A 2021 practical practical and idea-packed guide to the most suitable types of video for assuring buyers
By Tim Cumming and Helen Pain, updated 2 May 2021
In marketing, we don't like to admit that occasionally, we've no clue what to say. We may have loose ideas, messages, short fragments, sentences, straplines, or a clear sense of the big picture. Yet, we lack the weekly, monthly, or daily narratives that are required to communicate a simple message.
There's a very good reason for this: it is fabulously complex. Without some kind of map, or orientation to guide us through the maze of the different occasions customers might be searching, browsing, interrogating, or comparing, we haven't got a chance to nail down the exact format or message, or level of daring in terms of asking for the business.
This article will help you see beyond Google's somewhat vague 'Help, Hub, Hero' model into a more practical way of using video to attract business
Marketing depends on effective attraction
Google's search-orientated approach
Google likes to see moments as a three category system: Hero, Hub and Help moments.
This is for when a customer is prepared to be impressed, to sit back and absorb your positive sales messages at a light or high level. The videos you might use would be proposition, services or product explainers, tasters, or stories revealing features and benefits. Hero pieces are usually more glamorous, high budget and make a more showy statement.
Google argues that customers are willing to journey inwards, into your website or social media, to discover or learn. These are distinct from Hero because the customer is looking for something - the known, or unknown, information. These video types are interactive, explainers, testimonials, case studies, or videos about your specialisms, events or insights into markets, sectors, processes or other forms of narrowed down content.
These are about how to use the service or product you are selling and include demos, how-to films, tutorials, client or staff trainers. Google, being Google, looks beyond the classification of the content into how advertising can be sold around these types of content and the usefulness and volume of searches performed by users.
You might take all or this with a certain pinch of salt, or you might not. If you're a search-orientated company, i.e., if your customers tend to find you via search engines, this kind of model is more helpful for you. Videos that fit into these categories will be useful and match the kinds of journeys your customers go on in order to discover you.
If your business is not a predominantly search-driven business, like most small and medium sized firms, the Hero/Hub/Help pieces will have some utility, but will fall short in a number of real world customer moments. A different approach which reflects nine different groups of moments, is less dependent on search and more likely to represent the varied ways the customers find you. These can include not just search, but social, blogging, email, and offline forms of communication such as networking, events, and snail mail.
The nine levels of interest are:
- Land and Expand
These moments typically reflect the various levels of interest, purpose or intention that your customer might bring to their search for a solution to their problem.
Many of your website visitors will be looking for assurance: the customer you met at a breakfast briefing; the colleague of a prospective client who has heard of you but hasn't met you yet; a researcher, gatekeeper or influencer who has been forwarded some documentation you sent out last year...literally anyone who has a remote sense of your existence, but doesn't fully know who you are, will likely visit your website with an open mind and a desire to find out more about you and what you can offer.
Your assurance should set out what you do, provide a taste of the process, service or product, and should explain the benefits and principal features of that to a very broad audience, i.e., all possible stakeholders. It also speaks about the character and tone of the people who work in the firm.
The types of video that encompass these points include:
These videos are a useful way of introducing the team. Approximately 45-60 seconds of screen time per team member (at board level and each senior customer-facing individual), these profiles highlight their background, beliefs, roles and responsibilities, and their day-to-day duties. These are best told as intimate, understated, talking heads; the ideal tone would be the one you use in a board meeting when asked to introduce yourself.
A 360 degree story of your firm, products or services, told in a way that is suitable to all stakeholders: customers, suppliers, local communities, media, competitors and regulators. Though putting the customer first is prime, it is an opportunity to show that you're thinking beyond them. The goal of this video is to demonstrate empathy for the audiences you serve, their needs and your ability to meet them. No showing off here.
This is a version of the 360 explainer with a focus on the firm and its people, their capabilities, ethos, and beliefs, with less emphasis on audiences and stakeholders. Many digital marketers will discourage this kind of video as it is deemed 'inward-looking', yet a video that explains who you are in this day and age still has great value to prospective customers who just want to know a little more about you.
- Provide reassurance: This is less about impressing or surprising the customer with style or a range of ideas and thinking, and more about tone, experience, trading history, reliability, depth of skill and product range
- Decide on subject: Assuring videos can target many stakeholders. Decide with your video agency who want to speak to and in what capacity from the list above.
Already got this covered?
If you already have business videos and they're not generating response, there's much above that will help you improve their performance. But what would be even better than your current business videos?
- Cross-check all your business videos largely follow the above suggestions, or deviate for good reasons
- Ensure you've used on-site CTAs which match your buyer journey moments
- Ensure your social videos, articles and posts have off-site CTA's that match your buyer journey
- Check your business videos match the messaging your audience needs to hear
- Check viewing behaviours - if audiences aren't watching to the end, revise your video
What's at Risk here? A one-minute test
The risk of doing something wrong always hinders us as decision makers. And equally, the risk of doing nothing lurks behind that too. Both carry the risk of failure. So why not delay - deferring looks safer. Like a Whitehall mandarin. Is that the kind of decision maker you want to be? Thought not. So here's a helpful checklist for wise decision maker inside you that's aching to be heard.
The One-minute Decision Checklist
- Do buyers want to know what you're like?
- Do buyers want proof of your success?
- Should you provide buyers with the information they want?
- Do buyers want a sense of what will happen to them if they buy from you?
- Do buyers need to find you easily via search and social media?
- Do you need to be seen as relevant and modern?
- Goal setting: choose a video agency that can offer you all levels of interest
- Understanding: realise the full potential of videos, and implement into your project
- Strategy: choose your effective performance measures of your video
- Implement: choose an agency that can capture sentiment
- Achieve: use key moments to track response and increase audience capture
If the answer to any three of these is yes, you should almost certainly proceed with this. Or at least be questioning why you have so many no's.
By defining moments in a client's journey, you hugely increase their discovery of you and their connection with you, securing the prospect of future business:
The very process of considering what your video content should say will generate more ambitious thinking. This way, your marketing will have greater attention and conversion.
So, now you've considered using an Assuring video in the buyer journey, you've moved closer to your goal. Time for a chat about success with video?