Marketers generally agree that video is an incredible engagement medium. For the better part of 60 years, we've watched in awe as consumer marketers built incredible brand awareness on television by tapping the senses of sight and sound to create an emotional connection with buyers.
Now, thanks to Internet technologies and plummeting costs of video equipment, production and distribution, that same power of video engagement is available to all marketers. But should we use video in exactly the same way as we've seen to be so effective in the past? Should we start recording and posting lots of video clips in hopes that it will drive the same level of emotional engagement? Should we invest heavily in creating a YouTube channel to drive awareness and leads into the top of the funnel? I would argue, not necessarily -- and here's why.
The world has changed around us. We've moved from a marketing driven world to a buyer-led one. Our prospects are no longer captured audiences, easily swooned by flexing our creative muscle with emotionally-driven campaigns.
Instead, prospects are smarter, more sophisticated, and better informed about our products and services and even those of our competitors. They have the ultimate resources on their side in Google, Facebook and Twitter, which they use wisely to investigate 80% of what they need before engaging in conversations with sellers.
Video alone isn't enough to convince prospects to give you 30 minutes, let alone 30 seconds of their time. So how can a medium like video play into this new buyer-led world? To engage today's buyers, we must forget nearly everything we've learned about video of the past and reinvent it as an interactive marketing medium. Here's how:
Focus on the ROI - Think of video not as optional Web site eye-candy, but a way to add rocket fuel to your current lead generation, lead nurturing and sales enablement programs. Recent studies show that adding video to e-mail campaigns can increase conversion rates by 2 to 3 times. That's an ROI that's hard to beat.
Keep it short and sweet - In the buyer-led world, time is precious -- so don't assume just by capturing your company presentation on video that someone will sit through a 30 minute on-demand version. Find the juicy, bite-sized bits of video content and make them available in a format that's easy to digest.
Make video personal - In digital marketing, we've seen the benefits of identifying and targeting messages to buyer personas -- and video is no exception. With interactive technologies, we can now assemble a personal video story on the fly that maps directly to each persona's needs. How cool is that?
Integrate calls-to-action - Strike while the iron's hot. If you have prospects engaged in a video, provide the next step directly within the experience, rather than sending them off to another Web site.
Find your rock stars - Use your own employees rather than actors to create effective and authentic video content. Look for individuals in your company who connect with people and can tell your story the best way. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to enable direct connections between your rock stars and prospects.
Become "video-active" - Thanks to technology innovation, we no longer need an army of well-trained people to shoot, edit and produce video content. Sure, it's not entirely easy just yet, but Cisco's Flip cameras are a great way to quickly capture that customer testimonial you've been waiting for.
Video is Google Juice - According to Forrester Research, optimizing video content is one of the easiest ways to get a first-page organic ranking on Google. Submitting video content to YouTube and other video portals will help you raise awareness, but driving prospects to your door is the ultimate goal.