A 2021 practical practical and idea-packed guide to the most suitable types of video for attracting buyers
By Tim Cumming and Helen Pain, updated 31 Jan 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
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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.
- Land and Expand
The nine levels of interest are:
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.
When you want to reach an audience for the first time - let's also say when your audience wants to discover you - there are two approaches: a longer, more dramatic piece, or shorter teasers that end with a cliffhanger or unfulfilled promise. The dramatic approach is more familiar as it is used everywhere: the hero video. Yet, it's such a general term.
This video has the job of making you look good, and solve the customer's problem at the same time by defining a range of solutions and remedies. The panache and style with which you present the problem/solution pair, or tell the story - either will do - is one half of the message. The confidence and completeness of your message is the other.
Less than two minutes in length, a hero piece will also feature your logo, prominently, and usually conclude with a 'visit our website' CTA.
A movie trailer can help viewers understand your message and thoroughly enjoy the filmic style and humour with which you've chosen to present your proposition. The beautiful thing about movie trailers is they have a booming CTA in the real world: 'Coming this January', or 'in cinemas 28th of March'.
The structure of a trailer sets up the cliffhanger component that leads the viewer directly into the CTA. Wouldn't you like to look compelling, engaging, dramatic and desirable? Wink, wink.
The format is in the title. Let's say you're selling insurance to brokers. A video title such as 'insurance selling secrets' is likely to attract IFA attention and, providing the video delivers on revealing secrets, you'll have a strong attracting video which engages IFAs at the primary stage of their journey - a stage at which they didn't even know they had a problem. Your secrets video will also reveal solutions at the same time.
This is close to the Secrets format in that its straight talking and opinionated strength has a compulsion and education all of its own. You can reveal problems your clients might not know they had, and if you have the visual enjoyment and richness of a well-made film, you'll bring a great deal of useful content to your customers.
It's more a description of a length or duration of a video than a format. At 15-25 seconds long, it promises a short but meaningful message by virtue of its length: who couldn't spare 15-25 seconds? Making it compelling and finishing with a cliffhanger (a powerful, unfulfilled point), and a punchy CTA will drive traffic back to your website, or to other important pages on your social stream or social media.
- Filmic representation: Bring character and style to the way you tell your attraction video story, by taking any film genre and telling your story through the lens of that genre (be it a comedy, thriller, or noir). If you start with a genre, it will give you a tone, help you to see things visually, and plan out a powerful way to tell your story
- Decide on length: Attraction videos have varying durations - make sure you check with your video agency which ones will be appropriate to relay your message.
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 Attraction video in the buyer journey, you've moved closer to your goal. Time for a chat about success with video?