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Will video help you close more sales?

Everyone has heard the stats about a bajillion minutes of video getting uploaded per minute and that it’s the fastest growing medium… but so what! Does video translate into hard dollars for your business? Especially for B2B, I think it’s particularly useful to look at how video improves the results of email campaigns.

Mailchimp clickmap test

In early 2012, Mailchimp announced a new service called Wavelength by sending out an email to 1.2 million users.  Then, they looked at the clickmap of that email, showing how many people clicked on each link in the email.

The email had a bunch of text links at the top, which got 4-8% clicks (out of 100 people who opened the email, 4-8% ended up clicking one of the text links), whereas the video thumbnail link got 63% of people to click on it!  And the video was at the bottom of the email, under the text links.

Wistia A/B test

Wistia has performed a different kind of test.  It ran a split test (aka A/B test) of an email comparing a graphic/illustration against a video thumbnail.  The two emails were identical in content and subject line.  The only difference was that one had a video thumbnail at the top, whereas the other one had an illustration in the same place.

The email with the graphic got a 12% click-to-open ratio (which measures out of 100 people who opened an email, how many clicked a link inside the email).  And the email with the video thumbnail got a 38% click-to-open (more than a 3x better result!).

What does this mean?

A somewhat crude interpretation of the above results indicates that video can get a 9x better click-to-open than text links, and 3x better than images.  And this doesn’t take into account the impact of video on actual open rates – surveys claim that mentioning ‘video’ in the subject line can improve open rates by up to 20%.

Let’s say you’re sending an email to 1,000 prospects, your email contains a text link to your site, and let’s assume that the above click-to-open results for text links hold for your campaign too.  That means that you’d get about 60 people to your site through text links (using the midpoint of the 4-8% range experienced by Mailchimp in their email).

Let’s also assume that you close 10% of your visitors, so you end up with 6 clients.

Now, if you used a video thumbnail instead, you might get 9x the results, or 54 clients.  That’s a VERY crude analysis – please let me know if you run any A/B tests on your campaigns – but would 48 more clients be worth the cost of a well-produced video (in the ballpark of $5,000)?  As long as your customer lifetime value (CLTV) is greater than $100 it probably makes sense for you to incorporate video in your email campaigns.

More conservative surveys claim that video improves click-through rates by 50-65%. Taking the lower-end of the range, would 3 additional clients cover the cost of your video?

How to get the right video?

OK, let’s say it still makes sense for you to get a video… who should you work with, and what should you look for?  There are literally hundreds of video production companies out there.

Here are a few tips to help with your selection process:

  1. Work with professionals: Experience goes a long way in terms of crafting the right message and having a streamlined process that will save you a lot of headaches.  Don’t entrust your brand to freelancers you may find on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.  Sure there are diamonds in the rough but I can tell you from experience that they’re very hard to find.  And by the time you figure out that you’re in bad hands it may be too late.
  2. It will cost you, but not necessarily an arm and a leg: To work with professionals you should budget $3,000-5,000 for a 1-1.5 minute video.  Going above that budget may be overkill and you may not get much ROI out of the incremental investment.  It’s still a lot of money but figure that it typically involves a team of 5 people to put your video together: project manager, script writer, artist, animator, and voice over actor.  You want the end product to reflect the quality of your brand.  If you skimp on a key asset of your marketing campaign, what message does it send to prospective clients?
  3. Look at the team’s portfolio: What type of clients have they worked for in the past?  Are they similar to your industry in terms of business complexity?  Do you like personally the art and animation style?  This can sometimes be subjective and you don’t want to find out that their style isn’t compatible with your aesthetic mid-way through the process.
  4. Talk to them and ask the hard questions: You want to make sure that you’d enjoy working with that team, and that you feel you’re in good hands.  How many videos have they produced, how do they handle issues that come up, what makes them different than competitors?  How easy is it to schedule a call with them, and how responsive are they to your emails?

My general recommendations are:

  • Always go for short videos (no more than 1-1.5 minutes).  Attention spans are really low, so shorter videos will give you a better ROI.  You don’t need to fit the kitchen sink because the viewer won’t stay for that long anyway.  Your goal should be to intrigue with your value proposition and let them know if your solution will work for them.
  • The video style matters as follows (though it won’t make a huge difference and you can use pretty much any style – we’ve actually tested that!): whiteboards are better for explaining complex ideas, motion graphics for appealing to younger crowds or demonstrating software, and live video for engaging more emotionally or demonstrating a product.
  • For B2B you want to use an AIDA structure in your script: grab their Attention in 3-4 seconds (avoid long introductions of cutesy animations), get them Interesting by explaining how it works and what to expect, make them Desire your solution by sharing results or case studies, and get them to take Action by sharing a sense of urgency and giving them an easy next step.

If you have more questions, send us a message through our web form or message me directly to schedule an absolutely free no-strings-attached consultation.  We work with companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 100.  We specialize in B2B video, which is quite different than B2C videos, and we’ve produced over 1,500 videos in the past 5 years so I can tell you what works (and what doesn’t).

If you don’t need a video or you’re not ready for a video, I’ll tell you and recommend alternatives (we do that for about 50% of the inquiries we receive!).  If we’re not the right fit, I’ll point you in the right direction.  Regardless, you’ll come out with a much better understanding of what you need to do next.


Founder of Board Studios Inc, an animation production agency that helps B2B companies simplify and communicate more effectively. Specializing in B2B makes a big difference because we know what information your clients need, what works and what doesn’t. B2B communications can be very different than B2C, so if you get your video explainer from a B2C agency you may not get the results you deserve.

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