As a business owner, producing videos is likely not your forte. But coming up with the ideas behind marketing videos and the strategies to propel those ideas into great marketing tools is something you and your team can be constantly thinking about. Anyone who is concerned with the business of marketing these days needs to know about the super-effective sales funnel system for capturing and converting leads and how video is being leveraged as one of the most successful methods of moving potential leads where you want them to be—at your door.
Whatever your marketing objectives may be, from expanding your bottom line to debuting a new product to reaching as many people as possible, you can learn a lot by researching what’s working in terms of videos in the sales funnel. Then, by creating videos with a funnel-focused mindset, you can help encourage more and more people to go from browser to buyer. Design each video with its particular role in the sales funnel in mind, and your results will not disappoint. In this guide, we’re going to help you with this process by sharing everything you need to know to start aligning your video ads with your sales funnel—including video ad ideas for each stage of the funnel—so that you can start seeing those results.
Anatomy of a sales funnel
If you don’t know or if you need a refresher, a sales funnel is the journey a potential customer takes from the first point of contact with your brand on through to become a customer. The curated marketing experience you provide (anchored with video) during each stage should be designed to move your targets forward.
Here’s a brief refresher on the three main steps of the sales funnel (top, middle, and bottom) that combine to form a very effective marketing machine. From initial contact to end point, you should be aiming to incite intrigue about a specific problem or issue, present evidence as to why your brand deserves people’s attention, and, finally, show them the way out of the problem by convincing them how your product or company makes life easier. In the sales funnel, efficiency is key.
You want to aim to motivate viewers through the funnel with as little “marketing” as possible—a skill that takes practice and planning.
Here’s a bit more detail about the goal of videos in each sales funnel step to help you get the ideas flowing.
Top of the sales funnel: Awareness and discovery
This is the point of initial contact, so you’re focused on separating your video’s appearance and messaging from the rest of the noise out there. Perhaps the most crucial part of your funnel, your production for top-of-funnel videos must be nothing short of interesting and engaging.
While you definitely need to step up the creativity factor at this stage, you’ll want to keep the tone and feel of your videos at the top of your funnel in line with your brand image. If they’ve seen or heard of you before, something in the experience should trigger some familiarity. While you want to stand out, unless you’re brand new and still fine-tuning your brand, don’t try to go so bold as to neglect the work you’ve already put into the brand. You may even integrate some elements of past campaigns here that made a splash.
Want to really stick in your audience’s head? At this crucial awareness and discovery stage, appeal to viewers with content that stirs their emotions, gets them excited about tackling a problem, or remind them why this particular type of challenge is a very personal one to them (relatability!). While you aren’t using this time to sell, you can give them a reason to move to the next sales funnel step and set the stage for a hero (your brand) to enter.
Middle of the sales funnel: Researching solutions
Here in the middle of your sales funnel, you’ve piqued people’s interest and gotten them to come this far. They’re intrigued and hoping you give them what they crave—further validation that the topic you’ve raised deserves their attention, plus a way out of the challenge that fits their comfort zones (budget, convenience factor, etc.).
You want to take the opportunity during this research phase to feed your audience’s curiosity and, more importantly, establish a great relationship. Answer their questions and offer helpful information and advice that doesn’t push your brand on them, but subtly establishes your company as one with expertise, one to be trusted. Provide value to the viewer by reinforcing why they might be an ideal customer and answering questions they may not have thought to ask.
Maybe you create a series of video blogs here that really make the viewer feel like they walked away smarter and more informed. With clever, clear videos that combine music, characters and insightful messaging, you can connect with viewers, continue to build trust and bring their feelings to light. Deliver information plus entertainment. Start to talk about how aligning with your brand or company gives them an edge or a head start to solving the problem. Feed their curiosity, but leave the hard sell for the third and final stage.
Bottom of the sales funnel: Winning the customer
The top two sections of the sales funnel were all about creating and stoking the relationship with a new audience. Here, in the final funnel space, it’s your time to shine. Take all the pearls of wisdom you’ve shared in the first two phases’ videos and “bring the message home,” as they say. You’re not only promoting your company as THE ANSWER to the problem, but you can even take the initiative to get ahead of their doubts before they have a chance to feel them!
Think through the reasons a person might opt out of moving forward with buying and help them overcome the obstacle by providing key details. Maybe you make their decision easier by showing them what life will be like after they solve the problem, or better yet, giving them helpful information that they can use after they buy.
Video ad ideas for each stage of your funnel
Video has never been more prolific in marketing than right now. You can’t Google a topic without pulling up several YouTube video hits or scroll on social media without running into news or entertainment videos. And it’s not just a trend; marketers in virtually every industry imaginable have marketing plans in the works right now that integrate heavy video strategy. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are the most popular outlets at the moment, but wait a year and see how many new forums pop up that get worldwide users on board.
Top-of-the-funnel video ad ideas
At this introduction phase, think of education as the bricks that are forming the foundation of your relationship with potential customers. Spend your video marketing dollars on crafting clear, engaging messaging that alerts them to a problem they should pay attention to and gives them reasons to care. In this phase, you are offering very valuable information but asking nothing in return yet, all the while building trust.
Use the following video types to help lay this foundation of awareness.
Professionally produced educational videos at the top of your sales funnel should have an educational look and tone, so viewers know they’re in for some rich, helpful information. An educational video with the right placement can be a welcome answer to consumers out there actively searching to learn more about a specific problem—and hoping for a solution. Your educational content can give them more insight into an issue and show them solutions that could help improve their life. After you share the details, include a soft segue into introducing your company or brand and make sure they see your company as an expert in the industry.
Sumitomo uses educational content to capture people who are searching for knowledge in their industry helping build brand awareness and trust.
Explainer animation videos
Explainer animations at the top of your sales funnel kick off the relationship with an extra element of intrigue to whatever problem you are addressing for your audience. Done well, animations can help you present the issues and information you want to convey in an easy-to-watch, digestible way.
Explainer videos are especially useful for demonstrating how to do a certain task, or use a certain product. By adding a problem-solution story to your animated video, you show your audience in simplified terms just how your brand can be super valuable to them. With the added element of entertainment that animation offers, you can also increase your brand’s likability factor!
In the video above, The Guardian uses this engaging animation to explain to their audience how bitcoin works.
With problem-solution videos, you can clearly spell out the issue your product or service solves, then demonstrate how your company remedies it for them. By using this type of approach at the top of the funnel, you cut through the noise and give viewers a reason to pay attention (and put their trust in you) right off the bat. Whether you decide to go with a practical, humorous, or emotional appeal with your messaging, remember to stay focused on raising awareness and ensure your audience feels a personal connection with the content.
Coin explains why it’s a pain to hold so many credit cards and how Coin can reduce that to just one.
Middle-of-the-funnel video ad ideas
The middle of the sales funnel is where the meaty content gets to leave its mark on your audience. Follow up your strong educational message from the top of the funnel with a clear and direct answer to what ails them. Give them all the juicy benefits of your product or service, and tell them in no uncertain terms why you’re the best brand for the job.
Try the following types of videos to deepen the prospective customer’s interest in you and what you can offer.
Product videos at the middle of the sales funnel have a multilayered purpose—to communicate how amazing your product is, why it works, and how it effectively solves a problem. Since your viewer is likely looking around at your competitors, you want your product video to be memorable and more helpful than whatever else is out there. Use this space to explore specific features and benefits of your product, and make viewers feel it in their bones that you are the brand that’s got the answers they need.
Seed Legend uses product videos to quickly and easily explain their products and their simple ingredients.
Tutorial videos are fun visual experiences that take your viewer through the act of using your product or service. You can use the “how it works” style to get your audience to picture themselves using your brand in their daily life. Show them how your product does it better than the others, and let them see and feel how easy or convenient your solution will be. Play up the brand experience as elevated above other lesser solutions out there, and take the opportunity to reinforce the fact that your company’s experience and expertise gives them an edge.
Consider this example:
UAG uses tutorial videos to explain how to install their products and increase customer satisfaction.
Bottom-of-the-funnel video ad ideas
Here at the bottom of the sales funnel is your golden opportunity to drive all that messaging home that you’ve fed your viewer thus far. As you move from offering valuable information to asking for the sale, your closing videos can help you convert the browsers into buyers by making your proposition seem like the logical choice. Use this time to reinforce the strong points you’ve made prior, and to help viewers see your company, brand, product or service as a super smart solution to their problem.
Use the following video types to remind your audience why you’re the expert and recount the benefits of a long-term relationship with your brand.
Demos and webinars
Remember that viewers who’ve stayed with you to the bottom of the sales funnel are already seriously considering you! You’ve captured their attention with your top and middle sales funnel videos, so you can take a little more time here with the demo/webinar videos. By providing them with a longer format at the end, you’re showing them you’re here to solve the problem with them, as a partner. Use these types of videos to explain the nuances of what you’re offering, from features and sub-features to short- and long-term benefits, ancillary products, and services they may benefit from, and even answers to questions or concerns you haven’t yet covered. Demos and webinars can also help further convince viewers of your elite place in the industry and demonstrate why you’re the right choice.
Close.io uses webinars to give potential customers an in-depth dive on why their product is the best
Think of your audience as a collective of people who are looking for a way out of a challenge that pervades their lives. Not only do they want to hear about a solution that works, but they want to hear about it from other users who’ve had success. At the bottom of your sales funnel, testimonial videos are a terrific way to “show and tell” real-world success stories. Done well, testimonials can be very inspiring and persuasive, and help your audience envision a better lifestyle through use of your product or service.
Zoom uses customer testimonials to build trust and explain how they can help your business.
Start planning videos for every stage of your funnel
Remember, strategic video marketing focused on each stage of the sales funnel is crucial for getting results from your efforts. Now that you understand the objective of the top, middle, and bottom of your sales funnel, you can get started creating video content that really speaks to the people you’re hoping to influence. To help you stay on track, create a content calendar that outlines the goals and messaging for each video in your series. Then, hire a seasoned video production company to help you execute your vision and turn potential customers into loyal brand followers!
About the author
Torrey Tayenaka founded his first production startup in high school. Today, he is CEO of Sparkhouse, which focuses on high-concept, branded video production. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse and Forge54.