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By now most of us know that online video is a major asset for business marketing. The data points are clear and ubiquitous. Even if we didn’t have data to back it up, it just seems that a blog post with a video will get better engagement, sharing, and SEO juice. But we do have the data: no less an authority than Forrester Research published a report last year concluding that one single minute of video has the same ROI as 1.8 million words of text. It boggles the mind: one video apparently equals more than 6000 articles. Somewhere Proust is rolling inefficiently in his grave.
When it comes to online video in terms of sales, though, there seems to be much less consensus. The benefits are evident when it comes to sales people using video as a tool to pitch clients. But it is less clear where and how video can help with your site’s nuts and bolts digital sales path. In other words, when someone visits your site and you’d like that person to convert and spend money.
How and where is best place to use video to make this happen? Let’s break it down for each stage of the funnel.
The Very Top
At this early stage of your sales cycle the distinction between sales and marketing is a bit blurred. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a top-funnel sales video has to take on the function of marketing collateral.
A report by TechTarget issued in 2014 showed that 65% of buyers required 4+ pieces of content to build a shortlist regarding which product to buy.
A closer look reveals the specific type of content these buyers want to see, which can be divided into two buckets: 3rd-party content, and vendor content. On the 3rd-party side shoppers want to learn about the competitive landscape. This is comparative shopping, just like choosing between an Android Phone and an iPhone. They often seek such information from influencers and other validators (though that doesn’t mean you can’t include these quotes in your video). From the vendors they want to hear about the technical details and of course pricing structures, i.e. what am I getting and for how much.
The beauty of video here is that you can shrink this education cycle in terms of the number of content items the buyer needs to see. Clearly, the buyer isn’t really concerned about the # of content items, she just wants to gather as much information as possible. Transmitting that information more quickly will almost always be a win-win.
Lastly, video is just an inherently more attractive and unique media type. It naturally broadens the reach of the top funnel by the very fact of its existence. Your page with a video will inevitably rank higher than one without, and people are more likely to watch the video than read any text. All these factors bode well for the top of your sales funnel.
At this stage the potential customer knows the basics about your company and its competitors. Salesforce uses some interesting language to point out the aim of a mid-funnel sales video; on the company blog it writes “Mid-funnel videos are for educating prospects and helping them justify a purchase(italics mine).”
In other words, just because the shopper knows a good amount about the product — even if she’s already deemed it superior to the competition — at this stage in the cycle you still need to convince her to spend the money in the first place.
Accordingly, this is great place to present your lead with video content stressing the return on investment (ROI) of your product. Be super specific, and don’t be afraid to show actual dollar amounts, i.e. “your $20 subscription can translate into $500 in sales.”
Here’s a great example of a mid-funnel video. Low how clearly it lays out the removal of the pain point.
Even the wording here in the middle funnel is key. A recent study showed that merely replacing the word “play” with “demo” on your demo video increased clicks by 83%.
Last year Zappos integrated hundreds of thousands of product demo videos into its site. The company found that products with a demo video enjoyed a sales jump of 30% relative to those without a video.
Eloqua also has some great advice when it comes to mid-funnel sales and video in the B2B context. They point out that here “you’ll need to articulate your product’s features as they appeal both to decision makers and on-the-ground users.” This means targeting the right person within an organization who can make the transaction happen; or, if this information isn’t immediately knowable, lay out the talking points clearly for the subordinate to take to his boss.
The mid-funnel is also a great place to “gate” your videos. Gating is becoming a more common practice for sales and marketing teams everywhere. It basically gives you an added “tier” for your leads. The onus here is on your team to create a high-quality video that the user is willing to share his or her email address in order to watch. The goal here is not to go viral; you don’t want to put something out like “The 7 Craziest Things Madonna Ever Said,” as this is not targeted to your sales audience. Instead, you should offer something more specific, if not proprietary. Use your company’s internal resources to provide folks with some compelling information they can’t find elsewhere.
For example, here at GoAnimate we have really good collateral on all the possible candidates for the Presidency in 2016. Like they did in 2012, people are going to visit our site to make political videos during the election cycle. We could come out with a gated video infographic laying out all the data: which candidate appeared in the most videos, which was skewered the most, which was lauded the most, etc. People would be interested in seeing that data, while also getting a look at how our product could present such information. They would even be willing to give up their email addresses to see it — thereby signaling a higher intent. We would then put these contacts on an aggressive path to converting via our political themes, knowing that 1) they’re such political junkies that they want this data and 2) they’re willing to share their email addresses with us to see it.
A lot of companies are hesitant to put videos this far down in the sales cycle, thinking that the potential customer is oh-so-close to opening her wallet — why jeopardize that with a video that could divert her attention?
But meanwhile your super hot lead still has questions, especially if you’re selling software or something else that’s not quite tangible.
Use this opportunity at the bottom of the funnel to seal the deal; video can help. At this point, far along in the process, the shopper has much more specific questions — often about the product and customer service.
Videos at this point can live on the pricing page, on deeply targeted landing pages, or even the sign up pages themselves. And, reflecting the user’s needs at this point, they should be FAQ videos about the product’s best features, and videos promoting the customer support team there to answer any questions the paid customer might have. Put a human face on the customer service apparatus and include hours and phone numbers to assuage the customer that she will supported post-purchase.
Of course your job isn’t done after the customer spends money, especially if you’re concerned about word of mouth and renewals (such concern sounds like a good idea).
Animoto put out a study last year reporting that 93% of people find video helpful for instructions post purchase. Such videos should really sit under the “how to” section of the site. The challenge here is to strike the right balance between personalized customer service (i.e. having real humans available to answer questions either on the phone or online) and having a library of videos available for customers to research and do it themselves. There are pro and cons to each approach; some customers like to phone in and have someone show the way; others like to explore alone. From your perspective it’s finding the sweet spot between cost-effectiveness and responding to the stated needs of your collective customer base.
Video can and should be a vital part of your site’s digital sales flow. It needn’t only serve near the top of the funnel as something of a marketing tool for getting folks interested in the first place; at every stage of the sales cycles videos can help nudge people to convert, and then convert again.
Here’s the best use at each stage:
Top funnel: Videos about the competitive landscape and where your company stands within it. Visual content here should also mention the price of the item or service in question. Lay out the high-level value proposition. What pain point is removed?
Mid funnel: These videos will live a bit deeper on site, away from the homepage — perhaps on a product-specific portal or landing page. Stress the justification for purchasing your product, which should also include the return on investment. Explain how your product will remove the pain points.
Bottom funnel: Re-assure hot leads here. Use video to re-inforce the product’s strongest features, and highlight the customer service team’s accessibility. Don’t be afraid to house the videos on pricing or even check out pages.
Post-purchase: Keep your customers by provided easily-searchable tutorials and guides to the product, supported by real people who can answer questions live when these video resources don’t quite suffice.