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Thursday, Apr. 2, 2009 at 11:57 am

B2B Warning: One Persuasive Video May Not Be Enough

By Brendan Regan
April 2nd, 2009

I was reviewing a usability test of a B2B site today, and I heard two very different reactions to the same video (I’ll paraphrase):

  • #1: That video was a waste of time.  They could’ve conveyed the same information in way less time.  My questions aren’t answered.
  • #2: 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 tester, and didn’t remotely persuade the other tester.

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.

I think a lot of 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:

  1. 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.  Our friends over at SunPop Studios excel at this kind of video, by the way. Check out some of the samples on his website.
  2. 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.  My favorite creators of these types of videos are the folks over at Common Craft.  (Note: this isn’t just because I share a certain dreary hometown with them)
  3. 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 number of vendors that do these types of videos is too large to single out a favorite.  In fact, most digital agencies can do high-quality product demo videos these days.  If you’ve got a favorite, drop it in the comments, please.
  4. 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, like our OnTarget video testimonial.

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.  See?  I’m was actually trying to save you money ;)

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Comments (6)

  1. [...] B2B Warning: One Persuasive Video May Not Be Enough Brendan Regan of FutureNow’s GrokDotCom blog provides some food for thought to B2B marketers in the area of selecting the right type of video content to create for your websites. [...]

  2. I have an SAAS that’s for big businesses. I currently don’t have any videos on the marketing website for the software. Do you think it’s worth paying for a firm to make a video, or would you just make a screen cast of using the product like a lot of people do?

  3. AHHA!   Valid points that the same video may have differing impacts on viewers.

    Some may wish to “skim through” and get a feel for the story while others may want more in depth information.

    The answer to filling the needs of both types of visitor lies in the use of Interactive video where those who wish more information may drill down from embeded hyperlinks and glean more information while the skimmer can skip through and hopefully discover a reason to explore further.

    Embed a subscription form in the video lets you stay in touch with the skimmer and you’ll be front and center when they’re thinking seriously about a purchase.

  4. [...] that come to your site, and you’ll want to cater to several different types.  It may be that not just one video is persuasive enough.  With this in mind, it’s still important to have consistent messages and brand images [...]

  5. It’s definitely important to have more than one video.

  6. videos are key for converting customers, take it from someone who knows!

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