It’s a competitive world, but it’s a world full of amazing opportunity for those who plan and strategize and those who are brave enough to take risks.
While some people may have the experience, education, or even the natural know-how to be able to strategize for any business, the rest of us may need a little guidance. For that reason, we have taken the time to research and compile information containing the competitive tactics used by many Video on Demand services today.
We’ve sourced what we think are the 13 best practices and techniques for you to learn and benefit from in your next VOD marketing campaign:
1. Find a Niche Market
A niche market is a section of the market in which your service is focused on. This is the first, and possibly the most important, step in your marketing strategy. There are many big companies out there and there are likely many who are already in the same line of business as you are – unless you have a niche.
A niche will set you apart from your competitors, giving you an edge, a small corner of the market to dominate, so that you can have a greater chance at success.
An example of a niche may be teaching guitar lessons of only country classics from the 70s to 80s on VOD. The tighter and more narrow the niche, the better – so long as there are actually customers who are looking for what you are selling.
Now is the time to find your niche and corner the market, before you begin any marketing efforts.
2. Know Your Audience
Knowing details about the people who will ultimately purchase your product or service is important in every industry, and VOD is no exception. Furthermore, knowing what is important to those consumers is crucial to making executive decisions on which action items you need to prioritize.
An example of services and their ranking of importance may look something like this:
• Reasonable price
• Easy to use
• Easy to find what I’m looking for
• Large lesson selection
• Available on my preferred device
• New lesson releases
• Exclusive content that I like to watch
• Ability to share access
• Offers recommendations based on my interests
• Benefits besides streaming video
In this example, it would be a waste of marketing dollars to focus on offering the ability to share access before making the service available on many devices.
Quite simply, give the customers what they want and they will want what you sell.
3. Dig Deeper
Take the time to learn more about your customers – learn what they consider to be a reasonable price, what is popular in their area, and track changes in conversions (sales) with every change to your business.
Simple tools provided by Uscreen or Google Analytics can help you get the most information possible to help make critical business decisions. Make use of these tools from the start, use them to plan and evaluate the results of your plan through every stage of your marketing process.
Some metrics you should track for each video campaign you release include:
• Attention span and drop-off rates: What percentage of your audience makes it to the end of your videos?
• Click through rates: Number of users that click on a specific link out of the total users that view a page, email, or advertisement.
• Conversion rates: The number of visitors to your site that results in sales.
• Bounce rate: The number of visitors who reach your site through any marketing effort, but who immediately leave the site, showing no interest. A high bounce rate can be a sign that your marketing efforts are not in line with your business model.
• Demographic info: This can mean age, sex, income, and other information important to you when making decisions about marketing. For example, if you are trying to reach 20-30-year-olds who want to learn to play guitar (and who can afford a monthly subscription fee), but visitors to your site are predominantly under the age of 18 and jobless, it may be time to re-evaluate your marketing efforts.
4. Provide Social Proof in the Form of Testimonials and Client Experiences
Do you already have happy customers? Does Uncle Joe like your product? Well, say so on your website. Reassure people that there are other people who tried your service and were very much happy with their purchase decision.
Testimonials can be valuable to a potential customer when deciding whether to subscribe to your service. When a potential customer sees a testimonial, it helps them determine if they are comfortable to purchase your service and instills confidence in the purchasing decision.
5. Free Trials or Courses
Build a solid teaser, like free short courses and share them with potential customers. Offer free trials as a way to give potential consumers a risk-free way of trying your service.
People can be nervous to spend their hard-earned money on anything, let alone a new product or service offered online. A free trial can help to break the ice, and it can give you a chance to show what your business can offer.
Furthermore, during the trial process, gather contact data so that you can…
6. Build an Email List & Email Market to Customers
A name, a number, an email address, these are worth their weight in gold in the world of marketing. Keep in touch with your current clients to inform them of changes or new additions to video selection, and try to get non-subscribers to return to your website to purchase.
Sometimes people will take a free trial and not subscribe to your service, maybe this is because of the cost, or maybe they are not happy with the offering as-is. Email these people and let them know about special pricing or changes to the offerings. After all, the hardest part of getting them to know about your business is done, now it’s time to convert to a sale.
When done right, the benefit to your bottom line can be huge. Collecting the right customer data will lead to happier customers, reduced client churn and bigger profits.
7. Respond to Fans & Reward Loyal Customers
Always recognize feedback, whether good or bad. Take the time to address any client issues, and to thank your clients for their input.
Furthermore, reward your loyal customers and let them know you appreciate their business. Little rewards help to get people talking, and a reward can be as simple as a discount to another company or service that is complementary to yours (we will talk about this in sections 11-13, don’t worry!).
Rewards, and getting people talking, bring us to our next tool in marketing your VOD business:
8. Word of Mouth
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook, co-founder Intuit
This is arguably the most useful form of marketing that a business can use. It is free, and people are more likely to make a purchase decision upon a recommendation from a friend than any other method.
It is crucial to keep this in mind when designing your external and internal marketing strategies. Word of mouth can help any business, but it can also destroy one just as easily.
9. Internet Affiliates
Let’s face it, advertising is expensive, and you may have little to no experience as-is. Jumping into an advertising campaign can be risky, as you can lose valuable advertising dollars without gaining new business, if you don’t have the expertise.
Luckily there are people out there who do have the expertise and are willing to take on the risk. They are called affiliate marketers. In short, affiliate marketers will promote your service for a predetermined commission. Some of these people have many years of experience to draw on, and a huge potential reach (traffic who will view your ads) to take advantage of. Many businesses, large and small, take advantage of these internet experts.
10. Search Engine Marketing
When a customer searches the Internet for a product or service, they are hunting for something very particular. This is the time to grab their attention – if you are selling what they desire.
Imagine you sell magazines on a street corner and a customer asks you, oblivious to what you sell, where she can buy magazines. You have to choose to speak up or let someone else jump in and grab the ‘hungry’ shopper. This same principle applies to search engine marketing.
There are several ways to market within search engines, here are the top two:
1. Paid (or PPC)
Pick your favorite search engine and search ‘video on demand’. Do you see your website in the listing? Not likely. But, it can be. If you search using Google, you may notice the top results are shaded and have the word ‘Ad’ next to them.
Most search engines offer a paid ad placement in the search results so that you can have a chance at getting your company noticed when people search for services just like yours. What’s great is you only pay when someone clicks the ad and visits your website.
Display advertising campaigns are also available, where you pay per impression or per click while your ad is displayed on sites that you select across the internet.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is the process of taking necessary steps to ensure that your website shows up in search results when a potential customer searches for what you sell. This is non-paid compared to PPC, though it may cost you to hire an expert to do the job right.
Most of web traffic is driven by major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your site, but search engines are the primary means of navigation for most Internet users.
Search engines are rather unique because they provide targeted traffic – people who are looking for exactly what you sell. Search engines are the GPS that guide potential customers to your website, and if search engines can’t find your website, or add your content to their databases, you may lose out on opportunities to bring traffic to your site. For this reason, a solid SEO plan is recommended.
So, you’ve done all these steps, your business is thriving, what next? Well, there are a few other techniques to help increase awareness of your brand and service. These steps are more advanced, but worth looking into now:
11. Affinity Marketing
Affinity marketing is created when a partnership is formed between companies that have consumers who share the same interests.
So what does that mean? Well, let’s use an example. Let’s pretend that your cousin Sue has an online business selling guitars, and let’s pretend that your VOD service offers guitar lessons… wouldn’t it make sense to offer a free trial of your service to all of Sue’s customers? And, wouldn’t it make sense to offer a discount to your customers if they purchase a new guitar through Sue?
These customers share an interest, an affinity for guitars. To them, the free trial is a value-added bonus and not worthless advertising.
Co-branding, also known as a brand partnership, is when two companies work together to form synergy in their marketing efforts.
In the example above, Taco Bell and Doritos came together to create a combined product that both created new business together, and drew attention to both businesses individually.
Now, maybe Sue wants her own VOD service to offer her clients. What is the sense in her going through all that setup process when you have a perfectly good service already going? Well, you could offer Sue a co-branding arrangement, so she can offer her own version of your service with her branding and your branding on the website. This version would be distinguishable from your current service and would be accessible by a unique URL.
13. Retail Partnership
Retail partnerships are formed when it is in the best interests of both parties to join forces. For example, theatres benefited from additional revenue while Netflix benefited from the additional exposure when the two lines of business joined forces. Similar to both affiliate marketing and affinity marketing, a retail partnership can help push your VOD business to the next level.
Okay, now you’re a marketing ninja, right? Well, maybe not, but at least this information will help get you started so that you know what to research further.
And remember, research is the key to success in any business. It is seldom that even the best marketers get everything right the first time, but through research, education, and tracking, they are able to make executive decisions that can improve the function of their marketing campaigns.