Posted: Thu 11th Nov 2021
Jeremy Mason is a video production expert and Enterprise Nation adviser.
In this piece, Jeremy chats all things video strategy, unpacking just how a small business can leverage this wonderful marketing tool.
The success of a video marketing strategy comes down to one area: planning. Get it right, and there's little room for error; get it wrong, and it could cost you a great deal. Remember that trust takes years to build and a second to lose, you need consumers to believe in your brand, and by having an air-tight video marketing plan in place, you're halfway there.
I will make this post really easy to follow and include the basics that I know to be the most effective with this venture. Some restrictions will guide you; your budget, production processes, conversion metrics, timelines, and more. However, the initial planning stages are an overview suitable for all business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers.
Let's break it down into six simple stages:
1) Identify your video goals
The first stage is to identify your goals - SMART goals:
Specific - Make them specific, e.g., increase visit rate by 50% in 12-months’ time.
Measurable - Ensure you can track the progress of the goal
Achievable - Make sure the goal is realistic
Relevant - Is it going to be a contributory factor to promotion?
Timely - Can it be done within a certain time frame?
Goals are critical to any video marketing campaign. If you don't know what you're trying to accomplish with a campaign, how can you determine if it's been a success or a failure? Smart goals will keep the plan air-tight and ensure it works as you need it to, with no room for error.
It's essential to be specific and prioritise what the most important end goal is here. Some businesses may want two or three end goals, but it's vital to prioritise. It's also key to ensure that you can measure the progress over time; see what's working and what may need adapting.
Stick to a realistic timeframe - this gives you something to work towards and can be a great motivator if you're starting to lose heart.
2) Find your target audience
This is a crucial step - create a video without a target audience in mind, and it's more likely to be a flop. Those who should watch it likely never will, and those who do watch it won't go on to act. There are three questions to ask yourself, which should help you to identify who your audience is, where they are and how to reach them:
Who is the product, or service, aimed at - this will be your buyer's persona.
What is the point of your video - product demo, explainer video, advertisement?
Where does your audience spend time online - this will reveal how best to distribute your video.
If you're really unsure how to answer these questions, you can look at what your competitors are doing with their video marketing campaign. If they sell the same products or services, they'll likely have the same target audience, so see what they're doing to reach them.
Now, I'm not saying become a major copycat here. What I'm saying is to look at what they're doing and see how you can make their campaign work for you.
It could be that you spot a huge gap in the market, or you see something they're doing that doesn't seem to be working (remember, you're now the consumer); how are you receiving their messages? And, how can you tweak this to incorporate it into your own campaign?
3) Determine what your message is
This step involves what it is you want to get across to potential consumers and what problems of theirs you can solve. Businesses exist to serve customers and ultimately to make their lives better, so this step is all about what enrichment you can provide that your consumers need.
Consider what makes you stand out from the rest and your USP. Why should consumers come to you, and what advantage do they have for using your business over one of your competitors? Video is an excellent way to humanise a brand and build trust, but it's essential it is directed at the right group of people.
Confusingly, this shouldn't be an in-your-face sales pitch unless consumers are specifically looking for an advertisement online (which they rarely are), don't be too pushy or direct your message to the wrong audience. This could be at best ignored, and at worst, seen as a huge invasion which will leave consumers with a bad taste in their mouths about your business.
The basic framework of this stage is:
Protagonist with a goal - The consumers should align with your target audience
Conflict - What problem your consumer may be facing
Quest - Where you introduce the product or service you can provide
Resolution - How the product or service solves the consumer's problem and makes their life better.
The elements of the story can take the viewer on a journey - this journey should align with your brand's mission. You can be as creative as you like here and try to evoke different emotions from your potential consumers - the power of video here is unprecedented in the field of marketing.
The world really is your oyster with the development of your video, and your SMART goal will allow you to see what type of video is working the best for your business.
4) Keep creative requirements in mind
As you start to craft your story, bear in mind that it may be that you'll have to wait for approval from the powers that be (if that isn't yourself). If changes are needed post-production, this can be hugely frustrating and time-consuming. It is obviously best to have managers involved from the onset to get the green light before compiling your video, but often this doesn't happen.
You may need to learn to accept that not everyone in your department thinks your video is great and be prepared for some constructive criticism.
You can make things easier on yourself by having a purpose for every decision made regarding your video, from the script to the lighting, to jokes, references, and voice-overs. Ensure that if you're questioned about anything, you have a concrete answer - this can also stand you in good stead for online criticism (I know, a rare thing online, right?!).
5) Stick to your timeline
There should be a general start to finish timeline of the video production, as well as smaller chunks - for example, creation timeline, production timeline, distribution timeline. Timelines will keep you aware of how much you have done, how much needs doing, and the time you have allocated to each stage.
I find that timelines are crucial for everyone involved in the process of video creation and development.
You're likely going to be answerable to someone, someone else is liable to answer to you, and a timeline just sets everything out clearly, so everyone knows what is expected of them. It's pretty much intolerable to work without one in digital media, especially when multiple people are involved in a project.
6) Remain in budget
Budget. It has the ability to make or break a video marketing strategy. To give yourself the best chance of sticking to a budget, ensure that it is initially realistic. You may want a celebrity guest speaker and to film on top of the Eiffel Tower, but if you can only afford Ms. Jones from sales and Blackpool Tower, then you can make it work.
There will be some things you can splurge on (such as a high-quality microphone or camera), but look at where you can save money. It may be that you'll create or shoot in-house and outsource some components to an advertising agency or production company. Consider the money and resources you have and what can be adapted to remain within budget.
To sum up
The planning stages of a video strategy are crucial to its overall success. A well-formulated marketing strategy leaves little room for error and should ensure you remain on-task throughout the production. I have spoken about how to further develop these stages here, with some more advice and tips here.