6 Unique Ways to Use Video in Your Marketing

leverage green computer with mock facebook on screen and videos

Scroll down your Facebook feed, catch up on Twitter, or rummage through Instagram, and you’ll notice video after video after video. Visit a major retailer or electronics developer’s website and you’re likely to stumble on how-to and explainer videos. Opportunity exists to market your goods or services within those channels to customers who need and want them with a bit of clever video creation.


There are some rarely traveled avenues for video that your competitors probably haven’t explored yet. The following unique ways to use video in your marketing all require only a basic video setup with a microphone and some free space.

Attention-Grabbing GIFs

Animated GIFs don’t just have to come from your favorite TV shows and movies – you can shoot a custom video and turn it into an animation that will pull your website visitors’ attention immediately.

gif of person highlighting an offerUse GIFS to:

  • Draw attention to a CTA
  • Make an offer
  • Enhance branding
  • Inject personality

 

You can use GIFs on your website, in your emails, on social media, and in presentations. Just don’t overdo it – too many GIFs in inappropriate places will hinder your professional credibility. If you don’t have software like Adobe Photoshop to make custom GIFs, use Giphy’s GIF Maker to assemble your animations.

Video Email Signatures

Give prospects, business partners, and clients a chance to look through another entertaining and enlightening window into your business by adding a crafty signature video to your email signature block.

 

The video should exhibit your individual personality and include some elements of your work culture. There’s no one format, and you can film it anywhere at any time. Like most videos, keep it short – it should be fun for the viewer and heighten their goodwill and respect for your company.

Weekly Broadcasts

leverage purple computer showing weekly broadcast show

Weekly, monthly, or even daily broadcasts uploaded to YouTube are beneficial to your SEO and can also be easily posted and shared through major social networks like Twitter and Facebook. If your site garners a healthy amount of traffic, you can also feature them on an exclusive part of your website and encourage visitors to register for other special content that you provide.

Assemble short videos to:

  • Display new products
  • Update customers on upcoming products
  • Announce new services
  • Provide industry tips

If you haven’t addressed them in a while, you can also just say hello to your audience. Your broadcasts are most likely to catch views if you share them on social media and encourage others to share as well. However, you can still get some traction by recording periodical videos to create a library of company news and events as well.

Interviews with Influencers

leverage green computer showing interview with influencer

Influencers hold phenomenal authority in the world of social media, which gives them the ability to direct customers to a product or service they deem worthy of their fans’ attention. If you’re using influencer marketing as part of your marketing plan, you’re already on the right track to reaching your target audience and bringing your product or service to the people that are currently looking for it.

Influencers and video both currently dominate social media. Combine these trends to multiply the results of your efforts.

Broadcast and record live chats and interviews with influencers about your product. Do it question-and-answer style or just spend some time thanking an influencer for his or her endorsement and reinforcing the reasons that your product or service is worthy of attention from influencers and their followers. You can then turn your live videos into exceptional testimonials for your website.

Unscripted Testimonials

leverage purple computer showing video testimonial

Video testimonials exist scarcely in the deep recesses of the Internet – but that’s not because they aren’t effective. Text-and-photo testimonials still dominate because they are easy to make and post. But by employing only a small amount of additional effort, you can collect a few video testimonials that will tell more than text ever could.

Coordinate with happy customers and offer them an incentive if they don’t seem to have time to fit you in. A one-off free service or product offering is an incredible price for a video testimonial. Prepare a short list of questions to ask to get organic responses and provide the list to the customer beforehand.

Try some of the following questions:

  • What do you like about our product or service?
  • Can you tell me a story about a time when our product or service helped you or your business?
  • Why do you plan to continue to buy or use our product or service?

Bring customers or clients in for a shoot (don’t forget to ask them their name and company while recording), send them on their way, then do a quick edit for a 30-second testimonial and you’ll capture a new level of trust from your audience.

Offline Customer Service

leverage green computer with hammer and wood showing offline service videos

Customer service representatives often have a script from which they read to help customers solve their problems. Save your customer service team some time and eliminate the troubleshooting script with a video or series of videos that attempts to show customers and clients how to solve basic problems without human guidance.

Draw from an available Frequently Asked Questions database or start collecting information from your customer service department. Then draw out a script with step-by-step instructions on how to fix problems. Give the videos a single, cohesive format and brand them so your customers know that it’s your company that cares enough to give them a hand solving their problems.

Get creative with your videos, and no matter how you’re doing them, make sure:

  • Your brand is clear
  • Your actors are recurring
  • Your video fulfills a need
  • Your video’s content has not been done before

Follow content marketing best practices (provide useful information, don’t manipulate your audience, etc.) when creating and sharing videos to increase their power. When executed correctly, videos can enhance almost every part of your digital marketing strategy. Try to find new ways to integrate video into multiple marketing channels at once to take your brand or company to the top – fast!

Leverage knows video marketing. We stay up to the minute on video trends to keep our skills sharp and share information with trusted readers and clients like you. Stay afloat in the video information flow by signing up for our newsletter today. It’s easy, free, and loaded with marketing magic.

Brand Marketing at SXSW: How to Make Your Brand Stand Out

South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media and music conferences that take place in Austin, Texas. With increasing attendance and new attention-grabbing tech displays each year, brands struggle to get noticed at SXSW. How can your brand bring a unique experience to SXSW that translates into something unforgettable? It’s increasingly difficult to get noticed when every consumer-facing company gives out free swag, throws parties with free beer, and shows off the latest technology.

SXSW is known for helping to launch Foursquare and Twitter, and the conference regularly screens excellent films and television shows, many of which go on to great acclaim. Marketing at SXSW is an increasingly complicated endeavor, as getting noticed above all the buzz is difficult enough. Brands struggle to tie in product releases, navigate consumer trends, and figure out how to draw attendees to their events.

While every SXSW is different, last year some successful brand activations made their mark on attendees and marketers. Creating SXSW marketing that stands out sometimes means doing something a little different than what everyone else is doing (or what you think they’re going to do).

Each of these SXSW brand activations highlights a unique aspect of their product and communicates that to the audience—something every brand needs to do. While you may be successful by just following the current marketing trends– whether that’s virtual reality, make-your-own soda, or just giving out free stuff—doing something that conveys your signature SXSW brand image will likely be more successful.

American Greetings

american greeting sxsw branding

credit: @mullenloweus

It might seem odd for a greeting card company to even come to SXSW, let alone do a brand activation. But American Greetings wanted to disrupt the mold of disruptive digital technology by bringing in the analog. Their three-day 2016 promotion was entitled #Analog and allowed festivalgoers to do DIY printmaking and pop-up cards. They could learn letter-making techniques from an American Greetings artist, fill in a coloring book mural, and even get a selfie stitched with thread. American Greetings’ message is not to say that digital communication is not important or analog can replace digital communication, but rather that they’re complementary. Many people don’t slow down to send paper cards, and American Greetings’ SXSW marketing message is that analog still matters, and we should slow down to appreciate it.

Suicide Squad

Another unique brand activation at SXSW 2016 was Suicide Squad’s tattoo salon. Although the movie didn’t come out until Summer 2016, Warner Brothers started promoted it early through this special Harley Quinn-inspired experiential marketing. Instead of just doing a sneak peek of the film, Warner Bros transformed Affinity Tattoo and Body Piercing into Harley Quinn’s Tattoo Parlor—and offered free real (and temporary) tattoos. This brand activation got people excited about the film, created a unique SXSW marketing angle, and involved artists and fans in an innovative way, without using virtual reality or alternate reality to do so.

Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot, a techie show that launched at the 2015 SXSW festival and won the SXSW Audience Award, wanted to come back in 2016 and make a splash. The show’s marketing team figured there was no better way to do way to do that than to bring their iconic “Wonder Wheel” Ferris wheel to Austin. In one of the largest SXSW brand activations to date, USA Network designed the Ferris wheel to look like the Coney Island Wheel in the show, complete with nearby carnival games. The Mr. Robot cast and crew even visited SXSW to pay homage to the success the festival helped them garner—and of course, see the Wonder Wheel in real life. By creating SXSW branding that directly references the television show and allows the audience to experience a piece of their world—Mr. Robot succeeded in their SXSW marketing.

Mophie

If you have a smartphone, you’ve probably heard of Mophie. They make external batteries and cases to charge your favorite devices. As you can imagine, at SXSW, battery life gets eaten up pretty quickly. Between all the tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, and interactive brand activations and events, your smartphone may be dead before the day is half over. But Mophie is here to rescue you—with adorable St. Bernards. At 2016’s SXSW, Mophie partnered with the National St. Bernard Foundation, Glympse, and a motorcycle company to bring you a fresh phone battery when festivalgoers needed it. If someone tweeted using the hashtag #mophieRescue, the company would send one of its fleet of St. Bernards straight to them with a Mophie battery pack to charge up. This cute SXSW brand marketing makes Mophie look good, helps people out, and helps a good cause—dog rescues.

The Takeaway

SXSW is a brand marketing war. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different companies competing for attention from festivalgoers and consumers. Many companies try using the tried and true techniques of giving out free swag, throwing parties, and utilizing the latest technology trends. But these aren’t enough to truly make your product or company memorable. Take note of the uniqueness of the SXSW branding campaigns mentioned in this article—they all did something that was integral to their brand identity and helped their core audience in some way. If you can harness this mentality for your SXSW marketing, you can succeed in the crowded marketplace.


If you’re interested in reading our latest blog posts and learning about the latest digital marketing news, sign up for our biweekly newsletter. Leverage will keep you up to date on what’s going on in the world of SEO, PPC, content marketing, and much more.

How to Make an Explainer Video

An explainer video describes a product or service in a short time with simple language. It is designed to provide potential customers and clients an overview of your offerings as directly and concisely as possible and help interested viewers decide whether to purchase. Short and simple videos are popular in marketing because they carry effective messages to customers with little resource investment.

 

 

 

You can start making your own explainer videos with an affordable setup and just a little bit of basic video knowledge, and we’ll show you how.


What Do I Need to Make an Explainer Video?

The setup for explainer videos is straightforward. There’s no need for expensive jibs and advanced sliders. Cover the basics and you can start learning how to create explainer videos right away.

Must-Have Shooting Equipment

The following items represent the bare minimum equipment needed to shoot the footage for an explainer video:

Camera

Two types of cameras cover the essentials of shooting for explainer videos: Smartphones and prosumer digital cameras.

Smartphones now record video at shockingly high resolutions and output quality video files when you prepare your shooting space correctly. They are a perfectly viable option provided you can steady your shot by propping the phone against solid objects on top of a flat surface.

If you want more advanced control over your shoot than what is offered by smartphones, you can opt for a prosumer camera. Prosumer is a portmanteau of professional and consumer, so called because it combines the features of professional products with consumer-friendly functionality. Most prosumer digital cameras shoot video in 1080p, even premium compact cameras, and they usually perform advanced functions like shutter speed adjustment and iris control automatically so you can focus solely on getting the right shot.

Microphone

Your microphone captures the subject’s voice, which is essential to explaining your product or service. Unfortunately, the on-board microphone that comes with your camera is usually omnidirectional, which means it picks up sound from every direction. Omnidirectional microphones are great for recording ambient sound, but they also pick up echoes that will distract your viewer and lower the professional quality of your video.

cardioid audio pattern graphTo capture clean audio, make sure you have a lavalier or shotgun microphone that is directional, which means that it only records sound in a single direction and within a limited span. Cardioid microphones, which capture audio in a heart-shaped pattern, are also effective, affordable, and wildly popular.

Must-Have Editing Equipment

The items below represent the minimum equipment needed for editing.

Desktop or Laptop Computer

Desktop computers tend to house more power than laptop computers, but if you work on the go, a laptop can still help you fashion a formidable explainer video.

Ideally, you’ll operate with a computer that has a video card inside. Video cards provide exclusive memory for video-related tasks, which allows your computer to process and handle visual information at a higher speed. If you don’t have a video card, modern graphics chipsets such as the very common Intel HD Graphics chipset will provide slow but functioning power for basic graphics tasks.

sd card reader with small and large 16 gb sd card insertedMost modern cameras use an SD card to store video information, so your computer should have a port for an SD card if you’re using it to edit. If not, you can email slightly compressed videos from your smartphone to any device that connects to the Internet, but you’ll be sacrificing video quality.

Optional Shooting Equipment

The following are items that will make your shoot look more professional, but are not needed to create a basic video.

Tripod

The tripod is the three-legged device that holds and stabilizes your camera. If you have one, you can steady your shot and adjust much more easily than you could with a smartphone and a stack of textbooks. The most rudimentary tripods start at about $10, but professional-grade tripods can reach $10,000 or more.

Most tripods will fit most cameras if they have the right baseplate. When shopping for tripods, you won’t need to worry too much about whether your camera and tripod are compatible – just make sure that when you get a baseplate, it fits both the camera and the tripod.

Lights

Setting up lights is the fastest way to turn the look of your video from grainy home movie to glamorous silver screen film. Lighting has become astronomically more affordable in the last 10 years. The base price for an entire lighting kit now starts around $50. Even two well-placed standard lights can breathe new life into dull, flat video sets.

explainer video shoot subject with white background no lights

No lights – tough to see, not much dimension, fades into background

explainer video shoot subject with white background key and fill lights

Key and fill lights – easier to see, separated from background

How Should I Set up for a Shoot?

The shoot is all about the subject. If you want a great performance, make your subject comfortable by creating a fluid studio experience.

  1. explainer video shoot subject with white background no lightsPlace Your Subject – Using a stand-in (you, a friend, or a coworker), find a comfortable place for your subject to stand or sit that is at least a few feet away from your background. In any video, keeping the subject separated from his or her surroundings will make your video less claustrophobic and distracting to the viewer.
  2. smartphone in studio on book ready to shoot videoPrepare Your Camera – If you have a tripod, place your camera securely on it and place it far enough away from the subject so that the bottom of your shot ends at chest-level or mid-thigh. If you don’t have a tripod, stack books on a table and balance your camera or smartphone on a flat surface. For an explainer video, place the camera as close to the height of your subject’s eyes as possible.
  3. explainer video lavalier microphone sound checkTest Your Audio – Ask your subject (nicely) to count down from ten slowly or to try an enunciation exercise such as, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” while you record the audio. Play it back to make sure that reverb (echo) is minimal and each vowel and consonant sound is clear enough for your audience without popping.
  4. explainer video with optional key and fill lightingCreate a Lighting Scheme (Optional) – If you have lights, set them up so you have at least a key and fill. The key light is your main source of light that you place in front of and slightly to the side of your subject to create dimension. The fill light is a subtler light placed in front of your subject and slightly to the opposite side to soften the harsh shadow created by the key light.
  5. explainer video subject test shot with hand motions and speechShoot a Test Shot – Once your subject is framed, lights placed, and microphone tested, try a full single shot while your subject practices enunciation again. Ask him or her to do another countdown or exercise with a bit of facial expression and movement so you can ensure that your camera is focused. Review the footage and correct any errors.
  6. explainer video subject comfortable on chairSeat or Stand Your Subject – Bring in the real subject to either sit in a backless chair or stand in front of the camera. If you’re doing an interview-style video, let the subject know that you’ll be asking a few questions and that you would like for him or her to repeat the question in his or her response. For example, if you ask the subject “What is your favorite color?” the subject should respond with “My favorite color is green.”

Once you’ve prepared and your subject is in place, you can begin your shoot. The events of each shoot will vary, and it’s best to learn how you work with your actors to find out what process will work most efficiently for your sessions.

Remember these tips for your explainer video shoots:

  • If your subject is reading from a script: Try to begin and stop recording at the end of each section of speech. Unless your subject has memorized the entire monologue, it will be easier to scrub through takes than to try to pick out usable lines from one long, continuous shot.
  • If your subject is answering interview questions: Record the entire interview without stopping – you never know when your subject will say something unexpectedly profound or pertinent. Give yourself an audible cue before you begin a new question to make the editing process more fluid.
  • Keep water around for your subject to drink between takes. Even in the middle of an interview, a dry throat makes lines of monologue and answering questions nearly impossible.
  • Be ready to adjust lighting. If your subject is blinded by your lights when facing the camera or the interviewer, the lights are probably not properly placed. Maintain the dimensions created by your lights while improving comfort for your subject.

What Do I Do Once I’m Done Shooting?

Immediately after shooting, turn off your camera and microphone, shut down all lights, thank your subject for participating, and place your equipment safely away. Remove the SD card or DV tape from your camera before storing it.

Your next step will be importing video to your computer. The process will differ depending on your recording medium.

  • SD Card – SD cards store recorded information as ready-to-use digital video files. Most operating systems provide an importing wizard for you as soon as you plug an SD card into the port. If they don’t, you can use the Finder on a Mac or Windows Explorer in Windows to locate your SD Card and click and drag the files onto your hard drive.
  • DV Tape – Digital video (DV) tapes are an older technology, but if you have a camera around from the early 2000s, you might still be using them. You’ll have to use the Capture feature in your editing program to get DV tape data from a tape deck to your computer.

Your microphone audio may be attached to your video files, saved as separate files on your SD card, or may need to be imported from your smartphone or audio recording device if you’re using an external audio recorder. Pull them onto your computer before beginning to edit.

Once your footage has been converted to digital files via the Capture tool or imported from an SD card, you can bring those files into your editing software. Most video editing programs now have a click-and-drag feature that allows you to pull footage from your folders directly into the application by clicking and holding your footage, then dragging it into the application window. If not, your software should include an Import option that will open a Browse window where you can locate and import your footage.

Prepare Additional Assets

To make your video look ultra-professional, you may want to whip up or purchase some graphical assets. Consider grabbing some of the following, depending on your needs:

Logos

leverage marketing logo

Short Animations leverage monster suspicious animation Icons leverage guy flat icon

Buttons

green 3d button example

 

Make sure the assets you use are not copyright protected under a copyright that is not your own. Lots of companies offer royalty-free images and icons for a small up-front price or subscription fee. You may even be able to find free assets from graphic designers who are looking to garner a more elite reputation.

Organize your video and assets into distinct folders under a parent folder with your project’s name. Your editing process will benefit in speed and accessibility if you organize before you edit.

How Do I Edit?

Editing is the process of piecing your shots together into a seamless video. It’s where you get to see your video come to life.

Operating systems these days come with basic editing software that has a surprising number of features:

Mac: iMovie

iMovie becomes more powerful with each iteration, and its interface closely resembles that of professional video editing software. It includes templates for animations, trailers, and entire videos. Use a template if you wish, or customize your edit by clicking and dragging footage on the user-friendly timeline provided.

PC: Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker has come bundled with the Windows operating system for many years, and though it has been discontinued as of January 10, 2017, those who still have the software on their computers can use it without software support from Microsoft. It has significantly fewer features than iMovie, but can still help you perform fundamental edits.

Editing your video is a 6-step process:

  1. Choose the shots you like – Find the shots with the best audio and video combination and pull them into your timeline, the area of your editing software in which you make cuts, inserts, and changes.
  2. Arrange your clips – Make your clips fit the flow of your script or the goal of your interview. Remove questions from the interviewer so that only the interviewee’s answers remain.
  3. Trim the beginning and end of each of your clips – Give your video a distinct rhythm. Make sure any pauses at the beginning and end of lines of monologue or answers match as closely as possible between clips.
  4. Add an intro and outro – You can put your company logo or a title card at the beginning and end of your timeline. Editing software has tools that help you make quick and easy title cards. You can also import your logo graphic and plug it in.
  5. Add transitions – Apply a dissolve or fade to your cuts where appropriate. It makes the transition between clips smoother. At a minimum, you should apply a transition between your intro and the body of your video, then another between the body of your video and the outro.
  6. Export your video – Each application handles exporting differently, but most will have an Export option with default settings that make Internet-ready videos.

Your files will work best in AVI, MP4, MPG, or MOV format for web use. If you know how to compress your video, do it slightly so that when your page loads, your video will load quickly as well.

How Do I Use My Explainer Video?

Once your video is done and exported, it’s ready for use on the Internet. The easiest way to get your videos onto your website is to attach them to a video hosting service first, then embed them using a special code.

youtube official logo flatYouTube is owned by Google and is a fantastic hosting service since it’s likely to boost your SEO efforts as well. If you haven’t already, you can create an official account for your business or agency, then begin uploading videos directly to YouTube. Each one has an embed code that you can add to your website’s HTML built into the YouTube page that displays your video.

wistia official logo white backgroundMany businesses also use Wistia to host their company-related videos since the Wistia platform offers comprehensive analytics and open-ended APIs that allow video to integrate into many different platforms. You may need a plugin to place a Wistia video on your site, but installing one is usually free and takes only a minute.

still image of video from leverage comprehensive digital plan landing page

Using either your YouTube or Wistia embed code, find an attractive home for the video on your website and implement the ready-made player that comes with the code.

The most potent ways to use your explainer videos once you know how to create them are:

  • On Your Service Pages – When you offer a complex product or service, it’s tough to find an audience that wants or needs it. Make it easy on those searching for your solution by creating short videos that fully explain the broad concepts of what you offer.
  • On Your Landing Pages – Help your audience make the right decision about whether to take advantage of your product or service by providing fast-paced, to-the-point videos on your landing pages that will save them time and clinch their decisions.

As you get better and faster at creating video, you can find more ways to implement video into your marketing. You can start using video in blogs, articles, social posts, and even in the background of your website. Learning how to make an explainer video is an easy first step into the world of video, and there’s no better time to start creating videos than right now.

 

No time to make videos? No problem – your friends at Leverage Marketing have the know-how and the tools to make professional-quality videos that go well beyond the explainer video. Start a conversation with us about video marketing – there’s no obligation, just powerful marketing knowledge and friendly faces.

Valentine’s Day Campaigns You’ll Love—and What You Can Learn from Them

Valentine’s Day marketing can be difficult for content creators and marketing companies alike. How can you tap your marketing arsenal into a holiday where the message is all about love? The most successful Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns utilize the “human factor,” connecting with their audience and establishing trust. Building a relationship with potential customers is the best way to go about Valentine’s Day marketing.

However, it’s easy to strike a false note when attempting to create efficacious Valentine’s Day marketing ideas. How do marketers seem genuine when creating their marketing campaigns? We’re going to look at several Valentine’s day marketing campaigns that hit the mark and analyze why they worked for their respective companies.

With an average spend of $142.31 per person, and nine out of 10 people buying a gift for their partner, Valentine’s Day is a big retail holiday. While certainly not in the same league as the winter retail season, over $18.9 billion is spent on Valentine’s Day, more money than Easter or the Super Bowl, and in the same league as Mother’s Day. Let’s take a deeper look into how you can capture a share of that spend with a successful Valentine’ Day marketing campaign.

WestJet Proposal Campaign

The #WestJetLove Valentine’s Day commercial was an exceedingly popular campaign in 2015 with over 1.2 million views, detailing two couples’ surprise proposals on Barbados. Canadian airline WestJet flew two couples out to Barbados with the catch that the men had to propose when WestJet asked them. This situation results in a tear-jerking, beautiful video of two couples’ love stories, watching love come to life on screen. With just the right degree of awkwardness, the video strikes a personal tone, brings the love element of Valentine’s Day, and gives you access into the couples’ lives.

As a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, #WestJetLove succeeds because it focuses on building a relationship with its customers. The ad isn’t describing how wonderful WestJet’s services are, but rather is a funny and sincere love story—a unique take on proposals that succeeds in showing the quirkiness of the company. Both JP and Stephanie’s and Mike and Heather’s love stories are relatable to the audience, but it’s the fun tone of the videos, complete with anticipatory music each time the host shows up—that push this campaign over the top.

The Takeaway

Try using personal techniques in crafting your own Valentine’s Day marketing ideas. How does your company or product appeal to your customers? Your Valentine’s Day advertising doesn’t have to correlate to your business—as long you’re connecting with your clients and driving traffic (and positive reception) to your site.

Cartier- The Proposal

Cartier’s “The Proposal” advertisement from 2015 is in some ways more insidious than WestJet’s—but tells a beautiful story in the process. Cartier lures you in with a touching three-part love story, telling simultaneous tales of Valentine’s romance (and struggle) between couples. The three couples in Paris are all slightly different ages, but the men’s aims are similar—to proclaim their love for the women in their lives.

The first, set in the Rodin Museum, tells a story of a man sending his wife on a scavenger hunt to find him until she finds the jewelry box (from Cartier) and he proposes. The second is set in the airport, as the wife is going away on a trip for six months. Her husband deftly removes her passport and re-proposes to her with a new ring (from Cartier). The last is set as a man and woman are separated by an elevator, and he desperately runs up the stairs, catching her as the doors open each time, making pleas that he cares for her. Eventually, he proposes—while she’s still stuck in the elevator.

The Takeaway

These intertwining stories of love in the City of Lights follow established rules of a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign. While enhanced by fantastic acting and a great storyline, the primary aim and focus of the advertisement are the Cartier rings. These gorgeous, diamond-studded rings make the audience want Cartier, associating love with the Cartier brand. That red box is instantly associated with love. Cartier has set up a world through these three stories, and at least eight million people have watched. Creating a successful Valentine’s day marketing campaign means associating your product with love, romance, and engagement. Cartier has done this—and you can do it too.

Netflix Binge for Love

Netflix’s 500 Hours Binge for Love video from 2016’s Valentine’s Day campaign capitalizes on Netflix’s successes in reaching out to its customers. The idea of “bingeing” a television show—watching a whole series quickly and viewing many episodes back-to-back– has grown familiar with the streaming service’s growing triumphs in the video space. This advertisement takes that concept and connects it to a blossoming love connection.

The man in the ad, after falling for the young woman shown at the beginning of the commercial, immediately watches all the available series of the Netflix original Orange is the New Black. It takes over his life for the span of the advertisement—he wants to impress the young woman. He is “bingeing for love.” The commercial cuts the tension when she hasn’t watched the season three finale with a singing group reprising the modified I Would Watch 500 Hours to them.

This advertisement succeeds on multiple levels. It capitalizes on Netflix’s new cultural cache and the concept of bingeing television shows. It also modifies an existing popular song for its purposes—successfully (unlike many commercial jingles), and it leaves the audience hanging. We don’t know if this couple will succeed, but the man has gone to absurd lengths to like her interests—and many in the audience can relate. We’ve all be in the situation where we’ve pretending to have an interest or like something as a conversational piece—and it works well here.

The Takeaway

What are your company’s strengths? Netflix has unique advantages in the cultural cache that they can incorporate into a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, but it’s about founding your company or product’s individual assets—and utilizing them. Use popular culture to your advantage—tap into ideas and concepts that appeal to your target audience (your buyer personas)—and you’ll come up with great Valentine’s Day marketing ideas.


If you need some help creating Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns that will hit the mark, talk to the marketing experts at Leverage Marketing. Contact us today, and we’ll assist you in crafting a Valentine’s Day campaign of your dreams. Our team can help you understand the sophisticated new marketing technologies on the market and how they can work for your business.

Influencer Marketing Facts and Statistics

Influencer marketing is a phenomenon of modern marketing that places expert consumers in the role of consultants for buyers looking to make informed purchase decisions – and the power of influencers is growing every day.

Influencer marketing is the management of exchange relationships between service and product providers and trusted consumers with authority over a target audience.

Social media, one of the main mediums for influencers to flex their marketing muscle, has a white-knuckle grip on the youth of the early 2000s. Over the past 10 years, social media has built an entire digital world in which millennials socialize, create, and consume. The majority of their interactions and decisions happen online, and now they are reaching the age at which they are making and selling products and services. The wise marketer should pay attention to the growth rate of influencer marketing and track the statistics that can help craft a successful influencer marketing strategy and campaign.

To get you started and thinking about influencer campaigns and research, we’ve dug up some surprising influencer marketing statistics:

influencer marketing facts and statistics infographic

74% of people trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions

Three out of every four customers trust the opinions on social media, including friends, family, and influencers, to help them make the right decision about a product or service. If you’re not working with influencers, you could be losing those customers to your competition.

49% of people rely on influencer recommendations

That’s nearly half of all potential customers. Influencers build trust by creating a memorable brand and creating useful and relevant content. When consumers feel safe with influencer recommendations, they follow them and purchase those products.

In 2016, influencer marketing surpassed print marketing

According to Google Trends, the following three marketing channels deserve your attention:

  • Video marketing is still the most promising marketing channel
  • Influencer marketing is moving in on video marketing
  • Print marketing is falling behind in effectiveness

“Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing.” – Tomoson

Customers are blocking ads

47% of customers have reported that they use ad-blocking technology when browsing. Only 14% of people can remember when they last saw an ad and what it promoted. The power is shifting to the influencers – real people with real opinions.

73% of marketers claim to have allocated money for influencer marketing

Unless you’re already actively enticing influencers to try your product or service, your competition has you beat. Marketers know that influencer marketing is a top contender for marketing channels – it’s time to hop on board with social networks and influencers.

It’s not too late to get on board and start an influencer marketing campaign. Develop a strategy that includes some of your industry’s top influencers, and show them how useful and valuable your product or service is. If you have questions, talk to the masters of marketing at Leverage Marketing, and check out our Guide to Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget eBook to make sure you’ve got room in your budget to sway those influencers today.

SEO Trends and Predictions for 2017

The beginning of 2017 may be a fresh start for you, but for Google, progress in the sphere of optimizing Internet search won’t slow for a second. The preference for mobile Internet consumption, the desire for quicker and denser content, mounting pressure to increase ad revenue, and the unstoppable development of digital assistants and voice search point to a new golden rule for search engine optimization (SEO) trends:

Make it for mobile.

Mobile-First Is Undeniable

chart of hours spent daily on mobile devicesSEO experts have been predicting the latest SEO trends as part of their jobs for years, and there’s one that keeps making an appearance in the latter 2010s: mobile is the future of Internet and search. Major search engines are putting mobile at the forefront as trends in SEO continually point toward the indomitable strength and convenience of mobile consumption.

More Americans are spending more of their free time watching the screens on their smartphones and tablets, according to comScore. If the amount of activity on social networks is any indication, it’s likely that most of those hours are spent scouring Facebook and Twitter feeds for images and videos. Social apps and mobile search are in line to become some of marketing’s biggest targets for paid advertisements and organic efforts. Changes in the way that search will respond to mobile users as well as desktop users point to an almost certain future of mobile takeover.

Mobile-First Indexing

In the latter half of 2016, at the beginning of October, the first iterations of mobile-first indexing became a reality. Mobile-first indexing resets the priority of Google’s indexing bot to read through a site’s mobile version when determining how a site should be indexed. That means Googlebot looks at the relevance, speed, and technical organization of mobile sites over desktop sites when it decides where your page goes on the search engine results page (SERP).

Desktop SERPs Match Mobile

December also saw a UI update for desktop search engine results pages that helped them match the appearance and function of mobile SERPs. Specifically, desktop users see more specialized cards such as featured snippets and maps when they perform searches that trigger those cards. Of course, in such early stages, the desktop experience isn’t quite optimized for desktop searchers:

how long does google take to index serp with mistake

As of 2016, producing cards for desktop searches runs into trouble when wording is ambiguous. In our example, it seems that Google understands our query to be something closer to “How long does it take, Google, to [get to] Index, [WA]?”

Fortunately, development of semantic search promises to inch ever closer to matching the meaning and understanding the context of searches and the searcher’s intent. Consistent improvements in machine learning allow more of your searches in 2017 to reflect the intent of your search rather than the face value of the words you have typed into the engine. While returning relevant search results has long been a goal of Google search, the rise of digital assistants and voice search has lit a new fire in the quest to teach machines to parse language in the same way as humans.

Progressive Web Apps

Google has created a streamlined way for business owners to build progressive web apps, mobile applications that integrate the in-app experience with web capabilities. In many ways, they are web pages that look and act like apps. The intent of progressive web apps is to keep users engaged with apps by:

  • Provided online and offline service
  • Drastically decreasing loading times
  • Eliminating the need for purchase and installation
  • Offering an app experience without the maintenance of an app

Progressive web apps are perhaps the first step toward creating seamless product and service shopping experiences without the need to download apps. Users can keep progressive web apps on the home screens of their mobile devices and load them instantly.

The goal is customer retention. According to Smashing Magazine, users are three times more likely to reopen a mobile application than a website, especially after receiving push notifications. If integrating the app experience with the web experience can make purchasing easier for users, SEO experts will need to focus efforts on driving more customers to those progressive web apps organically.

Video and Images Are Next

The Content Is King mantra is steadfast, but SEOs need to consider more than ever that content has a greater reach than text articles. Major search engines, too, are looking for ways to read and organize all types of content. The term content includes video, animations, and images as well as text. Quality videos and images are proven ways to increase customer engagement and retention, and SEO experts will need to find ways to optimize videos for search in 2017.

Multimedia works in all parts of the marketing funnel and matches the goals of SEO:

  • The intent to purchase of users who enjoy video ads increases by 97%
  • One-third of all online activity is encompassed by watching video
  • 87% of marketers are using video content

These incredible facts from HubSpot make the user preference for video and image content clear. Check out some of the ways marketers are using video content in 2016:

Branded Video Content on Social Networks

titanfall advertisement with video on facebook

Autoplay pushes social videos straight to the brain. When advertisements combine exciting content with beautiful presentation, customers watch – and buy.

Live Streaming

new york times live stream video facebook

Anyone can instantly live stream a video on lots of social networks. Companies can get on-the-spot engagement by sharing stories, information, or just entertaining audiences.

Background Video on Home Pages and Sales Pages

life of pi home page background video

Companies can capture attention instantly with moving backgrounds, then entice users to stay with text overlays or an in-video call to action.

GIFs everywhere

giphy home page with trending gifs

GIFs resonate with young audiences, and marketers are learning how to pull on their heartstrings with simple animations that celebrate their favorite people, movies, shows, and music.

Closer Ties for SEO and PPC

Ad-heavy search results mean that competition for top rankings in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising will likely push advertisers to improve the quality of their paid content. SEO experts must be ready to focus on improving quality scores for ads in 2017 as Google search moves toward a role as a PPC giant as well as an organic search engine giant.

Voice Search and Digital Assistants

The artificial intelligence that governs the functions of voice search and digital assistants is the focus of research for many of the companies developing such technologies, including Google. Digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant use artificial intelligence to attempt to understand natural language and harness that knowledge to produce useful information and resources for live people.

If they weren’t already, SEOs should look to improve relevance, usability, and permanence of content so that digital assistants and voice searchers can utilize the real language contained within the content to find the highest quality information.

What Should We Focus on in 2017?

In anticipation of an even more quickly changing search landscape, SEOs should focus on:

  • Crafting all SEO strategies and making design decisions based on mobile use
  • Building a video strategy that integrates with other marketing solutions
  • Sharpening PPC and paid search knowledge to keep customer rankings high in the paid sphere
  • Optimizing organic content to be found by digital assistants that understand real language

Don’t be afraid of change, be ahead of it, and remember: Make it for mobile.

Leverage Marketing can take you every step of the way through the SEO process – but we also do so much more. If you’re thinking about changing the way you market your business, let us guide you through it. Start by getting your hands on our 2017 Digital Marketing Budget Guide and find out what it will take to pull your marketing into 2017.

Should You Put Your Money on Video Marketing?

If your online marketing efforts don’t include video, you’re now in the minority. An estimated 87% of online marketers are using video content in some form, and advertisers are spending $10 million annually on digital videos. Of course, “everyone else is doing it” isn’t enough to justify using video for marketing. Let’s look at some of the advantages of video marketing that may help sway you if you’re still unsure where to allocate your digital marketing dollars.

Benefits of Video Marketing

Informative and entertaining online videos can provide a great return on investment for your business. Videos can:

  • Increase your links and brand visibility. That’s because 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with people in their network, according to Invodo. Having videos from your site shared doesn’t just increase your visibility, it also helps your search engine rankings.
  • Increase a web user’s average time on your site. Many web users prefer to consume information through videos rather than text; in fact, Diode Digital found that video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined. Web users are more likely to engage with your site if they can watch a video. More time on your site means greater engagement and a boost in search engine rankings.
  • Help your potential customers make a purchase decision. 90% of web users say that watching a video about a product helps them decide whether or not they want to purchase it, according to Insivia.
  • Help your B2B company reach its audience. Insivia also reports that three-quarters of executives watch videos on relevant business websites on a weekly basis.
  • Boost your email engagement. Forrester found that adding video to a marketing email can increase the click-through rate by 200-300%.

Determining Your Online Video Costs

Filming Online Ad

It’s clear that there are numerous benefits of video marketing for your business, but can you afford the upfront costs? The good news is that the barrier to entry for video production is lower than you might think. You can even make company videos using a smartphone, some basic editing software (typically costing around $40-$100), and your in-house team. Of course, the quality of the video generally increases along with the budget. Marketing company Hinge estimates that a basic 1-2 minute video produced by a professional corporate team will cost about $5,000-$20,000, while a premium 1-2 minute video with top-level talent, high-end cameras, and a studio will cost $25,000-$50,000.

Free to $50,000 is obviously a pretty wide range, so if you’re thinking about using video for marketing, you’ll need to spend some time working out your own budget and determining if the cost is worth the benefits.

Your budget can be broken into three basic categories: time, labor, and equipment.

Time

If you’re making a simple explainer video with members of your in-house team, you might only need to set aside a few hours for shooting, but if you’re making a larger-scale video advertisement or case study, shooting might take a few days. In addition to actual filming time, you’ll need to account for pre-production planning, writing the script, traveling to and from the filming location, and editing. Remember that you’ll have to account for the time of everyone working on the project, so the more people you have, the more man-hours you’re likely to log.

Labor

Some companies are able to produce quality videos using employees as their actors, camera crew, and editors. However, if your in-house team has limited experience with video production, you may need to set aside part of your budget for hiring a professional videographer, editor, and/or spokesperson. The more experience these contract workers have, the more you can expect to pay.

Equipment

As previously mentioned, it is possible to make a DIY online video with a smartphone camera and basic editing software. However, for a more polished product, you may need to purchase (or rent) high-end cameras, multiple lenses, and sound and lighting equipment. Depending on the shots you have planned, you may also need specialty video production equipment such as a tripod, dolly or jib crane. Each of these items will add to the cost of the final product.

Investing in Video: Know What You Want to Achieve

Video Streaming

Before deciding exactly how much you want to spend on video marketing, it’s important to determine exactly what you’re trying to achieve. For example, are you trying to increase your brand visibility with top-of-the-sales-funnel advertising? Are you trying to show consumers who are at the decision-making stage how to use your product? Are you trying to establish yourself as an authority in your industry? Make sure the goal of your campaign remains top-of-mind with everyone working on the project so that your online videos have a significant impact.


Still unsure how much your company should invest in video marketing, or any other form of online marketing? Talk to our team at Leverage– we’ll be happy to help you come up with a strategy for success.