During the age of TV and then the early internet, video content was almost exclusively a mass media tool for consumer marketing. The one rarely to be used in B2B marketing. This mindset has lasted well over a decade even after the dawn of Youtube.
B2B video advertising simply wasn’t scalable. Then, the contextual online video advertising arrived with the launch of Youtube video ads in 2006.
Fast-forward to 2020, and today 71% of B2B marketers are using video marketing. Surprisingly, it’s even more than in B2C (66%), according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Statistics prove that B2B video isn’t something to be ignored – it’s an essential piece of the content marketing puzzle and should be a top priority for your company in 2020.
In this post, you will find all the basics you need to know about video in B2B content marketing. Tips, strategy, best practices – everything in one comprehensive guide. So lets jump right into it!
Today, videos are available 24/7, anywhere, with a click of a button. And every single time it delivers your perfect message – via visuals, sound, and even custom interactions.
According to IDG Customer Engagement Research, 85% of all tech decision makers are more likely to consider an IT vendor who educates them through each stage of the decision process. And it’s not unique to lead generation in the IT world only.
No wonder why 66% of marketers plan to use LinkedIn video ads in 2020.
Appropriate custom-tailored video on each step of your sales funnel can significantly streamline and accelerate the customer journey, which results in shorter and smoother sales cycles.
Most viewers don’t get converted right after watching a video. However, there are high chances that they will remember your message and come back later.
It’s said that a picture is worth a hundred words, and a video is worth a million. The hard data also proves that engaging website visitors is much more achievable with videos.
While an average reader retains only 10% of an overall text, viewers retain up to 95% of the video’s statement. And, according to Hubspot, 55% of people watch video content thoroughly, and 43% want to see more of it.
If you want the audience to connect to your brand and remember it, video is your best content marketing bet.
Video marketing is a powerful ally that can be used in almost any scenario, enhancing your current marketing and sales tactics.
In-person sales meetings, roadshow presentations, email marketing, even snail mail (if you print a link or a QR-code) can include video to generate more leads and sales.
It’s proven that merely mentioning “video” in an email campaign subject line can boost open rates by 20% and increase the number of leads generated by 3 times.
And if you like smart SEO just as we do, you’ll be glad to know that adding a video to your website can increase the chance of a front-page Google result by 53 times.
Although video marketing is comparably more expensive due to the production costs, it pays back. Sometimes years and years after the initial campaign launch.
Producing engaging marketing content isn’t only about reaching new audiences. It’s also about keeping (and upselling) your existing clients.
The average retention rate is higher by 35% for personally tailored videos, meaning upselling other services to current clients becomes much easier when executing an effective video marketing strategy.
An engaging video can remind a client that your company is still relevant and on their side, ultimately lowering the churn rate and boosting recurring sales.
According to HubSpot, 51.9% of marketing professionals name video as the type of marketing content with the best ROI.
We’ve already covered some of the reasons for this above, but there’s one more thing, and it’s huge. Data.
Videos collect viewers’ data wherever and whenever they are watched. This means you get free, invaluable market insights that not only help improve your future videos, but also marketing strategy as a whole.
And the more advanced video hosting solutions become, the more data you’ll be able to collect.
For example, Wistia, our main video hosting partner, features:
Combine all of this with the advanced viewing tracking down to the second, and you’ll understand why B2B marketers are choosing platforms like Wistia now.
We can now know precisely what companies are watching our videos (free leads!), whether or not they convert, and what we should improve. So proving ROI is no longer a challenge for video marketing.
Finally, you can also export actionable data from video analytics into your favorite marketing automation or CRM software. Then, it can be used for reporting or even remarketing.
So video marketing is essential for B2B. What’s now? Where do you start?
First, it’s important to understand that a video is just a form, not the content per se.
To put it shortly, content is your message – it’s what you want your audience to understand.
The form is how you deliver this information.
You can deliver the same message in many ways other than video:
The only way to know for sure if you need a particular video is first to research your objectives, target audience, and message.
Let’s say you need to create an explainer-video to tell prospects about a specific product or service you provide. Stop and think for a moment. Where is this content going to be published? Facebook? LinkedIn? Maybe a landing page on your official website?
And most importantly, how do your customers behave on each specific platform?
More often than not, companies are too eager to create their first video and end up spending too much money, consequently pulling all of their future video ambitions to an abrupt halt.
On the flipside, there’s plenty of businesses out there who are focused only on producing generic social videos. And since they simply replicate fads that they see, their content hardly considers their audience’s unique challenges or habits.
Considering the time, money, and resources involved, video marketing can’t be an impulsive guessing game. It’s time to stop thinking about video as a tactic and start to think of it as a strategy.
Before planning to produce a video, we need to understand the objectives of your content:
If you don’t have all the answers – it’s okay. Just make sure that you follow the methodology, and the answers will find you along the way.
Here is how we approach strategic marketing for our clients. You can follow this process to analyze your own business and define your marketing needs:
Investopedia defines the term “business model” as “a company’s plan for how it will generate revenues and make a profit”. It’s your marketing strategy’s #1 essential, and if it’s poorly defined or flawed – everything else can fall apart.
Iterating on your current business model is the best exercise that you can do to kickstart your marketing thinking. It’s also the ground on which we recommend to plan the further content marketing strategies.
At Verstiuk Production, we’re using a tool called Business Model Canvas to find weaknesses and new opportunities that we need to watch out for while creating our marketing content.
Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that is good not only for documenting existing business models, but also developing new ones.
There are several popular kinds of such canvases, so we encourage you to search for the one that makes the most sense for your business.
Here you can also use SWOT analysis and similar exercises to gain even more insight.
Whatever your tool is – you have to get your business model right before throwing in cash on its promotion.
After nailing the business model part, focus on the most painful issues and direct scaling roadblocks that you encounter.
Usually, those pains and roadblocks are connected with either the lack of:
All those are real people that we can attract, engage and convert by providing them with the appropriate content.
Here we make sure that whatever content we create supports your overarching marketing strategy.
What are the higher-level goals that you need to achieve?
Write down those marketing goals and check whether video can contribute to them.
Imagine that you face a decline in sales and need to generate at least 150 new sales this year. In this case, homepage video could help by boosting conversions on your website.
You may already have a content campaign that links to this goal, and want to enhance it with video. In this case, you can skip the strategy part entirely and jump right to choosing your video style.
However, please note that for this to work you should already have your audience and message researched. Otherwise, we highly recommend continuing working on the video strategy, following the next steps below.
When the means and ends are agreed upon, we can lay out an action plan with the exact steps to follow. That’s where our planning gets actionable.
Here we define SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) objectives and specify success measurements.
For, example, your company wants to raise website conversions to 5% by the end of this year.
What are the SMART steps we should take?
One of them, in this case, would be to produce and publish a lead generation video on your homepage.
Some other common content marketing objectives include:
This is not a full list of all scenarios when a video can help, but it’s enough to get started.
Here is when we also find out what statistics and video metrics tie up to those objectives.
Remember that this stage is crucial to the success of the project.
And in the end, everyone benefits when we have clear goals in mind – you as a Client, your audience, and we as the video production agency.
General knowledge is not enough here, as the market is continually changing, even the B2B domain.
Questions that decision-makers asked yesterday may be different from what they ask today. New competition could arise, new laws pushed, stocks sold, fuel prices dropped, etc. We have to make sure that our content doesn’t contradict our clients’ data and feelings.
Moreover, we as marketers can easily miss a golden opportunity if we focus only on one general audience and don’t dig deeper. We need to go beyond the surface-level demographics to discover that gold.
In the case of video, we conduct the research to know what information and visuals will connect with viewers’ hearts and minds. We want to speak their language. We need to know what matters to them the most.
Here’s where to start:
Our experience is that clients are always asking sales about something.
Do you have experience with large corporate clients? Will we be able to use your video as a Facebook ad? Can you create one video to engage both investors and users?
Through the years, sales receive tons of questions like that. That’s why you’ll see that on a practical level, sales managers can know more about the audience than we do as marketers.
Why don’t they share? Well, sales teams often accumulate so much correspondence that they just have no time to pass on the good stuff. You need to ask.
Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn are just a few of the generally popular platforms to share your professional opinions and questions. There are many niche websites and forums you can use.
Identify where your audience gathers most and reach them where they are ready to listen.
Listening to your clients is the best way to find out how they think. Plus, you can ask them additional clarifying questions in response to learn even more.
Both pre-sale and post-sale interviews can provide valuable hints about your audience’s interests. All you have to do is to ask the right questions.
Hopefully, your sales team is already doing this, otherwise, it’s tough to qualify a client. But you as a marketer should also take part in the process.
Why? Because salespeople think about closing the deal and provide the best service – not about improving marketing.
So if possible – get on the meeting with client and sales. If not – provide the sales reps with the questions you want them to ask beforehand.
Some examples of what you can ask the client during pre-sale:
Note that the goal here is to learn more about the prospective client concerning your value proposition.
Some examples of post-sale questions:
The feedback may get a little biased at this point, so don’t be discouraged or overly-enthusiastic about the details. Search for the repeating patterns.
Finally, don’t forget to pay attention to the way the clients frame and deliver their answers. This can tell you a lot about what they actually think.
A lot of qualitative data can be overwhelming, particularly when you’re used to the practical B2B approach to work. But there is a way to make even this kind of data actionable.
Here’s one way to effectively collect and analyze the audience data:
For example, if you have a company that develops a manufacturing ERP software, you know for a fact that there are 5k Google searches a month that ask for “manufacturing ERP system”.
However, we see that at least 3 times a week we have incoming emails asking something along the lines of “Hi, I’m Mike, owner of a small factory looking for an alternative, faster and more flexible ERP solution. How do you compare with SAP Business One?”
Therefore, we can see a real demand for an alternative compact solution that would compete with SAP’s product.
Search for the common threads and insights like this one, even if they narrow down your focus. Then, add this information to your existing marketing personas.
Remember that in B2B, you can have only a few great clients and it will be enough to sustain your business. You don’t necessarily have to go broader, you have to look for the best client fit.
This is how you find the best marketing opportunities for your specific audience and make sure you genuinely connect with them.
Now that we have documented your objectives and learned enough about the audience, it’s time to weave the meaning into a form.
A powerful core message has no magic formula, but generally, it’s an overlap between 2 things:
Getting back to our previous example, our objective was to reach a 5% conversion rate on the website.
On the other hand, business owners like Mike are looking for an alternative ERP solution for their small manufacturing that would be faster and more flexible.
So how can you tailor your message to combine those 2 objectives?
Real people don’t live by objectives alone – janitor or CEO, we all first feel something, then think it over, and then eventually act. It’s just how we’re wired.
So even in the B2B world, we need to ask ourselves – what state of mind will lead our viewers to the decision we need.
In other words, what should our target audience:
In the case with our ERP example, to increase the conversion rate on our website to 5% (and considering what we found from our research), we want our audience to:
Feel: inspired, excited to get started
Think: that our product offers faster performance and easier customization
Do: purchase our ERP software
One piece of content should have only one central thought. Otherwise, our message will quickly get diluted, leading to low conversion as a result.
But is one idea per video enough? Yes, if it makes your audience feel, think, and act a certain way.
The strong core message is like a small, precise missile that hits the deepest part of us and then explodes with broader meaning.
Our job as marketers is to craft the shortest possible message that will still convey all the main advantages of our product. Think of a slogan or a 10 seconds introduction but for a single piece of content.
In our example, the core message could be something like:
Our ERP solution provides all your favorite features, plus a blazing-fast performance and easy, best-in-class customization options.
As you already know, empty slogans don’t work in B2B. Your claims may evoke some feelings, but without extensive proof to support them – clients won’t convert.
To gain trust, you need to provide a body of proof, not just the backbone-claim.
Of course, the default position of any sane marketer is – I want prospective clients to trust my company. But why should they trust you?
One of the techniques for discovering arguments for your core message is called The 5 Whys. It’s problem-oriented, thus helping to see the lack of proof as a real issue.
Asking yourself “why?” five times is a sure way to get to the bottom of what makes your offer trustworthy. Plus, you are free to use any other methods like Message mapping in conjunction with the 5 Whys to make your brainstorming even more effective.
This is also how we discover the minimal set of viable arguments that should go into a video script later on.
Before we proceed further, we need to ask ourselves again – is a video still the right format for this campaign?
Contact format should fit with your objectives, target audience, and message. Keep in mind, however, that video is highly flexible and can adjust to compliment almost any content strategy.
The only question is – what type of video will still be useful for a particular campaign?
For example, if your message is so detailed and complex that it requires a whitepaper format, a short video overview could boost downloads and engagement for that whitepaper.
There is a whole range of options when it comes to video types. Live action, animated video, photo presentation, motion graphics, 3D animation, whiteboard video. It’s not even the full list.
If you find yourself on the crossroads – just choose the video type that best supports your main content format. Don’t miss out on empowering your campaign with a little bit of that secret video sauce.
Here at Verstiuk Production, we specialize in animated video production, but we understand that this type of videos is not universal.
That’s why we put heavy emphasis on strategy and the 3 steps that we’ve covered earlier:
Now, you know about them too, and this means you’re already halfway towards success.
All you need to know about B2B video marketing, on one page. Tips, strategy, and best practices – everything in one comprehensive guide.
Starting with video marketing in a big company? Learn about the greatest risks that can ruin a corporate video production project.
Here's over 30 minutes of the most outstanding video ads, published this Christmas (2019-2020). Because not only John Lewis makes incredible holiday videos! :)