2 Tips for Adding Targeted Video to Direct Marketing Messages
Customizing direct marketing efforts based on the preferences of audience segments is a well-established best practice to increase response rates. In online marketing, the use of Web video also is a best practice, often shown to double conversion rates. Video allows you to demonstrate your product and service in ways that static photos and text simply cannot.
So if relevance is powerful, and video is engaging, why not simply put them together all the time? The catch is many marketers believe there is no way to cost effectively create relevant video content for each individual customer—visions of million-dollar production budgets hold them back from launching relevant video marketing programs.
Most direct marketers achieve relevance in e-mail and direct mail by versioning offers and creative to speak more effectively to segmented audiences. Customer relationship management data is used to identify each segment and select a mailing list for each versioned creative. Applying this same tactic of brute-force versioning to develop relevant creative for every segment is impractical for video, due to the increased creative and production costs inherent in video.
There are hosted-software products for direct marketers, which are explicitly designed to make it easy and inexpensive to author relevant video clips. Backroads, the adventure travel company, used marketing software like this to create a series of targeted videos using minimal video footage, still images from its existing catalog and versioned voice-overs. Backroads created several marketing videos for use on its Web site and in targeted direct marketing campaigns, each showcasing a customized vacation destination based on the preferences of predetermined segments.
In the March campaign, Backroads directed e-mail and direct mail recipients to personal URLs containing relevant videos and offers based on their unique preferences. Six percent of those who received only catalogs visited Backroads' Web page; 12 percent of those who received customized direct mail pieces and personalized e-mails with links to a PURL visited the Web page; and a total of 1 percent of all recipients made purchases. Customers who received the customized communications generated twice the revenue per customer as those who received only catalogs.
However, even without specialized software, you can create relevant videos by following these tips:
1. Tap the power of voice(-over). Leverage any existing video you have, but then augment it with relevant and versioned voice-overs. Unlike full-production video, voice-over is inexpensive to create. In just an hour or two, you can create multiple voice-overs, enough to create a dozen or more relevant videos targeted to individual segments.
2. Work the stills. Voice-over alone cannot create a video; you need the eye candy. Applying pans and zooms to still images provides an excellent and inexpensive way to augment voice-over recordings and create what feels like full-motion video when mixed with existing video footage.
Randy Spurrier is CEO of San Francisco-based marketing software firm Nimblefish. He can be contacted at (415) 247-7000.