If 2016 was the year of “fake news” and Facebook Live, for B2B marketers, 2017 is the year of video.
After all, 147 million Americans watch video on the Internet, and over 7 billion videos are watched daily on Facebook and YouTube alone. With today’s ever-shrinking attention spans, four times as many people would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and they are 50% more likely to read email newsletters that contain links to video. And it’s not just millennials watching – 75% of business executives say they watch work-related videos at least weekly.
So with an abundance of evidence pointing to the pervasiveness of video and its effectiveness in communicating business value quickly, here are five tips for B2B email marketers to incorporate video into their 2017 campaigns.
- Professional productions (and budgets) not required: With the popularity of self-made videos on YouTube, where anyone can espouse an opinion, review a movie or rave about the latest fashions, viewers are comfortable with direct, low-budget communications. Since almost every smartphone is also a video camera, viewers are used to (and even prefer) more direct and trustworthy home-grown video efforts made by amateurs, as opposed to slick, corporate-looking infomercials. That’s good news for marketers with limited resources or funds. And it gets better: a simple “how to” video showing how their product works, the benefits it delivers and testimonials from happy customers can be relatively easy to create.
- Be creative: While slick, big-budget productions are not necessary, a good creative strategy is necessary. Long, meandering and boring videos can turn off viewers just as quickly. Show your audience that you understand their pain points and how to overcome them in a creative, fun and humorous way. Don’t be afraid to show some personality – but also remember that opinions and tastes of your audience (and your superiors) will vary.
- Address the buying process: In an era in w which buyers can be up to 90% of the way through their purchasing journey before ever contacting a vendor, video can be helpful in moving the prospect through the buying process. In the early buying stages, video can be great for showing how products work and address customer needs. In the middle buying stages, video can prove your products’ worth though use cases or user testimonials. To close the sale, marketers can send specific or customized demos, or perhaps show the culture of what it’s like to interact with their business after the sale is made. A recent study found that customer testimonials, demos and tutorial videos were the most effective at helping convert leads into customers.
- Avoid making commercials: A self-promotional approach to your video can be viewed as untrustworthy and even annoying. (Think of the off-target ad video you suffer through before your YouTube video starts). While the difference can be subjective, focus on offering real value and showing “how to” overcome a challenge, not just boasting how great your product and company are.
- Keep the technology simple to start: Embedding a video in an email can be complicated and has its drawbacks. For example, many email clients, such as Gmail and Outlook, may not support the technical requirements and file sizes needed to play video within the email. It’s much easier (and accepted) to simply insert a static image of your video with a play button to link to the video on your website or YouTube channel page. As you get more experienced, and/or are able to access more advanced technical resources, you can investigate using animated GIFs to add some sizzle. Only when you are confident that your subscribers have the email platforms needed to easily view your video, such as Apple Mail, should you begin embedding it.
With the popularity and pervasiveness of online video viewing today, it should be a slam-dunk decision for B2B marketers to include this powerful weapon in their communications arsenal for 2017. How much will video factor into your marketing program this year?
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.