If you’re a business that has decided to make a promotional video, the easiest thing to do is to post it to your website. That’s simple, and hosting the video is also easy whether you use Vimeo or YouTube (my take here).
Yet, if you’ve got 1) lots of website traffic; and/or 2) a large email list; and/or 3) a mental commitment to using video to grow your sales, there are at least two interesting tools for going beyond the simple embed-video-on-website approach.
For those of you who don’t have a video (i.e. finished footage), understand now that it takes thousands of dollars to make video look professional. The lighting, the audio, the postproduction… It’s a lot harder than a brochure, and comparable in effort to building a simple website. There are a handful of exceptions: “Business casual talking head” video can be done effectively in house, and the cinema verite approach can work for some people like Jim the Realtor.
Flimp is a paid service that you use to embed your video into a custom-made “microsite”, i.e. a standalone website with just a little content. You get to lay out and add your own text and images to the microsite, using an online click-drag-and-type editor. Most important, you add links from this microsite to your company’s website. Then, you upload a list of prospect (or customer) email addresses into their system, and they send out an email blast. You then see who has clicked into the site, and who has clicked over to your main website.
See a sample here (opens new window). Note that the video is set to auto-play once opened, which may lift conversion but will annoy a few people along the way.
The sample microsite, incidentally, is cluttered with copy that competes with the video.
The Flimp team is positioning their tool as an quick and less-technical way to get video out in front of your prospects and customers. Yet you need someone with design talent to avoid having a homemade look — which usually degrades your conversion rate. Moreover, they use the term “video brochure” to describe their microsites, which is an overstatement since their microsites are apparently a single page.
Where does it fit into the sales cyles? Flimp is a lead development tool, aiming to convert cold leads into warm. It’s not a lead generation tool, since without email addresses you won’t get any additional benefit over simply placing the video on your website. Moreover, there is no incremental SEO benefit to Flimp.
Do temper your expectations when you hear “video” and “email” in the same sentence. Your prospects won’t see video right in their email program — not with Flimp or anyone else. Email clients, from Outlook to web-based email programs to mobile, hardly show images in their default view. Below are screen shots of 1) a Flimp email as it appears in Gmail with the default display options, and then 2) after permissioning Gmail to show images. No video, just a link to the microsite.
Flip’s email blast – not too exciting…
Now images are displayed, which invites the click.
Flimp is about $1800 a year, with addon usage fees kicking in at a high volume. It makes the most sense for businesses with 1) a large email list; 2) low video production costs; and 3) a marketer with moderate technical and design talents, and an appetite for testing. Here’s their website.
The VisibleGains product is different than Flimp, technically and in the role it plays in the sales cycle.
To explain how, let’s take a step back. When someone comes to your website, they have a task — usually to learn more about who you are and what your products do. Typically, people navigate through your site’s text and images to get to their answer. Along the way, they might lose interest, get frustrated, or get lost.
VisibleGains makes your video part of the user’s site navigation experience, and counts on the more engaging nature of video to retain more people on the site as they seek their answer.
The VisibleGains innovation is addition of built-in calls to action after the video stops (which is comparable to the “related video suggestions” you see after a YouTube video).
Take a look at their site now. They really really want you to play that video in the middle of the age, right? And then they steer you in several directions.
Knowledge of the customer’s needs is critical with this tool. You need to script the video and the calls to action to answer the most questions, and best develop leads.
That last point is a big difference between our two tools. Flimp helps your conversion from email to website, and VisibleGains helps your conversion on the website. Thus, companies with a lot of offline, PR, and SEO in their marketing mix would be better off with the VisibleGains product.
VisibleGains runs about $3600 per year, with the price stepping up with the number of custom videos running on your site. Logically, then, this is a tool best suited for companies with few big-ticket products, instead of many low-margin products. Also, service companies benefit more from the VisibleGains product since people per se are part of the product.
Does it Make Sense?
Before you commit to these tools, think about:
- Is your web traffic high enough, or your email list large enough, to offset the large fixed costs of these tools?
- Can you sell more by improving your conversion from email, or converstion of onsite visitors? (Or is it something else?)
- Do you know well enough which video creative will really engage your customers? That is, can you make something they’ll watch?
- Is your house email list straightened up enough, and segmented?
- Is the person who would run these programs hungry to test different online promotions? It’s uncommon to get things totally right on the first try.