Videos are a potent way for ecommerce businesses to build lasting, profitable customer relationships.
YouTube, for example, reaches more viewers on mobile devices alone than the total U.S. audience of any television network. Overall, in 2020, more than 2 billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month, according to the company’s press page.
Add to this the growth of other video platforms, including Facebook, Instagram TV, and TikTok.
What follows are four steps — before you film — for successful video marketing.
1. Set Goals
Content marketing offers a lot of room for creativity. But it is not shooting fun videos with friends or trying to be an amateur filmmaker. It is the act of promoting a business, encouraging sales, and generating profit.
Your content marketing should have a defined goal, including key performance indicators.
For example, maybe your videos are meant to develop an audience on YouTube or Instagram, as more subscribers could mean more shoppers.
As an example, Michael’s, an omnichannel craft-supply retailer, has roughly 230,000 YouTube subscribers. The company’s videos include links to the products mentioned in the video. If she likes the project being described, the viewer is likely to click the link and purchase products.
In the example below, Michael’s might be using the number of YouTube subscribers as a KPI. The company could also add tracking code to the link in the YouTube description and learn how often those clicks generate a sale. Finally, Michael’s could monitor watch time (the number of minutes users spend on their videos) as a KPI of engagement.
2. Understand the Audience
Understanding your audience is especially important with content marketing. Consider, for example, two articles unrelated to ecommerce.
The first article, “Planning a Summer RV Vacation: For Airstreamers or Anyone,” was published on June 9, 2020, on the Airstream blog. It is content marketing for Airstream, the travel-trailer brand. The audience is likely to be recreational-vehicle enthusiasts. The article offers several tips for planning an RV vacation in light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
“Start planning your summer camping trip now so you’ll be ready once restrictions lift in your area. We’ll walk you through destinations, packing, and more,” the article begins.
The second example, “When Work From Home Means Working From an RV,” was published on June 8, 2020, in The Wall Street Journal. Its readers are likely to be investors who might want to buy stock in Thor Industries, which makes Airstream.
This article explained how the pandemic has the potential to increase Airstream sales as some buyers try to use Airstreams as home offices or seek travel alternatives to airplanes and hotels.
Now imagine if these two articles were switched. What if Airstream has published the investor-focused article on its blog? It would not have been as meaningful for vacation-planners.
3. Identify Topics
Once you know the audience, start to identify engaging topics. There are a few ways to do this.
Keyword research is a foundational tactic for search engine optimization. It’s also helpful for understanding what your audience searches for when you’re trying to identify content topics.
Use your intuition. If your ecommerce store specializes in, say, restored antique axes, hatchets, and tomahawks, you will probably be safe trusting your intuition when it tells you to make videos about ax making and repairing.
Similarly, if your ecommerce store sells spices, sauces, and rubs for barbeque, you might want to take an idea from “5 Content Marketing Ideas for July 2020,” my recent post, since your intuition is that your audience might be interested in a backyard vacation centered on grilling.
Focus on your products. Sometimes those products can spark compelling content marketing ideas.
4. Create an Editorial Calendar
Imagine an online store that sells automotive parts and accessories. The company’s audience is do-it-yourself vehicle owners who love their cars and getting their hands dirty.
This auto parts store has decided to launch a video series called “Quick Automotive Tips,” wherein a professional mechanic offers advice for tackling specific maintenance tasks.
If the store wanted to release an automotive tip each Friday, it would need to plan the video, prepare the script or at least make a list of topics, and include time to edit. Thus, showing up at a shop on Friday morning and interrupting a mechanic won’t do.
What’s more, it could make sense to record several videos at a time. But doing that requires a schedule of when each video will be released. You can plan for a few weeks or even a few months.
I’ve addressed planning and scheduling content, at “Developing a Content-marketing Editorial Calendar for Ecommerce” and “Manage Your Business Blog with a Kanban Board.”