Is Your Marketing Knowledge Too Old-Fashioned?

Old fashioned marketingIf you graduated with a marketing degree more than a few years ago, your expertise remains valuable but it could be starting to show its age. As you know, the world has become more connected, more social, and more instantaneous. Consumers have different expectations than they did before the era of instant communication. As such, classic marketing techniques have changed – have you kept up with the times?

Let’s use the common press release as an example. In the past, press releases were written for journalists; they were a means of convincing journalists to share their stories with their readers. While marketers continue to send press releases to newspaper reporters and broadcasters, they have switched gears. Today, instead of crafting press releases for news organizations, marketers write them with a much broader market in mind: customers and prospects. In addition, these press releases are posted on company webpages, blogs, social media sites, and press release distribution sites.

Another shift has to do with graphic design. It’s no longer enough to create a logo and color scheme and use them consistently. All interactions across all channels should be branded; they should be highly visual and engaging. They should be easy to digest and understand. The keyword here is unified messaging. While larger companies have graphic design teams that largely handle the design and user experience, marketers today must be knowledgeable about both visual design and usability concepts as they tend to be more involved in the process than they have been in the past.

Content marketing has emerged as a major force in the digital era. The days of spending months planning a single 30-second television advertisement are becoming relics of the past. Today, marketers must create heaps of content including everything from traditional advertisements to blog posts, online videos, special reports, articles, social media posts, eBooks, white papers, and more. Not only that, these materials are highly interactive, requiring marketers to respond to comments and questions posted by readers.

In addition, analytical tools allow marketers to gauge the response to their materials in real time. Split testing and data from past campaigns are used to fine-tune future content generation efforts. In order to best meet the needs of the target audience and align with corporate goals, marketers must ensure that their efforts are both well-received and effective, and metrics and analytics play a crucial role.

Older outbound marketing techniques often centered around seasonal campaigns. For example, linens and towels and other “white sale” items were traditionally heavily promoted in January while outdoor furniture and grills typically go on sale in the summer months. Meanwhile, while seasons still affect purchases to some extent, marketing cycles aren’t as prominent as they once were – and the consumers largely ignore them. The advent of the DVR means that viewers regularly skip commercials.

At the same time, they use other channels to actively research products and services relevant to them. With outbound marketing, companies used to push what they thought consumers needed at the time; with inbound marketing, consumers seek their own information about products and services that matter to them.

Thus, if your marketing education has not evolved to accommodate the numerous changes that have taken place over the last few years, your marketing techniques may be a little too old-fashioned for today’s consumers. Instead of pushing messages to journalists in an attempt to win their favor and create buzz, consider adopting a modern inbound marketing approach that attracts the right consumers to your marketing materials and then engages, nurtures, and converts them.

5 Negative Marketing Techniques to Make a Positive Impact

You work long and hard crafting “feel good” ad campaigns with positive messages. However, a little negativity can be a good thing when used judiciously. Below are five ways to channel your inner grumpiness when marketing your business.

1. Identify the customers you DON’T want. While you likely focus on attracting the right type of customers, it is equally important to know which customers you do not want. In some cases it’s a simple matter of a mismatch between needs – or lack thereof – and your solutions. In others, certain personas may be too costly to acquire or prone to high churn rates. Some audience segments may be unprofitable. Whatever the reason, it’s important to be aware of the types of customers you do not want so that you can avoid inadvertently marketing to them.

2. Be controversial. Nothing gets people buzzing like a little controversy. However, you’ll need to be prepared to manage the conversation – and the emotions that are sure to arise. Controversy doesn’t need to be of a serious nature such as politics or religion; it can be much lighter such as “Coke vs. Pepsi.” Before you begin, consider what position, if any, you will take. It’s fine not to take a side and serve as the moderator of any discussion that occurs. Obviously, if you work for Coca-Cola, your position would be that Coke is better than Pepsi. Similarly, if you work for Pepsi your position would be that Pepsi is better than Coke. However, what if you’re a distributor who sells both products to restaurants? You might opt to stay neutral and let your customers share their likes and dislikes about the two products. Choose a topic related to your brand that people are passionate about. When handled correctly, this negative marketing tactic can generate buzz and traffic.

3. Create a shared negative experience. People tend to dislike many of the same things: sitting in traffic, endless office meetings with no purpose, obnoxious people talking loudly on cell phones in confined environments, being treated rudely, and so on. Sharing a negative experience that your audience can relate to can build rapport and engagement. Be careful to transition back to a positive solution and avoid a full blown rant.

4. Explain why something sucks. This can quickly establish yourself as an authority on a topic, especially if you can effectively make your case. Detailing why something sucks also provides you with the opportunity to position your product or service as an alternative. For example, if you sell beauty products with all natural ingredients, you could write about beauty products that suck because they contain chemicals, are tested on animals, use environmentally damaging manufacturing processes, and so on. From there, you could frame your products as alternatives that do not suck.

5. Use negative titles occasionally. Lists are popular with bloggers and readers alike. For example, a blog post titled “Top 10 Gadgets for Busy Moms” would likely get a lot of clicks. The same is true of a blog post titled “Don’t Waste Your Money on these Ridiculous Gadgets.” This is similar to negative marketing tactic #4 in that you’ll likely go on to detail why those gadgets suck.

A little negative marketing can have a positive impact on your overall marketing strategy. Use negative marketing to identify who you don’t want to attract, stir up passions, bond with your audience, position yourself as an authority, and boost traffic. When used with care and in small doses, negative marketing can be extremely effective.

Marketing Metrics Makeover

marketing metrics
A few weeks ago we discussed marketing metrics that impress your boss: customer acquisition costs, the marketing percentage of customer acquisition costs, length of time to recoup those costs, customer lifetime value, number of customers marketing has acquired, and the number of customers nurtured by marketing. While presenting these metrics to your boss is sure to impress, what happens if the actual numbers are disappointing? Once you have benchmarks in place, give your marketing metrics a makeover by improving them. Here’s how to fix disappointing metrics.

      • Customer Acquisition Costs – Does it cost too much to acquire a new customer? Look at the sales cycle to see if you can shorten or streamline it. Work with the sales team to define the criteria for qualified leads, examine marketing campaigns to identify those that have the highest return on investment, and focus on using higher ROI campaigns to reach the most targeted, qualified prospects.
      • The Marketing Percentage of Customer Acquisition Costs – If the percentage of your marketing budget that goes toward customer acquisition costs has gone up, that’s a signal that it’s time to reevaluate your strategy. Again work with sales to ensure a cohesive approach. Examine conversion rates, look for areas of underperformance, and find ways to qualify leads more efficiently.
      • Length of Time Required to Recoup Customer Acquisition Costs – Does it take an excessive amount of time before customers become profitable? A three-pronged approach can shorten this timeframe. Start by revisiting your pricing structure, possibly requiring higher payments upfront in order to become profitable sooner. Next, maximize the value of each customer by identifying upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Finally, evaluate the nurturing and sales process to find ways to shorten it which reduces acquisition costs in the first place.
      • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – This is related to the above, but it also stands alone. Again, you will need to evaluate your sales cycle and acquisition costs in an effort to reduce those. Finding additional opportunities can also increase CLV. In addition, reducing “churn” should also be prioritized. Churn refers to customers who are dissatisfied and leave your business. Evaluate product quality, customer service, renewal processes, and other areas that affect churn and address areas that need improvement. By reducing turnover, you can increase the number of profitable customers and increase CLV as a whole for each segment of customers.
      • Number of Customers Directly Acquired by Marketing – If the number of customers directly acquired by marketing has gone down significantly, reevaluate your lead management process. Are leads being nurtured properly? Are they being given the right information at the right time in the sales and nurturing cycle? While it’s tempting to buy more leads, it’s not helpful if your lead management system isn’t working to move them through the funnel toward a favorable buying decision.
      • Number of Customers Nurtured by Marketing – This metric involves the number of customers that the marketing department has assisted. If this metric goes down, it means that marketing is becoming less involved in the process once a lead has been turned over to sales. It’s smart for sales and marketing to work together to nurture leads, not as separate entities. It may be time to realign sales and marketing to ensure that leads are both generated and nurtured efficiently.

As with most performance measures, these marketing metrics will fluctuate. When the metrics above change suddenly or dramatically, it could be a red flag that needs your attention. Even without dramatic changes, you may want to work on improving each of these metrics to ensure a shorter customer acquisition cycle and a faster time to become profitable.

Six Marketing Metrics to Impress Your Boss

lead generation strategy


Let’s face it, we’re all accountable to our bosses. As a marketing professional, you want to look good in the eyes of your boss, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to figure out what the boss expects or how to build credibility. Fortunately, the following six marketing metrics can help you crack that code as well as provide you with the insights you need to do an even better job.

  • Customer Acquisition Costs – How much does it cost to acquire a new customer? This number is important! In order to determine customer acquisition costs, add up all sales and marketing costs for a given time period (month, quarter, or year) including advertising, overhead, salaries, bonuses, and commissions. Now, determine how many customers were acquired during that same time period. Divide your costs by the number of customers to come up with your customer acquisition cost.
  • The Marketing Percentage of Customer Acquisition Costs – How much of your marketing budget goes toward customer acquisition costs? Deduct sales from the equation and express marketing’s portion as a percentage. Once you have a baseline, you can watch the percentage for signals. For example, if your percentage increases or decreases dramatically, you may want to investigate.
  • Length of Time Required to Recoup Customer Acquisition Costs – In other words, how long until your newly acquired customer becomes profitable? For example, if it costs you $100 to acquire a new customer to a fitness center and the customer signs up for a $20 per month plan, it will take at least five full months before you recoup your costs. From that point forward, the customer will become profitable.
  • Customer Lifetime ValueHow much is each customer worth over time? For example, if the typical fitness center customer stays for an average of five years and spends $1,000 per year, the customer lifetime value would be $5,000 less acquisition costs. However, some customers will cancel which affects the entire customer pool’s CLV. To account for this, divide your initial figure by your customer churn rate. You can take this even further, and impress your boss even more, by calculating the ratio between customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs. If you have a high customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio, this means that you have a higher return on your sales and marketing investments.
  • Number of Customers Directly Acquired by Marketing – This metric and the next one can be used to show your boss how many customers the marketing department was responsible for acquiring or nurturing. While you may have a friendly, or not-so-friendly, rivalry with the sales department, marketing is often undervalued. By showing your boss exactly how many customers your team has brought in, your department may get more respect. If this metric increases, it means that marketing is driving more sales or that the sales team has become less effective at prospecting.
  • Number of Customers Nurtured by Marketing – This metric shows the number of customers that your department helped at any point in the process. For example, the sales team may have been responsible for originating a lead; however, if that lead requests additional information by signing up for an autoresponder series, the marketing department becomes involved and helps nurture that lead from that point forward. Again, your department should be recognized for its contributions. If this metric increases, it means that marketing is influencing more leads.

Your boss may not know exactly what he or she expects as far as key marketing performance metrics go. By presenting these six marketing metrics, you can give your boss significant insights into your team’s productivity.

Content Marketing … Tips to Get Started

Content marketing attarcts qualified leads as part of an effective inbound marketing strategyContent marketing is a marketing process that involves communicating with customers and prospects using various forms of content such as articles, videos, white papers, blog posts, and other materials. Though it is a form of marketing, content marketing is a soft-sell. When done correctly, it attracts, engages, and educates customers and prospects all while gently guiding them to a desired action such as forming a favorable opinion of your brand or a buying decision.

Because it’s such a vast undertaking, many would-be content marketers become paralyzed by the prospect of generating massive amounts of content. Others strive for perfection, and thus, nothing is ever distributed. Put these notions out of your mind, and jump in! Below are some tips to get started.

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish with content marketing. Are you simply trying to generate traffic to your website or do you want your content marketing to engage and inform prospects? Who are you trying to reach? Before you generate any content, you absolutely need to know what you want to accomplish, who you are trying to reach, and what you want them to ultimately do.
  2. Identify how your product or service solves problems your prospects have. Once you’ve identified your goals and your audience, consider your prospects’ challenges and how your product or services solve their problems. Your content marketing plan must address their problems and needs and position your company as an authority that can help. Content marketing is not about bragging about how wonderful your product or service is; it’s about helping your prospects.
  3. Choose a platform. It’s tempting to want to do it all – blog, article marketing, newsletters, white papers, videos, email marketing, social media, and so on – but it’s also overwhelming. If you’re just starting out, it’s smart to start with one platform and then build your content marketing strategy from there.
  4. Create a content plan. Once you’ve decided on an initial platform, what type of content should you create? How often? Come up with a plan and create a content calendar. If you’ve decided to start a company blog, create a plan for the next three to six months. Create a list of categories and topics to blog about, leaving some flexibility to keep the blog posts topical. At this point, you don’t need to be overly specific. For example, if your blog is about cars, you could plan on blogging about fuel efficiency topics on Tuesdays, performance tuning on Fridays, and preventative maintenance on Saturdays.
  5. Generate content. Having a plan is one thing, executing it is another. You have several options as far as generating content goes including using existing staff, hiring an agency, using freelance writers, using a video production company, and so on. The choices you make will depend on the level of in-house talent you have (and their availability to contribute), the size of your company, the size of your budget, and other factors. Whether you do create content in-house or use an external source, make sure that one person is assigned to ensure consistency.
  6. Monitor performance and revise your content strategy as needed. Because you know what you want to accomplish (tip one), you can measure the performance of your efforts. For example, if your goal is to increase your website’s conversion rate, monitor relevant metrics to determine if your content marketing is having the desired effect. Keep an eye on which types of content are most and least effective, and revise your content plan as needed.

Finally, once your initial foray into content marketing has proven successful, consider adding a new platform to the mix.

Internet Marketing: CRM, Marketing Tactics and IT Alignment

Internet marketing and sales strategyInternet marketing continues to evolve, becoming both more viable and more complex. Customer relationship management software (CRM) has become a must due to the complexity. It plays an important role at all stages of the sales funnel. With a solid CRM system in place, your Internet sales and marketing teams can more effectively manage contacts whether they’re in the engage, convert, or nurture stage. Where the sales funnel was once the realm of the sales and marketing team, today’s Internet marketing strategies require a robust CRM solution – and IT involvement.

To add to the complexity of CRM and the Internet sales funnel in general, social media has emerged as a major channel for customer service, tech support, sales, and marketing alike. Integrating social media into your Internet marketing CRM program allows everyone to see the larger picture. For example, is a contact complaining about your service? Is she raving about your products? Has a contact expressed a need that your company can fill? By tapping into these channels, your sales, marketing, customer service, and tech support teams can respond appropriately.

Opinions vary on the best approach to CRM with some Internet marketing experts favoring a single, shared database for both marketing and sales and others preferring separate databases to ensure that leads are managed properly according to where they are in the Internet sales funnel. Other experts advocate using marketing automation software to first clean up the sales funnel data before importing it into CRM software.

Can a single CRM solution handle everything your Internet sales and marketing teams need? The answer varies from company to company. In most cases, sales and marketing need to work with the same data and contacts; however, they tend to interact with that data differently.

Integrated CRM solutions that include marketing automation and email marketing software may be the optimal choice by allowing sales and marketing to access shared data without duplication or conflicts. For example, with an integrated Internet marketing CRM platform, when an email subscriber unsubscribes from an email marketing campaign the contact will be removed from the mailing list and relevant information appended to the contact’s record.

No matter which option makes the most sense for your Internet marketing strategy, one thing is clear: you need IT support. With multiple databases, automation software, and lead sources (such as cold calling, opt-in lists, special events, and social media channels), managing the sales funnel requires software and systems that perform to their fullest potential.

While many Internet marketing platforms are offered as “software as a service” and imply that minimal IT intervention will be required, aligning marketing with IT is essential. While installation, updates, and support tasks may be minimal with cloud-based Internet sales solutions, IT should be involved in selecting the solution to make sure it is compatible with existing systems along with the company’s security and privacy policies. If your CRM solution includes social media information from contacts based in European Union countries, stricter privacy regulations may apply.

By including IT in the Internet sales and CRM conversation, you’ll benefit from a broader perspective that extends beyond the sales funnel and better aligns with the organization’s objectives. In addition, IT professionals tend to have more experience in purchasing software. Thus, they may be better equipped to evaluate the terms and conditions and negotiate the contract.

No matter which CRM solution you use to nurture prospects through the sales funnel, stronger Internet sales require alignment between your Internet marketing, sales, and IT teams.

Website Optimization’s Effect on Offline Marketing Strategies

Website optimization or SEO drives slae sleads to your WebsiteThe importance of website optimization can’t be stressed enough. After all, the website is the heart of eCommerce and it’s where online conversion takes place. In recent years, website optimization has become more sophisticated. Not only is website optimization important online, it can extend offline as well.

According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report, the most important website optimization goals include the following:

  • To increase overall conversion (83%)
  • To learn about consumer behaviors and motivations (64%)
  • To discover the most important wordings and phrases (62%)
  • To determine the most effective page elements (62%)
  • To find leaks in the sales funnel (58%)
  • To build brand awareness (53%)

Over 80 percent of the survey’s respondents agreed that increasing overall conversion was “very important” while 64 percent felt the same about learning about consumer behaviors and motivations. A good website optimization campaign can drive traffic, improve conversions, and provide you with detailed insights about your customers and their behaviors.

All of this learning from website optimization is largely being shared. The report revealed that 70 percent of the surveyed marketers use the lessons they’ve learned from their website optimization efforts to adjust their offline marketing campaigns and other forms of messaging.

With website optimization, marketers have a unique platform that they can use to test messages and responses. As marketers learn more about what works and what doesn’t work through the optimization process, they have the opportunity to use that knowledge in offline marketing.

Based on the Marketing Sherpa’s report, the majority of marketers do so. But what about the other 30 percent? What’s holding them back? It turns out that where a marketer is in the optimization process has an influence on whether or not those online findings will be extended to the offline world. The report revealed that those in the more advanced stages are 57 percent more likely to do so.

No matter where you are in the website optimization process, you may be able to apply what you’ve learned to other areas. For example, if you’ve split tested a landing page and found that your target audience responded favorably to a specific call to action, wouldn’t it make sense to use a similar approach in a print newsletter or some other offline campaign?

Likewise, your analytical tools may reveal interesting trends and insights into your audience. In fact, you may come to learn that your products and services appeal to a completely different demographic than you initially envisioned. What will you do with that information? While tweaking your website and online marketing campaigns to leverage those findings is the obvious choice, have you considered how you might use this information offline?

What if the team that handles inbound marketing isn’t involved in offline marketing? This could be a mistake. This doesn’t mean having your Web marketing team take over offline marketing, but it does suggest that sharing information could be beneficial to your broader marketing strategy.

Website optimization is a complex, constantly evolving process. As you fine-tune your website, test pages, analyze results, and learn more about how your customers and prospects interact with it, it’s smart to get the most mileage out of your efforts as possible. The next time you learn something new about your customers through the website optimization process, consider walking across the hall and sharing your insights with your offline colleagues.

Online Video Marketing: Strategies for Getting Seen

watching online videoOnline video marketing is a complex process involving far more than the actual production of the promotional video. Not only must you plan, produce, and polish your video, you need solid Internet video marketing strategies to ensure that your message is seen, heard, and ready to deliver results. Put the following two strategies to work and make sure your promotional video finds its audience.

Online Video Marketing Strategy #1 – Optimize
One of the reasons that Internet video marketing has become increasingly popular is because an optimized promotional video can rank well on Google for competitive keywords. While a page loaded with informative content may struggle to rank well due to extreme competition, a page featuring a promotional video could appear on the first page of Google in the video listings section because there’s less competition.

However, this doesn’t happen by accident. On-page online video marketing requires that you “optimize” certain elements so that Google can understand that your promotional video is relevant for a given keyword phrase. Just as you use keywords and alt tags in traditional Internet marketing pages, you need to do the same with Internet video marketing pages. Optimizations steps include:

  • Giving your promotional video file a descriptive filename containing your keyword phrase
  • Giving your video a keyword-rich title
  • Using alt text to describe the promotional video, again using your keyword phrase
  • Including supporting text on the page, optimized with the same keyword phrase

Online Video Marketing Strategy #2 – Socialize
Social media has changed the way many people use the Internet, and successful Internet video marketing campaigns address this. In the past, searchers came to your website after conducting a search, following a link, or entering your URL; Today’s users are spending more time on Facebook and other social media sites interacting with a stream of content that they’ve previously subscribed to. Your promotional video has the potential to be pushed to users – if you get social with your online video marketing efforts.

With a subtle push, your Internet video marketing campaign could get in front of a much larger audience than if you simply posted your promotional video on your site and waited for users to find you.

How does social online video marketing work? It starts by encouraging sharing. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, an important Internet video marketing step to take involves putting a “like” button alongside your promotional video. Below are several easy steps that encourage sharing:

  • Include a “Like” button next to your promotional video. Facebook has a special “developers” section where you can grab the code to generate this button.
  • Include other social sharing buttons – Numerous plugins are available that automatically place a variety of social bookmarking buttons below your posts.
  • Make sure that your video has an embed code so users can embed it on their own sites and blogs.

While including sharing buttons and embed codes is good, your Internet video marketing should go further. For example, did you know that if a Facebook user likes, shares, or comments on a video, that original Facebook user’s friends can see the conversation? If a Facebook user watches your promotional video and makes a comment about it via Facebook, then that user’s friends will see the comment and may be inspired to watch the video. By encouraging comments, your online video marketing campaign can reach vast networks and sub-networks of viewers.

Optimize and socialize and your next online video marketing campaign is sure to find its audience! What do you think? Which online video marketing strategies work well for you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

The Engage Phase of the Video-to-Lead Funnel: A Detailed Look

Earlier, we talked about the “video-to-lead funnel” with its three phases:Engage, Convert, and Nurture. This funnel represents a strategy for using Web video to guide and convert prospects. The broadest part of the funnel is the Engage phase. In order for a prospect to convert, that prospect must first be engaged. How do you use video to engage prospects? Let’s explore.

In general, videos that add value engage your site’s visitors. Examples of engaging videos include:

  • Interviews with thought leaders on topics of interest to your site’s visitors. This type of video typically increases engagement by two and a half to three times over baseline.
  • Videos consisting of tips or best practices of interest to your site’s visitors. These videos typically increase engagement by two and a half to three times over baseline.
  • Videos that contain solutions to your prospects’ problems.

Promotional videos can also engage your site’s visitors. For example:

  • A video spokesperson that guides your visitors to specific Web pages is much more engaging than a text link.
  • Videos embedded in reports and white papers can bring the material to life and engage your prospects.
  • Video links in newsletters add interest while also driving your prospects to specific pages on your website. In addition, video links in newsletters have been shown to reduce opt-out rates.
  • Videos positioned on landing pages increase landing page conversion rates by one and a half to two times over baseline. They also encourage follow through on your call to action by reinforcing the benefits of your offer.

Videos related to an event are another terrific way to engage your prospects. In fact, you can use videos before, during, and after an event, adding value and engaging prospects each step along the way. For example:

  • Before the event – Use video to promote your event and increase attendance. This strategy typically results in an improvement of two to four times over baseline.
  • During the event – Video displays during the event engage attendees and add another dimension to your presentation while recording the event itself ensures that you have footage to share afterward.
  • After the event – The possibilities for using video after an event are vast. You could post highlights from the event on your website for those who couldn’t attend, thereby engaging prospects after the fact. You could edit the footage to include detailed excerpts from speakers and post it on your website. You could use excerpts from the event as you promote the next event in the series. You could create an event follow-up video with a special offer which typically results in a follow-up response of 22% to 35%. Each of these post-event videos allow you to keep the conversation going and reach attendees and non-attendees alike. They also strengthen your position as an expert.

What do all of the above videos have in common? They engage prospects.

How have you used Web video to engage your site’s visitors? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Video-to-Lead Funnel: Guide Your Prospects to the Sale

Leveraging Web video to generate sales leads requires more than glitter and technology, you need a strategy to guide your visitors through the process. First, visitors must land on your website. Once, there, you’ll need to shape their buying decisions. One of the best ways to transform your prospects into qualified leads is to use the “video-to-lead funnel.” Here’s a look at what it is and how to leverage it.

video to lead funnelWhat is the Video-to-Lead Funnel?

Like a traditional funnel, the video-to-lead funnel is wide at the top, tapering down to a small spout.

Prospects fall into your video-to-lead funnel at the top where you’ll have the opportunity to engage them through informative videos, promotional videos, event videos, and other videos that add value. Video content that adds value, encourages follow through on calls to action, or adds interest is ideal in this phase of the funnel.

As prospects move down the funnel, you’ll need to convert them to qualified leads with videos that educate prospects about your company, products, and services. Typical videos that aid in the conversion process include demonstrations, product overviews, and testimonials. Because prospects have experienced engaging videos earlier, they know that you offer something of interest to them. Now, they need proof of concept in order to convert. Videos such as company overviews, product or service demonstrations, and video testimonials accomplish this vital task.

After going through the engagement and conversion processes, your prospects approach the spout of the funnel where the nurture process begins. At this point in the funnel, you have the opportunity to make a connection with your prospects, send follow-ups, and present solutions. All along, your videos have been preparing your prospects to get to this point: the point where they’re no long prospects who happened by your website but qualified leads who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Your videos at this point can arrive after requests for information, as email follow-ups, or through deeper links within your site.

What Can the Video-to-Lead Funnel Do for You?

When successfully implemented, a video-to-lead funnel improves conversion rates and shortens the sales cycle. At the top of the funnel, engaging videos can increase conversion by 20 to 200 percent. In the middle of the funnel, conversion videos increase engagement two to four times. As these prospects progress through the bottom of the funnel, you’ll likely see an increased close rate and a shorter sales cycle.

Putting the Video-to-Lead Funnel to Work

Simply embedding a few YouTube videos on your website or blog isn’t a strategy and knowing that the video-to-lead funnel exists isn’t enough. You must actively plan, implement, and manage your funnel. This involves the production of professional, well-crafted videos and effective calls to action for each section of the funnel. Like water moving through a funnel, prospects go through the video-to-lead funnel from the top to the bottom. Plan your strategy so that each section (Engage, Convert, and Nurture) logically leads to the next and you’re sure to see improvement in conversion rates.