How to use video for B2B marketing

Jennifer Hall, Wednesday 25 October 2017

laptop-play.jpegVideo marketing has really taken off in the last decade and its popularity continues to increase. While B2C marketers have long recognized its potential, more and more B2Bs are now catching on.  

The State of B2B Video Marketing Benchmark Report by Vidyard reveals:

  • 82% of B2B marketers report success with video marketing initiatives
  • And for 63% spend on video is on the rise

As a medium, video content can be used for almost every part of the sales and marketing process – from enhancing a company website, to lead generation, landing new customers, assisting with onboarding, retaining customers and utilizing brand ambassadors.

But long gone are the days of stuffy corporate videos, with stiff interviewees and heavily scripted shorts that no-one wants to be in and no-one wants to watch.

Video content designed to influence the savvy modern buyer needs to be interesting, relevant and highly targeted to its audience (time to call on your buyer personas). It requires the same thought and planning as any other type of content or marketing materials you may produce.

 

The top level issues you need to think about are:

Planning

  • Budget – How much do you have to play with? This is one of the most important questions to answer at the beginning, as it’ll guide what you can do
  • Timeframe – What deadline are you working towards?
  • Constraints – What other constraints are you working under, such as sign offs and approvals?
  • Who – Who is going to be involved?
  • Measuring success – How are you going to measure your return on investment?

 

Production

  • Creating the video – How will it be made, inhouse or using external support?
  • Hosting the video – What are you going to do with the footage once you have it and where will it be hosted? (YouTube, Vimeo, somewhere else?)
  • Using your video content – How are you then going to use it or share it?

 

Content & design

  • The purpose of the video – What are you hoping to achieve?
  • Who is the audience – Who are you aiming it at? What do you want them to do once they’ve seen it?
  • Topic – What will it cover? What question will it answer for the target audience? Where’s the value going to be for them?

There are many reasons why you may choose to use video but to be successful any video you create must engage the audience. It must be interesting, relevant and visually appealing, and give viewers a feel of the company and what it may be like to work with you.

In-house versus external production

This is one of the key decisions you need to make and will, to a large extent, be dictated by the budget you have available. But even if you have the resources, a professional video may not always be needed. Equally, if you don’t have the cash to splash on external help, then that shouldn’t stop you considering video marketing.

Taking a short, simple video on a handheld camera, or even on a mobile phone with a good quality camera, can have a valid place in the mix. It can offer a more authentic experience than a super polished video and there are many ways you might capitalize on it.

In contrast, there will be times where a professionally directed and produced video is called for, and anything else would lessen your impact.

Production quality is the most important thing – whether you shoot it yourself, or book a professional crew. Any video you plan to share must be visually interesting, lit properly and the audio must be clear. Great content can easily be muddied by poor production quality and people nowadays have short attention spans, so you don’t have more than a few seconds to pull them in.

So, how might you use video for B2B marketing?

 

Top 10 ways to use video for B2B marketing

 

1. Website homepage scene setting

Make your website more interesting with the use of video as your background, rather than just imagery. Just ensure your site remains quick and responsive, as there’s no point having a beautiful site if no-one waits around to see it load. Also, be wary of using auto-play videos with sound. One way around this is to have the images play and the sound only play if clicked on.

Example: Marketing automation platform Wishpond uses video of people using its platform as its homepage background. A great way to instantly get across what it does and the type of people who might use it, in more than just words.

 

2. News release podcasts 

Depending on the type of product or service you are selling, there may be company news stories that would work well in a video format. This could help you extend your reach. If shot and produced well, especially if done in the style of a TV news report, then podcasts can be issued to regional and trade media along with your press release, potentially generating additional coverage for you that way too.

Example: Renewables developer Anesco chose to video the officially opening of its ground-breaking Clayhill Solar Farm site, while TTE technical training group used video to share news about its latest intake.

 

3. Case studies

Case studies are a vital part of the sales process, especially when buyers are heading into the decision making stage and shortlisting potential suppliers. Video can help bring a case study to life in a way that copy and images alone never could. Even if your product is SaaS and not something particularly visual, get creative and instead focus on the people using your product and what they’re achieving with it.

Example: Rapid Retail, a British company which supplies pop up shops and mobile kiosks to customers across the UK and Europe, regularly uses video to showcase its completed projects.

 

4. Client testimonials

Working in a similar way to case studies, if you have a happy client who is willing to speak on camera about their experiences of working with you and what your product has meant for them, then get filming. Nothing is as powerful as a glowing testimonial, delivered in the right way. It doesn’t need to be long necessarily, but if they’re happy to talk then let them! Just intersperse it with other scene setting shots.

Example: At the top end of the scale is this brilliant video of a happy Slack client, which isn’t afraid to use humor to get the point across and leaves a very strong impression. But you don’t have to be so out there, straight testimonials can work too - just like this one showing one of our own Lead Forensics customers.

 

5. Community Social Responsibility (CSR)

What better way to show off your ethical, sustainable or community-minded activity than through a video which talks about why CSR is important for your company and showing those who it is benefiting. This can be a great way to visually show what you’re doing and the end beneficiaries, not only to the external world but to employees and stakeholders.

Example: There are loads out there, check out Google’s Causes and Community page for starters.

 

6. Explainer video

One of the best ways to help a potential buyer ‘get’ what you’re offering, or to understand a complex process or function, is to create an explainer video. Address a key question that potential buyers often ask and think how you might explain the answer. This could be done by having one of your team do a step-by-step ‘How to’ style video. Animation can also work here, or even a recording of a webinar (which we’ll cover in more detail in a minute).

Example: What is Hubspot?

 

7. Content marketing

If you use content marketing, then educational and advice-based pieces are likely to be high on the agenda. One way to deliver such content is video. Show off your expertise and also the personal side of your business by having one of your team members share their knowledge or advice on a relevant topic.

Example: There are lots of examples out there, here’s a simple one by MediaHalo but another company that’s not held back on the humor is Risual. Watch this video and see if you can resist visiting their website!

Essential Guide to getting started with content marketing

8. Events

If you are hosting an in-person event, then consider what footage you might be able to grab. For example, if you have a guest speaker then why not record them and then edit it down into short clips to create a bite-sized advice series. Or create an overall film that captures the atmosphere of the event and what it was like, to encourage attendees along to your next one and show off the added value of working with you.

Example: Digital agency Advantec uses video to give audiences an insight into what it’s Digital Briefing events are like.

 

9. Webinars

If you’re hosting a webinar then make a recording of it and share it afterwards, to help you achieve additional reach. Build a webinar content library, which can be easily browsed through and will become another way for buyers to find you, when they are searching for solutions to their problems.

Example: LinkedIn Help Centre posts recordings of its webinars, so even if you missed it you can catch up on a topic later. It’s grown to become a valuable resource.

 

10. Recruitment

Recruitment continues to be a challenge in many business sectors. What better way to get seen and to show what it might be like to work for you and the kind of people you employ, than to film them. Yes, this will aid recruitment, but anyone else watching will also learn more about you as a company and what your ethics/values are as an employer. That can speak volumes about what you may be like to use as a supplier.

Example: There are some fantastic examples of different styles of recruitment video in this blog by Be Blunt

 

Live video

We must also give a mention to the new kid on the block - Live Video streaming. If you use Facebook, then you’re likely to have seen it in action already. The basic idea is that you grab your phone, go on Facebook, click ‘Live video’ and you’re away.

The audience can post instant comments while you’re live (which you can see and react to) and when you’ve finished, the recording will remain on your timeline to be enjoyed by those who couldn’t join in live.

The main appeal of this type of video is its rawness and authenticity. It allows you to take someone into the moment with you and lets them get up close and personal.

B2Bs can make use of this format in many ways. For example, you could do some filming backstage at an event you’re hosting, do a quick broadcast from your exhibition stand or a trade show you’re attending, offer a sneak preview and grab instant feedback on a new product launch, or host a Q&A or advice session with a member of your technical team.  

Top tips

As we’ve shown, video can have endless applications for B2B marketers, so all that’s left to do is to allocate some budget, set some objectives and get planning.

As a final thought, here are some top tips on getting it right:

  • Show some personality – never be afraid of showing your human side and to use humour
  • Maximise impact – brainstorm how you might use the footage you shoot and all the ways it could be repurposed
  • Captioning – don’t forget the importance of good captions and descriptions, for example if you are hosting your video on a site like YouTube or Vimeo. This will help it get found.
  • Use subtitles – 85% of videos watched on Facebook are viewed without sound, so always consider whether you should be including subtitles
  • Be brave – video is now common place and stats consistently show that its popularity is on the rise. The viewing stats are phenomenal and if you’re not making the most of it, your competitors probably are (or soon will be), so find ways to make it work for you.

Marketing to the modern B2B buyer

Topics: B2B marketing

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