By Jorge Abrego
Advertising Director of Acres U.S.A.
Online videos have traditionally been used for product demonstrations. As more B2B buyers watch online videos to make important purchase decisions, more B2B brands are responding to end-user demand by using them across marketing channels and throughout the sales funnel.
Because content marketing plays such an essential role, integrating videos into digital media channels — such as embedding videos into e-newsletter and native ads, landing pages, websites and social media — can generate higher end-user engagement than text-based content.
A clear and thoughtful video marketing strategy is critical for engaging customers and prospects, and an essential step toward effective marketing that targets relevant content to your end-user in order to foment brand recognition, develop trust and increase sales.
But despite the evidence, many B2B marketers still hesitate to include video in their marketing plans due to limited budgets and an at times complex production process. However, there are some hard facts and compelling statistics that make a strong case for why videos are a must in your marketing arsenal.
The Argument for Using Video
Video content is 12 times more engaging than other types of content. In fact, it generates higher engagement rates than both text and image content combined.
In fact, 95% of messaging that potential customers see in a video remains with them. This is something you can’t pull off with photos alone.
95% of video marketers say they intend to continually increase their video budget every year. 88% of video marketers find a positive return on investment from using video. InVideo, Dec 2021.
Your B2B brand will experience improved customer engagement, increase your audience’s retention rate and increase the effectiveness of your content marketing, SEO and social media efforts if you produce video content.
So, what most B2B agriculture companies need isn’t to be convinced about leveraging video – they need help in making sense of getting started and how to use it most effectively without breaking the bank.
Strategies to Getting Started
First, you don’t always have to create perfectly polished, high-end videos to receive a high return on investment. There are also ways of utilizing opportunities to combine projects and multiple situations so that your video marketing costs are reduced.
When approaching buyers for their stories (testimonials) for instance, think through ahead of time (mid- to long-term video content strategy) how to leverage their farms and fields for shooting good, well-rounded, anonymous b-roll footage that can be used in videos for different purposes; branding, product-centric, testimonial, user guide etc.
Second, you need to develop a video content strategy that enables you to engage with the optimal message for achieving specific objectives. Below, we discuss three best practices for creating effective B2B marketing videos that can move your customers down the sales funnel and improve their buying experience.
1. Align your video content with the right channel and funnel stage
A basic yet often forgotten rule of thumb for creating a video content plan is to make sure it effectively reaches buyers at different stages of their buying journey, along with the right message. Your video content will be influenced by two factors: where buyers are in the sales funnel and on which marketing channel your video lives.
At the top of the funnel (awareness stage), buyers go from being unaware of an issue to recognizing it and understanding the downsides of not addressing it. Educational video and videos on industry trends and thought leadership are the best performing top-of-funnel content.
Product overview, key mode of action and case study videos work very well for buyers in the mid-funnel stage (consideration) who are exploring their options, comparing features and removing input providers from their list that don’t fit their needs or budget.
At the bottom of the funnel (point of decision), customer testimonials, video integration of tutorials, free demos and case studies prove most valuable.
As you develop your content plan, begin exploring ways to request feedback and leverage data from existing customer relationships, and talk to your B2B audience to understand what buyers expect from your business. Use customer reviews to identify a more obscure customer need that your product can address. What are clients’ unmet expectations? Are they particularly enthralled by a specific product feature? This will help you begin to create micro-level buyer personas to gauge what type of content buyers want or need to hear at different pivotal moments in their journey, and craft videos to match those needs.
A strong B2B video marketing strategy should contain a mix of high-funnel videos focused on brand building, mid-funnel videos demonstrating why and how your product works and bottom-of the-funnel videos designed to drive purchases.
2. Educate and engage to develop deeper relationships
Because buyers these days bounce to and from key decisions and the B2B buying journey isn’t always linear anymore, capturing the attention of the target audience is only the first step. Craft videos that educate your prospective customers with helpful content and recommendations that resonate with them by building a connection at the emotional level. Research does suggest that customers who think that information received from suppliers is helpful are three times more likely to make a bigger purchase with less regret.
Dig into your area of expertise to make recommendation videos. You can review the current products or services your customers are using or create a series of explanatory videos. These will help you attract new customers, re-target cold leads, grow a loyal subscriber base and generate more engagement around your brand.
Here are some helpful tips for using B2B video marketing to nurture leads:
- Develop shorter videos ranging from 20 seconds to 190 seconds which have a higher engagement rate and can be produced at low cost.
- Placing videos on your website can hook visitors who tend to skim through the text-heavy pages. Make sure your videos don’t negatively impact your page load speed, thus warding off impatient users.
- Make sure you employ an effective call to action (CTA) to encourage visitors further down the funnel. CTAs in B2B educational videos can involve links to your white papers, webinars, e-newsletters and/or customer reviews in related videos.
3. Leverage video customer testimonials to build strong brand credibility
Customer reviews and testimonials are like a firm virtual handshake with prospective customers. Actual customers speaking about your products or services give buyers the confidence that they have been tested by peers and can be trusted.
When combined with video, testimonials have a powerful impact on the audience. They humanize your case studies and marketing collateral, and create a personalized, emotional response to sometimes dry text descriptions or case studies.
Three ways to use video reviews:
Customer testimonial – Show what others think about you with a simple, straightforward testimonial video where a B2B end-user relates their experience with your product or service.
Customer review – Help customers see how best to use your product in a lengthier customer review video, which speaks to the features of your product and how they benefited from them.
Case study – Show your product in action and depict how it solves a real-world problem by featuring your most satisfied buyers.
Video-based customer testimonials and reviews have exceptionally high conversion rates and they can be placed at all stages of your sales funnel. Timely, verified user reviews can considerably amplify your product visibility and attract more buyers.
Tips for B2B video marketing using customer testimonials and reviews:
- Keep costs down by shooting multiple customer testimonials at once. Focus your reviews more on the benefits than features to help personalize your message while toning down the marketing feel.
- Adjust the duration of your testimonial videos depending on the marketing channel. The ideal length for a customer review is between 6 to 30 seconds on social media, 30 seconds for a website homepage, and 60 to 90 seconds for YouTube.
- Don’t wait for professional video equipment to get started. Slightly gritty but authentic recordings on a smartphone or webcam can be just as effective by showcasing normal people in natural settings.
Adding videos to your marketing mix can cut through the noise and enable you to create authentic engagements that customers value. Start easy and with impact by integrating video customer testimonials featuring real stories from real buyers into your proactive digital media efforts and events. Leverage your media partners and other resources who understand your audience to help you produce cost-effective, relevant videos that can have multiple uses across channels and opportunities.
Jorge Abrego is the Advertising Director for Acres U.S.A. and has 26 years of advertising agency and B2B media experience in the agriculture, energy and technology sectors. To get Marketing Matters articles delivered directly to your inbox on a regular basis, sign up here.