A practical 360-degree exploration of video marketing for life assurance firms by costs, steps, pros and cons
By Tim Cumming and Helen Pain, updated 17 Mar 2021
Let's say you're a life assurance company focusing on UK-based homeowners. You're considering business video and you may be wondering what's at risk. The pros and cons. The strategy. The costs, and the process. And as the 2020 Gartner report on the new B2B buying journey clearly suggests, the traditional B2B buyer journey has gone; marketing has absorbed some of the role of sales. So today's video investment has to be more shrewd.
Video marketing humanises your firm
This article aims to set out clearly what's involved.
A great starting point is the audience you're trying to address. Is it the underwriters, or the consumers (retail)?
For some time in the UK, there has been too much dry powder, and most life assurance companies are facing global regulations, demographic trends, and technology challenges. It's here, in the short-term, that your corporate video might be best focused, while in the long-term, underwriters will always be an important audience.
So, strategically, which audience comes first? Will we just address one audience, or should we do both at the same time? This decision needs to inform everything you do in your video marketing.
Perhaps the most appealing approach might be to pick one; to prioritise the production of customer facing video, and demote or defer the underwriter videos. However, as both audiences can explore both of your propositions - all of your promises - it might be wise to do both at the same time, to furnish both audiences with a comprehensive picture of your ability to connect one end of the spectrum with the other.
- Underwriters: show that you're constantly looking for new developments and opportunities with UK-based homeowners
- Consumers: show that you're constantly communicating with, and understanding, the underwriter perspective
- Flip occassionally: these messages work for both audiences, why not flip them now and again for variety and reassurance?
- Buyer enablement: Make sure your site and videos are optimised to buyer needs - check out the wonderful Gartner's report on buyer enablement. You'll need to reveal prices, packages and outcomes with models to assist the buyer - while explaining and reassuring with video
These are strong messages and are worthy of your attention from the get go.
Videos can cost between £1k and £10k per minute, depending on the quality and usefulness of the videos made. And you'll always get a lower unit price if you buy more because the economies of scale are considerable in video production and editing.
It's easy to save money by going to the lower end of the budget scale, and if you have a strong in-house digital team, with a solid grip of strategy, that's fine. You'll be able to brief well and control the deliveries well, so you get exactly what's needed. But if not, you'll be cutting out some essentials. The video firm's awareness of audience traits, your commercial imperative, CTA's and how they shape the story, and, quite possibly, awareness of the role of the video itself. This is a frequently overlooked implication, when selecting low cost video. The consquence is the risk of lower connection, lower engagement, lower return.
At the upper end of the scale, production values and audience understanding will be very high - this gives your marketing and your video production considerable power. Of course, it comes at a higher price. Generally speaking, you'll get what you pay for. Perhaps the most 'we try harder' segment of the video marketplace is the middle to upper end, where more experienced firms lie, who are striving to compete with the bigger firms. In our experience, here is where the value is highest - with ideas as strong as the top end, but with better effort and price. If value is what floats your boats. And if not - if it's quality is more important than cost, then the top end of the market is where to go.
Efficacy should be your watchword when commissioning video marketing, because the point is not to look nice. It's to (A) put a strong proposition which (B) resonates with the ideal audience, (C) into the 'action' part of their minds, (D) wherever they are on the internet. Which makes you:
- Approachable: underwriters and consumers prefer life assurance companies that seem as empathetic as experienced
- Relevant: they like to know you can read the horizon intelligently (for example, the post-covid home-working prediction is questionable
- Competent: they expect core skills in depth, and like to see evidence of that
- Investable: they want a clear sense of confidence, transparency and financials from you, within FCA guidelines
- Conservative: they prefer the long game and the safe hands, and want to see you do too
- Look good: video and visuals comprise around 66% of a prospect's impression of your quality
These are not small things. And, when the size of your development or investment is so big, it is truly worth building these in from the get-go.
The costs that you should allow for are not just video production, but also deployment of the video, which includes:
- Hosting - on Vimeo or Youtube, or any other platform like Wistia, Brightcove or Vidyard
- Embedding - on your website at the optimal size, page location and proximity to home
- Video schemas - for optimising your apprearance on search engine results page
- Video sitemap - for better video crawling by search engines
- SEO - describing and tagging the videos (so that they're optimised for search)
- Snippets - producing tasters and teasers - these can easily be shared on social media, blogs, or property forums as separate entities, which can direct traffic back towards your website.
You should also budget for placement: a campaign to get your videos seen by those that need to see them. If you're a big networking company operating with a large list of contacts, and you've been doing it for decades, and you don't believe there are any new contacts to be added because you're at 100% saturation of your market, placement is very much an internal activity, run by email.
If, on the other hand, you're looking to reach the hearts and minds of, say, UK customers, who might have taken up interest in purchasing life assurance since you bought or developed your contact list, social media or prospecting are going to be the channels most suited towards reaching them.
The same goes for underwriters. If you're constantly looking for new underwriters, you will still need to be using social media for prospecting or for inbound marketing.
- Efficacy: The points listed above, when enacted all at the same time, will achieve response from your audience, greater education, desire, and actual reaction in the form of enquiry, selection or preference
- Budget: Allowing a budget for deployment and placement work will be important. Many firms believe that the principle budget should be spent on production, and much less should go on deployment and placement. In our experience, the reality is that the budget should be a little less than evenly split, perhaps 60/40 with a slight bias towards production. But circumstances vary, as do your needs.
The process of video production and marketing is rational, and each step is essential to a positive outcome:
This stage includes:
- Identifying the audience
- Defining the intended message
- The branding and creative strategy that will be pursued
- Agreeing and devising the correct number of videos, their roles, and where they will be seen and used
- CTA planning, i.e., creating a list of valuable calls-to-action for different occasions, and different moments in the buying cycle.
B) The CTA (Call-To-Action)
Let's compare two underwriter scenarios:
- On social media, attracting potential underwriters to your opportunity pages may involve a CTA which drives viewers to your website. The CTA here would be something like 'explore underwriter opportunities' link on social media or email footers
- Whereas, underwriters who have visited your website and already compared company options, and know a bit about you, might now appreciate booking a meeting, or a portfolio demonstration Zoom.
Swapping the CTA in either of these circumstances would, of course, be inappropriate. So, setting the CTA to match the moment in the buying cycle is very important. This is where your should start their planning work first.
Understanding the value of these CTAs is also critical because it will help you to measure the success of corporate video. If it takes you, let's say, ten Zoom meetings to convert one underwriter, and an average underwriter provides a million pounds, you know the value of a Zoom is £100,000. But if you convert one in 200 visits to your website, you know that a CTA of 'visit our website' is worth £500.
Your video firm will develop the videos set out in the planning stage, and ideally, the best way is to film everything all at once and edit everything all at once. These produce high economies of scale, and will deliver value for you.
It's important to deploy your videos in a way which best suit users, search engines and social media. Users prefer:
- Impulse: to view video straight away - so put it above 'the fold', in the top part of the web page
- Clarity: to view video at size - so not a small box tucked away in a corner
- Understand: to know what it is that they'll be watching before they watch it - so the video should be appropriately titled and thumbnailed to clearly communicate what the viewer is about to watch.
It's also important to keep the duration down, and maximise authenticity and value. The duration should be shown and, ideally, the thumbnail for the video should depict either an authentic-looking picture of a policy holder, or an individual from your firm, talking.
It's wise to allow two months for placement work to really start to take effect - placement is very much a long term game, similar to search engine optimisation, although, with paid placement work, you can reach audiences very quickly, but your budget will need to be higher, and you can spend anywhere between £500 and £10,000 for paid placement per month, per video. Budgeting wisely, and considering the speed at which you need to operate, would affect your budget here.
If you set your CTAs up correctly at the beginning of the project, this step will be a breeze as you'll be constantly monitoring, using, for example, Google Analytics and Google Goals, the value of the response and traffic that you're getting as a result of your video marketing.
- Theme and voice: consider your company message and an appropriate CTA for your video
- Reach audiences: deploy, place and analyse your videos in a way which best suit users, search engines and social media.
4. Pros of Video Marketing for life assurance companies
- Providing assurance for homeowners is visual and well-suited to video marketing - not just the lifestyles and age groups, but also the social proof, the reassurance in the human stories
- Business video is an effective way of building reputation within underwriter audiences, and consumer audiences
- Revealing your senior figures and customer-facing figures within your business is a swift way of building confidence and trust, especially among conservative underwriters and consumers
- Video is well suited to storytelling, such as case studies, planned or live developments and historic achievements
- It's an effective way of throwing forward to the future, and revealing news on intended products and opportunities on the horizon. This will help you to build a reputation as a growing, and reliable operation, which will deepen your audience's optimism, confidence and loyalty.
5. Cons of Video Marketing for life assurance companies
- Video is considerably more expensive than copywriting. However, its effectiveness is considerably higher
- Video appears to need excellent presenters and camera friendly staff: this is a common misconception. In fact, the less model like your team looks, and the more solid their grip of a particular subject the better, so long as you're in the hands of a good interviewer. Their job is not just to put the interviewee at ease, it's to remove the feel of 'interview' entirely, and make it feel more like a flowing 'discovery conversation', and at the same time, without letting the interviewee know it, press for clarity and structure on behalf of the audience
- Video marketing is a technical, digital marketing activity, and can carry risks and uncertainties. These are ameliorated by using an experienced video production and marketing company.
Already got this covered?
If you already have marketing 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 marketing videos?
- Cross-check all your marketing 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 marketing 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?
- Experience: choose an agency that can offer a skill-set to achieve your goals
- Storytelling: choose an agency that can breathe life into videos, not merely make them
- Research: choose an agency that can analyse and optimise conversion
- Planning: consider the message and CTAs that show the good you do
- Costs: think of a budget that balances speed and quality
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.
Looking into video costs, types, pros, and cons, prior to deciding on a video company for life assurance companies gives a better, more informed, understanding of the core messaging and goals you wish to achieve:
So, now you've weighed up business video for life assurance - you've moved towards your goal. Time for a chat about success with video?