This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast.
Nathan Isaacs: Hope, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and Lemonlight Media?
Hope Horner: Thanks so much for having me, Nathan. I’m really glad to be here today. My name is Hope Horner, and I’m a three-time entrepreneur. The startup I’m working on right now is called Lemonlight. And our mission is to create high quality, affordable video content at scale. Right now, we work across all 50 states. And we work with brands and marketers to help them integrate video marketing into their varied marketing channels and strategies.
Tip 1: Why are business videos so popular?
Nathan: I see on your website just how many hours of video you guys have produced, and all the states you’ve been in, and it’s pretty amazing. And that gets into my second question. More and more marketers and businesses are incorporating video into their marketing plans. Why do you think that is?
Hope: That’s a great question. I think video itself is incredibly powerful. We know that from the earliest ages of TV and how that’s evolved. Video has the ability to create emotion, which I think is one of the most important things when people are making buying decisions. That’s why it’s really taken the forefront of advertising back when it was just commercials on TV, and then online commercials. And now you see it being incorporated into things like LinkedIn, and all the other different streaming services, and social media channels that are now available.
Not only does it create emotion, but it also gives you the opportunity to share information. A statistic I see all the time is a 30-second video is worth 1.8 million words. What you can share in 30 seconds on a video, you could never write that much and expect a potential customer to read. Video offers you the opportunity to share a lot more information your customers can instantly digest and understand, and feel motivated to learn more about your company, or take the next action that you want them to take.
Tip 2: What is the hardest thing about producing videos?
Nathan: Yeah, it’s amazing, that combination you’re talking about. Everything sort of sinks in for you as a viewer. I can just speak for myself watching how-to videos on YouTube.
What’s the hardest thing about adding video to your marketing tactics or your marketing plan?
Hope: Video marketing can be daunting. It’s very subjective. There are a lot of places you can include it or not include it. I would say the hardest part is probably creating the video. A lot of people see great commercials online, on TV or anywhere, and of course they want their video to look like that, to feel like that, to be just as polished. And I think that’s really where the challenge comes in. Because video could be expensive to create. And when you do it on your iPhone, it’s not gonna look like that. I think it’s about getting resourceful, looking online. There are a lot of solutions out there right now that can help you make high-quality content for a lot more affordable prices.
That’s the greatest challenge, is how you find the right thing to do that, to get your brand to look professional, feel professional, and so people are inspired after they see your videos? I think that’s one of the biggest challenges we see pretty much every day is people who’ve come to us, they’ve made their own videos, and they’re not happy about the results. Because at the end of the day video is complicated. Unfortunately, I wish in some ways that it was easy as showing up and just pointing a camera. But there’s lighting, and audio, and all of these other factors that most people don’t know about. And so finding a team that can help you bring that to life easily, affordably, quickly ‒ I think that’s usually one of the biggest challenges.
Nathan: At Act-On, this past summer at a conference, we recorded a bunch of customer testimonial videos. And we’re talking about three videos that we’ll release over the next couple months. They’re only three minutes long, but it included several weeks of preparation, and it included renting a space to record them. We had a sound guy, we had two video guys, we had a gopher just to help carry stuff. It just becomes a huge production just for these three videos that will amount to no more than 10 minutes in the end.
Hope: Yeah, exactly.
Tip 3: What is the easiest thing about producing videos?
Nathan: So, that’s the hardest stuff. What’s the easiest thing about video?
Hope: I think the easiest thing is getting excited about video. You just mentioned testimonial videos and how-to videos. There’s also of course the brand video or explainer video that you see now. There are educational videos, industry videos, training videos. There are all kinds of things that, once you start thinking about incorporating video, really, the sky’s the limit. It’s easy to get excited about videos and to come up with ideas that you want to implement.
Tip 4: How does a company get started producing videos?
Nathan: When a company makes that decision about adding video, where do they start? What type of videos should they be considering making?
Hope: You’re going to have a lot of ideas and you’re going to want to make them all. And sometimes it isn’t always that easy right out of the gate. When we’re working with customers who know they want to incorporate video into their marketing channels, we start with the personas. The most important thing about creating video, for it to be effective, is making sure you have the right person and that you’re delivering the right message. We start with: Who is that right person? We help them identify who’s ultimately the audience, who’s the target audience, what questions do they have, and how can we answer those using videos.
And the next important question is: Where are they in the buyer’s journey? Are they in the awareness stage, are they in consideration stage, decision stage? Depending on where they are, that should really dictate the kind of video that you’re making. Each stage has different videos that typically work the best. For example, you probably don’t want to do an in-depth product feature for someone who’s only in the awareness stage. By being very targeted with your video creation and ultimately your video distribution, you’ll end up having a lot better results. Does that make sense?
Tip 5: Does every company need an About Us or Brand video?
Nathan: Absolutely. Are there must-haves with videos? Does every company need an About Us video?
Hope: I think that’s a great question. And I would say, yes. I believe that videos today are what websites were 10 years ago, or maybe 15 years ago now, which is a lot of people have them. People are starting to want them and they’re getting excited about them. But it’s not for everyone right now. But in five years, I believe almost everyone will have a video on their website. Everyone will have a video to explain their story and share that with the world. I think that it’s the natural evolution of how we tell our story. It was a website with text ‒ I think video is the next step. And a brand video does exactly that.
Tip 6: Should a company produce videos in-house or hire a vendor?
Nathan: When we’re talking about videos, should people be doing them in-house, or working with an agency, or maybe a combination of both? How does a company make those decisions?
Hope: I’ll tell you the three or four different options we see pretty regularly. Of course, you have the independent freelancer. Usually, that’s someone you know, a brother, friend, or a guy you went to college with. They’re usually going to be great. They’re usually the least expensive. Their turnaround times can be a little bit longer because they’re usually doing most of the work themselves, everything from pre-production, production, and post-production. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re not so great.
We’ve really seen a rise with the video marketplaces, like there’s Veed or SmartShoot where you can go online, put in your project scope, and it’ll shoot out a bunch of people in your area based on your price that can bid on your project. And then at the other end you have the local production companies. You have big and small. There are local production companies ‒ usually these are our competitors at Lemonlight ‒ which are offering good quality videos. They’re a little bit more traditional in their approach. And you can find them in most of the major metros. And then on the other end, you have the huge production companies. Their videos start at $100,000 to $200,000. And obviously that’s a whole other ballgame. Those are mostly for enterprise clients.
At Lemonlight, we really focus on the middle range: affordable video content. If you’re not an enterprise-level brand, explore all of your options and see what feels right. All of them are going to have slightly different price points, slightly different feels. See where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. Make sure they have high-quality content, they have good reviews, and good references. Because video can be very expensive. And a lot of times once it’s done, it’s hard to redo the production. So, you want to make sure you find the right team from the start.
Tip 7: How do you measure the effectiveness of video?
Nathan: So, you’ve got a great video. It’s right in the bottom of the funnel ‒ that’s how you’re using it for those purposes ‒ but how do you measure the effectiveness of a video? What are the things you should be thinking about? And maybe that affects how you spend money on it, on the production of it?
Hope: There are two main areas of measurement. One is the very specific video player software that will give you that information. Wistia does a great job of measuring engagement. Vimeo’s getting there. They’re getting pretty good at it. There’s another company called Vidyard, which is really focused on the data behind the videos that you’re creating. So those are going to give you very specific information about your videos.
But you want to make sure you’re measuring the bigger picture, too. How much are your emails’ click-through rates increased now that you’ve added video? In that case, you need a company like Act-On’s marketing automation to help you measure the bigger picture. And that’s everything from engagement, which could be clicks or views, open rates based on having video in the email title … you see that that’s a pretty big measurement that people are seeing growth on, social media engagement. Really anywhere you add a video, you should be measuring how many people are watching it, how many people are watching it halfway through or all the way through, and then how many people are taking the next step from there to follow your call to action.
Tip 8: How can marketing automation help in activating your videos?
Nathan: I understand you also use marketing automation software. Is that how you can activate the videos you produce? What are some of the ways companies can think about this in a strategic way, rather than just throwing it up on the wall and seeing what sticks?
Hope: What we do for our own video content is we really start at the top of the funnel and we create our target persona, and again where they are in the buyer’s journey. We make the video based on that. Then we place the ads online, on Facebook, or Google, or the multitude of different places you rent out. We collect their email address using a software like Act-On. And then we put them through an email funnel. So, usually a series of four to six emails. Not only are the videos hyper-targeted, but also all the content in the emails are as well.
So, you’re able to deliver a very specific message to a very targeted audience. And we’ve seen a lot of great results with that. And, of course, you want to measure everything, too, to make sure your assumptions in the beginning were aligned with the final results.
Tip 9: How do you use video for your business?
Nathan: How have you used video? You are one of these people who are known throughout the industry as an influencer. I’m just wondering how you personally have used video as well.
Hope: The exact funnel I just shared is literally what we do with our marketing department, identifying who they are and creating content specifically for them. And then we use video everywhere ‒ in our emails, of course on our website, in all of our landing pages, and, of course, on social media. You also see a lot of opportunities on social media and other places that used to not exist. Now you can put a video on Trip Advisor, or as a Facebook cover, or on LinkedIn. The more opportunities where video is open, we always explore them and see if they’re effective to share our message there.
Tip 10: How do you pick the right social channels to distribute your video?
Nathan: That raises a follow-up question, which is: There are so many channels, how does a company pick which is right for them?
Hope: Testing. Test, test, test, and measure your results. I feel like, personally, whatever I think is going to work never works. Whatever I don’t think is going to work is what always works. So, we have a very focused process on making sure we’re measuring all the data. Because, again, you can make assumptions you think will resonate with your audience. But if you don’t look at the results and measure the data, then you don’t really know. And if you don’t, then you can keep doing the same thing over and over, and, ultimately, they’ll never engage.
Nathan: It always goes back to understanding who your audience is to begin with.
Nathan: How does someone learn more about you and Lemonlight?
Hope: Our website is lemonlight.com. And if you want to shoot us an email, we’re at firstname.lastname@example.org.