Do you feel daunted when you think about adding video into your online marketing strategy? Everyone knows that video is the most engaging form of media — but it’s also the most challenging. Video is an investment; before moving forward with a comprehensive multimedia campaign, you need to have a thorough idea of how video is going to fit into your strategy as a whole. Nevertheless, once you figure it out, you’ll find that the rewards far outweigh the costs.
Determining Your Budget and Your Scope
Video encompasses a huge subset of media. From fully-featured, professional commercials to quick, animated advertisements, your budget and your scope can significantly vary — and you should always plan in a buffer amount into the budget just in case you need to change things later on. Your budget will inform your entire decision making process. Large budgets can afford actors, scripts, and professional direction — but smaller budgets can still be surprisingly effective.
It’s at this stage that most businesses will decide whether they want to outsource their media development to a professional team or try to tackle the task on their own. Video production and editing can be exceedingly complicated, in addition to the overhead costs of renting the appropriate equipment and purchasing the necessary editing software. For the most part, hiring a professional production crew — whether the job is big or small — will usually save on time and money, unless someone in the organization is already skilled at video production and editing.
Choosing a Distribution Platform
Once you’ve determined your budget, you need to settle on a method of media distribution. There are many distribution paths for an online marketing campaign, but they usually boil down to two general options:
- Paid advertising. Interstitial video ads and third-party advertising networks will let you pay to reach a broader audience. Through services such as Google’s advertising network, you can drill down to very specific audience demographics. You then pay based on the amount of times your video is viewed. Paid advertising is naturally expensive, though an online marketing strategy will always cost less than more conventional distribution paths, such as network commercials. Nevertheless, paid advertising is useful because it guarantees that your video will be seen — though it cannot promise that it will be effective.
- Social media platforms. Content marketing campaigns and social media accounts can quickly distribute videos via word of mouth. That being said, unless you “go viral,” you need to have a very well-established social media presence in order to distribute your videos. If you’ve already developed a significant brand presence online — or developing one is part of your long-term strategy — social media platforms represent the best ROI. It costs nothing to distribute videos via social media, and social media users will do all the work of advertising for you.
A comprehensive online marketing campaign will often include both paid advertising and social media integration. Those with smaller budgets will often focus on building out their social media presence, while paid advertising can be used for a faster (if more expensive) boost in brand awareness.
Identifying Your Core Audience
Identifying the core demographics that you wish to reach will usually be done in tandem with deciding upon a distribution platform. Different demographics are associated with different platforms; for instance, social media tends to be more popular with those aged from 18 to 25. Your advertising campaign doesn’t necessarily need to target the core audience for your business; many video campaigns are specifically designed to draw in “problem” demographics that an organization has had difficulty engaging. Create a “buyer persona” for each of your videos and develop your videos with them in mind. The more specific the content, the more it will speak to your audience.
Setting Up Your Sales and Revenue Funnel
A clear call to action is absolutely essential to an effective online video marketing campaign. Your audience needs to leave the video knowing exactly what their next step is — whether that step is calling your offices, visiting your website, or actually making a purchase. Any video marketing campaign should have a goal, even if that goal is only to prompt users to continue to share and follow its media.
Developing Your Performance Tracking
Many of those new to video marketing forget that performance tracking is not optional — it’s a requirement. Without performance tracking, you won’t be able to determine your video’s return on investment, nor will you be able to determine which strategies are working best for you. Performance tracking is often based on the end goal of the video, whether it be to extend brand awareness or to boost direct sales. Embedded links within the video, sharing tracking, and view tracking can all be used to gauge which of your videos are most successful and whether your investment has been profitable.
Integrating Video With Your Online Campaign
Finally, it’s important that all aspects of your online campaign work both separately and together. Integrating your video with the rest of your online marketing campaign will achieve maximum saturation. Social media accounts, blogs, and even print media should be used to funnel audiences to your videos; the greater your audience, the more significant your video’s impact will be. Video media, like all content, has an upfront cost that does not change; whether 10 viewers see it or 1,000,000 viewers see it, it ultimately costs your business the same amount of money. Consequently, a successful video marketing campaign is really about developing as much exposure as possible.
Adding video to your online marketing strategy begins with a thorough plan — you can’t just jump in and start filming. Going into video without a core concept, target audience, revenue funnel, and performance tracking will often leave you adrift and unable to fine-tune your end product for the best results. For the best return on investment, it’s often best to pay for professional help; this helps you sidestep many of the issues that could cause you to run over budget.
Article by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer at D-Mak Productions, a professional video production company based in Phoenix, Arizona.