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Although every business has its unique set of marketing challenges, all those challenges seem to stem from one root cause: the changing behaviors and expectations of today’s buyers.
Customers want a sense of connection with brands, and most of that now happens digitally. They want to learn and engage on their own time, and they expect friction-free experiences when researching new topics or learning about vendors. They rarely want to block off time to speak with real people, yet they expect and crave a sense of personal connection to what your company does, and how.
In response to those shifting trends, video has emerged as a powerful content format for marketers. It offers new ways to show, rather than tell, how your product or service can help, and it can create more meaningful connections and earn the trust of buyers before they ever engage your sales team.
And, it can do all that in an on-demand format that respects the time and preferences of today’s online audiences.
Effective video content marketing focuses on the unique attributes of video that can make it more useful than traditional static content—what I refer to as the 4Es of video.
The 4Es of Video
Video is the best way to educate audiences who are searching for answers throughout their buying journey.
Video can explain complex topics, and it’s more consumable and memorable than static content. In fact, the human brain processes visual information much faster than it does text.
You can use video content to clearly answer questions your audience may have, visually demonstrate how to solve a problem, or walk people through your product or service in a way that is clear, concise, and memorable.
Put your own preference to the test: If you wanted to learn about how a product works, would you prefer to read a guide, talk to a sales rep, or watch a demonstration online?
Video is a great way to engage audiences, pull them into your story, and maximize their content consumption time.
Video uses visuals, audio, music, and creative storytelling to give audiences something relatable that piques their interest. Using video, you can create suspense, stimulate curiosity, and offer a tremendous amount of value in a short time.
And that doesn’t apply just to video advertisements and promotions; you can make any topic more engaging with a thoughtful approach to visual storytelling.
Video content can stimulate an emotional response from someone who is experiencing your brand for the first time—or coming back for more.
Whether it’s a fun and creative social video, an inspiring interview, or a highly relatable customer story, invoking an emotional response will increase the chances that online audiences and consumers will come back for more content.
Video can showcase empathy and create a human connection that goes deeper than messaging alone.
Empathy is important at every stage of the buying journey, as well as when potential buyers are looking for trustworthy answers to the questions they have. A short video featuring one of your employees, or one of your customers, clearly explaining a complex topic beats any text-based article for showing you truly understand your market and can relate to your buyers.
Using Video Content to Align Your Strategy With Buyer Expectations
Inbound marketing and content marketing have become a staple of modern marketing programs.
The premise of inbound marketing is to publish helpful online content as a means of attracting new visitors to your website, as opposed to using paid advertisements and other forms of “outbound” media to vie for their attention. The content you publish is typically aligned with the most common questions your prospects may be searching for, or the topics they need to learn about while researching possible solutions.
But the role of content has now expanded well beyond inbound marketing. To meet new expectations of the “on-demand” buyer, marketing teams are becoming responsible for an increasingly large portion of the customer lifecycle.
Those trends have spurred another important shift: the diversification of content mediums used to reach audiences, and the expanding role of content throughout the customer lifecycle.
When learning about new topics, particularly in the world of B2B, most people will choose to interact with a variety of content formats for both passive and active learning. Blog posts, guides, social media content, videos, explainers, podcasts, and even Clubhouse chat rooms may all play a role in how today’s buyer self-educates and gets exposed to ideas and potential vendors.
As they dig deeper into potential solution providers, buyers increasingly prefer to consume on-demand, self-service content to better understand what vendors offer. Though that call with the sales rep may still be required at some point, most people prefer to learn on their own time for the majority of the consideration and decision phases of a buying journey.
That is exactly why savvy tech brand Marketo swapped its “Talk to Sales” calls to action on its website with ones that say “View a Product Tour.” After doing so, the conversion rate on its website increased more than 1,000%. Engagement time on the website skyrocketed, and the time to qualify a new lead was shortened six-fold.
Of course, once prospects do become customers, their preferences don’t suddenly change; and the way you treat them shouldn’t, either. Well-planned onboarding videos and FAQ content can play a significant role in helping your customers realize value quickly and get off to a quick start.
Equally important, video content marketing demonstrates that you’re willing to put in the time and resources to deliver the best possible experience for your customers.
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It’s an on-demand world, and business is becoming more and more virtual. The role of content is more important than ever: It is used to market, sell, and support your customers, and to do it all at scale.
And if your content strategy embraces rich media formats such as video, you’ll find new opportunities to educate your prospects more quickly than ever, engage them with on-demand content that connects on an emotional level, showcase your empathy, and transform satisfied customers into raving fans.