YouTube marketing 9 – developing viral marketing reach from a business model and strategic planning foundation
This is my ninth installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Web 2.0 Marketing, postings 64-71 for Parts 1-8.) I have been developing a basic approach in this series, to creating media rich marketing campaigns that are more likely to be shared through social media links and to go viral. And my focus in this series has been on:
• What it means to go viral,
• How to develop media rich marketing messages that are more likely to do so, and
• What to do next if one of your marketing messages does start to generate that type and level of general interest in the online community.
I began focusing on this third set of issues in Part 7: you’ve gone viral; now what? and Part 8: operationalizing the viral marketing follow-through, with a focus there on operational considerations and on developing an effective, flexible marketing system that is backed by effective ongoing market research. I turn in this posting to consider the basic requirements that business models and ongoing business strategy would have to meet, if they are to support viral marketing and making effective use of viral marketing reach. And I begin here with the fundamentals, or rather with a reconsideration of a couple of points that are often simply assumed as fundamentals.
• Business models and business strategy, planning and operational execution are all about focus: the focus of matching specific product or service to specific marketplace and market demographics, to drive sales and generate profits and competitive strength.
I stand by the basic points raised there as general principles of value to business owners and managers. But I note in stating that, that viral marketing adds some very significant shifts as to what that in practice means.
When your marketing campaigns and the messages that convey them to the public go viral, you face the opportunity and challenge of addressing a much wider audience than any that you have prepared for, and certainly if you take a narrow approach to the above bullet point and its reasoning. Effective strategy for a virally marketing organization – for any organization with a truly global reach, has to be flexible in acknowledging and identifying, and responding to the unexpected – to unexpected opportunities that if missed become unexpected losses and negatives, and to the need and desires of unanticipated target markets. And with that, I draw a parallel that might not at first glance seem obvious, but that is crucial to understand:
• A business that goes viral in its marketing reach is in a very similar position to a business that offers a highly innovative and novel product or service – a true blue ocean innovation to the marketplace.
• In both cases, the actual target demographics that would want to purchase may be quite different than initially anticipated.
• In both cases, market analysis and two-way sharing of information and insight are essential to making meaningful connections that will systematically lead to sales, to business stability and strength and to competitive advantage.
Think of viral marketing businesses, and blue ocean innovation-offering businesses as moving into the same deep water opportunities, but from different differentiating starting points – in what is offered in one case and in reach for getting the word out as to what is offered in the other. I have been posting on an ongoing basis in this blog about blue ocean strategy and innovation, and connect my postings and series related to them to this series here, as there are deep connections between these areas of business thought and execution (see for example, innovation-related postings at Business Strategy and Operations and Business Strategy and Operations – 2 and I cite by way of example, my 16 part series: Keeping Innovation Fresh, at Business Strategy and Operations – 2 as postings 241 and loosely following.)
I am going to finish this series at this point, though I am definitely going to post further on the relationship between viral marketing as a business process and strategy, and blue ocean innovation as a process and source of strategy. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
This is my eighth installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Web 2.0 Marketing, postings 64-70 for Parts 1-7.) I have been developing a basic approach in this series to creating media rich marketing campaigns that are more likely to be shared through social media links and to go viral. I add here that going viral per se is often presented as a goal in and of itself but that cannot be considered a valid conclusion. Going viral as a goal should only be seen as a web 2.0 driven, social media generation counterpart to the eyeball and sticky eyeball counts so coveted leading up to the first dot com bubble and its bursting. It is what comes next after a message goes viral that creates value out of this increased visibility, if anything does.
I began this part of my overall discussion of viral marketing in a rich media context with Part 7: you’ve gone viral; now what? and I continue from that here with this series installment. And I begin this posting with a fundamentally important set of points:
• Right now when social media and marketing messages go viral and start to gather wide ranging viewership, this is almost always unplanned for and unprepared for. Nothing is operationally in place specifically to identify a rising trend in viewership early, or to in any way capitalize on it.
• So as a consequence, the fact that a message has gained this type of expanded and even global audience and viewership is probably not even going to be recognized until this phenomenon of expanded viewership has peaked, and after a really effective response to that could even be possible.
• If you wait until people are beginning to move on to some next thing before you know that an opportunity for wider marketing reach has been available to you it is not necessarily entirely too late to gain from that, but you have lost the potential momentum and impact this could have offered to your business.
So operationalizing a viral marketing follow-through has to begin with having mechanisms and processes in place and actively utilized that would track viewership and help you identify as early as possible when this visibility is starting to trend upwards.
• Who are you now gaining as viewers and through what shared link channels and for which of your marketing campaign messages? This calls for tagging what you offer in ways that would help you to Google where it is being shared through, from crowd sourced links posted to new online venues. It means actively tracking overall numbers of hits to your video clips, of course but with a goal of identifying who might be viewing what and at least to the demographics level of finding out where they actually see that from.
• And you want to capture what you can as to the shared conversation about this viral expansion of viewership – what people are saying about one of your messages that would prompt others to view it too. This is crucial, as this information would help you craft a more targeted and timely follow-up message, and with a goal of converting passive viewers into active participants in two way conversations with you. And that is where you begin in making this now viral message work for you, in helping you generate new business.
But that is not strictly speaking true as that should not actually be seen as the first step; it is more accurately the first follow-up step. The first step is in building a call to action and a path to two-way connection and follow-through into your video marketing messages themselves.
• Make it easier for viewers to reach you by sharing a path for them to follow in reaching you. And do this with easy to remember URL’s and other resources that you offer in an appealing way that would fit into the message itself.
• And offer this connection-back information with a hook in the form of an incentive for people to reach back to your business.
This all begins with the message but operational follow-through means someone is ready to gather in and respond to any feedback offered: passively and anonymously as for example from link counts and identification of where links to your message have been posted through the crowd, or actively as specific viewers follow through on your message-embedded call to action.
• And of course, use unique call to action tags such as unique shared URL’s so any responses to them that come back to you can be identified as to which marketing campaign they are responses to.
I am going to follow this with a discussion of how the operational goals of viral marketing and the operational requirements of making it work, fit into the overall business model and into ongoing business strategy and planning. As a foretaste of that I note that this means a lot more than simply developing for and responding to predictable seasonal shifts and opportunities, though effective planning and preparation for true viral marketing reach would always include that as a basis for planning and execution too. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
This is my seventh installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Web 2.0 Marketing, postings 64-69 for Parts 1-6.) I began this series with a brief but focused discussion of some of the key factors that you need to take into account when developing a marketing message, and video marketing in particular that is more likely to catch public attention. My goal in this series up to here has been to help you increase your chances that your marketing reach from your videos will expand by word of mouth and consumer to consumer link sharing. And ideally this reaches a tipping point where your message goes viral and reaches a very wide audience. This posting begins at that point and with a very simple question: what comes next?
And I turn to the basics and by that I mean the very, very basics as I begin addressing that question, and to lessons learned from the first dot-com bubble. The first-round online business startups that got caught up in that made a lot of mistakes, some of which I have already discussed in the course of writing this blog (see, for example my Startups and Early Stage Businesses directory and also see Business Strategy and Operations and its Part 2 continuation page.) Many, for example, tried launching without a clearly defined business plan or business model, and many were hobbled by lack of any real management or leadership experience and from lack of effective strategic planning. But essentially all of these business failures held at least one very significant self-imposed challenge in common. They all simply assumed that site visitor counts and counts of “sticky eyeballs” could be equated and directly so with monetizable value and with market strength and business value. Then the bubble burst.
• You have produced a video marketing message for one of your marketing campaigns and you have posted it to YouTube and people started viewing it. You embedded it on a prominent page of your web site and used social media to help people find it, and they really began to – and to share links to it with their friends – and this spread and your message went viral. So you have a lot of viewers. What now?
• Viewers who do not themselves connect with your business and do business with you can still be of real value to you and your business if they help you connect with others who do.
• For longer-term value, word of mouth-spread recognition concerning your business, and with favorable impressions shared can help boost the reach and visibility, and recognizability of your brand and this can lead to long-term value.
• But ultimately, and from a business marketing perspective, the viewers who really count here in determining the effectiveness of this marketing campaign are the ones who follow through on viewing your video to actually doing business with you and making completed purchases.
When a marketing video goes viral, it captures the attention of a very wide audience, only part of which would fit the demographics of people who would fit your targeted marketing profiles as likely customers. That might very well mean capturing business from unexpected directions – and you do want to identify when that happens so you can revaluate and refine your understanding of what your real markets are. But you do want to include in your video message a hook that can help both you and your potential customer connect.
• You can, for example, offer a brief and easy to remember code word as a discount or special offer code, and then include a field on your online sales transaction forms for entering it. This both tells you which of your customers have come to you from the marketing video, and it incentivizes them to do so.
• And, of course, if you have phone-in purchasing order capabilities and/or phone-based customer support for consumers who have pre-purchase questions, your phone representatives would be prepared to capture this information and enter it into their transaction process screens too, and repeat the message from that video about any savings or other incentives offered.
The idea here is to not simply collect viewers, but rather to convert their viewings into increased sales, and both for overall numbers and by increasing demographic reach – by expanding your effective potential target market. That means systematically developing operational processes for both better understanding who is reaching out to you, and for completing transactions coming from a wider market than you have initially assumed. I am going to look into that in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
This is my sixth installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Web 2.0 Marketing, postings 64-68 for Parts 1-5.) And I began a more explicit discussion of developing video content that is more likely to be shared and to go viral as a part of this series in Part 5. I said towards the end of that posting that I would go into more detail as to how to do that, and that is the goal of this posting. But I start this by sharing an important cautionary observation:
• There is no single, simple, formulaic method that can be universally applied for making marketing messages of any sort go viral. What you can do is to increase your chances of that happening, and with a significantly higher rate for having your message shared by some customers and prospective customers, even if it does not go on to spread anything like wildfire.
• So the goal here is not to find and apply some universally applicable trick or method, but rather to understand what you seek to do and improve your chances of achieving at least some of that.
And I said that I would delve into the details here but I begin that with a more abstract principle: the power law or 80-20 rule. Actually, in this case this is more a 95-5 or even at times a 99-1 rule. Many, many videos are produced; few are viewed more than just a few times and outside of the limiting constraints of a very local audience directly connected to the online video’s producer. Of the few (5%, 1%?) that do spread for their visibility to a wider audience, only a small percentage of them go widely viral and to a general audience. The Pareto principle is a direct application of this empirically validated finding to economics and I add to business, and marketing reach and sales. So the details of making video clip or other content rich marketing go viral is all about developing with a goal of reaching that 5% or even that 1% status.
• Who are you most directly seeking to reach, who by demographics might be a likely customer candidate?
• What appeals to them?
Mine this from the social media sites they favor and turn to, and a good starting point can be found with Facebook walls. Who are you trying to reach as a first cut and what do they tell you they like, from their likes indications on their Facebook pages? What qualities stand out from that, that you might be able to tap into and incorporate in your own messages? That might mean directly using or it might mean parody – or it might mean making videos that seek to do both, adding in but with a twist.
One of the points that I raised in Part 5 of this series was that crafting a message with a goal of its going viral in your marketplace communities means starting with a goal of creating an entertaining message that others will want to share. Then you add in your branding and your marketing message, and with a goal of making them seamlessly blend together. This leads directly to a practical question.
• What specific branding do you want to include here? You need something that will fit in and work in a video context and that will appeal to the audience you seek to reach.
This might very well mean drafting a new logo variant, consistent with your already ongoing branding but formatted to fit and work here. And your message has to be carefully crafted too, with the marketing side of it crafted for word and image choice to blend into and work with the entertainment side of this message too.
• If in doubt, ask what works and what doesn’t and for the types of people you seek to reach. But do not over-rely on focus groups or similar marketing analysis while doing so.
• Test your next videos by seeing what did and did not work for your earlier online video efforts, and with an eye focused on what is being shared virally now, and with real reach to whom.
That, I add, means continually seeking to hit a moving target. What is in and what holds real potential for becoming a next “in” are always changing. Turn to frequently underutilized sources of potential insight. Enlist your own staff, and certainly members of your staff who would fit into your basic target market demographics to learn what they see as being “in.” If they go to sites like YouTube, what do they click to see? What types of videos do their families and friends share with them and what do they in turn share with others too? Throw a wide net in gaining insight into the marketplace and for what people are viewing now, that your marketing message might mesh with as offering similar appeal – if crafted to do that and with an appealing entertainment-oriented context message. And look for and actively seek out feedback and conversation and through all of your online channels. And fine tune from there as you craft your next messages.
Now let’s assume you produce a marketing video that catches the eye and interest of a social media-active community and that does spread virally to still wider communities of viewers. Now you have a lot of viewers, some of whom will only see this for the entertainment side of your overall message, but some of whom will pick up on the marketing message side of it too. Now what happens and what do you do? I am going to turn to that in my next series installment, simply noting here that going viral in your video marketing clips can only be seen as one step in a larger process – and that following through on this for a marketing outreach that has really spread will mean effectively connecting with new types of customer and potential customer who do not in fact fit your initial marketing demographics assumptions.
You can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
This is my fifth installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Web 2.0 Marketing, postings 64-67 for Parts 1-4.) I said at the end of Part 4: placement that I would more explicitly discuss word of mouth and viral marketing here, and I admit up-front that was something of a misstatement. True, I will be focusing on those topic areas here but in a fundamental sense this entire series has been directed towards developing and encouraging community-sourced marketing for your business and its products and services.
• When you operate a business in an interactive online-aware marketplace and facing web 2.0 and social media savvy competition, crowd-sourced and viral marketing reach can quickly become the defining edge that separates stronger businesses from weaker, and can become the competitive difference that creates and drives market share.
That is not to say that you or any other business leader or owner can dispense with your own marketing and communications campaigns. I do not, I add, claim to offer a 100% certain methodology for making any and every marketing campaign go viral with community voice and person to person reach and impact. It means that the marketing messages coming out of your doors cannot and will not be enough, in and of themselves but that you can increase your chances of effectively enhancing their reach from community participation. And outlining something as to how to achieve that is my goal for this posting – and I begin here with the fundamentals and consideration of basic social networking taxonomy (see Social Network Taxonomy and Social Networking Strategy, which I recommend you review.)
I write in my social network taxonomy posting about the strategies and approaches that individual people take when deciding who to connect with online, and both when actively reaching out and when considering connection invitations from others. Viral marketing begins with who people connect with, and on how they decide on that as a matter of process and preference when facing a connection or sharing opportunity.
• Start with the people you can and do already reach through your marketing and who have done business with you as customers or end-users of your products and services.
• Always ask customers and prospective customers to connect online with your business, and with a request for email addresses as just a starting point. Actively use sites such as Twitter and Facebook too. Invite anyone visiting your web site and any customer or potential customer to friend you on Facebook and to sign up for your tweets – and incentivize their doing so with offers to be the first to hear of sales or other promotions. Offer special-discount promotional codes through your social media channels that customers can cash in through your web site to get free shipping or price discounts on purchases. And offer these benefits as incentives for them to social media connect with your business. And this, up to here, is simply basic online marketing. And this is also where you add a strategic awareness of social media taxonomies and strategies to this mix.
• The people who would friend your business and sign up to receive your promotional tweets have already self-selected for holding at least two traits important to your marketing. First, they like your business and what you offer. And second and equally important for this, they are people who are very comfortable with and active using social media and social networking. The killer app for creating a foundation for marketing campaigns to go viral is in being able to identify the people from this group who would share a message about your business and what it offers, and giving them the tools and resources to do so. And from your side of this, that means giving them a message they find interesting enough and entertaining enough to want to share. This bullet point has been about identifying and actively engaging in conversation and follow-through, a seed group of high value networkers who you can cultivate towards sharing your message. And that is where video marketing with its media-rich messaging comes into this.
• Craft your message to appeal to the people you seek to reach for its own value. This, as I have already noted in this series can mean producing and sharing messages that are quirky or humorous and that people would want to share for that. It could be because the message addresses an issue of community concern and in a way that comes across as genuine and impactful. But produce your message with a dual goal of offering interest and even direct value in and of itself, and also of sharing word of your business and what you offer and with your branding. And richer content and format messages are easier to craft so as to meet both sets of goals as they offer more and richer content and they appeal to, or at least connect with more senses and more channels for making a communications connection.
I wrote in my taxonomy posting about active and passive networkers – you need to find and engage active networkers and preferably very active ones. I wrote of reach and of networking strategies that would bring individuals to connect across communities and specialized communities. For purposes of this, that means connecting to people who have similar enough shared background and perspective that they would also see value in a video message they were led to, and so they would want to share it too. And while only some recipients would in most cases be so receptive and also be willing to re-share this with still more people, if enough do a video clip marketing message can gain real traction and spread. And then this is all a question of follow through back to your business and to doing business with you, and that is where your product and service, and your branding sides to this marketing message enter in.
• You want that to be explicitly there and carefully crafted.
• But you do not want the pitch side of this message to come across as forced or strained. You want a viewer to pay attention to the overall message and to the appealing and crowd-spreadable side to it. And coming out of their initial favorable impression that this creates you want them to reconsider this message for your marketing and sales-oriented side to it.
• This, as a conclusion sounds daunting but that is because I state this in terms of a finished video marketing message. Start with a goal of creating an enjoyable, thoughtful message that people would want to watch all the way through and that some or even many might be willing to share – even include an interactive invitation into this side of the overall message, to encourage sharing. Then, and only then look for ways to add in a more business-oriented message. Never simply start with that, or your crowd connecting message side will start out looking stilted and forced and that is a position difficult to recover from and certainly in the film clip length constraints you have to work in.
• See my postings Problems and Opportunities in Up To 140 Characters – Twitter and business networking (written long) and Haiku Marketing – tweeting and re-tweeting for viral marketing reach and impact. I focus there on length constraints inherent to Twitter and microblogging but the same basic issues and considerations for action apply here too.
I have mostly been writing here from a big-picture perspective and as a matter of general principles. There is a saying to the effect that the devil is in the details; in this case the more interesting parts to this are in the details even if the complications for actually doing this are too. I am going to delve into some of them in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
This is my fourth installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Web 2.0 Marketing, postings 64-66 for Parts 1-3.) And I start this with a simple observation:
• The strength of the internet is that everything is out there and available on it when you seek information or opportunity to connect, and with either individuals or with businesses or other organizations. But the greatest weakness can be found in that same level of overwhelming comprehensiveness. When seemingly everything is out there, it can be difficult to find that one thing you would need now – and particularly when you do not know what terms to search with.
When you seek to look up some specific fact, some particular individual or a particular business, just go to your favorite search engine and enter some appropriate search terms. But if you do so, a seemingly endless number of hits will be tallied as coming up from your search and for essentially any search query, and most of them will be buried way below that first screen of search results. I write this from the perspective of the consumer and your prospective customer. They are interested in purchasing X – a product or service that you provide, and perhaps even as a best of breed option, if that prospective customer could find you. And to take this out of the abstract and away from the generalities of searching the internet as a whole, just consider the volume and diversity of video clips and short films available on a site such as YouTube if you seek to market there, that your prospective customers would have to find you in.
I am not writing this with a goal of discussing online marketing in general. My purpose here is simply to discuss some of the high points of that more general discussion that would specifically apply to positioning and linking to video marketing content, so the right people will find it when it would mesh with their interests and needs.
• Post your video marketing materials to a well-known and popularly visited site such as YouTube – but with an awareness of the fact that if this is all you do, in all likelihood very few people if any will find and view it for all of the competing videos calling for their attention there.
• Add links to this content as hosted on YouTube servers, to your own business’ web sites and other online connection points that you set up and maintain. But remember that they will only work for people who have gone to your web site and/or online social media offerings anyway. So links to these richer media messages might enrich the overall message that you are already sharing with a visitor and viewer, but these links will not bring in new viewers who are unaware of your business.
• You can purchase paid advertising spots for your links – links to video and other rich media content included, through search engine paid advertising channels and even buy premium placement on appropriate search results pages and for appropriate search term queries. But many consumers are leery of paid advertiser links, preferring organic search results as somehow being cleaner and freer of seller bias.
• You can market through sites such as Yelp and make your presence there stand out for those who rely on consumer-driven review sites by adding video content links, and some review sites also support embedded video so you can view clips in the context of the review page.
• You can enter into reciprocal link sharing arrangements with other businesses, supply chain partner businesses definitely included.
All of these and more have both strengths and weaknesses, so a best approach would probably include several elements, for any video-enriched online marketing campaign. But my real focus here is not on the details of where you post links to your higher-end marketing content, but rather is on how you understand the people you seek to reach using it.
• Where do these people go online and what do they look for while doing so?
• The most valuable link placements you can develop and use are ones that you set up and maintain where the people you are trying to reach are already going.
• And of that, the best are where they would be going when they would most likely be receptive to click through to see your type of message.
So I am writing here about making a conceptual switch, from posting to sites and online platforms and with a perhaps generic focus on them as to type, to posting with a focus on deeply knowing and understanding your customer base and where its members would look and interact online. And then you position your marketing content there, embedded video and links to it included, and no matter how idiosyncratic those placement positions would be to the people you seek to reach and influence. In fact if you find places online that would specifically appeal to the precise target market demographics you seek to reach, that can create extra value for you by demonstrating that you know, understand and value your customers.
I am going to follow this posting with a discussion of how videos and other marketing messages go viral, with some thoughts on how to encourage that happening. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
This is my third installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Part 1: show me, tell me, but what? and Part 2: starting with the right basic working parameters.)
I began this series with discussions of the basic qualities that most online marketers would want to build into their online video marketing messages, and with at least a start to a discussion of how these messages do and do not go viral. I turn here to consider differences and similarities in culture, and both between a business and consumers, and as the marketplace itself divides up into distinct groups. And I begin that by noting a point that is often overlooked, even though it seems obvious when explicitly pointed out:
• Culture differences and the differences that can make or break a business-to-consumer relationship do not always just arise at the boundaries between linguistically or ethnically differing peoples.
Marketers and others love to cite the urban legend of the Chevrolet Nova and what that name sounds like to a Latin American ear. You do not have to go as far as to travel between countries and continents to find more real-world verifiable examples of marketing disconnects. Just take a visit to the nearest schoolyard where pre-teens and young teens are about and talking, and collectively shaping their community image as to what is and is not cool (a word no longer cool) and what their “in crowd” would buy and wear. The toddlers in my neighborhood all recently went through a phase where they were all wearing designer Band-aides with their favorite cartoon characters on their faces as fashion statements. They picked up on this and spread their viral fashion statement with their pre-kindergarten friends and like the Band-aides themselves it really stuck while it lasted. And their parents and adults in general divide up too and for what they wear and do and for how they speak and for what they see as quaint and outdated, and at times in ways and to degrees that the issue of culture differences can become quite legitimate.
I will add that as these demographically distinctive groups separately tap into the global conversation, differences that arise seemingly from within one single community can in fact have their origins in more globally diverse communities and cultures too.
• For purposes of this discussion, cultural differences include any blind-spot differences where distinct demographics and their members would look at the same thing but see something different, because they approach it with different underlying assumptions and priorities.
• And this becomes a problem and a challenge for marketing when it means disconnects between what is said and what is heard, and disconnects between the value or purpose that a marketer seeks to convey and what the consumer actually picks up on and arrives at in their own thoughts.
Basically, marketing requires translation where this is an issue, and at times that can be more within a language them between them. And this is where the crowd as a source of values and meaning-insight, becomes crucial. If you want to develop and share marketing videos that really work for the people you are trying to reach, you need to make them consistent with the most “with it” and current of the language and culture that you are trying to connect with, and in a way that those consumers will see as genuine. If you are only trying to reach out to and market to people exactly like you, this entire posting is irrelevant and I would suggest you only really pay attention to the first two installments of this series. But in our globally interconnected interactive online-ready marketplace, what businesses are only trying to market just to themselves with any hopes of staying competitive and in business?
• Reach out to your customers and to people you would seek to bring in as customers and enter into real, two way conversations with them.
• Look to what they are following and to what they see as offering value with a genuine voice, and for this posting and discussion that definitely means seeing what is being actively viewed on sites like YouTube.
• What can you learn from that, and with a goal of developing an original message of your own that would appeal to a similar audience?
• Bring in test viewers to see how your video is received and responded too. And learn what you can as to how best to tweak and modify what you produce so they would want to share a link to it with others.
• And remember that the more widely we connect and interconnect, the more similar we become for some things, but the more we become distinct and unique too and if for no other reason for the variety we tap into and learn from.
I am currently planning on finishing this series with a final posting on linkage placement, and video imbedding on web pages and other online channels. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
This is my second installment in a best practices series for developing more effective YouTube and similar video clip marketing campaigns (see Part 1: show me, tell me, but what?). I began this series by outlining what amounts to a basic wish list of goals-defined features that an online marketer would seek to build into their video marketing campaigns, and for reach and impact. I start this posting where Part 1 left off, and with at least a start on how to actually accomplish that, and I begin here with clear and compelling goal.
• Know your market and who you sell to. Know who your products and services are actually used by and if buyers and end-users are the same or different people.
As a working example of where they can differ, mothers generally purchase more children’s and young teen’s clothing than do the children and teens who wear them – up to a certain point and particularly for girls where they can become both product user and a more primary purchaser. And I will add that while men do purchase men’s underwear, wives purchase a lot more of that then their husbands do, and across a wide range of societies and demographics. So you need to craft products and services to appeal to and meet the needs of those end-users, but you need to market to the people who select and pay for them too. And this applies to video marketing and for both content and placement: where links to those clips are offered, as much as it does for print or other marketing channels.
• Know how the people you are trying to reach out to communicate, and what words and images would be positive or negative reinforces in creating and sustaining a message that will be favorably remembered.
• And know what product features the purchasers and end-users are going to look for, and look out for. Focus in your marketing on the details that appeal, and particularly on any that set your business apart as offering particular or special value – and from these two consumer group’s perspectives.
The most effective marketing messages go viral and are shared across expanding community groups. And they get reposted through an expanding maze of community-created links when they catch viewer interest for their own merits: those videos themselves become seen as offering value. This might or might not be because they are quirky and humorous; quirky and humorous can help but they are not essential for going viral. But it is always because they catch the attention of a viewer longer than the usual few seconds, and in ways that prompt them to sit back and say that this is different. And when this is a difference that would prompt an average viewer to want to share a link to it with just one more person and that viewer wants to share it with one more too, that video message will go viral.
• As a made-up example, consider a video of two wives battling in some unexpected way over that last pair of sales-offered men’s briefs and a third sneaking in to grab and buy them while they are distracted. “But we do have more in stock … while supplies last. So please leave your foam bats and shaving cream cans at home.” And if this is done in a way that makes the viewer laugh and want to share a link to it with a friend, they more than likely will do so.
And watch how the product is placed and positioned in the video, so the viewer picks up on what is being marketed and sold. I add that thinking of at least a few ads I have seen where even if I found the clip entertaining, I was not sure what it was made to highlight and market. So in the made-up example I came up with above, if those two wives are battling for that underwear with foam bats and shaving cream, make sure an average viewer is going to see that there is that package of men’s underwear in the scene too, and that this is what they are vying for. And make the brand visible in some way too.
I stress this because an original, business-created link to a marketing video is probably going to positioned on a well-branded and company owned and managed web page, or on their blog, or go out under their Twitter handle … be shared in a clearly branded context. But any consumer-placed links that are set up by people outside of the business, is going to show stripped of this brand clarifying context. And when a video marketing message goes viral, these third party-created links become the more important for traffic to the video and through that to the business itself.
I am going to more explicitly consider cultural differences and cross-cultural video marketing in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing.
YouTube and comparable online video clips have become basic elements to the marketing strategy for seemingly every business that at least in part operates online. Every business sees genuine need to participate in the interactive online context of social media, and bring their message interactively to the public they seek to reach with their products and services too. That much is clear and I would assume that most marketing professionals these days would see it as obvious and even trite too. But there is a tremendous need for best practices in crafting and presenting the right message, and of the right length for this media and for the audiences that are reached through it.
• That means clearly articulating what the business offers as products and services.
• But it also means conveying what makes that business stand apart and in ways that the audience reached would appreciate. So regardless of product or service type, this might, for example, mean conveying a message that the providing business is socially or environmentally responsible and that it is a good corporate citizen.
• And it is always important to clearly convey brand so that viewers will remember which business that video they saw came from.
• And at the same time as all of that, an effective video should be catchy and easy to remember – and ideally be interesting enough so that viewers would share links to it with others, helping it to go viral in its reach.
And in case that is not enough I will add one final wish list bullet point here:
• A truly effective online marketing video clip is short and focused, so it is easy to remember and it is developed in such a way that members of the intended audience can relate to it.
Achieving this final and admittedly dual point makes all of the others possible. Or rather missing on this and making a video that viewers click away from before it ends, makes all of the rest impossible.
Notice that I have not raised issues of language or dialect here, or of professional appearance and production value. I focused on the core essentials that would apply to a high-tech company that seeks to convey a sleek, urbane professional image, or to a company that seeks to convey a message of simple country life and hand-crafted excellence.
Even leaving out apparent production value and related factors, that would fit more into supporting specific marketing strategy, this still leaves a great deal to pack into a short message.
This is my first installment in a new series in which I will dissect out those core objectives and requirements for crafting an effective online video message per se. And in the course of this series I will also discuss connecting these videos into a more comprehensive marketing message and series of messages. I am, more specifically, going to focus on the first bullet points of my above basic requirements list in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Web 2.0 Marketing