As a marketer, it’s important to realize one important fact about the modern-day consumer.
Everyone has a short attention span.
That fact has changed the way that we approach digital marketing in general, and it’s why video marketing is outpacing almost every other type of marketing out there today.
Now, it may strike you as odd that video could be at all useful when it comes to marketing and selling building materials, of all things, online. We’re all aware of how very old-school the industry can be, after all. But the truth is, consumers will always continue to evolve no matter how determined you are to stay stuck in your old ways.
The basic principles of video marketing don’t differ much from those behind blogging or social media marketing. It’s all about:
- Educating existing and potential customers
- Highlighting the benefits of your products or services
- Establishing yourself as an expert in your space
This post is by no means an exhaustive, technical how-to manual, but by the time we’re through today, you will have a much better idea of where you need to start.
The Benefits of Video Marketing
Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to keep up with the times, there are many strategic benefits to video marketing—yes, even in the building materials industry.
First and foremost, video content does exceedingly well in terms of engagement. According to Wistia, people spend 2.6x more time on pages with video than on those without. In a world of shrinking attention spans, that’s not bad! After all, the longer someone stays on your site, the more likely they are to take some kind of action.
There are also advantages from an SEO perspective. Since Google owns YouTube, video is heavily factored into search results and can stand out better amongst all the other text-based information. That’s why it’s important to optimize your video titles and descriptions too.
And Google isn’t the only place where video is favored. On social media sites like Facebook, where what people see on their feed is determined by an algorithm, video posts are more likely to be shown compared to a post that is just text or a link.
But remember, any kind of marketing content should serve a higher purpose than just racking up page views—it should also be informative and provide value by helping the viewer solve a problem. And what better way to do that than to show them, rather than tell them? Video can help provide clarity to your message and branding, whether that means showing a product demo or letting one of your customers give a testimonial on camera.
By that same token, video helps give your brand credibility. This is particularly true if people can put a real human face to the product.
Now, I understand if you shudder at the thought of being the “face” of your company—not all of us are comfortable in the spotlight. But think about it this way: Nearly half of internet users will watch videos related to a product or service before even visiting a store. If a 30 to 60-second video can help someone choose your product over the other guy’s, the temporary embarrassment is worth it.
Best Practices for Video Production
The good news is, producing video content for your marketing strategy isn’t as hard as it sounds. The hardest part, as with most content-related exercises, is just getting started.
First thing’s first: You need to determine what kind of videos you want to produce. There are a lot of different options, including but not limited to:
- Product overviews/demos
- How-to/instructional videos
- Customer testimonials
- Interviews with company leaders
- Traditional commercials
- Repurposed information from blog posts
Of course, web videos run the gamut when it comes to production value. It’s easy to talk yourself out of it if you think that you must produce high-quality, TV-ready video at every turn. But honestly, you could shoot your videos on an iPhone and still have them turn out relatively well. The content of your videos is what really matters—even the most basic of videos can perform well as long as they deliver value to the viewer.
That being said, it is a good idea to stay consistent with your video strategy. Your production value and comfort level will improve over time, but try not to be everything at once.
If your company leans more toward the corporate side, embrace it and let that be reflected in the tone of your videos. Or if you want to inject some personality and personal touch to your overall brand, go for the fun stuff. But don’t flip-flop between the two trying to see what sticks—it will confuse viewers and affect whether or not they decide to trust you.
Once you decide what kind of videos you want to make, you can hire an agency or production company to handle production for you, or you can try producing them in-house. Depending on the type of videos, you can even invest in some equipment (even if it’s just a few lights) and video editing software so you can churn out this content regularly.
Remember: The more succinct the video, the better. Videos up to 2 minutes in length get the most engagement, according to Wistia. Anything longer tends to lose people’s attention unless it’s an in-depth instructional piece or a video of a live event.
You may also consider incorporating text, either in the video or via closed captioning. Not only does this make your content more accessible to those with hearing disabilities, it can also help increase engagement on various distribution channels. For example, according to Digiday, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, so subtitles are a must.
Speaking of distribution channels…
Best Practices for Distribution
Where do your videos go once you’re done making them? There are a lot of different options, and what’s right for your particular building materials company will depend on both your existing marketing strategy and your target audience.
First and foremost, your videos need to live on your building materials website. It is the center of your entire marketing ecosystem, after all. To do this, you can host the videos locally on your server (if your hosting package has the bandwidth) or upload them to a service like YouTube or Wistia, and then embed them strategically around the site.
One of the best places you can start is with an “About Us” video right on your homepage, preferably above the fold (i.e. before the user has to scroll on the page). With this, you can give first-time visitors a bite-sized introduction to your company and products that leaves a lasting impression. Then, as you continue to create product and explainer videos, you can use them to supplement and flesh out the other pages on your site.
Who knows—maybe at some point, you’ll have created so much great, educational video content that you can build an entire video library!
If you haven’t guessed it by now, social media also plays a huge role in the distribution of video marketing content. Most platforms allow for some kind of video sharing by now, and as I mentioned before, some even favor video content when deciding what to show users.
The major players in the social video space are:
Now, obviously, the demographics of your audience are going to determine which of these are worth investing time and effort in. There’s probably a slim chance that a male contractor in his early to mid-40s is going to spend a lot of time on Snapchat or Instagram, for example, but a Millennial first-time homeowner might be a different story. You should distribute your videos where ever your ideal customer is going to be.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of these distribution channels have different preferred formats, so you may need to edit your videos per distribution channel. This is especially true when it comes to the maximum length allowed by each channel:
- YouTube: 15 minutes (12 hours if verified)
- Facebook: 45 minutes
- Twitter: 140 seconds
- Snapchat: 10 seconds
- Instagram: 60 seconds
If you don’t have the time or resources to edit several different versions of each video you create, start with YouTube and share it to the most common channels (Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn).
Look, the same way I wouldn’t expect you to become Ernest Hemingway overnight to start a successful building materials blog, I’m not saying you need to become the next Steven Spielberg to successfully leverage video marketing to promote and sell your building materials.
At the end of the day, it’s not about how many views you get across the entire internet or how fancy your videos are. It’s about getting them made and getting the right people to view them.
Always remember to:
- Keep it short
- Make it informative
- Share it where it counts
If you’re feeling bold enough to ride this powerful wave and step up your digital marketing game through video, go with your gut. You have complete control over the look, feel, and content of your output. Make it count!