We asked pros from 60 SaaS businesses to share tips for converting trial users to paid customers. Here’s how they’ve improved their paid activation rates.
Product and Design | Jun 26
John Bonini on May 24, 2018 • 6 minute read
The signs were there.
When you think about the typical lifecycle of a marketing channel, from obscurity to arbitrage, it tends to follow three phases:
Momentum builds considerably at phase 2, however, once a channel reaches phase three, arbitrage follows.
That’s where we are with video.
It’s easy to measure. And now, thanks to not only the tools around us but also the algorithm of the social channels that favor them, video has become accessible to both the creator and the viewer.
It’s easy to create them, and due to the mediums we consume content with, it’s much easier and native to consume it, too.
That’s why you see video everywhere. Embedded in blog posts. Streamed live on Facebook. Recorded selfies on LinkedIn. (Guilty.)
People are more comfortable with video. But, not everyone.
As is the case with the evolution of any technology or channel, there are laggards.
Some hate change. Others hate the medium and therefore fall victim to a bias that their audience doesn’t necessarily share.
But, then there are others that just don’t know how to get started.
Video seems too hard to produce.
“I don’t have the gear or tools needed to film great video, so why bother?”
It doesn’t need to be complicated.
I’m going to walk through three examples of marketing videos that you can film right from your desk. Seriously.
First, let’s get this out of the way.
For the purposes of filming the videos mentioned in this post, you don’t need an elaborate setup.
Here’s what we use:
Onboarding videos take new signups or users through the product experience for the first time. The idea here is to distill the main benefits of a product into a story on how the product will improve the work and/or lives of the user.
The best onboarding videos are not only instructional in terms of teaching the functionality of the product, but they’re also great at presenting the overarching story and solution that your product solves.
Here’s a recent product promo we filmed (from our desk) on updates to our Scorecard feature.
What you need: A microphone, headphones, Soapbox, and a comfortable seat.
How to measure it: For onboarding videos, or any other product-specific video aimed at educating your users, the goal should be to identify a correlation between watching the video and using whatever product/feature is being talked about.
It will never be a straight line. People switch devices. They share the content with teammates who then go and use the feature themselves.
What we do is track the engagement of the video in Wistia, and then track usage of the specific product/feature separately and look for any bumps in usage.
Instructional videos tend to be a bit more personal, as rather than the narrative presentation style of an onboarding video, an engaging instructional video is almost like sitting down next to the presenter while she says, “here, watch how I do this.”
Here’s where Soapbox really shines. Sure, there are other tools with similar functionality, but from the ones I’ve used, Soapbox is the most intuitive.
The split screen format creates a good vehicle for sharing instructions while also staying visible in the frame in order to keep it personal and engaging.
Below is an example from a video series we call Data Snacks, wherein the host walks viewers through a quick tutorial for how to track and/or improve different areas of their marketing funnel.
What you need: A microphone, headphones, Soapbox, and it’d probably be a good idea to dress for the occasion since you’ll be featured in these shots.
How to measure it: Instructional videos should be all about engagement. In other words, how far into the video are people watching? If you’re seeing a significant drop off 30 seconds into your video, you’re either taking too long to get to the point, or the content itself is not engaging. If you’re seeing a drop off halfway through the video, it could be that the viewer got the answer they were looking for and has moved on.
Pay attention to the signals you’re getting via video engagement. That will help you determine whether or not your instructional video is actually helping anyone.
The product demo is a hybrid of the product promo and the instructional video.
The focus should be on walking users and prospects through the main functionality of your product, however, unlike the product promo, you’ll want to show your face here.
A good product demo should feel personal to the user’s needs, and it’s harder to strike that balance when they can’t see your face.
It should also be a comprehensive overview of your whole product. However, don’t try to film the whole thing in one shot. You’ll lose energy and focus the longer you go without breaks, and you want to sound as excited as you want your users to be.
Film demos of all the major areas of your product separately and then splice them together afterward in a video editor like iMovie.
Here’s an example of a product demo we recorded recently.
What you need: A microphone, headphones, Soapbox, a nice outfit, fresh haircut, and iMovie to splice together all the different features of your product into one product demo.
How to measure it: Engagement rates are key here, too. What’s more important in a longer video like a product demo is knowing where and when people are dropping off.
You might have a sticky feature or an “aha moment” that you need your users to be aware of. If you notice viewers don’t make it to that part of the video, you’ll need to reorganize how your video is structured. You can do all of this in iMovie.
Rewatches are also helpful in finding the areas users want to learn more about or are having trouble understanding.
I shared the link earlier in the post, but this is the same template we use to track the individual performance of our marketing videos and projects in Wistia.
You can customize it, of course.
I built that view specifically for our needs, however, I think it provides a great overview for how your projects and videos are performing from an engagement standpoint.
I glance at it several times a week just to see how everything is trending.
Product and Design | Jun 26
Marketing | Jun 25
Marketing | Jun 25