Fact: Most marketers and business owners need to urgently rethink their video production processes.
Important note: You’re not about to dive into a full page of video marketing statistics or read for the 1,000th time that “this coming year will be the year of online video”. Neither read that you should create a Youtube channel, start vlogging or be on Snapchat. If your idea of video marketing limits to that then you’re seriously missing the point.
I’ve been working in the video industry for a decade now, in various roles and verticals. My feeling is that most marketers, business owners and production houses are stuck to an old, simplistic and usually inefficient framework when it comes to producing video for the digital age.
The Traditional Video Production Process
First, let’s take a look at how it has been done for the past few decades:
1. Animation Workflow
Client Brief > Pre Production > Script > Storyboard > Voice Over > Animation > Sound Design > Delivery
2. Live Footage Workflow
Client Brief > Pre Production > Script > Shoot > Edit > Audio Mix > Delivery
There are obviously variations in the workflow, adapted to the scope of each project, but let’s stick to these for argument’s sake. There’s nothing strictly wrong with them: they’re common workflows and you will receive what you’ve asked for - as long as if you’re clear about your needs and have a good supplier.
However, what most people don’t realise is that limiting your production process to this could create a myriad of problems in your marketing: a video that doesn’t resonate with the right buyer persona, or that doesn’t have a defined goal in your sales funnel, or that isn’t formatted to the platform in which it will be played, and that most probably won’t generate the results you expect.
The vast majority of businesses simply make the decision that they need a video, get a few random, sporadic productions done, upload them to Youtube or Facebook, slap them on their homepage and call it “video marketing”. If that’s what you’re doing then please stop wasting your budget.
Smart companies are well aware of how much the consumer behaviour has changed with the advances in technology, and the accelerated pace of those changes force us to constantly adapt and rethink how we operate in a highly competitive market. For that reason it has become crucial to reshape the traditional video production process if we want our message to reach the right audience and ultimately convert viewers into customers. Applying the Inbound Marketing principles to video production is the way we prefer to approach it:
The Inbound Video Marketing Methodology
Buyer Persona > Buyer Journey > Video Opportunities > Traditional Video Production > Distribution Channels > Monitoring & Reporting
Let’s break the process down:
Step 1: Buyer Persona
The first stage of the process should be understanding who you’re talking to. We like to use the Buyer Persona framework as it gives us a deep understanding of who the audience is, how do they think, what are their problems, needs or possible barriers to convert. It’s an important starting point since we should avoid making every interaction with visitors being about you or your company or asking them to buy from you.
Also, you might have more than one Buyer Persona. If you tailor your message to each one of them it will be much more effective. And if you have limited budget, you might consider starting with the one that will bring the biggest revenue.
Step 2: Buyer Journey
You should also have a good understanding of your digital sales funnel and what are the paths to conversion. Effective videos are the ones that not only target the right people, but also the right time. Analyse your website, conversion points and landing pages. Think about how far are your prospects in your sales cycle (or how close they are to convert) and create videos having the ultimate goal of moving them down the funnel.
At this stage you should also think about the appropriate metrics and benchmarks. If you’re tapping into the Top of the Funnel, the number of views and likes could be considered against your own previous attempts, for example. This could give you an indication of the topics your visitors might prefer so you can increase your efforts around similar issues.
If you’re benchmarking against other players in your industry, keep in mind that they might have bigger budgets or followers base than your company. It’s good to keep an eye on them, but one of the best ways to benchmark is against your own previous attempts as businesses are commonly at different development stages in their video marketing journey.
Step 3: Video Opportunities
Now it’s time to brainstorm the specific steps in the buyer’s journey where video could be helpful to your business and how to approach it. Map out the main video opportunities, prioritise and decide how you can best allocate your budget.
A Top of the Funnel video could be short and answer the top questions related to your industry, without mentioning your product or service. This would attract and educate people that have a problem but are unaware about your business, building authority in your industry. These visitors are not ready to buy yet, but you’ll become the go-to company at a later stage.
For those visitors in the Middle of the Funnel, you could create a high level animated explainer about your service or product. It aims to influence those that are researching and considering different solutions to their problem. These tend to be slightly longer without getting into too much detail to avoid losing visitors' interest. They usually stay around the 90-sec mark.
At the Bottom of the Funnel you’ll find the prospects at the decision stage. They are considering a very limited number of options to solve their problems. You could engage them using a video case study to build social proof (a third party validation) and use a detailed animated product demo to help them make the right decision.
Step 4: Video Production
Only after gathering all that vital information you should start the production of your videos. At this stage you should have much greater knowledge and clarity about the “who”, “when”, “what” and “why” of your videos. You’ll be in a better position to start then if you had jumped straight into production as it’s traditionally done by most marketers, business owners and producers.
You might feel tempted to skip the previous stages and jump straight into the “fun” part, where you can see it all coming alive, show it to your team and have everyone excited about it, but I urge you not to do so. Please step back and make sure to include this complete workflow in your production. You’ll end up saving time, budget and have a more efficient return of your investment. And feel free to send us a thank you email later, we’d love that! :)
Step 5: Distribution Channels
Another problem with the Traditional model is that it usually finishes with a client with a video collecting dust on Youtube, for example. We believe it’s crucial to place the video on the correct place: being it a landing page, newsletter or appropriate social platform so you can maximise the benefits of your investment.
If you have a downloadable e-book, por example, you could extract some of it’s elements and build a short animated teaser to improve conversions on your landing page. If you’re raising awareness, an option could be uploading it to Facebook and creating a targeted paid boost so it can reach your Buyer Persona. There are numerous ways, but always remember to make an effort so your video can reach its intended audience.
Step 6: Monitoring
The last step is an ongoing process and it’s one of the advantages of digital over traditional broadcast: tracking your results over time. After all, your videos will become long-term assets that work continuously for your business. Who’s watching them? What topics is your audience looking for the most? What kind of answers are they seeking for? What could be stopping them from contacting your sales team? What’s driving the most conversion on your landing pages?
This vital business intelligence gathered will arm you when you decide to start your next production, but it is also vital feedback to improve your product or service. This data is extremely valuable to understand how to act next, being useful for your product development team, customer service, sales, business development and many other departments in your company.
Totally sold? Yeah, I thought so. I hope that by now you understand that crafting a powerful and effective video marketing strategy should go beyond the traditional model or social media fads.
Inbound Video Marketing principles should be at the core of what we do if all of us - marketers, business owners and video producers - want to create better videos that deliver results.
What do you think about all of that? Please drop a comment bellow. If you’d like to learn more about Video Marketing download our eBook.