5 Unexpected Ways to Boost Customer Engagement with Video

July 15, 2021

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Michael Pirone


One of the most challenging tasks for any business is keeping customers engaged with your brand. With so much content on the internet fighting for our attention, it can be difficult to compete. While a well-rounded content strategy should include a variety of formats, prioritizing video across all of your marketing is a proven way to boost customer engagement.

Why is this? Because video alone is naturally more engaging than many other forms of content. In fact, people spend 2.6 times more time on pages with video than without. Video is also a great format to simplify complex topics and humanize your brand.

“Engagement is all about your customer’s emotional connection to your brand, and no tool is quite as effective at building this relationship as video.”

Engagement is all about your customer’s emotional connection to your brand, and no tool is quite as effective at building this relationship as video. However, to use video effectively, you will need to pay careful attention to how you convey your message, the type of video content you produce, and where you distribute it.

Not convinced yet? Let’s look at five ways you can boost customer engagement by using video.

1. Create connections with stories

Storytelling is not just a means of entertainment but a powerful marketing tool that stands the test of time. In many of the best videos, storytelling may not be overtly obvious, but the core elements of storytelling are still present.

In a marketing context, this means creating characters and dramatic events that tell a story familiar to your target audience. When creating a story for your marketing video, you want to take that character on a journey that is familiar in concept and engages your viewer emotionally. This is exactly how Olly, a first-of-its-kind home robot, approached its crowdfunding campaign.

Olly — Emotech Crowfunding Video from Vidico on Vimeo.

To replicate this approach, put relatable characters on screen. When we see a relatable character in a video, we tend to put ourselves in their shoes as they experience something on screen. In other words, if you are marketing to teenagers in high school, you don’t want to tell a story full of middle-aged parents. Your audience will simply not relate to them.

Start by knowing the culture and values of the audience you want to reach. Understand their biggest hopes, beliefs, fears, concerns, and challenges. Knowing these things can help you create characters in your videos that the audience will relate to.

“When creating a story for your marketing video, you want to take that character on a journey that is familiar in concept and engages your viewer emotionally.”

With this in mind, you can help your viewer visualize a problem they themselves might face, then guide the character to resolve that problem with whatever your brand promises to deliver in the video.

All of this combined works to engage the audience on an emotional level. Imagine how groups of people gather eagerly around a fire to hear someone tell an interesting story. That’s true engagement. Consider that a video tells its story both visually and through dialogue and narration. Relatable characters, dramatic events that concern your audience, music, and other visual elements all work together to immerse your viewer in the experience of that story.

2. Build trust with social proof

One of the most impactful ways to boost engagement is by showcasing stories from a trustworthy network of happy customers. Social proof drives engagement by bringing a level of authenticity to your viewer’s perception of your brand. It also triggers the part of human psychology that makes us emulate the same behavior or attitudes of other people.

The most obvious way to do this is by creating testimonial videos that portray your customers telling about their experience with your product. These videos are relatively inexpensive to produce and carry a powerful message from real people.

Testimonials differ from written product reviews in that they are more about the customer’s story than the features or functionality of the product itself. Viewers can also attach a face to the experience being described. A real person testifying in front of a camera will convey much more emotion than a paragraph.

Check out this testimonial video from SPS Commerce as an example of social proof.

SPS Commerce and The Iconic from Vidico on Vimeo.

Another way to approach social proof is to create videos that show an unboxing or real-life use of your product by a customer. Similar to a testimonial, unboxing videos give viewers an idea of what it looks like for real people to use your product. While these videos often lend themselves to objective commentary, they still drive engagement by sharing feedback from a real person.

In some cases, the best way to build social proof is to create an avenue for user-generated content (UGC) about your product or service. In fact, customers who arrive at an e-commerce website from a user-generated video are 184% more likely to buy something from that website. These viewers also tend to spend 45% more money than other customers on that site.

“Customers who arrive at an e-commerce website from a user-generated video are 184% more likely to buy something from that website.”

In this context, UGC usually refers to video content created (and often published) by your customers alone. While allowing customers to upload videos to your channels freely would be ideal, you will probably want some level of gatekeeping in place to avoid content that’s irrelevant or offensive.

3. Educate and onboard new users

The task of engaging customers goes beyond just convincing them to buy something. Often, your customers are looking for video content that helps them make the most out of a recent purchase. For software products, this is a given. SaaS companies often have libraries of content to help their customers learn how to use their tools in different ways.

One way to educate new users is with explainer videos, which can benefit both leads who haven’t yet converted and current customers. Explainer videos help viewers conceptualize a product that may otherwise feel newfangled or uncommon while still keeping things brief enough to not feel quite like an in-depth tutorial. In addition, these videos incite engagement by clarifying complex concepts and promoting your product’s unique features, like this explainer video from Acast.

Acast Advance — App Video from Vidico on Vimeo.

That said, many of your other customers may also benefit from full-fledged tutorials. These videos explain how to use your product or service in much more detail. Think of a certification course or master class. Because they have an end goal of education, there is often less focus on entertainment or conversion.

While there are various ways to create a tutorial or an explainer video, personalizing this type of content is sure to make it even more engaging. In most cases, tutorials will lend themselves to having a live person presenting in front of the camera. This can provide significant value to your content by creating a persona or spokesperson for your brand’s education.

If this person finds a way to connect with your audience, they could become recognized and idolized by your customers. One stellar example of this is Webflow and their ability to inject humor into their videos. The no-code platform puts McGuire Brannon front and center in its marketing videos, providing a recognizable face and fun, familiar style.

You could even take your educational videos a step further and create video templates that allow you to insert a specific customer’s name when presenting the content. This level of personalization could create an even deeper emotional connection and really support customer engagement goals.

4. Drive retention with guides

Some of the most popular and valuable content on the web is informational. Great video guides aim to provide expert insight about a particular topic that interests viewers. Similar to tutorials, video guides can help viewers learn a new skill, understand best practices, or implement tips for accomplishing a specific task. However, this type of video content is less about learning skills and more about seeking expert advice. Providing this to your customers shows them that you are there to help them succeed.

For example, you may create update guides for important features of a particular product or provide tips for how to do a task better by using your product. This type of content will help your customers feel continuously supported in their purchases. By showing them what they can do with your product or service, you also give them a reason to continue using it.

You can also create video guides for topics that may interest non-customers. People are always looking for expert insight, and creating a guide that provides valuable advice about your industry will almost certainly drive more traffic. Viewers who learn something from your video content will then start to view your brand as a reliable source of knowledge.

Wistia took the guide approach with their video series, Show Business, a 20-episode show all about the basics of making binge-worthy content. The content is relevant to customers and non-customers alike and is focused on providing a solution — not selling software. In fact, they don’t mention their product at all throughout the entire series.

While selling a product or service is not the primary goal for video guides, this type of content can keep your brand top-of-mind when buyers are ready to pull the trigger — especially if you invest in distribution. Over half of B2B decision-makers use YouTube to research purchases, and many more flock to social media to scope out a brand before buying. By distributing your video content across multiple channels, you’ll ensure you’re reaching the right audience at the right time in their journey.

“More than half of B2B decision-makers use YouTube to research purchases.”

Whatever type of guide you choose, it should contain substance and leave the viewer with the knowledge they can use in their own skill development or day-to-day life.

5. Expand your reach with video advertising

Boosting engagement is also about gaining new viewership across a wide range of potential customers. So, video advertising can be a great addition to your overarching marketing strategy.

While static ads can be effective, 69% of people said they’d prefer to watch a short video instead. While there is a lot that goes into a good video marketing strategy, there are a few key things to consider when using video marketing to boost engagement.

“While static ads can be effective, 69% of people said they’d prefer to watch a short video instead.”

To make your advertising effective, you need to have videos people want to watch and share with their friends. Start by creating videos that are geared toward generating interest. Think of acquisition videos, which have the same effect as a teaser trailer for a big-budget movie, or brand awareness videos that focus more on aesthetics and the company culture itself.

Mattress brand Koala does a great job of piquing interest and previewing the product in this short, humorous video ad.

Koala - Never Uncomfortable from Vidico on Vimeo.

You can also create videos designed to promote contests, giveaways, company events, or new products. This can generate interest in your brand and show off the solutions you offer. And if the video resonates with your audience in an authentic way, engagement will likely follow, and you’ll reach new viewers naturally.

Video advertising is also about where you choose to distribute your videos. Consider what channels you are going to use based on where your target audience might frequent. For example, B2B brands will likely have a heavy presence on LinkedIn, while retail brands might choose to go all-in on Instagram.

And remember, engagement is an important metric for measuring the success of your video campaigns. First, focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) like play rate, percent of video viewed, and click-through rate when measuring the relevance of your video content. This will show you how immediately engaging or interesting your video is.

After that, take note of your comments, likes, and shares. This is perhaps the most direct way to measure engagement. If viewers care enough to interact in this way, it’s a good sign, and you can use some of this data to make your other videos similarly engaging.

Engage your customers with video

There are plenty of ways that video can drive engagement for both existing customers and sales leads. Video itself is already an engaging medium, but you can make the most of it by focusing on what truly interests your customers.

Knowing your target audience and inviting that community to be part of your content is the key to a good strategy. Creating content that entertains, educates, or otherwise delights your customers is what will keep them coming back to view your content time and time again.

July 15, 2021

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Michael Pirone


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