We’ve watched a lot of those companies as they’ve grown, developed their strategies, and seen amazing success with video. These are the videos people are always linking to in Slack, featured on blogs, and cited as examples of marketing greatness.
We’ve discovered that there is a three-step process that companies consistently follow when developing their video marketing strategy.
First, they use video primarily as a tool to boost conversion rates on home or product pages. Then they start educating, making videos to leverage their expertise and experience into teaching videos. In the final stage, they set aside the metrics and start crafting a brand through videos that convey the quirky, fun, charming — human — side of their company.
Step 1. Prove The Medium Works With A Conversion Video
A lot of companies who have never worked with video before are understandably nervous about the idea. It sounds risky and expensive. That’s why your first video needs to do one thing — prove a return on your investment — and boosting your conversion rate with an explainer video is how most companies start.
Crazy Egg made one when they realized how much traffic was rapidly bouncing off their homepage. A large number of these visitors were potential Crazy Egg users — you don’t just end up on their site by accident — so they thought maybe they needed to get the product’s core value in front of people faster.
To test that hypothesis, Crazy Egg had an explainer video made. In two minutes, it dramatizes the problem, presents Crazy Egg as the solution, and makes it all really simple and easy to understand.
The video boosted conversion rates by 64%, bringing in an extra $21,000 a month in revenue. And the insights in the video weren’t even original. The info in it had been scattered all around the site, just in less clear language.
To make the video, they followed a few explainer video best practices:
1. Identify points of friction
Crazy Egg noticed a lot of traffic going to their homepage and quickly leaving. They realized that people weren’t getting the rundown on their core value proposition fast enough. What is the primary friction point visitors encounter that keeps them from buying? Where do users have to think or work too hard to figure something out?
2. Craft your explanation
How would you explain your product to a 5-year old? You need a simple, boiled down statement of the problem and the solution your product represents.
3. Place it right
An explainer video is only as good as its placement. Hiding it deep on a product or features page will ensure that fewer people see it, but maybe you want that if you’re targeting localized friction. Only put it on your homepage if it’s truly a comprehensive presentation of your value proposition.
Companies that crush it on one conversion video usually make more because they can scale to fit any conversion scenario. But achieving measurable success also tends to lead companies into leveraging the explanatory power of video even further—with teaching videos.
Step 2. Turn Your Expertise Into Content to Support and Entertain
In video marketing, as in life, you should always try to kill two birds with one stone. That’s exactly what Rand Fishkin at Moz has been doing for the last several years in his acclaimed Whiteboard Fridays video series.
Every Friday, Rand holds court in front of his diagram-covered whiteboard. Sometimes he’ll give you a meaty rundown of an argument in the inbound marketing community, and sometimes it’ll be a demonstration of ways to improve your own presentations.
Whatever the topic, you get years of experience and ten blog posts worth of information in about ten minutes.
Being generous with your expertise shows your customers that you understand and support their larger objective in using your product. It shows the wider community that you’re knowledgeable, and it helps build a trustworthy reputation for your company.
Here’s a quick-start guide to making a great teaching video:
1. Group your most commonly asked questions
Look through your help tickets, support forum, email accounts, and wherever else your customers communicate with you. Try to find the meaty problems that people struggle with, and organize them into themes and categories so it’ll be easier to pick a video topic later on.
2. Define your video’s audience
Who are you making this video for? Ideally, you want to target an audience that’s larger than your current customer base but who would get use out of your product.
3. Make it valuable
No matter what kind of educational video you’re making, it has to communicate value to the watcher. If it’s a tutorial, be utterly precise in the way you approach and resolve the problem. If it’s not, then remember to focus on making it engaging and entertaining, not on promoting your product.
Done right, teaching videos can help your current customers but also build a reputation for your company. The latter isn’t directly measurable, but when companies realize video is helping them do it, their eyes are usually opened to the most powerful use of video out there: making people feel something.
Step 3. Build a Brand With Videos That Make People Feel
The final step in a company’s video marketing strategy involves making people feel. It’s not about directly selling a product, converting a visitor, or even conveying information. It’s about inspiring people to feel a certain way by showing them the human side of your business.
Even in so-called “boring” industries, this is actually critical to long-term success. Companies like Zendesk (customer support) or BambooHR (human relations) differentiated themselves by making people feel. Not with handwritten notes or guerilla stunts, but with video—the only way to build that human connection at scale.
It took us a while to figure this out. When we started Wistia, we didn’t even have a video on the homepage. When we did finally put one up, it was a “professional” and “legitimate” product demo—in short, without us in it. It was super boring.
Everything changed with the Hustle video.
It was 2013. We wanted to get good content ideas from our customers, so we made a survey because—well, that’s what you do, right? Yep, it was a really boring survey. But the survey email also included a fun video of our team.
The results blew our minds. Over 1,000 of the 2,400 people who watched this video filled out the survey. Average survey response rates hang around the low ones: .5 to 1%, according to some, but we got a response rate of over 40% just by including a video of us dancing along with our survey.
That forced us to really step back and think about how we did video marketing. It was the moment we recognized just how vital it was to our company’s success for our content to be funny, creative, and original—human, really.
Here’s how you can get started:
1. Define your values and mission
What kind of vision do you have for the world? Embrace a goal that’s bigger than your company and share it with your team.
2. Allow for experimentation
Get everyone together, and encourage ideas to flow freely and quickly. No judgments, not at first. Sometimes the ideas that sound stupid by conventional metrics actually make a lot of sense for expressing your company’s personality.
3. Don’t be afraid of funny
A lot of B2B marketers fear humor because they think it’s unprofessional. They don’t want to step on any toes or look like amateurs. But that’s ridiculous. Everyone, even enterprise executives, like to laugh. More importantly, they like to do business with people who treat them like humans, not robots.
Business Video of the Future
Cisco predicts that video traffic will be 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. This is not a trend that’s slowing down or going away, but what you can do is rise above the noise. The key is to always have a purpose to what you’re doing.
If you haven’t even started making videos yet, set a conversion goal and try to reach it with one video. If you’ve already taken that plunge, start thinking about other ways you could apply video to make better marketing and provide better support. Crush those, and you can move on to stirring hearts and capturing minds.