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Common mistakes when getting started with B2B video marketing

As more and more B2B brands dive into video marketing, we see many of the same mistakes being made over and over. If you’re looking to get started with video marketing, review this list and learn from the mistakes of your peers.

Top 5 mistakes B2B marketers make when starting video marketing

  1. Skipping the strategy step
  2. Engaging the wrong creative or strategic team
  3. Failing to optimize for each platform
  4. Forgetting closed captions
  5. Choosing quantity over quality

Skipping the strategy step

I like to say that most mediocre B2B videos started with a simple phrase: “We need a video!” Yes, it’s 2021. You need to use video in your marketing. But we’re very far past the days that all you need to do to get started with video marketing is pop a 2-minute long brand film up on your homepage.

When video projects start with “We need a video!”, we find that the next step is typically to jump right into writing a script and finding a video production company. That can lead to corporate, unoriginal, less effective video. What the first step should be is to create a video strategy.

Your B2B video marketing journey needs to begin with a video marketing strategy. I think that sentence scares some B2B marketers, because they think I mean that they need to have a detailed video content calendar that includes their CEO joining weekly TikTok dance challenges. (I mean, it could… but let’s not get distracted here.)

If video marketing is not currently a key pillar of your overall marketing strategy, that’s ok. You can get started by creating a strategy for individual video projects. If your marketing team wants to create a new video for your homepage, then the first step is to create a strategy for that video. A project-based video strategy should include at minimum project goals, target audience, and a key message.

If you plan to use a lot more video in your marketing, then a detailed, journey-based strategy with a full content calendar is right for you. We recommend incorporating video as a category into your existing content calendar. Then you can plan out the purpose and target audience of each spot in the same way you do for any other marketing content.

No matter what route you choose, spending time on strategy before creating a video will help you get an effective, long-lasting spot for your brand.

Engaging the wrong creative or strategic team

Everyone knows that a video produced by a video production company is going to look better than something you shoot on your iPhone. But a lot of B2B marketers new to video marketing fail to engage video experts in the earlier stages of the project too.

Most marketing teams have a trusted roster of freelance copywriters, strategists, and designers. These people can create excellent case studies, whitepapers, and sales presentations. What they often cannot do excellently is concept or develop videos.

Video has gotten lumped into content marketing generally. That has led to an assumption that good content marketers are good at video. However, “video” is a generic term for a type of content. It tells you no more about what you’re getting than “writing.” A video can be a polished ad or a webinar recorded over Zoom or a million things in between. When you’re working on videos that you want to be either top-of-funnel or have a really long lifespan, working with the right team is crucial.

Concepting a video requires thinking of how words, visuals, and sound combine into an effective message. A copywriter who mostly writes content meant to be read might not have the know-how to write an effective video script. That’s why so many B2B videos sound like the voiceover is reading a whitepaper or a sales sheet. Because it was written by someone who mostly writes whitepapers and sales sheets.

A video expert, be that a copywriter who specializes in scriptwriting or a creative director to oversee storyboards, is an investment in a quality video. Hiring an outside expert may sound expensive when you have good writers in house, but think about the cost as a percentage of your overall budget. If you are going to be spending tens of thousands of dollars on video production, why be cheap when it comes to paying someone a couple thousand for quality words? I promise it will be worth the investment to get a better video. We often recommend spending more of the budget on creatives and finding savings in the production itself.

Failing to optimize for each platform

A key benefit of video is that it performs well on many platforms, from social media to in-person conferences. When you have a high-quality video, you should absolutely get as much use out of it as you can.

But one of the biggest mistakes we see B2B brands make is placing the video on many platforms, but then not optimizing them for each platform. I feel like I’ve written about this endlessly, because we see it so often. Putting your video up on YouTube is great, but people need to be able to find it. Optimizing your YouTube videos for SEO not only makes it easier to find on YouTube, but also makes it more likely that your video will show up in Google SERPs. That drastically increases the chance a prospect who isn’t already browsing your company’s YouTube channel or website will find the video.

When posting the video to social media, take the time to add a caption and always a CTA with a link. A simple “Learn more” is all you need to give prospects a next step after watching the video.

Forgetting closed captions

Compared to my other mistakes, this one might seem minor. Not so. Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 60 to 85 percent of online videos are watched without sound. That means a video without captions is instantly losing more than half the potential audience.

More importantly, closed captions are required for accessibility online. Just as you would never invite a client to an office only accessible by stairs, don’t invite your prospects to watch a video that requires hearing.

Focusing on quantity over quality

Video marketing is a long game. While most social media content has a shelf life of mere hours, videos on YouTube or on your website can be generating leads for years.

As part of your video marketing strategy, consider how long you plan to use a video for. If you’re looking for a spot that will last years and be used across your owned channels, then properly invest in that spot. Much like a quality wardrobe, high quality pieces will last longer and get endless use. A high quality spot can also lend itself to shorter cutdowns to use as ads or across social media. Plan all this out early to get the most bang for your production buck.

Look for savings with videos that will have a shorter lifespan or be exclusively used on social media. Those spots are more likely to still see ROI when done in-house or more cheaply.

There’s a lot to think about when getting started with B2B video marketing. If you need help to get going, we’d love to talk.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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