I was reviewing a usability test of a B2B site recently, and I heard two very different reactions to the same video. I’ll paraphrase:
- That video was a waste of time. They could’ve conveyed the same information in way less time. My questions aren’t answered.
- That video was awesome! I feel much more educated about their service now, and it was very professional-looking.
Scary, right? The video was professionally shot, edited, and produced. It conveyed good information, but it did so in a style that started to persuade one test subject, and didn’t remotely persuade the other test subject.
It got me thinking about how important video can be for persuading B2B site visitors, but also about how different types of videos are persuasive to different types of visitors. Video is just another type of content, so the rules of content (different content persuades different prospects) still apply!
I think a lot of B2B and SaaS lead generation sites go out and get themselves a video to stick on the homepage and think that they’re “done,” and that their conversion rate will start doubling every week or so. But, I propose that one video may not be enough, because you’re trying to persuade people in very different personality profiles. Further, I think the truly optimized B2B site can benefit from multiple videos, in multiple styles, in multiple sections of the site, from multiple video-production vendors!
I’m sure I’m not making any friends with budget-constrained site owners, but hear me out. The real budget-waster is investing in one video that tries to be “all things to all people.” You’ll end up with a disjointed video that’s too long for anyone to tolerate.
Let’s take a minute to review some common types of videos featured on B2B sites:
- The “Get to know us” Video – these videos are great for showing the people behind the website/business. Humanistic customers will love them. Methodicals will probably hate them.
- The “Make the complicated more simple” Video – these videos help explain complicated concepts in ways that web copy and static visuals can’t do as well. The Competitive and Spontaneous will appreciate this kind of high-level content.
- The “Product Demonstration” Video – perhaps the most common video on B2B sites, this one takes visitors through the benefits and features of a digital product using voice overs, animation, and screen recording. Depending on how detailed they are, these videos might resonate with Spontaneous or Methodical customers.
- The “Testimonial” Video – these videos add a human touch to the standard, text-based testimonial. These again will be attractive to Humanistics, but the added layer of “realness” can help move the skeptical Competitive decision-maker. They can be testimonials about the working with the company, or about a particular service.
So before you start putting makeup on your CEO and rolling the cameras, I advise that you spend some time thinking about the scenarios your visitors are acting out on your site today, what questions or concerns aren’t being addressed, and if or if not video is the right medium to educate (and begin to persuade) them. You may find that several short, less slick videos that answer your personas’ un-answered questions, placed strategically throughout the site, are more persuasive than that super-slick, Hollywood-style video.
[Originally published April 2nd, 2009 on GrokDotCom.com, an award-winning, but now defunct, Marketing Optimization blog.]