WriterAccess Webinar Archive
Thursday, October 27, 2011 – 1:00 PM ET
Video marketing offers the type of "honest" connection you need in order to connect with prospect customers. But for many of us, it seems difficult to dive into this new channel and surface with high visibility, high conversions and high sales. Until now.
Cliff Pollan, CEO and Co-Founder of VisibleGains, joins Byron for this month's monthly content marketing webinar offering updates and breakthroughs on video marketing methodology and technology to achieve the ROI you demand for the investment.
In this Webinar you'll learn how to:
- Make video a key part of your marketing mix
- Optimize One to One connections and conversions
- Produce engaging new content easily and inexpensively
- Apply great content and video to the sales process
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Byron White: Welcome everyone, Byron White here. In a couple of minutes we’re going to start; probably about one minute, actually. While we’re waiting for a few more people to show up, I’m just going to give you a couple of rules of the road that may or may not be helpful. Let's start from the top in about 10 seconds, and I'll walk you through the rules. We can delete everything I just recorded, so we can start again. Here we go, let’s take it from the top.
Welcome everyone, to the monthly content marketing webinar. It’s actually the 28th webinar that I’ve run in a row here, in a series that's been fantastic. I’m here today with Cliff Pollan, the CEO and founder of VisibleGains, and I’m going to walk you through making the case for video marketing and then making it work. We have a lot of fans that are diving in, and I appreciate everybody attending and coming back, particularly the fans of ideaLaunch; thanks for that.
I wanted to leave some of the newer folks coming in with some of the challenges that I've heard through my illustrious career in talking with clients, and that is how to make the case for video marketing. What are the stats, how can we get them all on a compact 10 or so slides to really make a good case for what's happening out there with some of the later and greater information that’s been published on where the industry is going.
I’m going to walk you through some of the stats, so you can hopefully make a case to get some funding for video. Then we’ll turn it over to Cliff, who’s going to walk you through an amazing guide on not just tips, but really, what’s happening in the industry. Some of the elements of personalization are what’s interesting about what Cliff is going to talk about. I think we’re going to have some interesting discussions today on why video is so popular, why it’s so effective and why we’re seeing such dramatic results.
So, I’m really excited about what Cliff is going to do for us there, and he’s got a big deck but an important deck. He’s going to spin through it fairly quickly and then get to some of the super juicy stuff that I’m really pumped about for you guys to listen into. So without further ado, I’m going to walk through a quick sketch here of what is happening with content marketing, and what it means, and what it is, and why it's so relevant and important.
I’m then going to go over some facts and figures to help you make the case as mentioned, and then Cliff is going to dive in with tips to make it all work. So, content marketing; what’s happening out there? There is a revolution happening and I like defining content marketing as the art of listening to the wants and needs of your customers, which is probably the single most difficult thing for anybody to. I firmly believe that we are going to see some major breakthroughs with listening to customer’s wants and needs, and analyzing more about what their personal needs are, which are related to your products and services, but more related to the advancement of their careers and filling the voids of things they’re interested in, and I think that's the connection point.
And that's where we really need to strengthen ourselves; learning to listen to what those wants and needs are, and then the next phase of content marketing, which is the science of delivering those needs and wants back to them in a compelling way. Right now, we can see a snapshot of the portfolio that you really need now to be successful and the videos in that portfolio, but there isn’t just one element in that portfolio. It isn't just blogs, or tweets, or Facebook posts, it’s content assets; that's what you need to be successful because assets add value.
It’s catching readers orbiting at high-speed; that's the trick these days. Great book that I would reference called Bit Literacy that I read some time ago that really transformed the way I think about communication. We need to think hard about how we’re connecting people and it's not just on-site; it's off-site, it’s with mobile, you’re going to see some stats today about mobile, and it's just very simply getting creative. The focus needs to be information that your customers want and need, and what does that look like? It’s certainly downloads, but it’s also information that they want and need. If they start sharing with other people that's a good sign; it means you’re creating the type of information that they want and need, and they’re even recognizing friends, and associates and business colleagues who may also have the same need that they do.
I like saying when I speak at conferences that likes are very possibly the new links, and that's really what's happening right now in the marketplace; that’s what we’re beginning to see, is that likes are the new links. Google is paying very close attention to what's happening in the social sphere; then of course, repeat visitations, all kinds of fun stuff, and testing is also critical. I was speaking at the conversion conference last week in a solo session that I've done about three or four sessions in a row now with them, on both the West Coast and the East Coast. I offer this wonderful content marketing workflow that always gets rave reviews.
Testing has a place with content marketing, but a single landing page can no longer be the focus of really good testing campaigns. You’ve got to look at the entire cycle; you’ve got to look at the content assets you’re creating and the engagement factor; you’ve certainly got to look at segmentation of even arriving on pages and what you're doing with your homepage. Geo-targeting is for me probably the most exciting part with what’s happening with testing, and bringing more relevance and more of a local feel into products and services that you're offering. Of course, there are some great platforms out there that allow you to see what other people are seeing about your website through tests, where you can really do some cool stuff and content testing fits into that as well.
The key with it all is finding the most efficient path to engagement, and Cliff is going to talk about that a little bit today. Some of the elements of personalization very much fit into this analysis of the engagement path, and in bringing people through the trial phase and into the actual conversion. We do that in sales force right now as you signed up for this webinar; you came into our funnel, we saw who you were, and one of my reps analyzed what you were doing. We could see if you were a repeat for a webinar and if you’ve downloaded other assets; it’s just getting very granular.
The key is, we don't want to bother people or cold call to them if they’re not interested in our products and services; we have to test that and that's how we really do it. We might send you an e-mail of an asset that relates to something we sell, and if you therefore download it, then we know that we’re on the right track and that you might be interested in one of our services. That pathway is not as hard as buying a massive solution to do that; you can do that on your own, but you need to be smart with how you set it up by building silos of prospect customers and using a database intelligently to really make it all work.
The workflow that I spoke about is really what I've been concentrating on in my efforts with content marketing. That’s just educating people in what I believe is a six-step process, and that starts with content planning, and then creation, optimization, editing, distribution, and performance measurement. These are the key elements to content marketing and video certainly fits into all of these elements; planning video, and creating it, and optimizing it, and editing it, and distributing it. Any one of the elements, even if it’s a blog post, is an asset that you're creating.
They all need to follow the same pathway forward to be successful, and the most exciting pathway is the performance measurement, but you can't claim any stake in performance unless you’re setting up the goals in the planning process. All of these things are critical to the whole workflow, and I encourage you to dive deeper into these things, and look at some of the assets that I’ve created that you can download. Clearly, if you look at the total number of searches completed, in fact YouTube is number two, which is really remarkable. Obviously, we all know Google is number one, but it's just outstanding and remarkable to really think about that.
With so many searches going on with video, it’s remarkable that more companies aren’t engaged in it, but let's look at some of the facts. According to this wonderful data that I pulled up from the Web Video Marketing Council, a great website down there, you can see webvideomarketing.org. They have some great surveys they've done and great information on that site; I highly encourage you to take a peek. The net of it is that it looks like there is a pretty large audience; 70 percent is the marketing mix of people who have applied and used video in marketing efforts. Actually, I’ve got the 50 percent on the top; in fact, 70 percent. A lot of other people are considering video and very few people, only 10 percent of the people, are not putting video to work. So, pretty high stats of people who are using video.
E-mail marketing to me is pretty interesting. I get a lot of spam and one of our properties, Life Tips, has been around forever. I don't see videos in 50 percent of the emails that are coming at me, but according to this survey, “Have you ever used video in e-mail marketing?” 50 percent; maybe I believe that, but it is a pretty staggering statistic if you think about it. I'm just not seeing a lot of video in the emails I’m getting, but I wanted to show the stat to you there. Is video improving click-through rates? This I do believe when I get a video that is so unusual and different.
I am intrigued to see what it's all about, depending on how it's presented to me; but it does make you think twice about the importance of video, even in e-mail marketing. Is video influencing the buying decision? Absolutely, we all know that. We’re going to hear more of that and look over some of these stats, but they’re pretty staggering; 73 percent more likely to purchase or convert if video is featured. I'd like to learn if that’s a single page average or what that is, but obviously we didn’t have time to dig too deeply into this survey that was done. What’s the best practice with video in e-mail? It looks to me like the majority of people are sending links to a video landing page, which obviously makes sense.
All kinds of compression issues and the video player embedded in the e-mail; 33 percent, that's pretty solid. It is hard to configure that though, and it’s hard to make that work; there are definitely some challenges. I know it is for us, so that should be something to consider. Once I started digging, it took me a long time to find business executives in here, since this data is more in line with lead generation. What are business executives doing and how are they using video? This is pretty staggering; 75 percent of video executives are using video, and a pretty staggering percentage of 20 percent are viewing videos daily. That's pretty impressive if you think about it, particularly for those of us who are in the lead gen world and in providing services; that's a pretty cool stat.
I’ve got lots of stats here; I just took a couple more slides to just roll them together for you. Again, I wanted you to have a nice deck of 10 slides to take with you and pass around, but it’s pretty staggering, particularly the retail play of course; that’s where a lot of these are really coming from now. How is the retail industry using video? What is its influence? It’s no surprise that products are cold things and videos are warm things. The retail world can really warm up the whole sales process and almost make you feel like you're in a store by videoing something in a store, so that makes a lot of sense to me.
What is equally staggering is the Forrester data that came out in January 2010, a while ago. Remember that Google has gone through some many algorithms; it would be nice to get an update from Forrester on this, but you're 53 times more likely to be on a front page of Google if you are using video, with optimized video as the footnote on that. I don't know where we are in post-Panda, but I know Google has paid a lot of attention lately to time on-site. I think we’ve got another stat on that; we’re going to take a look at increasing the time on-site.
So, lots of data; you guys can look it all over yourself and take a peek, and the net of it is, lots of good data. More Forrester data here; e-mail click-through-rates are 2 to 3 times higher with video. It actually showed that 59 percent of video and other senior executives would prefer to watch videos instead of reading text; interesting. So again, lots of good data and without further ado, I want to pass things over to Cliff who can offer, as a guru and an expert in this topic area, a lot more detailed information to you on what this whole video marketing world is all about. Over to you, Cliff.
Cliff Pollan: Thanks, Byron. Let me add a little more data that fits into what Byron is talking about here. This is a business buyer’s piece; your potential buyers are 70 percent through their decision process before they ever engage with the sales rep. From a marketing perspective, we think a lot about, “Have you engaged that buyer?” Traditionally, we have been using this, and we’ve used it wonderfully. The Gutenberg press is almost 600 years old and we’ve used it to communicate, and it has done a phenomenal job, and it will always be there, but one other key to remember is the question of, “How do people learn?”
We went off and looked at statistics of how they can remember your message, and it's probably not surprising when we think about all of the work that's been done around TV ads, but the basic piece to think about here is on the left; 30 percent of people learn best by written language. We'll talk a little bit more about video, but video doesn't have to just be a person on screen; it can be an image in a voiceover. Almost 70 percent of people learn better when you use a rich media format, so as marketers, we’re always thinking about communicating and sharing. We also want people to remember, so a critical reason to do it is that it's a way that people are going to remember better.
So if you use “video,” and I use video in quotes here, and we'll talk more about that, you're basically using a format that even the written people absorb incredibly well, as will everybody else. The other piece to this is video; Salesforce has done a study where they're watching the consumption of video. They're basically saying there are things we need to communicate, that our sales reps normally spend time communicating, that we have people watching basically online and then taking the time of our reps to discuss it. That’s been so effective for them that they’ve equated the number of views to what they call a hyper-effective rep, so they are seeing enormous productivity gains by creating those video assets and seeing some of Byron’s statistics consuming those.
Before we jump into some of the tips and “how’s,” let’s look further down the buying decision process where people have sales needs. This gets to the part of, “What should I do in video?” and the thing to think about here is, it's great to put people on camera; you're putting a face to your organization, you’re giving it a personality. Text is rich; it can communicate a lot, but often seeing somebody, hearing them, stealing that genuine nature gives the company a face.
The other piece is that images do a wonderful job of communicating; many of you may remember the big red brain that I showed, and that people are 70 percent of the way through. You don't have to think of video as traditional commercial pieces; it can easily be somebody on camera, it can be an image with a voiceover. All of those work, it can even be a screen capture of your product. There's different ways to do it, and using those different formats can be very effective.
What I want to touch on then is where to use video. If you think about Byron’s content map and what the six steps are, think about where it's going to help you the most. I always think about where I would get a high payoff with a little bit of effort. Let's start at the top of the funnel for a second, and we can walk through other parts of the funnel, so one easy way is we’re all looking to get more people to consume our content. You may be promoting a new e-book that you’ve done or a new study that you’ve done; you can send out an e-mail with that, and you can also send a little 15 or 20-second video clip that will talk about the benefits and why that study was created. Maybe it even has the author talk about that, although it doesn't have to be the author.
You can use video it to promote a webinar, and we’re seeing enormous results there when you think about the nurturing process. You can easily use it to, on the far right, share a customer’s success story. Written material is great; seeing somebody talk about their experiences is wonderful. You can do it to get into the more products and solution pieces on a site, and we’re also seeing it used all throughout the sales process both from getting the first meeting, to follow-ups, to actually people doing video writers on their proposals very effectively.
Let's take a look at some examples of how things are used; I will work to play some videos. One of the things I’ll say is that you'll see a little bit of choppiness on “Go to Webinar.” I just want you to have a feel for what it is; if anybody wants links to these they can easily send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the other things I’ll mention is if any of you wants to take the learning study; I said before if you don't know your learning style, it's a wonderful thing to understand how you learn best. It may help you, so there's a link on the page that I sent to Suzanne Miller; if you need it, you can send me an e-mail and I’ll e-mail you the link.
So coming back top of funnel, let me use the case of Building Engines. Building Engines is about a 40-person company, and they provide solutions to building owners to help them manage their relationships with both vendors and tenants. Sarah Fisher, who you see here, basically runs through a series of thought leadership webinars for partners in both top and mid-funnel. Her goal was to try and increase the attendance at those webinars, so let me show you a little bit of what this might look like.
To Byron’s point in an e-mail where content was being promoted, Sara added this piece right here; she created a little video that was a watch preview. This e-mail came and you could either hit register now, or you could watch the preview. Both of those actions would take you to a landing page where you could then register or watch the video, and we’ll play the video here for a second. So Sarah goes on, she’ll come back on screen and she'll basically ask people to register, very simple. She’s on screen for about 15 seconds just introducing herself; a picture of the speaker and the benefits you get from attending.
Let me come back here a second, and you'll see what Sarah got was a doubling in her click-through-rate; she paid for extra sign-ups when she did this. That is extraordinary; more likely, we’re seeing people who are up 25 to 50 percent in their sign ups and her engagement score was much higher than she had ever gotten before. She regularly does this when she's doing events, and it's had a benefit that that has now given another face to the company
One of the reasons to think about something as simple as adding it to some of your e-mail campaigns to promote events is because it's an easy way to get an uplift with a very small amount of work. I’d mention real quickly there are also versions where you don't put anybody on camera and you just voiceover the images so any of those techniques can easily work and when you're thinking about e-mail as the delivery component, there's lots of different best practices to follow whether it's promoting a piece of content, whether it's an invite for a virtual event physical event, whatever it may be.
One of the other things to think about in video so we’re at top-of-funnel we’re now moving into mid-funnel. When you think about mid-funnel you think about not the crowd. Now you're trying to talk to me and my specific needs and so you're talking to that person sitting in that little red seat in this case at Fenway Park so not the crowd but how do you make everything personal and relevant to me and we know it's been about that experience and I point you down here to the right, because there’s a very simple concept that we often miss that when video moved to the web video could be interactive. Whether it was choose your own experience or your own adventure, you have an opportunity not to have to do the gone with the wind production but to do short clips where the viewer can select what to watch, and they can move themselves through a process, and that's a very important concept.
Let me show you a quick example of ways to do that where you're thinking about speaking to me and letting me decide what I want to say so this is an example of doing that with Sales Genie so this is Sales Genie's home page and they have people coming into that homepage and they do an introduction with a person and then we'll see a little bit of a problem solution piece come up. I skipped forward and now we’re admitted in, and they're summarizing you now have a problem solution piece but now they’re going to let each viewer select what they may want to do. If you think about this from a final perspective their particular products you may buy a business-to-business list you may want to know more about consumers you may be interested and then you want to move further down the funnel and hear a customer talk about the problems they faced and how it worked, and then you may want to jump and do a free trial or book a meeting so right here would be a video customer testimonial which I won't play.
These are all videos, or I might want to go in and you'll see this stat: some people are moving all the way through the funnel by watching two or three clips and then basically going in to book a meeting right here into a sales rep’s calendar. The point about that is that experience of thinking about letting the viewer go as far as they want and here is an example of that. People who watched, they had a very high percentage who watched that first clip, and 67 percent of them then watched the product demo. They've got 23 percent who are either taking a trial or meeting, so they're moving a set of people all the way through the funnel and just educating another set. It's up to the viewers as to what they watch, but they're moving things along very quickly. That's a good mid-funnel example and a good example of personalization and breaking down your production. Little trick there; the shorter your stuff is, the easier it is to produce, the easier it is for the viewer to select something, watch a little, bit go back, and see what else they want to watch.
Let's now move to the bottom of the funnel where you may have somebody who has been marketing qualified. You're creating these video assets and the important thing to remember like all content is it can be used by the sales team, so this is an example, and I’ll describe how it was done. This is Time Trade; they were working to break into a retail account and they had actually spent a very long time almost a year trying to break in. They decided to take one of their videos, personalize the e-mail and sent it off and describe specifically how they could help that customer and that person. There was a voicemail message telling them to please watch the 60-second video, they watched the video. They immediately made sure the video was shared with 10 other people, they had a meeting book in 10 days, and they closed the deal in 90 days. This was after a year of trying to break in with lots of other methods.
In this particular case, the concept of a very short specific video about how they may help understand that client’s specific needs really worked for them. Again, another way to think about video in that the other piece I want to show is a different video, and that's just that marketing has qualified the lead, and here is a sales executive just saying, "Thanks for visiting, if you have any questions please let me know." He talks about what he has put together and again, he's giving that prospect the choice to basically learn about a series of things or have a demonstration. So again, trying to share stuff you may have some information about what that prospect wants, but you're not personalizing the video, you’re not customizing it, you're letting them personalize it by letting them have the choices; whether this was a thought leadership piece you wanted put in here and remember you don't have to put all video in video. You may want to link to other things; that's the beauty of having interactivity in the new video world. When I say new, I realize it's not that new, but the concept that not everything has to be video is very important. You can be linking to other things just like we’re linking to calendars.
We’re at the bottom of the funnel; you end up again with an enormous set of opportunities to take assets you created. Let them be shared and video is a wonderful thing; as we saw with Time Trade here, if you can do a 3 or 4-minute set of videos that the users can choose then if I’m that person you're selling to, I can share that off with everybody and say, “Why don’t you take 3 or 4 minutes and take a look at these videos; it’s going to discuss how Time Trade could help us with our specific problem, and we've also seen people then use that in advance of a second meeting to educate a set of people who are coming to the meeting and actually encourage them to come by getting a little bit of content that they find relevant and interest them.
So they come to that meeting actively ready to participate as opposed to feeling that they were dragged in. Again, the results of Time Trade which we just saw with the stakeholders being engaged during the first meeting and have a close. In continuing the dialog, think of it that you've now basically had a first meeting and you're trying to advance the conversation, the scenario I was just discussing so you can include another set of content. In this case, you'll see some fairly technical content that's being used to get another set of people up to speed, a little more detail. These are chalkboard talks and those chalkboard talks are being used to draw in some of the technical people. That content can be reused in a lot of places, even in customer support so you're thinking about your video and Byron’s map, “Where am I creating assets, where can I use them and where should I distribute them?”
The final example is to think about video in the context of actual proposals. We haven't seen a lot of people do this; Schwartz did it very effectively. So what they were doing was creating a set of video assets to accompany a proposal. It showed the team, it talked about the particular expertise they had with that client. What they found was that we’ve all seen the 40-page proposals coming back, that a set of short videos was getting very heavy traffic being watched, being shared within the organization. In their case, they actually attributed to almost a doubling in their close rate over text-based proposals only. It took them some investment because they were customizing some of that content, but they had a general set and then a customized set whether that's a place you want to start or not depending on where you are in the process.
You can decide, but the concept basically here is to think about video up and down the funnel. Where do we get started? We saw some stats of people actively using video. Sometimes, people have done one when I’ve seen them, and they’ll answer yes to that question but they'll be terrified from their experience. It was really expensive, it was really hard, as soon as it was done, I couldn’t change it. Lots of those things have changed now, so you’ve suffered some of those things I would suggest that you think about some of the newer ways to basically take advantage of it.
So here you are on the diving board and you want to get started. If you haven't done video before, just grab a camera and think about trying something each of you probably on this call, I’m sure that with this group we have a very high percentage of people who are carrying smart phones that have high quality HD cameras; something like the Kodak camera which is 100 bucks. It shoots wonderful, high definition, you can actually edit on the camera. and you get wonderful content. This Kodak is under $150, so if you had one and you said to yourself, “Boy, I’m just going to try something. I’m going to try to capture video.” I often say, “Go home, interview your kid, interview your spouse, interview your friend, ask them two questions, learn how to even just interview somebody.”
The next time that you're at a tradeshow or you hold an event, you learn how to basically capture the answer to a question that you might include on a blog post; you might include it in a tips and techniques piece you're doing. You might go to one of your engineers if you're at a software company; you might go to one of your professional services people if you're in a store in a retail business. You can talk to a customer and just capture a little video, and see what that feels like and be ready that the first one, which you’ll throw away. But just like you’re willing to pick up a pencil and write, you should feel really comfortable with a camera; it’s really simple now.
We have suggestions around mikes and other things and what's implicit here, is you know something? You can do a bunch of this yourself. Yes, there are great outside production companies that you can use, and we've got a whole network that we’re part of; where there are outside people who can produce it, but there's lots of stuff you can do yourself. These are examples of different microphones that you can use; an entire kit is probably under $500 for a really good camera, mikes, and if you want a light, you can have a light and you are set for stuff that five years ago would've cost $25,000. You can get some easy software to capture things if you're in the technology world to capture screen captures; very simple to do to capture images and to start creating some content.
Getting it quick isn't hard, and there 's just so many different ways to get started; I would give you three tips on getting started. One is the interview clip; we have tips and techniques on our site on how to do an interview. The thing many of you may have watched: TV interviews taking place. I always use the 60 Minutes example because you often don't see the producer, and you hear the answers to the questions. One of the tips and techniques is when you interview somebody, be quiet when they answer, just let them answer give them visual clues that you’re supportive of them, but be quiet because you want to get a nice clean clip and you're probably not going to be on camera, they’re going to be on camera. That's one of those things I say; give that a little practice, and you'll be able to capture video clips of customer support people, of thought leaders at any point in time. You’ll learn how to do that and you will have lots of great content.
Another trick is to just do images in voiceover; grab an image voiceover that image, and then you’ve basically got a video; great way to tell a story, but you’re not confined to just doing it with text and finally doing things like screen casting capturing. I’m using getting started tips here of easy ways to just practice; be ready, you’ll throw the first piece away. It’s like riding a bike, 99 percent of us fell the first time we did it; until you fall you really can't learn how to do it, so give it a try and you’ll learn from those scrapes. Let me just say, it's a good time to start; it increases engagement.
One of the things we didn’t talk about was the time on site. The Ativio that I showed Alejandro tripled their visitor on-site time by putting more video out. People were staying with those videos; it helps all parts of the marketing and sales cycle and it's not that hard or expensive, whether you do it yourself or whether you want to hire some outside people for part of it. Basically, the costs are coming down dramatically as old equipment costs come down and also because we realize, be yourself. Do not hire outside talent, put your face to the company and you'll see that that builds both the company's persona; it’s real, it's not actors and that really gives you great face. Those are the things we've got in terms of getting started. Again, thinking it through; remember that as Byron started, there are great stats; you can touch any part of the funnel, and it's more about getting started and getting some momentum. Byron, I’ll turn it back over to you and we can probably move to questions.
Byron White: Right on, and a really fantastic presentation, Cliff. This is really, really good stuff. I personally have about a dozen questions, but let’s go to some of the questions that have come in to us. One of the questions that I thought was really interesting was, “You showed an example of an e-mail blast that went out,” and somebody notes: “In the example where the video was on the e-mail and then was featured on the landing page where the form was; I’ve seen other reports that videos should not be on forms because it lowers conversion rates. They suggest testimonials instead in the survey that was done. Can you comment on that?”
Cliff Pollan: Yeah, I disagree strongly. I’m coming back up to it; we’re on my screen still. Across the board, we’re seeing that if you have an event and you put a little video preview on that event, it works. We have never seen rates drop off because you’ve done that we do; put it next to the form. People watch the video and start registering in the form, and I think that combination really works well; every one of our clients who has done it has said that it's working. It works well; we've never seen an issue with it. Based on data that we've got across a lot of customers, that has become a best practice for our customers.
Byron White: I’ll just chime in on that one and say that really the only way that you can truly know if your conversion rate will increase or decrease is by A/B testing with and without the video. My opinion, the listener’s opinion and your opinion is that it's all about testing, but one of the other things you need to test is the quality of the video, the messaging and the content of the video. Clearly, some videos will pull better than others and also, Cliff is talking a little bit about a particular event. Well, events are where you're meeting people face-to-face; the event is often the person who is showcasing the event, so naturally you’d warm that up and make it fuzzy with some video. Would you agree with that, Cliff?
Cliff Pollan: I would. First of all, I agree; A/B test everything. I’m sure there are cases that people will come up with where it was worse, but in general, we think we are seeing it work so I just want to reinforce your A/B test. The other part is make it personal when that's appropriate because what we’re hearing from our clients is that all of a sudden, people feel an affinity when they’re seeing people on camera. Yes, if you’re dour, and you're not upbeat and energetic, that could hurt, so there are some basic things that you have to think about it when you do it.
Byron White: Just one more comment on that, because I just can’t help myself since I’m just coming back from the conversion conference. I won’t harp on testing, but instead about the video itself. In general, if you look at a study by eMarketer, a May 14, 2010 study by eMarketer, I think it's also on the Live Clicker site. They contend that for retailers particularly, their survey was on retailers, if you're not driving your conversion rate up at least 25 percent with the use of video, then one of two things is happening. Number one; the retailer does not know how to produce persuasive video or number two; the people are not watching the video, which means the retailer is not featuring the video in a way that people actually know that it’s there. When you’re testing, and this is the problem, the quality of the video, the persuasiveness of the video or the video is not being viewed and therefore you have to watch the tests of conversion rate. It’s tricky with Google’s website optimizer. It’s very difficult now if somebody viewed the video; Google is only really studying the conversion on the page, so it’s a tricky mess out there to test this stuff.
Cliff Pollan: I want to add two things real quick Byron, just to stay on this. Short is critical so when clients ask us; short, short, short. Being concise is very important, and the other piece is to figure out how you can measure it. Get tools that are going to let you know how far people are engaged, so that you can figure out and optimize, like if you lost a bunch of people 40 seconds into the video. Like everything, you need to learn through measurement and if there was a problem. You don't want to be lost in the forest with the lights out, so that you have no idea what was really happening in that content. There are wonderful ways to measure, so your point on measurement is right on.
Byron White: Okay, we’ll give some other questions a chance. Thanks, I think that’s really fundamental stuff there. Cliff, could you talk a little bit about the pros and cons of using Flash as your source for video?
Cliff Pollan: Sure. I think that we all have to be aware that we need be mobile-ready and that we’re thinking about people across all of those mobile devices, whether it's a desktop, whether it's a tablet, whether it's a phone. For that case, we know that Apple is not supporting Flash on those devices, so you need to have a strategy that covers the devices, and the technology needs to fit that. There are some wonderful things that you can do in Flash, and so those are taking advantage of some of those things that are important. We clearly believe in HTML 5 right now; while it may not be as robust, it runs on all of the platforms. Whatever strategy you choose, it's got to fit with the people that you're trying to deliver to. Think about where you need to be and whether Flash is in those places, so that you can develop a strategy that fits with your six points, Byron, in your list of distribution. It’s got to work on those platforms.
Byron White: Someone wanted to know what the key elements of good quality video are.
Cliff Pollan: We have a concept that; again, I’ll reflect a little bit on BTB versus BTC, so let me separate that up front and talk first about BTB. What we have found is it should not be a commercial; in most cases, people start turn off when it has high production values, and they believe that it was overproduced, and it's a commercial. They say, “Great, I’m getting a commercial; great commercial but it's not authentic and real.” We have a concept that I’ve written about called business casual video, and what we think that means is, it's not if you have a suit and a tie, it’s how are you authentic. Most importantly, the sound needs to be good; if I can’t hear it, then I’ll turn it off. Lighting should be reasonable and you should look professional, but it shouldn't be overproduced. If you spend money overproducing it on high “production” values, you might as well just light that money on fire for most of the BTB marketing.
If you think of the BTC, think of what the Zappo shoes were; if anybody has looked at those, those were not highly produced pieces. I’m not saying that there aren't certain BTC areas that need to do high production, but remember all the stats about Zappo having much higher conversion rates because women could see what the shoes look like on their feet. Those things were not high production, so look at what's out there, see how you react, and think about where you want to fit. I would caution you if you find somebody with 35 years of movie making experience who says, “I know how to create this” and asks you for a $25,000 or $30,000 budget. I think that it's the wrong thing in today's world, so use yourself as a judge as to what's real for you these days.
Byron White: Feel free to ask some more questions anybody, we’ll field them. I have one for you while we’re here: it is a difficult, painful process, Cliff, no matter how you slice or dice it to conceptualize what you may want to talk about in a video, develop a script and a plan, hire a videographer or try to shoot it on your own and sort out how to upload this thing. Now, we’ve got new elements that break it up into bite-sized nuggets to make it interactive and make sense, so this is hard stuff. It’s hard for me and I’m a pretty experienced guy doing this stuff.
What do you recommend is the right strategy either for a company or corporation that has a marketing team and a marketing department and/or a startup company that doesn't necessarily have a marketing department, but is beginning to understand the importance of video and at least wants to try and experiment with it? For example, do you go hire a videographer first, do you hire a writer first and put a script together, do you surf the web and try to find videos you like and say, “I want to produce something like this.” Can you walk us through some choices we have on how to produce this and what some of the costs might be?”
Cliff Pollan: Great question, great question. The first thing that I would do is, I would think something that is low-hanging fruit that you think is relatively easy to do but will have a good payoff. You can also elect to do something that I call off-Broadway. If you're really nervous, then do a video clip for a blog post and just say, “I’m going to interview my customer support person or one of my founders on one question. I’m going to write a little blog post around it, and I’m going to put that up and that will be my first video” or “I’m going to go to a conference, I’m going to find somebody and I’m going to ask them one question, and I’m going to capture that and create a blog post out of it.” If you’re really nervous, which is fine, then start with things that are off-Broadway that are a low investment that will get you comfortable.
On the other side of that, do not start and say, “I want to produce the home page video for the company.” Getting your executive team, your marketing team and your sales team to agree on messaging and scripts; that project is dead before it ever starts, and it goes to another point, which is don't script these things, write a couple of bullets. My counsel is one; if you're in a business where you can do it, we do this all the time, we get customer success stories on video and we do them by writing down four questions we want to ask our customer: what was the issue you faced, what were you trying to achieve, how did you make your decision and what has it meant for your business? Our fifth bonus question is: how do you see it a year from now?
We don't ask all of those questions at once; you ask them one at a time; and you coach somebody on doing that. If you can find a customer that's local to you and do that, you then have five clips, and you’ve created a great customer testimonial, and there's no big production issue. It’s incredibly simple to do, and it has high value. So, a long answer, Byron but the answers are, don't go after the hardest things in the world that require group decisions; try something off-Broadway. If you want it could even be a customer support tip that you video. Customer success stories are great; they're not that hard, especially if you break them up to one question at a time, so those are some tips.
Doing an event promotion like Sarah did; if somebody doesn’t want to be on camera, they can add image and voice over, and probably do that in 15 minutes. You can throw it in, and A/B test it to see if you get a lift up. It's not going to hurt you and it's not going to drive your registrations down; in almost all cases, you’ll get a little bit of a bump and you'll have that experience. So that’s another way to get started.
Byron White: Someone named Diane, thanks Diane, asked a really good follow-up question, and I was actually going to ask the same question. Could you repeat those wonderful questions for video testimonial? Those were awesome, starting with, “What was the issue that you faced?”
Cliff Pollan: I’ll do them real quick; if anyone wants to e-mail me, go to your blog; we’ve got them up there in our whole help section, so feel free to either go there, e-mail me and I’ll send them. You asked me to do them quickly; the point is, “What was the situation you are facing? How did you go about looking to make things better?” Now, I can't do them anymore, Byron, but they rolled off.
Byron White: Get close; that’ll be fine. It rolled off your tongue like silk.
Cliff Pollan: The last one is always, “How do you see it a year out?” and “What has your experience been so far?” I’ll stop and start at the top again. So it's basically, “What was the situation you were facing? How did you go about determining what you wanted to do? What has your experience been so far?” and “How do you see it a year out?”
Byron White: I was just going to throw to that; I was writing these down, literally, as you were speaking, but one of the classic scenarios is your situation, complexity and solution. Trying to drive some questions around that, “What was the situation? What was the problem?” Ask some questions around that like, “What were the complexities with the decision-making process on which you were going to choose?” and then “What was the solution?” Just go right at it, “Did it meet the expectations?” et cetera. That’s a classic, consulting model approach to try to dig into good answers from your customers.
Cliff Pollan: Byron, I want to add one thing or highlight what you said. One of the things in the selling process is that right now, say, in the BTB world, 50 percent of sales are going to no decision. So the question you want to get in there is when you had to make that decision, what did you struggle with? Your sales people want to share how that person overcame that final hurdle in their mind to go ahead, as opposed to fall back and do a no decision. So what did you face when you went to make the decision? What was the most difficult challenge in deciding to go ahead? We’ve found that something along those lines can be incredibly helpful.
Byron White: I just want to keep asking you questions; this is one more from me here, but can you comment on video contests? I’m really excited and myself super-pumped up with video contests; there are some super platforms out there where you can run a contest, pay the winner of the contest a bounty of $5,000, $3000, maybe mail or ship your products to them, and ask them to create really creative, engaging and funny videos. What’s interesting about some of the models is you actually own all of the videos. You can use all of the videos and even have your customers vote on which video should win, and who should get the $5,000. It’s creative, interesting and engaging, and guess what? It’s done by professionals, how fun is that? Can you comment on that?
Cliff Pollan: I think it's awesome; I think it’s building community and it ties, Byron, to what you we’re talking about, which is your content strategy. Think about the content that you want to get, and how that’s going to help you for the next 12 months; I think it's a great thing. We’ve seen people do it really well, and getting people to help you create content, rewarding them with recognition. Sometimes you don’t have to give money, so don't even think that you have to give big prizes; people often want to do this to be the leader of the community, to add though to what's going on. I think it's a great thing; now, it’s a big marketing program, so make sure you put the muscle behind it. When you do it, I put on the more major side, but I think it has some major payoffs.
Byron White: Well, we’re out of time today, and we’ll probably be shut off by our fine host on our webinar pretty soon here. So I want to thank everybody for tuning in, and I want to thank you Cliff for joining this month’s webinar.
Cliff Pollan: Byron, thank you so much and thanks everybody. It was terrific.
Byron White: If you want to go back to your final slide there real quick, we would love some feedback on this for those of you still chimed in here. Thank you so much for listening in today. Please send any thoughts to either Cliff or my Twitter account; that would be great. My Twitter handle is byronwhite, and I love getting any feedback from these videos on my Twitter account. Please, please, please, thank you, thank you; that would super help me if you could. Likewise, please get a hold of Cliff or myself if you have any questions or follow-ups. Note that there will be a link coming to all of you with both a download for my deck and Cliff’s deck, as well as a link to the video that will be out broadcasting on ideaLaunch. We have an archive of all of our history of our content marketing webinars, so you can dive in and take a look. Thanks again, for tuning everyone; until next month. I hope your life is a little better and a little bit more knowledgeable with respect to video marketing. Thanks, we’ll see you next month.