How To Use Video To Dramatically Boost Engagement Rates With Almost No Budget With Alex Schofield From Wistia [AMP 112]
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These days, content marketing is all about videos. This trend is expected to continue into the future. By 2021, it’s been estimated that 82% of consumer Internet content will be from the video medium. Video helps marketers improve SEO, increase engagement, and produce higher retention rates.
Today, we’re talking to Alex Schofield, account executive at Wistia, where he helps customers reach their sales and marketing goals by using the company’s video platform. He shares how to avoid the pitfalls of creating videos as one-off tactics to create a video strategy and think creatively for unique and budget-friendly uses of video.
Some of the highlights of the show include:
- Reasons why marketers should embrace video (generate awareness and help people make decisions about different problems that your company could solve)
- People retain 90% of message delivered via video, compared to 10% via text
- Customers crave authenticity and human connection when dealing with businesses – video makes that possible
- Use video as an inexpensive part of your email strategy to gain exposure; and use social exposure to build influence and awareness of your brand
- People’s email filters are out of your control, but email is still effective – if you focus on how you deliver the video
- Think strategically about where video can play a part in every stage of your marketing funnel to guide prospects and help push them through their journey
- Measure success by identifying the goal of the video and funnel stage
- The B-word (Budget): Different types of videos for different budgets
- Video Distribution: Include videos on the landing pages of your Website and work with existing avenues (email, social networks, etc.) to incorporate videos
Quotes by Alex Schofield:
- “I’ve really fallen in love with video and everything that it can do for business.”
- “(Video helps) people make conscious decisions about the different problems they’re trying to solve, and that your company could potentially solve for them.”
- “People prefer to consume their information via video.”
- “A well-placed and timed video in a sales email is an undisputed value-add.”
- “You don’t need to have a $10,000 video budget or a $5000 video budget or even a $1500 video budget to create an effective video.”
Eric: Video killed the radio star. Okay, two things. First, I promise no more singing. Sorry about that. Secondly, I don’t know about the radio star, but video is seriously killing it on almost all content marketing avenues right now. According to Cisco, by 2021, 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video. As marketers, we should be loving video. Whether it’s helping us improve SEO or increase in engagement by up to 10X, it’s producing higher retention rates and better email click-throughs.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds lately, but the social algorithms are eating video up. That’s why it’s a topic of the episode of the Actionable Marketing Podcast.
My guest is Alex Schofield. He’s an Account Executive at Wistia. Wistia are juggernauts in the video arena. I can’t wait for him to share his thought leadership around video like, how do we avoid the pitfall of creating videos as one-off tactics and really create a true video strategy? Or, how do we think creatively and maybe some unique uses for video that other marketers or companies are doing? And lastly, my favorite, how do we get around this tiny little thing called a budgetary restraint? How do we make great videos for not a lot of money? That’s the secret.
My name is Eric. I’m the Brand and Buzz Manager here at CoSchedule. Thanks so much for tuning into this episode. I can’t wait to dive in with Alex. All right, let’s get AMPed.
Alright. I’m here with Alex. Alex, thanks so much for joining the Actionable Marketing Podcast today.
Alex: Eric, thank you so much for having me. Super excited to be here with you.
Eric: You bet. I’m sure this episode will come out in a couple of weeks, but it’s Happy Halloween, man. I hope it’s going to be a good one for you.
Alex: I’m really excited for all the trick-or-treaters that come by my house today. I just hope I don’t eat all the candy before they get there.
Eric: It’s okay if you do. Just turn off the lights and hide in the basement. You’ll be fine. You’ll be fun.
Alex: I love that plan.
Eric: I have to share the story before we start the podcast. You said you didn’t realize it was Halloween and you noticed a bunch of people on the train wearing onesies. I’m kind of like, “Is that how people in Boston are dressed nowadays?”
Alex: Yup, sometimes you do see that on the train here in Boston. You never know what you’re going to get, but today was a bit more on the onesie train than usual so I knew something was up. Then it kind of snapped in my head that, “Oh, today is Halloween.”
Eric: Today is Halloween. I’m going to shoot myself for saying this, a spooktacular episode with Alex. Oh boy, I can’t believe I did that. But we’re going to talk about video and I’m so excited to have you on. Alex, if you could, I would love for our audience just to get to know you a little bit, talk about your experiences, your role at Wistia.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. I am an Account Executive over at Wistia and for those of you who are listening, who are unfamiliar with Wistia, we’re a video platform that really allows you to creatively and effectively meet your marketing and sales goals by using video. My role as Account Executive over here at Wistia, it’s a little bit different than your typical sales role when you think of that term, because really, my job day-in and day-out, is working with our customers, to help them not only develop but implement their video marketing and video sales strategy.
I’ve been with Wistia for about a year-and-a-half now and it’s been an awesome treat. I almost made a trick-or-treat there.
Eric: You were tempted.
Alex: I was very tempted. But no, it’s been an absolute fantastic experience. I’ve really fallen in love with video and everything that can do for business. I’m really happy to share all my insights with all the awesome listeners.
Eric: Yeah, we love Wistia here at CoSchedule. We are users of Wistia, that’s why, for me, it was a no-brainer, you guys. I feel all there is to know about vide, so you’re going to be a fantastic resource for our listeners. Thanks so much for coming on the show again.
Let’s jump into the meat of this, and I’m hoping by now, our listeners and marketers have figured out that, “Hey, video is probably a good idea to do.” there’s so much research out there on reasons why you should be embracing video. But I love to hear from you, Alex. What are the main reasons that marketers should be looking to video? What’s the impact videos have in the marketing industry right now?
Alex: Yeah, for sure and I think you really alluded to it just now, Eric. I think a lot of people are really clued into the fact that video is a super powerful medium for not only generating awareness around your videos but really helping people make conscious decisions about the different problems they’re trying to solve and that your company could potentially solve for them. But I could sit here and […] all day really, but I think one of the things that really cuts through to me and something that I always tell our potential customers or people who are just looking to get started with video is, there’s just a couple of really key things I focus on.
One is that people can retain 90% of a message when it’s delivered in video as opposed to just 10% in text. I know for me if I could go back to college and take just a video-centric course, I certainly would. I probably would have a much higher GPA than I graduated with. But I think it just shows that people prefer to consume their information via video rather than as in a white paper and other forms of text-related content.
I also just think it’s a way to be really authentic. I think people really crave authenticity especially when they’re working with businesses. Now, the business world has changed so much. You think back on when it was super serious, super, “Hey, we want to sell you this. We want to give you our product. We want to market this.” However, I think people now so, in today’s day and age, crave that more authentic human connection, and there’s no better way to do that than video.
I think, really, going forward, I think people are really clued into the fact that it’s a powerful medium. I think we’re really starting to see a big revolution. Especially in 2018 with people implementing more and more video across their entire business.
Eric: Yeah, you bring up two really good things that I want to highlight. One, thank goodness now I have an excuse for my lower GPAs because classes weren’t delivered in video. Thanks for that. And second of all, I think you bring up some really good intangible things that come with video.
There’s tons of studies that show video provides improved SEO, higher consumer retention rates, and engagement rates. But I think there’s also that side of video that sometimes we don’t think of, that authenticity, really connecting with your audience, with your prospects, with your customers or whatever you’re using video for, which I think is really important. That retention piece is extremely important, too. I love that.
I’m going to make an assumption that our viewers have either thought about doing video or have dabbled in video, what I would love is, if you could, you’re kind of on the bleeding edge of video, and I would know, what is working right now on video? When you’re consulting with your customers, what’s hitting home runs for them and what’s not? What are some of the ways that people tried to force video when it’s just not quite the right medium perhaps?
Alex: That’s a great question, Eric. I think one of the big things that I always talk about, and I know my colleagues talk about as well, is just using video as part of your email strategy. It’s really, possibly, the easiest and smartest way for you to gain exposure to your videos. I mean, you’ll be sending them out to people who are already engaging with your brand, you already have their email, and you have their email for a reason. They could have filled out a form, subscribed to your newsletter, or they could already even be a customer. Whatever it really is, they already know your brand, so you should be sending them your best stuff like you’re videos, of course. Since you’re working with an already known audience base, and likely already doing some form of email marketing in some capacity, this promotional strategy really helps you just gain exposure. Also, it will keep your wallet happy because it’s a cheap thing to do.
But just beyond that—I hate to be the person who dumps that as I’ve already dumped one on you, but I’m going to do another—the word video in an email subject line will boost open rate by 19%. Even if you’re just trying to cut through the inbox, just by putting the word video in that subject line is going to help get increase eyes on that, somebody clicks play on the video and they’ll be driven to your site. Not only you’re cutting through the inbox, you’re also driving more traffic to your site. That’s one of the first things that we always harp on in terms of what’s working in video.
Another thing would be a lot of social exposure, influencer marketing type stuff. This is something I think is becoming more and more top-of-line. I’m sure if you go on to your LinkedIn feed, Eric, and you load more scrolls that you have, you’ll see that there’s a copious amount of videos going on.
That’s a really great opportunity to be a strong influence to your marketing, really build awareness in that stage of the funnel, that top-of-funnel stage just because it’s completely free to do, you have a LinkedIn account—unless you’re paying for Navigator, then you’re paying—theoretically, it’s completely free to do. It’s just a great way to build a ton of awareness around your brand. Just get people being cognizant of who you are and what you do.
I’m not saying that you have to be pushy and sell your brand. It’s more just letting people know that you’re a thought leader in your space. Maybe you’re just saying, “Hey, this is what is huge in video marketing today,” or do an interview with another video marketing professional. Just ways to really build awareness around your brand and really start generating that buzz around what you do. Those are definitely two of the things that I almost immediately harp on all the time.
Eric: Yeah, I love those and don’t be afraid to smack us around with some good stats if you got them. That’s okay. I love to hear that stuff. I was prepping for this. I’m glad you said email because I read that having a video in an email can double your click-through rates, too, your engagement rates. I think that’s great no matter if it’s putting video in the subject line to get more opens, if it’s within the actual email. I know I’ve seen your emails. They have a video in them.
This is getting a little technical, but I just want to dive a little deeper. Does it matter if you’re a B2C versus a B2B? Does it matter what email provider they’re using? If it’s Gmail versus Outlook or some other maybe more corporate type of email providers. Is video working regardless? Or maybe doing a little better in certain industries or in certain platforms?
Alex: That’s a great question. That’s something that comes up all the time with people that get to talk to on a day-to-day basis. There’s certain industry that you see that’s not executing well. Say, you’re working in the financial industry, they typically have stricter filters on their inbox than say, a SaaS company like Wistia. People get really concerned around that especially if they think we’re investing all this time and money in video.
We think that it could be successful from an email marketing standpoint, but we’re not sure if it’s actually, going to reach our audience. Unfortunately, how people set up their filters is completely out of your control no matter how great your video is or how much time and effort you put into it. But what we’re seeing is that just by using video in email, it’s effective just across all mediums. Especially if you focus on how you’re delivering that video in the email, you can see some pretty interesting and successful results.
Eric, I actually saw, I believe the same report as you did, just putting a video in an email can increase those click-through rates by 200%-300%. I just stumbled across a blog from SalesLoft, and they examined 134 million emails, and what their data scientists concluded was that a well-placed and timed video in a sales email is an undisputed value-add to candidates. They actually saw that video in emails increases a reply rate by 26% as well. You have that open rate increasing, you have that click-through rate increasing, and then you have that reply rate increasing. I know that’s a sales-specific stat, but I think it just shows you can cut through the clutter that way.
Eric: 134 million emails. Boy, they should have increased their sample size. Wow.
Alex: I know that’s too small.
Eric: That’s too small. No, that’s awesome, that’s great. Those are the things that I appreciate hearing. Don’t worry about the outliers. I think it’s about giving it a try, testing and then measuring to see what’s going to work and kind of have your own sample size and your own test to see how videos are going to affect that.
I love it. Maybe to take a bit of a strategic pivot there, I think when people approach videos, there’s this like, “Yeah, we should do videos. Oh, what are we going to talk about? What are we going to do?” Or it’s like, “I have this one idea for a really cool video.” I think, sometimes, the mistake is we see video as a tactic instead of really an encompassing strategy. Do you have any comments on using video as a strategy versus this one-off video around an event or something like that? Have you seen any positive effects of making it more of a regular part of your marketing strategy as opposed to here and there?
Alex: That’s a great question. I think really one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen, kind of to your point, is people aren’t thinking strategically about their funnel and where video can play a part in each stage of that funnel. You mentioned this a couple of minutes ago in regards to being able to retain customers. I know that in traditional marketing funnel, you have your awareness stage, your consideration stage, your decision stage, when you add video to the mix, I really think you have to consider that retention stage as well, just because you can really powerfully use video to guide prospects into that buyer’s journey and push them through the funnel.
Now, I think one of the common mistakes I see is people don’t strategically and regularly make videos that address each of those stages. To your point, I think you’re 100% correct, there’s a huge value-add to being able to create videos on a more consistent basis, as long as you’re doing it strategically and making sure that it’s relevant and has a specific actionable goal and result in place that you have in mind for it.
I hope you’re enjoying and enthralled with the conversation between Alex and myself regarding video. I wanted to take a quick pause. I wanted to ask a big favor of you. If you could, if you love the Actionable Marketing Podcast, we would love a rating and review on iTunes. If you take a quick snapshot of that and you email it to [email protected] I will make sure personally that you receive a really sweet CoSchedule swag pack, some fun stuff for you for taking time to do so. Alright, let’s get back to the conversation.
Eric: For anyone that’s listening, that is responsible for driving leads and helping those opportunities or prospects through that marketing funnel, that’s a great thing to think about is having content and video that helps them and move them through that.
We had a previous podcast where we talked about top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, bottom-of-funnel, how we’re changing copy, I love that we start to interject perhaps video in conversation and then again that connection to a marketer or a salesperson to build that relationship during that process, too. Good stuff. I really like that.
Here at CoSchedule, we’ve used video a variety of ways. We’ve also used it for some of that retention education purposes. We have an academy where we used video—actually end up using the Soapbox platform that Wistia has—but to connect with our existing customers, and get them happy about the product, and make them better marketers, there’s just a huge variety. I think marketers need to think strategically about all the unique ways that video can be a part of both the sales and marketing process.
I think, one of the things that marketers are always thinking about—maybe it’s not even marketers, it’s the executive team—is, “What are the KPIs for video? How can I measure the success of the video?” How do we gauge what a good KPI is for video? Are there any industry standards that people are using? Anything that you recommend to the customers that you talk to on what’s a good measurement?
Alex: I think when you want to take a look at video metrics and really how you want to analyze how you can determine that a video is successful or not, it really depends on what the goal of that video is. For instance, let’s say you have a video in the awareness stage of the funnel. You’ll probably want to look at your view count. How many plays are you getting on that video? Because ultimately, at that stage of the funnel, you’re going to just want to build as much brand awareness as much as you possibly can. You’re not necessarily as concerned about your conversion rates are, you’re not necessarily concerned with what your average engagement is. You really want to just focus on being able to reach the highest number of people as possible.
That’s where that email video marketing stuff we’re talking about before comes into play or that social selling influential marketing, really is effective from that standpoint. If you’re creating a video that’s more in consideration stage of the funnel, what you’re really be looking at there is you have a solution, your customer has a problem, they’re evaluating different companies that they think can help alleviate that problem, and you’re trying to educate them on how you can best assist them.
At this point, you don’t want to be too pushy. You’re not trying to hard sell them on what your product is. I think when you’re taking a look at videos in that stage of the funnel, you focus more on that average engagement, just because what you want to be able to do is keep people engaged with your content, learning about how you can help them for as long as possible. Chances are, if you’re doing this right and you’re not being too pushy, too hard sell at this stage, and you’re really providing solutions that are actionable to what they’re trying to solve, they’ll start building trust in your brand and start thinking about you once they get to that decision-making stage.
That stage, I think it’s fairly straightforward, you want to look at your conversions from that standpoint. You want to have your clear call-to-action, maybe at the end of a webinar, at the end of a demo video or a product video. Have a clear actionable CTA that they can take in the next step with, and you want to check out how those videos are converting as a strong indicator of how you’re performing at that stage, and then from a retention side of things—I guess we’re moving all the way through the funnel here.
Eric: We’re going. We can’t stop now, Alex. Let’s go all the way through.
Alex: We’re going. This train’s left the station. We’re on it. If you get to this stage of the funnel, congratulations, you’ve done your job successfully as a marketer, to get them on as a customer, and now what you want to do is make sure you keep them there.
Not to toot our own horn, but we at Wistia, do a really good job of this with our Wistia video resource library where we’re constantly educating people, not only on different marketing tactics that you can use from video but how you can direct non-actors in your next video, how you can get multiple departments involved in your video, to providing value even after they’ve already become a customer.
From there at the retention stage, you just want to look at your churn numbers or do a cohort analysis to really understand how well you’re retaining those customers after you’ve gone through the rest of the funnel. I know that’s kind of a long-winded answer, but you really want to look at different stats depending on exactly what your ultimate goal is for the video you’ve created.
Eric: Boom. That was a great answer, Alex. I know it was a little long, but I love that. I’m jotting notes here, “Different KPIs for different stage of awareness or where they’re at.” I think so good to think about that. It’s really going to depend on what you’re using video for, and you did a good job of laying out each stage and how video could be used and what the right measurables might be for that. Thank you. That was super beneficial for myself and the listeners.
I can’t have a podcast on video without a conversation around budget.
Alex: Ah, of course. The B word.
Eric: Yeah, the B word. People get nervous. You hear conflicting messages around like, “Don’t worry about it. People love organic, authentic, just iPhone-shot video,” and then you hear the other side of like, “Yeah, but if you want to really represent your brand, you need to put some money into it, you need to look sharp,” and they’re all over the place. One little concern on what does it take to have a “good, productive, and successful videos,” you got that high-production value versus low-cost.
Actually, if you could, you guys just kicked off this really cool campaign, your, One, Ten, One Hundred series. I’ll let you go into it but basically kind of showing what it’s like to do different types of video versus on different budgets and what that might look like. What’s your take there? What should people think about? How much money do I need to pull out of my wallet or my purse to get into video?
Alex: That is something that’s certainly scary for a lot of different people. There’s no shortage to the number of questions that I’ve heard over my year-and-a-half at Wistia. “We want to do it. We really think we’ll be effective. We know it’s been effective on us when we’re watching other companies’ videos. I just don’t think I can afford it.”
I actually did a quick LinkedIn post for a colleague of mine, Katie, about the budget concerns of people figuring how they can alleviate that. We highlighted Soapbox Station, and we highlighted you guys over at CoSchedule and how you guys have done a really awesome job of creating videos without breaking the bank.
I do think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions is you don’t need to have a $10,000 video budget or a $5000 video budget or even a $1500 video budget to create an effective video. You simply just need to go into Amazon, get a camera, get some lighting, and then really just make sure you have something, in terms of a stand, that you can put it on a desk or you can stack some desks on top of each other, and you can do something from $100 up to $1000 to get an effective video rig setup.
I’ve seen the CoSchedule Academy videos. You guys used Soapbox in one of the more unique ways I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen so many awesome transitioning in the editing phase. It’s really awesome to see that. We don’t have a crazy setup even over here at Wistia. We have our Soapbox Station which is under $1000 in cost. It’s something that we use every single day to create professional-looking videos. I’ve sent out a couple of Soapbox videos via that station when people think that we’re recording in a studio. We have a microphone, a DSLR camera, and just a light, and that’s it.
But you kind of alluded to the new series that we just released, about a week-and-a-half ago, maybe two weeks ago or so, the One, Ten, One Hundred series which really dove into this topic at hand. What we did is we worked with a company called Sandwich Studios out in California. They do a ton of awesome work. They create commercials for some of the larger brands out there, and we gave them a bit of a challenge, so to speak, where we asked them to create a commercial for Soapbox.
There’s three commercials we want them to make. One with a budget of $1000, one with a budget of $10,000, and third with a budget of $100,000. We put $111,000 into this project. It’s too soon to tell exactly what the results are going to be just because it’s launched so recently. But we went into this looking to gain insight into, I’d say, five core areas, one being how the crew size affects production, from a crew of just one all the way up to a crew of 29 is what we have on those different sets of different videos.
Why big budget lighting gear and techniques could be worth the cost, really explain that. If you really require those big budget types and lighting, rigs, and things like that, or if that $50 light you can get on Amazon is equally as effective. Another thing we want to explore is how the image quality differs between the different sorts of cameras you could use. Either an iPhone X, a Canon, or an ARRI type camera. A couple other things was we want to see where the $1000, $10,000 and $100,000 went. We want to explore, in terms of the just budget breakdown, how that looked. And then the last thing is, how a Hollywood expert’s approach to everything, from casting to set design, really affected the quality of the video.
We’re still waiting to see some more in-depth results and reactions from people, but those are the core things that we went into this hoping to learn.
Eric: Listeners, go check it out. First of all, there’s a lot of good stuff in your response. I think the first thing is, don’t be afraid to get into video. There’s so many smart hacks to make video look good without having to break the bank. Our academy courses are a great example. We literally have desk stacked, we had some cool paper over a lamp to give us some natural lighting, and that was it. You highlighted that. Thanks for highlighting this.
But don’t be afraid. You can do really good video without tons of money but at the same time, we’ve also here at CoSchedule, we’ve invested those thousands of dollars. We had an #Overheard, a CoSchedule series where we talked a little bit about our culture, our people. We had a crew came in. We did some really cool shots on location. There are just different types of videos for different types of purposes. I can’t wait to see what some of your learnings are. I’m going to keep tuned to see some of the response but some good feedback there.
Okay, good stuff. I want to end our podcast talking about video distribution and we kind of talked a little bit about this earlier like the social algorithms right now are just eating video up. Everything on your LinkedIn’s video, everything on Facebook is video. My question is, how do we get seen? Is it becoming too saturated now? If you’re not doing video, is it going to be a backlash on video? What are your thoughts on distribution and how do you get your video out there and actually watched?
Alex: You raised a really good point, Eric. I think I saw a report from Cisco that by the year 2021 or 2022, that all 82% of all traffic on the internet or all content on the internet will be video-related in some capacity. That does raise a big concern that, “Hey, maybe video is just going to become a saturated content of every mechanism.” Do I think we’re there now? I don’t think we’re there quite yet. I think people are still kind of eating up the video revolution that we’re enduring right now.
I think from a distribution standpoint, it’s really important to focus on a couple of things. One is, making sure that you have videos on your different landing pages and on your homepage. Just because Google gives 50 times higher preference to landing pages with video than those that don’t. If you really want to focus on your SEO strategy, something I think a lot of video marketers don’t focus enough on, you really want to highlight just having a video on the page because what Google does is they see video as a rich piece of content. They’ll rank posts or pages with video on them more highly than others. From a distribution standpoint, one of the easiest things to do is just put it on the landing page, and you’ll be good.
I think a couple of other things from a distribution standpoint as well is, work with the avenues that you’re already working with today. Just find a way to incorporate video as part of that strategy that you’re already actively pursuing. If it is socially, if it is through email, if it is putting on a landing page, if you’re doing webinars, just record it and then embed it on to your site to increase traffic, it’s really the best way to distribute your videos and get more eyes on them, just by leveraging the things that you’re already doing and implementing video into part of that strategy.
Eric: Good stuff, Alex. It’s a compelling case of anything that I should maybe consider making this podcast a video podcast. I’m missing the boat here. I’m not sure I have a face for video or a voice for a podcast, but here I am anyway. This is such good stuff. Thank you so much for taking your time, Alex, and walking us through video. Some definitely good takeaways for our listeners.
November 20, 2018