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As the importance of video for marketing grows, we look at how B2B brands must prepare for the digital world dominated by video content.
Yet, there are still many marketers struggling to get started. There are still many questions to be answered.
What makes a successful B2B video marketing strategy, and how does it differ from B2C? How to tell a compelling visual story about a seemingly boring product? Which channels are effective in B2B, and which are not?
Let’s study a few case studies of the top brands to figure out the answers.
To frame a winning video marketing strategy, you have to bear in mind your business type. The strategy for B2C businesses is shaping up pretty quickly: produce fun video content for social media, make engaging YouTube videos, film creative commercials.
A B2B segment is the higher tier of complexity. Videos on TV, YouTube, or elsewhere had an initial purpose of entertaining the viewer. B2B goals are shifted toward “educate”, “inform”, and “show value” intentions. Among common distinctions between B2C and B2B are:
If you are a B2B company, platforms like Slideshare, LinkedIn, and Vimeo must be your go-to video hosting platforms, simply because they are loaded with business-minded professionals.
On the other hand, if you are a B2C company, your attention must be on consumer-centric products like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
While you could reinvent the wheel and go a bit funkier when dealing with end-consumers, things should be more discreet when you are targeting fellow businesses.
Clients here are not deciding for themselves – they need to justify their choice to other stakeholders in their organizations. Thus, you need to focus more on hard facts rather than on eloquent call to actions backed with nothing but words.
While B2C videos are light-hearted, engaging, and fun; B2B videos are professional and educative. This is why framing a video content strategy for B2B is a bit difficult – you don’t have much room to experiment. And this is when the storytelling skills could come to your rescue.
Take the example of Google Adwords, for instance. In their 2-minute video, they tell a heartwarming story of a local restaurant that used Google Adwords to become a national mail-order business worth $14 million.
Irrespective of who your target audiences are, you can create the winning strategy by sticking to the three pillars of a great video marketing strategy: right channels, right tech tools, and right approaches to creating video content.
A recent study from Vidyard and Heinz Marketing revealed that the main aim of most B2B marketers and salespeople behind using video content is to build brand awareness, educate customers, and drive lead generation.
This is the reason that the most popular channels used by B2B firms to distribute video content include websites – about 79% use them, email – about 67% use it, and LinkedIn – about 63% use it.
Other channels include YouTube, Landing Pages, Facebook, and Twitter.
Online video makers can help you create videos for emails, websites, blogs, and social media in just hours. This software features handy templates and a drag & drop editor to combine ready-to-use visual elements, text, and sounds.
If you are at the starting line, these tools will help you significantly save time and money spent on video creation.
Once you have created a video but don’t want to go the Facebook-YouTube-way to run your video advertising campaign, you can use an ad serving platform like an ad server to run this campaign directly on a certain website. Or, you can choose a demand-side platform instead to automate your ad serving.
So, an ad server is for direct advertising, while a DSP is for programmatic advertising. The first option is better to use when you have specific websites or apps to run your ads on.
A DSP is a great pick, if you don’t have many connections and just want to let the platform find placements for you based on targeting preferences.
To ensure that your strategically-crafted videos are performing as intended, it is important to track and monitor their progress, and this is when analytics tools help you out.
Most video hosting platforms, whether they be YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, offer their inbuilt analytics to help you analyze the performance of your video on a range of metrics. If you use an ad server or a DSP, they feature real-time analytics and reporting as well.
Not to forget, personalized video platforms are also gaining widespread popularity. Video personalization platforms make the best use of customer and business data to craft online videos that are relevant to each viewer based on their past online behavior.
The most important part of a video marketing strategy is content. Ideally, a video should spark the curiosity of users, keep them engaged, and be able to put your message vividly and succinctly.
So, how do you create engaging video content that won’t be skipped? It’s time to explore your brand and find all the qualities that make you better than everyone else in the industry.
Are you a complex problem solver? Or is your customer service impeccable? Do you have a strong company culture or are you a leader in product innovation? Use the answers to these questions as the foundation of your content.
Next, find the proof that suggests you are better at what you do. Look for testimonials, social proof, figures, and stats – whatever you could think of. Use these basic bullet points to frame outstanding content that would keep the viewers hooked till the end.
Hubspot is not just a leading CRM and marketing automation system; it’s a reference sample for B2B brands on how you should implement your content marketing strategy.
They have an influential blog, hundreds of reports, e-books, and guides, and even their own online education platform called Hubspot Academy.
Needless to say that most of their educational efforts are supported by video lessons, tutorials, and overviews, while their YouTube channel is a video library of marketing tips.
Apart from this, they also incorporate personalized video into their sales and marketing emails, utilizing a popular video hosting platform Vidyard.
According to this study, using video in their emails led to 4x growth in conversion rates. Thus, 6% of all leads booked a meeting after an email instead of just 1.5%.
In one campaign, they also replaced long-form sales emails with videos and saw a 77% click-through rate. For the record: an average CTR of sales emails across all industries is around 2.5%.
Cisco has 246K followers on their YouTube channel. That’s 2.5x more than Hubspot’s channel has. How is that possible to outrun such an exemplary brand?
Well, it happened because Cisco team are true YouTube professionals despite being an old-fashioned B2B corporation. They publish at least five new videos per day and keep rotating various forms of content.
There are CiscoTechTalks, Cisco Newsroom, and Industry Solutions series. They also have dedicated playlists with videos highlighting issues of small businesses only, and, vice versa, playlists meant only for enterprise clients.
The company pays equal attention to the rest of social media. It’s known for its numerous Facebook pages, each of which is dedicated to a certain Cisco’s department, or local branch of the company. Video is an integral part of each.
In total, they produce over a thousand marketing videos per year. Most of them don’t exceed 3 minutes in length. The takeaway: concise and short often wins.
We still haven’t answered the “How to tell a great story about a seemingly boring product?” question. Welcome Intel – the company which makes 84% of its money from producing central processing units (CPUs). What could be more boring than a CPU?
Intel followed a different path. Instead of making tutorials and other educating videos, they embraced storytelling in their video marketing strategy.
If you take a look at their YouTube channel, you’ll see the stories about how artificial intelligence can preserve a historical legacy of ancient time, or an inspirational Meet the Makers series highlighting the biography of creators who used Intel products to invent meaningful technology.
On the day of writing, Intel’s YouTube channel has 481K followers.
Besides, Intel publishes short videos on LinkedIn and Facebook, each of which is about a 1-minute long. And every single piece of their content shows how to combine data-driven and people-centric approaches in a perfect blend.
Building a successful B2B video marketing strategy requires the right content, tools, and distribution channels. Once you have it all, experiment a bit, push the boundaries, and analyze what is working and what is not.
Even if you aren’t able to produce 1000 videos per year like Cisco or launch an online course about your product like Hubspot, small steps equally matter.
By trial and error, we at Epom found out: our Facebook and LinkedIn posts with video get 1.5x more impressions than posts with images. At YouTube, we experimented by promoting our single video for 20$ per day. This ad campaign lasted one week and brought us a 110% increase in website traffic!
And that’s letting alone that our blog posts add up 2-5 positions in organic search while we embed a video to them.
Fewer and fewer people like to read long-form content, so let them watch the same info without skipping your content at all. This will inevitably lead you to lower bounce rates and higher conversions.
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