Creating a Video Marketing Strategy - Part One

This article is for the small business owner who is getting ready to dive into video marketing in 2016. There are tons of articles out there that tell you why video is currently the best method to advertise online and there's certainly no shortage of places to position your video ads. The information that is harder to come by is how to implement a video marketing strategy.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and now Instagram are all great places to start your video campaign. You're certain to have a favorite and you probably have a good idea of which one to leverage to find a customer base. The real question is - what type of ads should you be making. 

I'm going to reference some campaigns I've helped to create this past year, starting with a brand new drive-in movie theatre in Amenia, New York. The Four Brother's Pizza Inn is a popular, locally run, chain of pizza restaurants located throughout the Hudson Valley. In 2013, brothers John and Apostolos Stefanopoulos, sons of Billy Stefanopulos who owns the Amenia pizzeria, did a soft launch of America's newest drive, located next to the restaurant.

Investing in a top of the line digital projector, a massive outdoor screen, nostalgic decor, and a radio frequency to broadcast the audio was a massive undertaking. Everyone in Amenia certainly new abut the new drive-in, but the brother's didn't just want to attract the locals - they wanted people from all over to experience the resurgence of the drive-in movie theater. The starting point for every small business's marketing strategy should be a video that introduces your product or service to the world. In 2014, we did this by creating a two part documentary series that was filmed over the course of two days at the drive-in.

People love stories. So I had the brother's tell me and their potential customers the story of their drive-in. It's a personal, relatable piece that quickly gained traction online. Customers can put a face to the name and before they ever shake John or Apostolos' hand at the drive-in, they already feel like they know them personally and have built an emotional attachment to the business. This emotional attachment keeps them coming back and recommending the drive-in experience to their friends.

In the second installment of the series, the brother's take their customer's behind the scenes and show them how the drive-in works. This type of video isn't typically one that a company who sells products would make, but is a potential gold mine for service-based businesses.

In 2015, with the drive-in reopening in the spring, the brother's wanted to create a new video that would refresh the idea of the drive-in, but also play up one of the drive-in's major benefits - car hop service with fresh food from the neighboring Four Brother's Pizza Inn. Patrons of the drive-in now had two options for food when visiting -  a snack shack with burgers, shakes, hot dog, and popcorn, or service from the restaurant direct to your car with any item from the menu. 

For this video, we were basically reinventing the overview video but this time, we wanted to create a chill, laid back vibe that visually demonstrated what a great time you could have with friends and family at the Four Brother's Drive Inn. Shot over two days, including a Friday night, we incorporated the process of what goes into a day in the life of the drive-in, from mowing the lawn and chalking the parking spots, to food prep, the ticket booth, and car hop service. It was a video that was easily shareable and it wracked up over 30,000 views and 200 shares in only 4 days on Facebook.

Six months after it was posted directly to Facebook, the video has almost 500 likes, almost 275 shares, and 36,000 views. While some people will focus on the amount of views, I think the likes and the shares are what's most important. 

Since this ad was uploaded to Facebook it auto played in people's feeds. I have read that when a video autoplays for more than three seconds, Facebook counts that as a view. While I'm not certain how authentic that information is, I am certain that this video was not viewed by 36,000 different people, nor was it viewed from start to finish 36,000 times. In fact, I have no metrics on the performance of this video in terms of views (perhaps John and Apostolos do), but that's okay. The real secret sauce is the fact that this simple and inexpensive video we created was shareable. 

Two hundred and seventy-four people liked this video enough to share it on their wall for their friends and family to see. That opens a whole new world of potential customers for the drive-in and helped the Four Brother's see a major return on their video investment.

In the next part of this series, we'll look at different types of campaign strategies by analyzing the more than 20 videos I shot for a Subaru dealerhsip this year.