Why Video is So Powerful for the Marketing Funnel: TubeTalk 184 with Ben Amos

Video is the marketer’s secret weapon for all stages of the marketing funnel. Find out why on this week's episode of TubeTalk.

As a YouTuber, you possess the amazing skill of being able to tell stories via video, a skill that's absolutely necessary in today's business and marketing world. How can you use that skill to generate additional revenue? The answer is on this week’s episode of TubeTalk.

Video is an incredibly effective way of generating business leads - but your content needs to resonate with the target audience to be effective. So how do you get viewers to engage with your B2C or B2B uploads as part of your marketing funnel? We’re joined this week by Ben Amos, a video marketing expert from Engage Video Marketing. In this podcast you will learn:

  1. Why marketers should focus on video
  2. The key elements of the customer journey when it comes to video strategy
  3. How to use the power of storytelling for your video content

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Why Video is So Powerful for the Marketing Funnel: Full Transcript

Liron Segev: Ben, thanks for joining us.

Ben Amos: Thanks, Liron. Thanks for having me on the show.

Liron Segev: Oh, absolutely. Who is Ben in a tweet?

Ben Amos: In short, I'm passionate about helping people engage their customers using strategic video marketing. It's the idea of having a strategy behind the videos that you're creating, so that it leads people to take the right sort of action. So, I don't know if that'll fit in a tweet, but that's the long and the short of it.

Liron Segev: Well already, right off the bat, there's lots to unpack, because you've used a lot of keywords that are very close to my heart, and one of them is strategy. Lets start off the conversation there. Let's pretend I have a business and the business comes to you and says, "look, I need more sales." How do you start kind of connecting with that business and starting to guide them through that process?

Ben Amos: Sure. So, I mean that's at the core of business, right, is making sales, is moving a customer towards making a purchase decision. And for me that's where it really needs to start. It is understanding who that audience is, or who that customer is, that you want to move through to actually make a decision to part with their cash and buy from you. So at the foundation of strategy when it comes to video, is about really understanding the audience, or the customer, or your ideal customer, and the journey that they, potentially will take, in order to buy from you.

So it's much more than just, "How can I convince them to part with their cash and buy my thing." It's more important to understand that it's a journey that they go on, and that journey starts with an emotion. People buy with emotion, and then they justify that decision with logic and reasoning later on.

So at the foundation of it, it's about understanding that journey that someone goes on to buy. The process that I'll share with you now, around understanding that journey that the customer goes on, to buy from a business, can be equally applied to other forms of digital marketing, other than video. But obviously video is just so powerful in moving people from a phase of an emotional connection that they have, through to actually making decisions, rational, thoughtful decisions to actually purchase something.

So video is very powerful across that whole journey. So, to kind of paint a picture for you, in marketing terms, we talk about the idea of a funnel. And I'll unpack this for you a bit as well. For those non-marketers out there. And it's the idea that basically we can apply different types of content, in different ways, as customers move through a funnel through to actually falling out of the bottom of the funnel, to basically make a purchasing decision.

Now when you picture of funnel, it's not a real funnel. We're talking hypothetically here. The idea that at the top of the funnel, it's wider. The opening, where people, ideally, come into your marketing funnel, is wider, which means you're going to catch more people. You want to get, basically everyone who potentially can buy from you to come in at the top of the funnel.

Now as you move people down that funnel, you want to be actually making deliberate decisions within your marketing, and the way that you communicate to people, to actually move them further down the funnel. So that, at the bottom of the funnel, you're going to get... Not everyone who comes in at the top of the funnel is going to fall out the bottom and buy, become a customer, right? So that's why we picture it like a funnel. And as we get to the bottom of the funnel, then we need to talk very specifically to people who are almost ready to convert. They're almost ready to buy. And the way we talk to people at the bottom of the funnel is very different to the way we need to communicate with people at the top of the funnel, who are otherwise disengaged with you, your business, or your solution.

So when we talk about video, applying video within that marketing funnel, it all starts with, like I said, with emotion, right? Some of your listeners maybe have heard of, or seen a fairly well known Ted Talk, by a guy called Simon Sinek, where he talks about how great leaders inspire action. And it's the concept of basically starting with the why. But that idea is basically at the foundation of effective communication. And that is, recognizing that as humans, we connect with ideas emotionally in a different part of our brain, than we do with the rational kind of thoughts and decisions that we make.

So, as Simon Sinek explains, if we start by communicating with the why, that's an emotional connection that we make, right? So that's where the top of the funnel starts, with making the right emotional connection with someone who is feeling some kind of emotional pain, or some kind of emotion that's going to trigger them to move into your funnel. Right?

So, the first types of video we really need to be focused on, is videos that connect on an emotional level first, and don't worry at that stage about trying to make that rational decision and sell.

Liron Segev: We talk about a cold audience versus a warm audience versus a hot audience. Do you want to go into those as well, because those also have an effect of where people fit into that funnel journey.

Ben Amos: Yeah, absolutely. And that idea of a cold audience is, when you picture that funnel, that's at the top of that funnel. So people are coming into the top of the funnel. They are potentially, likely to be a cold audience, which means they haven't necessarily, come across your brand before, so they're cold to you. So you need to warm them up. And warming them up is the process of moving them through the funnel. Because a warm audience is those people that, I guess you would call them, kind of in the middle of the funnel.

They're in that consideration phase, where they're aware, now, of your brand, potentially aware of the solution that you can provide, but they're weighing up their options, and they're seeking more information. And then as you get to the hot audiences, they're the people who are, like I said, at the bottom of the funnel, and potentially just on the edge of purchasing, and they just need to be pushed over the line, right?

Liron Segev: So can we use video throughout this process? Can we use video at the top and middle and bottom of the funnel?

Ben Amos: Yeah, so I talk about a framework, which I call the full funnel video strategy framework, which is... And I can break it down in simple terms for you, it's the idea of, there are in the marketing funnel that we're talking about here, there are three main stages. And we talked about top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel. And the way to think about those stages is, the top of funnel is that emotional connection that we need to make.

The goal of video at the top of the funnel is brand positioning or brand awareness. So that's the first goal - connecting on an emotional level with people, and positioning your brand or your business or your solution, alongside the emotions that they're feeling. So the goal of that top of funnel content is to get people to buy in, well before you ask them to buy.

Okay? So if you can get them to buy in, it's an emotional connection, right? So if you can get someone through the videos that you use to make them feel that, "Man, they know me, they really get the pain I'm feeling. I buy in to them as being the right solution for me." Then if you've done that well, and the best way to do that is through using storytelling, through using emotional forms of communication, through video and stories are just so powerful at doing that.

So telling brand stories, like the big why behind the brands, positioning how the brand comes alongside their clients and helps them achieve their own goals through telling client stories as well. Not testimonials, testimonials are bottom of the funnel stuff. Client stories, helping people see the potential brighter future, that they potentially can have when they use this product or service or whatever it may be. So are you with me? We've got that type of emotional storytelling.

Liron Segev: So what would be some good examples of top of the funnel type of content that could be put into a video form?

Ben Amos: Sure. So, using that storytelling idea, and I think critical to understanding that is that every good story needs a hero, right? So you need a character or a hero, that's going to overcome adversity, and triumph at the end of the day. That's what drives a good story forward.

Now, when it comes to brand or business storytelling, the thing that trips people up a lot of times is, "Well, who's the hero of this story?" And obviously, in many brand and business storytelling cases, we don't necessarily want to create a fictional character like you would if you doing a feature film, right? So we need to use storytelling techniques in order to engage people emotionally, and to move them to take the right sort of action.

The best way to do that is to understand that the hero of the story is not the brand or the business. So, you are not the hero of your own story in your business. The hero of the story is the client, or a representation of who the ideal client is for your brand or business. Because like I said before, someone who is at the top of the funnel, who is cold to your brand or business, they don't care about you, they care about them.

So you want to be telling stories. And this is why I kind of favor the idea of using client stories, because if you're a brand or a business that helps people achieve a win, right? It helps them do something better or achieve something in their life, which at the heart of it, most businesses are in some way.

So, if you identify what that win is, and identify who that ideal client is, and if you can tell stories around how you come alongside as the mentor or the guide, to help that hero client achieve their desired outcome or win, in their life, then those stories can be so powerful in taking that action, which is to actually get people to buy in emotionally, and to feel something, that makes them feel more positive about your brand. And they want to actively come into your funnel, right, to use that terminology from before. If you can tell that story well, then you can get people warmed up nicely into the funnel, and we can continue to move them down towards making a purchase from you.

Liron Segev: Perfect. So the message is, the brand is actually not the hero. The client is actually the hero, is going on some sort of a quest, and you're there to help them along and find the answers that they're looking for.

Ben Amos: Absolutely, absolutely. And there are many different ways to tell that story. And you can look to YouTube for a lot of inspiration of brands doing this well. When you think about the big brands of the world, whether it be Heineken or Nike or any of the big brands, the key focus of their big campaigns, their big ad campaigns, is exactly this. It's a top of funnel content. And good storytelling is everywhere in that space. So, although you don't need to have the same budgets as those big guys, you recognize that they're coming alongside and positioning their customer as the hero. And you'll see this all the time.

Liron Segev: I think it was Nike who had a running shoe ad, where it was all about the client, or some big guy who's starting to get into running, and it's his journey. And it was beautiful, because Nike was just happened to be the shoe, but it wasn't about the shoe. It was about the journey that this guy is going on, which was absolutely superbly done. All right. So now we have top of funnel. Now you've got me on an emotional level. You're going to solve a pain point that I have. What's next?

Ben Amos: So now, as we move down into the middle of the funnel, we talk about the audience being more warm, which means, at this stage of the funnel, they're now aware of their problem. So they're actively seeking answers to their problem. So, at the top of the funnel, often people aren't even aware that they have a problem, but they're open to receiving messages that connect with them and resonates with them. So when we get to the middle of the funnel, now they're aware of their problem, and they're actively seeking solutions. So we talk about them being in a consideration phase of their journey as they move through.

So in the consideration phase, I talk about the goal as being social engagement. And I use those terms very specifically, because social, meaning person to person connection, conversation, right? This is where people want to engage and connect with someone who's potentially going to provide an answer to their problem, right?

So social engagement content is all about educating, informing, inspiring, or entertaining. So you want to actually kind of think about, How can I produce content in the middle of the funnel, which is targeted at someone who is wanting to learn more about this, or wanting to find out answers to this or, open to being entertained by me with this marketing message here, right? So, the goal for this content is to provide small wins to people, so that you can position your brand or business, over and above your competition.

So potentially, it's about people who's looking around them at this stage, they're now trying to find the best answer, the best solution, the best thing to buy, that's going to help them with the problem that they feel. And if they're seeing content from you, from your brand, that provides them with small wins, helps them feel more educated, informed, or inspired about this outcome that they're going to get, then they're going to move themselves towards the bottom of the funnel.

Liron Segev: You're not teasing them saying, "'Hey, if you buy this product, I'll solve your problem, but you're actually providing little bits of value, at the middle of the funnel stage, right?

Ben Amos: Absolutely. There's a term in digital marketing, marketing in general, which is the idea of moving the free line in your business. So, for so many businesses, they have a free line and that basically, you kind of picture everything above that free line is free. So it's the information they share willingly, without you needing to pay for it. And then below that free line is everything that, "If you want to learn this, you've got to pay me." Right? "If you want to get this solution, you've got to pay us." So in the past, basically, that free line was pretty high for most businesses.

Because prior to the internet and digital conversation, you would need to basically... Let's use a solicitor or a lawyer for example. You used to have to basically find them, go in for a meeting, maybe they'll do one free meeting with you, and then you had to pay to get any other kind of answers from them.

Now, of course, with the internet, it's kind of built on a foundation of free. You can Google anything and get an answer, right? Now, it might not be the right answer, but you can find the answer. So, with that in mind, how can you move the free line in your particular business, to give away value, before you ask people to buy from you. And who are people more likely to buy from? It's the brand, or the business they have had more value from. Does that make sense?

Liron Segev: Yeah, absolutely. Because they've got to trust you now, they understand that you're there to help them. So you've got their interest at heart. And look at all this amazing free videos and free content that you've provided them. Well then you're the authority. You're the go-to person. So yeah, absolutely. That makes sense.

Ben Amos: I mean you think about YouTube creators for example, and YouTube creators who are doing that for a business purpose, which many of them are, you recognize that their regular content marketing, the content they're putting out on a regular basis, is designed to build trust, and get people to be basically better positioned to part with their cash when they make some sort of offer. Right?

If there's someone that you've watched a lot of their videos on YouTube, when they offer a solution to the pain that you're feeling, you're not going to think twice about buying that thing, right, because you already trust them.

Liron Segev: Okay, that makes sense. So, that's the middle of the funnel. So top is the emotional, make that connection. Middle of the funnel is little bits of golden nuggets of information given away free, earning those trust, earning those views, and really kind of making that connection. Is there a limit, like a time limit, between going from top to middle, or is this different and organically based on the businesses or the idea?

Ben Amos: Yeah, it's a good question. And basically, it depends. So it depends on the business, it depends on the service. It depends on how much the person needs the solution, how ready they are to buy. So, for certain businesses, the customer or prospect can move through this funnel very quickly. If it's something that they're feeling an immediate pain, and they need an immediate solution, then potentially, they'll move through very quickly. But there are many other businesses that we can use the examples, where this customer journey takes weeks or years even, for someone to move through to actually buy from you.

Liron Segev: Okay. So basically, don't stress. If your business, if you're going through this process, and you're creating all these amazing content, and amazing videos, but you're not seeing them falling into the bottom of the funnel yet, but we're going to get them to that stage, it could just be a time thing. It could be time of year, it could be a financial implication, something that's $10.99, is going to have a very different buying decision than something that's $10,000.

It's different. Just things happen at different speeds depending on the time of year, depending on finance, and also depending on how painful this is. Could I survive another six months not spending this kind of money, or do I absolutely positively need this right now, in which case I have to make a buying decision. So as we move through that funnel, so we've done the top, we've done the middle, we're now hot, we're ready to buy, what's the next stage?

Ben Amos: So then we get to the conversion end of the funnel. So the pointy end, the bottom end of the funnel, I talk about the goal of conversions. And when we talk about conversion content from a video strategy perspective, it's content that's designed to get a hot audience, basically an engaged, qualified prospect, across the line. So the types of videos we want to be creating here, need to answer any lingering questions that someone has. So they're now aware of your solution. They are aware of your product or your service or whatever, but what is holding them back from purchasing?

So this is where... Because, remember we started at the emotional end, at the top of the funnel, and we're moving through to rational at the bottom of the funnel. And people need rational answers to rational questions, before they rationally part with their cash, right?

So although you can do all the kind of emotional selling at the top of the funnel, no matter how quickly someone moves through the funnel, there's always a rational decision, where they actually enter their credit card number or pick up that phone or make that booking or whatever it may be. So, the types of content you want to create here needs to, basically do word a face to face sales person would do when you walk into a store.

A good face to face sales person will basically take you through this same journey, through the conversation they have. They'll start by making an emotional connection with you. "Hi, how's your day?" They would look nice, they'll smile at you, they'll ask you questions to try and better understand. Then they'll give you some value, right? So in the middle of the funnel, that face to face sales person will answer some questions about this product that you're looking at, and compare it to this product that you're looking at over on the shelf over here.

And so they'll position themselves as the expert, and answer your questions, and then they'll move you through to the sale. So, in order for that face to face sales person to close the sale, they're going to say, "Okay, so you know what's going through your head now? Is it about payment structure? Is it about different ways that we can actually get it home to you, our delivery options?" So find out, what are those sticking points that's preventing your ideal customers from actually purchasing from you, and deliver video content to them that overcomes those questions. That's the goal of the conversion focused videos.

Liron Segev: Okay, wow. So how do we know what those questions are? Do we survey people, do we get friends and family to answer those kinds of questions so we could create content around it? How do I dive into that?

Ben Amos: Yeah, I mean it's all of the above. It's about really understanding your customers, really understanding them. And often it can come down to the simple idea of asking your existing customers what was going through their head before they purchased. So, surveying existing customers, or even better, I feel, is surveying those people who don't buy from you. So, depending on your business, you capture some sort of lead, or you capture some sort of information from your customer as they're coming through that funnel, then you can reach out to them and say, "Look, just wanted to ask, what stopped you from buying from us today?" Or, you know, "Why didn't you purchase, when you showed so much interest."

It's a hard question to ask sometimes, but if you can build that into your processes, you can gather a lot of information. And obviously, then you've got these answers to those questions, which can form the basis of the video content that you use here. The other side to look at it is also, just really being intuitive, and understanding your product. If you were going to buy this product, what questions would you have? What would you want to see before you made the decision to buy? And I think that's a good place to start as well.

Liron Segev: Why am I not pulling the trigger? Why am I not giving the credit card details? There's something that's stopping me. What is that? And if you can answer those questions, it's going to make me feel a lot better, and will be one less obstacle standing in my way.

Ben Amos: Yeah, absolutely. And, when you're talking about businesses doing business online, there's so many potential barriers to selling and doing business online, that so many people are just overlooking. And that's holding the sales back.

A great example I use here is Zappos, a shoe retailer you're probably aware of. What's the biggest barrier to buying shoes online, as opposed to going into a shoe store, or shoe shop, and…..

Liron Segev: You don't know if it's the right size?

Ben Amos: Yeah, trying it on, right? So, they recognized very early, and Zappos, a huge example of doing this really well, that the barrier to selling shoes online is actually, people want to try them on, they want to see if they fit. They want to, kind of make sure that they're making the right decision, because it's a scary thing to buy online, and get it in the post. So how they overcome that, obviously, they can't have you try it online, through the website. They can't, have you try it on.

Liron Segev: Not yet at least.

Ben Amos: Well, not yet, yeah, maybe that'll change. So what they did very cleverly is, they actually used video for almost every single one of their product lines. So at the conversion end of the journey, when people are on the individual shoe page, so this brand, this style of shoe. They're on that page, there's photos of the shoe from different angles, like you see on most shopping cart software.

But then there's a video, and for most of their products they have a video. And this video is very simply produced. It's often someone from the Zappos team, so within their staff, who fits the demographic of who is likely to buy that shoe. So, you can relate with that person, kind of like it's you, if you're looking at the shoe. And they're just talking about the shoe, much like a salesperson would in the store, they're bending the shoe, they're holding it up there. You can see it kind of, in real life, so to speak, through this video. And then they actually try it on, and you can see the shoe, kind of, walking across the screen.

Very simple videos to produce. But if you're going to buy a shoe, you want to see what it looks like, with someone like you wearing it. Now obviously, they've also got videos that talk about their returns policy, and they make that a bit of a no brainer about the fact that if it doesn't fit, I can get it back, and get a different size, and all that sort of stuff.

But just by having individual sales focused videos on their product pages, makes the potential barriers to buying that shoe online, makes those barriers just drop away.

Liron Segev: Does the top, middle and bottom of the funnel apply to all businesses, or does it, you know, I'm a small business, therefore, I just don't have to worry about this. Just make videos.

Ben Amos: Yeah, look, absolutely, it applies. If you're in the business of selling to people, then you need to recognize that people, whether they're buying a shoe, or they're buying the services of a law firm, or subscribing to a piece of software online, it's still people making a decision to buy. And people start that decision to buy, whether you recognize it in your brand's marketing or not, they start that decision with some kind of emotional connection, some kind of emotion they're feeling. It might be a pain, it might be excitement, it might be various emotions, but they're starting at the top of the funnel, and they're moving through. And if they buy from you, no matter whether you're a small business or a large business, then they've coming out at the bottom of the funnel.

Now as a business, you need to try and consider how your marketing is addressing people or speaking to people, at those different stages of that journey they're going on, because they're going on that journey anyway. How are you actually using content to reach out to them, to connect with them at the right stages of that journey?

Liron Segev: Okay. Sounds like good advice. Ben, if people want to get more information, and they want to check out your website. How can they do that?

Ben Amos: Yeah, so a really good place to start would be, I have a free three-part video course. It's a mini course basically, which is all about developing the foundations of an online video strategy for a business. And so that's probably a good place to start, and they can jump into that at engagevideomarketing.com/foundations, and that'll just basically walk you through what we talked about here today, and apply some processes to help you get started on this journey.

Liron Segev: Ben, thank you very much for hanging out with us, kind of, sharing the experience from the business side, because we all know it from the YouTube side, we know how to create the video, but sometimes we forget that businesses out there, that are hungry for content creators, looking for people to create those videos for them. And if we can offer that as a service, perhaps there's another revenue stream to our YouTube business, which never thought of. And this is a great opportunity, since we do understand how to tell a story. So really appreciate you hanging out, and educating us on this process.

Ben Amos: Yeah, no problems. Thanks very much.

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