I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m a big believer in the power of a good plan.

A lot of my blog posts are variations on one fundamental theme: Put in a little more effort up front, and you’ll reap the rewards later.

I’m also aware that when you have a lot on your plate, planning and strategy easily fall by the wayside. It can be overwhelming to hear that if you want to see real results, you need to take a step back and think about not just one video at a time, but rather about a whole marketing funnel.

All I can do is keep reiterating that it actually makes your life easier in the long term — and that the results are worth it.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Even a company like Apple, with maximum brand recognition, just recently used all the same stages we laid out for you in their approach to selling the iPhone X.

1: Lead Generation

These ads were splashed across the internet and TV, spreading the word about the new release. Both the minute-long and 16 shorter versions were meant to look cool and briefly promote exciting new features.

Given Apple’s brand awareness, no real call to action was needed beyond the logo.

If a viewer went and googled “iPhone X” after watching, the ad had done its work.

Between online and traditional media, these ads were directed at the widest possible audience. Most of these people would not become customers, for all kinds of reasons: They didn’t need a new phone; they did need a phone, but the iPhone X was too expensive; maybe they even preferred Android.

Even these viewers could help generate hype because the videos were still exciting to share. The phone’s new capabilities were quite a conversation starter. The videos were also short and an undemanding watch.

And once the word was out there, those who were interested moved on to the next stage of the funnel and were one step closer to a sale.

2: Lead Cultivation

If someone did look up the iPhone X, they’d end up at a product page featuring this introductory video:

This is essentially an Identity Film for a phone.

It’s slightly longer than the ads, at three-and-a-half minutes, and far more detailed and explanatory, supported by the copy and pictures on the page. After all, the viewer who shows up here has already shown a degree of interest; the goal at this point is to justify that interest. Once you’ve intrigued a prospect, the next step is to make your unique value resonate even more deeply and meaningfully.

You’ll notice that the ads are nowhere to be found on this page. At this stage, they’re no longer relevant. Someone who’s on the product page wants real information, not a short, flashy glimpse.

You may also notice that this video has more views than some of the ads. Why? Well, consider the fact that the ads were decentralized, spread out across different platforms, trying somewhat indiscriminately to connect with the target demographic. By its very nature, this approach reaches a lot of people who aren’t interested and don’t bother to click through.

But from all these different sources, a new group of prequalified viewers emerges and converges on the introductory video, eager to learn more. While I don’t have access to the analytics, I’d guess engagement on this video was higher than the ads too – even though it’s much longer. Shorter isn’t always better!

3: Closing

For some prospects, the lead cultivation video may be enough to seal the deal. Others may still be unsure about spending that kind of money, or at least about spending it on this product.

To meet this hesitation, Apple offers a third round of persuasion in the form of “Learn more” buttons. These pages don’t offer much video, but they have the same effect as the Success Stories or Clarity Films we recommend in other contexts — additional details that pull the viewer in further by answering doubts and assuaging concerns. The prospect who views them, having done his due diligence, can now believe in the product and give himself permission to be excited about it.

There is also a four-minute how-to guide to using the phone with detailed visuals. This extra support gives phone users extra value and a sense that Apple is there for their needs. It thus continues developing and strengthening the relationship even after the purchase has been made.

I’ve seen some professionals talk about videos, including Apple’s iPhone X videos, in isolation: What do you want this video to achieve? Lead generation? Okay.

Making sure you have a goal is good, but you can do better.

How does this video fit into your funnel? That’s what I call good planning.

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