At CES 2016, YouTube’s chief business officer, Robert Kyncl, doubled down on his prediction that 90 percent of all Internet traffic will be video, and 75 percent of all video will be digital by 2020. [1]

It’s an aggressive claim but one that’s hard to argue. Video humanizes your brand and lets you show some personality. And it’s easily sharable across teams and distribution channels.

This year, we’ve already seen big names making sizeable investments in video. Burberry live streamed a fashion show on Apple TV[2], while Renaissance Hotels debuted a feature short film to connect with millennial travelers[3].

Coming up with content is the easy part. Targeting a specific audience and getting them to engage is trickier. This has big implications for marketing and sales professionals, where delivering the right video at the right time can reap big rewards. According to a recent survey of US digital video viewers, more than 75 percent watch a video before making a purchase.[4]

Increasing the value of your video marketing initiatives requires understanding all the stages of the buying cycle, and mapping your strategy accordingly. Here are 16 ways to help you up your video marketing game:

Stage 1: Establish Empathy

At this stage, a prospect is just starting to realize they have a problem. The goal is to let them know “we understand you.” Effective video strategies at this stage include:

  • Educational series – Proves to audiences that you understand the challenges, opportunities and solutions associated with their problem. Often unrelated to your product.
  • Thought leadership – Establishes your credibility as a go-to resource for people in your field. Confirms you can turn ideas into reality, and replicate success.
  • Promotional – Provides an entertaining introduction to your company that invites audiences to learn more. Often validates their pain, with a hint of a solution.

Stage 2: Drive Meaningful Interaction

This can be the most critical and challenging stage to maintain momentum. Prospects want compelling product content but aren’t ready for a sales pitch. Effective video strategies at this stage include:

  • Video Newsletter – Provides a consistent way to keep in touch. Combines company and product information so viewers can pick and choose the content they want.
  • Influencer series – Aligns your brand with industry experts and authorities that provide third-party perspective and validation.
  • On-demand webinar – Puts a human face on your company and provides anytime, anywhere access to product info, uses cases and customer successes.
  • Product tour – Lets buyers take a digital test-drive of your product or service.
  • Customer testimonial – Allows viewers to identify with others in the same boat, and see how your company helped solve their problems.

Stage 3: Communicate Key Differentiators

Congratulations! You’ve made it to “the short list.” Selling is now allowed, but content should be factual and objective. Effective video strategies at this stage include:

  • Explainer – Helps viewers situate themselves with your product or service. Goes deep on specific differentiators such as ROI, etc.
  • FAQ – Addresses the top questions related to your company, product, services and pricing, promoting transparency and proactive communication.
  • Meet-the-team – Provides a sense of company culture and values, highlighting individual personalities and their contributions to the business.
  • Case study – Showcases a specific use case or vertical industry, from challenge to solution, highlighting relevant features.

Stage 4: Build Loyalty

The prospect is now a customer but the journey is just beginning. It’s time to build your base of loyal brand advocates. Effective video strategies at this stage include:

  • Training and “How-To” – Offers self-guided training that allows customers to play, pause and rewind at will.
  • Brand advocates – Features power users with high enthusiasm and skills, from peer to peer training to sales references to social sharing, and more.
  • User-generated contest – Promotes your brand personality and fun while helping to identify new customer advocates and testimonials.
  • Product user guide – Provides a deep dive on product functionality, accessible 24/7 on demand.

Video’s high persuasion factor makes it a no-brainer for media, marketing and advertising professionals who want to reach more people, in more places, in more creative and engaging ways. Apply these 16 best practices and you’ll be well on your way.

[1] http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/youtube-exec-doubles-down-on-online-video-growth-projection-1201674923/

[2] http://www.hotapplenews.com/article/burberry-debuts-on-apple-tv-with-menswear-fashion-show-41500092-59687c.html

[3] http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/266282/renaissance-hotels-debuts-its-first-short-film-to.html

[4] http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Product-Videos-All-Cool-Brands-Making-Them/1012536