A Video Strategy for Contractors

More contractors are using video as part of their overall marketing strategy. Once a high barrier to entry due to the expense of video creation, production, and marketing, contractors can now launch effective video tactics with just a few thousand dollars.

This also creates a problem. Because it’s now so easy to create a video, and the proliferation of video sharing sites such as YouTube (among others) is ever increasing, there are more bad videos available than ever before.

What’s happened is that businesses are continuing to focus on the “technology” and not the core reason why videos are successful – great content and storytelling targeted to consumers in search of home comfort solutions.

If you are considering video as part of your integrated marketing strategy, here are the success factors.

Tell The Story, Not Your Story

Like any valuable, relevant and compelling content you create, a video isn’t about you, it’s about your customers. This is the biggest challenge for a contractor to overcome. So many times contractors want to talk about their products and services, or position one of their executives as an expert. That’s all fine and good, but if the video doesn’t meet the informational needs of the individual watching it, it won’t be watched.

The solution is simple. Develop a keen understanding of the customers you’re targeting. What are their key challenges? What do they need to know to live better lives? Why is your message important in the first place?

Once that’s established, you can then weave your marketing objectives into the video content without selling to the customer. Remember, your goal is not to sell them, but to help develop a conversation with the customer. Without valuable content, there’s no possibility of a conversation.

Forget the One-Timers and Think “Series”

Like any other successful communications program, consistency is the key. Many contractors create videos in hopes of that viral one-hit wonder. Really successful contractor videos build upon each other. Sites like willitblend.com or askaninja.com didn’t just produce one video and sit back. They planned for ongoing and consistent videos with a content plan focused on their target customers.

Share It, Don’t Own It

Just like your brand doesn’t belong to you anymore (it belongs to your customers), treat your videos the same way. Don’t just expect your customers and prospects to only go to your website to view the video. Populate it wherever your customers may be, whether YouTube, Facebook or probably most fitting, the sites and regional portals found in your service area. Your goal is for your video to be watched so that you can change or maintain a behavior. Knowing where your customers are prone to “engage” in your content is key.

Focus on Content over Production Value

The days of six-figure or even five-figure videos are over. Today’s consumers are very accepting of “YouTube quality” video, which are sometimes viewed as more credible and “real” to certain consumer groups. What are your current customers viewing habits? That question will save you a ton in production expenses.

Get Outside Help

When the sales and marketing department produces video without outside help, there is an uncontrollable urge to actively sell in it. Hire a journalist or video expert to give you a third-party view that will help remove the rose-colored glasses.

Final Tip

Think about giving your technicians a way to take video while they are out in the field. Customer case studies and "similar situation" stories that other customers would be interested in are happening all around them. Think about arming your technicians with something like Kodak's HD Zi8 to take some video on the spot.

Video lets customers view, see and hear things not possible with other formats. The technology is great, but it’s the targeted storytelling that will define your success and bring out the “human” side of your company.

Joe Pulizzi is CEO of SocialTract , a blogging/social media service for HVACR contractors. Joe is also co-author of Get Content Get Customers, which details how companies can publish content to drive revenues. SocialTract is a division of Z Squared Media, LLC . Joe can be reached at [email protected] . For speaking needs - http://joepulizzi.com.

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