Your customers need to trust you before they’re going to invest in your product. And that takes time. The process of building a solid customer relationship is a lengthy but rewarding one. Most customers aren’t going to make a big purchase the first time they hear about your company. Instead, they’re going to want to learn about your products, your company culture, and your brand identity. Ultimately, this means that they are going to need to connect and engage with your company multiple times in a meaningful way. Video can help.
The Importance of Developing a Customer Relationship
Think about how many times you’ve comparison shopped without actually making a purchase. You might think about a product or service that you need multiple times before you actually commit to it. This is true for most customers – and while it especially applies to high value sales and B2B markets, it can also apply to even smaller, minor purchases. Understanding this customer journey is critical to not only acquiring new customers but also keeping your current customers satisfied.
- Stage One: Building Awareness – A customer knows that they have a need, but they may not be aware of the products and services available to fill these needs. At this stage, a customer will begin research into the product. Alternatively, a customer may become aware of a product before they are aware that they have a need.
- Stage Two: Consideration – Now that a customer is aware of a product or service, they will begin considering the purchase. At this stage, they will usually begin to compare products and services between multiple vendors. They may also start pricing out different levels of the product, and drilling down to their own needs and budget.
- Stage Three: Commitment – Once a customer has completed their research, they will finally decide to commit to a product. This is usually done based on two factors: cost and convenience. The product that is affordable, fast, and easy will generally win out – though the importance of all these individual factors depends on the customer.
- Stage Four: Retention – A customer relationship doesn’t end when the customer has made a purchase. Ideally, you’ll also be able to retain this customer. If the customer is satisfied with your products and services – and your customer care – they will be more likely to return again for their future purchases.
Video is uniquely well-suited to developing this type of customer relationship, from the beginning of the sales funnel to the very end. Video compresses large amounts of information into concise, entertaining bites. Video also engages customers on a level that other types of media simply cannot, by demanding their attention and guiding them through the sales process. But let’s take a more in-depth look regarding exactly how video fits into these separate stages.
Stage One: Building Brand Awareness
The process of securing a customer begins by making them aware of your product. Customers will usually enter into your sales funnel in two ways: either they will be looking for your product already, or they will be made aware of your product through advertising or social media sharing. These two methods of entry often correspond to different types of marketing campaign:
- Paid Advertising – Paid advertisements, such as banner ads and interstitial ads, will generally pop up when a user has displayed interest in a similar product before. By targeting specific demographics, you may be able to educate customers on your product even if they are not aware yet that they need it.
- Social Media Sharing – Like paid advertisements, social media sharing may expose customers to your products before they know they want it. Social media sharing requires that you develop useful, insightful, and entertaining content. Like paid advertising, social media sharing will often be distributed to those who are in your customer demographics. But unlike paid advertising, social sharing is often seen to be more trustworthy and organic.
- Search Engine Optimization – SEO factors in when customers are already aware that they are interested in a product and are searching for it. Customers may be generally looking for a solution to a problem they have or they may already know exactly what they want. Either way, whether your product is offered to them will depend on whether or not your social media advertising is tailored to their queries.
In all of the above areas, video marketing excels at introducing the concept of a product to a customer who is otherwise unfamiliar with it. Commercials and general advertising videos can be distributed to both display the company’s brand identity and describe the product quickly. These videos need to be carefully crafted in terms of tone; they will be the first experience many customers have with your business.
Many companies have the goal of going “viral” with their video content, but virality is something that is very difficult to predict. Instead, modern companies may want to focus on developing their social media presence and enhancing their overall sharability. Quirky, unique, or simply insightful videos will often be shared by other users on social media, giving a business exposure that it doesn’t need to pay for. Something as simple as maintaining a corporate vlog can be an excellent way to develop brand identity while keeping customers interested and engaged.
Stage Two: Consideration
Once customers have learned about your brand, they will begin considering a purchase. At this stage, they will be trying to find out more information about your products and services while also comparing you to the competition. Here it becomes critical to understand what your competitors are doing and to meet any of their benefits with benefits of your own.
In-depth content about your products and services can be easily distributed through video. These videos can outline the benefits of your product while also explaining some nuanced features that your competitors may not have. Meanwhile, videos about your company story can be used to educate your customers about your company’s mission statement – and what your business means to you.
In addition to introductory content, explainer videos can be used to detail your products thoroughly. These explainer videos will often be viewed in the late stages of the consideration process, when the customer is trying to ensure that your product offers all of the features and benefits that they need.
The more information you give your customers, the easier they will find it to make a decision – and the sooner they will be able to make a purchase. Your information can also prompt them to contact you directly, which can help you in ensuring their commitment.
Stage Three: Commitment
Though customers may have a general idea that they are now interested in working with your organization, they may need to do some additional research to commit to a certain product. Many businesses have different tiers of products and services, based on a customer’s needs. While some customers will reach out directly to the business, others will often attempt to self-service through the information that they have available to them.
At this level, video marketing can be used to give customers information about what they can expect from each product and service. This marketing can be used to funnel customers towards the product offerings that are most ideal to them – by giving them the information that they need. This will further solidify their conviction that purchasing from your business is right for them.
Stage Four: Retention
Once customers have committed to your product, the job then becomes to ensure that they stay. Retaining a customer costs far less than acquiring a customer from scratch. In fact, studies have shown that acquiring a new customer can cost up to 700% more than keeping an existing one. Unfortunately, too many businesses focus on initially hooking a customer rather than keeping them satisfied.
A relationship with an existing customer must be continually developed. This can be achieved by offering them continued support for the products and services that you have offered. Documentation videos and support videos not only allow customers to remain engaged, but they also reduce the amount of time customer service personnel needs to spend answering questions directly. 91% of customers will use a knowledge base if available.
The more documentation available for your product, the more likely it is that your customers will continue using it. As an additional benefit, these product-related videos will also serve a dual purpose and be able to educate customers who have not yet committed. By focusing on your customers and their needs, you can also easily identify information that your customers are looking for.
Video can support your clientele on all levels of the customer journey. Not only does this persuade customers to engage with your business, but it also develops a strong relationship with them and makes them more likely to stay with your business. A simple investment in video can consequently lead to quite a lot of value, both by improving your customer acquisition and improving the lifetime value of each customer.
Article by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer at D-Mak Productions, a corporate video production company in Phoenix, AZ.