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The 5-Part Online Video Marketing Guide for Financial Institutions


video-marketing-strategy"Shoot. Edit. Repeat."

This is a mantra that aspiring filmmakers use as inspiration to reach their dreams, and it's put into practice most often by YouTuber Ryan Connolly of Film Riot.

Although this proverb seems like it would only be meaningful to film geeks, marketing teams working for banks and credit unions can also use it as inspiration and apply it to their own video marketing strategy.

What video marketing strategy, you say?

If you think that banks and credit unions aren’t in the video marketing game, you would be somewhat correct. Many financial institutions have yet to grasp how important this marketing channel is, and even if they do know, many aren’t sure what to do or where to begin.

You can see proof of this just by searching YouTube using the term "credit union." The results that come up are either commercials (strike one for irrelevant content) or videos titled "Banks vs. Credit Unions" (strike two for lack of original content).

If you think putting your latest commercial on YouTube counts as a video marketing strategy—you’re wrong. Television commercials are used to gain impressions (i.e., 1 second views) and getting your brand and your products out in front of people in hopes they will notice and call you or visit a branch or your website. However, online videos are about engagement—they show more personality, they don’t have to showcase your products and services per se, and they inspire thought, make you LOL, and/or give you the “warm and fuzzies.”

You want viewers to get sucked into your videos and then share them, comment positively (hopefully), and like them because social proof carries more weight than impressions—from both an SEO and customer behavior perspective. To achieve this goal, you have to dedicate time to shooting, editing, and then doing it again… Plus, you have to dedicate time to promoting your video once it’s been created.

But before doing anything, you must have a strategy in place to guide how your videos will be created. To get you started, here are five key concepts you should keep in mind when developing your video marketing strategy:

Concept 1: Relevance

Relevance is important because viewers want to be informed. The book Contagious: Why Things Catch On describes an idea called social currency. Essentially, it means we share things that make us look good. Content that is relevant and provides insight into your industry, product, or a news topic will entice your viewers to share your content. The incentive is it makes them look smarter and “in the know” in their circle of friends.

Relevance also aids in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google Trends is a useful tool because it shows what queries people are searching for. This can help with content ideas, and when you release your video, Google will notice your content is valuable for these types of searches.

To ensure your videos are relevant, you have to know your target audience inside and out. This means knowing their demographic and geographic information, as well as their values, pain-points, goals, likes, dislikes, and stage in the buying process (i.e., is the video for a total stranger, a lead, or a customer?). You should also know how they search for information online (the terms they use and where they search), as well as what motivates them to search (do they simply want to learn about a topic or do they have a problem they need to solve?). Once you define your target audience, create your video content with all of this data in mind.

Tailoring your content is key because a video targeting everyone will not be relevant to anyone.

Concept 2: Personality

Most people list creativity as a key component of a successful video campaign, but I think this should actually be your personality. Some brands develop great comedy pieces, like Dollar Shave Club:

While others create dramatic videos like TNT’s “We Know Drama”:

Here’s another video done by ORNL Federal Credit Union that was created to say Happy Holidays to their members:

Each of these videos are creative, but more importantly they showcase the brand’s personality.

Virgin American is another great example. They got 9.5 million people to watch their airline safety video because they infused their original music roots into it. Not only is their video informative—it's also fun to watch and showcases all what the Virgin brand is known for: quality, style, uniqueness, and fun. 

Concept 3: Diversity

Having an array of diverse videos helps appeals to different viewers. You need to think like a network programmer. Create and add different types of videos to market different aspects of your brand. You can have your commercials, but also have products in action, or user generated content (which also encourages sharing). Loot Crate produces videos featuring their latest themed boxes, but also has videos of their clients unboxing their loot crates.

Diversity can also apply to run time. Most stats say videos under 30 seconds are shared more, while five minutes is a good maximum length.  Having this mix of lengths can help build an audience who will explore your other videos.

Concept 4: Consistency

To gain and maintain traction, releasing videos consistently is important. Depending on your resources, videos can be released on a set schedule or as they are completed. Choosing to adhere to a schedule is beneficial since viewers will know what days to look for your content. Releasing videos as they are completed is a good strategy especially if you have limited resources, but building a release strategy is still crucial. You don’t want to release videos months (or years) apart—you must keep your momentum going.

Here's why: Google and other search engines keep track of how fresh your content is in an effort to provide searchers with the most relevant information possible. In simple terms, recent content = more relevant content. Although the level of "freshness" alone isn't going to determine whether your content shows up in search or not, it does have some affect and is something you should be cognizant of. 

Concept 5: Promotion

Now that you have great content, you need to get it in front of your viewers. Uploading to YouTube with a descriptive and keyword-filled meta description should only be your starting point. Once you've uploaded a video:

  • Embed it on landing pages as part of your PPC or other online marketing campaigns

  • Incorporate it into your email strategy. According to Invodo's report, Video Statistics: The Marketer's Summary 2014, video in email can boost open rates by 20% and double (or even triple) your click-through rates.

  • Promote it across your social media channels.

  • Use it as part of your offline strategy by posting it on other sites and making it part of your traditional marketing outlets.

Basically, don’t just let your content sit on YouTube—make it available through all your marketing channels.

Another aspect of promotion that should be considered is video ads (a.k.a. the short clip you have to view before the video you actually want to watch starts playing). YouTube's video advertising is poweredb by GoogleAdwords, and you pay only when someone chooses to watch your ad. Simply find out what your target audience is watching online, and then filter your ad placement so they only appear for certain types of viewers and/or on certain types of content. To get started here is the YouTube advertisers guide.

You may think these ads are pointless, but data shows that not everyone is skipping them. In Dec. 2013, the total number of video ads viewed on desktops and laptops (for that month alone) was 35.2 billion, and the average number of ads viewed per person grew to 204 (MarketingCharts). That's pretty astonishing.

These five steps will help you get started with your institution's strategy; however, there are no finite rules for video marketing, so get creative and see what works for you. Some top YouTube channels have videos more than 20 minutes in length, and others release videos as they are done (like GoPro). The only way to know if viewers are responding to your online video marketing strategy is to continue to Shoot. Edit. Repeat. And, remember to stay relevant, create diverse content, publish consistently, let your personality show, and promote your masterpiece(s) aggressively.

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