Digital marketing moves so fast, sometimes it can feel next to impossible to keep up.
As soon as you’ve got your website optimized for SEO and you’ve started blogging regularly, you’ve got to create a vibrant and engaging email strategy. Once you think you’ve got a handle on your email list, suddenly it’s time to tackle all those social media channels. And don’t even get me started on landing pages, lead magnets, and conversion rates.
Of course, these things don’t happen one right after the other – it’s actually worse, because they happen all at once.
With so many marketing priorities already competing for your attention, video marketing can feel like a nuisance – just one more thing demanding your already precious time.
But video isn’t just one more thing. In fact, if you haven’t heard, 2016 is the year of video marketing. Brands who don’t start harnessing the power of video marketing will miss out on greater results, potential customers, and ultimately, sales.
“Okay, okay,” you’re saying. “I get it. I know how important video marketing is… but I have no clue how to get started.”
Well, this guide is for you. From the Explainify office, we’ve watched video grow from a niche digital offering to one of the most powerful forces in modern marketing – and we don’t want you to miss out!
That’s why, in this guide, we’re going to show you:
- Why video marketing is so powerful – and why it’s not going anywhere soon.
- How much you should plan to spend on video.
- How to pick the right production partner – and work with them to get the results you want.
- How video drives measurable value to your business (ROI alert!).
- How to develop a full-funnel video strategy for more traffic, more leads, and more sales.
Let’s start with the big picture.
1.) Why Video Marketing?
This question may seem elementary, but we’ve actually found that there’s not a lot of clarity around the importance – or the significance – of video.
So, a bit of background. A great foundational way to think of online video marketing – is as a logical replacement for broadcast commercials. There are a couple of reasons why online video is such an ideal substitute:
- Choice: Consumers can choose to watch – or not watch – an online video. And in this world of on-demand, consumer-driven media, your audience is going to be much more receptive to your message if they have the option of engaging, rather than being forced to listen.
- Measurability: Unlike broadcast TV, online video marketing is incredibly trackable and measurable. With broadcast, the most you can hope for is exposure – getting eyeballs on your ads. But with online video, you can measure views and engagement, turn video into a conversion point, or use it to collect emails as a lead magnet. That’s a digital marketer’s dream!
For these reasons, video marketing has exploded over the last decade – and it shows no signs of slowing down. For example:
- 52% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
- 76% of marketers plan to use video to boost their brand awareness campaigns.
- 96% of B2B companies are planning to use video in their content marketing over the next year.
- Consumer internet video traffic will go from 64% in 2014 to over 80% by 2019.
In other words… online video is still a rapidly growing trend, and it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Video is also the place where brand positioning and audience engagement meet. You can say more with video than you can with image or text alone – and it gives your audience a living, moving look into your brand.
Video is your content marketing main course – it brings all your side dishes together. But just like a meal, people don’t just want the main course – they want the full experience. They still want your blog posts, your webinars, your bite-sized social content. So you can’t lean on video marketing as the end-all solution, but as a powerful piece of a larger whole.
Now that we’ve established a strong foundation regarding the importance of video marketing, let’s talk numbers.
2.) How Much Should I Plan to Spend on Video?
If there’s one question we get asked more than any other at Explainify, it’s about cost. Everyone wants to know how much they should be spending on video. Which makes sense – you want to know that you’re finding the right balance of quality and value for your organization.
Of course, there are some really compelling reasons to do a great deal of your video marketing production in-house. It’s easy to produce content more frequently, and it’s cost-effective.
But at some point, you may want something high-end. You’ll want animation, or you’ll want actors, or you’ll want beautiful custom videography.
When that happens, you’re going to want to bring in the professionals.
But knowing who to bring on board is difficult. And it doesn’t help that there are so many options to choose from today.
When we started Explainify, there were just a handful of video marketing agencies – now, there are hundreds of production companies out there.
And they all come with radically different price tags: Some may offer to make you a great animated video for under a thousand bucks – while higher-end live-action production teams will only take on projects for $100,000+.
That’s a wide playing field. So how do you choose the right company – and the right price tag?
First of all, you should not settle for cheap, low-quality marketing videos. When we talk about the production companies out there that we love and respect, we’re really talking about the top 10. If you’re not concerned about quality or brand perception, these companies are not for you.
But you should be concerned about these things. Like your website, video is a chance to make a great first impression on your potential customers.
If you’re meeting a new client or you’re going on a first date and you ask to meet them at Taco Bell – what are they going to think?
They’re going to think you’re cheap, they’re going to notice the refried beans and cheese stuck in your beard, and you’re probably not going to see date or business meeting #2.
Taco Bell is great – we love a good Fourth Meal – but it’s the same with video. You can get video on a budget, but it’s not going to represent your brand well – and in fact, it may turn viewers off to your brand.
Plus, if you work with a low-budget company – let’s say they charge $3,000 for a video – you’re going to work with an animator, and maybe a project manager. That’s it. Their only goal – and their only capability – is to get you a video. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s not a lot of input on the backend to make sure the video they’re making is delivering the right message in the right way.
And because these companies are offering such a low entry point, they often work with dozens – maybe even hundreds – of clients at a time. Their client experience can feel a lot less like a partnership, and more like an assembly line.
Remember Taco Bell? You get your food there and you always feel like you have to check the bag on your way out of the drive-thru – just to make sure they got your order right. It’s the same thing with these low-budget production companies. They may get it right, but it’s really just a roll of the dice.
However, if you work with a truly great video agency, there will be all these other people contributing to the final product.
Sure, you’ll get a talented animator and a wonderful PM, but you’ll also have access to a team of copywriters, art directors, and strategists who are helping inform your video in terms of messaging, positioning, and creative best practices.
They’re going to draw on tons of research, experience, and collaboration with you to make sure that the video they create is perfectly tailored to your target audience.
They’ll create a video that’s perfectly branded, positioned, and produced.
And that’s what takes video from being a commodity or a tool, and transforms it into a piece of your strategic arsenal.
So you can pay less for a video that doesn’t get you results – or you can pay more to get an agency-level product that will actually do something for your brand.
By now, we’re hoping you’re getting the point: you shouldn’t be looking for a discounted price or a bargain-bin explainer video.
A lot of you reading this are entrepreneurs or small-business owners, and the name of the game is bootstrapping it. We get that – we’ve got the same mindset at Explainify.
That’s a virtue, doing more with less, getting the maximum value at the lowest price. It’s a big part of what makes you great at what you do.
But when it comes to video marketing, this mindset just doesn’t translate very well. At the end of the day, you’re paying for a business tool, yes, but you’re also paying for a craft good, a work of art created specifically for your company by a team of skilled, highly-trained creatives.
Now, here are the hard numbers on video cost:
- If you’re just looking for a video – with no regard for quality, branding, or messaging – you could get something reasonable for $3,000-$5,000.
- But if you want a video made by extremely innovative animators, dedicated analysts, and project managers who also only work with a limited number of clients so they can focus on you? You’re looking at closer to $15,000-$20,000.
- And if you want an agency-level live-action video, you’re looking at $60,000-$100,000.
Okay, you’ve picked a video marketing partner. Now what?
3.) How Do I Make the Most of the Video Production Process?
At Explainify, we’ve worked really hard to create a process that’s fun, collaborative, and incredibly streamlined.
But again, all the really great production companies out there have developed a killer process with a focus on input – understanding your business objectives, creating a great concept, building a relationship with you – as much as the output.
The typical process for animation should look something like this – with some variation between companies, of course…
Strategic Planning and Kickoff
You’ll start with strategic planning and kickoff. The video production team is going to have you answer some questions about your business, your needs for the video, your creative preferences, and the like. They’ll also dig into your brand and your industry to make sure they really get what you do, while at the same time thinking creatively about how to tell your story through beautiful visuals. They’ll bring it all together in a kickoff meeting where they’ll present their initial findings,clarify any lingering questions they may have, and make sure you and they are on the same page regarding the project. The planning and kickoff step is critical to a great video, as you and your production partner develop a shared understanding of your business objectives – and the best way to achieve them.
The script is the arena where your video partner’s understanding of your business will be tested. It’s also the step that will make or break a video. We’ve had quite a few clients come to us after working with another production company who lost their trust because they didn’t absolutely nail the script. Are your partners accurately representing your brand? Are they speaking to the pain points your target audience faces? You’ll have the opportunity to ask these questions as you collaborate with the team and offer feedback on the work that they deliver. However, keep in mind that the script will be written with a creative vision in mind, so it’s important not to weigh down your video’s messaging with extra brand features and specifics that aren’t absolutely critical for your audience to hear. We see a lot of projects go wrong at this point in the production process, when clients aren’t able to relinquish control and trust their video partner’s expertise.
Here’s where things get really exciting. Once the script is approved, the production team will begin work developing storyboards and a visual style for your video. You’ll be able to see your video take shape visually, but at an early enough stage that you’ll be able to provide feedback and help mold that story. Again, it’s important to trust your team’s creative expertise, but don’t be afraid to offer suggestions. And if you really don’t like where things are headed? Now’s the time to speak up! A great production team will have a strong vision, but they’ll also want you to be totally satisfied with the final outcome.
At the same time, they’ll be gathering auditions from world-class voiceover artists, and sifting through dozens of those auditions to find the ones who do your script justice. Our clients actually really love this part of the process, as it’s an opportunity to choose your brand voice in a literal way.
Once all of the building blocks have been put in place, it’s time to animate. Here’s the thing about animation -it’s very time-consuming, and it’s very difficult. An animator has to create all of the elements for each scene in your video, layer them in the right way, and set them in motion – frame by frame by frame. It can take a full day of work just to animate a few seconds of video. That’s why most companies ask that you give the bulk of your feedback prior to animation – even seemingly minor changes can result in days of additional work!
There’s also the multi-sensory icing on the cake – sound design. The team will add music and sound effects to flesh out the soundscape and make your video feel like a cohesive whole.
And that’s it! Once the video is completed, you’ll implement and distribute it based on the strategy that you (and your video partner) have developed.
Live action production is slightly different, but actually follows a lot of the same steps. The biggest difference is that instead of animation, you’ll have a production team shooting live footage – which takes tons of coordination, planning, and time. And once the footage has been shot, it’s easier to edit that footage together in different ways than it is to make changes to animation, but it’s also a lot harder to make any major changes to the video (i.e. anything that would require going out and shooting more material).
As you can see, video production takes a lot of work. So while you may want that marketing video yesterday, it’s worth asking yourself if the deadline you’ve set for final delivery is absolutely critical.
For example, we typically ask clients to allot 8-10 weeks for video production. There are teams out there who can complete a video in 3-4 weeks, but for the companies who are bringing a robust team of creative directors, strategists, and animators to the table – that’s just not optimal.
This is where things get really interesting. You’re investing a lot of time and money in creating a video – and when you – as a CEO or marketer – sink a lot of time and money into something, you want to know what the return will be on that investment.
You want to know…
4.) How will video drive measurable value to my business?
Video marketing is powerful, but it’s absolutely not a silver bullet; it’s an amplifier for your business objectives. A video isn’t going to magically save your business – but it will help you see greater results from your marketing efforts.
Let’s take a look at some numbers.
Video Ads: Consumers are 27x more likely to click-through online video ads than standard banner ads. That’s a significantly higher chance that viewers will move one step closer to becoming customers.
Email: Video can increase your CTR by 300% and reduce unsubscribe rates by 75%. This is huge! Email is underrated as a marketing tool, but video is a great way to turn it into a serious driver of results.
Conversion Rate: 70% of marketers report that video marketing converts better than other types of content. We’ve seen time and again that video can increase conversions by 20-30%!
Bounce Rate: Pages with video see a 34% lower bounce rate than pages without.
Social Media: Within the last year, Gary Vaynerchuk has proclaimed video the most important social strategy today, with social platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter rapidly overtaking traditional video platforms like YouTube.
These are hard stats, but there are a ton of soft benefits tied to video that can’t be quantified and are nevertheless incredibly valuable – things like a shorter sales cycle, fewer demos, more qualified leads, and clarity of messaging. It can be difficult to put a number to more people understanding what you do and why it matters – but there’s no doubt that this is important.
Let’s get away from general stats for a moment and look at some real-world examples. We’ll focus on top-of-funnel metrics for these:
- B2B software company CaseComplete saw a 23% increase in conversions within two weeks of launching a homepage explainer video.
- Neil Patel’s CrazyEgg saw a whopping 64% conversion lift, resulting in $24,000 in extra monthly income – all thanks to video.
- Everyone’s familiar with Dropbox – but did you know that they increased signups by 10% with an explainer video?
These are world-class companies that have everything pretty refined… and yet they still saw tremendous results from video.
The point we’re trying to make here is that video isn’t a silver bullet – but it also isn’t just a nice-to-have or an add-on to your marketing mix. It has the capacity to drive serious results that are worth every dollar of your investment.
Which, if you’re interested in driving serious results, leads you to an obvious question.
5.) How can I use video throughout the marketing funnel?
This question is actually one that most people do not ask, but they should be. Let’s use a few images to illustrate why this is valuable.
The above image is your marketing funnel at work. You’ve got a strategy, you’re driving people to your site, you’re putting out really valuable content, and providing your audiences with touch points on social media, through email, all that good stuff.
Now, this is your funnel with an explainer video.
It sits right up at the top of your funnel, enlarges your funnel a bit and attracts more views and conversions. Sounds fantastic, right? It is!
But this is also where video stops for most brands. Which means you’re still leaving it to your traditional inbound efforts to drive results further down the funnel, and missing a lot of opportunities.
This is a problem. Because video isn’t just for driving awareness. It’s perfect for driving results throughout the Buyer’s Journey – it just needs to be informed by a strong, committed video strategy.
So, let’s get back to answering the original question of how you can expand your influence with video marketing.
Let’s start even higher up the funnel than the explainer video. As Neil Patel shows, video ads are incredibly effective at boosting CTRs. So if you need to reach an off-site audience via Facebook or Google ads, video is a great opportunity to drive a new audience to your site or landing page or retarget previous site visitors.
Once people have landed on your homepage or landing page, it’s time to hit them with more educational – but still engaging! – video content, like the ever-popular explainer video. These are designed to provide clarity around your UVP and drive people toward a specific conversion point – whether that’s a free trial, a demo, a sales call, or even an email list or whitepaper. Oh, and they happen to be great at boosting metrics! You could decrease your bounce rate or double unique visitor counts overnight.
Now you have some ideas how to draw people into the top of your funnel. But we all know that the money gets made in the middle of the funnel. Fortunately, this stage of the buying journey is a goldmine of opportunities for video marketing content as your audience begins to consider their buying options. Here are just a few thoughts:
- A demo video can give viewers an in-depth look at your product or software, without requiring your sales team’s time. And when they do have a conversation with sales, these consumers are much more qualified leads than they were before.
- A great video case study or testimonial can create an intensely human connection between your prospective customers – and your past customers. The social proof of a written case study is great, but capturing your happiest customers on-camera? So much more powerful. Similarly, a look at your company culture can build a stronger connection with your brand.
- Or what about a video-based onboarding sequence, showing users how they can get more out of your software? We’ve seen this strategy work wonders in customer retention and churn prevention.
A great example of MoFu video is Zappos. They included videos on their product pages and saw a 30% sales impact because of it. If you knew a video could potentially lift your sales 30%, would you try it? Yeah, we thought you might.
Now that you’ve engaged your consumers and driven more sales, the bottom of the funnel is a great place to keep your customers engaged and satisfied with ongoing support or education. Here are a couple great examples for this stage of the journey:
- Create FAQ videos that address your customers’ most common questions – which again saves your staff’s valuable time by fielding common questions.
- A video walkthrough is a great way to teach customers how to use your software or product – and it’s way more interesting than an instruction manual! Ikea did this for their customers by creating video how-to guides about some of their most popular furniture. Brilliant!
Obviously, there are many ways to help your customers at the bottom of the funnel – these are just a few of the specific ways a full-funnel video marketing strategy can play out.
One thing that is important to know is that not all the videos you publish have to be animated – they don’t even need to be made by an outside agency. If you’re willing to invest in a good camera and some decent lighting, you can make them yourself!
They just need to be made.
You’ve got to develop the holistic video marketing strategy that’s right for your customer base – and stick to it. It really is critical to the future of your digital strategy.