A 2021 practical practical and idea-packed guide to the most suitable types of video for nurturing buyers
By Tim Cumming and Helen Pain, updated 2 Apr 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 nurture leads.
Nurturing is about revealing
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.
This particular moment in the client's journey towards you is vague and varied, where a prospect is on your target list and is known to you, and you're known to them. Perhaps they've expressed an interest, filled in a form, downloaded something from your website, or watched a few of your videos. They've had a first Zoom call with you, which has stalled or gone nowhere. It's not a no, and it's not a yes.
This moment is actually unclear to your client; they may well be unaware that they're even on a path towards buying from you. And yet, you're patently aware of their possibility, and the opportunity that lies in front of you. You must keep them engaged, entertained, certainly notified, of your relevance to their world, intentions and problems.
You will need video content which brings all of that to them, in formats such as:
A news update video helps you keep an audience engaged over a longer period of time. A companion piece to the news video, the update keeps you positioned as newsworthy - the aim is to air a spot story that is filmed as a companion piece to a running "trunk" story or series of updates on events. This kind of video has a brief, eventsy feel, presented to the camera or to the unseen interviewer.
Case studies demonstrate your successes in an indisputable way. They reveal the challenges you faced and how you overcame them, revealing your team's strengths. This kind of video provides buyers with a summary of the success of the investment project for investors, the firm and the economy. It's great for proving your track record to future investors, investees and other stakeholders. It also feeds news to the media, ideally immediately before or just after divestment.
These videos help you really prove your achievements in the journey towards your proposition, whether it's a project or product, your company or a service. And they also allow you to set out your intentions truthfully in an engaging way. They're even stronger if you use them annually, (ideally on the anniversary of, say, an investment) to build a track record and provide buyers with a summary of progress this year and the outline for next year. It also delivers really transparent reporting to investors and proof of an open ethos.
As well as helping viewers look ahead, preview videos allow you to project a sense of far-sighted and informed awareness. Filmed ahead of set-piece events - events, visits, elections, divestments, earnings, launches, speeches etc., the aim is to increase demand by explaining the relevance to viewers.
This narrative has a simple voice-over or piece to camera, walking through the diary with emphasis, bringing relevance and authority to your piece. The aim is to assemble trade, commercial, corporate, economic and political diaries from both their own sources and also bureau diaries into subject-matter diaries.
This provides your viewers with sequencing clarity and it helps you to demonstrate your insight (timelines, processes and entire market changes can be unpacked in a narrative form). The aim is to explain the chronological order of events related to a major issue or story. Keeping entries to the essentials, we encourage no more than 10 key dates.
These updates can be on almost any topic: projects, markets, specialisms, capabilities, trends and turning points in client behaviour, or they can be on the industry in general (your customer's industry), with you in the driving seat providing rich and useful information or insight into those trends.
The most appropriate form of CTA in this moment is to explore the topic further in person. After all, when the nurturing comes to an end, you really want your client to move towards a personal connection with your sales team, and the development of a personal relationship.
- Choice of video: discuss with your video agency which update video will nurture your client best, and advance them to the next stage in the buying journey.
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 a Nurturing video in the buyer journey, you've moved closer to your goal. Time for a chat about success with video?