Whether you’ve just stepped onto the scene, or you’ve been using videos for ages, you need a road map outlining what it’s all for, where you’re going, and how you’ll measure success.
Your video marketing strategy is every bit as important as execution.
A solid plan can be the difference between knowing how much return on investment (ROI) your content is delivering and throwing metaphorical spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
If your business is already off and running with video, congrats! You’ve successfully cleared one major hurdle: the fear of getting started. Now’s the time to put a strategy in place.
A video marketing strategy will help you meet your goals and create video content that addresses real business objectives.
Starting from scratch? No need to worry. You can make your video content intentional right from day one.
You can start to use video to increase qualified leads in your sales pipeline and prove ROI. The trick to making your videos count is to build purposeful, measurable strategy rather than random bursts of video excitement.
Developing a video marketing strategy should begin with eight steps:
Read on for a deep dive into each of the main elements of a video marketing strategy.
In order to know whether you’ve actually achieved what you’re setting out to accomplish with your video marketing strategy, you need to set measurable goals.
Content intelligence platform Conductor recommends defining marketing goals for both revenue and your brand.
Revenue-based goals focus on things like increasing lead form inquiries while brand goals involve things like growing a higher quality email list, driving more blog traffic, or capturing Google answer boxes for targeted keywords.
Brand goals can be just as important as revenue ones as they help position you for future success and often take into account qualitative feedback.
Some common video goals include:
As with any kind of marketing goal, following the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting framework is a good place to start:
The goal should zero in on a specific aspect of your strategy. After all, saying you want to get more views is great, but what does it actually mean?
The goal should be accompanied by a relevant key performance indicator (KPI) and metrics that can be used to measure its success.
The goal should be something that’s within reach of your department without “sandbagging” (deliberating setting a goal that isn’t a challenge for the team to reach). Try starting with a baseline and determining a desired increase (or decrease, as the case may be) from there.
The goal should be relevant to your overall business objectives AND a good fit for what objectives video is best suited to meet
The goal should have a timeframe in which it can reasonably be achieved so that you can accurately measure how effective your efforts have been. While some goals can be tackled in a quarter or two, others may require a longer timeframe, like a year. Go one step further by breaking down your overall goal into weekly targets. That way you know what you need to be doing, every step of the way.
An example of a S.M.A.R.T. video marketing goal—one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—might look like this:
We will increase time on page for key pages on our website by 15% this quarter by embedding relevant videos.
The sky’s the limit! Just keep in mind what goals video is best suited to meet—it can often be used to help you achieve your existing marketing goals.
Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, recommends you start your content marketing strategy with a mission statement.
It’s helpful to have one of these for your video strategy too, because it gives your team an easy-to-remember purpose to rally around.
Your mission should be a simple, one-line statement that answers the following questions:
In order to justify creating different types of videos (including some that may not be directly related to your product), your business needs to understand why you’re creating video stories, who you want watching your content, and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Your video marketing mission statement should look something like this:
“At (company name), we make (type) video content for (specific buyer personas), so that they (exactly what you want them to do).”
To be successful with video, you first need to know who you actually want watching your content. Defining a target audience—and learning about what they like, what they need, what their paint points are—will help you create video content that connects.
Many marketers seem to share the misconception that if they create a video that doesn’t rake in millions of views, they’ve failed in a major way. Fortunately, this is far from the truth.
While a broad reach can be desirable for B2C companies, things are a bit different in the B2B space. No matter what industry you’re in, recognize that your objectives will differ.
B2B brands often have a harder time developing videos for widespread reach, but don’t get discouraged. Not everyone needs your product or service; that’s why it’s so important to attract and maintain the leads worth following up with.
When it comes to your target audience, the more specific the better. It’s okay if your content isn’t interesting to anyone outside of that group; you’re aiming to help viewers self-qualify.
Start by looking at the buyer, customer, and/or user personas your company already has. Research what their video preferences are: Is it a good medium for reaching them? If so, what types of videos work best? Build a profile of your video audience from there.
If you don’t already have personas, now’s the time to create some. Use whatever sources of information are available to you to learn about the people you’re trying to connect with. Include anything about your persona that’s pertinent to your content creation, such as how they learn, what kind of content they prefer to consume, and more.
For a deep dive into other information you could include, check out HubSpot’s guide to creating buyer personas.
Next, map the buyer’s journey for your product or service so you can identify points where video content can help potential customers move along the path to purchase (and what type of video is best suited the task at hand).
Think about what different kinds of content might address your personas’ questions at different stages of the buying process. For instance, the video that introduces a persona to your company will be different from the one they’ll need when they’re in consideration mode.
As you move forward with creating new videos, ask yourself every time which persona the content speaks to and at what point in the customer journey.
Before you dive in and start filming, you need to figure out what kinds of videos you’re going to make.
Think about what story you want to tell, how you can best do that through video, what video styles and types are best suited to sharing that story, what kinds of videos your target audience likes, and more.
It’s important to consider where video will fit into your organization’s customer journey and marketing funnel (or flywheel). Remember that your audience will likely need different video types and messages at different points in their journey.
When you’re first getting started, choose a few styles and types of video to test and see what works and what doesn’t. Depending on the stage of the funnel or flywheel, this may constitute what gets the most reach, what gets the most engagement, or what drives the most leads or conversions.
Before you plan this portion of your strategy, learn more about video styles and types in Chapter 4.
As you make your plan, it’s important to think about what sort of video budget you’ll have to work with.
There are a few questions you can ask yourself to get a sense of how much you’ll need to invest, or if your budget is already fixed, how to get the most bang for your buck.
What types of videos do you want to create?
Your budget for video really depends on the types of projects you outline in your video strategy. Your finances will often dictate the creative avenues you can explore.
Every production, from live action to animation, will range in terms of the time and resources required, so there isn’t a definitive answer when it comes to setting a video budget. Whether you aim for polish or gritty authenticity, your production quality and style will also be a factor in cost and may even impact the number of videos you’re ultimately able to create.
Will you be creating videos internally or outsourcing them to an external production company?
B2B marketers cite a lack of budget and a lack of in-house resources as the top two challenges associated with creating video, according to a Demand Metric study. These very common issues inevitably beg the question: “Should we try making videos ourselves or should we enlist the help of a video production company?”
If you plan to produce videos internally, you’ll need to think about who will be responsible for creating them. Will you hire an in-house videographer or a video production team?
A good way to determine which direction is best for your business is to outline your expected output. The average organization produces 377 videos annually, according to our 2018 Video in Business Benchmark Report. While this can vary somewhat by industry and company size, our study found that small companies (under $5 million in revenue) produce nearly as many videos as large enterprises (over $1 billion).
Even if you’re not at this stage of volume just yet, you’ll have to consider whether you’re creating campaigns (one-off assets) or a program (regularly scheduled videos as part of a cohesive content marketing strategy). This will often make the difference in which production method you choose. You’ll want to consider what’s reasonable for your company based on your size, the scope of what you’ll need to communicate, and your budget.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to video production, there are a lot of companies succeeding with a combination of in-house and production agency. The majority of small, medium, and large enterprises use either exclusively internal or a combination of internal and external resources to produce video content, according to our Benchmark Report.
Video production company costs
When outsourcing your videos, you can expect to go in with a typical budget ranging anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of $15,000 per video asset. This range is pretty standard for a run-of-the-mill explainer video, but again, the budget will change as you opt for higher production values.
Advanced videos with an “advertising look and feel” will range anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 for major productions. On average, most budgets for a polished production (the kind that comes equipped with a full production crew) usually land somewhere between $20,000 to $35,000.
With these numbers in mind, if you wanted to outsource one basic explainer video per month for a year, you’d be looking at a baseline of around $60,000 at the very low end of this spectrum.
All video production houses vary. We recommend you call around to get quotes that mesh with your brand’s needs and budget.
In-house videographer costs
If you’re looking to go the in-house production route, you’ll likely be looking to invest in your own equipment, train a staff member, or even hire a videographer.
This person—depending on their skill set and experience—will need to know how to conceptualize, capture, and edit footage from concept to completion. You’ll want someone who can break down complex B2B products and work with videos from pre-production to post.
They should be imaginative, good with metaphors, and have a great sense of your target audience. Aim to hire someone with a great sense of timing when it comes to editing, and someone who’s talented at directing people in front of the lens.
What sort of video equipment and/or video marketing software will you need?
If you plan to go in-house—whether you hire a dedicated person or assign video creation duties to an existing member of your marketing team—you’ll need to think about the nuts and bolts of production.
Even if you keep things pretty basic, you’ll likely still need to invest in some video production equipment. However, this would be a one-time upfront investment. For many companies, deciding to do production in-house often ends up being more cost-effective in the long-run.
For traditional, professional video production, you’ll want to consider the following equipment:
If you’re thinking of going the smartphone route, think about:
Looking for specific equipment recommendations for video production? Refer to these blog posts about tools for traditional video production and smartphone video production, or find out what kind of equipment you can get for different budget points.
You should also consider what video marketing software your team will require to edit, organize, manage, host, and analyze your video content. There are a variety of free options as well as ones created specifically for business use (like Vidyard). Do some research, check out some demos, and determine what best meets your needs.
Do you want to hire actors?
Depending on the story you want to tell, you may be happy with having employees star in your video or you may want to bring in some professional actors to play certain parts, for whatever reason.
Keep in mind that bringing in actors will increase costs.
If you go the employee-actor route, think about getting release forms set up to ensure you’re legally allowed to use their image. While this may sound intimidating, it’s usually a simple, one-page form.
Some companies even have new hires sign this documentation along with on-boarding paperwork. If you plan to make a lot of videos and want employees to feature prominently, you may want to consider something along these lines.
For a bit of help with planning finances, get our free video budget template.
Depending on the production quality you’re aiming for and your budget, you might be able to invest in an in-house videographer or a team of marketers dedicated to video. However, you might also be outsourcing content to an agency or production house.
No matter how you’re operating with production, be sure to outline:
You may also want to define an “editorial board” of major stakeholders who are consulted for input on videos. You definitely want feedback at critical points in the video process, but be mindful of an excess of cooks in the kitchen.
There are two main ways to approach video content and most business’ video strategies will likely involve a combination of both.
First, there’s evergreen, “business as usual” (BAU) content: This could be regularly scheduled video series, supporting content for core pages of your website, how-to content for support pages, customer testimonial videos, and other video content that has a long shelf life.
Second, there are campaign videos, which usually run for a shorter period of time. These can range from video ads for your business, promotion for something your company is doing (such as a new product or a sale), topical social videos, or even timely video content that’s seasonal, aligns with a holiday, or hops on a trend. Campaign videos tend to have a shorter shelf life and are often retired after they’ve served their specific purpose.
For each video campaign you tackle, you’ll need to create a video marketing campaign strategy—essentially a mini-version of your main strategy—that answers all of the pertinent questions for the individual campaign. As with your overarching strategy, you’ll need to think about cost, target audience, goals, and more.
The big difference here is timing. This element, while important in your general video strategy, is of the utmost importance for video campaigns. This is because campaigns often rely on timeliness.
How far in advance you begin planning these projects will vary by production house or videographer, but you’ll typically want to book your campaign six to nine weeks in advance of the delivery date. For particularly complex projects, allow 10 to 13 weeks.
In terms of timeline, the breakdown goes something like this:
Keep in mind that these timelines will vary depending on the type of video you’re creating for your campaign. For instance, a basic talking head will take far less time than the average motion graphic video.
Plus, don’t forget to schedule in any time you need to plan for distribution and any other elements that may accompany the video in the campaign.
After you’ve accumulated a ton of content, you need to decide where your videos will live on the web and on your site.
When releasing any video, it’s critical to leverage multiple distribution channels to maximize reach and engagement.
Channels to consider include:
When getting started with video, make a list of the distribution locations that make sense for you. Think about providing a dedicated place where visitors can explore all of your video assets on your own website.
Many major brands now have entire pages on their websites devoted to video. They’re focused on creating a video content hub that will keep potential customers engaged for longer and guide them through their buying journey.
Distribution isn’t the only part of this equation; you also need to determine how you’ll organize, host, and manage your video content. When your team has only five videos, this may not seem that important, but it quickly becomes crucial to effective video marketing. And it’s much easier to put a system in place from day one than it is to try to shoehorn things after the fact.
Learn more about where and how to distribute your video content in Chapter 5.
In the same way you track key performance indicators (KPIs) for written content, you need to produce, release, then review your video’s engagement data to justify your investment in video and to understand how well you are performing.
Metrics might still be a scary word, but video is actually easier to track and measure than you might think. Because video is distributed in a player you can get detailed viewing data with an online video platform.
We’ll get into video performance in more depth later on, but here’s an overview of some metrics you should track for each video campaign you release:
This step in your video marketing strategy is to determine how you’ll collect this critical information (usually done with the help of an online video platform of your choice).
Once you have a set strategy, you’ll be able to see how your video content aligns with your business objectives and start using assets more effectively.
Learn more about video analytics and how to calculate the ROI of your efforts in Chapter 7.
Got a good idea of what you want to put in your video strategy? Carry on to Chapter 3 to learn how to use video to tell your business’ story.