There’s an undisputed truth in today’s marketing landscape – Gone are the days of relying exclusively on text and static images to communicate, connect, and engage with your audience. Now, people prefer video over any other form of content, and both marketers and business owners are doing a great job leveraging that fact.
Video content presents a lot of opportunities to structure, plan, and nurture leads’ progression on their journey – Especially if you are following in the footsteps of skilled video companies who know the game inside out.
That said, the medium’s versatility can be a double-edged sword: While some videos excel at accomplishing a given marketing goal, they might not be the best choice for another.
Long story short? You need to understand when and how to use the right type of video to give your audience what they want when they most need it and get the results you are after.
And that’s what we are going to talk about today.
Marketing Funnel 101
Whenever a customer is thinking of making a purchase, they go through a process often called the “buyer’s journey,” which incidentally matches the stages of marketing funnels.
In a nutshell, this journey is a series of steps your prospects take from the moment they realize they have a problem until they get the solution. Depending on which stage of the funnel they are in, they’ll need to hear different things.
To successfully guide a potential customer through that process, first, you need to know them.
If you want to craft a funnel that sends the right messages through compelling content, it’s essential to understand your audience’s challenges, what drives them, and above all, what their needs are.
Once you define those elements, you can start using effective content to lead your prospects further through their journey, and towards your solution. Typically, that involves three main stages:
- Awareness Stage: Your prospects have just realized they are dealing with a problem. In marketing, we say they are cold. And that’s why you should offer them effectively, educational content that can help them have a better understanding of their problem. Make sure to grab your prospect’s attention while becoming a reliable source of information. Now is not the time to be overly sales-y, that’ll come later.
- Consideration Stage: Your prospects are well aware of their problem now, and have started looking for a solution. They are warm now. Which means they are evaluating their options, educating themselves, and that research led them to you. But your prospects aren’t sure about you yet, so this is the perfect opportunity to build up your brand and show them that you are truly unique and reliable. Most importantly, that you have exactly what they need.
- Decision Stage: Okay, it’s showtime! Your prospects know who you are, and they are hot – almost ready to commit to a purchase! However, they are trying to decide between you and other options – that is, your competition. So, their doubts and concerns are more specific, and you need to deliver the right information if you want them to choose you.
The Sales Funnel Through Video Content’s Lens
Now that we are on the same page about the customer journey, it’s time to jump into the different types of marketing videos that fit each stage’s goals best!
- Awareness stage: how-to videos, social videos.
- Consideration stage: explainer videos, product videos.
- Decision stage: commercial videos, customer testimonials, company story videos.
Probably one of the most popular types of videos online, these are essentially educational pieces centered around a step-by-step explanation of a process. Since they are highly informative, how-to videos have to be simple and clear, especially when the topics involve sensitive or complex information.
How-to videos are perfect for using at the top of your funnel when you want to position your brand as a reliable reference in your niche. How-tos are perfect to showcase expertise, and also help you nurture consumer trust in your products and your brand.
The great thing about these videos is that you can cover a common problem with a fresh, new approach – which gives you a perfect opportunity to develop fun, helpful, empathetic, and easily shareable videos that your prospects will love!
Take, for example, this video created by Adobe to explain how to create an animated GIF using Photoshop in just 59 seconds!
Even though they can be a little bit of everything (sharing traits with other types like explainers or ads), social videos are perfect for boosting brand awareness, increasing your social media presence, and generating more engagement toward the rest of your content.
There are a few essential things about social media videos you should be aware from the get-go:
- They are short. In fact, the shorter, the better. Audiences’ attention spans tend to decrease with each passing second. So, you have to create compelling, eye-catching pieces that capture your audience’s attention within the very first couple of seconds.
- As far as the content comes, you can choose any topic you think is relevant to your audience and your brand. However, there’s a trifecta you should take into account: social videos should entertain, inspire, and inform.
- Because people often scroll through social media in sound-sensitive environments, consider adding subtitles or closed captions to your videos. This will encourage your audience to watch your video even if they cannot turn the sound on.
Look at the following example. Instagram is full of recipes and how-to pieces, but this is a perfect combination of entertaining, informational, and inspirational content!
Original Post: Instagram
Explainer videos are the darlings of most marketers and business owners. They are highly relatable, easy to figure out, and super popular with most audiences.
As the name implies, these types of videos are used to illustrate the “what,” “how,” and “why” of a business idea, a service, or a product, in simple and engaging ways – Which is the reason why explainers work so well in the consideration stage.
Embedding it in a landing page, adding it to a YouTube channel, or including it in other media campaigns, like email, explainer videos help you increase conversions, boost your website traffic, nurture your leads, and generate brand awareness. Most importantly, they do a great job at advancing potential customers to the latter stages of their journey.
However, for explainers to get results, there are some key elements you should take into account:
- They are, by definition, short. Even though it will vary depending on the topic or idea you are trying to get across, a standard explainer video shouldn’t last more than 90 seconds.
- Choose a pain point and develop your video around it. To create a more effective connection, mind your target audience, and aim at a specific pain point.
- Whenever you are addressing a problem, you want to make sure that your audience feels that your company cares for them. By being empathetic, you’ll bring your prospects closer to your brand.
Pro-tip: Even though you can choose to use a live-action video, if you really want to take your explainer to the next level, you’ll probably want to use animation. Animation makes it easier to create interesting characters and appealing visuals that help you convey your information, regardless of how complex or out-of-this-world it can be.
Take, for example, this cool whiteboard animation – a type of explainer video – that tackles the difficult topic of clinical trials.
Given that they revolve around the uses and benefits of a product or service, these videos can help you increase trust and understanding in your offerings – motivating your prospects to move forward in your sales funnel and nurture your lead generation process. Especially for eCommerce businesses.
To be effective, these videos should focus on showing your product in use with clear instructions – especially for complex topics or IT solutions. This way, your audience can get a better notion of your product’s benefits and practical functions.
Having said all that, you shouldn’t forget to convey a solid message about your brand’s identity so your prospects can get a better sense of who you are, and why they should trust you.
Here’s a great example of a video showing the product being used in different situations, while still getting a nice story across.
If anything, commercial videos are nothing BUT sales-y, and that places them squarely in the decision stage.
For brands, it’s the moment when they roll their sleeves up and start to advertise what they are selling candidly. And that’s why they work so well for prospects that are in the third stage of the journey; they clearly try to encourage consumers to choose them over others!
In their structure, these videos are short and mostly focused on showcasing a single product feature, a concept, or an important brand value. So, if well implemented, they can boost your view counts, help you increase brand awareness, and generate more leads.
The following example is an oldie but a goodie: “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” by Old Spice. And that’s precisely what makes it so effective – it’s memorable. Even after all these years, people still remember it, and for a brand, nothing can top that!
Testimonials are meant to bring assurance to an undecided prospect, and they usually excel at it. There’s nothing more convincing than a satisfied customer singing praises about your brand!
A solid testimonial video helps you humanize your brand, increase trust, and boost your sales by getting your leads closer to sealing the deal. However, like any other live-action video, a customer testimonial will be effective only when it feels genuine.
It’s important that the prospect trying to make the right decision feels identified with the person behind the camera. So make sure that the customer included in the video addresses a pain point and then explains how your company came to save the day!
Check out this cool Hootsuite testimonial that emphasizes the collaboration between them and one of their clients.
Company Story Videos
Company story videos are great to build trust and attract new customers. In essence, these videos don’t focus on your product or services. Instead, they revolve around your brand’s values, purposes, beliefs, and the people that embody them.
By using storytelling through video, you can connect with your prospects on a more intimate level. The combination of beautiful visuals, music, and an empathetic narrator helps them engage more quickly and more effectively with a message that should be made to feel personal.
Another key element of company story videos is to display uniqueness and personality. There’s no other brand like yours because, behind any company, there’s always the people that make it work, and each person is unique! So, focus on telling that authentic story – yours!
For an example on how to do it right, look no further than this animated video produced by Starbucks, where they explain how their special coffee blends are created. Not only does it tell a nice story, but it also displays one positive value: curiosity!
Even though video is a versatile and flexible medium, the truth is that each type of video has special characteristics that can help you achieve certain goals better than others. Some of them can help you to educate your audience, others to increase your social media presence, and others to build trust in your products and close a deal.
However, not only you need to understand how they work and what makes them so effective – You should also take into account your audience’s behavior and their needs throughout their buyer’s journey so you can deliver content that will reach them.
Luckily, a solid and planned video marketing strategy that includes some of these videos can help you do just that and much more, generating all the benefits that come from advancing your prospects forward in your sales funnel.
Take the time to plan out your strategy, focus your energy on the types of videos that can get the results you are after, and the effects will be swift.
Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.