How Video Content Can Improve Every Stage of the Buyer's Journey

Andrea Fryrear on Content Marketing

Viral Video MarketingLike all good content marketing stories, the tale of video content centers around the audience.

Video offers a dynamic, visually compelling way to communicate with your audience at any stage of their journey.

Plus, it can be really fun to make and watch.

Here’s how to start using video content to make each and every stage of your buyer’s journey more useful, more informative, and more likely to convert.

The Buyer’s Journey + Video Explained

Before they become a customer, everybody follows their own path. One way to think about this process is with what’s known as “The Buyer’s Journey.” There are quite a lot of ways to visualize it, ranging from extremely simple to mind-numbingly complicated.

The buyer’s journey is important because it, “provides a model to help keep the buyer’s behavior, information needs, and problems central to anything else sales and marketing does.”

When we encounter an audience member in each stage, our goal is not only to provide valuable information with our content; we also need to move them a little bit closer to the final stage of becoming a customer.

Video offers a change from the most commonly used content types: blog posts and articles. It’s also a fantastic way to personalize your brand by putting team members on camera. But, like all content, it needs a strategy behind it.

3 Stages of Video Content

You could just turn on a video camera and walk around your office recording things, but that’s going to be just about as successful as writing dozens of articles without creating a content strategy first.

Instead, determine your audience’s needs at each stage and decide how (and if) video can meet those needs.

Driving Awareness Through Video Content

You can have the best product or service in the world, but without a plan to increase awareness no one will ever know about it. Strong content is far and away the best way to earn views through search engines and social media, and video can broaden the reach of your content even farther.

High-quality content that includes multimedia components like video can give you a boost in search engine rankings. That, in turn, will put your content in front of more people and expand the top of your sales funnel to draw in a larger audience.

You also have the option of sharing your videos on YouTube, which, as the second largest search engine in the world, can get your brand out in front of a whole new group.

Types of Videos for the Awareness Stage

Remember, your content’s goal in this stage is to answer a question or solve a problem. That means no product demos or sales pitches allowed.

Instead think about how something visual like a video might help you provide information more quickly, more thoroughly, or from a different angle than written content.

Some good examples:

  • FAQ videos: Record folks from your team answering commonly asked questions from your audience. These can be visual interpretations of your written FAQs; they’re a great way to reach potential buyers who don’t want to wade through text.
  • How-to videos: Use video capabilities to show how to solve a problem in new and creative ways. Vary the length based on the complexity of the problem you’re addressing.
  • Snacks”: Wistia and Hubspot call these, “fun, creative videos that don’t meet existing demand, but nevertheless engage your target audience and can spread virally due to their fun nature.” Buzzfeed’s “Wedding Hairstyles Through the Ages” is a good example:

Consider Video for the Consideration Stage

Once they’re in this stage, buyers have realized that a product can solve their problem or help them take advantage of an opportunity. Now, you get to try and convince them that your product is the best choice.

The videos you create for the Awareness stage don’t have to be of the highest quality, but those targeted at the Consideration stage need to be top notch.

Your goal here is to make it very clear how your product works and why someone should purchase it.

Consideration Stage Video Suggestions

Since you’re not just trying to solve a general problem, you can start showing your product and your company personality in these videos. Don’t be afraid to get creative, but stay consistent with your larger brand message.

Some good options include:

  • How it Works: Show your product or service in action. Try a few different versions, one for each of your primary target personas.
  • Explainer Video: Introduce your company and/or employees. Make your brand seem memorable, interesting, and worth spending time with.
  • Meet the Team: Take prospective customers behind the curtain and introduce them to members of your company. This might be your customer support staff, executives, or members of the marketing team. If you can build a personal bond with your audience, they’re more likely to buy (and stick around longer).

Using Video to Propel Viewers Toward Purchase

During the final phase of the buyer’s journey, people are comparing your product, brand, or service with other options.

Now it’s time to use video to show compelling, documented proof that you’re the right choice.

Example Videos for the Purchase Stage

These videos fall into two basic categories: testimonials and customer stories.

  • Testimonials: If you have reasonably eloquent customers who are willing to talk about you on camera, this is a great way to convince others to choose your brand over the competition. No need to get too complex here; a 30-second video can easily do the trick.
  • Customer stories: This is a more objective, third-person look at how someone has been helped by your product. They’ll often be longer and more complex than testimonials.

Bonus Question: Does Your Audience Really Want Video?

When preparing to add video to your content marketing mix, it’s a good idea to start off by deciding if video is right for your content.

Some groups will always prefer the written word, while others will appreciate quick, bite-sized videos that don’t require a large time commitment. Even others will look to visual content like infographics and Slideshares for their information.

Take the time to look at how your existing content performs and try some low-risk experiments to see what resonates with your audience.

There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars setting up a state of the art video studio if none of your prospective customers will watch them.

Survey your existing audience, as well as those who you hope to reach in the future, to ensure that video will actually move them closer to customer status.