• March 4, 2016

The Secret Ingredient to Your Startup’s Marketing Strategy: Video

The Secret Ingredient to Your Startup’s Marketing Strategy: Video

This post was contributed to VENTUREAPP by Lynsey Chediak, director of strategy for indiewhip, a leading creative advertising agency in Providence, RI. 

Slack. I love it. You love it. The startup world nearly ended when it went down for a few hours. It has transformed what it means to communicate efficiently in the workplace.

Want to know the singular thing that helped Slack take off? It’s video. You’ve probably seen it. If not, you can watch it here.

In my 20 months completing the Venture for America entrepreneurship fellowship, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work at two advertising agencies in New England focused on helping ambitious startups launch and scale their marketing efforts.

What’s the most important thing I’ve learned? Making something go viral is easier said than done–but it’s possible if you put in the time working with the right people.

Video is what your company needs to achieve the biggest challenge your marketing and sales teams face: creating a lasting emotional connection with your consumer to build the trust that will close a sales deal. Video and a successful growth marketing strategy go hand in hand.

Engagement in marketing is always the goal.

First, let’s talk about that elephant in the room when it comes to marketing: engagement.

I know you’ve tried to avoid it. Stop. It’s the key to growth. You have a marketing team to prompt a basic consumer action: to buy your service or product.

This action is (or should be) tied directly to each and every one of your marketing efforts. Your marketing team, whether at an agency or in-house, needs to spur a level of engagement with your ads that then guides your target audience to the end of your conversion funnel. Seamlessly pull in your customers; don’t push them.

Let’s take a minute to go back to the world of classic print advertising where engagement was (and still is) a giant mystery. Your company could publish a magazine ad or even a giant print billboard and never know exactly how many people saw it—much less read it. With print advertising, there are zero analytics to guide your strategy.

To throw in some startup jargon (yes, more jargon–you know you secretly love it): the digital era has radically disrupted this advertising model. Not only do you know how many people are seeing your ad online, where they live, and what job they have, but, most importantly, you know how long each person stayed in front of your ad (or, curve ball, clicked on it. read: engaged!). Digital has truly revolutionized marketing for the better and made it more engaging for the consumer.

Bottom line: if you’re still relying on musings or print publication distribution numbers to determine the engagement of your various marketing strategies, you’re not setting your company up for success.

The numbers don’t lie.  

Your marketing team has the opportunity to use the most engaging type of media on the most engaging medium platform: video on the web.

With online video, you can effortlessly track the number of people who are seeing your ad, where they live, what job they have, and, most importantly, exactly how long they watched the ad.

If you’re not quite convinced yet, let’s peel back the curtain on some of the incredible statistics on video:

  • 89 million people in the United States are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos today.
  • Globally, online video traffic will represent 55% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2016. (Cisco)
  • Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic and up to 69% of traffic on certain networks. (Bytemobile Mobile Analytics Report)
    • Online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016. (Cisco)
  • Only about 24% of national brands are using online video to market to consumers. (Kantar Media)

Wow. Did those stats just make you excited or was that just me? No, let’s be real — your jaw just dropped.

Visual storytelling is the key to engagement.

The analytics proving the successes of online video have really only uncovered what we already knew: storytelling is the key to fostering a memorable, emotional connection with an audience. As someone who has an undergraduate degree in History, I can confidently say this strategy works time and time again across the historical record.

Why do you want an emotional connection? A memorable, emotional connection is proven to optimize efficiency in your sales funnel. An emotional connection, and the memorability that comes with such a connection, requires relatable content. When two people experience the same emotions watching a video (you and your prospect), it opens a new, lasting connection based on trust and authenticity.

Engaging storytelling in video can take many forms. In the end, trusting someone who’s telling you a story you can relate to is human–no matter how hard you try, an emotional engagement is a reaction that happens naturally. Depending on the specifics of your company, you can connect emotionally with an audience and still get across a variety of messages.

Now, the fun part. Let’s see an examples of how video can be best used in a startup’s marketing strategy. IndieWhip, where I currently work, made this video.

Using video to sell the emotion behind your product

IndieWhip created this video for Boston-based startup Project Repat. They’re a company that sells a rather common product these days: a blanket made of old t-shirts. Instead of creating a race-to-the-bottom by discussing the product quality itself, however, we got to the root of the product’s real purpose: securing the longevity of the emotional memories accompanying each t-shirt.

If you’re interested in other ways video can be used, check out these two other examples as well.

The video that opens the floodgates to your sales funnel https://vimeo.com/146928848

The video that gives an overview of your company https://vimeo.com/145395388

You’ll notice each of these videos is only around a minute and a half in length. That’s the ideal length. Otherwise, you’re more likely to lose your audience’s attention.

These videos can be used across multiple channels. If you’re in a space that still uses TV advertisements, go for it. Most startups, however, shouldn’t be spending that much capital on such a wide demographic, especially when digital video deployment is so inexpensive.

Instead, we think it’s best to use video as part of a lean, mean growth machine. Ideally, your marketing videos live on a site like YouTube or Vimeo. If you want to be really edgy, you could even check out Wistia. They’re a growing startup out of Boston with a video hosting product. Wistia allows you to create customized calls-to-action, and provides you with detailed, easy to understand analytics for your videos. There’s also the VFA Fellow-Founded company, Slope. They’re an online platform that’s improving collaboration on video projects.

Video offers elastic boundaries for communication — the same, concise, relatable message can be stretched and shaped as a single video is played over and over again by millions of people. In a world where YouTube gets four billion views a day, the sharing and viral potential for your service or product in the form of a video is readily possible and achievable.

70% of all companies say video is the most effective tool in their marketing tool belt for 2016. Two out of three businesses will dominate their digital strategy with video — will you be one of those companies?

Ready to take the plunge and make an engaging startup video? Check out IndieWhip’s profile on VENTUREAPP!