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How to Create an Effective Video Marketing Strategy

September 5, 2021

In recent years, video marketing has become more accessible and more prolific in the digital marketing landscape. The evolution of smartphones and mobile internet access has created a continuous need for fresh, innovative content. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million.

Video marketing allows brands to create engaging, informative content that has the ability to both entertain and convey a message efficiently. The exponential success of the video-based platform TikTok contributed to the rising need for brands to consider video marketing, as showcased by B2C TikTok pioneer Chipoltle with their successful #GuacDance campaign that elicited over 500 million views.

Screenshot: Chipotle’s viral #GuacDance campaign

Why is Video Marketing Important in 2021?

While video marketing was already on the rise before 2020, the global pandemic accelerated its uptake by both brands and consumers. According to Wyzowl's "The State of Video Marketing" survey, 68% of consumers indicated a change in their video consumption habits in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic. Of those respondents, a resounding 96% indicated their video consumption increased. 

Though there's an end in sight with the global pandemic, the same cannot be said for video marketing. Instagram has released Reels in an attempt to compete with TikTok, along with several other video format options. Brands are going live to connect with audiences around the world, creating the feeling of a face-to-face connection from thousands of miles away.

Brands report that video marketing has helped create better product and service understanding among consumers, with 87% indicating a strong ROI on video marketing content in 2021. 

The key takeaway: if you don't have a video marketing strategy, now's the time to create one. Here's how. 

Clarifying Your Brand and Audience

One of the most common mistakes brands make when developing video content is approaching the task with a business-centric mindset. Instead, it's essential to start by asking yourself what your customer wants to see. Before you can do that, you need to get a deeper understanding of who your ideal customer is.

Identify Your Ideal Customer

It's likely that your brand has done the work to clarify your customer demographic in the past. Yet, as many brands use video marketing to expand their reach and engage new potential customers, it's worth revisiting this exercise.

Take the time to clarify your ideal customer's motivations and desires. What problems do you hope to solve for them? What type of content do they prefer to consume? The more niched and nuanced you can be when exploring your customer profile, the more your video content will resonate.

Consider creating a customer avatar as a gatekeeper for your video content. Have your team ask whether each topic or approach would resonate with your avatar before developing the content.

To better understand the importance of knowing thy customer, consider the GAP rebranding debacle of 2010. The marketing team invested ample resources in refreshing the classic blue box GAP logo of the 1990s, without taking the time to understand customer preferences. As a result, they received ample backlash and were forced to change back to the original logo within a week. The learning? Your customer has an emotional connection to your brand.

Clarify Your Brand Messaging

Your brand messaging is contingent on your customer profile, not the other way around. There should be alignment between your core brand values, tone, and voice, and your customer needs. 

When clarifying your brand, consider how you want to be perceived by your audience. Is your brand serious and professional or casual and fun? Are you trying to share information, entertain, or both?

Shaping your messaging to fit both your brand and your target audience will help you create value-aligned video content that achieves your marketing goals.

Set SMART Goals

Every business has the ultimate goal of being profitable. Yet, there are endless channels for reaching that ultimate goal.

Take the time to set SMART goals surrounding your video content, identifying KPIs to track your success. For example, your initial goal may be action-based, focusing on creating a consistent content calendar. These goals may evolve over time to industry standards for engagement and click-through rates.

Budgeting and Execution Requirements

We live in an era where the average person with a smartphone camera can skyrocket to fame. In other words, creating a successful video marketing campaign doesn't take thousands of dollars of equipment. Still, it's still integral to look professional and focus on quality.

Set Realistic Budgets and Timelines

One of the pitfalls of video content creation is the increased requirement of time and effort. As such, it's crucial to be realistic about budgeting and timelines.

Dedicate some time to conducting research about what tools are effective and how long it takes to make a video from ideation to publication. Consider taking a scaleable approach rather than committing to a full-scale content calendar right away. The benefit of video marketing is that you can scale your production to suit your individual business resources.

Identify Resource Requirements

Identifying your resource requirements will likely happen in tandem with setting budgets and timelines. Your resources could range from the audio and visual equipment you need, to investing in Facetune's skin smoothing video filter app to hiring a skilled video editing contractor. 

While acquiring some resources will happen instantaneously (i.e., downloading an app), others will take time and require a project-based approach (i.e., finding, vetting, and onboarding an editor).

Generating Content Ideas

Once the core framework for your video marketing strategy is in place, the real fun begins. Generating content ideas will be a blend of free-thinking and careful consideration, as well as careful planning and spontaneity. While getting started can be challenging, dedication and consistency will create strong habits and SOPs to drive your brand forward in this new endeavor. 

Use Blue Sky Sessions

Another common mistake for newcomers to video marketing is creating too much structure around content ideation. Creating an environment where people are afraid to say something "stupid" or get caught on specific tangents is the death toll for effective content creation.

Instead, incorporate blue sky ideation sessions. Set aside regular sessions in which your marketing team unplugs from distractions and writes out any ideas that come to mind. The idea is to tap into the creative brain without concern about relevance or effectiveness— that part comes later.

Bring the results from blue sky sessions together to test against your customer avatar. Rather than discarding ideas that aren't aligned with the brand, keep them in a file to revisit later. These seemingly unusable ideas might need reshaping with fresh eyes or become relevant in the future.

Apple is perhaps the father of implementing blue sky thinking for strategic brand planning. Steve Jobs embraced the idea of thinking beyond limitations to explore seemingly impossible solutions. As a result, we have the iPhone. This approach is a common tactic in Silcone Valley, with brands like Google and 3M also embracing blue sky thinking by allowing employees to pursue passion projects that could spark something new and profitable for the brand. 

Consider Your Platforms

Another key consideration when creating a video marketing strategy is identifying on which platforms you'll be sharing content. Again, this decision should be aligned with your customer demographic— you should go where they go.

Identifying the platforms in advance will impact your promotion strategy, video formatting, and editing practices. It's also beneficial to consider the customer journey. Will you use shorter clips on Instagram to lead into long-form YouTube content? Are you cross-posting videos on both Reels and TikTok? Do you need to shoot vertically or horizontally?

Taking the time to highlight your platforms now will save production challenges later.

Focus on Repurposing

To improve your ROI, consider how you'll repurpose each piece before you start creating content. You can repurpose a long-form video into a podcast, social media graphic quotes, and a blog post. Also, you can use existing eBooks, blog content, and social media posts to frame your videos.

Creating a strong repurposing component in your video marketing strategy will also streamline your efforts and fill gaps in the ideation process.

Understanding Best Practices

The beauty of video marketing is that anyone can do it, whether you run a small mom-and-pop shop or a large corporation. Videos can range in quality, style, and subject to meet your brand's unique voice and tone. Even so, there are still best practices to consider to increase your success in video marketing.

Determine the Appropriate Length

The first consideration is the length of your video. Video length goes hand-in-hand with your chosen platform. Here are the video time limits by the platform as of 2021:

  • Facebook - 240 minutes (though studies show two minutes being preferable).
  • Twitter - 30 seconds total.
  • Instagram - 60 seconds for in-feed, Reels, and Stories, 10 minutes for IGTV, or 60 minutes for verified accounts.
  • YouTube - 15 minutes or 12 hours for verified accounts.
  • TikTok - three minutes as of July 2021.

It's often challenging to hit the target length on the first try. Create a storyboard and rework your messaging as needed to hit your platform goals.

Platforms with shorter length limitations are perfect for creating teaser videos leading to longer content.

Including Closed Captioning

Mobile video consumption has grown in recent years. As of 2018, more than 62% of Americans were estimated to consume video content while mobile. The dramatic increase in both mobile phone use and video consumption during the pandemic indicates that this number is likely much higher in 2021.

Consuming mobile video content means that your audience may be unable to use audio. Consider a commuter on public transit who forgot their headphones or a parent trying to watch a video while their children are present. Furthermore, consider that one in eight people in the USA is hearing impaired. 

Adding closed captioning ensures your message gets across, even when the viewer can't hear the video. In a world that demands inclusion in marketing and advertising, adding subtitles is becoming an industry standard.

design recommendations fo facebook videos
Facebook video formatting

Formatting Considerations

As mentioned before, some platforms have unique formatting requirements. TikTok, for example, uses vertical shooting while YouTube uses horizontal. Within those platforms, the way you post your video will also have an impact. Facebook, for example, has several different formatting requirements depending on the nature of your video.

Sizing is also a consideration when formatting your videos. Fortunately, there are various apps available to help resize your videos for a cross-platform approach. Working with a skilled editor can also help.

Add a Hook

You have approximately three seconds to make an impact with your customer and capture their attention. If your audience is willing to stick around for the first three seconds, they're more likely to watch the remaining 27-57 seconds.

The key to creating an effective hook is to choose the most captivating aspect of your video and to showcase it first. In a tutorial video, for example, you'd show the finished product first. Attempt to create an emotional response that holds your viewer's attention.

Adding a Strong CTA

While the start of the video is integral for creating engagement, the end of the video plays a pivotal role in conversions. Each video should have a CTA that tells viewers what to do next. An effective CTA can increase your CTR by 321%.

Your CTA doesn't have to be sales-oriented. You can invite viewers to subscribe, turn on notifications, follow your account, download a lead magnet, etc. Take some time to outline your customer journey, and try some creative A/B testing to find the CTA that works for your business.

Analyze and Adjust

Implementing an effective video marketing strategy is essential for guaranteeing success. Still, there's always room for improvement. Some content will resonate better than other content, and consumer needs and behaviors will change.

Reviewing analytics and adjusting your strategy is essential for making your video marketing strategy work.

Tracking Analytics

Tracking your insights and analytics will provide valuable information about how your videos are performing. The depth of your analytics will vary from platform to platform, with tools like Hootsuite offering a streamlined dashboard approach for cross-platform strategies. 

Some of the key metrics to track include:

  • Engagement
  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Conversions
  • Bounce rate/ completion rate

Take a high-level overview of your analytics to identify any notable trends or shifts in consumer engagement.

Hootsuite Dashboard

Adjusting Your Strategy

As you adjust your strategy, consider making small, isolated changes to measure your results. By taking a staggered approach, you'll get a better idea of which changes are affecting your goals. 

Keep in mind that your video marketing strategy is meant to be fluid. The digital world is always evolving, with new algorithms, features, and capabilities. Needing to adjust your strategy doesn't mean you've failed; it means you're learning and growing as a marketer.

Wrapping it Up

Creating a strong framework for your video marketing content will provide a foundation for brand alignment and accomplishing business goals. Once that framework is in place, you can experiment and adapt to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving world.

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