Eight ways to use video for lead generation

The corporate video production industry is buzzing with content about video marketing and how video is set to become the new driver of lead gen. And while there is no shortage of content and opinion on the subject, it’s hard to know how to get started. How do you actually use video for lead gen?

The answer is simple: you make a video, put it in your lead gen machine, and then catch the leads as they pop out the other end.

If only things were that easy!

Fear not though, here is the ultimate guide to using video for lead generation.

We’re assuming you’ve covered all your basics: you’ve set your objectives, defined a lead, done your audience research and now you’re putting together your video production brief (because you’re not going to try to retrofit a lead gen strategy to your existing videos, are you?) to create videos for lead gen. But how do you really use videos for lead gen? Here’s how:

YouTube Cards / End Screens

These are clickable icons that appear during (cards) or the end of (end screens) your YouTube video. They can take the viewer to:

  • One of your videos or a playlist
  • A button to subscribe to your channel or someone else’s
  • A link to your website (note you need to be a YouTube partner to do this)

It’s the link to your website that is your video lead gen mechanism – you create a compelling video that persuades viewers they want your product or service, and during or at the end of that video, you give them the opportunity to click right through to your landing page and find out more or make a purchase.

If you’re using cards and end screens, then you need to make sure your they make sense within your video: when composing your shots, make sure there is space for the clickable link to your landing pages and also ensure that it makes sense alongside your script.

Have a look at our lead gen video on YouTube for an example.

Increase landing page conversions with video

We’ve recently launched our first Udemy course, The Ultimate Public Relations Masterclass (find out how we made it) and we created a promo video for the course, because, according to Udemy, students who watch a well-made promo video are 5x more likely to enrol in your course. Yup, a good video can have a dramatic impact on landing page conversions – and Neil Patel agrees!

Here’s our example of a landing page with a video designed to increase conversions.

In-video lead forms

An alternative to using video to increase landing page conversions is to embed your lead gen form directly into the video. There are loads of ways to do this, with video players like Brightcove, Wistia and Vidyard all offering self-service tools that enable this.

We find it easier with Wistia, because you start with the video itself. And the best practice is to integrate your forms with your CRM system (although most platforms charge more for this).

Here’s our example that we created on Vimeo:

 

Email gates

An email gate requires the viewer to input their email before being able to view your content. This can work well for mid-funnel content (if you speak marketing). But probably more helpfully, ask yourself what type of content would you be willing to exchange for your email address before you have watched the video? For us it would probably be:

  • A case study showing how one of our competitors achieved something we are jealous of (landed a big client, won an award, generated millions).
  • Inside information on a product, service or event.
  • The only place on the web could learn about generating leads through video.

We probably wouldn’t for:

  • A funny video.
  • A product announcement.
  • Your Christmas party video.

Here’s our example that we created on Vimeo:

 

Video cards

A video card is a small video player that you can upload your content to and send out to your prospects. We’ve used video cards in our own award-winning marketing campaigns in the past to great effect (a 20% conversion rate and £300k+ worth of new business generated off an investment of less than £10k).

 

Video cards currently work because they are surprising, memorable and shareable. However, there are some things to keep in mind if taking this approach:

  • They’re expensive (around £10-30 per card – add to that the postage cost and the cost of making the video) so should be reserved for high quality, qualified targets.
  • The companies that sell them are hard to work with. We ended up having to upload the videos to our cards ourselves because there were so many issues with the service provided by the video cards companies we used – the cards arrived with no sound, poor quality visuals, they weren’t charged – grrrrr.
  • They’re basically single-use electronic devices, which means they aren’t great for the environment. We probably wouldn’t use them again for that reason.

Personalised videos

There are two ways to use personalised video: batch and realtime (or technically it’s called Personalised Video API) and you can do these on Vidyard’s platform.

With a personalised batch campaign, you create a video with spaces for personalised graphical elements. Vidyard will provide technical specs and advice on this. You then give that video to Vidyard, along with a CSV of all your contacts and personalised data, and then they connect the master video to the CSV and then out comes 1000’s of links to the video with the relevant personalised bits. Remember you are not getting 1000’s of individual videos, you’re getting 1000’s of links. So you can’t use these videos in other forms like video cards or sharing on other channels like LinkedIn. It’s restricted to email marketing.

 

The emails are blasted out by Vidyard, but can be masked to appear like they come from you. You can have as many personalised elements as you like, however up to 4 is best and it requires investment.

A Realtime campaign, or Personalised Video API, is where your sales person uses the Vidyard GoVideo tool (Wistia has an equivalent called Sopabox) to create outbound emails instantly to prospects. For instance, our outbound sales pro has started sending out videos in her emails to prospects, and the thumbnail (either still or GIF) is her holding a whiteboard with the person’s name on it.

She does this manually by writing it on, but you can use a Realtime Personalised campaign to create some wizardry where she only needs to record a single GIF thumbnail of her holding a blank whiteboard, and then when it comes to her sending a new video, she just types in the name of her prospect and the thumbnail is generated.

Using video to drive traffic to stores

Then there’s the traditional old form of advertising that sends viewers to your bricks and mortar store. Except that now, these videos can be viewed online, in interactive advertising displays and personalised video cards.

Here’s our example of a video to drive traffic to our store office.

 

Social advertising

We now operate in a social media marketing era that is truly owned by video. From Facebook to YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter it’s now widely accepted by marketers that video increases engagement and lead gen potential of social ads. But that’s the subject of a whole other blog post.

Contact the specialists in lead gen video production to make lead gen videos work for you.

Or keep reading:

Welcoming Brand Vista and Schwa to Definition Group

We are delighted to welcome brand strategy and experience consultancy Brand Vista; and Schwa, a leading specialist in tone of voice to Definition Group. The two consultancies will sit alongside Definition Agency, TopLine Film, Words&Pictures and Redhouse, bringing the group’s revenue to £10m and adding a Manchester office to its bases in Leeds and London.

Brand Vista – rated by the Financial Times as one of the UK’s leading management consultancies in 2022 – was founded in 2000 and specialises in brand strategy and the alignment of customer and colleague experiences. The company’s portfolio of clients in the international leisure and hospitality, retail, built environment, charity and B2B sectors includes David Lloyd, Merlin Entertainments Group, Greene King, Places for People, Iceland, Fiat Agricultural and Yorkshire Cancer Trust.

Founded in 2017, Schwa is a team of writers, trainers and psychologists who use tone of voice and behavioural science to help organisations engage better with customers and colleagues. The company uses language to improve business performance, with clients spanning large corporates and global groups including BT, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Network Rail, PepsiCo and Sony Music.

The enhanced service lines expand Definition Group’s insideout communications™ delivery model for major brands, business leaders, member organisations and government bodies. They boost the group’s ability to deliver a broad range of services across the brand strategy, experience and communications spectrum, enabling organisations to enhance their reputations and deliver business growth.

TopLine Film named a Top Agency by Clutch

We are delighted to announce that TopLine Film has been named as one of Clutch’s Top 1,000 Service Providers globally. The Clutch 1,000 is based on verified reviews by clients, brand reputation and selection of services offered.

“At TopLine we have always prided ourselves on our quality of service, strength of client relationships and our ability to create beautiful videos that deliver real business results, whether that is generating leads, raising profiles or increasing customer engagement. We have been a top-10 video production agency in the UK on Clutch for five years and now the Clutch 1,000 award is testament to the hard work of our excellent team,” commented TopLine Film’s Managing Director, Jamie Field.

TopLine Film brings video production and animation to the Definition Group, alongside other leading agencies including Redhouse, Definition Agency and W&P. Our clients include Johnson & Johnson, Cambridge University and Sony.

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TopLine acquired by Definition

Leeds and London based Definition, the multi-award winning strategic communications group, has today announced its acquisition of leading B2B growth agency TopLine Comms, including TopLine Film, ranked by clients as the UK’s top independent video production company in 2020*.

The deal sees Definition add SEO and inbound marketing along with video and animation content production to the Group’s InsideOut Communications™ delivery model for major brands, business leaders, member organisations and Government.  These additional capabilities boost the Group’s ability to deliver lead generation and content marketing alongside strategic brand creation, reputation management, social media and employee engagement services.

TopLine is Definition’s third acquisition in seven months following its purchase of London creative brand agency Redhouse and Leeds-based W&P – one of the country’s leading employee engagement agencies.

The Group’s expanding expertise in B2B communications has been reflected in a number of recent accolades from PR Week and has resulted in a series of prestigious client wins since the start of the year.

PR Week listed Definition as a Top 10 specialist B2B agency, selected it as one of the twelve agencies to watch in 2021, showed it rising 45 places in its rankings of Top 150 UK agencies by revenue and included Managing Director Louise Vaughan in its 2021 UK Power Book, the definitive annual guide to the country’s elite communications professionals.

New clients include Cielo (the world’s leading recruitment outsourcing partner), Halfords, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, cyber security firm Reliance ACSN and the Security Industry Association.

Founded in London by CEO Heather Baker in 2008, TopLine is one of the UK’s leading B2B digital PR and SEO agencies, with specific specialisms in fintech, tech, engineering and education. With campaigns spanning the UK, Europe, the US and Africa, global clients include ABB, Access Self Storage, Bullhorn, Impero, Outokumpu and Xero. The agency has won a raft of industry awards and been ranked in the Top 10 Great UK Places to Work (Small Companies Category) for the last two years.

The acquisition will see Heather Baker join the Definition Group board, as Group Marketing Director, with the TopLine Comms team joining Definition under the leadership of Louise Vaughan. Jamie Field will continue as Managing Director of TopLine Film, driving the growth of its film, video and animation production and delivery services to a diverse range of clients.

The enlarged, £5 million turnover group has a combined 80 years of experience working for global brands, charities and Government and boasts a tally of over 400 UK and international awards. Definition is currently short listed as B2B Agency of the Year in the PR Moment Awards after winning the category in 2020 and W&P scooped five class wins in 2020 in the IoIC National Awards and Central and North Awards.

Nigel Howes, Chairman of Definition said:

“The TopLine acquisition is an important next step in our ongoing growth strategy.  It brings together two of the UK’s foremost B2B agencies – both leaders in their specific fields of reputation management and search-centric PR – to form the ultimate B2B growth agency and position it as one of the top 3 in the UK**.

“The acquisition also broadens and deepens our sector and service coverage – adding fintech and engineering specialisms to our existing expertise in business and professional services, technology, education, transportation, health & wellness, financial services and the public sector.”

Heather Baker, CEO of TopLine said:

Of all the agencies we’ve talked to, Definition stood out because its ambition, culture and values closely matched our own. It also had a clear and well-articulated growth strategy that offers excellent prospects for our business and our team. We’re incredibly excited about the opportunities to offer an expanded range of services to our clients and for working together with the other group agencies to deliver accelerated growth.”

Funding for the acquisition, as part of its ongoing support for Definition’s growth strategy, was provided by ThinCats (Ben Kimball). Corporate finance and debt advisory services were provided to Definition by Andy Miller at Sentio Partners and corporate finance services were provided to TopLine by Mark Madsen at Madsen Advisory. Legal advice on the transaction was provided to Definition by Dahren Naidoo at Freeths, to TopLine by James Hardy at Acuity Law and to ThinCats by Ben Slack at Clarion.

  • * Ranking according to Clutch’s listing of UK video production companies 2020
  • ** Based on revenue reported in the 2021 PR Week B2B Agency Rankings
Introducing our UK director of photography database

A director of photography (DOP), sometimes known as a cinematographer, works closely with the director to realise the customer’s creative vision. The DOP works as a manager, coordinating the team members to bring the directions on the page into reality. They have more impact on the project’s appearance and feel than almost anybody else – so it’s essential that you choose the right candidate for the job.

At TopLine Film, we produce more than 500 corporate videos every year, which means we regularly work with freelance DOPs. We know what separates an average DOP from a real professional, and we want to promote some of the outstanding DOPs we’ve worked with. That’s why we created a list of committed, talented freelance DOPs working in the UK, and we’re making it freely available online. Visit our list of the best UK directors of photography to find your next DOP. Just click on their website to get a feel for their work and contact them – and if you do hire them, be sure to tell them that TopLine Film sent you.

Once you’ve created your masterpiece, you should enter it in a competition to be in with a chance of winning an award. Check out our lists of marketing awards and corporate video awards for some ideas.

If you want to produce high-quality video content but don’t know the first thing about writing a script, hiring talent or editing, contact our MD, Jamie.

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Introducing our UK sound recordist database

When you’re on set, you sometimes get only a single chance to capture a significant moment, so it’s important to get everything right the first time around. Imagine getting back after a long day of shooting only to find that the audio is muffled, distorted, or otherwise unusable – beyond rescue by even the best mixer. That’s a nightmare scenario, but fortunately, it’s easy to avoid by hiring an experienced, professional sound recordist.

Sound is important if you want your finished video to give the right impression, but if you’re not hiring soundies every day, you might not know how to identify a pro. Here at TopLine Film, we work on more than 500 corporate videos every year, and we’ve worked with plenty of freelance sound recordists. We’ve created a list of reliable, talented sound recordists, and we’re making it freely available online. To contact any of them, just click on our list of the best British sound recordists  – and if you reach out to them, be sure to let them know that TopLine Film sent you.

Once you’ve created a great sounding video, go ahead and check out our lists of marketing awards and corporate video awards that you can enter it in.

If you want to produce high-quality video content but don’t know where to get started when it comes to sourcing talent, writing a script or editing, contact our MD, Jamie.

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Mental health tips and advice for professionals working from home

These are bizarre times. At TopLine, we’ve pretty much been working from home since the first lockdown, so we haven’t seen each other outside of a video call for months. Meanwhile, working from home makes it easy for the lines between our work lives and our personal lives to become blurred.

At our video production agency and B2B PR agency, we’re all doing our best to support one another. Mental health has always been and will always be a top priority for TopLine – primarily because it’s important for our people, but also because burnout is bad for business. Many businesses shy away from investing in mental health, but you can’t put a price on productivity and morale, especially at a time like this.

That’s why we decided to speak to Petra Velzeboer, an expert in mental health in the workplace, to gain some insight on implementing strategies to support our mental health while we’re all working from home. Here’s what she had to say:

Caring for your mental health while working from home

Whilst for many, the global pandemic has given unprecedented flexibility in terms of work, eight months down the line and working from home is starting to take its toll on the majority of people that are suddenly living and working within the same four walls.

The situation is one that we would never have had the foresight to plan for, and so dealing with it and learning to cope is new territory for everybody.

As well as uncertainty, because of home-working, we are all missing out on one of the most important forms of connection that usually provides safety – positive social interaction.  Even moments of connection that may seem small do have a positive effect (e.g. saying hello to someone while fixing a drink or telling a colleague their new hairstyle looks good). We are hugely impacted by the lack of positive social interaction right now which is also having a detrimental effect.

So, what can we do to ensure we remain positive when working from home?

Get into a routine – Without this, it can be easy to work or be available 24/7, which is actually bad for productivity. Having a morning routine of some sort works wonders.  For me, exercise, journaling and writing down three things I’m grateful for radically change my perspective for the day. Similarly, some prefer to switch off at a specific time and exercise in the evening or lunchtime. Whatever works best for you, set a routine and stick to it.

Prioritise healthy habits – This will help to remain positive and focused and allow us to carry out our best work. A book I really recommend, ‘Burnout: the Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle,’ talks about how to complete stress cycles, and the number one way is through physical activity. That’s any form of movement whatsoever: running, walking, stretching, and laughing – and within your ‘bubble,’ 20-second hugs and 6-second kisses help.

Some days nothing will help, and that’s ok – The current situation is not normal. We all have bad days, and we are going to have more. It’s ok to feel lonely, frustrated and overwhelmed, as long as we learn that we can write these days off and come back tomorrow feeling positive. If you are feeling low, tell colleagues how you are feeling. On such days it is better to make an effort to communicate by video or telephone rather than email or instant message.

Recognising and changing mindset – Be aware of how your mindset shifts and changes from day to day, and what can trigger negatives. Make a conscious effort to regularly think about the positives that can be taken from this situation. There are many advantages to working from home, including being closer to childcare, saving on commuting and lunches, and flexible working. Focusing on the positives gives us better energy and focus and makes us better communicators with our teams and networks.

We’re still doing our best to provide top-quality digital PR services, whether we’re in the office or working from home. Contact us to learn more.

Introducing our UK motion graphics designer database

Find the list of the Best British Motion Graphic Designers.

Motion graphics, including 2D and 3D animation, are a great way of getting an idea across in an engaging, entertaining way. However, with low-budget comparison sites claiming to offer motion graphics for as little as five pounds – and they look every bit as unprofessional as you might expect – it can be tough to find the right motion graphics designer for your project. As we have already shown that the quality of your video reflects the quality of your brand, there’s only one way to be sure that you’re getting exactly what you want, beautifully polished and on schedule – choosing a professional.

At TopLine Film, we produce over 100 animations every year – and we’ve been voted the UK’s top video production company by our clients – so we know what sets a professional motion graphic designer apart from the crowd. We’ve used our expertise to put together a list of the UK’s best freelancers, people we would choose to work with, and we’re making that database available to you, for free. Check out the designers’ websites, and when you choose one, be sure to tell them that TopLine recommended them.

Once you and your professional motion graphics designer have collaborated on something impressive, check out our lists of marketing awards and corporate video awards that you can enter.

If you want to create high-quality video content for your business or organisation but doesn’t know where to get started, contact our MD, Jamie.

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Introducing our new British voice over artist database

Launching our list of the UK’s Best British Animators

Find the list of the Best British Freelance Animators.

If you’re producing an animated video, the last thing you can afford to cut corners on is the animation. The same is true for motion graphics – if they don’t match neatly with the real-world footage, they stick out like a sore thumb. However, if you’re not in the business of making videos, it can be hard to know what to look for, especially with the rise of online listings that boast suspiciously low prices.

Fortunately, we have plenty of video experience as an animation company and we’re here to help. At TopLine Film, we have created hundreds of animations for prestigious clients like Admiral Insurance and Johnson & Johnson, so we know the difference between a good animator and a truly great one. We have used our expertise and industry relationships to build a list of leading UK freelance animators with ideal options for all sorts of animation and motion graphics projects, and we’re excited to make it freely available online.

Our free database is very simple – it’s just a list of top-notch professional animators that we trust alongside their field and their website. You can check out their sites to get an idea of each animator’s strengths and compare them to find the perfect freelancer for your projects – just be sure to let them know that we sent you.

If you’re making an animation and you’re proud of the results, check out our lists of marketing awards and corporate video awards that you can enter to show it off.

Or, if you’re looking for start-to-finish video content production, including glossy animations and elegant motion graphics, get in contact our MD, Jamie.

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