Lights, camera, action

It is said a photo is worth a thousand words, so how many is a video worth? THIIS explains why and how manufacturers and retailers should be taking advantage of video to reach out to customers and secure sales.



Video marketing has been around for a while, yet many companies in our industry have yet to jump onboard and fully embrace video into their marketing strategies. Be it a lack of knowledge or a fear of the cost of using video, many retailers and manufacturers are missing out on a golden opportunity to use one of the of most powerful forms of marketing available to them today.

What is video marketing?

The term ‘video marketing’ sounds complex, but it is actually a very simple thing to implement. In essence, it is using video to promote your business, a service or a product.

Danielle Rudd, Marketing Manager at Kinetic Media, a video production company that specialises in the healthcare industry, told us: "Video marketing has become one of the leading ways to market products and services, it is essential for pro-active marketing activity, harnessing the power for sales purposes and brand awareness.”

Why use video in your marketing?

As more and more end-users and those purchasing for end-users turn to the internet to research what products and services will best meet their needs, having a video can play a major role in a consumer’s buying process.

Manufacturers such as Invacare, Rise & Recline and TGA are embracing the power of video for both engaging consumers and helping dealers drive sales.

Melanie Scrivener, Marketing and Communications Executive at Invacare, explained: "As always, having good content is the key and being able to deliver a clear message in an entertaining and sometimes quirky way does add value to engage with both for our dealers and consumers.”

What videos can a business create?

The beauty of video is its versatility. As the internet has evolved, the amount of ways manufacturers and retailers can use videos to convey information have also grown.

Videos can allow a business to convey a lot of information in a visually attractive way when compared to just words and pictures on a page. Kinetic Media’s Danielle said: "The videos we have produced have been used to train end users, demonstrate products and showcase product portfolios.”

Here are some of the different types of video your business can create to grab attention, inform and importantly, drive sales:

"Explainer” videos

A 2015 study by Animoto found that four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than reading about it. Explainer videos inform viewers how a product or service works and visually demonstrates its key benefits.

Tim Ross, TGA National Sales Manager, told us: "We believe video is becoming increasingly important to sell scooters as it is one of the most effective channels to easily communicate features and benefits.”

As the saying goes, ‘seeing is believing’ and for an industry where products and services can be quite complex, using video to demonstrate a product can be profoundly effective.

How-To videos

According to Google, searches related to "how to” on YouTube grew 70% from 2014 to 2015 and this trend has been continuing to rise. The reason, as Invacare’s Melanie explains, is simple: "It’s easier to explain how to do an activity or an action in a two-minute video than reading two pages of text.”

These instructional videos walk viewers through a number of steps required to perform a task with a product, proving particularly useful for products that require steps to perform a function or when providing maintenance advice.

Invacare’s ‘How to look after your Mobility Scooter battery’ and TGA’s ‘How to get a TGA Zest mobility scooter into the boot of a car’ are both examples of manufacturers understanding that consumers are often turning to video when seeking instructional advice, whilst also providing dealers with valuable marketing material to use on their platforms.

"We’ve experienced a huge rise in the use of video, and in particular animations that have the power to explain concepts or ideas far more quickly compared with traditional communication. This has worked well with our scooter battery animation and we’ve seen a far higher reach and engagement with consumers and dealers than even we anticipated,” added Melanie.

Customer testimonials

In our May issue, former THIIS Editor, David Russell, argued the value of customer testimonials, saying: "No matter how big or small your business, you will increase sales by simply letting your customers do the talking for you.” Videos provide customers with a platform to really sing the praises of a product or service that can prove to be a potent marketing tool.

For retailers, this can be extremely effective when it comes to converting customers. A well-placed customer testimonial video on a product page from users explaining how they’re using a product and why they love it would help build trust and see a substantial impact on conversions.

TIP: Customer testimonials are all about building trust. Put out a call to customers to submit their own DIY testimonial videos to use on your business page to emphasise authenticity.

Many, many more

Really, the only limit to video is imagination and there is a myriad of different ways it can be used:

· FAQ videos: create videos answering frequently asked questions which customers can be directed to, reducing incoming support calls and emails

· Adverts: Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and video sharing sites such as YouTube, now have easy ways for companies to post videos as adverts and really target specific demographics including age, location and interests

· Branding video: ‘Day in the life’ videos showing a business’ environment, team and day-to-day running can show customers and partners the type of company they are working with

· Recruitment: When running recruitment, the branding video can also inform a prospective employee about the kind of company they are thinking about joining or the type of role they will be filling

Where can videos be used?

So, you’ve spent the time creating and editing your videos and ready to share them with the world; the big question is now, where can then go?

Websites

"Many customers say watching a scooter being driven in a video is the next best thing to a test drive.” Tim Ross, National Sales Manager at TGA

The fundamental point of call for your videos is your website and this can, particularly for retailers, prove the key factor when converting sales.

Research by Wistia found that people spend on average 2.6x more time on a webpage that features a video than those without. Animoto’s 2015 survey found that four out of five customers believed that demo videos were useful in the buying process and a majority of consumers found it helpful to watch a product video more than once before making a purchase

For retailers, ensuring explainer and customer testimonials videos are available on product pages can make all the difference between clicking ‘add to cart’ and a clicking ‘back’.

One manufacturer that has embraced video to help support dealers is TGA, who shot videos of their five new scooters. The videos include features, benefits and driving experience associated with each scooter.

"We continue to support our valued dealers with product videos that can be downloaded for free from our trade website.” TGA’s Tim Ross explained. "These informative sequences can then be embedded into dealer websites and shared socially so internet traffic and brand awareness is increased.”

For manufacturers, supplying dealers with videos they can use online is essential marketing support.

Tim added: "The videos introducing our five new scooter models have been popular, along with the new TGA Powerpack demonstration. We believe video is one of the most cost effective and sharable tools for effective social marketing.”

For dealers, ensuring the videos are easily accessible for customers on product pages is essential.

Social Media

Effectively being able to tap into the colossal reach of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube has been many a marketer’s white whale, and for good reason.

In 2016, Facebook reported that users watched an estimated 100 million hours of video on the site daily, whilst in 2017, almost five billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day. The numbers are staggering and video’s influence is continuously on the up.

Fortunately for both retailers and manufacturers, social media websites understand the companies’ desire to use their platforms to reach their users and have made it relatively simple and cheap to upload video adverts and get them in front of specific audiences based on locations, age, interests and more.

With others

Asking others to share a video seems obvious, yet there are many companies that fail to ask the question. Asking contacts who are closely linked to your target audience will prove the most effective and it may pleasantly surprise many to see how willing some contacts are to share a video, especially if it is informative, engaging and useful to their audience. At THIIS, we are always interested in the content the industry produces, so a simple email or a shout out on Twitter could go a long way.

Making the most out of your videos

Video can prove to be an incredibly powerful tool in a company’s marketing arsenal, however, it will only be as effective as you make it. Just like any other marketing device, it has to be engaging and relevant to what customers want.

Here are some useful tips to bear in mind when shooting a video:

Time is precious

Just because it is a video does not mean you should be aiming to make this your feature length film. Keep them short, snappy and most of all, engaging. The longer the video, the less chance customers will watch.

Think of a product video showing users some of a product’s key features the same you would as any other type of advertisement. Bombard viewers with too much information and chances are you’ll lose them. Keep the messaging clear, simple and concise.

Give the people what they want

Before filming, the first question that should be on a company’s mind is, what is it that the viewer wants from my video? Is it product knowledge? Is it user information? Is it entertainment? Understand why someone is watching and be sure to give it to them. The longer you make them wait, the more chance you have of losing them.

What next?

Brilliant, the consumer has clicked on your video and watched it from start to finish; but what comes afterwards? Be sure there is a clear call to action that encourages a viewer to act.

If they had just watched an explainer video for example and are excited about the product, this would be the right time to include information about finding out how to demo one themselves. Links to more information, phone numbers to the store or anything that encourages them to act are essential for making videos as effective as possible.

Keep it interesting

We’ve established that these videos should not be aiming to win a Golden Globe, but that does not mean they should be boring. They should informative, interesting and engaging, prompting customers into action that results in a sale.

Case Study: What retailers could learn from Lookers


Lookers Mercedes Benz are a car dealer with showrooms across the UK who have cleverly incorporated video into their day-to-day business to enhance the care given to their customers.

The company launched their ‘StarView’ service, which provides customers with a live video taken by Lookers’ engineers as they service or repair a customer’s car.

Engineers film with a camera whilst assessing a vehicle, giving a running commentary as they work, allowing customers to see exactly what the technicians see and hear their recommendations. Following the assessment, the video is emailed to the customer.

The benefits are numerous. The video ensures the technician is doing a thorough, professional assessment and it provides the customer with peace of mind that the assessment is trustworthy. It provides the customer with a level of transparency that has traditionally been absent and it also gives Lookers’ something unique to offer customers over competitors.

Perhaps having engineers record scooter repairs or lift installations could be something easy to implement and a great marketing tool for dealers in our industry to consider.