Featuring Janet Rubio, CMO, True Influence
Video is hot.
How hot? B2B Marketers rank video as a top content format for producing the highest conversion rates, as I mentioned in my post last month. And about 70 percent of B2B Marketers said they were increasing their budgets for video production in 2017. Overall, about three-fourths of organizations reported they use video in their content marketing programs, according to the latest CMI annual survey.
Video has a wide range of applications, from brand awareness to product demonstrations on e-commerce landing pages, where it can increase conversion by as much as 80 percent.
But I’m most interested right now in how video can help drive B2B lead generation, an area where the media’s massive potential is going untapped by many B2B Marketing teams.
The Real Potential of Video
Video hosting platform provider Wistia dug into its server data and found that only 20 percent of its clients were using video directly in their lead-generation campaigns. That’s particularly notable because Wistia is among the business-centric video platforms that offer several advanced marketing funnel automation features (a little more on that later).
Couple these findings with research by platform provider Vidyard that shows only 35 percent of companies are using intermediate or advanced analytics to measure video performance, and you can see that video is not being fully integrated into advanced lead-gen campaigns. And if these platforms’ customers aren’t using video to generate and nurture leads, there’s a disconnect somewhere.
Video can dramatically increase response to your outbound lead-generation efforts, as well as engaging prospects once they hit a landing page. And it lets you personalize your messaging in an inviting, entertaining way that simply can’t be replicated by infographics or bulleted lists.
If you aren’t using video in at least some of your lead-gen campaigns, I’d suggest planning a couple of test programs for early this year. You can start simply and scale up to more advanced programs as you get a feel for what works for your products, services and brand.
Here are a few pointers on how I see video fitting into lead-generation programs that drive response and close business.
Stress Video In Your Emails and Outbound Messaging
When I get a static email, particularly one from a company with which I don’t already have a relationship, I typically scan the contents and then delete. But if it the mail promotes a video, I will click just to see what’s going on. And I am not alone.
There’s a ton of research out there about how video drives higher response, but here’s are a couple of grabbers – including the word “video” in the subject line of an introductory mail can increase opens by 19 percent and click-though by 65 percent, according to Syndacast. So, be sure to stress the fact that you are offering a video as a key messaging point.
Use People, Not Graphics, to Drive Engagement
My experience is that focusing on people, not graphics, is the best way to drive response, particularly in the initial stages of engagement, and I believe this holds true for video. There’s just something compelling about seeing a face, particularly a person’s eyes — it creates a sense of personal connection. And as I say all the time, B2B marketing is about creating that personal connection with your customers.
Create videos for your high-funnel campaigns that focus on presenters describing the benefits of your offering, and use images of these presenters in your outbound mails and other messaging. A great way to introduce such videos is to simply have the presenter say, “Hi, I’d like to talk to you about how our company can help you meet your goals.” Ideally, the presenter can be a member of your field Sales force or other key resource who will ultimately engage with the customer before closing business.
Remember that in B2B, your people are your brand, and the sooner you get a human being in front of your prospects, the better.
Use Explainers and Chalkboard Video Later in the Funnel
As prospects become increasingly engaged, video can quickly present more detailed information about products that pique a potential lead’s interest without demanding a lot of work on their part. Forbes reports that 59 percent of executives would rather watch a video than read static information on a Web page. (For more stats on how much executives love video, check out page 3 of this whitepaper).
Motion graphics have surpassed static infographics as the preferred format for presenting data points and stats, and can be a nice fit if your offer focuses on benefits or financial impact. If you’re targeting decision-makers who’ve reached the comparison shopping stage of their purchase journey, chalkboards are a fun and entertaining way to entice a prospect to complete a conversion event.
Even at this point in the funnel, I strongly believe in focusing on the person presenting the information. Starting the video with a quick image of the presenter creates a sense of continuity in your overall campaign, and adds to what should be an upbeat, energetic experience for the viewer.
Keep It Brief
Videos on standard landing pages should run no more than 30 seconds or so – the goal is to entice the viewer to complete a conversion, not to offer a complete informational experience.
The key to keeping videos brief is focusing on a single topic, the key value point that drives your desired conversion. Vidyard reports that the average business is producing 18 videos a month, so obviously you don’t need to cram all your messaging into a single video. B2B decision-makers are always interested in value-added learning, but it can come in easily digestible servings.
I’ll add that it’s a good idea to create even shorter versions of your videos for distribution in social media and other outbound channels.
Make Sure Your Production Budget Matches Your Brand Image
If your brand image is young, cool and hip, you can publish iPhone videos all day long. If you are an older, quiet, more conservative brand, you probably need to invest in higher production values to be consistent with that image.
Professionally produced video can be expensive, but when used to its full potential as a lead-generation asset, it more than merits the investment. Which leads me to my last bit of advice.
Evaluate a B2B-Centric Video Delivery and Analysis Platform
As I mentioned earlier, most companies are not using advanced analytics to measure the performance of marketing videos, although CMI reports that 52 percent of marketers say it’s the content format that creates the highest ROI.
This tells me that a lot of marketers are still replying on consumer video distribution platforms – YouTube and the like – which are great for viral brand marketing but don’t support the kind of personalization required for successful Account-Based Marketing (ABM) B2B campaigns.
Advanced video marketing platforms, like the ones I’ve mentioned in this post, offer a wide range of functionality, including the ability to embed conversion forms directly in the video player. This lets you present a complete informational experience in the video format, with a reasonably low-attrition barrier for prospects to continue viewing the video instead of shifting gears to download a whitepaper. This can be extremely useful later on in funnel.
Wistia reports that the highest conversion rates from such forms come when they are inserted early, after the video is 10 percent or 20 percent complete. (Interestingly, the end of the video is the worst insertion point, followed by the beginning). Similarly, Vidyard reported that adding a simple, interactive CTA to its homepage video bumped conversion to trial accounts from just 1 percent to 21 percent.
And that’s just the beginning. Advanced video platforms integrate with your Marketing Automation System (MAS), unlocking the personalization capabilities that are essential to ABM. I’ve been impressed with my own interactions with Vidyard, when I’ve received a personalized email invitation to view a video after engaging with media on the company’s Web site.
When coupled with verified contact information and Intent Signal Monitoring data, like that available via True Influence’s InsightBASE services, these systems can create compelling high-funnel engagement programs.
For example, if intent signals reveal that a named account is searching on topics that relate to your business, your MAS can fire off a personalized invite to view a video featuring the Sales rep assigned to the account, saying, “Hi, I’d like to talk to you about your interest.” And the player can overlay the prospect’s name and business info directly onto the video, to complete the personalization experience and enable a low-attrition “learn more” conversion event right there in the player.
Make the Most of Video’s Potential for Lead Generation
Video has enormous potential across all your Marketing activities, from viral brand promotion to Sales training. But B2B Marketing is primarily about creating personal relationships and generating leads, and video’s power in this process is going untapped by many organizations. If your Marketing team is not using video in lead-generation campaigns, you should begin testing how video can improve response and conversion in your current programs, as well as exploring how advanced video platforms can fuel your ABM strategy.