If you're not doing video in your sales process, you're going to fail.
Well.. at least that is what all the IM gurus seem to keep banging on about.
Well it's certainly hot right now. However, I think a lot of people need to have a cold shower and get a little grounded about the whole subject.
Of course, video is going to work like gangbusters in a lot of cases, especially for products that have some level of complexity, as well as physical products where you really want to see what the thing looks like. However, I've noticed an attitude out there that people assume if you throw a video onto your site, you're going to get an increase in sales.
So is it true? If you don't use video, will you no longer be able to keep up with your competitors who have fancy video on their sites?
In short, probably not.
There are two important points here.
Firstly, just because you can do a video, doesn't mean that your sales message is going to be any more compelling than in written form. In fact, when your copywriting (yes all good sales videos need some form of script, if not entirely scripted) is weak, it shows more in video. The main reason is that people can skim read if they get bored with your text based sales processes. In video, you've got to make them sit through it.
Secondly, your market simply may not not be suited to selling through video. Simple as that.
We've been testing the use of quite a bit of video in several different projects I've been involved with. Sometimes it really helps conversion rates, other times it has made them tank.
We ran an interesting split test between using video and using a lighter version that just used bullet points and text. Both essentially said the same thing. The text version converted 25% better. Which is obviously huge.
If you're going to change your sales process to video, I suggest you test it first.
So why doesn't it work better all the time?
In my experience, aside from the market simply not liking selling by video, the script is the main offender for poor results. Lots of people jump in front of the camera, in love with the process and forget that you have to have a compelling message if you want results. Do you think that the successful marketing videos that Frank Kern does are not highly scripted? Of course they are, using lots of triggers that move you in the direction that he wants you to go.
In one of his videos he was even using crude subliminal messages in the speedometer of his car telling you the action that he wanted you to take. It was funny, but also highlighted the fact that this stuff is very carefully planned and crafted.
It's too long
How many videos have you seen where there is 20 minutes of fluff and about 2 minutes of useful content. You need to front load your video with good content if you want people to stick around. I would recommend reading “Made to Stick” for creating memorable messages. Also, the video tracking company Wistia wrote a very good analysis on whether or not video length affects engagement.
The data showed that shorter videos have much greater engagement rates, but if your subject is more complex, you can take the time to explain it. Just understand that half your users will drop off. However, if your message can be communicated in less than 2 minutes, you should aim to do it.
As an aside, last night I went through the process of buying Ryan Deiss's latest product on Facebook adverting. He had an upsell that included a video. However, unbelievebly, that video was almost 15 minutes long. There was no price mentioned on the upsell page and for whatever reason the cloud server the video was hosted on was really slow.
The craziest thing of all, was the price for the upsell was only at the end of the video (and not on the page itself). I was super frustrated and had to wait 20 minutes to download a 15 minute video, just to find out the price of the upsell. I ended up buying the upsell, but I would hate to think how many people are walking away right there.
Malcolm Gladwell discusses success in his book “Outliers”, and talks about IQ not being a good predictor of success. He says that it should be at a certain level, but above that level, it doesn't seem to matter that much. In other words, most Nobel Prize winners are not geniuses, but all of them are above a certain intelligence level. In the same way that if you're 5'6, you're probably unlikely to play pro basketball. However, once you're above 6'4 or so, height stops being a good predictor of being a good basketball player.
The quality of your video product seems to follow a similar pattern. If it's very low quality, then the results will probably have strong negative effects on the success of your video. However, once your video quality reaches a certain level, it stops being a good predictor of how many sales you'll make. Unfortunately, there are lots of videos online that don't hit the equivalent of the 6'4 basketballer.
The market doesn't like it or it doesn't suit the product.
Sometimes, whether you like it or not, the group of people you're marketing to, or the product you're pitching simply doesn't suit video. As I mentioned before, there have been a number of times when we were excited to get a video version of the sales message in front of our potential customers, only to find that it simply didn't work. So why might that be?
– Can't listen to sound
This is an important one. For one of the products we were promoting, most of our customers were younger people (18-30) who worked office jobs. They purchased most of the time during office hours. These people were surfing the web when they probably should have been working. They don't want to watch video, as the sound alerts other staff to the fact that they are not working. Even if it is their lunch break.
– Don't have a fast connection
Many times when you're selling to certain demographics, they simply don't have a fast enough connection to stream the video smoothly. This is especially a problem when people get in over their heads in understanding video compression, and using the right bit rates and codecs etc. If you're not technically minded, stick to YouTube videos as that is taken care of for you.
– The market simply doesn't like it
What might surprise you is that in our experience, most people simply prefer text and images over video content.
A few weeks ago we sent out a survey to about 36,000 people. We asked a bunch of questions, including whether or not they would prefer their content in text or video format.
The surprising result was that nearly 3 times as many people said they preferred text and screenshots over video. In the “other thoughts” group, most people made the comment that it depended upon the subject matter. They said that video should be used where appropriate only.
Some of these comments were quite interesting and seemed to occur over and again. Check out some of these comments.
“VIDEO IS A HUGE TIME WASTER. I do not OWE anybody my limited time. Not a rant :o)”
“While video is the most popular, attaching a summary presentation or PDF helps those who are hard of hearing. Also, if you want to review info, a video is not conducive to scanning.”
This comment is interesting as most people feel like video would appear to be the most popular, when in fact it very much isn't.
Here are another couple of interesting comments that came up often:
“Not a fan of video. My computer is in the room with other people and I don't like wearing headsets. I prefer pure text with the screenshots.”
“If the content consists of showing me how to do something, then videos are fine. But please don't do those videos where it's just someone talking at me – they take up a lot of space & time! Text is much better for these, and I can print them out. Thank you for asking!”
“Something to think about. Video is great but when you are busy you don't always have the time to watch. You can however read,understand and assimilate very fast if you have to. So sometimes written with screen shots is much better. I find myself missing great content cause I don't have time to watch a video.”
“Video that is to the point, clear and concise, most have 25 minutes of fluff and 10-15 minutes of content”
“The trend to video has gone a bit too far already, not everyone learns well that way. A combination of ways covers many.”
“Hate Video because you can't scan it! Prefer text with screenshots”
Some food for thought there.
Let's face it, at the moment, video is a bit of a novelty. However, in the same way that flash splash pages quickly fell out of vogue, people are going to be less tolerant of video. If you're not creating engaging videos that are uniquely compelling, the effectiveness of video is going to fall sharply.
So if you are marketing by video, I would recommend that you keep these things in mind.
I'm putting together a post that shows you how to measure the effectiveness as well as the engagement rates of your video using a popular video player and Google analytics. Look out for it.
If you agree, or disagree with me, I'd love to hear your thoughts.