Video as a Marketing Tool: Why Businesses Should Use This Media Format

Setting up a slider track for a sliding time-lapse shot of a backyard pool and landscape project.

Chances are, many of you are business owners and/or managers, and part of their responsibilities, in whole or in part, is planning the company’s marketing campaign. This is not a simple task and is certainly one worthy of some serious consideration. In recent years, video has seen rapid growth and development with sites like YouTube recording 1.5 billion monthly users. With this type of reach, it is important for businesses to explore why they should consider using video in their marketing efforts, as well understand how they can implement it.

1. People have short attention spans and gravitate to things that are easy

A well-made video can be more engaging than some other formats as it is effortless to watch. The combination of sound and visuals can make the message more impactful and memorable and will reach the audience on a more emotional level.

Video marketing can be very effective and multiple people can stream it easily. Customers can share with each other what they like, how they feel about the company’s services, and the prospect of working with the company on their own project.

2. Video is readily interpreted as being ‘real’

Today, people have become accustomed to photoshopped images and are conversely more likely to interpret something in a video as being genuine. Take for instance someone’s vacation photos. When looking at the pictures, the sunsets appear to be mind-blowing; however, one may notice when watching their videos taken during that same moment, the scene looks different. The sky is a little bit orange and looks nothing like the still photos the vacationers fun- housed with filters.

One can blame this on the vacationers, but it is one reason why consumers may be jaded thanks to this steady feed of photoshopped imagery. That said, a business can use this to its advantage by producing good video in its marketing.

3. Landscaping, pools, and hot tubs are highly appealing

The work that landscape, pool, and hot tub businesses produce is visually attractive. Pools with sparkling blue water, gardens with brilliant, yellow daylilies, decks finished with stone and tiles, outdoor kitchens with food on the grill, and lush green lawns; these backyard-leisure living projects cannot be captured in a single photo.

Using video, these projects, along with specific elements which make each one unique, can be shown off in very interesting ways. A water feature in motion, a series of images showing an entire project and how it takes shape, people interacting with the products, the list is long.

One of the objectives in online marketing is engagement—how long can a business keep people on its website and interacting with its content? Video can help a business achieve these objectives as long as they are presented in a way that provides this type of engagement.

4. Video is an engaging way to do customer testimonials

Customer testimonial videos can be filmed in an interview format with the client in their backyard. Have them talk about their experience of working with the company, including footage showing different features of the project with the soundtrack of the interview overlaid.

For these to work, the client needs to be coached a little and should definitely be comfortable with being on camera. Then, it simply becomes a discussion about their experience in which the viewer can immerse themselves in. In general, shorter videos are better, but this author’s company has had good results with viewers watching testimonials in the five- to six-minute range. To achieve this type of success, videos should be carefully edited to tell the story.

Some marketing professionals in the industry might laugh and say, “Nobody watches something like that for five minutes,” but it has been proven to work for this author’s company, which tells them they are on the right track with respect to this marketing approach.

As stated in the second point, this is one of the best ways for a company to show its testimonials are real. These videos portray real clients with the same objectives and challenges a potential customer might have. As a bonus, interviewing customers in this fashion will provide interesting insights into why they hired the company in the first place, and possibly even what their pain points might have been.

A business owner may think a client hired them because they are creative and complete high-quality work when, in fact, the client’s primary reason may have been seeing the company’s work and knowing it would be finished on time, which would allow them to enjoy the rest of their summer using their new pool or hot tub in their landscaped backyard.

5. Informed customers

Prior to companies having websites, customers would typically call a landscaper and/or pool builder to discuss their needs and find out how the company could meet them. It was important to have good frontline staff answering the phone that could do this.

Today, many companies may not even have these staffers anymore because customers are more likely to visit the business already informed about what type of work they are capable of doing. In some cases, these clients have already decided, at least in part, they are going to hire the company to complete their project before making initial contact.

This is a direct result of a company’s website and social media channels, as they are a big part of the equation. That said, video is an important component of making this connection happen, as the client is confident they made the right choice long before the company even knows they are interested.

The versatility of video
  1. Video can be used in numerous parts of a company’s website, including blogs, alongside still images and text.
  2. YouTube is used by roughly three quarters of adult consumers and is the second most popular search engine behind Google. YouTube is owned by Google; therefore, they work well together. Keep in mind, however, this is not the only video hosting service available, but it is definitely the largest and most influential.
  3. Play video at trade shows on a monitor or TV. Getting someone to stop is often half the battle in those very visually noisy environments.
  4. Videos can be played in a showroom to highlight a specific product or a new item that customers might not be aware of yet.
  5. Videos can also be used to create training or employee recruitment segments.
  6. Broadcast videos on TV, perhaps a community channel.
  7. Push videos out via social media. Facebook has a native video format that it presently favours over other formats. Keep in mind, social media is a moving target and should be only one part of a company’s marketing strategy.
  8. Third-party websites like Pools, Spas & Patios’ Backyard Lookbooks or Houzz are a good place to embed videos. Further, videos can be pinned on Pinterest to increase reach on this platform, too.
  9. Companies can use videos to reinforce its referral base. Customers love seeing themselves and their project featured in a professional video.

6. Video is a great way to convey complex information

Detail-oriented clients will explore every page of a company’s website and read all of the reviews. Videos are a good way to reach these customers, too. Whenever this author needs to work on his truck he watches a video on how to do the job first, which sometimes means he takes it straight to his mechanic, but it is a good way to understand what is involved in getting the job done. At the end of the video, there might be a promo for a parts store (or whoever produced the video), which may influence where he buys his parts or who he hires to do the work.

In general, people do not mind paying a little more when they are assured the job is being done right. For some customers, seeing what goes into a good job makes them better informed, which in turn helps them when comparison shopping. In a best case scenario, the client will remember which company provided all of the information up front and, as a result, select that company to complete the project.

7. Vlogging can be an effective tool

Vlogging—basically blogging, but on video—is a good way to become considered a trusted expert. Keep in mind, trust is implied and is never addressed directly; therefore, a company that can provide customers with expertise and a consistent message they can relate to can earn the customer’s trust. People are more likely to believe something if they hear someone say it face to face. This is the emotional connection.

For example, it is more likely for a customer to cite what a company representative said during a discussion or dispute, as opposed to how the written contract is being interpreted. (Everything about a project needs to be in writing, just keep in mind though it is often what is said that gets emphasized).

The takeaway is a video message can make a powerful impression on the customer. It works even better if the person in the video is comfortable in this format and can convey the information with some passion and in an interesting manner.

8. Video works great on mobile devices and for all audiences

If someone had the option to read a white paper or watch a video on their phone, they would watch the video. Mobile is increasingly the most common way a business is able to reach people. Some customers may even research a company while in line at the grocery store just as often as they are dedicating time to doing the same research at their desk.

Video is also a good format for accessibility, as it can be closed captioned for the hearing impaired. In fact, closed captioning is a good idea in any event as many people watch video without sound. Descriptive video is also available for those who are visually impaired. Further, playback speeds can be adjusted and, depending on what technology the viewer is using, videos can be enlarged to see them better.

9. Good quality video is not cheap to produce

Customers can tell the difference between a high- and low-quality video. As a result, more value is placed on those where more effort went into creating the video to convey the message. In fact, it is implied by customers the videos are something worth watching. Therefore, the appropriate choices should be made about quality.

When this author first started producing content for social media, he had a hard time adjusting to a lower acceptable level of image quality that could be used. It is just a more ephemeral format typically consumed on a mobile device.

When designing a company website time is taken to edit photos (e.g. colour correcting, adjusting levels, etc.) to not only enhance, but to also optimize images for load time. However, when taking an action shot of the company’s crew to post to social media, it might be cropped, a filter may be applied, and a hashtag is added and seconds later it is out there for the world to see. The same can be done with video. For instance, short, often less formal, (even humorous if the company is up to it) videos are appropriate for social media, while more polished professional videos are appropriate for the company’s website or more evergreen content. Vlogging might land somewhere in the middle. That said, unless one is super steady, a tripod should be used wherever possible, as wobbly videos are typically hard to watch and can turn viewers away.

10. Hire a pro

For high-end video, take time to find someone who suits the company’s style and shares its approach to messaging and marketing. Ideally, this will be someone with a background in web design and marketing, so they can help complete the company’s vision and offer sound advice. In general, marketing with video content is a slow burn. Rushing to get to the first page of Google by manipulating the algorithms will eventually result in a decline in website traffic, and possibly even being penalized by the search engine’s algorithms.

While it helps if the person who is hired to create the video understands the business, it can also be helpful if they are not “right up against the glass” and can take a point of view that is more in keeping with the customer’s perspective. For example, titanium bearings in a pump may be cool, but what the client wants to know is by paying a little extra for that feature it may give them peace of mind or longer pump life or whatever other advantage they offer. It is doubtful they really care about how they are made.

This perspective can come from other members of a company’s marketing team, too. However, if the person operating the camera understands this, a company can get even better results. There are some interesting things a business can do with video if they hire a professional. For example, time lapsed construction footage is a great way to quickly impress someone on how a job goes together without getting bogged down in the details. High-quality cameras with the ability to do slow-motion footage at a high frame rate can be a fun way to highlight a water feature, while 4K video is now also possible and provides an even greater level of quality. Rail systems, image stabilization capability, booms, and even drones can be used for some special effects, which, in some cases, are only possible with a pro setup.

By using the information in this article, more business owners should be inspired to supplement their marketing materials with video content. When researching something online, be sure to take note of how much is video-based. This author, like many others, does not think of YouTube as being a search engine, he considers it to be video library. Essentially, this is what makes video different than any other marketing mediums.

This article was written by Clayton Ditzler and originally appeared on Pool & Spa Marketing [link].