Video is a critical component to any digital marketing plan. The public’s voracious appetite for all things visual and video is clear when you look at the number of cellular phone companies promising unlimited streaming and data – people want to see it and they want to see it now. This demand for online, on-demand content is not about to slow down, folks. In fact, 84 percent of all online traffic will be video by 2018.
Many of our clients look nervous when we ask them, “Have you thought about your social media strategy?” We may as well have asked them if they’d like to go skydiving. But because we understand great video, we also understand that great video needs a great marketing strategy.
Including video in your digital strategy prevents you from losing your online visibility. You do not want to find yourself losing market share to competitors who dominate social media spaces because you’re either not in them or not using them to their full potential. You need to get in with the right videos and make your precious marketing dollars lead to goal conversion.
Without further ado, here are five video marketing keys for 2016:
1. Make the video for your target not yourself.
Chances are, you wouldn’t be in business if all target audiences were wired the same emotionally. Successful marketing strategies are grounded in market research. Those who skimp on the time it takes to understand the wants and needs of their target audience won’t hit the sweet spot of creating a captivating digital experience. People want stories. People want to feel a connection to you, even if you’re a business. People want to be part of your story. Determine where the offering and your customer’s needs collide, and use it as a jumping-off point for developing creative.
2. Implement a performance-driven process.
When it comes to tracking engagement, video is an unparalleled medium. It’s one of the few content formats that enable marketers to analyze precisely how the audience interacts with content. These metrics help you see where and when your audience tunes out. Success video marketing uses viewer trends and insights to modify current efforts and develop future campaigns.
3. Include a compelling call-to-action.
It’s not always as easy as analyzing heat maps and determining where the viewer dropped off (though it can be). Data only proves beneficial when directly tied to a goal. Most marketers use video as a means of eliciting a response from their target market. It doesn’t matter if they made it to the end if they don’t feel compelled to take action. Let your viewers know what you want from them – a share, a follow, a subscription, a signup – and they will interact and engage with you. Video isn’t easy. Ensure your efforts aren’t in vain by including a compelling call to action. Many video hosting sites have made including a CTA easier than ever by offering options such as customized annotations, social sharing buttons, or email gates.
4. Use an enticing thumbnail.
Think of your thumbnail as a teaser. You may have uploaded the most powerful, life-altering video ever created, but it will remain unseen if the masses refrain from clicking play. Repeat after me: compelling, customized thumbnails increase click-through rates. Do not use the default thumbnail provided by any of the video hosting services. Customize your thumbnail image to ensure it’s irresistible for potential viewers. Choose a still shot that encompasses the subject matter of the video. Consider whether adding relevant text and color will enhance or simply seem gimmicky. If you find yourself debating what will work, perform a split test with multiple thumbnails.
5. Optimize for SEO.
We discussed how video analytics are used to develop insights to provide fuel for structuring content, but it also is critical to optimize for SEO. This is the trickiest of the five video marketing keys for 2016, because the rules of the SEO game are continuously changing. Five years ago, it being mobile-ready didn’t matter, now you won’t make the first page if your page isn’t responsive. Video-rich snippets are pretty much a thing of the past and likely won’t improve your SERP rankings. The best advice I can give is to keep up-to-date and make necessary adjustments as new algorithms are implemented. Meanwhile, here are some helpful SEO nuggets to get you started:
- Enable social sharing buttons. The more your content is shared, the more useful search engines will see it.
- Determine what keywords you want to rank for and include them in the title, description and tags. Keywords alone will not likely provide you with a whole lot of SEO oomph, but when assisted by other relevancy ranking factors, they can greatly influence search results.
- If you are hosting your video on YouTube, include a transcript of your own making and not the automatically generated one. You can do so by typing in captions directly or BY CREATING A TRANSCRIPT FILE AND UPLOADING IT.
With these five video marketing keys for 2016, you’ll be ready to create compelling video that will help boost website traffic and increase leads and sales.