As a global community, we’ve all gone a little square-eyed.
Take the United States: between their favourite shows, the latest music videos, and the unique combination of channels and creators they increasingly follow in spaces like YouTube and Instagram, our American friends spend upwards of six hours streaming video every day, according to a report by market research giant Nielsen.
And it’s not just the U.S. that's breaking out the popcorn. Recent industry data reveals that "online video penetration is near universal in a number of leading online markets". Popular streaming service Netflix’s revenue amounted to almost £8.9 billion in 2017, while "the most regularly watched categories of YouTube audiences in the U.S. were videos uploaded by people or brands".
"We’re hardwired to engage with stories", explains Michael Litt, CEO and founder of online video hosting company Vidyard, speaking at The Revenue Growth Summit last month. "As a result, 90 percent of customers say video helps them make buying decisions."
In the business world, this means a huge opportunity to not only reach more of your target buyers around the clock but engage with them in standout ways. So why aren’t more of us pressing record?
Rethinking video marketing across your organisation’s flywheel
The problem is one of perception. Stop thinking of video as a tactic you somehow need to implement for a moment. Stop thinking of it as a content strategy. Don’t think of it as a strategy of any kind.
Instead, think of it as a cultural shift; a better, more human way of communicating — externally and internally across your business — at a time when personalisation and clarity of communication is everything.
"When your company gets here, you’ll find there’s no limit to the ways you could be using video to generate revenue and grow your organisation faster."
Bake the act of shooting, publishing, and sharing video into the way your team thinks, so when they need to communicate with a prospect, they’re automatically thinking about whether or not video would be the best way to do it and they’re comfortable enough to press record.
To whet your appetite, here are 21 use cases for videos that you can take away and start implementing today.
21 use cases for video inbound marketing
1. Stand out in social
Your prospects’ newsfeeds have never been busier. For brands looking to reach new customers through social media, the challenge is on to revise their social strategies and find new ways of catching their audience’s attention.
This is where video excels: a video frame stands out from text-based updates nestled around it, drawing the eye. Where autoplay is enabled, the video’s movement attracts further attention. If you’ve used subtitles, the viewer can watch the video whenever and wherever without sound.
Here's one of several in-the-moment videos we shot on a smartphone while over in Boston for INBOUND earlier this year:
2. Improve audience engagement
An article is faceless, but videos give brands the opportunity to put a face and a personality to the content they’re producing. The written word can be copied and pasted or fabricated entirely, but we’re more inclined to trust word of mouth, especially when it’s given on camera. On social, this can be used to better engage a viewer.
The same applies to videos embedded in written content, increasing each visitor’s engagement and time on page as they sit back to watch and digest. See how we've used them across this article to emphasise certain points and to hopefully give you a clearer understanding of what we mean with each example.
3. Showcase your company’s experts and thought leaders
Those people sitting in front of the camera putting their names, faces, and reputations under scrutiny? The more they know about your brand and the subject they’re talking about, the better they’ll represent you and the more impactful your videos will be.
In the same way that your team will be used to getting content ideas from the wider business, if you have thought leaders and industry experts, now is the time to unshackle them from the desk, lead them into the spotlight, and press record.
Videos don’t have to be ‘produced’. Yes, you might want to invest more time and budget into a polished production for an awareness-level video marketing campaign. But a cost-effective video culture can be built on the back of smartphones and free apps. (Check out the GoVideo Chrome extension by Vidyard).
5. Improve content production speed
Another misconception is that video takes hours to shoot. You can literally record from your phone or browser, upload to your blog or social, and start promoting in minutes. In fact, if content production is limiting your inbound marketing strategy, video can be an efficient way to scale up your operations.
6. Build relationships with prospects earlier
Putting together a proposal? Incorporating elements of video that the prospect takes back to their business and presents to the C-suite ensures the information they’re presenting is accurate, reflective of what you are offering, and engaging. Oh, and you’ve given the decision-maker a chance to meet, recognise, and start forming a relationship with you before you’ve even started working together.
The video below is one our co-founder and head of revenue Eric shot to introduce himself to new prospects:
7. Promote a new product or service launch
It’s not just rising competition that’s making social and organic success harder. As Marketing Week reports, consumer trust in brands on social media is falling as ‘the line between marketing and non-commercial news and articles blurs’. Consumers are losing faith in information that brands publish on social media as they become more conscious of the various tactics used by marketing teams to reach them.
A clearly marked product or service video shows you’re being upfront and transparent about your sales and marketing content, which can only reflect well on your brand, while enabling you to discuss and promote your offering to your target audience in a visual, tactile, and ultimately persuasive manner.
Here's a quick video our business development rep George put together promoting a new offer:
Whatever your reason for requiring a product demo, a marketing video removes the ambiguity and miscommunication inherent to step-by-step guides and written walkthroughs, providing your mass audience with a clear visual that they can use to get the most value from the product — and your brand.
9. More clearly explain dry, challenging, or lengthy processes
The same principle applies to more personalised sales communications. Whether you’re providing an overview of a pricing package or a prospect is struggling with a technical task, record a quick video at your desk that walks them through the process and fire it over. Your prospect will appreciate the personalised response, never mind the value they get in having their question answered or problem solved.
10. Become a go-to resource
If you find yourself frequently creating product demos or personalised sales videos, consider collating them into a knowledge base on your website that helps address frequently asked questions from your prospects and customers. Imagine how much more engaging and shareable a video library could be compared to a traditional FAQ section.
11. Tell better stories
Brand storytelling takes many forms, from heavily produced video marketing around which whole campaigns can be built to shorter, snappier interviews with experts or customer case stories.
Whichever form you use, by paying attention to the main character (usually your customer), the tension between where they are and where they want to be, and the resolution (make it a good one!), you can tell truly engaging stories that stir viewers to action and leave a lasting impression.
12. Increase email click-through rate
‘Personalising videos for your prospects and clients is the most powerful way to trigger a response’, added Michael when we asked him about the possibility of using video to improve sales outreach response rates. If your nurture sequences are underperforming or your sales team’s emails are falling on deaf ears, personalised videos could significantly impact the way people interact with your emails.
13. Improve sales and marketing alignment
The rivalry between sales and marketing teams is one of the biggest causes of friction in businesses we meet. Nine times out of ten, the problem can be traced back to communication or a lack thereof. Either the teams aren’t listening to each other or they’re singing from completely different hymn sheets, leading to a breakdown in meaning and a business flywheel that looks more like a hole in the ground.
To stop your leads falling into that hole, use video to improve communication between your sales and marketing teams. In the same way that video can be used to better explain a product, a process, or your brand to a prospect, interdepartmental videos can be used to speed up communication, reduce miscommunication, and build stronger relationships between your sales and marketing teams.
14. Close more deals
Let's take a look at that statistic again: ‘90 percent of customers say video helps them make buying decisions.’ Video’s awesome potential to boost your company’s revenue growth speaks for itself. Does video feature in your existing deal strategy or could it be an opportunity for your sales team to find quick wins?
15. Strengthen your existing customers’ relationships
Today, customer satisfaction is your biggest opportunity to generate more business. Treat your customers well and they can become your strongest asset in the race to get business and grow better. Fail, and your competitors’ ranks will quickly swell.
To refer back to earlier, the general perception of video as time-consuming / expensive / plain difficult to do well is something that can be turned to your advantage when engaging with your existing database. Frequently producing videos of consistent quality is a great way to impress your customers and set yourself head and shoulders above your competition, never mind the relationship benefits that come from producing personalised videos and helpful knowledge bases.
16. Bring life to the office
Culture is key to retaining and growing your top talent. It’s also important from a recruitment perspective. Hiring new staff is expensive and time-consuming, making it essential that you can create a culture your employees love being a part of. We celebrate our culture by taking videos around the office every day, whether we’re running a baking competition, celebrating a client win (see below), or adding stories to our company Instagram. I quickly shot this video the morning before the Great Babel Bake Off:
17. Celebrate client wins
Many businesses in the B2B space have lengthy buying lifecycles to contend with. Even if you don’t, it’s always an exciting moment when you close a new customer — for you and your buyer. A quick, characterful video thanking the buyer for choosing to work with you or buy from you is a simple and meaningful way of expressing this.
18. Cover successful events
Events can be expensive to run, never mind the months of planning and sleepless nights. If you’re fortunate enough to have a large turnout and a strong line-up of speakers, record it! This is great example of how you can maximise on the success of your events through content marketing: the footage makes for a great follow-up email thanking attendees for coming, you can use it on social to improve your brand awareness, and it can also make for an engaging conversion point across your website. So much value!
We did exactly this when we held The Revenue Growth Summit in earlier this year. With over 100 attendees and a line up of speakers from HubSpot, Vidyard, and more, the day was a real success. Check it out below:
19. Engage younger generations
‘Younger people, not surprisingly, are embracing digital platforms and internet-connected devices much more quickly than older demographics,’ Tech Crunch notes in its commentary on Nielsen’s report.
On the subject of Millennials and Generation Z, Vidyard’s Michael added: ‘They communicate in a very different way to how you or I are used to communicating. As it stands, we have to teach many of our employees born post-1995 how to use email. In the near future, email is going to look and feel like the fax machine does today.’
Getting used to working with video now will set you up well for the future because it’s only going to get bigger.
20. Communicate company news
Let’s face it: company updates don’t have a great rep. Some companies consolidate them into the blog to make them appear more customer-facing, but they’re still all about you. In the B2B space, they can often make for particularly dry reading. And they’re rarely as interesting to the outside world as they are to your CFO. Turning the traditional PR post on its head and sticking a camera in front of it can be an effective way of adding much-needed character, gravitas, and human appeal.
21. Spin the flywheel and grow better
As I touched on earlier, many businesses are still struggling to align their sales and marketing activities, never mind the customer service piece. But as connectivity grows and customers take more and more of the buying process into their own hands, it’s increasingly important that all your business processes are working with each other towards the same goal.
Implementing video won’t solve this problem overnight, but by improving communication both internally and externally, it can go a long way to remove the friction holding back your business flywheel.
Key takeaway: how to start implementing video inbound marketing
The simplest way to drive video inbound marketing is to find that passionate person who’ll drive the culture, give them ownership, and let them do what they love best. They might exist in your team already, you might need to promote their personal development to get them there, or you might need to consider hiring them in. Whoever they are, this individual will provide a starting point, a fighting chance, an advocate for what is effectively a cultural shift across your organisation.
Put a camera in that person’s hands, direct them to this read, and check back with them in a day, a week, a month. You might be surprised by where the next shoot leads.