If you are marketing yourself on the internet, chances are your customers are telling you that they want video. However, at first blush video marketing can seem too expensive and too complex to implement. That doesn’t have to be the case. Video marketing is really no different than any other type of online marketing. It has to be driven by the return on investment (ROI) that it provides. Here are five principles that we have used at our company to drive positive ROI through our online video marketing program.
The first step in driving revenue (and ROI) through online video is to make sure that you create quality content that meets your customer’s needs. Every single video that you produce should meet a specific need, answer a question or help a customer solve a problem. Before you ever begin creating your videos you should ask yourself “Why would someone want to watch this video?” If you don’t have a good answer to that question, then chances are your customers won’t either.
Take a few minutes to step back and consider the questions that your customers are asking and how you might be able to answer them via video. Consider answering questions such as “How do I use this product?”, “Why should I trust this company?”, “What is the best way to accomplish this task?” Feel free to incorporate humor, satire and fun into the videos. Just make sure that the content is also useful and reflects positively on your brand.
One of the most common objections that I hear when it comes to video marketing is that it is too expensive. Of course, that is relative to the income that the videos create. If your video is amazing and goes viral you may have nothing to worry about. However, most videos DO NOT go viral. This is especially true for commercial online video marketing. Thus, my first rule for driving ROI in our video is program is to control the cost of making our videos. Here are few of the things that we have done to accomplish this:
Start with inexpensive equipment
When we started making videos for our company we started with a couple of 1080p handheld video cameras that cost about $80 each (Kodak zi8s) and about$300 in soft boxes and photography lighting. In all we set up an entire video studio for less than$500 and made our first videos in our warehouse. Since then we have upgraded our cameras slightly and added a few lights but our current setup still cost us less than $1000. Along these lines, I have seen people take great footage using their phones and/or their digital SLR cameras. You might already have some lights that you use for product photography or something else. Start with what you have and expand as you find success.
Cut your editing time
The other major source of expense when it comes to video marketing is in the area of editing. After you shoot your footage you are going to need to find a way to edit it. We started out using iMovie on an iMac. We shot and edited more than 500 videos on iMovie before we finally upgraded to Final Cut Pro. We bought a blue Yeti USB microphone for voiceovers (less than $100) after we discovered that live audio in the video was difficult to control and added to considerably to the time that editing took. Finding the right settings for white balance and creating a simple intro and outro for our videos also helped us to produce consistent video content while keeping our costs per video controlled.
Set a budget for each video that you create
After the one-time costs associated with setting up our studio and editing equipment, we now set a budget for the labor that it takes to create each video that we produce. For most of our product demonstration videos we are able to produce them for around $50. These videos are usually around 1 minute and are fairly simple to create. These videos are unscripted (scripting more than doubled that cost for us).
Distribute and Engage
Simply creating a video isn’t enough. If you want to drive revenue with that video you are going to need to make sure that someone actually watches it. This brings up an excellent question, should you post the video on YouTube, on your own website or both.
If you decide to post your video onto YouTube, you get the benefit of a massive built-in audience and the authority that comes from one of the top sites on the internet. YouTube videos rank very easily in blended Google search results and can get in front thousands of potential customers that may have been previously beyond your reach. However, you have to live with the fact that it is REALLY hard to get people off of YouTube and to your website. There are so many competing distractions on YouTube that your call to action needs to be incredibly strong. You also have to live with the fact that your brand is secondary and that in many cases YouTube will be seen as the authority and not your company. In light of this, it is important to be sure that your videos are strongly branded and provide a clear CTA.
Posting videos on your site can be an incredibly powerful tool for increasing conversions and even for driving traffic through video SEO. If you already have a bunch of traffic to a page a video can really help you to sell more and potentially increase your traffic to that page. That being said, unless you have a ton of traffic to your site and you manage to get that traffic to watch the videos, all of the effort that you put into creating those videos may be wasted.
The best approach to finding exposure for your videos is a combination between hosting and posting. In some cases, a video will have the maximum impact of your site, in others it will do far better on YouTube. Often posting the video on your site for the increased conversion rate and on YouTube for the increased exposure will provide the best of both worlds.
Improving the ROI for your online video program is often about increasing the number of people who are exposed to your video. Don’t forget to use your social media channels to distribute your video. Share new videos in your email marketing (the increase in CTR is awesome). Provide social sharing buttons on your videos so that people can share them with their social networks. All of these things can really help you to get the word out about your products and services. Plus, people love to share videos that are fun, entertaining and genuinely helpful. The social media interaction can drive new traffic, SEO value and brand loyalty that provides a bonus to the direct ROI that you have already found from your videos.
Measure, Improve, Repeat
If you have read this far I suspect, you have one major question lingering in your mind. “You keep talking about ROI but I haven’t seen you measure anything.” Ultimately if you want to improve your ROI you are going to need to establish baselines that allow you to measure the impact of your video program. These measurements can be used to help you make decisions on what types of videos to make, what type of content to include and ultimately how much money to spend on video marketing. Here are some of the easiest ways to measure your video marketing program.
Every month I look at the referral traffic from YouTube and video marketing channels and measure the sales that are created through those referral visitors. It is my goal that the revenue that comes from this traffic is enough to pay for my entire video marketing program. That is the case for most months. This is real $$$ that you can show your CEO to prove the value of your video program.
Video views and engagement. On our site we use the Wistia video marketing platform for hosting. They provide analytics that allow us to see how many times our videos are being watched on our site and how long people are watching for (are they abandoning). This is great information to have. However, you can take it to an entire new level if you set up a custom variable for tracking video in your Google Analytics. Using one of your custom slots in GA, you can actually track the impact conversion rate, time on site and other KPI’s of people who have watched a video on your site vs. people who have not. It takes a little bit of set up but it is pretty amazing data to have. Showing the uplift in revenue is one of the easiest ways to show the impact that your video marketing program can have.
If you are tracking your rankings in Google search, you might want to start paying attention to the placement of videos in the SERP’s. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see which traffic comes through the video results and which ones comes from normal results (if you know how to do this I would be very interested).
Brand Exposure & Social Engagement
The impact of brand impressions and social media engagement produced by your video marketing is difficult to measure. However, I wanted to list it because it does have an impact. Ultimately it should be your goal to build your ROI model around referral traffic and conversion uplift. However, the number of views, shares, links and customer feedback can all be tracked and considered when making decisions about future video marketing initiatives.
Using these five tips we have been able to build a video marketing program that has a provable positive ROI and currently we produce approximately 10 new videos per week.
Diane H. Wong, a writer for domywriting.com. She worked as an SEO specialist for more than 5 years. It helped her estimate and analyze the business sphere better.