Website Video that Answers Questions Throughout the Buying Cycle
Consider these facts. YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet. The largest search engine is Google, and Google owns YouTube. There are 3 billion searches per month on YouTube – everything from abalone recipes to Zen monks learning to tango. YouTube video, however, is used for more than entertainment. People use YouTube for product research, company reconnaissance, and reviews.
Video has become an important tool for reaching customers because it answers questions, puts a face to your company, and personalizes your brand by telling your unique story. Video can speak directly to consumers and answer questions in a more intimate way than bland marketing copy. The next time you consider a sales video production for Vancouver or Lower Mainland company, put your customers’ needs before yours. Here’s how and why.
Understanding the Consumer Buying Cycle
When creating videos, first and foremost, you have to know your customers. Then, you have to know how your customers think. There’s the rub. Many first-time corporate video outings lapse into the old-word hard sell. You know them, the moldy-oldies of wannabe marketers everywhere: “We’re the best! Here’s why”; “Our services are better than theirs! Here’s why”.
Unfortunately many attempts at video content marketing scream,”It’s all about us! We just want your money!”.
So, the first step in brainstorming is thinking like your customer, not like a barker selling a product on a late-night shopping channel.
Your potential customers (those that will find you online) behave a certain way when considering a product or service. Online shoppers, whether wanting to purchase products or services, are generally very savvy, much more so than shoppers before the Internet age. They have an arsenal of tools that help them decide on a purchase. They are much more educated than we were back in the day when all we had was what the TV ads told us, and the information that made its way to us by word of mouth.
Here’s what web shoppers do:
- Realize a need.
- Conduct informational searches to research options (broad searches, opinions, testimonies, reviews).
- Narrow their choices.
- Make the purchase of the product or service.
- Form an opinion of the product or service.
- Feel loyalty, trust, and perhaps repurchase.
There are many fancy acronyms used in marketing to describe this cycle throughout the sales funnel. It doesn’t much matter what we call it, as long as you understand the intent of the consumer and how they might search at each point in the cycle. For you, the website video creator, visualizing consumer need at each stage will help you generate video content that isn’t simply selling, but is helping customers or would-be customers by providing answers to questions they have at each stage in the cycle.
The questions would-be customers ask will become search engine queries.
A good template to follow then is: write an article that answers the question and embed a video from your YouTube channel (or other video hosting channel) that supports the article. In fact, you can embed the video and provide the transcript below the video just as SEO MOZ does in their whiteboard Friday videos.
By doing this, you create a page optimized to answer a specific query, thus (hopefully) generating traffic from customers or potential customers.
Use Video to Answer Questions Asked at Each Stage
Stage 1: Realize a Need
This stage doesn’t involve you or search engines. This stage of the buying cycle is occurring in the mind of the consumer. They may not be aware of you or your service or product at this point.
Stage 2: Information Gathering
The consumer has realized their need. Now they will begin to assess the options for fulfilling the need. That assessment will likely begin with Google search.
Let’s say the consumer has realized a need for tennis shoes. Chances are, they won’t type “tennis shoes” into the search engine. They will probably conduct searches like “[brand name] tennis shoes”, “best tennis shoes”, “best tennis shoe brands”, “how to choose the right tennis shoe”. If the consumer has developed loyalty to a particularly shoe, they may skip this step in the cycle, but many will not.
Answer Stage 2 Questions with Video
How can you address these potential customers with video? In this example, a video comparing the relative merits of several tennis shoe brands may help them. You might even consider a video on “how to buy tennis shoes”. The customer may not purchase from you yet, but they certainly will remember the video that helped them answer the question and the likelihood that they’ll buy from you has increased.
You may not be selling tennis shoes, but the process is the same. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes (no pun intended) and deliver answers to their questions at this stage of the buying cycle.
Stage 3: Narrowing Choices
Now, our example customer knows about tennis shoes brands, they may have models in mind, but they aren’t quite ready to buy. They need information that supports their purchase decision. They want to feel confident that they’ll choose the right shoe. They’ll likely continue conducting searches on both Google and YouTube to get answers that will guide them to a decision.
Answer Stage 3 Questions with Video
Here, you may offer answers in video that answer more specific questions that will help the consumer narrow their choices. “Tennis shoes arch support”, “brand X tennis shoe vs. Brand Y tennis shoe”, “tennis shoe testimony”, “[brand name] tennis shoe review”, “[model] tennis shoe reviews”, “tennis shoe price comparisons “.
Now that the consumer has done research, they’ll soon make a decision to buy shoes.
Stage 4: Purchase
Our example tennis shoe shopper knows what kind of shoe they want to buy. Now they need to find a provider. You.
Answer Stage 4 Questions with Video
The queries the shopper uses will now become more specific. They want to know where to buy a particular model made by a specific brand and where they can find it, either online or in their city or town. At this stage, you might make videos about the model of shoe, a sale on the model of shoe, the performance of the model, why they should purchase the model from you, the support your staff offers, your returns policy, your customer support.
The customer knows they want that particular shoe. Why should they buy from you?
Stage 5: Purchase is Made – After-Purchase Support Begins
The consumer has made the purchase. They may still have questions about the product they just purchase, and, how those questions are answered will become important as they form an opinion about the product or service. How they are treated will earn their loyalty or distrust.
Answer Stage 5 Questions with Video
This is where customer support and after-purchase care comes into play. The customer may have questions about breaking the shoe in, cleaning the shoe, caring for the shoe. These are all fodder for video content. Ask yourself how you can help your customers after they’ve made a purchase.
Stage 6: Loyalty is Formed
Our example customer has made the purchase and formed an opinion about the product and the service you provided. Either they’ll like the shoe or your service or they won’t. They may write a review of the product and/or your service online.
Speak to Stage 6 Customers in Video
At this stage, you may be speaking directly to two distinct types of customers: those who like your product or service and are loyal, and, those who have a complaint, or didn’t like the product or service.
For those who liked your service and brand, you may consider thanking them, showcasing them, shooting a video testimonial. If you provide B2B services, a video showcasing a company you do business for is an opportunity for the customer and for you. They get to market their service. You get to market yours. You might consider a promotion targeting customers who’ve made a purchase. You might provide them a discount, a special offer, or rewards. These promos are good video subject matter that speak directly to your customers, helping ensure they remain loyal and perhaps re-purchase.
Customers who are unhappy may contact you, post a comment, or write a negative review. Generally, you will communicate with these customers directly, and you must. Surveys show that ignoring unhappy customers online will cost you. Not only will you be dumped by them, but how you respond will influence potential customers. The 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report (PDF) revealed that 79% of consumers who shared their complaints online about a bad customer experience were ignored. Not only is this bad for business, it is a missed opportunity, Of the 21% who were not ignored, more than half had a positive response to the company about whom they were originally complaining.
As a product or service provider, you can win loyalty from customers who are unhappy. As mentioned, you will likely be communicating directly with these customers but you can provide answers with video, too.
Let’s say your tennis shoe buyer emails you with a complaint about the soles of her tennis shoes falling off. Treat her right, replace the shoe with no questions asked and create a video about how your company addressed the complaint. You might also provide clear answers about returns, exchanges, how to complain, who to complaint to, and what you do to keep customers satisfied. These videos can be placed on your website in a help section or returns section. Even if the customer is unhappy, you can increase their satisfaction by providing answers to common complaints. Those answers can be the subject of videos.
While our example may not fit the services or products you sell, the important point is that video marketing should be about your customer and their needs, not about you. Knowing the questions they’ll ask at each stage of the buying cycle will help you produce video that helps them, and, what helps your customer helps your company.