Following on from my previous post on 5 reasons why construction companies should be blogging, we now look at how construction companies can use online video and in particular YouTube as the tool of choice.
Online video usage and consumption is on the increase. Fact. Forrester Research recently reported that videos were 50 times more likely to receive an organic first page search ranking than traditional text pages. So, if you want to get some of your content onto the first page of Google very quickly then make sure it’s a video.
A quick search on the web for ‘Rainwater Harvesting Systems’ returns a mix of video, image and text based results. This is called ‘blended results’. What I want to point out here is that the video on the left (circled below) is produced by a company called ISW (Innovative Water Solutions) and yet they don’t have a single text or image based listing on the first page of Google, but the video is there driving traffic to the YouTube channel and then if viewers are wanting to know more they then have to option to visit the company website.
The video circled above has received 49,366 views to date and another video titled ‘Rainwater Harvesting Explained’ has received 24,110 views. What can you do to promote your area of expertise? How can you increase your exposure and benefit from an increase in traffic to your website?
Video production today is fairly inexpensive and posting them online is getting much easier. The lifetime of a video can be much longer than say a brochure which may require updating frequently or a news article which disappears off your website altogether after a year or so.
Firstly, we need to understand what types of video can be produced? There are three main types of video in my opinion.
1) Viral Video for increasing traffic to your website and increasing brand awareness.
2) Conversion video used to increase conversions or lead generation.
3) Educational video used to increase loyalty, credibility and trust.
Each type of video can be put to good use by construction companies. Viral videos add personality to your brand and can sometimes include humour or light-hearted fun messaging. After all, personality in a brand is considered as an important aspect of how people interact with you and your business. Viral videos are commonly shared by advocates of your brand and viral videos rely on your customers to market and promote your brand for you. Do you even have any brand advocates? Do you know who they are?
The second type of video is the Conversion video. This type of video aids in the generation of leads or conversions depending on the goals of your site. Common videos that spring to mind are the videos of people who have attended previous CPD seminars in order to increase conversions or sign ups to the next event.
The third type of video is the Educational video and is probably the most common and widely used type of video.
So how can construction companies use video as part of their marketing arsenal in order to achieve one or all of the 3 business goals that matter: 1) Increase revenue 2) Lower costs 3) Improve Customer Satisfaction?
Case Studies [Educational]: I wrote in my last post that ‘case study’ blog posts are a great way to focus on solving specific problems depending on the type of audience and their individual roles. If you have a case study which focuses on solving technical issues then support the case study by filming the technical representative who helped solve the issue, highlighting how you overcame the problem by designing or specifying a particular product.
Supporting case studies with online videos is a great way of communicating to those who prefer to watch rather than read. They want to hear and see people tell the story. “Convince me” they say. Video is a great way of telling that story and showing off your expertise (remember ‘Prove it? from the last post?’). Are you telling stories? Are you proving your expertise? Can your customers do the marketing for you?
Product Demonstrations [Educational]: Create videos for each of your products and demonstrate how they work and the technology they use. Reach out to Architects and Specifiers and show your product in situ and how aesthetically pleasing and beneficial your products are. Provide video content for the Site Manager on how to handle your products once on site and installation videos for the sub-contractor who maybe installing your product or using your service.
What about the maintenance of your product? How can you the engage with the consumer or the end users of your product? It is a well known practice for many construction companies to market their products to the top end of the supply chain just to get products specified but what about the users of your product? For example, a new home that meets Code 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and other water saving products but what are product manufacturers doing to ensure that the consumer or homeowner knows about the advantages of your product or maintain and increase the life of the product? Link your videos to an online F.A.Q (Frequently Asked Questions) to help answer common questions and provide the support to your customers. If a visitor to your website or blog learns everything they need from your website then they are much more likely to come back when they’re ready to buy or for repeat business. Do your customers know everything they need to know before and after purchasing your product?
Testimonials [Conversion]: Another common type of video is the ‘testimonial’ video where loyal customers speak highly of your brand, promote your excellent services or products and reinforce your status as ‘market leader’ or the ‘technical experts’ in your specialist area. Testimonials do not need to only be from customers, you could also receive testimonials from supply chain partners or even attendees from your previous CPD seminar or event. Do you have any brand advocates?
Seminars or Events [Educational/Conversion]: Do you regularly host CPD seminars to educate your audience or industry? A great way of increasing attendees to your next CPD seminar is to record the presentations and place short snippets (promo-video) of each presentation to entice the visitor to register for the next event. Ensure your short videos can also be shared onto social networking sites to increase visibility and awareness of your events.
Another option is to place the videos of the entire presentation onto your website behind a registration wall. Visitors who come to your site are required to give you their details in order to get access to the full presentation videos. Add any registrants who did not attend the CPD seminar to your ‘Events’ mailing list as they may attend the next event you hold. This method also grows your mailing list for other marketing purposes. Are you growing your mailing lists? Are you building a community or a following who have a high interest in what you do?
Support Marketing Campaigns [Viral/Education]: Video should be an important part of any marketing campaign whether your campaign is focused on product benefits, industry legislation or brand awareness. You can pack in more messages in 3 minutes of video than 6 months of ‘interruption’ print advertising which is often ignored by your audience. As stated earlier, a video has a longer shelf life than a print ad in a magazine.
Here is an example of where video works well. Stop the Unfair Building Tax is a coalition of large and small construction companies, trade bodies and other professional advisers, opposed to Government proposals to change the tax regime for self-employment in the UK construction sector. The website is the focal point for raising awareness and educating the construction industry on this proposal and what it means. It is heavily video led and it works. Why? It’s about the people, therefore videos are used showing the reactions, opinions and thoughts of the people who will be affected by this proposal and from those who back the petition.
Notice the clear social networking icons/links for people to promote, raise awareness and exposure of the campaign on the right of the webpage? This is where these videos (and the website) become viral.
Ok, so there you have it, 5 ways you can use video to help boost your marketing activities. Are you ready to start creating videos for people to share and enjoy, educate your audience and to convert into leads?
Using YouTube for the hub of your online videos
YouTube remains the most popular video sharing site with approximately 400 million people actively seeking information on an estimated 9 million YouTube channels every month. Not only is it a video sharing site, it is also search engine and YouTube is now the second largest search engine just behind Google with 2.9 billion searches performed every month. People search YouTube just like they would on Google but with the intent to view and consume video information related to their search queries.
As shown in the beginning of this post, videos will appear within Google search engine results pages too increasing the visibility of your online videos. Your YouTube channel can be customised to comply with your brand guidelines and contain relevant and important keywords for optimisation.
The videos which you decide to publish can also be embedded within your own blog posts or webpages to give search engines an idea of what your videos are about. Now all that is left is for you to go start creating your YouTube channel. (Or you could get us to do it for you)
Which business goals does online video contribute towards?
Remember, there are three types of online video (Viral, Conversion and Educational) and each can have its own impact on business goals.
Viral Videos: Viral videos are a good way to lower your advertising and PR costs and create buzz. As more and more people share and pass on your videos the reach of your marketing messages also increases thus increasing exposure and awareness. Remember videos have a longer life than your print ads. A single 3 minute video can contain ALL the messages contained in 6 or 7 full page advertisements.
Conversion Videos: Conversion videos can increase revenue as with all lead generation mediums. With any form of lead generation activity the entire journey must be well presented and easy for the visitor to access information with necessary calls to actions for the visitor to take along that journey. Remember to include a call to action within the video such as ‘Download now’ or ‘Sign Up now’. The focus must be on delivering relevant content with the aim of generating leads.
Educational Video: An educational video is there to educate and can therefore increase customer satisfaction, trust and loyalty. If viewers can obtain answers to their questions or problems through a short online video then they are more than likely to think of you as thought-leaders, experts and come to your when ready to purchase or do repeat business. Another business goal an educational video can achieve is to lower or reduce the amount of strain placed on your customer support or service team to free up time for those bigger issues or loyal customers. Educational videos linked to an online F.A.Q will reduce the amount of time your service representatives spend answering and dealing with small tasks, questions or requests.
So there it is. Online video is becoming a major factor in both search engine optimisation and your content marketing strategy for whichever business goal you are trying to achieve. Next time, we will look at Twitter and how construction companies can use the social media platform for networking, broadcasting, engaging and listening to conversations within the online social space.