In a recent post I wrote about three B2B Video Marketing Trends I’ll be watching for in 2017.
More conversational. Less advertorial.
Actually, I’ll be doing more than watching. I’ll be working with clients to find ways to take advantage of these B2B video marketing trends. All three lead toward more engagement and a better customer experience. And that’s where all business is headed.
More conversational. Less advertorial.
This is in line with the trend toward a “video-first world,” as envisioned by Mark Zuckerberg. The more pervasive personal video streaming and messages become, the less relevant categories such as webinar, slideshare, explainer, tutorial, and commercial become. Video is simply part of the sales conversation.
Here are three things you can do in 2017 to make videos that are more engaging:
Get subject matter experts to record answers to frequently asked questions instead of making presentations. Add titles and graphics.
Record Skype conversations with customers.
Add video animations or slides to SME blog posts
Did you know that vertical video ads on Snapchat have up to 9 times more completed views than horizontal video ads? With more and more video being viewed on mobile devices, is makes sense that people aren’t going to want to turn their phones horizontal to view every video that comes along. If you’re just trying to explain a value proposition and or teach a customer something useful, there’s no compelling reason to do it sideways.
In fact, one could argue that turning your phone sideways detracts from the customer experience. The vertical format favored by 200 million Snapchat users will become increasingly relevant as more web videos are viewed inline on iOS devices, courtesy of Apple’s iOS 10.
It’s certainly not difficult to record videos in portrait mode. Or to edit in graphics and animations. Give it try. Put some on your FAQ page. Re-use on Snapchat.
Here’s an example of a video that’s feels a bit more like an app than a video, simply because it allows the viewer to manipulate it.
What made Candace Payne’s Chewbacca Mom video so irresistible was sharing her enthusiasm. Shared enthusiasm obviously plays a big role in day-to-day buying decisions, too. Consumer marketing gets a big boost from customer video reviews, “influencer” tweets, tutorials on enthusiast websites, etc. B2B subject matter expert videos can share enthusiasm, too.
Why don’t we see a lot of this contagious emotion in B2B marketing videos? Well, it’s not that technology companies lack employees who are enthusiastic and savvy advocates for their solutions. Or that these people can’t talk on camera — most of them probably use FaceTime, Skype, or online video conferencing software.
The value of subject matter experts
We research and write scripts for our 2-Minute Explainer videos by talking with subject matter experts. That’s the best way to hit the right conversational tone, use the right words, and most important,
In a previous post, I suggested some ways to generate technology solution videos that feel like the kind of everyday video we’re accustomed to seeing in social media. And as unlike TV commercials as we can make it, because buyers who are researching a solution want to be informed, not sold to. Here are a few more options.
Technology solution videos as FAQs
If people are visiting your website to research a solution, wouldn’t it make sense to have your best people answer the questions they are most likely to ask? — in a user-friendly video format? It wouldn’t bother most viewers if the video looked like a recorded FaceTime call.
Answers to questions that are “Frequently Asked” can be found in tutorials, webinars, online demos, and other traditional video genres Extracting and repackaging them is just a matter of imagination and editorial skill.
“If we break a 3-1/2 hour video into chapters, and call one of them INTRO, 47% of viewers skip it entirely, assuming it’s boring and useless.”
— Randy Tinfow,
Interactive Video Technologist
Have you ever attended a live webinar and sat through ten minutes of introductions while staring at the same boring slide? Of course you have. But at least there are real people on the line, and they promised to say something interesting. That’s why your watching. And you can’t skip ahead.
That’s not the case with video. Many, fearing boredom, will skip out. Many others will skip ahead.
Most video content for tech buyers seems to ignore the fact that regular people spend more than 100,000,000 hours every day watching video on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects that Facebook will soon be 100% video. In other words, video is a medium used for everyday social communication. That makes sense — it’s just another thing we do with a smart phone.
By comparison, however, most video content aimed at tech buyers doesn’t feel at all like social communication for regular people. It feels forced and sales-y. Kinda like commercials on TV. So here are some ideas for using more video content that fits more naturally into the way today’s buyers communicate.
Use video to activate other media
Marketers surveyed by Ascend2 ranked the importance and effectiveness of common video types as follows:
On-demand product demonstration videos
Explainer and tutorial videos
Thought leader interviews
Project reviews and case studies
Live and on-demand webinars
This list makes sense. But look at it from the buyer’s perspective. Buyers don’t want thought leadership, they want new ideas. They don’t want testimonials, they want to find out how your solution works for people like them. So why not enrich your other content with ideas from your thought leadership videos and anecdotes from your testimonials? You can incorporate snippets from existing videos in emails. Brighten up your product sheet PDFs with testimonials. Use video or animated gifs to describe your procedures and methodologies instead of lame PowerPoint animations.
When is branding really necessary?
Scrolling your newsfeed past the stuff in that isn’t super-appealing accounts for a lot of social media activity. One of the things most likely to be scrolled past is the spiffy opening animation for your corporate video. Or your spokesperson earnestly addressing the camera.
The opening frames of a video need a great hook to stop the scrolling: something, alluring, funny, or surprising. Captions combined with graphics or live action video tell the viewer a lot right off. So does a great title. Your animated logo, probably not so much.
Remember the context
Another aspect of branding worth noting isthat most B2B videos will viewed on the brand’s website, YouTube, Facebook, or somewhere else with brand identity to spare. No need to spend those critical few seconds of viewing time on it.
Sales enablement is about content, timing, and knowing where a prospect is in a buying cycle. It makes sense to feature video content appropriate to different way-stops.
In content marketing, you put content where prospects are will notice it and, hopefully, consume some, because you assume that buyers are avoiding sales people during at least half of the sales process. Sales enablement, on the other hand, is about helping a salesperson “deliver the right content to the right person at the right time” according to an excellent primer from Eloqua. To select “the right content” to deliver, you look at what content the prospect has accessed to date. This is called “reading digital body language.” It enables the sales person to get in sync with the buyer’s interests, understand where the buyer is on her journey, and to generally be more consultative.
Interweaving video content and white papers’ content can strengthen the entire content marketing strategy (graphic adapted from MarketingProfs)
Done well, there’s really nothing quite like white papers. Here are four ways to use make white papers work better with video, and how to make this staple of marketing content a little more appetizing.
Use video to increase downloads
White papers are supposed to be interesting, technical, and objective. Well — nobody really expects them to be objective — every reader knows the publisher has rigged the evidence. But credibility demands that presentation of evidence take precedence over mere assertions of superior performance.
Just about everyone considers newsletters an essential marketing tactic: they’re inexpensive to produce, and easy to distribute. Easy to segment, too. Integrating this tactic with your video tactics increases the impact of both.
This the third in a series about integrating video with your other email marketing tactics. Here is why your eNewsletter should link to videos
The word “video” in the subject line increases click rates by 65%
That’s according to a 2013 MarketingProfs study. This is good news for technology marketers, most of whom produce video, and few of whom can use “free delivery” — which scores 135% — in their email subject lines.
Video can make your call-to-action a no-brainer
Subscribers to eNewsletters vary greatly on where they are in the decision process — not just how much they know or care about you and your product or service, but also what they actually need. In any case, many will be very uncertain whether they should put any more time and effort into finding out what you can do for them. Video in your eNewsletter can reduce that uncertainty, because viewing a short video is the most painless way to determine your own level of interest in something.
So, a video “trailer” for your webinar, or a video touting “five cool things you can do with our free thing-y” will certainly can turn that decision on whether to take the next step into a very easy decision. Then you should consider making it easy to act on that easy decision by embedding the CTA right in the video window.
You can match video segmentation to email segmentation
Interweaving video content and webinar content can strengthen the entire content marketing strategy (graphic adapted from MarketingProfs)
Between audience acquisition, webinar content development, webinar management and webinar follow-up activities, B2B organizations can spend more than $15K on their webinar marketing efforts. The problem is — very few B2B technology organizations are generating the leads they should be grabbing and even fewer are effectively engaging these leads after the event is over. Here are some ideas on how to use explainer videos to convert webinar registrants into customers
Here’s why many technology B2B webinars do not generate as many qualified leads as they should — and how videos can help
Reason #1: Most B2B technology webinars are nothing more than a demo.
According to webinar expert Mike Agron, when you are trying to attract top of the funnel prospects, the purpose of a webinar should be to get buy-in for some type of change in your prospect’s organization. Your webinar should not be about making a sale or showing a demo or touting product features. Prospects are still in the learning stage so you have to make your webinars case study based where you showcase a new process, strategy or solution that will lead to better business outcomes.
Reason #2: B2B organizations are failing to quickly connect with their targeted audiences needs.
You must remember that the target audiences you invite to a webinar will vary greatly on where they are in the decision process — not just how much they know or care about you and your solutions, but also what they actually need. In any case, many will be very uncertain whether they should put any more time and effort into finding out what you can do for them (which includes signing up for your webinar.) By adding videos as part of the invite process, you can reduce that uncertainty, because viewing a short video is the most painless way to determine your own level of interest in something. Plus, with a good 2-Minute Explainer animated video, you’ll be able to quickly connect the prospect with the problem you’ll be covering in the webinar.
Not only are videos good for your webinar audience acquisition efforts – but also in the lead engagement process. Remember, because someone signed up for a webinar, it does not mean they will be ready to buy immediately afterward. You have to nourish relationships.
Video follow-up? Yes. Yes. And yes.
Companies usually follow up with surveys and a link to download the recorded session and they’ll call the “hottest prospects” and just dump everyone else into their newsletter list. Here’s a better way to follow up with webinar registrants:
If you made your webinar case study based and if you provided real value, then you should have buy-in to a new process or strategy from your webinar attendees. Now, you want to follow up, with a 2 minute explainer that supports these objectives:
Reinforce your message.
Show prospects how your technology supports the strategies and processes described in the webinar and how it will help them overcome the challenges mentioned in your audience acquisition videos. So, in other words, you are connecting the dots for them.
Move the prospect further along in the sales process
Make it easy for your prospect to share information with other buying team members (not in the form of a recorded 45-minute webinar)
This video is appropriate for webinar followup. Somewhat in-depth. A bit sales-y. Reinforces the productpitch which, in a webinar, should be subtle.
A second follow up email can then provide a combination of an in-depth demo and sales pitch like this Brocade Application Resource Broker in Action video. This video is a five-minute presentation that incorporates animations from a (top-of-funnel) 2-Minute Explainer video that was initially used to introduce the product, and a narrated “demo” depicting in detail what it’s like to use the product.
Implications for content marketing
If your content marketing strategy calls for webinars, you should make it easy for the buying team member who attended the webinar to share the positive new things learned with other team members. That means your content strategy for webinars should anticipate the videos that can be used to follow up. These videos include video product introductions, video product demos, video case studies and whatever else you’ve got. Make video part of before and after webinar strategy.
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