How To Use Video Throughout The Buying Journey To Boost Conversions And Engagement

Don't stop with a simple introductory video. Columnist Michael Litt explains how to create powerful content for every stage of the buying process.

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The play button is quickly becoming the most compelling call-to-action on the Web. Odds are you’ve been drawn in by that shiny triangle just begging you to click it.

While many marketers have started to see the power of video to engage audiences and educate potential customers about their brands, I still see way too many who create a broad introductory video and then call it quits. That, my friends, is a huge missed opportunity.

Yes, a top-of-funnel explainer video is important. Featuring it on your home page gives people a fast, easy and fun way to learn about what your company does and what your culture is like.

But if you’re going to close deals, you need to do more than make a good first impression. Today’s customers go through more than half — and often much more — of the buying process on their own, so it’s imperative that you have a complete video journey on your website to guide prospects along the path.

I’ll go into detail about what type of video content best fits with different points of the buying journey — or the “funnel,” as it’s commonly known — but first a quick word about how much content you need at different points.

As a general rule, you’ll need the smallest amount of content at the top of the funnel — my recommendation is roughly 15 percent. Then, I’d recommend about 25 percent for the educational stage. The bulk of your content — about 40 percent — should address the evaluation stage in the middle of the process. Finally, another 20 percent should help buyers justify the purchase.

Vidyard funnel 1

What Goes At The Top?

To get people’s initial interest, you need to aim wide. Create videos on high-level topics with broad appeal. Be authentic and talk about how you can help viewers reach their goals rather than push your specific products.

  • Fun Content Showcasing Your Company Culture. Show off your quirks. Include shots of a wide variety of your team. Do not, I repeat do not, just feature your CEO standing in front of the camera telling the audience about the company.
  • Thought Leadership Interviews. I know I just said not to feature your CEO standing in front of the camera, but a frank one-on-one chat with the boss, other execs or stars of your industry can be very appealing and help browsing customers understand your company’s vision and expertise. Plus, those types of videos tend to be shared widely on social networks.
  • How-To Content. Here’s another opportunity to showcase your expertise with some deeper content showing how your products or services address a variety of needs for customers.

These videos should be quick and to the point. Optimal length is about 30 to 90 seconds, and I’d encourage you to keep them to a minute unless you really have something important to say that takes more time. Here’s a 45-second company overview video from Vidyard (my employer):

At the top of the funnel, video can also be a great tool for lead generation. You probably don’t want to gate content when you’re trying to make that first impression, but you should definitely use calls to action during and at the end of a video to refer prospects to more in-depth content, which could require them to provide a name and email address for access.

Heading Toward The Middle Of The Funnel

Now that you’ve guided your audience to the point where they’re seriously considering paying for your services, it’s time to help them evaluate what you have to offer.

This is a great time to give them the tools they’ll need to justify a purchase to their bosses, and the way to do that is to show them you know what you’re talking about down to the deepest details and showcase how you’ve done it for others already.

  • Repurposed Webinar Content. Record your webinars and break them down into chapters so people can quickly find the topics they need. It will make you top-of-mind for authoritative content within your industry.
  • Detailed Product Demos. Show them how it all works. Give them a tour of what’s under the hood. Let them see how much effort you’ve put in and how you’ve given attention to detail while building your solution.
  • Client Testimonials And Video Case Studies. Assuming you already have a few satisfied customers, you can feature them here. There’s no better advocate than a satisfied customer. Let them sing your praises for you. Set up what their business problem was, and walk viewers through how you helped them solve it. Bonus points for providing hard metrics on the results.
  • Integration Demos. In this day and age, odds are good that your service works even better when paired up with someone else’s products or services. At Vidyard, we’ve found our customers can get more out of our analytics if they feed the data into their marketing automation platform. No doubt there is a key service in your customers’ ecosystem. Show how you can help them get more out of the services they’re already using.

Optimal length ranges from 2 to 10 minutes, depending on the content. It’s probably not realistic to expect someone at this stage to commit to more than that.

Take that hour-long webinar and break it into six different chapters. Keep that customer testimonial to a minute or two.

The middle of the funnel is also a good place to start introducing email gates to collect contact information. Don’t worry about scaring your buyers away. At this point, they’ve already invested time to learn what they can, and they’ll be ready for some direct contact and more targeted content.

Sealing The Deal

Videos can be extremely helpful when prospects get closer to becoming paying customers, and after the fact, videos can reinforce their feeling that they made the right choice.

  • Nurture Campaign Videos. Keep in touch with videos tied to specific campaigns. Know someone is going to attend an event? Create a nurture video to encourage a meet-up, or promote how your service connects to that of the event sponsor.
  • A Good FAQ Video can come in really handy as a follow-up to a conversation with a prospect who’s getting close to a decision. Send a note thanking them for the chat, and refer them to the FAQs to learn more.
  • Check-ins. Use a personalized video to check in with new customers. Ask them how the ramp-up has been. Are they starting to see the benefits? Do they have any questions? Do they need any specialized instruction?
  • Instructional Videos. Getting up and running with a new service often leads to a bunch of new questions that hadn’t come up before. This is a great time to cover specific issues and also to showcase your amazing support team.

Optimal length here can vary quite a bit. Obviously, these viewers are looking for more detailed information and are more likely to consume a 5- or 10-minute video.

As with any content, you need to keep your audience in mind and respect their time. Just because someone wants a deep instructional video doesn’t mean they want it to last 45 minutes when it could be done concisely in 15.

The end of the customer journey is a great time to use calls to action to promote related materials — demos, free trials, FAQs. While you’ll want to make yourself easy to reach for your new customers, there will be times when you’re not available. A good video addressing their needs can serve as a good substitute in the meantime.

Video is powerful and persuasive. Done well, it can help buyers work their way down the path to purchase at their own pace and complement your other sales and marketing efforts.

Just make sure you map your content to that path, build the right mix of content, and be ready to start connecting your video marketing to that all-important bottom line.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Michael Litt
Michael is the co-founder and CEO of Vidyard, the leading video marketing platform that helps businesses expand their use of video content and turn viewers into customers. He is a passionate entrepreneur, avid surfer and skier, and has recently been recognized as Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year and Marketing Magazine's Top 30 Under 30.

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