“We’re in this together.”
“Together we’ll get through this.”
“We’re stronger together.”
We may be getting tired of hearing the same catchphrases in everything from TV commercials to billboards, but there’s a very clear message that’s becoming part of our thinking—even for B2B companies. That message is about connection and togetherness.
In an article about post-COVID advertising for Fast Company, Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of Translation, compares brands who have disconnected from their customers during COVID, and the “brands that’ve done a good job of sticking up their hand to say, ‘We understand you, we’re with you, and we’re not trying to sell you anything right now, we just want to engage.’ I think that’s the work that’s resonated the most for me… They’re speaking to you in a way that seems empathetic to what you’re going through.”
Using video marketing to focus on connecting with your customers, you also get more qualified leads, improve organic traffic, support SEO, create effective marketing campaigns, enhance audience retention rates, increase brand recognition, and increase sales—even when those goals are not part of your immediate campaign.
Vlogging and video marketing might not immediately come to mind when you think of B2B marketing, but consider LinkedIn’s B2B Video report:
- 62% of B2B marketers rated video as the most important format they would use in 2018
- 78% said video engagement helped identify higher quality leads
- 57% said video drove a higher volume of leads overall
And these statistics shared by CJ Haughey for Single Grain:
- 85% of U.S. internet users watch video content every month
- By 2021, the average person will watch online videos for 100 minutes every day
- Video content is credited for new customers by 93% of companies
- 63% say videos provide the best ROI on social media
At the top of Haughey’s list for video content are vlogs, behind-the-scenes/company culture, and interview/Q&A. These are perfect for B2B marketing.
Video Marketing vs Traditional Marketing
There’s a clear winner when it comes to comparing types of marketing. Across the board, on every platform, for every audience, video marketing generates a better ROI. If the last (or only) video you’ve done for your company was a short intro or explainer video for the top of your webpage, it’s time to discover the ways video marketing can grow your business.
According to Mike Gingerich, “Videos are now responsible for over 50% of all web traffic… Video marketers also generate 66% more qualified leads in a year vs traditional strategies and have higher brand awareness.”
BrightEdge Research found that 26% of Google search results include a video thumbnail, and videos keep visitors on your website about 50% longer. A webpage with a video is 53 times more likely to land on the first page of Google search results, and videos on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%.
Want some specific B2B marketing statistics? Forbes’ study on Video in the C-Suite found that 75% of executives weekly watch work-related videos from business websites and 65% have watched a video and then visited a vendor’s website. When the study examined the behavior of younger executives, they found that watching videos made them more likely to “make a purchase, call a vendor, or respond to an ad.” Senior executives are becoming more comfortable with ads that run alongside videos and the majority share and receive work-related videos with colleagues.
Aram Movsisyan, Senior Producer for Yans Media writes that “Companies who utilized video marketing grew 49% faster in revenue than those who didn’t last year… over half of marketing professionals globally name video as the type of content with the highest ROI.”
Video Marketing for B2B
Because video is appealing, easily shareable, and more memorable than text, it’s an excellent way to achieve buy-in when the business you’re marketing to needs to have multiple people on board before approving a purchase.
The majority of organizations are planning to increase their video marketing budget in 2020, and for good reason. Roman Daneghyan for Leadfeeder writes, “If you are looking for an effective and affordable marketing strategy, video can’t be beaten.”
Let’s put aside that image of vlogging and Instagram celebrities/influencers and look at how it can be used in the B2B setting. Haughey writes, “One of the best types of video content for vlogging is the simple concept of sharing your day at work.” And this can be done with a smartphone or webcam in a relatively short amount of time.
Another highly effective method is brand storytelling via behind-the-scenes or company culture videos. Haughey describes these as a way to humanize your brand so it will “appeal to viewers on a personal level.” With these types of videos you’re showing the real people that work in your company—likely the people your clients will talk to on the phone or email for a quote.
Interviews provide content that connects your brand with other leaders, help to establish authority, and give an intimate one to one experience for viewers. Other video marketing tools Haughey introduces are webinars, event videos that combine webinar, vlog, and promotional content, presentations (think TED Talks), tutorials/how-to, product reviews, testimonials, animations (great for technical products, used to explain complicated subjects), live streaming, brand films (a longer, deep dive into your brand), video emails, 360°/VR, user-generated content, contests/giveaways, and personalized videos.
All of these tools can help you reach that connection with your customers that we talked about earlier. When you use video marketing, you’re no longer another faceless company. Instead, you’re real people, focused on a job that’s specifically geared to the person viewing the video. Faces, voices, and stories do an amazing job of making us feel connected.
That face-to-face connection also lends credibility to your company. You might talk about core values in a mission statement on your website, but when you have a video that shows these values in action, it’s much more powerful. Sharing the real experiences of employees is another effective way to use video. Here’s one from Hootsuite.
Speaking of Hootsuite, they used video in a powerful way when preparing to announce their new dashboard. Instead of ignoring/avoiding the resistance they knew they’d encounter, they used it to their advantage. They recorded a video where staff read made-up ‘terrible tweets’ (along the lines of Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets) about the dashboard design before making the announcement and showing some of the key features. By the end of the video, viewers were relaxed, happy, and more open to the upcoming changes.
Video Marketing and Accessibility
Queens University describes making videos accessible as “adding some sort of text equivalent or spoken words through captions, transcripts, or descriptions of the audio. Captions…benefits non-native speakers, users with audio muted or viewers watching a video with poor quality audio…[captions or transcripts] provide better comprehension, material review, and information processing for…different learning styles.”
According to the Web Accessibility Initiative, in addition to providing a more inclusive experience for your customers, accessible audio and video increases traffic and website use, provides a better user experience and improved customer satisfaction, and allows better indexing by search engines.
Vlogging vs Video Marketing
It’s tempting to think of vlogging as a bright-eyed millennial posting videos of their globe-trotting adventures while extolling the virtues of a branded suitcase. That’s not what we’re talking about.
While the terms vlogging and video marketing are often used interchangeably, there can be some differences. Vlogging tends to be more casual videos like ‘day in the life’ and personal experiences.
For B2B marketing, vlogging is a great way to give the feeling of personal connection by sharing who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Vlogs are more intimate than other video marketing content like webinars, explainer videos, and brand films.
Because vlogs are more casual, they’re great for filming with a smartphone. Think of it as telling a story: give context and an obvious setting, provide different angles and close-ups, think of using music to connect with the emotion you’re portraying, feel free to walk and talk (yep, time to dig out the selfie stick or better a gimbal), and make eye contact with the camera.
Tips for B2B Video Marketing
You don’t need to tackle video marketing alone! Consider working with an agency or freelance videographer with experience creating B2B content. They can help with important behind-the-scenes things like lighting, sound, and editing. After learning some of the basics, video marketing becomes far less intimidating while improving the quality of every video.
Know your audience, and know what they need to hear to feel connected to your company and to choose to take action. Forbes’ study on Video in the CSuite found that videos directed at senior executives perform best with a mix of text and video on the same page.
Create content-rich videos that inspires viewers to share them. When it fits with your brand, balance educational and informational material with more light-hearted videos. Put explainer videos at the top of your landing page where they’re easiest to find, and also have them on your social channels where they’re most likely to be shared.
Use the right channels. Don’t just put up your videos on your website. Consider having a YouTube channel, and make sure to link your videos on all relevant social media platforms. In the Forbes study, executives shared that while on business-related sites they look for business news, expert advice, and speeches and presentations. On YouTube, they look for customer testimonials, product demonstrations, and product reviews. Including videos in company tweets will increase retweets by 6 times.
Capitalize on the written content you already have by converting the key points into video format. You can offer both on the same page to engage visitors that prefer either method (or like having both written and video).
Always use a call to action in the video content and alongside your video links. Be sure to add SEO text to every description.
Remember the millennials. HubSpot Research reveals they are increasingly making purchases like B2B software, and they prefer video, social, and mobile-first content. As the charts below show, every age group finds video content the most memorable, and that value will continue to benefit B2B marketing as millennials to take on more executive roles.
Combine video with other marketing strategies like online advertising, email marketing, or SMS marketing. Even putting the word video in an email subject line boosts open rates and then click-through rates when readers see the video link.
We couldn’t agree more with HubSpot Research’s findings: “Investing in video content today will feel like what blogging was 10 years ago. Video offers a blue ocean in terms of attention and content options.” Leadfeeder is more direct: “It comes down to this — for B2B, video marketing is the most powerful differentiator and prospect nurturing tool at your disposal.”