A growthful review of the business ROI from video and how to boost it
By Tim Cumming and Helen Pain, updated 3 Aug 2021
Many firms approach video for their business in a 'me-too' fashion, primarily concerned about being seen, creating an image and reflecting outwards their inner beliefs.
You're not one of those.
You're here because you want to get a better level of return on investment (ROI) from the business videos that you might be about to commit to. The biggest single contribution you can make to building ROI is to focus on your purpose, what you intend, and what's commercially valuable to your marketing and sales teams, and to your firm. And of course, you'll need some easy ways to measure ROI too.
Returns are everything
There are broadly three large areas where phenomenal opportunities lurk to increase your ROI.
1. Audience ROI
The first place to start is with your audience, breaking it down into personas or types of individuals. Four or five of these are very helpful. More can get you cluttered, less can get you clarity, but may not cover the full range of researchers, gatekeepers, influencers and decision makers. Uxpressia's Banking, Finance and Insurance customer journey templates, are wonderful examples of these.
Once you have a clear sense of the needs, prejudices, expectations and hopes of each of these individual personas, a major first step is matching your messages to who they are and where they are in the buying cycle.
Example of a persona
An influencer, who has only just started to look into video because his boss has asked him to do so, will be on a journey of early discovery. He'll be looking for terminology, prices, types, and all of the various options that are open to the video buyer. He'll be learning, principally, not buying. In fact, he'll be learning, not choosing. Explaining what his options are, and understanding what his prejudices or ignorances might be, are going to be very helpful to you as a firm.
The second part of audience understanding is about timescale: the degree to which they're in a rush, and the amount of time that you think the audience might be prepared to invest in the messaging that you'd like to give. It's quite surprising how conventional wisdom can be so wrong in this area.
Genuinely interested prospective buyers will:
Spend much more time learning about and understanding your proposition: If you're prepared to set out information, which is useful as opposed to puffery, a genuinely interested prospective buyer might spend anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes on your website
Appreciate value: Furnishing them with valuable information, as opposed to broad, unsubstantiated claims, or branding, is going to make a material difference to the ROI of your videos, and campaign.
Address your audience directly: Not just using words like 'you' and 'yours', but really demonstrating that you understand which field they're in, what role they have, and what industry sector peculiarities are applying to the way that they think, for example, if you sell to the professional services category, it's a wise idea to break that down a little into architects, lawyers, consultants, financers, etc.
Create specific content: Place videos and content on your website that cater for different groups that really talk to their field and their experience, using language that is suitable to them.
2. Call To Action
The second big area for ROI improvement is your CTA, or call to action; an often overlooked feature of videos, indeed, of all marketing. A missing CTA belongs only to the 'just build it and they will come' school of thought - omitting a CTA is not just missing a trick, it's borderline away-with-the-fairies.
A much healthier way to think about CTA is simply to start with the end in mind: what is it exactly that you're trying to get your client or prospect to do? Prepare your videos, and all of your content, so that they lead towards that end goal.
A website that acts as a brochure is really something from the 20th century. Leading viewers towards response, valuable interaction, and not wasting their time, is today's approach. Your CTA might be quite light, and it might also be quite heavy.
Here's a list of useful CTAs paired with the level within the buying cycle:
Unaware of you
See more at domain.com/lander
Unaware of you
See more at domain.com/lander
Aware of you
Explore growth paths at domain.com/lander
Model your growth at domain.com/lander
Book a Zoom at domain.com/zoom
Register for growth webinar at domain.com/webinar
Ask Dave Green about risk at domain.com/risks
Download your starter pack at domain.com/start
Ask Gemma Jones about better at domain.com/better
What this table really advises is to sharpen your CTA's to match exactly the degree of trust that your prospect holds towards to you. Overstep the mark, and you'll diminish that trust.
CTAs should be more useful to the buyer, than you: CTAs should drive appropriate reactions at the appropriate stages within the buying cycle, and you should be prepared for buyers not to follow this path sequentially. Buyers these days have online decisions and online decision making, which is much more chaotic, based on a huge range of influential factors, such as occasion, patience, urgency, ignorance, uncertainty, and more. Your job, with your content and your video especially, is to furnish the right information at the right time, in the right way, to help them develop a better view of your company and your proposition.
Filming video content which builds beautifully towards a CTA is important: When you talk to your film company, make sure that the build towards the CTA, as much as the CTA itself, is discussed.
3. Sales Video
The final area in which ROI can be easily and substantially increased is by shifting the focus of your videos further down the marketing and sales pipeline. The closer you are to point-of-sales closure, the more useful video can become. It's a strange, but true, almost inverted logic that tends to drive most video production for business, and especially for B2B services.
In the last few decades, so much has been invested in brand development. Yet, the more important end of the spectrum is sales development and closure, and investing effort, time and money in that area, is probably going to yield the greatest amount of return.
Examples of this include argument-builders, case studies, and strategy-comparison films, service-choosers, convincers, onboarders and objection-handlers. These kinds of videos do some of the sales persuading, in a professional and concise way. Done well, they help clients make up their own minds, without much sales support at all, and as the shows, that's where B2B procurement has arrived.
Sales video content: You should consider a series of videos that deal with sales objections, developing solutions specifically based on problems like demonstrations, or detailed answers to very specific questions often asked during the sales cycle.
Apply your expertise and helpfulness to genuine sales leads during a normal sales cycle: That's what your sales team does right now. They don't just handle objections, they set up benefits, opportunities, listen to client needs and address these needs specifically in their written pitch and phone responses. As the sales process is moving more online, and greater faith is placed in internet research, today's prospective clients may prefer to contact you only when they're certain that you can provide what they want. To produce a portfolio of videos that helps you to help them in these ways, therefore, is a no brainer.
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?
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.
Video ROI is hugely boosted by only a small amount of opportunistic thinking:
Purpose: focus on what you intend and what's commercially valuable to your marketing and sales teams, and to your firm
Insufficiency: choose an agency that can boost your message, not merely make a video
Audience: choose an agency that can define personas and nurture genuine buyer interest
CTAs: choose an agency that captures client and prospects
Point-of-sales closure: think of sales as well as marketing when you define your project.
By taking a step back and seeing through your client or buyer's eyes, you will achieve a better level of return on investment (ROI) from your business videos.
So, now you've sussed successful business video returns, you've moved closer to your goal. Time for a chat about success with video?
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