According to a 2011 Content Marketing Institute study, 90% of B2B marketers do some form of content marketing, whether they realize it or not.
More importantly, 60% of B2B marketers plan to spend more on content marketing in the next year. As interest in content marketing continues to rise, so does interest in video as a sales tool. In fact, 53.5% (and 70.8% of Internet users) will watch videos online in 2012. That’s a 7.1% increase from 2011!
Here’s how you can turn video into your number one sales tool. (Oh, you didn’t know? Video is also Content Marketing)
1. Hardwired to Watch
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: our brains are hardwired to respond to visual stimulation. We already know that research shows that nearly half the population learns visually. If given the choice between reading a full page of content and watching a 60-second explainer video, the video would win out every time. Not only is it faster to watch a video than read written content, but we retain more information when our brains are both verbally and visually stimulated.
Use this natural predisposition to video to your advantage. A simple video introducing your product or service can go a long way. Place it on your landing page and watch conversions increase.
2. Short and Sweet
We also know that the average person will spend 2.7 minutes watching an Internet video. Still, the idea is to ensure everyone watches your video from start to finish, so it’s best to keep your video short and sweet. We typically recommend between 60 and 90 seconds for best results.
By staying well below the average, you ensure that you have the potential to hold everyone’s attention. Plus, 60 seconds means 140 to 160 words. That script restriction means only your most important (and powerful) benefits make the video.
3. Make the Call Pop
Your script and visual effects will be the focus for the majority of the video, but they won’t turn your viewers into customers. What truly increases sales is a fantastic call to action at the end of the video. Just as it is on a landing page, a video call to action is what pushes visitors into the sales funnel. The best calls to action tie into the theme of the video while still standing out.
For example, Comet’s whiteboard style explainer video has an effective call to action. The logo and tagline are visible for a full 10 seconds. All of the whiteboard elements from earlier in the video surround the branded info, bringing the entire video full circle. Also, the voiceover narrator clearly defines the next step for the viewer: contact Comet to discuss potential solutions.
For even better results, use tools that allow you to add links to your video content. For example, Google Voice’s explainer video has an active website link thanks to a YouTube feature. All viewers have to do to act on the call is click the bubble around the link in the video.
4. Perfect the Tone
The tone of your script and voiceover narrator is vital. Do you want your video to be conservative and to-the-point or casual and laid back? The bigger question is: how do you want your brand to be perceived? The words and style of your script can make a huge difference. Of course, so can the way the voiceover actor reads the script. The same sentence could be interpreted in two very different ways, depending on the tone the narrator uses.
SonicBox is the perfect example of a company that put a great deal of thought into its explainer video’s tone. The team wanted a video that resonated with a young, fun audience. The tone of the video fits the target demographic perfectly and depicts SonicBox as an edgy brand. Note that the content of the script and the product are not all that edgy. It’s the video’s tone that conveys that message.
5. Set to Music
Voiceover narration is not the only auditory stimulation your video should be capitalizing on. Whether you set your video to music or sound effects, finding the perfect match can be difficult. The key is to insert the music or sound effects strategically, much like you would a keyword on a landing page. You don’t want to overuse or underuse the two. Music should be played softly in the background so not to distract from the script. For the same reason, sound effects should only be used to match animation or movement.
“We found that the video with music performed better than the same video without the background music. People watched longer and around 10% more people completed the video”, says Daniel Debow, Co-Founder of Rypple.
Be sure the tempo and genre of music matches your theme and brand. If the video is upbeat and fast-paced, don’t set it to classical music.
6. Live Action vs. Animation
With so many options, deciding on the style of your video is an adventure in itself. Live action and animation are just the beginning. Whiteboard and claymation style videos are also wildly popular. When it comes down to it, the decision depends on who your target audience is and what your goal for the video is.
For example, whiteboard style tends to be more popular with business or professional facing videos. Conversely, animation tends to be more popular with consumer facing videos. The deciding factor is truly your personal preference and what you believe will resonate with your specific audience (while accurately representing your brand).
7. Stay Funny and Edgy
Earlier, we mentioned representing your brand with a conservative and to-the-point video.
Some brands are simply traditional and less than casual. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t translate to video well.
No matter how short a video is, if it’s not interesting and entertaining, it will lose viewers (and potential customers). That’s why we recommend that companies look to insert either humor, edginess or controversy into their videos. Whether that added element is in the script or the visual aspect of the video, it’s important that it’s there (even if it’s just a little bit).
8. Search Engine Boost
Optimizing videos for search engines is really quite easy, but the results are spectacular. In fact, research shows that video results are 50% more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results than written content. All it really takes is tweaking the title, description and tags to match your keywords.
Your title should be under 120 characters, just like a blog post title. Your description should mention two to three keywords naturally. Your tags should do the same, especially since some video hosts use tags as a way of searching and sorting content.
Another great way to use video to your SEO advantage is by uploading a transcript, which will also contain your keywords.
9. Simplify Brand Messaging
We mentioned that the brevity of effective videos greatly restricts the word count. That means there’s only room in your script for the best and most powerful benefits. The restriction forces you to choose your words carefully and simplify your brand messaging.
Your value proposition must be established quickly and clearly, which potential customers appreciate. By removing unnecessary details that complicate your communication with potential customers, you can look forward to increased sales.
And that’s all there is to it! Marketing experts are predicting that video will continue to grow in popularity. Now is the time to start learning more about the strategy behind, and the production of, videos.
It’s time to start tapping into that 70.8% of the Internet population that’s watching video.