In the H2Insider article on “Selling Across Stages of the Buyer’s Journey,” we discuss strategy behind defining the different buying stages of a customer’s path to purchase. The three basic stages are Awareness (I have a problem/need), Consideration (I’m looking at product categories that can solve this problem/need), and Decision (I’m set on a product category, now I need to decide on which specific brand/product offers the best value and fit for me).
No matter the stage, today’s consumers are looking for reliable information they can trust. This means putting content out there that doesn’t just sell, but attracts by showing concern and a desire to help. Simply put, information that avoids brand bias, particularly at the awareness and consideration stages, is more likely to gain trust and move a customer forward on their path to purchase.
Early to mid-stage information that avoids brand bias is more likely to gain trust and move a customer forward on their path to purchase.
So once it’s created, how do you get value from a piece of non-branded content when you’re not directly promoting a product? To explain, let’s look at a specific example of how one non-branded, consideration-stage video can be effectively used by a spa retailer.
The video “The Spa Dating Game” is a piece of content available to dealers aimed at people who are trying to decide where or from whom to buy their spa. Customers basically have three options to choose from: online, big-box store, or dedicated retailer. The “The Spa Dating Game” uses a fun, animated format to illustrate the differences between these three options without pushing a certain store or location. Nevertheless, it leaves no doubt that the dedicated retailer is the best, and smartest, option when buying a hot tub.
Okay. You have this cute, funny, entertaining video. It looks like it could be an effective component of your marketing strategy because it tells a story that illustrates the differences between the three major spa purchasing options. It also emphasizes the importance of product quality and service quality to show the benefits of buying from a dedicated spa retailer. So, now that you have the video, how do you use it to your advantage on multiple channels? Let’s find out.
When buyers are in the consideration stage, where do they go for information to help them make their final decision? Most of them go online. They may have been to your store to scope out options, but they will do one last internet appraisal before making their decision. “The Spa Dating Game” video could be the key to them choosing your store.
This means you need to place the video in the most effective locations so the buyer begins to associate it with your store. The best way to accomplish this is to link the video to specific efforts on multiple channels:
- Landing pages
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Since “The Spa Dating Game” is aimed at moving customers from consideration to purchase, there are three ideal locations for it on your website.
- Customer Testimonial Page: Consider using it as a sidebar on your customer testimonial page or even as the central graphic that introduces the testimonials. Placing this video alongside positive customer feedback reinforces the message of not just buying a spa from a retail store, but buying a spa from YOUR retail store.
- Products and Services Page: Because the video illustrates getting to know the consumer in order to provide the right product and best service, the products and services page is a great location.
- The “Why choose Us” or “About” Page: This is a good location because it places the video next to your explanation of why the customer should buy from you. It gives you the opportunity to compare yourself with online and box stores and the video helps illustrate the point that purchasing from you is the best option—the option that will make them happy.
Landing pages are a single page with a single purpose containing a clear call to action. They focus on converting visitors to customers, so this is a great place to use “The Spa Dating Game” video. A click-through landing page is the best option because its purpose is to move the viewer into purchase mode. The idea is to send the searcher directly to what they are interested in rather than to a website where they have to search to find the information. Click-through pages contain links to more information—this is generally a link to your website where they can learn more. To make sure your landing page works in sync with the video, consider these questions:
- Does the landing page help tell the story of the video? In this case, it should address the difficulty of deciding where to buy a spa and the benefits of buying from a dedicated retailer.
- Does the page include a way to respond to your call-to-action? For click-through, this would be a link to your website.
- Is there enough information to convince the consideration stage buyer to take the next step?
Be sure to include text content about the video as it relates to your business/product and a call-to-action button or phrase that includes contact information or a link to your store website. Make sure you tell the reader exactly what you want them to know and how you want them to respond. A video landing page for this particular video is a great way to funnel consideration stage buyers to your webpage and your products.
A blog post about the best place to buy a spa is a good location for “The Spa Dating Game,” too. You just need to provide content that gives readers context so they fully grasp the connection between the blog and the video. You’ll also want to optimize the video size to blog width to ensure content is easy to view, and always include a call-to-action at the end of the post to encourage the reader to move forward in the buying journey.
Add video thumbnails to an email campaign that targets website and landing page hits. For example, when tracking the number of people who search spa prices on your web or landing pages, you can choose to send visitors an automated email that addresses the quality they get for the price when they buy from your store. A thumbnail video link to “The Spa Dating Game” is a fun way to get them thinking about the difference in quality they get from online, box, and dedicated retailers. Make sure your content includes a blurb that explains why YOUR store is the right choice for their purchase.
When using social media, you have to tailor your content and keep in mind character limits, best times to post, when/how to use hashtags, and ideal image sizes. Each social media platform is different, so here are some basic guidelines for integrating “The Spa Dating Game” into the most popular platforms.
- Say less: Posts with fewer than 120 characters have a higher click-through rate while posts with over 280 characters have a lower “click to see more” rate.
- Lead with a question: Looking for the best place to buy a hot tub? Check out this video for your best option!
- Include a list: For example, Smart, Dedicated, Loyal; Dedicated, Quality Products & Services, Excellent Customer Support (using terms from the video helps connect the content to your store).
- Instagram allows 2,200 characters that are truncated with ellipses after three lines of text. This means the opening line is extremely important for capturing viewers’ attention.
- Videos cannot exceed one minute on Instagram, so a still image of the video can be used unless you have access to the source file for cutting to fit.
- Instagram also doesn’t allow clickable links in the post, but you can copy and paste the url into your profile page and refer to “link in profile” within your post.
- Be sure to ask questions and encourage replies.
- Include hashtags in your copy to brands you sell, hot tub landscaping ideas, and outdoor living concepts; anything that might influence your audience to seek more information about your brand and your store.
- Keep tweets to under 100 characters to get a higher rate of engagement.
- Remember that Twitter plays video content automatically.
- Consider adding text overlay so the audience can follow it without sound.
- Use hashtags to reach new audiences and boost engagement. Note: If you want to drive traffic to your webpage, the fewer hashtags the better.
Regardless of where you choose to use the video, make sure your text content and video are compatible to mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and iPads.
One Last Thing…
Your content must be optimized for search engines. All your hard work will be for naught if potential buyers can’t find it. Here are just a few examples keyword search terms you should optimize for:
- How to choose a hot tub
- Where to buy a hot tub
- Buying the best hot tub
- Finding a hot tub
- Hot tub stores
Optimizing your content for these and similar searches should bring buyers to that content, the content should bring buyers to your webpage, and your webpage should bring buyers to your store (or at the very least elicit a phone call or web request for more information).