Humans are visual creatures
Historically, companies would market to their customers via traditional mediums like television commercials, print ads in magazines and newspapers and direct mail. This approach worked well enough for several decades. In the age of the internet, however, it leaves much to be desired – for mainstream and niche industries alike.
A recent study found that today’s customers are exposed to upwards of 10,000 brand messages every day. With so much noise headed our way from every direction, it’s easy to tune everything out by default. To cut through the clutter, a new approach to promoting products and services has gained popularity in recent years: content marketing.
The case for video is quite persuasive
By 2021 Cisco predicts that video content will account for 82% of all internet traffic. By comparison, in 2016, video accounted for 73%.
Of course, much of this traffic comes from platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Still, 81% of companies are currently using video as a marketing tool. Of those that aren’t, 65% say they plan to start using video this year.
- 77% of B2B marketers say that video is an effective marketing tool
- 4 times as many customers prefer watching videos to reading content when learning about a new product
- 43% of customers want businesses to produce more video content
- Companies that use video as a marketing tool enjoy a 41% increase in web traffic
- They also grow their revenue 49% faster than companies that haven’t started using video
Unlike more traditional approaches to marketing, content marketing doesn’t explicitly try to sell the company’s offerings. Rather, by educating and entertaining their customers, companies can generate buzz while attracting a bigger audience and, ultimately, converting those eyeballs into sales.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates three times as many leads while costing 62% less than outbound marketing. What’s more, companies that publish 16 or more blog posts each month receive almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that publish 0–4 blogs per month, HubSpot reports.
The benefits of content marketing speak for themselves. But how exactly can marketers in the oil & gas industry use content marketing to grow their businesses?
Among B2B marketers, the consensus is clear: video marketing, when done correctly, gets results.
One study, for example, found that landing pages that included videos can increase conversion rates by 80% or more. Another study found that 70% of B2B marketers think that video is the most effective tool for converting leads.
Unfortunately, you can’t just decide to include video in your marketing campaigns and expect to take your business to the next level.
If you’re looking to grow your energy business by using video as a marketing tool, you need to have a well-thought-out strategy and a clearly defined plan—and you need to execute on it.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by developing buyer personas and focusing on each step of the buyer’s journey.
What is a buyer persona?
Who are the kinds of customers you’re trying to sell to?
For example, a tech company that sells asset management software might be targeting three different kinds of buyers:
- A company that’s interested in streamlining workflows
- A company that wants to maximise asset values
- A company that’s interested in improving collaboration across different departments within its organisation
By developing customer personas for each of these three audiences (e.g., Operations Manager Ashley, Fleet Manager Frank, and Communicative Connor), the tech company can then create marketing campaigns that are designed to address the pain points of each individual target.
For more information on how to create a buyer persona, check this out .
What is the buyer’s journey?
Once you’ve got your personas down pat, it’s time to start studying the buyer’s journey.
Put yourself in each customer’s shoes and try to imagine how they move from becoming aware that they have a problem, to considering whether your product or service can solve their needs, to ultimately deciding to make a purchase—or continue looking for solutions elsewhere.
The typical buyer’s journey consists of three stages:
1. The awareness stage is where the customer realises they have a problem.
2. The consideration stage is where the customer starts researching their options and learning about the various solutions in the market that can ostensibly solve their problems.
3. The decision stage is where the customer makes a final decision, opting to either purchase your product or continue looking for other options.
When you understand buyer personas and where each of them may be in their journey at any particular point in time, you can start creating video content that engages with them at the right moment, and gently guides them from one stage to the next.
Now that you know how personas and the buyer’s journey work together to increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, let’s drill down a little deeper and explore the kinds of video content that work best at each stage of your buyer’s journey.
Step #1: The awareness stage
When a customer enters the awareness stage, he or she has started to realise that they have a problem. Their search for solutions typically begins on the web.
At this stage, you should focus on educating your customers.
By making educational videos, posting them on your company’s YouTube page, and then sharing them on social media, you can increase the chances the personas you’re targeting find your educational content during the awareness stage—which is right when you want them to.
It bears repeating: Share your videos on social media.
Research has found that social media posts with video content get shared 1,200% more frequently than posts with just images and text.
In other words, the right educational content promoted on social media will not only be seen by folks in the awareness stage, it might make others realise that they have a problem too, and encourage them to begin the buyer’s journey.
Using social media by itself, however, is not enough. To ensure that the right people see your content, look to partner with trusted publishers of news, analysis and commentary in your industry. Sponsor content placements provide a direct line to the people you’re trying to reach.
Step #2: The consideration stage
Your customers understand they have a problem and that there are solutions that can solve it. They’re just not sure about what those solutions might look like.
During the consideration stage, you’ll want to produce persuasive videos that help various personas learn precisely how your solutions can make their lives easier. If you’ve ever visited a company’s website and were greeted with an above-the-fold video explaining how a product works, it’s likely that the marketing team behind that website considers visitors like you to be in the consideration stage.
Webinars can also help convert leads during the consideration stage. In fact, 73% of B2B marketers say that webinars are one of the best lead-generation mechanisms.
Not only can you attract customers to view your webinars live, there’s a lot of replay value, too. Once a webinar is recorded, customers can view it at their own convenience. Since they’re in the consideration stage, that’s great news. A webinar you recorded six months ago can convert someone today. How cool is that?
Step #3: The decision stage
By now, your customers know they have a problem and they understand that your company has solutions designed to meet their needs. But they also understand that you have competitors, and they want to be sure they make the right decision.
Customer testimonials and customer success stories in video format can be particularly useful at this stage. Your audience might be leaning one way or another. But seeing real-world examples of how your products or services have solved problems for others can be quite convincing.
Other great content at this stage includes videos where you answer frequently asked questions or tell your company’s story (people want to do business with people and companies they like, after all).
Use video marketing to grow your energy business today
Video marketing has the power to transform your business—particularly when it’s part of a larger content marketing initiative that also includes other time-tested tactics, like display ads and conference sponsorships.
By developing buyer personas, mapping your buyer’s journey and creating video content that meets their needs at each stage, you can generate more leads and ultimately win more customers.
Not sure if you have the bandwidth or expertise needed to produce and distribute transformative video content in-house? No problem, we’ve got you covered.
Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you grow your business with video and other proven content marketing solutions. We look forward to hearing from you!