be targeting. Depending on that you may want to create content for:

Awareness: This is where buyers realises they have a problem and present the challenge as an opportunity to you. These videos should simply attract users and serve as an introduction to you and/or your brand to potential clients and make them aware of the product or service you offer and attract new audiences.

For this stage, you could create commercials highlighting your product or service, in line with your brand’s mission. You could also create explainer videos that help break down difficult to understand concepts that could be distributed on social media. Educational videos are also a great way to help your audience with their problem, know your industry and lead to your brand or company and how you solve the problem.

Consideration: Your potential buyer is looking for a solution to his or her problem and is searching for reliable, cost-effective brands online. You need to keep putting out informative, engaging content reminding them why you are the one to choose over other players in your field. The main objective at this stage is to embed the fact that whenever they think of their problem, they immediately associate you or your brand with the solution.

In order to provide social proof, Testimonial videos are a good way to place interactive and visually engaging reviews. A product review video is a good way to showcase your product and the problems it takes care of. It is similar to a commercial but has a more in-depth breakdown of how the product works where you can highlight features that are uniquely yours. These videos hold more credibility since it is usually someone outside your company providing insight. Another simple but effective approach are FAQ videos where you provide detailed answers to questions your potential customers may have addressing all their apprehensions as clearly as you can.

Decision: If you’ve kept track of your prospective buyer’s journey with consistent communication, this is the stage where they are close to making their final purchasing decision. This is also when customers are most likely to be volatile so bombarding them with irrelevant content – have a clear message with a clear call to action.

Personalised videos include using specific case studies, stats and figures along with quotes, demos, etc. It may even include reward bonuses on purchases, like incentives and rebates – whatever may help sway their decision in your favour. Tutorial videos demonstrate a step-by-step guide of how to use your product or service, more importantly, they help potential customers envision themselves using your product. You could also resort to before and after videos to effectively show the benefits of using your product or service.

In addition, you could also create internal videos to motivate your team or highlight the working culture at your organisation in order to attract new recruits.

  1. Your Target Audience

The videos you wish to create should be done keeping in mind the specific audience you’re looking to target. Here again, the purpose of your video plays an important role, depending on which you get a clearer picture of who you should target and how. Otherwise those that should be watching your videos won’t and those that do watch it will not convert. Hence, be clear about who your intended audience is.

You need to create your buyer’s persona and this is usually done during the product development stage. More often than not, the people you want to sell to are also the people you want to reach with your videos. A defined buyer’s persona in place helps zero in on your target audience. To wrap up your target audience strategy just have the following information in place.

Who is your product or service for?

Hopefully, you already have this sketched out. This information should include details of your customer’s age, occupation, hobbies, interests, marital status, and more. If you don’t already have a buyer’s persona in place you could very easily create one. Take demographic information – age, gender, location and income. Add personality details such as hobbies, what do they read and/or watch? Where do they shop? Consider the challenges faced by this persona and why they should be interested in your product or service. Consider also what would keep them from purchasing from you. Fill in these notes as much as you possibly can so as to tie together your brand and your customer.

Remember, you may come up with more than one persona and that probably rings true. It is likely that there is more than just one type of person in need of your services.

The research you do should also help filtering information like the preferred method of communication your audience uses – i.e email, search, social media, forums, etc. For example, older audiences are more likely to use Facebook than millennials. The latter may resort to relying on visual data more, therefore it makes more sense to target them on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

While email is a great way to communicate with customers, oit may not work in acquiring new ones. To reach new audiences, be sure to use great SEO-backed pages where your videos are posted. For sites like YouTube and Vimeo you could consider paid advertising for better reach.

Most platforms allow for targeting which you could use to narrow down who you think your content should be consumed by. Search marketing uses specific keywords instead of personas for targeting which still helps in thinning the herd according to intent.

Specified target audience for your video marketing strategy could bring more views, more impressions, improved engagement and most importantly more sales.

  1. Create and Stick to a Timeline

In order to track how much you’ve done and what’s left to do, always create a timeline and try to stick to it. It is crucial for every member of your team. Just know that marketing, production, social media and so on may have their respective timelines to follow. Hence, you may require multiple timelines running simultaneously.

Making a video production and marketing strategy is easier to create when you know the stages to the process of production. Before the creative planning stage – where the idea for your video is formulated – you will need to research and decide on the type of video you require and your target audience, depending on your marketing goals.

Gather all the decision-makers and stakeholders to begin the creative process to brainstorm ideas. If you’re consulting a video production agency or freelancers they help you with all of this but you will need to give them some idea and direction of the story and communication you’re looking for in order to come up with the right messaging. The more specific you can be, the better it is for them and faster.

Moving into the pre-production phase, your production calendar and script is created. This is also where your talent is hired and locations are scouted for, finalised and booked. The advantage of hiring a production agency is that they take care of all of this with you having to put in very little time and effort. This process can be complex and takes several tos and fros before everything is definitively concluded. And sometimes, even after the best planning, unforeseen occurrences could stall progress and dates may need to be pushed about. So be flexible and understanding with the agency and your own teams involved, after all it is a joint effort vested with everyone’s best interests.

Production itself usually takes just a day or two – this includes filming shots, b-rolls, recording voice overs (VOs) and dialogues and behind the scene footage or BTS. Of course, longer, in-depth videos will require more than a day or two on set/location. When it comes to interviews make sure the interviewee has been scheduled accordingly and save time by keeping a checklist of props, makeup, wardrobe requirements and other utilities.

Once you’ve collected the footage from the shoots along with the VOs, etc. then starts the post-production phase. This includes everything from sound editing to colour-corrections to create the required feel and messaging of the video. Editing itself takes a couple of days, depending on the project and workload of the agency you hire. Once the first-cut of the video is ready, your team or agency will expect feedback and notes for edits to be made. This process goes back and forth a few times hence it is best to keep plenty of time for this and remember to keep the video team as priority in this.

While you could distribute the content as soon as you receive it, it is better to map out a distribution calendar so as to optimise your video’s reach. Social media distribution may not require more than a few days for distribution but if you’re looking to pitch it to news agencies or PR firms it would take more time than that. Give your web developers, social media and paid advertising teams enough time to execute the content publication strategy.

The beauty of video is that it has a longer shelf-life than other formats of content, this enables you to repost and share your video periodically. Depending on the video, you could even divide one into a series to use as promos or just for the sake of quantity.

  1. Maintain a Budget

Depending on whether you want an animated video, mini-docs, lifestyle videos or would just like to use stock footage, the price-tag varies. So consider your budget before you decide on the type of video you want in tandem with the aforementioned points of objective and target audience.

Shop around, ideally, you should approach more than just one agency or freelancer and ask how much they would charge for their services. Approach script writers, sound editors, video editors, DOPs, VO artists, social media distributors, etc. and compare their prices against one another. Of course, you do need to consider the quality of work they offer. Again, the advantage of hiring an agency is that they have all of the required skill and man-power you need and you only need to deal with one person as a point of contact. Agencies are usually happy to furnish any information you want and guide you to others who may be better suited, if they can.

  1. What is your story?

You know the goal you’re trying to achieve with your video, you’ve worked out who you’re going to target and how, you know the kind of approach best suited for your brand, you’ve even put together a timeline and budget. Great! Now what? Now, get your story together.

First and foremost your story needs to make sense on paper before it’s captured on camera. Start conceptualising the idea of the story you’re trying to tell. The objective is to keep inching toward your creative goal when you start developing your story, whether it is to create brand awareness or empathise with your audience.

A simple framework to use would be to have a protagonist who is aligned with your target demographic. Show conflict – meaning, the problem or pain point that you take care of. Then introduce your quest, your brand, product or service and the resolution you offer to solve said problem. Once the broad framework is in place, you can start with the visuals and aesthetics that your audience will ultimately connect with. Some crucial things to remember when noting down visual components to tell your story include colours, location setting, props, graphics, animation, text and lighting.

Consider the emotions you’re looking to draw from your viewers when crafting your story. Are you trying to be funny? Should viewers be happy or inspired by what they see? Whatever the objective, keep that in mind while scripting because thereafter, everything in the video – location, colours, props, wardrobe, dialogues, etc. – should communicate that.

Ideation is all fine and dandy but you do need to execute accordingly too. You could materialse your ideas in-house or you could opt for an agency to help bring your ideas to life, either way, be realistic. Going the agency way means you get help for every step of the way. Full service marketing agencies could even help with building your brand story. Else, you could piece together every element of your project yourself and hire a film crew only.

Video marketing is continuously growing, meaning more and more people and brands are investing in content and strategies to distribute it. Having said that, don’t jump the band wagon just for the sake of it and have your voice lost in all the noise – stand out and be heard.

Videos are a great way to give your audience a glimpse into what you and your business or your clients do. It is important to go beyond considering just the product and profit. Rather, share your philosophies or offer valuable information to them that shows them scope for embetterment and positive changes. Do your best to create videos that your audience would like to watch and share and most importantly, make content that you’re proud of.

Written by Craig Craneburgh