Producing video to suit your customer’s needs
When you’re an in-house video producer you can’t just make any old video to brief, send through your invoice, and clock out. You have to really understand how that video fits in with the wider organizational strategy. As well as the basics like budgeting, you have to consider things like who you are targeting, what motivates them, and at what stage of the game that customer is at. Video does not come in one-size-fits-all, and understanding these factors will help you to produce the right video, for the right customer, at the right time.
Stage 1: Awareness
Awareness isn’t just about customers knowing your name and what you do. That certainly helps, and is a good first step, but it goes far beyond that. Customers have to relate to you and believe that you and your product are credible. This is where you introduce your positioning or your manifesto – what you stand for. This is the most important stage; without it there’s no point even bothering with the next two.
Take the time to build trust
This can be a long investment, but it will pay dividends. Make sure you understand the type of information your customers want and need to know by answering common questions and objections. Start with the basics like who you are as a company and what you stand for. Specific product information can come later; at this stage you are drawing them in, not bombarding them. Take the time to develop the relationship at this stage, and customers are more likely to be a brand advocate for you down the track too.
Tip: it’s not just the product or service itself that customers have to trust; it’s the company behind it.
Video to suit this stage
Simply put, you want to produce something of value, something that brings customers back because you’re adding something to their lives. This could be something practical, like helpful tips, resources, “secrets” of success and the like, or something emotional, like a video that makes them laugh, smile, or imagine every time they watch it. Create powerful brand videos that show the role your company plays in the wider market – although it has to be interesting enough to cut through the constant noise that is out there. It’s not enough to do what everyone else is doing, because then it’s simply not valuable anymore.
You can also add credibility by producing interview videos. Whether it’s an in-house expert or another influential person, interviews provide direct insight to your customers’ lives with tips and advice from credible sources.
Lastly, documentary-style videos can draw your audiences in by telling a bigger story. Giving them a glimpse of the world in which you live, in a new, innovative way can capture and draw customers in just as much as you show off the product itself.
A great example of an awareness stage video is Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches video. Not once does it mention their products, but it definitely lets you know what they believe in and who they are as a company in an evocative way.
How often do you see a basic, everyday video about a product go viral? Never, right? It’s the more abstract videos that capture people, the ones that are intriguing, funny or that pull on the heartstrings, that have the greatest effect. Think emotion, and be bold!
Stage 2: Consideration
Thanks to your stellar awareness video, your potential customers are now highly engaged with your brand. The consideration stage involves taking your customers to the next level, introducing more product information and addressing any issues that would stop them getting across the line and into stage three.
Tip: Know exactly how you are improving your customers’ lives.
Prove that you solve their problem
As we all know, video can be powerful, so really showing your product and service can be much stronger than just telling customers about it. Let them see how they would integrate the product into their lives and how it would make their lives easier.
Remember that moving from the awareness to the consideration stage does not mean ditching humour or emotion, or the brand positioning you’ve so carefully created. Take a look at the Pink Ponies video made by Toronto advertising agency John St as an example of a consideration stage video; it’s playful, but gets the message across about what John St offers and how they can put it into practice, in a truly engaging way.
Don’t go overboard
There’s a risk with product-centric videos to try to wow customers with all your amazing features. Yes, it’s cool, and it comes in pretty colours, but what real-life benefit does it provide? How will it make my life easier? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what they want to hear.
If there’s a barrier to customers deciding to proceed with you, address it here. Don’t put your head in the sand; confront it head on and prove yourself. For example, if customers are wary of your price, make sure you show how they are actually getting value for money, or why it’s worth paying a premium.
Video to suit this stage
One very effective tactic for this stage is user stories or case study videos. Get other customers to tell the story for you and explain how they benefit from using your product. Giving the customer someone to identify with is critical at this stage, and a real, impartial person endorsing your product is far more believable than someone from your company repeatedly telling customers that your product is awesome.
Try a Q&A session with customers on social channels and then follow it up with an on-demand webinar video that addresses those questions. That way customers get to ask a range of questions, and you can utilize this time to sort out what people need to know. You can tailor the session to cover particular product topics or make it broad, addressing industry-wide issues.
Lastly, introduce your company personality with a company video. These videos humanise your brand and give customers the chance to meet you. Customers want an experience, not to be just a number, so letting them see actual people or your environment helps them relate to you even more.
Stage 3: Retention
So now you’ve got your customers across the line don’t just leave them hanging. Keep them engaged. You want them to come back of course, and the customers that keep coming back are your biggest brand advocates.
Tip: now that you have them, treat them like family!
Video to suit this stage
One way to make customers feel like they aren’t just another cog in the wheel is through a welcome video. If they have just signed up or engaged with your service say thanks and welcome them. Maybe even offer them some further insight or information to help them get started with your product. Make them feel like they are appreciated and that they are now part of a wider movement, even a tight-knit community.
Best practice videos and webinars that give your customers helpful hints and tips keep them engaged. It also means they are more likely to get the most out of the product and truly integrate it into their lives.
Keep your customers satisfied and excited about the future with your products and company too. Do this with product feature update videos or company announcements. By keeping your customers up-to-date, you remain top of mind, and they see that you are investing in the future of the product.
And of course, even when a customer is at this final stage of the funnel, there’s no need to forget the lessons of the first two – there’s no harm in subtly reminding customers why they came to you in the first place. Not to toot our own horn, but we think we manage do a pretty good job of this. Check out a video about a feature update called “The nudge”. It lets you know first and foremost about our latest product update, but it does so with a bit of humour (part of our brand positioning) and lets you see our team – ticking all the boxes.
Speaking of humour – use it. No matter how corporate you are, humour is always a good way to make yourselves relatable. Customers want to know that you are having fun while you work.
While video and content strategy can be a lot to take in, break it down with these three stages. And of course, if you want to bounce some ideas around, then join us in our LinkedIn group, on Twitter using #videobiz or through our in-house video producer Google+ Community.