Marketing to anyone is a challenge – but what if one of your key buyer personas is… marketers? The odds are stacked against you. We, as marketers, have seen it all, and we don’t fall for gimmicks. That’s how Linda West, Act-On’s Director of Digital Marketing opened her talk at Viewtopia 2016. And she’s right.

Act-On is a Marketing Automation Platform, and as West puts it, their biggest challenge is standing out from the crowd. “All of us are publishers. Everyone in this room, every business out there today is a publisher of content. So how do we actually stand out, especially in our industry – martech – where companies are really good at this?

The answer, it turns out, was a content type they were already using – video! But they had to take it further, and make it a whole lot more personal. To find out how West and her team made that happen, check out these 3 big takeaways from her talk at Viewtopia:

Videos Shouldn’t Be Passive Assets

Video is one of Act-On’s most popular assets – and turning those videos into lead generation tools was a big win for West and her team. “Our video hub is the primary source for our lead generation, so we have a ton of our videos available to watch in one single, branded place. We have a mix of videos that are gated and ungated, and we see a lot of great activity of people going to this page without a direct link.”

Finding the right blend of gated and ungated content was a challenge though, as was figuring out where the gates should go on content that was worth asking for contact info. “It’s incredibly simple in terms of the mechanism, but in terms of how, why, and where you gate a video? That’s a different question entirely. This is something we have played around with quite a bit, and we’ve tried three distinct gating strategies to figure out when is the right time to gate a video, and how should that gate work.”

West and her team experimented with having the gate appear:

  1. right after the viewer clicks play before they’ve consumed any of the content,
  2. three minutes into the video, and
  3. after the video has played.

The results surprised them – and surprised the audience, who firmly believed that gating a video three minutes into watching would generate the most high-quality leads.

“Strategy number one ended up being the winner – almost double the leads, and that translated into more revenue,” West told the audience, “But it’s different for every single audience, and every single use case for generating leads with video. The point is it’s really easy to implement these types of tests, and look at the different dimensions. So if you are already doing video gating and video lead generation, try looking at different ways of gating and see what works for you!”

Everyone Loves to Write Their Own Story

Remember those novels, where each page had a series of outcomes, and you would choose a different page to jump to and create the story in your own pathway? Those books were wildly popular — and with good reason. “We feel a sense of ownership over the story. We feel a sense of ownership over the content because we, as humans, place more value in things that we place a sense of ownership over,” West said, “And applying this same methodology with video does a few cool things for you.”

How West and her team used buyer personas and customized content to give prospects a unique opportunity to self-identify was one of the really exciting portions of her talk, so I’ll let her tell it directly:

If you’re looking for a new video strategy in the new year, this self-directed style of campaign is something everyone can learn from. We all have buyer personas that want something different from our product. All Act-On did was create specific content for their personas, and offer them the option to self-identify. Taulia did something similar with their P2P Super Heroes series.

Want to learn a few more tips for creating targeted video content for your buyer personas? Check out this post on customizing a single video for multiple audiences.

Take What Works and Scale It

One of the other great strategies that West talked about didn’t start as an ambitious marketing campaign. One of the salespeople at Act-On was having trouble getting ahold of a lead that had gone cold, so he got creative, and put together a video using his phone, and the help of a few coworkers.

act-on personal video screen 1

As West put it, “It was super cheesy, but it worked! The person responded right away. And this was an interesting way to prove to ourselves that video doesn’t need to be super high quality, that it can be personal, and that it can make a difference in the pipeline.” Her team looked at this success as an opportunity, and produced a more polished version that they could personalize on a whim, and use to revive dead leads.

act-on personal video screen 2

“It has everything from billboards to names on blimps,” West shared with the audience, “The video generated over 100 appointments from an unengaged audience, so we took it one step further.” What started as a random video from a single salesperson is now a personalized video ad that they serve to a wide audience of cold prospects.

And the results have been surprising. “We worked in conjunction with ListenLoop and Vidyard and we have a 4% click through rate on this ad, which is ridiculous when the industry average is 0.2%. We’re really excited about this and we’re thinking of all different ways to use this in different contexts.”

Speaking Of Results…

In their first year, West admits that Act-On only had a handful of videos. “A couple of random ones on YouTube,” to be exact. But in the past year, after seeing success after success, the Act-On team has been pressing record more than ever.

“Our on-demand video is now the most clicked-on, and highest converting asset across our entire site. We get more than 100 leads per week, and our sales team loves it,” West said as she wrapped up her talk, “We call it our first million-dollar video because we have had over one million dollars in attributable revenue, and that repeats itself every four months.”

West added that her team has also seen visitor-to-lead conversions increase by 104%, and that videos have generated 21,000 leads and over $27 million in pipeline. Not too shabby for a year of video marketing, and encouraging salespeople to use video in nontraditional ways.

Interested in seeing her entire talk? You can view Linda’s session, 5 Creative Ways to use Personal and Interactive Video to Get the Attention We Deserve and all of the other keynotes, panels, and workshops from Viewtopia on the video hub!

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Jon Spenceley