Double or triple your email open rates. Did those words in the headline capture your interest? They probably did since you’re reading this. In today’s B2B marketing world, grabbing attention is becoming progressively more difficult as we are saturated with marketing messages, most of which are irrelevant and poorly targeted.
One of the first topics taught In Microeconomics 101 is The Tragedy of the Commons whereby a shared resource such as the village common’s grazing land is overused, or a prime fishing ground is depleted. Instead of protecting the shared resource, there is an incentive to increase individual usage before it is lost to all. It is a race to the bottom.
The Tragedy of the Communications Channel
A similar issue happens with communications channels. A promising new channel quickly becomes overwhelmed and devalued. The cycle is something like this:
- A new channel (e.g. email, VOIP, social, programmatic) is developed, and early adopters have success messaging on the channel.
- Others, seeing the early success, adopt the new channel and it quickly becomes a common and effective mechanism for attracting attention.
- As additional adopters arrive, the efficacy of the channel drops, causing everybody to increase channel usage to maintain previous lead development rates.
- As the channel becomes mainstreamed, bad actors flood the channel with fraudulent activity (e.g. robocalls, spam, and click fraud), further debasing the channel.
- Distrust builds across channel users, further driving down the efficacy of the channel.
There is a negative feedback loop at work here that erodes trust in communications channels. We’ve seen this with emails. As email open rates decline, the pressure increases for demand gen teams and sales reps to develop more leads; so, ever more poorly targeted emails are sent out. But we have overwhelmed the email channel. Spammers and bad marketers further devalue the channel with impersonal or fraudulent messages.
In our role as consumers and employees, we’ve adjusted our behavior in response. The average individual receives 85 business emails per day. Our inboxes are flooded, so we give less time to each message. 15 years ago, the average attention granted to emails was 12 seconds apiece. It has now dropped to eight seconds, so it’s a wonder that email works at all.
Improving Email Open Rates
There are a series of best practices that can improve open and click-through email rates. One is to employ cadences with A/B tested email templates. Another is to target messages more carefully by industry, job function, job level, and behavior (intent). Templates can be customized by industry, function, and role, but they still should be personalized by sales reps. Otherwise, they may be viewed as little more than well-crafted SPAM.
An Experian Marketing Services study found that personalized emails generate six times higher transaction rates.
Email personalization helps the recipient understand that the message wasn’t simply an automated email. Inserting a personal message with a short custom video allows sales reps to convey authenticity to build trust; attracts attention; and starts off the relationship in a positive manner.
Adding Embedded Video
Video is a highly valued method for introducing a new product or service. A study of consumers by Wyzowl found that 68% preferred a short video for learning about a new product or service. Text-based options (e.g. websites, articles) came in a distant second at 15%. The market is clearly indicating a desire for video-based content, whether generated by marketing for consumer products or sales and marketing for business solutions.
Personal video is in line with the Account Based Marketing (ABM) movement, which calls for one-to-one messaging across key accounts. ABM advocates contend that sales and marketing should identify and focus on their most important accounts with highly targeted messaging. There is no better way to target an individual than a short, personalized video that includes the name of the lead and speaks to his or her role within the organization.
While not a new channel, embedded video with a thumbnail image allows sales reps to quickly gain attention. It is a way for sales reps to stand apart from the messaging din and say, “I’ve taken the time to communicate with you one-on-one.” The rep can then quickly convey why he or she is reaching out to the prospect. Furthermore, it reflects the rep’s personality and allows him or her to demonstrate that they are investing in the relationship at the outset.
There is also a novelty aspect to a sales rep recording and sending a one-on-one video. This novelty effect will wear off in a year or two, but it adds to the near-term benefit of early adopters.
Because they are targeted and personalized, embedded videos do not contribute to the tragedy of the email commons. Instead, it is a form of ABM spearfishing where a highly targeted message is directed at a single individual.
And yes, personalized video works. Vidyard studies found that including personal videos drives up open rates by a factor of two to three. That is a huge lift, and it should grab your attention.
Maximizing the Value of Video
A few quick tips for making the most of one-to-one video:
- Personalize the message – Use the recipient’s name, speak to their concerns.
- Keep it short – Messages should be under one minute in length.
- Remember to include your Call to Action (CTA).
- As most content is horizontal, it is probably best to film horizontally. Mobile viewers can quickly rotate the screen to view horizontal content, but vertical viewing with black bars is disliked by desktop and laptop viewers.
Reach out to us here at ConnectLeader today to see how Vidyard, within our TruCadence sales engagement platform, can help you quickly record and embed a custom message in your emails. Simply click here or give us a call at 800-955-5040.