by Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter
B2B marketers are often stuck with the undesirable task of explaining complicated technology before selling it. This challenge, however, can also be a great opportunity to try content marketing with video.
Attivio, for example, sells enterprise search and unified information access (UIA) solutions. Its team educates prospects on tech topics through whitepapers, webinars, analysis and more recently, short videos.
"Sometimes a picture says a thousand words and video says 50,000 words," says Drew Smith, Director, Online Marketing, Attivio. "Sometimes it's easier for people to digest a complex concept by watching a two-to-three-minute video versus trying to read an eight-page whitepaper."
Smith's team published a variety of videos since early 2009 that helped build site traffic, nurture leads, and train employees. Although not the only cause of the increase, site traffic spiked after the team started regularly posting videos. Attivio's site now receives about:
- 200% to 300% more monthly unique visitors
- 100% longer average time-on-site per visitor (another one to two minutes)
- 3-minute average time spent on pages with videos
- 1-minute 30-second average time spent on pages without videos
Over the last 18 months compared to the 18 months prior, the team achieved:
- 157% increase in search engine traffic
- 100% increase in unique visitors
- 63% increase in page views
"We're extending engagement by creating compelling content," Smith says. "People read thousands of blog posts, whereas a video sticks in their head a little bit more. If it's a compelling video and they find it informative, they tend to come back to the site."
Below are the seven tactics Attivio used to make its videos a success:
Tactic #1. Create more than one type of video
Attivio creates a variety of videos, many of them with different goals. For example, out-ward facing videos are available on a resources page
on the company's website. These videos are designed to attract, engage and nurture leads. Examples include:
- Product demos
- Customer testimonials
- Introductory explanations (such as videos describing Attivio or UAI)
- Detailed explanations and interviews
Some entry-level demos and explanations are more likely to appeal to prospects at the top of the conversion funnel. These videos are given a dedicated video page
that is search engine optimized and includes a sidebar form to request a free consultation.
Other videos that are more likely to appeal to current customers or very-engaged prospects do not have a dedicated page and instead play in a layover format
More than content marketing
The team also creates videos for employees and clients that never see life on the website. They are strictly inward-facing and include:
- Training tutorials
- Presentations for clients
- Salespeople personal profiles (to send to clients)
Tactic #2. Tie videos to a specific conversion
While views, completion rates and similar metrics help refine tactics, Smith looks to one metric to gauge a video's success: conversion rate. Each of Attivio's outward-facing videos ends with a call-to-action, such as:
Tracking when site visitors view videos and respond to their calls-to-action helps the team score leads and qualify the best to send to Sales.
"The more interaction and downloads people have with us, the higher they come up in our queue to be followed up on directly," says MaryAnne Sinville, SVP, Marketing, Attivio.
Tactic #3. Measure and tweak
Attivio uses a paid solution to host and manage its video content, which provides more flexibility, analytics and options over a free solution, Smith says. The additional metrics help the team understand how well certain videos drive engagement and conversions. The metrics also help uncover details like optimum length.
"Our first demo videos were about seven to eight minutes and we saw completion dropping off after four minutes," Smith says. "Looking at the best practices, everyone says to be within three to four minutes, so going forward we have been staying in that time frame, but it really depends."
The team also launched an option screen
that loads before some videos, giving viewers a choice to watch a full-length explanation of a topic (six to eight minutes) or get the highlights (one to two minutes).
Get everyone's input
The team also reviews softer analytics such as video views and completion rates to decide which topics to tackle next. This information is combined with anecdotal information from Attivio's staff to help choose a direction.
"I have spent a lot of time talking to our solution architects and asking them 'during your last three visits to a customer, what were the hot topics? What were the 'wow' factors that you demonstrated or discussed that got them interested?'" Smith says.
Tactic #4. Avoid crazy production costs
When the team first started, "we really thought we needed everything to be pixel perfect," Smith says.
The team solicited a video agency to help script, shoot and produce videos at a high price, but the results were mixed, Smith says.
"Then we basically started grabbing some [pocket HD camcorders], a light kit and a loud mic and started shooting on our own. We realized that with a little bit of patience and a little bit of planning that it was actually low-budget to produce videos with the new HD technologies. They come out nearly as well as you'd see by a production company."
Smith concedes that the videos were hardly television-quality, but they also didn't need to be. The team found that a less-formal approach was more effective. This approach also:
- Significantly cut the team's time-to-market
- Cut costs to a fraction of their former level
- Enabled the team to create more videos
- Allowed for a learning curve without massive costs
"An over-produced video will seem commercial, and to some people that doesn't build a level of personalization. It's better to have a developer talking about a topic in a casual conversation… [A developer] is actually passionate about it, and you can see it in his face and it doesn't sound scripted," Smith says.
Smith handles most of the conceptualizing and producing of the videos, and at times, works with others in the company to refine a script or set of questions for a project. Some videos, such as a re-purposed webinar recording, can be created in a matter of hours. Others, such as a four-minute tutorial on UIA, can take four to five days.
Footage from across the company
To help generate content, the team taught people throughout the organization how to easily create raw footage. The videos, however, still need polishing before publication, which is a task better-suited to a skilled hand. Smith does most of the editing himself, he says, with professional software.
Tactic #5. Promote with email marketing
Email marketing is the number one way Attivio gets more prospects to watch videos, Smith says. One good tactic the team uses is to link to videos from emails that deliver whitepapers.
"I would say 75% to 80% of our auto-response emails … have a call-to-action to also watch a video that is related to the topic that they requested," Smith says.
In another recent example, the team sent a six-part re-engagement series to the inactive portion of its email database over 45 days. The plan was to offer links to educational webpages, whitepapers and videos to re-engage leads, boost their quality scores, and qualify them for the sales team.
One email featuring a video
from this campaign, for example, had the following subject line: "Unified Information Access in 4 Minutes."
Overall, the campaign had a 13% engagement rate (clicks on calls-to-action). Looking at the breakdown of clicks, videos were clearlythe most popular content in the campaign:
- Video: 54% of total email clicks
- PDFs: 28%
- Webpages: 14%
- Sharing buttons: 4%
Tactic #6. Repurpose videos whenever possible
Attivio provides links to videos in nearly every one of its online marketing channels. A video posted on its website will also be used in the team's blog and emails, for example. Much of the team's content also ties together, where a whitepaper will have a call-to-action to watch a video on the website, and vice versa.
"They all complement each other," Smith says.
Here are two key areas the team reuses its videos:
Blog, social and website
The team is not shy about posting videos throughout its site to explain information and engage visitors. Links to videos are included on the site's:
- Homepage - in a scrollable "hero shot" slide show above the fold, and in links in the footer
- Resources page
- Demos page
- Blog posts
- Various pages describing solutions, technology, partnerships and more
The team also links to videos periodically from its profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This helps engage potential prospects, while also feeding high-quality videos to these content-hungry channels.
Sales team engagement
Attivio's sales team is encouraged to share the videos with prospects to help explain complicated topics. Videos are also offered to potential clients as tools to help garner support from others inside their organizations.
"Even beyond salespeople, we try to encourage as many people [internally] to embed a video link within their email signatures," Sinville says.
Tactic #7. Grow the audience through search
Attivio clearly strives to expose its current audience to videos. The team also strives to ensure this rich content helps grow that audience and capture more leads from search engines.
The team follows best practices to ensure the pages hosting its videos (whether a dedicated page or a directory page) are optimized for search engines. This includes adding relevant titles and content to the pages, as well as ensuring each video's metadata is relevant and accurate. See the "useful links" section below for more information on video SEO.
Smith's team also maintains a YouTube channel to host videos. This makes the videos easily accessible to anyone on the network searching for similar content. Smith says posting them on YouTube also helps Attivio's natural search rankings.
"It's another place for you to provide inbound links back to your site and give you some domain authority," he says.
The team does not drive traffic to its YouTube channel and instead focuses on driving traffic to its website where videos are hosted through a paid solution.
The team uses paid search advertising to call more attention to videos. Ads are displayed for relevant searches and often point to the product demo page or a specific video page. Although this is one of the few paid tactics the team uses to promote its videos, the ads have a limited role and are not a key driver of the program's success, Smith says.
Useful links related to this article
Webinar Replay -- How to Create Engaging Content for Successful Lead Generation Content Marketing: Inbound strategy pulls in 25% more revenue, 70% more leads 2010 Email Award Winner Campaign Updates: Video in emails and new product launches Improve Search Visibility with Video: 5 Strategies How to Optimize Video Content for SEO: 7 Tactics to Improve Your Rankings Google Webmaster Help: Video best practicesGoogle: SEO starter guide
- Resources page
- Dedicated video page
- Layover video format
- In-video button CTA
- Final-frame form CTA
- Option screen
- Email featuring a video
- Blog post
- Solutions page
- Partnership page
- Powers the team's video hosting and analytics platformAttivio