Video is the perfect medium to enhance your existing strategies, says columnist Michael Litt, and will help you nurture leads and close deals.
Marketers have a lot on their plates, and their jobs aren’t getting any easier. Marketing technology is getting more complex. Sales teams continue to want more leads, but they don’t want just more, they want better leads.
Buyers have more resources to review on their own before engaging with vendors, and their paths to purchase are more circuitous and difficult to track than ever. And there is more clutter and noise for marketers to break through, forcing them to up their game in the battle for attention span.
No doubt there are hundreds of marketing tech vendors who would happily say they can help address each of these challenges. But there is one relatively easy step you can take to start addressing all of them — start using video in a strategic way.
I realize that sounds simple, but when you consider the power of video as an engaging content medium that can help you educate, inspire and even entertain your prospects and customers, there’s a strong argument to make that video is the modern marketer’s best friend. Skeptical? Keep reading.
Video Is Engaging
Buyers have a lot of people vying for their attention. They are constantly bombarded with sales pitches, white papers, case studies, product information and on and on. Those things take time to read, and they’re rarely enjoyable. As marketers, we risk being so eager to push information at buyers that we forget to think about whether they’ll actually like it.
People love video, and they are watching more and more video online. In fact, Cisco predicts that streaming video will make up 79 percent of all Internet traffic by 2018.
Habits and expectations are quickly changing, with video becoming a preferred content medium for the rising majority of online audiences. If you aren’t using video for your business, you’re behind. Your buyers will be expecting it.
Modern marketers need to think like media companies and create our content like we’re giving the audience a gift without necessarily asking for something in return. Video is perfect for that because you can get your point across quickly and express yourself — dare I say even with humor — in ways that are harder with text. You can evoke emotion and establish a connection with your viewers in ways not possible with written word.
Here are a couple of good recent examples by Lowe’s:
Sixty-five percent of viewers watch more than three-fourths of a given video, according to Invodo. Any content marketer would be thrilled with that kind of readership for a piece of text.
Our company, along with Demand Metric, found that more than 70 percent of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium. And adding video to an email campaign can increase the click-through rates by up to 96 percent, according to an internal study by GetResponse.
In a world where your prospects are contacting sales much later than they used to, marketers have to give them a reason to keep coming back.
Video Drives Lead Generation And Qualification
Compelling video content helps lure your audience and can also be a great way to bring new prospects into your story. Effective video content is much more likely to be shared by your audience than a traditional e-book or white paper, giving you the opportunity to expand your reach and build new relationships through the power of engaging content.
Video can also be easily syndicated across various distribution channels including your own website, your email marketing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and more. While “going viral” isn’t likely your goal, video offers a unique opportunity to get your messages out to a wider audience and drive higher click-through-rates and shares than traditional content.
In addition to driving engagement, video offers a number of ways to bring people into your sales funnel and qualify them as potential buyers. Adding an email gate to the start of your video, or a lead collection form to the end allows marketers to capture new leads, capitalizing on the time when they are most engaged with your brand and messaging.
With the right tools in place, this information can be tied directly to a marketing automation platform, providing a qualified lead that can be tied back to video efforts.
Adding video viewing activities to lead scoring can add another qualification channel to the funnel. If you only score a prospect based on e-book downloads or email views, you’ll miss out on other hints they’ve been dropping you.
Add in video viewing behavior, and you’ll collect data on your prospects from every interaction. More touch points means more detailed qualifications, which makes for much warmer sales calls.
Looking at video engagement data lets you see how viewers interact with content from start to finish, and see where they’re dropping off, or re-watching. (Hint: You can’t do this with any other medium!)
It’s A Natural For Nurturing Leads
Now that you’ve expanded your reach and brought more prospects into your funnel, tap video to help nudge them through the buying journey.
Start at the top of the funnel and help them see how brilliant you are, but also that your company is just plain fun to work with. Create playful content that features company culture.
Showcase your expertise with how-to videos and thought leadership interviews. One-on-one interviews with the CEO, execs or support staff demonstrate not only that they know what they’re talking about, but also that they are real people eager to help their customers succeed.
After you’ve gotten their attention, help move them through the funnel with detailed product demos, customer testimonials and video case studies. Share videos that show how your solution works with other products and services they’re already using.
To help seal the deal, get more specific and keep in touch without pushing the hard sell. Know your lead is going to be at an event you’re attending? Send a personalized message to offer a meeting. Show them instructional videos to let them know that you’ll continue to offer support even after the deal is done.
You Can Know Whether It’s Working
So far, I’ve been focusing more on the art than the science of video marketing, but it’s the science that is really exciting. Not to mention, it makes the art more effective. Like everyone else in business, marketers are increasingly expected to show results, preferably in quantitative form.
Wouldn’t it be great to know whether that prospective customer read the white paper you sent him? You might be able to see whether he opened it, but you cannot see whether he actually read it. Odds are pretty good he skimmed the first couple of paragraphs, set it aside to get back to later and then never did.
With video, you can see exactly how a buyer interacted with it. You can tell how much of the content she watched. Maybe she loved it and re-watched it. Maybe she watched the first few seconds and hated it. Maybe she watched it to the end and clicked on a call-to-action that took her to another video.
“Maybe” is the key word here because with video, you can make “maybe” a non-factor. With that white paper, you’re left guessing. With video, you can know to the second how much she consumed. As a marketer or sales rep, that is powerful because you’ll follow up with the person differently based on that data.
To make it even more powerful, you can integrate your video viewing data with your CRM or marketing automation platform, so you have the information in the context of every other contact you’ve had with the buyer.
We all need friends, and we all have criteria to help decide whether we want to be friends with someone. It just so happens that video meets the same criteria for marketers. It gives more than it takes. It’s natural and doesn’t feel forced. It’s fun. It gets along well with the friends you already have. And most importantly, it makes you better than you were without it.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)