Updated: Jun 29, 2020
As the initial step toward establishing a connection with a potential collaborator, the outreach you send could directly turn away the person you’re contacting – or it could be the very foundation of a fruitful collaboration. Whatever your strategy is aimed at, no doubt you’ve spent a lot of time developing your outreach tactics and continuously tailoring them.
But what if there was a way to encapsulate all these tactics in a digestible outreach format to further improve open, click-through, and response rates?
There is, and this effective format is video. Video is being increasingly used in sales outreach and it’s working well. In the same manner, this format can be applied to different marketing strategies, including outreach to influencers. But in order to utilize it properly, there are some basic video outreach tactics you should acquaint yourself with, and we’re going to cover them here. First, let’s look into why video is such an effective form of outreach.
Why video works so well
There’s more than one reason to use video in your outreach emails and they all contribute to establishing a connection. Here are the key points:
Video grasps attention: The person you’re trying to reach out to undoubtedly receives lots of emails daily. Providing them with something other than a block of text will be more interesting and fun for them – they’ll appreciate the effort and your email will stand out instantly.
It is more digestible: It’s the closest thing to approaching someone in person. That makes it much easier for you to get your point across, show and tell in a digestible way.
It is more personal: Seeing a real, human face that’s trying to establish contact makes a huge difference for the person you’re reaching out to. You become more relatable so they will be more open to your message.
It leaves a mark on their memory: Again, this format lets the person you’re contacting link a real human face to an email. As a more personalized way of approaching someone, it gives you an opportunity to stand out from the crowd, get a response ahead of others, and be remembered for future collaboration as well.
Now that it’s clear why video outreach is the way to go, it’s time to get down to business.
Define your strategy clearly beforehand
Before you even take a seat in front of the camera, you want to have a clear idea of your goals and what exactly you want to say, just like you would with a written email. You don’t have to invent anything new here just because it’s a different format – stick to your established outreach strategy.
A crucial factor here is streamlining your outreach for the audience and doing some research on the person you’re contacting. Another perk of this medium is that it makes it even easier for you to show your efforts and your appreciation for your contact’s work. But in the same manner, not having looked into their work will be even more obvious than it is in written form, so do your homework.
Think about how you want to present yourself; that is, what level of formality you want to exhibit. This also depends on your audience, but because video is a more human way of approaching someone, you’ll find that staying honest and authentic is the best way to go. Don’t force the tone.
Don’t script it
This is the golden rule of achieving authenticity in outreach videos. Filming a video without a script might sound difficult at first, but believe us when we say: trying to reach out to someone with a scripted video feels as robotic and awkward as it looks.
That’s why it’s important to pinpoint your strategy first. Jot down the key points of what you want to say, get in front of the camera, and film. It won’t be perfect from the first take, and that’s okay; you can film as many videos as you need before you get the right one. The process will help you get more comfortable in front of the camera so you can exhibit confidence and professionalism. But don’t fear an occasional “umm” in your video if it slips in – it’s natural.
Keep it short
This is pretty self-explanatory – approach this medium the same way you do for written outreach. Don’t burden your viewer and show respect for their time, so make sure you send your point across in less than two minutes of talking at normal speed.
Use a whiteboard
You need a whiteboard for the very first contact. Write “Hi (name of the person you’re approaching)” and hold it up for the first few seconds while you’re introducing yourself. This will show that you’ve filmed and personalized the video just for them. It will help you stand out in the thumbnail and they’ll be naturally inclined to open it.
Present yourself neatly
First and foremost, follow the same basic etiquette of video conferencing. That includes:
Eliminating any distraction for the viewer (such as workspace clutter)
Making sure that there is no background noise whatsoever
Proper lighting – not too bright and not too dark. Make sure that a light source is in front of you so that the person you’re contacting is not looking at your silhouette.
Pay attention to detail
Now, you’re not filming a cinematic piece, but even for something as simple as an outreach video, you want to exhibit good taste. For inspiration, you can check out of the different video styles that some top video production companies create. You can see how the pros use colors and backgrounds to strengthen the identity of the brands they work with.
For example, a strong visual contrast between your background and the color of your clothes is a smart way to stand out. Use visuals to your advantage and pay attention to detail – the wall (or shelf) behind you is your set. You don’t want it to be distracting, but since it’s a part of your video, you want it to contribute to your professional look.
Lastly, this might sound redundant, but just in case: make sure you’re not too close or too far away from the camera. Position yourself about an arm’s length away, and if you’re using a webcam, prop your laptop on something (such as books) so that you can face the camera directly.
Create a custom thumbnail
You don’t need to do any serious editing for a simple outreach. However, you can choose from a variety of video editing software programs to make the video start and end at the exact point you want. The different programs will also enable you to create a custom thumbnail and this goes a long way. The thumbnail will be the very first impression. As we’ve mentioned in a previous point, it’s a good opportunity to grab your viewer’s attention by showing your face and a whiteboard with their name on it. Take some time for this as well (it’s the cherry on top) and avoid the common thumbnail mistakes such as motion blur or having the play button interfere with the image.
That’s it – once you’ve created a thumbnail that fits, you’re ready to hit send. It takes some work at first, naturally, but pretty soon you’ll find you need less and less takes to get the video just how you want it. You’ll be faster and readier to send out personalized videos to more and more potential collaborators, clients, or customers. The great thing about embracing video as part of your outreach strategy is not just its positive effect on response rates, but the fact that it makes outreach more fun and personal for you as well.