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Best types of video to persuade new clients

By Tim Cumming and Helen Pain, updated 5 Aug 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 persuad viewers to connect.

Persuading is about relevance
Supermarket trollies

Google's search-orientated approach

Google likes to see moments as a three category system: Hero, Hub and Help moments.

Hero

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.

Hub

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.

Help

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.

Pomegranate

Alternative approach

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:

  • Attracting
  • Assuring
  • Explaining
  • Persuading
  • Prospecting
  • Nurturing
  • Convincing
  • Onboarding
  • 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.

    Red seat in stadium

    Persuading videos

    This is perhaps the most important moment in your client's journey towards you. They understand who you are, what you do, and why it might benefit them, but they aren't quite ready to cosy up.

    In today's world, the digital process through which a buyer travels is very pinball. At this stage, they will return to different moments in their buying process, checking out your original attraction or assurance stories, rewatching or rereading material they've already absorbed, and searching for parallel material in different areas of your messaging. They may even look at competitors to compare you with.

    As Gartner's Buyer Enablement Report shows, today's buyer is far more digital and less likely to seek sales advice or talk to a salesperson. They want to sift the evidence, to view and experience it all online, before they speak to a human being. This is the place, the moment, the turning point if you will, in that client's journey that you need to capitalise on. And, it is possibly the most underappreciated and important moment in the buying journey.

    Because every company and industry is different, this moment in the buying process is perhaps the hardest to judge correctly: buyers are increasingly fickle, and markets and customer reputations vary so much. The playbook or rules are virtually impossible to write - this is where you need to write your own rules, and the easiest way to do that is by trial and error.

    In our experience, there is no rule here: each company has its own ways and means, and each industry has a variety of messages, evidence and stories. Your job is to persuade the client to cross the line with you, to take that final step and get in touch. At this moment in the buyer journey, the greatest diversity of material and content is helpful.

    You need to furnish them with a lot more information, almost to overwhelm them with evidence that you're the people they should be talking to. And you can choose from a variety of formats:

    News/News Updates

    All your viewers need news - and providing it using tried and tested ways provides them with convenience and economy and provides you with punch, relevance and currency. The aim is to say what happened and why it's being reported, in language that is easy to absorb. A presenter talks to the camera or to an unseen interviewer, quickly, clearly and simply.

    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.

    Opinions/insights

    An opinion video helps your viewers gain breadth in their understanding and helps you position as experts and balanced in your analysis. This kind of video brings depth and character to your Youtube/Vimeo channel, and provides investors with rapid reaction from analysts/major decision makers to a significant trade, political or financial breaking news story, or expected event.

    Perspective

    This video lets your audience understand events in a new light and it helps you to reveal your thought leadership. This sort of film brings strategy and long-term thinking to your Youtube/Vimeo channel. The aim is to offer extra value to your audiences by challenging assumptions, bringing clarity where there is confusion or by casting doubt on comfortable orthodoxies.

    Vlogs

    A vlog video series helps your buyers gain insight into a broad range of events. The aim is to generate interest from prospective investors, investees and advisors - with Vlogs, you can explain your thoughts and beliefs on perennial or one-off topics, and in the form of news, insight, or thought leadership, to reveal more about your firm, and to engage buyers directly.

    Diaries

    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.

    Analysis

    An analysis video helps your viewers to understand the significance of events and it helps you to reveal your grip and expertise, bringing heft and authority to your Youtube/Vimeo channel. The aim is to pursue an angle or line of argument, supported by facts/data/quotes from named authoritative sources. It's important here to acknowledge both sides of the argument.

    Fact boxes

    A factbox video helps your viewers understand events quickly and conveniently and it helps you to demonstrate your skill and insight. This sort of film brings punch to your Youtube/Vimeo channel. The aim is to share basic general news/background on people, countries and issues: we encourage a maximum of 5 key facts and/or a Q&A format.

    Chronologies

    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.

    The long-form blog and video article

    In the landscape of content marketing, this is where a question frequently asked by clients is answered in great detail by you. By listing out 100 most common questions and answering them in approximately 15,000 words, in video or text (ideally both), you will have invested time and energy in addressing the one thing you can guarantee to know: the relevance of your marketplace and buyer.

    Make no mistake; this is a huge undertaking. But, even if you never get a single inquiry from these pieces, the act of walking across the landscape and pondering in depth about answering customer questions will produce huge strategic and tactical benefits for your current thinking on web, social and sales.

    The stories you tell should reflect the kinds of conversions you know you've been successful with in the past, in getting people to cross that bridge and finally talk to you. The CTA here is all about your prospective customer connecting with you in person.

    Do List

    • Meet with your team: Talk about the ways you've got the customer across the line just to have the conversation with you - the first Zoom, meeting or phone call. What effectively drove prospective clients across the bridge to get in touch? If you are keen to try the long form blog and video article angle, plan and write your 100 questions, and answer them in approximately 15,000 words
    • Recognise the digital buyer: Check with your video agency how best to capitalise on this important moment in the buying journey.
    Photo of the curve of a strawberry

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