Five ways B2B marketers can make online video work harder
John Walker, digital marketing manager, JPL Integrated Communications
According to Google, an indexed video is 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of search results, over textual pages. For B2B marketers, video is proving to be a game-changer, permanently altering the landscape of how B2B companies engage with key audiences.
Online video is not only changing the way B2B marketers optimize content for better search results, but it's changing the way businesses engage with customers, interact with key decision makers, and better understand the impact of their marketing efforts.
A recent Forbes study, “Video in the C-suite,” underscores this point. According to the report, video is becoming a more critical information source for senior executives, with more than 80% watching more online video this year than last. Further, the study says that work-related video can drive senior executives to take action, with 65% of executives surveyed indicating that they have visited a vendor's website after watching a video.
Following are five examples of how strong B2B brands are leveraging the power of online video:
1. Step up audience engagement. Genuine audience engagement is dependent on truly compelling content—which can be derived from tapping a company's thought leaders and subject matter experts to share key insights and trends relevant to your business. Online video presents an opportunity to create content that's quicker to consume, encourages engagement, and can make a complex subject matter easier to understand.
According to SocialMediaToday, 59% of C-level decision makers prefer online video to reading text; not because they don't want to read, but they simply don't have the time. For B2B companies that rely on those decision makers to drive the sales cycle, online video creates an opportunity to “bottle” an idea, product, or service and communicate it more quickly and thoroughly.
2. Build a social presence. For B2B companies, social media is inherently difficult. With an often-complex subject matter and a product that is, in many cases, invisible to the end user, reaching the right audiences and engaging in meaningful dialogue isn't easy. Identifying the appropriate platforms and creating content that drives interaction are most important. Video can be used to boost engagement and creates pass-along value, which in turn builds followers, shares, and likes, on social platforms like YouTube and Twitter.
When leveraging video in an integrated marketing strategy, remember that not all video is created equal. Don't be afraid to push boundaries and be creative when creating new video concepts. Video whitepapers, games, or even short narrative films give viewers something to talk about, and engaging content that sparks dialogues is a natural fit for social platforms.
3. Launch new products and services. Online video can create a differentiator among competitive brands, particularly those whose subject matter is complex and sometimes difficult to understand. When done in a way that is engaging, relevant, and informative, video can bring to life new ideas, products, and services. Take Corning's A Day Made of Glass video, for example. With more than 19 million views to date, Corning illustrated a vision of our future dominated by touchscreen glass—a message that effectively resonated with end users.
4. Deliver stronger sales support. In the world of B2B sales, content is key. When done well, video helps showcase and demonstrate unique capabilities in a way that whitepapers and case studies simply cannot. When video is created in a way that is relatable for key decision makers, it becomes a valuable tool for the sales team. With longer sales cycles and significant investments on the line, building relationships is critical. Strong content that can be shared throughout the duration of the sales cycle keeps communication ongoing and enables the sales team to create new touch points with relevant content. When sales and marketing teams join forces, the content strategy can be formidable.
5. Capture stronger marketing metrics. Mounting demand for increased accountability and transparency can weigh heavily on marketers. Video enables a marketer to create a stronger understanding of a brand's key audiences and how they prefer to engage with the brand. Not only can marketers track views, referring sites, and length of time spent watching the videos, but it can also be used to track both active and passive video engagement metrics such as shares, likes, and ratings.
As online video continues its takeover in the B2B space, it is creating new opportunities to more directly reach key decision makers and create stronger interaction with customers. When executed effectively, marketers can use video to build stronger relationships, drive sales, and better understand the impact of strategic marketing campaigns.
John Walker is digital marketing manager for JPL Integrated Communications.