Do you believe in the power of personal video in video outreach or do you remain skeptical? If a pitch for something isn’t interesting on its own, how will a video that takes longer to watch than reading a simple email grab your attention and sway your opinion?
Today’s guest is David Jay, founder of Warm Welcome, a personal video platform. Discover the value of video, how video can be used, and its full potential by making business communication that scales and creates personal conversations and human connections.
Ben: Hey, David. How's it going?
David: Great, Ben. Thanks for having me.
Ben: Absolutely. Glad to have you on the show. What we're going to be talking about in this episode is something that you know a lot about, which is personal video. For listeners who might be unfamiliar or maybe haven't seen these types of videos in their inbox, on social media, or wherever they might come across them, what exactly is personal video? What do we mean by that term?
David: Video can be personalized or it can just be personal. There are different directions you can go with it. Personalized video would be me sending a video to you saying, hey, Ben, I would love to connect some time. Those are great for lead gen and just sales in general. A personal video could be something where I'm walking around in my neighborhood or in my town and when people see that on the web, it creates a connection to me or a localized connection. There are lots of ways to use video in our business, but that's the way that I think about the difference between personal and personalized.
Ben: For the sake of this conversation, now that we've cleared up some of that ambiguity a bit, we'll focus on personalized video, the type of video that people might see in a sales or an outreach context. With that in mind, what are some of the advantages that you see that personalized video has over purely text-based outreach? What is it about personalized video that can make that outreach more compelling?
David: There are so many things really. I think we're on maybe a 600-year shift in the way that people communicate. Not to over-dramatize it, but 600 years ago the printing press came out and everyone became obsessed with written communication, because it was one of the first things in the world that scaled. We've been focused on what scales ever since. Then just recently, with both phones and the internet coming out, everyone has a video camera on their phone. We have a much better way to communicate that also scales and that can be done from anywhere, done very quickly.
You can send across a message that communicates so much more than just the text. It's really powerful. I think we need to realize that you have a real advantage when you incorporate video just purely because you're adding that human element, that human touch to it that you don't get with text. We've all become so jaded with text. Just go on Facebook or Twitter and you realize how easily written communication goes negative. Relationships can start off with some tension that video seems to just do a lot better with.
Ben: Some things that might not translate well through written word, just like the inflection of a human voice. The emotion behind something could completely change the context and take something that might sound a little bit harsh if you're just reading it off the page and maybe make it a bit friendlier.
Every so often, I will get video pitches from people. I get pitched all kinds of stuff from people asking me for all kinds of different things, but I typically don't watch them either because they're too long, or they just take too long to get to the point, or the offers just aren't interesting. They're taking a stale or generic pitch and trying to dress it up with a video without maybe applying the appropriate amount of regard to what they're actually asking for in the first place.
How can marketers avoid this? Because I certainly see the potential for personalized video. What I don't see a whole lot of is personalized videos being done well. If I'm a listener, how do I avoid that trap? How do I make that video something worth watching?
David: The first thing not to do is don't think of it selfishly. Don't think of it as a way to get what you want. Every sales and marketer, we're guilty of this. We go into the conversation, we go into the relationship thinking about what we want, what we're pitching, what we're selling. If we stop there and we say, hey, whether we're using written communication, or video, or in person, we need to think about what it is that the other person wants. What is it that they're trying to solve? What's their problem? If we focus on their problem instead of our product, we'll be a lot better off in starting the relationship.
I'm sure that you've experienced that where like, oh, man, here's a video pitch I don't want to see. But look how many text-based pitches you get every day, if I get 1000 spam emails to your inbox every single day. If you compare that and say, okay, well, I might get three or four poorly done videos, over time almost everything that can transition to video will transition to video just from a convenience factor. Also, it's more personal and more relational. But you're right. We do have to learn how to do it well, and that's a little learning curve for a lot of us.
Ben: If a marketer is interested in trying to implement more personalized video into their strategy, into their outreach, maybe into their sales practices, how would you recommend they get started the right way? How can they approach that with the correct mindset in order to set themselves up to be successful and to really create outreach that stands out?
David: I think business is built on trust, and trust is built through relationships. When you start that relationship, when you start that interaction, even if it's cold, being that you don't know the person, it will be warmer if you use a video and you do something, and you show something in the video that's relevant to them.
For example, if I was to send you a message, the first thing I do is go do a little research, maybe on your favorite coffee, or your favorite book, favorite author, favorite musician or something, and I'd be holding that up in the video.
That immediately, before you even click play, you're seeing that and you're like, hey, this person cared enough about me and what I like, that they went out and did two seconds of research on that. It doesn't take much energy or effort to show that you're going to start the conversation off in a value forward pitch.
Then it can get personal. It can get real and authentic. You've earned the right to the conversation. When you just take a big chunk of text and throw it at 10,000 people, that is not going over very well anymore. Open rates on those types of emails, view rates, responses are so low, it's pathetic. That's what I'd suggest. Think about the other person.
It's not rocket science. Whether you use text or video, think about what they want and focus on that. Pull them into that relationship as another human, not as a prospect, not as a potential buyer but just another human. That's how we need to start thinking about people.
Ben: I 100% agree. I can't imagine just how bad the open and response rates on a lot of outreach are these days, because most of it I don't even open. A lot of it I have filtered to go straight to trash. It's a brutal landscape. I know that I'm not alone in that either. It's as if we've all seen the same templates, we've all seen the same offers. We know how the game works, but video is something that we don't see as often.
David: I was having a conversation. I just moved a week ago from Oregon to Florida. In the process of that move, I was dealing with the moving company. We were trying to get these pods delivered that had all of our stuff in it. Everything that we own is in these things. We're waiting for them to get delivered. It was problem after problem and moving is stressful enough.
I finally got the general manager of this company by text message. I'd called her. I'd tried to get a conversation just to get the download of what was happening. I couldn't leave her a voicemail. She didn't have a voicemail set up. I couldn't get in touch with her. The only thing I can do is text back and forth. She's texting, I'm texting, and it started to get a little heated pretty quick.
I'm frustrated. I'm coming into the conversation frustrated. Finally, I said, I'm going to call you. I called her and she picked up. In this heated text exchange, we've finally gotten just a phone call, not video, just phone. In the background, I can hear kids screaming in the background.
She's working from home. Instantly the conversation changed. Because now it's one parent to another parent, like, hey, I get it. You're in a stressful situation. Your kids are screaming in the background. You're trying to deal with me, I'm pissed off. I'm coming in ready to start screaming, but it changed everything in that moment.
That is a powerful thing because it brings empathy into the conversation. Whether that's a powerful example, or whether it's just like, hey, we're just sitting here like bros. We're talking about something, we get to smile at one another, and we maybe have a beer together in the midst of doing business.
That makes business fun again. That makes it interesting again because I'm surrounding myself now with people. We get to collaboratively solve problems together, and we get to help each other out. It brings some goodness back into it rather than just what scales, how do we make as much money as fast as possible. There's a big shift in what people are wanting out of business. I think relationships are a key thing there.
Ben: Something David touches on that I think is really interesting is the ability of video to make business on the internet feel more personal, whether it's in the context of marketing, or sales, or customer support, all the different ways that video can be used in this way.
When you speak with someone face to face in the way that video enables, it changes the entire dynamic of that conversation in ways that simply are not possible with email, or chatbots, or direct messages, or any other written form of communication.
Bringing things back to the topic of outreach and personalized video, it really makes me think that maybe all of the video pitches and all the video outreach I've seen had soured me on the concept of personal video. The reason why I didn't really love that outreach or those videos and maybe considered those things to be a failure in some sense, may have just been because all that outreach was doing was just slapping a video into a stale email to a stale offer and not really considering what video can do to really elevate your outreach.
I think If you were to approach video in the same way that you would approach any normal face-to-face conversation with another individual, the way that you would write the email that accompanies the video would be different. The way that you speak on the video would be different. It would actually feel like a conversation as opposed to feeling like someone is just reading the email to you, which is really what I feel like I've experienced a lot more of.
I really think they could have done a lot better if instead of sticking a video somewhere in an email in place of text and expecting the recipient to just simply be impressed with the fact that they sent a video—which isn't really a novel thing anymore—what if they had actually considered what they could have done with that video that went beyond what text-based communication could really do? Because if they're just reading off something that really could have just gone in an email and didn't really need to be a video, then that's not really going to improve outcomes in any way.
If you approach a video with a video-first mindset, really think of it as a conversation starter, and really approach it the way that you would approach any normal person, then I really think that this has the potential to be much, much more powerful. Now, back to David.
What are some of the most creative uses of personalized video that you've maybe seen that some of our listeners might be able to emulate?
David: One of the ways that I think video is starting to have a huge impact is the instant video connection that you can have. It's not pre-thought out. It's not scripted, but it's available. For example, with Warm Welcome, you can put a video bubble right there on your website. People, for a long time, were putting robots on their website to answer questions. Nobody wants a robot. Nobody wants to talk to a robot.
Now you can put this little video bubble. We are adding in the ability for that to be live. You can now go to somebody's website. Maybe you're looking at buying a product like a coffee mug. This coffee mug here was a gift. It has a little heating element in the bottom. I won't spill it, but it charges up and it will keep your coffee warm for you. When somebody is buying this, they might have a couple questions about that.
Instead of going to the website and trying to get all the answers from FAQs and from the text-on-the-website or a video-on-the-website, they might want to talk to somebody. Now they can click that button and boom. Instantly, I could be sitting over here like, hey, Ben, thanks for popping in. Just like you had just popped into my store. You could ask whatever questions I have, hey, how does it sit on the low charger? How long does it last? What's the handle like? Ask whatever questions you have and I can just show you the product, model it for you, and lead you down the road towards the sale.
Every business in the last year, especially brick-and-mortars, had to transition to selling online, but they're doing it so poorly. They were actually good at selling in their shop. They had a person sitting there to greet people, to give them a warm welcome when they walked in the store. Now they go online and there are no people. There are no humans to interact with. We try to solve all the problems on the internet with robots and graphics, and it just doesn't work as well as humans work.
I think the biggest shift that we're going to see is people introducing more humans on their website. It's something that just hasn't been possible before, but now you can do that. You could have every department have literally a different human. You go to this page on the website, like men's apparel. Why isn't there a dude or a gal there? It doesn't really matter, but why isn't there somebody there to guide them through buying those shirts? Somebody goes over to the kids section. Why isn't there someone there to talk them through that? Now we can. I think every business is going to be selling or having to learn how to sell online in a whole new way.
Ben: That is super interesting. There's so much talk about chatbots. Conversational marketing I think is what they've been rebranded. It's an AI script that sits on your website. All mild cynicism aside, I have found them to be something that I just come to expect at this point. In some cases, they are actually pretty helpful.
What I think is super interesting about what you're getting at, though—and you can correct me if I'm wrong on this—it sounds to me as though you almost see videos being the next logical extension of that. The whole idea with chatbots was that you could have more conversational support or you could just get answers for your questions more quickly, but they don't have that human touch really.
Sometimes they can connect to you via chat to an actual person, but why is there no video? We're on devices with screens and cameras. Is that what you're saying, that you see maybe a video will get rolled into that more in the future and that will become something that we just wonder why it wasn't always that way?
David: Yeah, absolutely. I think we're going to be like, well, this is such a better way to do business. Everyone talks about buying things and people buy based on emotion. They don't buy based on information. They buy because they really want something. Why would we think that a robot that can give them information is going to help us sell a product?
In customer service, our customer service agents should be thinking all about loyalty. How to create a loyal customer base? For us new people, it's going to continue buying from us. That's driven by emotion, it's not driven by information. When you bring somebody in, let's say somebody's frustrated about something and they come into customer service, what's going to be better? Just to get them to information as quickly as possible or to have a human there that can offer them some empathy, care about their problem, and still offer them a solution for it? We all know the answer to the question. We all know that a human can do these things better.
The question then comes back to scale. How do you scale the unscalable? How do you balance that tension of serving more customers without having a person for every single one of them? That's where a video is more efficient. If you had to set up an appointment and send a representative out in the field—this is what happened 30 years ago—you had a problem with your vacuum cleaner, somebody showed up at your house to help you fix your vacuum cleaner. This is how the world is changing. It went to text, it went to manuals, it went to all that stuff.
Now with video, you can pretty much put a person in somebody's living room helping them fix that problem and doing it much more efficiently than they could if they were going back and forth with text. There's just a reality to that. If I'm showing you something or showing you how to fix something, doing that on a video versus typing that back and forth, you tell me what's going to be more efficient.
There's a reason why YouTube educational videos are so hot. Imagine if it was a YouTube-type educational video with a person to answer any questions that you had about that. The power of that is a big deal.
Ben: I think that's a really good way of looking at it. We used to be, someone actually showed up at your door, while now with YouTube, the plumber doesn't need to come over to my house to tell me how to fix this, or the repair guy doesn't need to tell me what's wrong with the vacuum. I'll just go on the internet. Making that feel more like a face-to-face conversation, I think when you put it that way, it's pretty clear to see where the power lies with that.
The last question I'll throw your way, how can marketers measure—whether live video or personalized video—that's actually improving their results? I imagine a pretty simple thing you could do if you're using this in an outreach context, what does your success rate look like? What does your open rate look like? Maybe beyond that, how could you actually prove the ROI once you make that shift from text-based communication to more personalized video?
David: I think to be fair, you have to measure all the way through the customer journey. You can't just say, how many people open this email? Because any connected company, a company that's looking at the customer more holistically, is going to say, okay, yes, we need to get leads and we need to move them to be a customer, but once they are customers, not the end of the customer journey; is the middle. You want to create loyalty, evangelism, and turn them into somebody who's out there bringing you new customers. So connecting all those pieces and saying, hey, as a sales team, are we bringing in these leads and then moving them all the way through the customer journey in a more efficient way?
I think when you look at that right now, there's going to be certainly just some gut human instincts of like, okay, this is probably a better way to do that. The nice thing about video is it is very trackable just like text or anything as you can see how many views you're getting. You can see how much time people are spending watching the videos and you can invite a different style of engagement with them.
With Warm Welcome, I can send you a video, whether it's through email, or through embedding it on a website, or a video bubble, or a video business card—any of these things—and you can interact, you can engage with it. That's really cool and powerful. You want to get buy-in on something. Invite people to have a conversation, invite them to share what they would want out of this. We're seeing that move through social media as well. You're seeing social media and the questions on LinkedIn starting to get more traction because people want to have a voice. They want to be part of the conversation. They don't just want to get dumped a bunch of information.
Long way around, but you've got the ability to track it. I think you're going to see a different type of effort. Sales is a lot of work. People are spending so much time crafting emails, putting text on websites or whatever. What words do we say here, blah-blah-blah, that sort of thing. They're doing that work in a vacuum, in a meeting. That's a different type of work than the relational work that is a little bit more of an art, maybe, where they're in conversation with somebody and they're getting to move that person along.
That's a different thing, a different energy. There's maybe more vulnerability in it, but I think that's the sales people that are going to win out, the ones who are willing to do that work and really connect with people, not just create a really efficient funnel for people.
Ben: That makes a lot of sense to me. I think in a space of under 30 minutes, I think you may have made me a believer, so nice work. David, thanks so much once again for coming on the show. This is a really awesome conversation. I hope that our audience finds some of this as enlightening as I have.
David: I love it. I love the conversation. If anybody has any questions, go over to our website and send us a question right through the little video bubble and we'll just chat. I'm not trying to sell you anything. I think we're so early in this transition to video. We just got to talk about it and find the best ways to do it. It's happening at a time where people are really creating a more personal connection to the people that they work with. That's the fun of it. It's getting to meet new people like you and have these chats.
Ben: For sure. Thanks again and take care.
David: Thanks a lot, Ben.
Ben Sailer is the Inbound Marketing Director at Automattic. His specialties include content strategy, SEO, copywriting, and more. When he's not hard at work helping people do better marketing, he can be found cross-country skiing with his wife and their dog.