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How B2B marketers can use online video to as a demand generation tool

Recent research from Cisco predicts that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all noninternet traffic.

Search engines love video, so adding video content to your site will increase, not only web traffic, but also inbound links.  Industry figures show more than half of British companies are already making use of video, a figure that's predicted to increase as more and more businesses realise the possibilities it brings, both to the consumer and the B2B sectors.

‘Explainers’ and ‘How to’ videos and are a growing trend at present.  Explainer videos are short online films used to explain your company’s product or service and are usually placed on a landing page, your website’s home page, or a prominent product page. These types of videos are excellent content for inbound marketing and work very well for B2B companies selling technical or more niche products, for example software packages or apps.

Increasingly we are seeing B2B marketers also producing their own branded programmes with a distinct brand personality  targeted at customers in particular industries. Successful videos of this type provide the opportunity to include some kind of call to action after watching the video.  This could include a facility for customers to subscribe to a company’s YouTube channel, add  a comment, or visit a website. Your call to action should be a direct reflection of your goals in creating the video.

Additionally, B2B marketers are also including videos in their blogs as this feature actually attracts more subscribers, and therefore potential customers, to their  website. At the same time it is a useful way to help brands develop their personalities. For example, a company may want to try out reaction to a potential spokesperson associated with their business.  If the reaction is good they could be used for TV and online video opportunities.

A vlog (video blog) will give your company's website further in-depth content. What's more videos can increase your web audience and your ranking in web searches. Many customers, particularly younger ones, prefer to watch a video instead of reading a blog post. A quality vlog that’s regularly updated will increase a businesses’ web presence and draw in potential customers.  It is a great way of creating a more personal approach, particularly if you feel your company deals a lot with rigid, faceless procurement departments. If a company executive addresses the vlog audience on a regular basis you'll be giving your business a personal face that customers and partners can relate to.

And don’t neglect social media and the opportunity to promote your business across multiple channels. When you are using video, do include it in your social media mix now and then. Twitter lets users embed videos directly in tweets; short videos (15 seconds max) are ‘hot’ on Instagram, which well on its way to becoming a mainstream B2B marketing tool.

Smartphones and tablets are playing a key role in the consumption of online video. The latest research from video technology company Ooyala shows that during the first quarter of 2014, 21 percent of all online video-plays globally were completed through mobile devices or tablets, up from 3.4 percent two years ago – that includes business videos. If you want to fully realise online video's potential to help make money for your business you must make it easy for your customers to find and share it and this takes us back again to social media promotion.