How to Use Videos to Improve Your Cold Outreach Response Rate

Olga Mykhoparkina is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, an easy-to-use proposal software that helps send professional project proposals in minutes instead of hours. She's a SaaS enthusiast with an entrepreneurial mindset, a deep SEM expertise, and 10+ years of experience in digital marketing. Having written for 50+ top tier publications, she believes that epic content is King, Queen, and all the Aces in marketing.
  • June 9, 2020

Cold outreach is typically used to target a relatively small number of high-value potential clients. People who have an important role in the workplace are generally very busy. On average, American workers receive over 120 emails a day. This number is probably much higher for most decision-makers and CEOs.

The tricky part of your cold outreach campaign is standing out. That’s where video comes in.

Today we’ll look at how you can use videos as part of your cold outreach strategy. It’s a strategy that can help you grab the attention of decision-makers so you can achieve your marketing or sales goals. Before we take a deep dive into the topic, I want to touch on why it’s so important to use an email sequence.

The Basics Of An Effective Outreach Sequence

There’s a shockingly common rookie mistake when it comes to cold outreach strategies. In short, this is sending off a generic sales pitch to leads, and then moving on with your life when you don’t receive a response. While this could technically be described as cold outreach, it’s not how the pros do it.

Rather than firing off emails and hoping for the best, successful cold outreach strategies leverage effective email sequences.

Sending multiple emails in a row to a person increases the chance of getting a response. Just think about the last time you meant to reply to an email, only you forgot for whatever reason. Sometimes those messages remain unanswered until you either review your inbox or receive a reminder.

Numerous case studies show it’s not a problem unique to you or me.

Source: Mailshake

A good email sequence works a bit like a sales funnel. Rather than repeating the same message three times, you gradually warm the lead up by revealing different things about your product or service that would make them interested in your offering.

The most basic email sequences have three stages;

  1. Creating awareness
  2. Following up to warm leads
  3. Attempting to close

Each email in your sequence will attempt to get the prospect to take the desired action. This action is always the same; it’s just that your approach will differ. Let me give you a hypothetical example:

  1. In the first email, you use a video to introduce who you are, and what you have to offer
  2. The second email you rely on client testimonials to create trust in your ability to deliver a service
  3. The final email in the series is where you offer something for free – say a guest post if you offered a link building service – in exchange for their time

Varying your approach helps reduce the chance of you annoying the prospect. Furthermore, an email series recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” solution to getting a response. Everybody is unique, and the approach you take to outreach should reflect this.

Specifically, using a video as part of your outreach campaign will not make every lead respond. However, some people do engage with the content, so it’s something you should experiment with in your outreach campaigns. I’ll talk more about that in the next section.

Why You Should Use Video in Your Cold Outreach Email

A large part of how we communicate is based on how we speak and body language. When you send an email to someone, you miss out on that element of communication.

Just as importantly, you need a lot of words to express complex ideas. The average email is 3-5 paragraphs. There is a limitation to how much you can say with so few words. However, even in a short video, you can say a lot.

This dual reason – more effective communication and a higher volume of information you can convey – make video an effective sales channel. This is why including an email with a video in a cold email outreach sequence is effective. Consider trying out an online video maker to help you create them.

This naturally brings us to the question, how does the recipient consume the video?

You deliver your video through a custom landing page, which then clicks through to a registration page or something similar. Effectively it’s a simple sales funnel, and you can use sales funnel software to make your landing page.

Good marketing doesn’t need to be complex. The important thing is it’s effective.

Tips for Using Video in Your Email

We’ve covered some of the theories behind why you should use video in your outreach email. In this next section of the guide, I want to share a couple of tips for creating your video before sharing a few inspiring case studies that will motivate you to test out a video in your outreach.

Create Engaging Email Copy & an Effective CTA

Your first task is to ensure that recipients watch your video. Otherwise, you’ve wasted your time. The main variables you can play with are your email copy and the video thumbnail, also known as the preroll. This is the image that recipients see before they click play.

For the thumbnail, if you are going for something basic, I’d recommend a still image of you talking from the video. Make sure you dress appropriately, and there is good lighting.

You can improve on this. For example, you can significantly increase engagement by as much as 800% using personalization. This is a lot easier than you might imagine. For example, tools like PicSnippet allow you to add custom text to an image in much the same way as an email template.

Source: PicSnippets

You can create animated thumbnails like this that look like a video thumbnail or a short animated Gif as your video thumbnail. Both strategies are worth testing and can help improve your CTR.

Concerning how to structure your email copy, I suggest you head over to the email outreach masterclass. This series of eight videos provide a comprehensive overview covering every aspect of email outreach.

Use a Proven Sales Pitch

Ensuring the right messaging for your cold outreach videos is important. The first thing is to have a clear idea of your goal. This will inform both the content and the format of your video.

For an introduction video, it’s best to keep things simple and speak directly to the camera, as if you were introducing yourself in real life. The key here is to convey the problem you want to solve and why you’re a reliable person to provide the solution.

Below is a simple video sales script you could follow:

  • Thank them for taking the time to watch the video and introduce yourself
  • State the problem you want to help them solve (what’s in it for them)
  • Establish your credentials as an expert
  • Touch on how you’ve helped other people like them
  • Finish with a clear CTA

The idea here is to build awareness of who you are and how you can provide value. Aim for a video that’s a bit under 5 minutes.

Importantly, don’t try to sell in your video. Your goal is to get the person to respond. You achieve this by making them interested in what you have to offer and how you can help them achieve their goals.

Ensure Professional Video Quality

Finally, you want your video to be of a certain quality. This includes video and audio quality. Your goal is to make a good impression and come across as professional. Having a sloppy video is the virtual equivalent of showing up to a business meeting in tattered rags.

However, you don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to achieve this. These days, most phones have professional quality video cameras. There are also many tools you can use to create impressive explainer videos, with very little skill or effort.

Monitor Success by Tracking Views

As with any marketing or sales activity, it’s vital to monitor success. This allows you to see what’s working and what’s not. Then you can make any necessary adjustments.

For videos in cold emails, the metrics you need to monitor are;

  • How many people view the video – this measures the effectiveness of your preroll
  • How long people view the video – this allows you to identify issues with the video script
  • Correlation between views and other actions – for example, are people who watched the video any more likely to respond to your email or visit your site?

Case Studies: Putting it All Together

It’s easy to share the theory of how to use videos in your outreach. You’ll find plenty of content with pretty generic marketing advice on the internet. Where it gets interesting is analyzing the success people have by applying these strategies. Firstly, because we’re all busy people, and if we’re going to put time into testing a strategy, we need to be convinced it’s worth our time.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, case studies help us understand how a theory can be applied in the real world. This can provide you with ideas on how to apply the theory to your business.

There are a lot of good online case studies that talk about how to use videos in outreach. One of my favorite examples is by Chris Von Wilpert from Content Mavericks. He used many of the same principles I covered in this post to grow a $10,000 a month agency using cold outreach. Below is the sales funnel he used.

Source: Content Mavericks

The case study is particularly relevant to solopreneurs and agencies working with small to medium-sized businesses with a short buying cycle. He used this email sequence to turn a stranger into a warm lead, and then turn them into a partner by using an effective SEO proposal template.

On the corporate side, BlueLeadz, an inbound marketing agency in Tampa, provides a nice case study about how you can use video emails in other parts of your sales cycle. In their case, they created welcome videos for prospective customers like the one below.

The video helped the company close 17% more clients than their regular sales sequence. Both case studies point to the important role that a good video can have in the sales cycle.

How to Use Videos for Cold Outreach

Cold outreach is not nearly as difficult as most people assume. The primary challenge is grabbing the attention of key decision-makers and concisely communicating value to them. Today we’ve seen one way to do this through video.

A video can be an important component of an outreach sequence. Through video, you can engage with the recipient. Importantly, they can feel like they’ve got to know you. This is important because that connection can help them take the next move – in most cases, responding to your outreach email.

The important thing for you now is to test if a video is effective in your niche. The only way you can do this is by putting the theory into practice— best of luck.

Olga Mykhoparkina is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, an easy-to-use proposal software that helps send professional project proposals in minutes instead of hours. She's a SaaS enthusiast with an entrepreneurial mindset, a deep SEM expertise, and 10+ years of experience in digital marketing. Having written for 50+ top tier publications, she believes that epic content is King, Queen, and all the Aces in marketing.

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