This guide walks through how video supports each step of the B2B customer journey.
The “customer journey” has become a buzzword in sales and marketing over the past few years – and for good reason. Evaluating the experience you provide to users and customers allows you to identify the areas where you are doing a great job, the areas that can use some work, and even help you fill gaps that can immediately contribute to your bottom line.
While savvy marketers know that you don’t use the same marketing materials to raise awareness about your brand as you do to close sales, many somehow think that video is the exception to the rule. Marketers come to us with a video project, and when we ask where in the customer journey they plan to use it, they answer “Everywhere!”
Video should be a key touchpoint for your prospects throughout their purchasing journey. That said, the types of video you use and the content included must be targeted to each phase. In this guide, we’ll walk through how video can support each step of the sales funnel, bringing you more, better customers.
While there are many different versions of the sales funnel out there, for the purposes of this guide, we’ll use the one below. We’ll focus on four phases: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and Retention.
The first phase of the customer journey is the Awareness phase. In the Awareness phase, your prospects know they have a problem or a need. They’re starting a very broad search for solutions and looking into what options are available. This prospect is evaluating many different options and is not ready to buy.
In Awareness phase marketing, you want to encourage prospects to learn more or remember your brand when they’re narrowing their list. To do this, you must relate to the prospect’s problem, validate and connect with their feelings, and instill hope for a solution.
Your first job with an Awareness video is to validate and inspire your audience. You can do this by relating to their problem and inspiring them on their journey to find the right solution (which is your product or service, of course).
A lot of B2B videos try to do too much too early in the customer journey. They waste valuable seconds of an Awareness phase video outlining detailed RTBs (reasons to believe) such as all of the features of a software solution or 8 reasons why they are a better choice than the competition. Awareness phase prospects aren’t ready for all those details. Instead you should use that time to create a “you’re in good company”-esque message.
To target prospects who know they have a problem but haven’t found the right solution, focus on these two key messages:
Video allows you to quickly communicate complex challenges and solutions in a way that allows a prospect to see themselves in both the struggle and the triumph.
Remember, this audience knows their problem but may not yet know the solution. If you focus your Awareness phase marketing on product-heavy content and keywords, prospects may never find you — especially if you use proprietary product names that are not heavily searched.
Focusing on your product at the top of the funnel leaves you hiding in a place where prospects don’t know to look.
Center your Awareness marketing efforts on relating to the prospect’s problem (and aligning your SEO strategy to this approach) and you’ll be easy for them to find. Meet them where they are.
Effective marketing in the Awareness stage should take a simple approach. Prospects at this stage are skimming content.
Before prospects have established a relationship with you, they are not willing to give you oodles of time. They’re still doing a broad search. Since they know very little to nothing about you, they’re probably not too keen on watching a three minute video explaining all of the steps in your proprietary AI process. Save strong proof points for later in the customer journey, like in the Consideration and Decision phases.
We recommend keeping Awareness videos under a minute in length. Ideally, keep them to 15 to 30 seconds, especially on social media. Use that time to quickly show prospects that you see them, you hear them, and you can help them. When they’re hooked, then you can go into the specifics of how. Inspire them to spend time learning more in the Consideration phase.
Shoving sales sheet details at prospects before they’re ready and willing to absorb the information can overwhelm them. And overwhelmed prospects often bounce away from your page, away from your video, and out of your sales funnel.
Prospects at the beginning of the B2B customer journey are combing through a lot of information to create a list of potential options.
They’re generally not going to make a purchasing decision from one touchpoint alone. In other words, they won’t jump from Awareness to Decision with one amazing video or landing page. They may, however, decide if you’re worth considering with one memorable video.
If you develop your next Awareness phase marketing video based on these three tips, you should see improved video performance and increased conversions.
In the Consideration phase of the customer journey, helping a qualified lead evaluate their options is the name of the game. Consideration phase materials should mix elements of your industry expertise with a touch of promotion. In other words, educate with a side of soft sell.
A prospect who has entered the Consideration phase has already been intrigued by some piece of your content. Or if your brand is strong enough, they skipped the Awareness phase altogether and put you right on the short list. Now it’s time to help them understand why your solution is a top contender and how you are different from competitors.
Video makes it infinitely easier to show a prospect why or how you are different. It allows you to illustrate your competitive advantage and make it real in a way that copy or printed materials never could.
Let’s break out why each of these video approaches can help you convert more leads at the Consideration phase of your B2B customer journey. In some cases, you may be able to use a combination of them.
Awareness stage videos are all about capturing a prospect’s attention, empathizing with their problem, and assuring them there is a solution. Consideration phase videos, on the other hand, are all about demonstrating how your solution is better than the alternatives (direct and indirect) and why you are different.
One of the best ways to do this is to script an authentic use case scenario with your client as the hero and your product as the trusty companion.
In the B2B video marketing world, this means carrying the authentic insider language you used in your Awareness video into a more specific Consideration video. It can also be a longer-form version of your Awareness spot. Authentic dialogue shows both a prospect’s problem and how your solution is able to save the day.
Think of the biggest concerns a prospect might have about choosing your solution over a different option. Then create a video that authentically explains away the concerns and convinces the audience of your solution’s superiority.
For many of our B2B clients, the fear of a solution being termed “vaporware” or a pipe dream is real. Prospects in the Consideration phase want to know that your solution is real, viable, and available to solve their problem now.
The best antidote to fears that your product isn’t ready is to show a key component of it at work.
This doesn’t necessarily mean creating a product demo video that shows every in and out of your solution (we recommend saving this for the Decision phase videos). Instead it gives you an opportunity to plant the seed of “realness.”
This can be done using everything from live action footage of your coolest robot in your smart factory to showing a polished screen recording of a single feature of your healthcare claims processing platform.
Video allows you to get ahead of claims of exaggeration by showing the component that your competitors can’t – your product or service in action. Your product is your game changer and key differentiator. And it’s what will help land you at the top of your prospect’s short list.
When you hear the terms “case study,” “testimonial,” or “competitor comparison,” what do you think of?
I know my mind goes straight to bore-you-to-sleep case study videos with motion graphic percentages flying around the screen or customers on late night TV infomercials raving about the stain fighting power of PowerBoost5000!
In B2B video marketing, the silliness of late night TV infomercials is probably not the tone you want. But the specific and authentic experience of a current customer can be enough to convince prospects that you belong on their short list.
(Though for the record, infomercials are nothing to laugh at. The cable shopping network industry is worth billions. So they must be on to something.)
Why does hearing about or seeing the success of a different person or organization work?
When done well, customer testimonials and case studies help establish trust. They rely on honest third-party opinions, storytelling, and the willingness of a customer to attribute at least part of their success to your company.
A customer who is willing to go on the record about how your solution changed the course of their business is invaluable. And if they are able to share hard facts – even better.
Consideration phase videos don’t have to be boring or complicated. If you can use your creative brain power to develop engaging and smart dialogue, show off your differentiated products or services, and amplify real success stories, you can convert Consideration phase prospects into the Decision phase.
We’ve reached the final step in optimizing your B2B buyer’s journey with video – the Decision phase.
Creating materials to help convert more prospects into customers can feel like an insurmountable challenge. This is especially true in B2B, where each sale may represent a customer committing to a multimillion-dollar investment or allocating a large portion of their yearly budget.
When the stakes are high and the investment is significant, how do you get prospects to commit and buy?
The Decision phase is not the time to speak in marketing generalities or avoid comparisons.
It’s the time to…
The easiest way to do the above? Show them the proof is in the pudding.
This can be accomplished by creating videos that walk audiences through a specific use case or case study (“this is how we solve problem X”). Or show them what to expect after purchase or commitment (how to videos, process videos, or unboxing videos).
Your Decision phase videos need to be very focused and intentional. If sales were a boxing match, the Decision phase is the final round. You don’t want to throw out a mad flurry of jabs hoping a few land. You want to execute a strategic combination of punches to win the round and the match as decisively (and with as little unnecessary energy expended) as possible.
In early-stage marketing, grabbing attention requires a lot of flash or emotional storytelling to stop the scroll.
In the Decision phase, you’ve already got the prospect’s attention. Now it’s time to stick to the fundamentals.
You don’t need to spend a bunch of money making an over-the-top trendy, attention-grabbing video at this late stage in the game. You are no longer trying to market. You’re trying to stick to the facts, alleviate a prospect’s remaining concerns, and reassure and excite them that they are making a good choice.
Salesforce’s YouTube channel is filled with short, simple how-to and demo videos. Breaking the demos into short, feature-specific videos makes it easy to find exactly what you’re searching for. With well-organized playlists for each product, they broadcast: “Have any last questions? Here are answers!”
The best thing about simple demo videos is that they don’t have to be expensive. They work just as well when captured as a screen recording by a salesperson.
Most of us love the thrill that comes when a prospect finally picks us over the competition. The joy of being “picked” is a universal human emotion. We all want to feel it.
The true measure of success for a Decision phase video is its ability to facilitate an easy and successful purchase for your new customer.
For some companies, that could mean providing self-service options to support your video content, such as providing links to featured products within your social media posts or one-step buying.
For other companies, human interaction is a key component of their buyer’s journey, so providing contact information to sales is pivotal.
All of us have been in a situation where a company’s customer experience leaves you wondering if they even want your money. Don’t do this to your customers! Make sure you provide them the information they need to seal the deal as part of your landing page, video CTA, or video optimization plan.
The final stage of the B2B customer journey comes once they become an actual customer. The retention phase of the journey encourages those new customers to both stick around themselves and, ideally, become an advocate for your product or service.
Videos don’t cease being useful once the proposal is signed. Video can be used to retain those new customers and convert them into loyal clients.
More than ever, B2B customers, like everyone else, want to solve their problems without having to talk to support. How-to and help videos are a simple and inexpensive way to support your customers.
The great thing about a how-to video is that it doesn’t need to be the polished jewel in your video marketing crown. They are just as effective when created by a salesperson or on-boarding specialist on their own laptop using screen recording software. The person guiding the viewer simply needs to be knowledgeable and confident.
Feature these videos prominently on your Help or Support pages to guide customers through the answers to their questions. Of course, you still also need to have a quality support team to help those who still want to need more.
Marketers and sales teams love to announce new features or product updates to existing customers. Show off how this update makes your existing customer’s lives easier with a launch video.
Much like your on-boarding or help videos, these do not necessarily need to be expensive productions. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for a customer to see the use and benefit of a new feature, and thus decide to stick around as a client or upgrade to get the new feature.
Optimizing your B2B customer journey with video allows you to use your marketing dollars in a way that delivers the most value. It gives your prospects and customers the content they need when they need it. It helps you understand where to spend the big bucks and where you don’t need to. And, ultimately, it helps you turn more prospects into customers.