Even before Covid-19, video for marketing was exploding. And once the pandemic forced businesses around the world to rethink their traditional sales strategies, demand for video-based sales software and training soared.

Drift reported that customers’ video usage surged in March, the first month of lockdown. Platforms such as HubSpot responded to the Covid-19 challenge by making 1:1 video a free tool until the end of August 2020. At ESM Inbound, we’ve noticed a significant spike in customers asking us about video. 

Enquiries have come from a range of new and existing clients, from businesses who previously relied on face-to-face sales, to those who were already primarily digital, but want to stand out in a crowded marketplace where competitors are upping the ante by incorporating video. 

For most SMEs, the video functionality included with HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo and other CRMs will be more than sufficient. What might be needed is a bit of extra training to help you understand how you can fully utilise it. For those customers wanting branded video content that is hosted on their site, or videos with enhanced functionality, such as embedded forms or CTAs, a paid-for service may be a good investment. 

Wherever you’re at currently, it’s a great time to embrace video with platforms including Vidyard and Drift (ESM Inbound’s preferred video marketing platforms) alongside others including Loom, Wistia and TwentyThree, making it easier than ever to create video content and integrate video into your sales process, in a way that’s slick, professional and intuitive.  

If you’re considering investing time and money in video, let me talk you through the three core benefits:

  1. Video helps your sales team sell more effectively
  2. Video helps your marketing team create content that is more engaging
  3. Video improves after-sales, increasing the chance of returns and reducing cancellations

For each of these, we’ll explore why not using video could be harming your business. 

First, we’ll take sales.

#1. Without video, your sales strategy is outdated

The whole world is transitioning to digital operation (including your competitors)

You can’t afford to get left behind. Video is an asset at all stages of the sales process. For prospecting, using video is a great way to build relationships with potential customers. 

And although it might be an outbound effort to send a sales email to someone, especially if they're a contact you haven't spoken with before, you can do it in an inbound way by:

  • Showing that you have thought about their business
  • Identifying how you can help
  • Recording a video that outlines your suggestion. 

Video is a way of guiding the customer through the sales process. It ensures they feel attended to and looked after. 

Using video is easier than you think

Granted, getting used to filming it might take a while, but there are lots of resources available for those who are new to video. Check out this post and video demo by ESM Inbound’s own Anna Kaine for starters. Beyond the initial kick-off of the sales process, video can help sales reps explain key features of your product or service, ensuring customers get a personal sales experience and know exactly what it is that they’re buying. 

Paying for added video functionality gives you more flexibility

Using Drift’s chat panes, for example, reps can conduct conversations with customers in real time, dropping in videos of product demos (that may be specially tailored for them), as they chat.

So, if a salesperson knows that a prospective customer has a particular problem, they can record a personalised video that talks up the features of a product or service that solves it. What’s more, your rep can make the video available to them after the conversation so that they can, for example, share it with their FD or CEO to help make the business case for investing.  

For HubSpot customers wanting more than just the free video service,  a paid-for Vidyard subscription means you can drop CTAs and forms into videos and will have access to advanced analytics and sync to social functionality, a great way to boost engagement and reach. 

#2. For marketers, missing video content is missing a trick

In short: video makes content more interesting, more engaging, more clickable and more shareable

When it comes to creating content, there is more competition than ever for companies wanting to get heard. Most email newsletters, for example, go unread and unclicked. Most marketing emails don’t contain video or links to video. I know because I receive hundreds of them! 

And although embedded videos are not supported by most major email providers (so will land you in your customer’s spam graveyard), research shows that when marketers include a thumbnail gif of a video that links to a landing page, customers are significantly more likely to take a look. 

Video improves the optimisation of your existing content with minimal fuss

If you’re already a HubSpot customer, their Knowledge Base will walk you through how to optimise your existing content. If you need persuasion, I added a video to one of our best-performing pieces of content: How can I invite users to HubSpot

Since I added the video its ranking has increased even more – to the extent that it now beats HubSpot’s own post on the same topic. This is the kind of quick win we recommend to customers increasing their use of video. You don’t need to create from-scratch video content, but can think of it as a way to rev-up what you already have. 

Incorporating video helps you stand out from the crowd

When it comes to mailers, I’d say that around 10% of marketing emails I get sent contain video. Emails containing video have a higher click-through rate than those that don't. The increased engagement isn’t only a response to novelty. Video feels more personal: it simulates the intimacy of in-person conversation in a way that text can’t.

You really don’t need to be an expert editor to make a decent marketing or sales video. I can’t emphasise enough that video doesn’t have to be shiny and polished to be effective. Having said that, there are a few pointers to bear in mind and the guide created by corporate video producer Jennifer Jager for Entreprenneur.com is a great place to start. 

Sure, when it comes to video, a bit of training goes a long way. At ESM Inbound, we pride ourselves on our onboarding and training skills. We have walked a range of clients through how to get the best from video.

#3. What video can do for your service

Video helps prevent second thoughts

If you’ve ever faced the disappointment of an online purchase arriving, only to find it doesn’t live up to your expectations, you’ll understand the importance of a thorough sales and onboarding process. 

The B2B equivalent of buyer's remorse is likely to kick in if a sales process hasn’t properly delved into the customer’s pain points. Your salesperson needs to understand:

  • The problem they are trying to solve
  • Your customer’s hopes and expectations about what your product or service will help them achieve. 

Where there’s any mismatch between the customer’s problem and the solution you are offering, this needs to be made clear. Video integrated into the sales process is an asset here as it ensures you can demo your product for your customer, so there is a higher chance they’ll know what they’re buying and that they’ll be satisfied with their purchase. 

Video helps build customer relationships

Whether it’s onboarding for particular features, troubleshooting problems as they occur or up-selling additional services or products as customer needs grow, having a sales and service team who are comfortable using video is essential. 

At ESM Inbound, we sometimes record internal conversations between members of our team, discussing a client issue or brief, then we share it back with the client to check we’ve understood everything correctly. It’s a great way of showing them how we work and living up to our motto: Done for you, not without you

Video provides valuable evergreen content

Video can also enrich knowledge base content and increase its shelf life. For example, a live-stream webinar is likely to be a big ask of your customers, even those who would benefit from specific training that relates to a product or service they’ve already paid for. But by making the video available online to anyone who wants to watch it in their own time, you’ll get more views.