In the past few years we’ve heard a lot about Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing is hot, red hot in fact and an unmissable part of the content marketing, lead generation and inbound sales process. In this article, I’ll be talking about something new – Inbound Video and how it will change the inbound marketing landscape for the better!
The quality of a lead
In exchange for our email addresses, many sites give away free information, in the form of an e-book, report or checklist as part of their content marketing strategy. You see, inbound marketing is ‘in’. It’s all in the list, as they say. Those that engage in inbound marketing can confirm that e-mail marketing maintains it’s high conversion rate. By providing a freebie piece of content, companies are granted quick access to important data.
But how much is this data worth if CRMs are filled with spam e-mail accounts? You know, the ones specifically created for double opt-ins and used only to access the giveaway.
We all have such a spam email account and the reason why is obvious. It’s because most inbound marketing content is disappointing, to put it mildly, and doesn’t live up to expectations.
The question then is:
“How can inbound marketing add real value to the lead and keep them engaged?”
Welcome inbound video – The ”In-Video CTA (Call to Actions)”
According to several different sources video is recognized as the most effective and most valued form of content. When used correctly, video offers plenty of opportunities within inbound marketing. Inbound video helps the viewer understand the value of the offer and stimulates active participation.
“Inbound video is an approach whereby the focus is placed on generating leads from WITHIN the video, in a natural, relevant way and at the most suitable moments DURING the video”
Inbound video helps the viewer access specific information faster and therefore speeds up the moment of conversion. Why? Because Inbound video in combination with ‘In Video CTAs’ (a specific type of interactive video) helps stimulate conversion at the time that’s most suitable for the viewer. Think about that for a moment!
In our efforts to attract marketing or sales qualified leads, we must provide the prospect with a reason to part with their email address. At a basic level, a good quality piece of content should be provided but it must also deliver and meet expectations. When we apply this video content we need to ensure our freebie is made available at the most appropriate time within the video.
In blogs we see Call to Actions added throughout. Depending on the length of the article you will find the CTAs added up to three times. On occasion you may find different offers added throughout a single blog.
Within Inbound Video, and because of the nature of video, it’s important to focus on one specific Call to Action. Much like a written blog, the In-Video Call To Action can be added several times. The most effective approach is to add the In-Video CTA within the video itself and not under the video player as many do. We can also help the viewer to take action earlier by adding the CTA directly and/or in time with our video script. The important thing is not to add the CTA at the very beginning of the video. The viewer can perceive this as being intrusive. The CTA at the very end of the video, when the attention drop off is just as ineffective.
‘In-Video CTAs’ are most effective when used to collect data, e.g. name, email, phone numbers. Integration with existing CRM/mailing software makes it incredibly easy to gather valuable data and store in one place. If you’ve set up an auto-responder series, the collected email addresses gathered via the In-Video CTA are added directly, and so the relationship begins.
Take a look at this example to see how ‘In-Video CTAs’ can work to collect email addresses.
Providing content that’s right for the viewer
Another reason why video works so well is because it’s a nicer way to receive information. People are busy and have little time. Their preference will almost always be to receive information that is well presented, easy to follow and gets to the point quickly. Video achieves this naturally. But there’s more. When a prospect is offered video content in exchange for their email address, they’re more likely to provide a legitimate email address.
This legitimate email address is opened regularly and the most valuable way to contact your prospect.
If you want to stay top of mind then you’ll need to produce high value content that is worthy of that email address.
Interacting with video
Of course, this isn’t the only way to use ‘In-Video CTAs’. The In-Video CTAs can also be used to add html links, images, texts and other elements, also known as interactive video.
Interactive video is often found in videos with a game aspect to it. In such a video, the viewer is asked to make certain choices. Those choices help the viewer progress through the video. The Gamification of such videos is great to experience, but if interactive video is only used in this way, then aside from entertainment, it doesn’t offer very much more.
Thankfully, there are other ways to use interactive video which help your viewers and offer more value.
One of our clients, the screen mirroring app company, AirBeamTV uses In-Video CTA’s to help provide their users with information about their product. By using video with interactive elements, AirBeamTV achieve a click-through-rate of 6.4% and an incredible view-through-rate of 63.1%
Take a look at how their In-Video CTA works at 00:54 seconds.
With Inbound Video the workflow for online video creation has a subtle but significant change. Instead of just producing video content, you produce video content with a clear video conversion strategy. You’re not just making content, you’re making content with a specific goal. This goal is defined beforehand and should include a concrete objective such as collecting email addresses, booking appointments or some other tangible goal.
The proof is in the pudding
According to Kissmetrics, In-Video CTA’s delivered 380% more clicks than their regular call to Actions. This is an impressive statistic and not to be ignored.
The average conversion rate of an opt-in form (also known as the evil pop-up) lies between the 0.5% and the 2.9% depending on which tool is used. The differences are huge. In-Video CTAs are clearly more effective and there’s a reason for it.
1. In-Video CTAs, when placed correctly, appear at the moment most suitable for the viewer.
To get this right, the video script must be written for the viewer. Long gone are the days of producing content that boasts about how great you or your company is. This isn’t what viewers want to read, hear or see. Viewers need to know what value you offer them and how your company solves their challenges.
The attention span of the viewer must also be considered. To use CTAs effectively, you must anticipate the right moment to add the In-Video CTA. Thankfully, this is easy to achieve with video and your video script can naturally build up to this.
Videos for the buyer journey
Video is extremely suitable and easy to integrate with the inbound marketing phases: Awareness, Interest, Consideration and Decision. As the diagram shows below, there are different video formats that can be used for each aspect of the buyer journey. Download our free guide video styles for your company.
When the right form of video content is used at the right phase, the chances of conversion are much higher.
Forget view through rate. Focus on conversion rate!
Have you noticed it? Blog articles that provide the average reading time at the top of the blog. People are busy after-all. By providing an estimated reading time, we hope they’ll spare us their precious time and read our articles. We’re so busy fighting for visitor attention, but is this really necessary? I don’t think so!
“The goal of your inbound video should be to convert as quickly as possible”
Online video marketers are constantly saying that videos should be as short and preferably no longer than 90 seconds. In my opinion, this is complete nonsense. Such an approach is only required if the call to action (if at all present) is placed at the end of the video or if the goal is for the entire video to be seen. Based on this action, watch-through-rate is determined. The problem here is that watch-through-rate isn’t a metric that offers any real value. So, why hang on to such a rule?
The truth is this. A video needs to be as long as required to provide the viewer with the information they need.
That doesn’t mean you should take all the time in the world. If you can create a video that explains everything in 2 minutes then you should do this. If, however, more content is required to give a complete overview, then by all means go for longer.
To get this right with your inbound video efforts, you’ll need to include your In-Video CTAs earlier within the video and repeatedly throughout the video. When you use In-Video CTAs in this way, the focus goes from watch-through-rate to a conversion rate.
“There are several suitable moments to place In-Video CTAs in Inbound Video”
When your goal is to convert the viewer into a lead then the length of the video is irrelevant. If the viewer gets what they want earlier on, the chances are higher they’ll watch the rest of the video.
Upgrade your free content: How Inbound video make a difference to inbound marketing
We see a lot of free e-books, guides and whitepapers offered from many companies. Pretty much all Inbound Marketing agencies do it. I did a little experiment and googled ‘free inbound marketing ebook”. Google delivered a total of 7.900.000 results for the English language …..Pfff
By offering free content in the form of a video series you give the direct impression that your content is of higher value. This in return ensures a quality email address and provides a reason for the lead to open your emails and visit your site regularly.
To do this right and meet expectations, you will need to create a video to introduce your video series. Herein, you must include relevant In-Video CTAs a number of times but without going overboard.
Inbound Video works but remember these 5 tips
1 – Search engines give a preference to relevant video because searchers love video.
Just make sure the embed code of your video refers to your website rather than the platform where your video is hosted. This can be achieved by using Video SEO (VSEO) techniques.
YouTube and Vimeo (free) embed codes point searchers back to them. So, although your video gets ranked, it doesn’t get ranked for your website at all. Once the searcher is on YouTube, you’ve pretty much lost them and your video is most likely listed next to your competitor. Host your videos in the correct way!
2 – Turn your e-book, checklist or other freebie into a video series.
Use existing content to create this. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just remember that a pre-existing e-book will need to be restructured to make it suitable for video.
3 – Do what you can, use what you have, start where you are! – Arthur Ashe
If your marketing budget is limited then you’ll have to get creative. You can still achieve a lot with daylight, a lavalier (tie-clip) mic, your smartphone and a basic editing program such as iMovie or Movie Maker. Ask a colleague to film you providing a useful tip. Stick to one tip per video but make sure you film several tips in one go so that you build a video library which you can publish later.
4 –Think of your video conversion strategy beforehand!
Think about what you want to get out of your video. Give it a goal and incorporate this into your video strategy. Use ‘In-Video CTAs’ for every video in your series and ensure enough variety per video. If you don’t encourage the viewer to do anything, they won’t.
5 – Follow up!
Your work isn’t over after creating the video. You’ll need to go a step further and get in contact with your leads, during the video series. Ask them what they need and offer ways to add value by sharing extra information. Get data on the video analytics. Immerse yourself in your lead and offer help.
In 2017 video will continue to grow. This applies to large corporate companies, SMEs and independent business owners. When you use video correctly the quality of your leads will increase and result in higher conversions. You’ll be able to see the ROI in a short space of time.
No longer will we speak of video as being something special. Video is a basic in terms of visual communications, especially within Inbound Marketing. Video generates interaction, gets the most views and is shared the most often. Video is here, video is staying and video will become ever more important. The question is: are you ready to get started with video?