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How to create an effective and affordable video marketing strategy

Written by Spencer Durrant on February 18, 2016 in Strategies & Tips

video marketing strategy photoI think I've written the phrase, "Content is king" a few dozen times just this year on the Doba blog, but it's true. For your marketing efforts to have any sort of traction, you need great, attention-grabbing content.

Now, when I say content, your mind likely jumps straight to the usual: blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, emails, etc. But content marketing isn't just focused on written assets. Audio and video also play a huge role in effectively harnessing the power of content marketing to draw as many customers as possible to your store. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at how you can create an affordable (and effective) video marketing strategy for your online store. 

Stay grounded

When the phrase "video marketing" is brought up, people automatically think of the expenses involved. You need a lighting crew, sound guys, a director, those fancy chairs, actors - oh, and a script! How can you possibly produce something great without blowing your entire marketing budget on one project? 

About a year ago, I was working for a different company and we decided to produce a series of promotional videos. The only problem? We had a budget of something like $150. 

The company set up policy review appointments for insurance agents and the marketing department (myself and the CMO - small company) were tasked with coming up with a fun, unique way to sell our service. So we decided to parody the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man" commercials.

We produced three videos, of similar quality, to the one above. Were they Oscar-worthy? Absolutely not. Cheesy? Definitely. But believe it or not, those videos turned out to be a healthy lead source for the company.

Here's another example of a video produced on a next-to-nothing budget. The premise is simple but engaging: it's a parody of one of the best scenes from the classic comedy "Tommy Boy."

So what do these two videos teach us? You have to stay grounded with your expectations for video marketing based on your budget, resources, and your overall goal for the particular video you're creating. Both of the above videos obviously wanted to raise brand awareness, but they went about it in different ways. They also maximized the impact from a limited budget. 

Learn from the pros

Video marketing is a big deal. According to data from Marketo, over 8 billion videos are viewed every day on Facebook, and 96% of B2B marketers say that they now use video marketing in some fashion. 

So with just about everyone on the video marketing bandwagon, this creates an opportunity for you to watch the pros, learn from their strategies, and incorporate their ideas into your own lower-budget videos.

This is an example of a company that sells paper, an increasing challenge in a digital-first world. They came up with a funny script, and while it probably didn't cost a ton to produce, it still looks like a very professionally shot and edited film.

What can you learn from this video? Making fun of your company, your industry, or your product, can get a chuckle from viewers, and that will help get the video shared until it reaches a potential customer. The best part is, you don't need a big budget to create a video that pokes fun at your industry, you just need a creative idea.

Tell a story

Storytelling is one of the most important aspects of content marketing. Without a strong foundational story to your offer content, you're going to lose the attention of your audience to companies that tell a compelling story. 

Here are a few incredible examples of stellar storytelling that captivate an audience and promote a brand without screaming the brand's name in your face. 

I should mention that these ads are high-cost examples, but that shouldn't discourage you from learning from them. While you probably don't have the budget to hire Roman Polanski to direct your next video, you do have the opportunity to identify how these bigger brands tell a compelling story. Learning how to tell a good story is important, especially in video marketing.

The first is an ad for Bell's Whisky.

A great story about a man learning to read, so he could read his son's book. At the very end, Bell's Whisky is mentioned just briefly by the actors. The rest of the video is 100% focused on the story. That's how your storytelling videos should be structured as well.

This next video is an ad Prada put together. Again, you don't need to have the budget to hire actors like Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham-Carter to tell a compelling, humorous, engaging story.

These are just two of many examples of great storytelling in video marketing. The challenge for you now is to come up with a story that you can tell on a limited budget.

If you're struggling to come up with ways to tell your brand story, I recommend reading the third chapter of Neil Patel's "Beginner's Guide to Online Marketing". To give you a quick idea of what brand storytelling is and isn't, I've pulled an excerpt from that chapter and posted it below. 

Brand storytelling is:
  • The reason why your company came to be
  • What motivates your team to wake up and come to work everyday
  • How your product came to be
  • What types of customers find value in working with your brand and why
  • A transparent view into the people behind the company
  • A relationship-building tool
  • More subtle than you realize
  • A concept that underscores your entire web presence
  • Something that your entire team, at organizational levels, embraces
  • A look into who you are as a company
  • Direct
Brand storytellng is NOT:
  • A long-winded, 5-paragraph essay about your company
  • A blog post
  • Something isolated
  • A fragmented view into your company
  • Something reserved for the marketing team only
  • A PR stunt
  • A viral video
  • A tool to manipulate customers and prospects
  • Boring
  • Artsy

Another important aspect to take out of Patel's guide is the following:

"Contrary to popular belief, brand storytelling is not about your company. It’s about your customers and the value that they get when engaging with your product or service. The most powerful brand stories are the ones that prioritize customers as the stars. Think of your company as a supporting character. Don’t overthink this process. Storytelling is something that we do naturally. More often than not, we don’t even realize that we’re doing it."

Your final strategy

With all of this in mind, your final video marketing strategy should include the following:

  • A grounded, realistic expectation of what your video will be, complete with an understanding of your budget. 
  • Lessons and insights you've learned from watching professionally-produced marketing videos. 
  • A compelling story that doesn't directly sell your brand

You also need to keep in mind that you don't have to blow the entire year's marketing budget on this one video. With a little creativity and some hard work, you can come up with a compelling marketing video without spending thousands of dollars. 

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