This week’s blog post comes from Will Fraser, CEO and Co-Founder of Referral SaaSquatch. Follow him on Twitter @getFraser.
When we started Referral SaaSquatch, we spent a lot of time educating the SaaS/subscription market about our platform and how we’re different from ‘competitors.’ Honestly, a lot of the questions, while valid, were the same. What is a referral program? Isn’t that an affiliate program? Can’t I build that in-house?
There was clearly an education gap and even though we were writing about it, we felt we had to build more engaging content to help educate people and streamline answering these questions. We decided to take the cue from our friends over at Moz with their great ‘Whiteboard Fridays’ campaign and started creating video content.
Why video? It’s rich content, easily consumed, and helps establish brand credibility. The concept was simple in essence, take the core lessons from our educational blog articles, then distill them into short-form explainer videos. Spend half a day talking in front of a videographer with another team member producing. Then start promotion campaigns around the content.
Easy enough right? … Not exactly? Well, let me take you through the steps that we took to make our 19 Videos to clear it up.
Image courtesy of Udemy.com
Our strategy had consisted primarily of producing articles and promoting them on different online communities like Quora, Inbound.org, and Twitter. After a couple of months, we were clearly building a following but knew we still needed to experiment with other ways of telling our story.
We asked ourselves, ‘What’s a better way to educate our audience about referral programs?’
Although we were open to experimenting with different content, our goals remained the same: create and promote online content educating our target audience about referral programs.
Building video content was clearly the next step for us to take. Video is easy to consume on multiple platforms, rich content is more memorable than text, it’s easy to share, and can be done on a budget.
Image courtesy of udemy.com
Building the Content
Okay so we knew we had to make videos to educate our market and increase brand awareness. Now the problem became how?
How do we create video content that’s compelling, but not spend a huge amount of time and money on it? We came up with the idea to repurpose the core concepts of our blog into short 3-5 min videos, which helped immensely reduce the time required for pre-production and scripting. We had one person on the team spend an afternoon and read through our blog to come up with the outline for each video with 2-3 talking points.
Next, we scheduled our shoot, which was 3 hours in a local studio with the key responsibilities laid out like this:
Videographer: Directing – in-charge of framing the scene, audio, and lighting.
Myself: Hosting – speaking and drawing illustrations on whiteboard.
Team member: Producing – setting up each scene’s talking points, checking quality of content, water breaks.
It went off without a hitch. These are videos about things we already knew, so there wasn’t much to learn or remember for each shot. It was easy to speak with confidence. We actually got through the majority of our videos in one take.
So in three hours’ time with two breaks, we shot 19 videos in 26 takes. Not bad for our first adventure into the world of video production.
Image courtesy of Wistia.com
Distribution and Promotion
Now came the part you’re all really interested in, how do we get the word out? We have this rich content, where do we promote it?
We ended up breaking it down into a list of promotion strategies, and it came down to two ideas. One was to wrap up all the video into an E-Course for the Udemy Ed-Tech Platform and the other was to host the content ourselves with a video service like Wistia.
We liked the idea of Udemy because we could take advantage of an emerging education platform with a strong tech worker presence. Its recommendation engine and review system were both convincing factors, but there wasn’t a smooth way to move the students over to our site (read: No Lead Capture).
Hosting the videos ourselves was an interesting option, as well. We could use a tool like Wistia to perform email capture within the player. We could also promote the individual videos on our blog and social channels.
We ended up building the E-Course and creating an auto-responder email course of the 5 core videos for lead capture on our website. The course has signed up over 1,350 people and helps drive overall brand awareness – while the auto-responder course helps drive conversions to product demos and sales.
Activation and Community
The course has built a great way to interact with the community of students who want to talk about referral programs. They can leave reviews, and we can push company updates to the list of over 1,350 people.
Our video content helps support every interaction we have with potential clients. It fills the top of the funnel by driving lead acquisition as well as activating and nurturing our leads throughout the sales-cycle, which really helps to accelerate our growth and impact the bottom line.
Content continues to drive results for our company. Creating videos to reach our audience is a great campaign for us and we can keep re-purposing these videos to help educate and convert incoming visitors.
Our goal was to build more engaging content to help educate our target audience, and video ended up being a low cost, quick, and effective way to do it.The video content was created in an afternoon and continues to increase brand awareness while capturing leads and supporting every other stage of our marketing and sales funnels.
Some things to think about if you want to do this are:
- Reuse existing educational content. You’re an expert and have probably already written about the most important things to your industry.
- Video doesn’t have to cost a million dollars or be over produced. Just be real and make sure you get the point across.
- Take advantage of distribution networks such as Udemy or YouTube. This is often the hardest part of any content effort.
Not every channel or medium is right for your audience, but, in our case, video helped us diversify our educational content, grow brand awareness, and increase conversion metrics.