It can be hard to tell if your video marketing campaigns are effective, because the only real feedback is through sales. But there are a few other ways you can tell.
In the podcast:
04:01 – Four marketing fundamentals to look at. These are the basics of any campaign.
05:21 – Who ought to be listening to this. Kan addresses these listeners in particular.
07:42 – Measuring the success of your video strategy. How do you define “working”?
11:20 – Branding and how people buy. It’s essential to understand buyer behavior.
13:21 – When it’s all about short-term metrics. What are vanity numbers, and what marketing metrics really count?
15:09 – Taking a qualitative approach. This is where you actually talk to people.
18:53 – What the marketing tools can’t measure. Are we over-reliant on technology?
21:16 – Identifying what really drives the needle. The things people say can be really telling.
24:39 – What a video marketing expert would look for. These are the success metrics Kan would examine.
32:01 – The biggest variable for video success. How believable are your marketing videos?
37:24 – Technology is no longer an excuse. The equipment may already be in your pocket.
40:51 – What you can take away from this episode. Kan leaves us with some actionables.
This is an exciting episode for James, it being the first since his release from quarantine. And he celebrates it with guest expert from socialwave.com.au, Kan Huang. In Kan’s previous appearance he provided a list of the types of videos a business ought to have. Today, he and James answer the question many video marketers no doubt ask: How do you know if your campaigns are actually working?
Four marketing fundamentals you want to look at
It’s important, says Kan, to consider the basics. Ultimately, whether it’s video, SEO, or any other form of advertising, you have to understand the fundamentals. And these can be broken down into four elements: segmentation, targeting, positioning and messaging.
To go through them briefly, segmentation refers to the part of your greater audience for whom you actually want to create your material. From there, you can figure out your targeting – where online must you go to reach that audience? And then from a positioning and messaging standpoint, what are you going to talk about?
Kan has talked about it in his previous guestings, discussing pain points, frequently asked questions and knowledge gaps. When you string those things together and apply them to marketing, what’s super important is whether or not you’re talking to the people that you want to go after. If you don’t get that right, whatever form of marketing you put out there will fall flat.
“You could have a Hollywood blockbuster production, but if you’re talking to the wrong audience, it’s going to yield no result.”
So you could have a Hollywood blockbuster production, says James, but if you’re talking to the wrong audience, it’s going to yield no result.
Who ought to be listening to this
Now who exactly is this episode for, asks James?
Businesses, says Kan, that need to build thought leadership, expertise and trust. We see that a lot in B2B, but very commonly now even in B2C marketing. Basically, if your service or product requires someone to be educated, to understand what it does, you need to create content in order to do that, and more specifically, in this case, videos, to get people from non-buying mode into buying mode.
This can apply to as small a business as an expert with two VAs. James considers his own business a micro operation, but video has been important for him. After a number of fits and starts, he now puts out regular videos every week, and credits them with a good part of his sales.
What’s interesting though is James knows people with huge channels, many of whom have scored a YouTube Play Button for their reach. And for at least one of them – he knows from behind-the-scenes conversation – the numbers don’t generate any actual sales. You would call them vanity metrics.
Measuring the success of your video strategy
So how do you know if your marketing campaign is working or not? It probably depends, says James on how you define “working”. If you want to feel like a rock star, needed and significant, then vanity numbers are probably enough. As far as paying off the mortgage or buying groceries, they likely fall short, unless you can translate fame into endorsements or sales through an affiliate channel or the like.
So you can talk about the difference between leads and sales. You can have a huge database and lots of leads, but if you’re targeting the wrong ones or lack a solid nurturing process, they don’t automatically translate into dollars.
Measuring the success of your video marketing strategy goes back to understanding intent, which is to actually create demand, not generate conversions off the bat. In Kan’s experience with clients, the buying process is no longer linear. When you create a video, people aren’t going to click to your landing page, download an ebook, hit your email list and buy.
Prospects are much more sophisticated now. For anything over $100 or $200, they’re going to do their research, find out if you’re trustworthy, if you’re an expert in what you do.
And the process has to be measured over a long period of time, says Kan. Most people when marketing put too much focus on short-term windows, from 30 to 90 days. They need to think more along the lines of 18 and 24 months.
Branding and how people buy
James concurs. He recalls Google talking about multi-screening. People will browse on one device, say their laptop, then move to their iPad or phone. Different devices, different platforms, gathering info until they do or don’t buy.
He talks about this in OwnTheRacecourse. Build your asset, your core asset, and then use these platforms as other people’s race tracks that you tap into, and bring prospects back to your place.
Speaking of the long term, think of McDonald’s Happy Meal. They hook the kids early, and they continue to buy as adults. Imagine how much an average consumer spends on McDonald’s in their lifetime.
When it’s all about short-term metrics
In the old days, says James, the metric in a big agency was, how much budget could they spend? Even last year, he spoke with someone whose job in an agency was to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on ads. And the metric they’d send to head office was the number of eyeballs they had. That was it.
That incentivizes bad marketing behavior, says Kan. When you combine that with the focus on short-term windows, marketers end up justifying campaigns based on quick dopamine hits – likes, comments, impressions, click-through rates.
We don’t focus enough on what happens at the very end, which is what really moves the needle. And that is the dollar increase the company achieves through marketing.
Marketing metrics and the way many people measure marketing is an imperfect tool. It can’t measure everything, but it can measure a certain portion that is mainly proportion to what Kan calls search intent. This is, when someone’s done all their research, and they’ve been doing it for a long time, when they get to the buying cycle, which is, I’m ready to buy now, I’m looking for a solution, they have an affinity to a brand that’s probably been marketed to them early on in the process.
Taking a qualitative approach
If you want something quick and fast, simple and reliable, you’ll likely choose McDonald’s over the the corner shop that’s done no marketing. That’s where the direct impact is. And there’s no real way to measure that other than to talk to your customer. So look at it from a qualitative perspective, which is to ask questions – where did you find us? What do you like about us?
Why did you buy? says James.
Exactly, Kan says. Why did you buy? You need absolute empathy and obsession with your customer, to understand what message and content you need to tailor to resonate with that audience, so they become buying customers down the track.
We’re at the point, says James, where videos are supremely useful in educating customers. Almost anything you buy now comes with a QR code that you scan, and it will give you how-to-set-up videos or onboarding videos. If we’re really observing our own consumer behavior, we likely learned about the product by watching a video at some point in the funnel.
So say someone is watching or listening to this show, and they’re using video. They’ve heard Kan talk about quantitative and qualitative analysis. They’re now going to interview their customers, and they’re going to consider results over a longer timeframe. What else can they do?
What the marketing tools can’t measure
James used to analyze heat maps on his videos. You can get a lot of information these days from tools.
You can, says Kan. There’s tools like Hotjar, marketing tools like HubSpot, where you can see the entire customer journey. Marketo is a very well-known one. A lot of people use ActiveCampaign.
But fundamentally, he says, for marketing in general, we’ve shifted towards a heavy, heavy reliance on technology to tell us what’s working and what’s not working. And we’re actually getting the intuition and the common sense beaten out of us.
Most people will understand simple metrics for measuring the success of their marketing campaign, but they don’t put enough emphasis on the qualitative side, which is, are you having conversations with your customer? Are you interacting on social media, are you commenting, are you seeing what they have to say?
Chris Walker of Refine Labs speaks of dark social, the concept of channels that marketing tools cannot measure – Facebook groups, Slack channels, word of mouth, companies and events, DMs. Reddit, internal company communications. The success of your videos happens in a lot of these channels.
Say you created a fantastic video talk right to your audience, and they shared it with their internal company’s CEO, who decided to go with your product and service. You cannot measure that unless you actually had someone sign up, and you asked them the question – Where did you find me? What was that piece of content that you actually watched or read? Existing technology cannot measure that.
Kan’s point is not to abandon all forms of marketing technology because it’s imperfect. Use them by all means, but add a layer of common sense, and have conversations with your customers to measure your success.
Identifying what really drives the needle
James is reminded of his conversation with Radhika Dutt, about radical product thinking. And the trap a lot of us get into, she said, is being iterative. We’ll see a stat or result, and just tweak based on that. Sometimes we need to get out of that.
He’s published enough material now that when people comment on a video, or do a review, or join his membership, he can trace it back to something that was said. People almost always say, Thank you so much for these podcasts. I really appreciate it. I know you do so much for our community, etc., which is lovely. But some of them join his membership. And when they do that, they say, I was listening to your episode with Kan…
It occurred to James that he had not been looking past the surface level vanity metrics of his videos. He went and spoke to his customers, and discovered the reason that they would deal with him over someone else. He put out an offer to his list for just that thing, and made a lot of sales.
He’s certain people will come to socialwave.com.au saying, Kan, I heard you on episode 874. It’s clear to me that you understand what you’re talking about with video marketing. I’ve got all these campaigns, and I’m wondering, could you have a look at them and tell me what you see, and is there any way I could work with you? Is that something they could do?
Absolutely, says Kan. And when someone consumes your content and tells you that was the exact thing they watched before deciding to work with you, you know it works. Don’t worry about the click-through rates, or about when’s the best time to post marketing videos. People get stuck into that, and it’s terrible.
What a video marketing expert would look for
Would Kan have a framework or a checklist to refer to if he went into an account?
If James were to open his analytics, metrics and video stash to Kan, what would he be looking for?
The first thing, says Kan, would be video views. That can be a vanity metric, but it is definitely also a gauge of whether people are even actually consuming your content.
If no one is viewing your stuff, that’s a problem. It could be one of two issues. Number one is that your videos are not drawing the right attention. They’re not in front of the correct audience. The other half of that could be that you have a messaging issue, if you’ve been doing it for some time and people aren’t interested in what you have to say. In that case, you have to go back to the drawing board and understand whether or not you have done enough segmentation, targeting, positioning and messaging. That’s number one.
Could it be a distribution issue as well, asks James? Like you’re in the wrong channel, or you don’t have any audience?
Absolutely, says Kan. On LinkedIn, for instance, you could have more luck targeting accountants than property investors.
Number two of his audit, he’d be looking at how many leads you’re generating, and then what proportion of that is becoming sales. If you have a very poor conversion rate, that likely tells him that again, you probably have a targeting issue. You may be attracting the wrong audience, and trying to push them to convert.
An example is a business Kan worked with. Their video marketing was generating thousands of leads every single month, but roughly only 20 to 30 confirmed sales monthly. Kan and his team made some adjustments to their video marketing messaging, after which their lead flow reduced by 50 percent. Their number of sales, however, increased threefold.
“You’re looking at the wrong metric when you worry about leads.”
That goes back to saying that you’re looking at the wrong metric when you worry about leads, says Kan.
So when Kan’s checked views and messaging and positioning, says James, what else is he going to do?
Well, the ultimate metric that everyone’s looking for is cost per acquisition, cost per sale. You need to essentially look at the numbers and go, if I spent this much money across, say a year, and I made this much money, the goal is always to make more than $1 for every dollar spent.
“Don’t over-delve into the metrics because they can lead you down the wrong path.”
If you inherently understand that doing this marketing activity would result in increased sales, you’re probably on the right track. Bring some intuition, bring some common sense into it. Don’t over-delve into the metrics, because metrics can really lead you down the wrong path. Cost per acquisition, which is calculated by how much you spend on marketing versus how much you make and the average of that, try and keep that down as much as possible.
The biggest variable for video success
Has Kan seen a particular type of video campaign that always fails or that always wins?
Kan wouldn’t say he’s seen one. But he thinks the biggest variable for success with videos is the actual performance of the video, if that makes sense. It’s the person in front of the camera, and how genuine and real they are.
Like the theater of it, says James. The believability. His acting coach when he was 18, Alan, would ask, do you believe this character? Are you so invested in them that you believe this person is real? Or does it seem like someone’s an actor pretending to be that person?
It used to shock him as a podcast host when he’d chat with a guest before an episode, then hit record and they’d become an entirely different person. It’s like the solo operators he knows, at home in bare feet and boardshorts, but all their site photos show them decked out in suits.
More than ever, he thinks, you get rewarded for being real, for being yourself. People email him saying they like how he keeps it real. He’s just himself, on camera and off. This was evident in the episode before this one, 873, recorded on the floor of a hotel room with an iPhone and his daughter running around.
We’re in an interesting period, says Kan. If you look at the growth of channels like TikTok, YouTube shorts, Instagram reels, none of it is high-quality production. Running a video marketing production agency, Kan and his team are all about quality. But even they can’t ignore the trend that’s moving towards more raw and real content.
Technology is no longer an excuse
It used to be, says James, you’d need hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to pull off a video-oriented marketing campaign. Now you can get 4K video in selfie mode, on an iPhone.
There’s no excuse to put off making video content. If you’ve got the right audience segmentation, with the right message, and a reasonable timeframe to assess if it’s successful or not, that could very well be a good starting point.
And then talk to the people who are watching it. Understand if it’s hitting home, and see if it’s lining up the sales cart at some point down the track. And ask people why they bought.
“Technology is not an impediment anymore to creating videos.”
That’s right, says Kan. Technology is not an impediment anymore to creating videos.
He recalls when he was just video marketing, and had a lot of trouble measuring the success of videos. Six months into a project, he asked the client if it was working. It’s working, he said. How do you know, asked Kan? You know, said the client, because you talk to people. People tell you things. People give you feedback. They say they watched this. They understood. They felt like you understood them.
What you can take away from this episode
What can people do as a result of this episode, aside from looking up Kan at socialwave.com.au?
At the end of the day, thinks Kan, it boils down to three things. Number one, consistency – do this over a long period of time. And don’t have any major expectations. Just go in, have a crack at it, and put in the reps.
Number two is have a real good obsession and empathy of your customers. Know what it is they need to hear that you help them with. Teach them the what and the why, and create video content on a consistent basis with that.
And then number three, is when you start getting leads, and people start inquiring for your business services or products, ask them the question: How did you find us? What was it that you consumed?Or when you do that sales call that booked that demo in, talk to them and ask, What was it that helped you make the decision to go ahead with us?
Use that, and add that to your understanding of your customer, and that stuff snowballs, and you become better and better.
You can’t go wrong talking to your customers, says James.
Kan will be back, and in the meantime, if you need help with your video marketing campaign, reach out to him at socialwave.com.au.
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