Video may have killed the radio star, but it’s bringing life back to the marketing industry.
In fact, video marketing has been on the rise in the past few years, with Think with Google reporting in 2021 that 55% of consumers use video for purchasing decisions, and 71% of consumers prefer video over other types of marketing content.
In this article, we’ll review what it means to have a video-first marketing strategy, and how to utilize YouTube and other video platforms to boost your e-commerce and lead generation.
What does it mean to be video-first?
Well, first, it requires that you invest in video.
More specifically, creating a video-first content marketing strategy means that you will use video to drive to other content – including your website, case studies, blog, newsletter, and the like. Video-first marketing prioritizes video as the pillar of your marketing plan (but is not created at the exclusion of other content).
A good example of this is Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). SNHU’s YouTube channel is filled with all manner of information for upcoming students including: Student Success Stories, How-To Guides for signing up for classes and programs, Online Degree Program tutorials and guides, Campus Tours, and more.
While SNHU has not left out other content types such as blogs, social media posts, and of course, a website, it is clear that their biggest marketing investment has been in their video category. From TV commercials to their deep catalog of YouTube videos, SNHU uses video to generate audience interest and trust, with the goal of directing prospective students to their website, admissions page, and ultimately, an application form.
One advantage of leading with a video-first strategy is that it makes it easier for your business to generate new content. SNHU can take a video clip and use it for a social post to get new followers; they can create a GIF from a campus tour video to post on their website; they can use the advice from a financial aid video to create an infographic to handout at college fairs.
In this respect, video-first can increase your efficiency, effectiveness, and overall output in your quantity of content.
Creating optimized videos for search
Of course, it isn’t as easy as simply posting a video and watching the results pour in. As with all marketing, there needs to be strategy behind your video marketing campaign if you want it to be successful. In the following section, we’ll review strategies for search optimization and lead conversion at all age stages of the video production process including:
- Ranking & beyond
Nothing beats a good pre-production. This includes storyboarding, scripting, and casting.
In the storyboarding stage, you’ll want to consider how to position your product or service effectively in a way that grabs the attention of your audience and keeps them coming back for more.
To make the features and benefits of your service or product clear, we recommend this three-part process:
- Review – give a professional assessment of the product/service, and show your company’s expertise
- Demonstrate – show how the product or service is used, and what makes it unique or special
- Compare – acknowledge the existing market and what your product/service offers that is missing; in other words, why should your customer trust your business over another business in the industry?
By following this model, you’ll influence your customers’ buying decisions while also building trust in your expertise around your product, service, and industry.
Importantly, your video isn’t just about what you show, it’s also about what you say. When scripting your video, make sure you are paying attention to two key elements: one, what your audience wants to know, and two, what keywords you think your audience is searching for. To give yourself the best shot at ranking organically for your video, make sure your keywords are mentioned within the first minute of the video. This is where Google search engines will crawl your video to establish relevance and rank (the same goes for YouTube crawlers).
Finally, make sure you’re casting someone for your video who can speak authoritatively and expertly about your product or service. If your spokesperson does not speak with confidence, your prospective customer will not have confidence in what your business has to offer. Make sure you choose someone who will help position your team as the trusted experts that they are.
There are several important considerations in post-production for optimizing your video. First, closed captions and transcripts; make sure your video has both because both Google and YouTube use these for SEO purposes.
Second, make sure your video is properly “packaged;” this means including polished touches such as your company logo, intro and outro frames, and any other relevant branding elements. This will make your video appear higher quality, more ownable to your business, and more appealing to your audience.
Finally, make note that thumbnail images on YouTube are just as important as the video itself. As such, you’ll want to choose a thumbnail image that is high-quality and indicative of what the video is about. If it is a brand-focused video, make sure you include your logo; if it is a product-focused video, make sure the product is clearly featured. Shallow as it may seem, both Google and YouTube crawlers will indeed judge your video by its cover.
With your video shot, edited, and packaged, you’re ready to publish. When you do so, here are three key elements to keep in mind: description, commenting, and connection.
Of course, you want to make sure your video has a description. This is how you let your audience know what your video is all about. Conveniently, your description is also another area where you can include your target keywords for both Google and YouTube search crawlers.
You’ll also want to make sure you have commenting enabled for your video. Commenting is how you allow your audience to interact, ask questions, and give you feedback. In fact, we recommend adding timestamps to your video description (see above), directing your viewers to react and respond to specific moments in your video. Doing so is a great opportunity to ask an engaging question or include a CTA (call to action).
Remember: your intention with marketing is always to create a connection between yourself and your audience. Helpful descriptions, commenting, and time-stamped questions are just a few ways to encourage that you can encourage your viewers to connect with your video, and your brand.
4. Ranking and beyond
Following the recommendations above can help you to position your video for better video search ranking, both on YouTube and ideally Google. Worth noting: videos appear for 55% of Google keyword searches, with 82% of these videos coming from YouTube.
There are four major ranking opportunities for your YouTube videos in Google search. These include:
- First page ranking - showing up on the first page of a Google keyword search
- Google video carousel – included in a selection of videos intended to address a query, for example a product demo or how-to video
- Suggested clips – Google suggests a selected fragment of your video to address a search query (i.e. fast-forward to the “how to crack an egg” portion of a recipe video)
- Google key moments – similar to suggested clips, but specific to mobile
And the best part? When you optimize your video and begin to show up in the queries mentioned above, you’ll be rewarded with targeted, free, and consistent exposure to prospective customers and qualified leads.
Lights, camera, marketing
When it comes to video, the opportunities are greater than ever before. Even Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram – a company that made its fame off of photo-sharing – declared in 2021 that the world’s largest photo sharing app is “no longer a photo sharing app.” Instead, the focus going forward will be on video.
As you consider the best marketing plan for your business, give video a good long thought. While it may be more of an upfront investment, the long-term payoff may be the difference maker between walking the red carpet and rolling the credits.
For more information on how to get started with video, book a call with Trailblaze Marketing today.