With video on the rise as the overwhelming driver of web traffic, the blogosphere is awash these days with posts advising businesses on how to cash in and create winning content for their brands.
Just set a Google alert to “marketing videos” and you’ll see what I mean. The formula tends to go something like: Video marketing is essential; here are some stats to prove that; and here are the types of content you can employ for different stages of the sales funnel. It’s fairly useful nuts and bolts stuff as far as video marketing 101 goes, but if you’re looking for a truly fresh way of thinking about video marketing, you might actually do better to set your alerts to “online dating advice.”
Good video marketing is, after all, about building and fostering relationships, about making authentic connections with people. Today’s online audience will scroll past a barefaced ad as quickly as a Tinder user will swipe left on a blatant bot or pick up artist. So, if you don’t want your customers to up and ghost on you, you’d be wise to heed these tips I’ve adapted straight from the dating blogosphere:
#1. Put your best face forward
Just like an average Joe bobbing in Tinder’s endless dating pool, when you’re merely one of millions of marketers vying for the overstretched attention of today’s online shopper, you’ve got to make an effort to stand out from the crowd. Accordingly, while it can be tempting to try to save some dough by producing video content in house, or by farming it out to a hungry film student on Craigslist, you may end up doing yourself more harm than good if the result is less than stellar. Video is a complex art form, and if it’s not done right, it can end up earning you more ridicule than a shirtless bathroom mirror selfie. What’s more, most pro marketers out there will tell you that effectively executed video is the type of content with the highest ROI. So, do yourself a favor, and hire an agency that knows what they’re doing, even if you have to pay more. The payoff will be worth it.
#2. Avoid one-liners, and start an authentic conversation
So, you’ve created a beautiful, compelling brand video and got their attention. Now what?
Too many businesses tend to treat video content the same way some guys get stuck on pickup lines: as if all they need is that one great opener to immediately charm their way right into someone’s wallet. Sure, it’s helpful to make a great first impression, but if that’s all you have to offer, and you don’t follow it up with anything else of substance, you’ll find that most people will quickly tune you out. The trick is to treat video content like an ongoing conversation: learn as much as you can about your audience, and then after you introduce that first killer brand video, make sure you are ready to help them get to know you a little better by producing content to help answer their questions. In other words, have content ready for different parts of the sales funnel – if that brand video is like a good opening line for someone at the top of the funnel, additional explainer videos, product demonstrations, testimonial videos, or even webinars are the substance you need to keep that conversation going as they move along their buyer’s journey.
#3. A sense of humor goes a long way
Everyone knows that a sense of humor is attractive: the ability to make someone laugh or smile establishes trust, takes people out of their heads and into the moment, it’s disarming, and helps one come across as genuine. So, it’s little surprise that just as funny people get more attention and enjoy greater popularity, good advertisers have long since figured out that one of the best ways to attract more attention to their brand is through the use of the comedic. Indeed, if you haven’t noticed that the most popular ads (think Super Bowl stuff) tend to be funny, you’ve probably been living in a cave. But be careful, just as a poorly crafted or off-color joke can easily backfire and make people think you’re a creep, a poor-taste attempt at humor in an ad can end up offending people and turning your audience against you.
This is yet another reason to seek out professional support for your production. Think of those script writers like the really funny friends who you turn to for advice on your profile.
#4. Keep it fresh, and be ready to play the long game
In business as in dating, people frequently come to the table with different agendas and different timeframes; the marketer may be looking for love at first sight, but the customer may want to take things a bit more slowly. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like you; it’s just that now may not be the best time for anything more serious than some light flirtation. So, if you want them to re-engage with you in the future, it’s important to remember to keep in touch with them and send them more of the good stuff that grabbed their attention in the first place. In the same way that you want to produce enough content to maintain a conversation across the sales funnel, it’s equally important to produce content regularly. Today’s consumers say that they want to see more, not less video content from the brands that they like, so keep them happy and keep it coming. Don’t treat video like a one-off investment to populate your site and your YouTube page, and then wait months, or years to produce any new, fresh content.
Bottom line: if you want to convert those hard-to-get leads into long-term brand lovers, look good, be authentic and entertaining, and plan and budget for ongoing campaigns to show them you really care.