The Essential Video Best Practices Guide for Marketers
As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
You want to invest in video marketing. It’s a wildly successful medium that many brands, including your competitors, use to engage with their target audience, and attract leads. However, it’s an intimidating process, especially for beginners. You need to create videos that deliver ROI without spending all of your marketing budget.
Thankfully, a lot of brands have done the legwork already, and come up with the best ways to create high-quality assets. You can use these tips to start planning a video marketing strategy that fits the unique needs of your customer, and the objectives of your brand.
What Best Practices Don’t Tell You
When you first start with video, you won’t see immediate results. That’s the unfortunate truth of it. Regardless of the videos out there that make it seem easy to go viral and acquire a ton of engagement, it’s highly unlikely you will see significant results for your videos immediately.
That’s why it’s so important to go into video marketing for the right reasons. If you focus on solving problems for your customer, you can gain traction where it matters the most: with your audience. Over time, you can learn from your mistakes and optimize your video marketing strategy for even more significant results.
Here are all of the best practices you need to know about creating videos that will provide a definite return on your investment.
Plan Your Goals First
Without a plan or a budget, video can quickly go out of scope. There won’t be a consistent way to measure your success or track how well your videos are doing. That’s why we recommend setting SMART goals before creating any of your video content.
Here is a broad overview of what smart goals are.
HubSpot also has an excellent overview of setting smart goals for your business.
"Smart goals, or goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely, keep marketers and business owners accountable and focused on the right initiatives. We all have obstacles and challenges day by day, and setting extremely specific goals help us cut through the static. We take ownership over those challenges. " – From the HubSpot Knowledge Base
To learn about developing goals for your content, check out our guide about setting meaningful marketing goals this year.
Align Videos To Your Strategy
One of the most crucial components to any marketing strategy is the buyer journey. The buyer journey helps determine how you can provide the most support and education to your customer at every stage. Video can be a great way to engage and nurture your customer throughout their experience with your brand.
"When you publish vast amounts of content, you may fill up your website, and it may even draw a lot of traffic to your website. But, if it's not helping you convert those visitors into leads and nurture them into customers, you're missing out on a huge opportunity." - William Ballard, Contributor for Lean Labs
For additional insights, check out how we map out and match content to every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Focus On The Story
Similar to a blog post, a video needs to provide a clear narrative. Otherwise, it won’t draw in your viewer. I’d recommend writing a script for each video you create and spending time working on the flow. You want a story with a definite start to finish.
A great example of a start to finish story is this TEDx Talk with David JP Phillips. He hooks you with a compelling story and explains how you can do it with your own stories.
One of our top contributors, Ashley Gwilliam, also wrote a post about storytelling that sums it up.
"Anyone can record a video with an iPhone, upload it to YouTube and call themselves a videographer. However, very few people understand how to create the kind of video experience people will actually sit through, remember, and share with friends." - Ashley Gwilliam, Contributor for Lean Labs
To learn more, check out how we improve our storytelling skills in our content.
Focus On The Customer
When you start with video marketing, it’s tempting to push your product or service. You want to get the best possible ROI from the asset. However, being too self-promotional isn’t the way to do it. You want to focus on your target audience and make the video about helping them.
Check it out:
The video demonstrates exactly how you can use videography to provide tremendous value to your customer. Providing this kind of service is something that Ryan Scott, one of our Lean Labs team members, talks about all the time.
"The truth is, your customers don’t care about your company or your product. They care about themselves. Consider Geico insurance. Yes, the gecko is cute, and the caveman was hilarious. But, the real reason Geico ads work is because every single potential customer wants to save money on their car insurance - and if it’s 10-15%, we’ll give it a shot!" - Ryan Scott, Inbound Marketing Artist at Lean Labs
Once you adopt a customer-centric mindset, it’s easy to brainstorm potential videos that can guide them throughout their buying journey. We wrote all about conducting customer-centric marketing here.
Measure More Than View Counts
Everyone wants to hit the million view mark on a video. However, despite the pride and bragging rights that come with such an endeavor, those views don’t necessarily translate into customers for your brand. For YouTube influencers, views are essential and a significant metric for determining success, but for brands, you need to measure metrics that go back to your overall marketing objectives.
Here are the video marketing metrics that HubSpot recommends to follow.
Google also has a solid take on monitoring performance for business videos.
"Views may be the proverbial public scorecard, but they're not always the best way to track progress against a brand's unique goals." - Kim Larson, Rachel Salberg, Think With Google
Overall, the goals you set depend on the marketing initiatives you're running with video. Google has some additional suggestions on hitting key performance indicators for online video. If you're running video ads, there are some other video analytics to measure.
Create A Strategy for Each Social Channel
At one point, it was good enough to share a YouTube link on Facebook and call it a day. Now, video marketing on social channels requires a little more sophistication. Facebook is now one of the most popular places for video, with eight billion video views a day. YouTube videos also get billions of views each day.
You can tap into the potential of each platform by creating a unique social channel for each. If you curate a different approach for each, catering to your audience’s preferences, there is potential to build brand awareness and connect with new customers.
"As social media continues to dominate the focus of most company's marketing focus and media budget, now would be the perfect time to review what works best on each platform." - Bill Carmody, CEO of Trepoint
The advantage to using each channel as a separate entity is that you can study performance, and assess which one is driving the best results. Over time, you can fine-tune your strategy and allocate your budget to support those channels. To learn more about creating a B2B video strategy for each channel, check out this article from Inc.com.
Add Their Next Step
Every video you create should have a next step for the customer. YouTube makes this easy, with an end screen to direct viewers to another video or playlist. However, if you plan and create an end screen during the production process, you can share a URL for a customer to visit. The key is to have the narrative flow to that natural conclusion, with an obvious next step.
"Keep your goal in mind, and create your video in such a way that the content naturally leads there. If you do this, the CTA in your End Screen will feel like the next natural step for the viewer to take." - Tom Breeze, Digital Marketer Author and YouTube Ad Expert
Don't Neglect Optimization
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with video marketing is skipping the optimization. Optimization is updating the titles, descriptions, tags, and categories of your video. The information makes it easier for your ideal customer to find your asset, and for YouTube or Facebook to determine the relevancy and value of that content.
Here at Lean Labs, optimization is a part of our day-to-day. Ashley wrote another great piece about optimizing YouTube videos I'd recommend checking out.
"Though video is a different platform and medium than Google, the principles are the same: if you want someone to consume your content, you have to help them find it."- Ashley Gwilliam, Contributor for Lean Labs
Without optimization, your video will sit there. To learn more about how to optimize videos, we have an article advising how to optimize your videos for YouTube.
Don't Be Boring
There isn’t anything worse than a marketing or business video that has no personality to it. The best videos are memorable, even if they’re covering dull material. In YouTube influencer Sunny Lenarduzzi's videos, she talks about business and marketing, and it's never bland.
Her videos are simple, and I'd argue the sound quality could improve, but her personality shines through and makes it engaging to watch.
HubSpot also has fantastic guidance on writing for “boring” industries that you can apply to video as well.
To read more about writing for these kinds of industries, read more of HubSpot's post.
Study The Data
The only way to obtain long-term growth in video marketing is learning from your mistakes. It’s the best way to gauge whether or not your customers are engaging with your content and to focus you on how you can improve. It applies to everything from video ads to regular video content – for any content, website page, social channel, your data tells a story.
Depending on the channel you post the video on, there are a few ways to study the information. Here is a list of a few places to learn more about tracking video performance.
- Tracking Wistia Video Performance with Google Analytics
- Monitoring YouTube Ad Performance
- Measuring Success For Facebook Videos
- Understanding Twitter Analytics
- Introduction to Instagram Marketing
- Overview of HubSpot Reporting
Overall, you want to understand how to measure performance on each platform. When you don’t track or study your data, you risk spending time and money on initiatives that aren’t driving as much value as you think.
Getting Excited About Video Marketing
There they are, the most useful best practices to start with video marketing. For many, video marketing is the next crucial strategic step. Companies that prioritize video tremendously, like Zappos and HubSpot, use it consistently to engage with their customers. Video helps connect a personality and voice to your brand, establishing and fostering a long-lasting trust with your audience.
Now that I have you hooked on the idea of creating excellent videos, it's time to integrate it into your overall inbound marketing strategy. When you create videos to support your marketing initiatives, you will get even more from them. You can reuse them throughout blog posts, website pages, workflows, and more, strengthening every possible engagement with your customer. To learn more about climbing the inbound marketing mountain, check out our free EBook.