by Clare Kirlin
Without a doubt, video is taking over the world.
Some savvy businesses are tapping into its potential. Video has been known to increase email click-thru rates by 200–300 percent, increase web traffic by 41 percent, and grow revenue 49 percent faster.
(It doesn’t hurt that 6 million years of evolution have shaped human beings to find video irresistible; we literally cannot look away from it.)
That’s marketing gold.
Does it get any better than this?
It does get any better than this.
Video + automation = The winning combination
Combining video and marketing automation creates unprecedented opportunities for small businesses. There’s no doubt that video captures attention, but marketing automation helps convert that attention into cash. It’s a one-two punch that drives engagement and revenue faster and more easily than ever before.
Quick review: If you aren’t familiar with marketing automation, think of it as software that lets you connect with thousands of leads and customers at once in a personalized way. Businesses use marketing automation software to automatically execute tasks like:
- Storing and organizing contact information for your leads and customers
- Sending personalized emails based on criteria you set
- Building and managing marketing campaigns
- Recording customer actions, conversations, purchases, and other behaviors
- Producing reports on revenue, engagement, and performance
You can do this—starting now
If video and marketing automation are such a powerful pair, why isn’t every business out there using both?
Despite its potential, video is intimidating to many businesses. There is a common—but false—assumption that you need advanced expertise, a large budget, and complicated technology to produce quality video content.
In truth, video is more accessible now than ever before. You likely have the makings of a production studio within reach right now; most smartphones boast built-in high-definition recording capabilities. Video editing software is readily available online and through mobile apps. You can even find tools that will automatically cut a video for you, with minimal human input.
While the value of a professionally produced video cannot be overestimated, getting started with some homegrown content is possible for almost anyone in business today.
Marketing automation can be equally threatening. Small business owners and employees mistakenly believe that they need coding skills or highly specialized knowledge to use it.
Today’s marketing automation software is designed for people in non-technical roles. It does require some human input; you have to set rules for the platform to follow and create content for it to send. But with a solid setup and regular upkeep, the software can save you thousands of hours of work per year.
Like video, marketing automation brings its own set of blow-you-away stats. Eighty percent of marketing automation users see an increase in leads. Seventy-seven percent see an increase in conversions. And 85 percent of businesses using marketing automation have increased their contributions to pipeline and revenue.
Best of all, popular video players and marketing automation programs can integrate, or “talk” to one another, so data flows seamlessly in the background.
Video and marketing automation: Here are the basics
In this post, you will learn how to bolster your marketing by combining video and automation—two of the most effective technologies available to small businesses today.
Here are a few foolish assumptions:
- You already have some video content, or you’re willing to learn the basics so you can start producing it on your own.
- You want to capture more leads and convert them to customers in less time. You’re willing to invest in marketing to drive more sales.
- You have a basic understanding of marketing stages like awareness, consideration, decision. I’ll try to avoid jargon, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.
You have infinite options to use video and marketing automation for better results. This guide will focus on five of the most effective ways:
- Capture new leads
- Nurture existing leads
- Qualify leads
- Up-sell current customers
- Generate referrals
1. Capture more leads
Since video is so darn engaging, it’s a great way to capture contact information from visitors to your website and other online pages. A marketing automation platform will instantly upload that information to a central database and create a new contact record, so you don’t have to do it manually.
There are two basic ways to capture leads with video. Both utilize lead forms, which are simply online forms that allow a contact to submit their information in exchange for something from you.
The page features a video that gives the viewer a sampling of the in-depth information they will receive through the company’s mentorship program. It closes with a verbal call-to-action (CTA) inviting the viewer to complete a form on the page to view the next video in the series.
At 12 minutes, the video is long compared to much of what we see online these days; it is clearly targeted to a viewer who is already deeply engaged with the brand and eager for more information.
With marketing automation, Clever Investor can use this information to its advantage—“tagging” the lead that viewed a 12-minute video as more engaged and interested in this specific product. When it’s time to follow up, Clever Investor’s sales team will have much more insight into the buyer than a simple name and email address.
The second way to capture leads is within the video itself. Most popular video platforms allow you to embed CTAs within their video players. Options range from simple text and links on platforms like YouTube, to custom forms on more advanced platforms. You can insert a lead form pre-roll (before the video plays), mid-roll (as the video plays), or post-roll (after the video has played).
A feature like Turnstile, from video marketing platform Wistia, allows you to create a customized lead form and embed it at any point within your video. The viewer fills out the form within the player itself, and their information is automatically uploaded to your marketing automation platform.
You might choose to gate your video by making the lead form mandatory so that the video can only be viewed if the form is submitted. Or, you can give viewers the option to skip the form altogether. As a general rule, ungated content is best for top-of-funnel leads that are just getting to know your business. Gated content is best suited to leads at the bottom of the funnel who are highly motivated to engage with you.
Whichever tactic you choose to capture leads with video, you will likely see higher conversion rates than you would get without video; four times as many consumers prefer to view a video about a product than to simply read about it, and a study from Eyeview Digital showed that video increased landing page traffic by 80 percent.
Bright ideas for generating leads with video:
2. Nurture existing leads
A lead watches your video, hands over their contact information, gets stored in a database, and buys what you have to sell, right? Well… there are a few more steps involved.
Ninety-six percent of the visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to buy yet.
You’re not going to ignore them, are you?
And you don’t have time to follow up with every single one of them individually, do you?
Here’s where the magic of marketing automation really comes into play.
Once a lead’s contact information has been stored, you can use marketing automation to nurture them along until they are sales ready. A nurture campaign is a series of personalized emails designed to move a lead to purchase. The content of those emails is based on who your lead is, how they behave, their likelihood to buy… really, whatever criteria you tell your marketing automation platform to use.
On average, this kind of personalized email delivers six times higher transaction rates than a generic message.
Add video in the mix, and the engagement rates start to break records.
Remember earlier we mentioned that email click-thru rates (CTR) can rise by 200–300 percent when video is used? Video in emails is also reported to boost customer engagement by 35 percent. One study even showed that simply using the word “video” in an email subject line boosted open rates by 19 percent.
There are limitless ways to nurture a lead with video. As your video strategy evolves, you can get more sophisticated with lead nurturing. To begin, decide which videos are appropriate for which stages of your buyer’s journey.
For example, when leads are brand new to your business (at the top of the funnel), you might send them a welcome video letting them know what they can expect by signing up for your emails. Keep these videos short (under a minute), since this segment of your audience isn’t fully engaged with your business just yet.
For leads further along in their journey, you can use slightly longer videos that speak more specifically to your product or service. Throughout the journey, you can use videos to promote other assets, invite leads to events, showcase a product or service, tour your facility, feature a satisfied customer—there are hundreds of options.
There is one important catch to sending video via email.
Many popular email clients can’t play an embedded video. And since you don’t control which email clients your leads use, you risk your video not playing if you try to embed it directly.
The common workaround is to substitute a static thumbnail image of your video with a “play” button overlaid. It can be a simple screenshot of the video itself. This simulates the video player experience, as Box Out Marketing has done here.
Their thumbnail, embedded in an email message, links to a landing page where the viewer can consume the entire video. In addition to the thumbnail image, there are text-based CTAs throughout Box Out’s email that link to the same landing page—giving the reader ample opportunities to find the video.
Note that if you link a thumbnail to a landing page with video, you may want to consider auto-playing the video when viewers arrive on the page. This minimizes the number of clicks between your content and the people you’re trying to reach with it.
And if you want to go super-deluxe, you can embed an animated GIF in an email message to create the illusion of a video. Like this:
Far more email clients support animated GIFs than video. The advantage of an animated GIF over a video is that even if it doesn’t animate due to technical limitations of the email client, viewers will still see the image in the first frame. Just be sure the total file size isn’t much bigger than 1 MB, so it loads quickly.
You can easily create a custom animated GIF with a tool like GifCreator. As with a static thumbnail, the images should match the content of the video you’re linking to for a seamless user experience.
Bright ideas for nurturing leads with video:
3. Qualify leads
We’ve established that video is useful for engaging your leads and customers. It is also useful for measuring just how engaged they are.
Qualifying a lead means evaluating their “sales-readiness,” or how likely they are to purchase from you. Most marketing automation platforms use a ranking system called lead scoring to determine a lead’s qualification status. As a lead moves toward a sale, their lead score increases.
With marketing automation, you can choose what signals should increase a lead’s score. How many times did they visit your website? How many items did they download content? How much video did they consume?
Enter your chosen criteria into your marketing automation platform, and it will automatically assign lead scores accordingly. You can even “trigger” specific activities like emails, sales calls, or appointment requests based on a lead’s score.
There are three key metrics when it comes to qualifying a lead based on video engagement.
- Consumption: How much video did they consume overall? This can be the total number of videos watched, or the total number of minutes they spent watching your videos, or the number of times they watched the same video.
- Drop-off: For a specific video, how much of the content was viewed? Where did they drop off? The importance of this number will vary depending on where you lead is in their journey and the length of the video. Watching 75 percent of a 30-second intro video may not mean as much as watching 75 percent of a 30-minute product video.
- Topic: Which videos are they watching? Are they interested in a specific product or service? As you build your video library, it’s a good idea to tag each asset by lead stage (top of funnel, middle of funnel, or bottom of funnel) and topic (area of interest, product of interest, etc.).
You can create a very complex lead scoring system in time. For now, set some basic parameters that are easy to track and update as you create more content. Don’t overdo it. Here is a useful getting-started guide from our friends at Wistia.
At Infusionsoft, we use all of the above criteria to score leads with video. For someone in the awareness stage (top of funnel), viewing 20 percent of a 1-minute video will moderately increase their lead score. Further down the funnel, viewing 20 percent of a 30-minute video—like our product demo—will significantly increase their lead score.
Viewing 20 percent of this 30-second webinar invitation will moderately increase a lead’s score…
…But watching 20 percent of this 30-minute product demo tells us that someone is much more sales-ready.
Of course, you can’t possibly keep track of this data manually for everyone watching your videos. Marketing automation software can integrate with your video player of choice to measure and calculate everything in the background so you don’t have to.
Bright ideas for qualifying leads with video:
4. Upsell current customers
Once you’ve put video and marketing automation in place, you’ll likely be collecting more leads and converting them to customers.
As exciting as new customers can be, we don’t want to overlook our existing customers.
Most businesses stand to decrease costs and increase profits by generating repeat business from those who have already made a purchase. In one study, Bain consulting found that increasing customer retention by just 5 percent resulted in a 25 percent profit boost. And it’s 50 percent easier to sell your existing customers than it is to convert a new lead.
Video and marketing automation can help here, too.
A key part of marketing automation platforms is customer relationship management (CRM). CRM is the technology that tracks information about your leads and customers, and lets you segment or score them according to their interests.
Using the CRM capabilities in your marketing automation platform, you can pull a highly targeted list—for example, anyone who made a purchase over $100 more than three months ago may be interested in a video announcing your newest product or service.
Check out this email from Gallup. Gallup is an organization publishes the Strengthsfinder, an assessment commonly used in professional settings to identify personal strengths.
Gallup sent me this video a few months after I completed their Strengthsfinder assessment for the third time in my career.
It wouldn’t make sense for Gallup to offer me the assessment a fourth time. But I may be interested in becoming a certified Strengths Coach so that I can help others discover their strengths. Gallup is nurturing me along in my journey with the brand until I am ready to buy again.
Yvonne Hallig, owner of a bed and breakfast in the Champagne region of France, engages her guests with video throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
Using marketing automation to track who has visited in the past, she automatically sends videos inviting past guests for a repeat visit during peak travel times.
Yvonne has successfully doubled revenue and now won the honor of being voted the No. 1 accommodation in her region.
Bright ideas for upselling current customers with video:
5. Generate referrals
A great way to reward loyal customers (and to attract new ones) is with video testimonials.
Customer testimonials have been rated the No. 1 most effective type of video content. And your customers are more willing to endorse you than you may realize; more than 50 percent of people say they would give a referral in exchange for an incentive such as recognition on social media or a membership in a loyalty program—neither of which are very expensive to provide.
How do you know who your happiest customers are? Marketing automation! Even if you aren’t tracking customer satisfaction (which you can and should do in a marketing automation platform), you can look at factors such as how often a person has purchased from you, how large their purchase is, and how long they have been doing business with you to discover who your best potential referral sources are.
Since a marketing automation platform stores information about your leads as well, you can send video testimonials to prospective customers from existing customers with similar profiles (such as those in the same industry or region) for maximum impact and credibility.
Veed.me, a company that sells video production services, has an impressive testimonial library—sortable by factors like the client’s industry and how much they paid to produce a video.
Given that their product is video, you’d expect their video testimonials to be every bit as spectacular as they are. But what’s to stop you from applying some of their best ideas to your own video testimonials?
Customer testimonial videos can be used at every stage of the funnel. At Infusionsoft, we use three types of customer testimonial videos:
- Customer journey: These videos target top-of-funnel leads. They help establish a connection with current Infusionsoft customers who face similar challenges—without mentioning our product at all. (Example here.)
- Product journey: These videos target mid-and-bottom-of-funnel leads. They showcase how Infusionsoft helped other businesses solve their challenges, and provide more information about how our product can be utilized. (Example here.)
- Product demo: A far less common (but more effective) type of customer testimonial is a customer demo—a brief video where a current Infusionsoft customer provides a step-by-step overview of they are using our software. It’s a new way to approach customer testimonials, but highly valuable to sales-ready prospects.
Eric Sparrow, an Infusionsoft customer, demonstrates how he uses Infusionsoft in this product demo testimonial.
Bright ideas for generating referrals with video:
Where are you going?
With a command of the basics and a willingness to try video and marketing automation, your business can go far.
You’ve seen a steady stream of dazzling statistics about the power of these technologies throughout this post. Remember that these numbers are great indicators of what’s possible, but you’ll want to set your own goals and benchmarks to measure progress in your unique business.
Today’s technology can take us to unimaginable heights. Video is easy to produce, deliver, and consume. Marketing automation is powerful, sophisticated, and widely available. Their combined power is yours to harness.
It’s time to play.
Clare is the associate copy director at Infusionsoft, where she works to craft meaningful messaging for a worldwide audience of small business superheroes. Her 10-year marketing career has deep roots in content strategy, with an emphasis on B2B technology. Outside the office, Clare can usually be found indulging her passion for language as a creative writer, prolific reader, and inexorable chatterbox. She is a proud parent of one daughter and self-nominated captain of Team Oxford Comma. Connect with Clare on Twitter @clarekirlin.