Episode 132

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It started with the cats. Who knew cats were trend setters but when it comes to video they were on board long before we were! One of the biggest trends I’ve seen over the last five years is the proliferation of video. You can’t go anywhere (Online, mass transit, Times Square or your home security system) without seeing a video these days. And these are not the videos of old. When I started in the business, we make gorgeous videos, shot on film and painstakingly edited for days. Today’s videos can certainly be that but more often than not – they’re run and gun videos that are often shot, edited and posted the same day, if not in real time.

To think any agency can avoid getting proficient at video is a fool’s folly these days and I don’t want ignorance, fear or the “I hate the way I look on video” worry to keep you from evolving your agency’s skills in this area. You simply can’t afford not to be good at video, not to understand how to leverage video and most important – how to create videos for yourself and your clients in a cost effective, profitable way.

That is why I invited George B. Thomas onto the Build A Better Agency podcast. This guy gets video and has a passion around it that is infectious.

George has an interesting past – he’s a recovering youth pastor, a former pub bouncer, but no matter what his title was, he’s always been about helping people at different points in their journey. Now he is the Resident Nerd at the Sales Lion, an inbound and content marketing agency helping businesses become rock stars in their markets.

George believes that video is the next step of the inbound marketing evolution. He loves helping businesses wrap their heads around video. As he is quick to tell you – he’s a branding guru, a video marketing ninja, and an inbound Jedi. A little peek into George right there!

When he’s not running video workshops or speaking around the world, he’s hanging out with his family enjoying the beautiful world that is North Carolina. What I love about George is that he’s got an energy and a passion for this, which you will feel in this episode, but he also brings the goods in terms of expertise and he’s going to get down to the really needy gritty of telling us not only what to do, but how to do it.

I want you to listen to this conversation through parallel tracks. First, I want you to listen to it while thinking, “how can video help our clients grow their business and improve their customer’s experience?”

But the other lens I want you to be using is, “how do I use video better for the agency and our biz dev efforts?” Some of you are already swimming in these waters but many of you are not. Time to get to it!

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why George believes that getting great at video is the difference between having a successful agency and closing your doors
  • The difference between creative, big budget video that dominated agencies of the past and the much cheaper, revenue-driving videos of today
  • Making quick, easy videos that answer the questions your sales people get the most
  • How to sell clients on making these quick videos
  • The kind of equipment you need to own to make video for yourself and your clients that looks great
  • Everything you need to know to pick the right editing software
  • The skills needed to be great behind the camera and in the editing room
  • The kinds of videos your agency should be producing
  • Why every person in your agency needs a video of themselves in their email signature
  • The danger of being too salesy in your videos
  • How to become more comfortable on camera
  • Why you don’t have to be afraid of live video
  • Misassumptions agencies and other businesses make about video that consumers don’t make
  • Matching the right video to the right platform/audience

The Golden Nuggets:

“By 2019, 80% of the content consumed by prospective clients will be video based. Bottom line -- if you're not in the game, you’ll be out of business and in the unemployment line.” - @GeorgeBThomas Click To Tweet “Video is the ultimate bridge between marketing, creating content and sales.” - @GeorgeBThomas Click To Tweet “It doesn’t matter if you have a $1,000 to spend on gear or if you have $10,000 to spend, there's a way to shoot video that looks really great.” - @GeorgeBThomas Click To Tweet “70% of the buyer’s journey is done before you even know they exist. Video helps them see, hear, and know you, and then they start to trust you.” - @GeorgeBThomas Click To Tweet “When you create videos that talk about your company, your products, and your services, you don't want to be salesy, you want to be helpful. If you're helpful, that will sell itself.” - @GeorgeBThomas Click To Tweet “Back in the day, we used to have two to four minutes to sell ourselves. The consumer has taken that away and the only way to steal that two to four minutes back is by having videos on the website that show how awesome you are.” - @GeorgeBThomas Click To Tweet

 

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We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Speaker 1:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too. Welcome to Agency Management Institute, Build a Better Agency podcast, presented by HubSpot. We’ll show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here. Welcome to another episode of Build a Better Agency. Today’s topic is one that, if you’re not talking about it on a regular basis, I promise you, you’re thinking about it, you might be afraid of it, you might be excited about it, but this is a topic that every agency owner, leader, account exec, whatever your role is in the agency, this is a topic that is on all of our minds because, we’re trying to figure it out. So my guest today is going to help us figure it out. So let me tell you a little bit about him, and then I want to dig right into the conversations.

So, George B. Thomas is a recovering youth pastor, a former pub bouncer, but he’s always been around helping people, just at different points in their journey, clearly. Now he is the Resident Nerd at the Sales Lion, which is an inbound and content marketing agency, helping businesses become rock stars in their markets.

George believes that video, which is what we’re going to talk about today, is the next step of the inbound marketing evolution, and he loves helping businesses, in a lot of ways. One podcast like this in his own work at the agency, and even running a video marketing workshops. He is a branding guru, a video marketing ninja, inbound Jedi, I’m not putting these words here. Clearly you are learning about George already.

When he’s not running workshops or speaking around the world, he’s hanging out with his family, enjoying the beautiful world that is North Carolina, and what I love about George is that he’s got an energy and a passion for this, and you’re going to feel it, you’re going to see it, but he also brings the goods in terms of expertise, and he’s going to get down to the really nitty-gritty of telling us, not only what to do, but how to do it. So without any further accolades, George, welcome to the podcast.

George B. Thomas:

Drew, I appreciate it, and I always love when that gets read, because I know when we start throwing out words like guru, ninja rockstar, you’ve got half the audience, which is immediately mad and like, “Uh-uh, really?” And then you’ve got the other parts of like, “Hmm. Oh, this might be good.” So, you guys can judge when we’re done, but I think you’re going to enjoy the ride.

Drew McLellan:

Well, I think the other words are common, but I think the minute you throw Jedi in, then they’re like, “Okay, I’m in for this interview, all right.” So, let’s talk a little bit about video. I don’t even want to waste a lot of time on talking about why video is important, because I don’t think there is an agency person on the planet, who does not know that video is coming like a freight train, and we had better figure out how to jump on that moving train.

George B. Thomas:

Yeah. I mean, just in case like, sometimes we live under a rock, Drew. Sometimes that happens. But by 2019, 80% of the content consumed by your visitors leads, potential customers will be video-based. Bottom line is, if you’re not there, if you’re not in the game, well, then you’re sort of out of business or in the unemployment line. And that’s nowhere that any agency owner or employee wants to be, especially one that is listening to this podcast.

Drew McLellan:

Well, I want everybody to listen to this conversation through parallel tracks. One is, I want you to listen to it from, “How do I serve our clients and what do we need to be good at, to make sure that we are relevant for our clients?” But the other track I want you to be listening through for is, “How do I sell the agency and my agency services?” Because, while many of you are dabbling in video, and some of you are doing a lot of it, most of you are not really doing very much of it for yourself. So, please as we’re talking today, really hear what we’re saying, not only in terms of services you offer clients, but also in terms of your own Bis Dev.

George B. Thomas:

Yeah. Drew, I’m glad you brought that up because when we talk about… A little bit later we’ll talk about video workshops, and I want all the agency owners and employees to know that, we’re not talking about coming out and giving you, the agency, a possible video workshop, but I even go out to agencies and do this thing that is, transforming your agency into a video-based service machine, where we talk about the funnel and what videos and all sorts of things in that. So, I really am glad that you said like, “Look, listen to this as an agency, and listen to this as what you should be doing with your clients.” Because that is key to their success.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. So, I think one of the challenges is, especially for agency owners that are my age, that are over 50, I hate to say that, we grew up in an era of agencies, where video was a big deal and a big budget. So you didn’t touch a video for less than 40 or 50 grand, and it was a multi-day shoot, with lots of cameras, and we were shooting on film and… You know what I mean? It was awesome. That’s not the world that we live in anymore. I think every once in a while, we get the opportunity to do that kind of video. But for the most part, those aren’t the videos we’re doing. So, talk a little bit about how we have to change our mindset around quality, because I think for a lot of agency owners, that is a struggle.

George B. Thomas:

Yeah Drew, and here’s the thing. I love that you brought that up, because there is still those big budget like creative videos, and creative is good, but revenue is better. And the type of videos that we’re talking about, our revenue driving videos, they’re the ones that don’t necessarily have to be perfect, but they get produced, and therefore their interview styles, their email signatures, they’re the 80% of the questions that your sales team always gets. They’re the type that you can go ahead and do down and dirty with a mobile device or a prosumer camera, or even using an ad-on like Soapbox from Wistia or GoVideo from Vidyard, where you’re literally using the camera in the machine that you use every day, to do some type of customized like, “Hey Bill, this video is for you.” And Bill’s like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” And then it’s a custom message for that lead. And notice, I’m talking right now in a very specific sales-centric manner, because I want to really hit home the video.

The reason that it is important, there is that consumer conversation I started out with, but it’s also important because video is the ultimate bridge between sales and marketing, and creating content.

Drew McLellan:

Do you feel strongly about that George?

George B. Thomas:

Do you feel strongly about that Drew? Good you tell.

Drew McLellan:

I could feel it. So, help us understand what that really means. So, when I think of a video that is 40 or $50,000, it’s creative, you’re doing storyboards, and it takes weeks of set up, and pre/pro, and we’re going to shoot for three days. I can remember being, early in my career, I would sit in an edit suite for two or three days to put together a 30 second spot.

George B. Thomas:

Yeah, yeah. So let’s talk about this. And I’m going to drop a couple knowledge bombs amongst the story that I’m going to tell here. First of all, what I’m talking about, and let’s just use 80% videos as an example here. And what 80% videos are, it is the questions that your sales team gets 80% of the time, because you want to be able to answer those on your blog, you want to have that content for the sales teams to be able to leverage. So instead of writing a 10 to 15-minute email, they’re able to write a two-minute email and send a link to the video, that is produced and now consistent across your organization, so everybody’s answering it the way that it needs to be answered. Those type of videos, you’re talking about like a little five-second intro, a five-second outro, some texts that might fly in when they make major points in this, but these are the type of videos that you should bulk create.

And what I mean by that is, a lot of companies will say, “Well, video takes so much time, and it’s so difficult because, we set the camera up and the lights up and we do a video, and then, a week later we’ve got to set all this stuff back up and tear it back down.” This is how we teach our clients to do it, is that you do these videos in bulk. So we have at the sales line, this thing that we call rockfest or videofest, where we’ll have our team come in, because we’re virtual. Which by the way, this works for virtual companies, or companies who have all of their employees in the same spot.

But a once a quarter we’ll come together in one spot, we’ll have these things called rockfest, we’ll set up all the gear, and over a day and a half, we will have a list of videos, a list of those questions or a list of other things that we want to do as far as interview-style videos, and we’ll just sit there and do one after the other after the other. Look, the first time, Drew that we did a rockfest, we were able to get in a day and a half 23 videos done, in a day and a half. The second time we did it, we got up to 36, the third time we did this, we did 54 videos in a day and a half. Now this is just raw footage that we’re going to edit and drip out over time, but we have the content to move forward. Now, I will give you a little caveat.

Drew McLellan:

Hang on for just a quick second hold. Hold on that caveat thought. If you shot 50, let’s just call it 50 videos, and that was raw footage, then how many finished pieces came out of those 50 shots?

George B. Thomas:

50.

Drew McLellan:

Okay, so you weren’t slicing and dicing it even more?

George B. Thomas:

Nope. That was 50 concepts, 50 videos, and they would have intros and outros, but here’s the caveat. Don’t try to do 50, because when we got to 50 at the end of the day and a half, we’re like, “We will never do that again.” We realized that about 30 to 35 videos in a day and a half, if you set it up where you have the list beforehand, and you know the bullet points of what you’re going to talk about beforehand, and depending on who you are, you can just talk about the topic without a script. If you can do that, that’s cool.

Or, you have those scripts in place and ready to go as well, depending on how the talent you, the employees, the sales team, the CEO, the CFO, the CMO do this. Because what we’re totally talking about, bigger strategy word here, is insourcing your videos, instead of outsourcing for that 20, 30, $40,000 budget that we talked about originally.

Drew McLellan:

So, if I’m doing this with clients, same model, same methodology, I may or may not be more comfortable in front of a camera. So again, I might have to go a little slower, I might have to have a script, I might have to have a teleprompter to help them with the script, yes?

George B. Thomas:

I love this part though. So here’s what you do. And now, flip on your agency brain for a second, and selling services, you can sell the culture, before you sell the video services. And what I mean by that is, before you go out for that day of shooting, you should have a day workshop. And you’re charging them anywhere from 3500, 5500. I don’t care, charge them $7,500 for a day, and you go, and you get in front of their sales team and their marketing team and their leadership team, and you do a workshop on the principles of communication. And you teach them things like, yes and, that they’re not allowed to stop, but they can always do a retake.

You talk to them about things like, shaking it out and practicing and all those things so that when you get there for the shoot, instead of having the mentality of like, “Oh, being on camera is difficult.” They are like, “Oh, I’m ready for this. We’re educated, we’re smooth, we’ve practiced, we’ve got this right.” So that’s a whole different… So first of all, you’ve made money off the workshop, because you’re teaching them to be amazing communicators in front of the camera, now you get to make money on the actual services of recording, editing, slicing, dicing, and then publishing that content for them as well, if that’s what they want to pay you to do.

Drew McLellan:

Okay. I’ve sold this to a client, or I’ve decided I want to do it myself, what kind of stuff do I need? And I’m sure this is a moving target because, whatever the hot camera is today, by the time someone’s listening to this in 2022, it’ll be something else. But for today, what kind of stuff do I actually need?

George B. Thomas:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we’re quickly flipping into gear. And again, this depends. Because if you sell this, you can sell in two different ways. You can sell the fact that you’re going to teach your clients to insource their own video, and you’re only going to do the production side of it, or you can say, “Hey, I’m going to just do full production for you.” Then you’re worried about what gear that you walk in with. So, to be honest with you, it depends who the videographer is that is going to be running this. Like, what are they comfortable with? You can use anything from a prosumer, Canon XA35 to shoot, the latest Canon Mark IV. Whatever, really it comes to the person who holds the tool.

Drew McLellan:

What am I into Price-wise for a camera like that?

George B. Thomas:

Yeah, yeah. So anywhere for a prosumer, you’re talking about 1500 to probably $2,000. If you’re talking about upper end DSLR, like the Cannon, I think they run around 35 to 3,800. So it can get pricey, but here’s the thing. There is also a mobile option.

There are so many people out there that have the misconception of like, “Oh, mobile video? That’s not even real video.” However, if you look at your phone, your camera, it’s just the ultimate computer that you in your pocket, it will shoot at 1080p, it will shoot at 4K, you can shoot 24 frames per second, you can shoot 120 frames per second, and what’s really crazy now, is you can go to companies like beastgrip.com and get Pro lenses where you could have a Canon 50 mm lens on the end of your phone, and shoot something that looks professionally made. So, how I truly want to answer this.

Drew McLellan:

That’s crazy.

George B. Thomas:

It is, it is really crazy, but it’s possible. It is actually one of the parts of video that I dove really deep for like six months, looking at how a company who had about $800 or less to invest, could actually do video with the mobile devices that they already have, and add pieces to it. So, it’s totally doable. So what I want everybody that’s listening to this, is to realize, if you have $1,000 to spend on gear, or if you have $10,000 to spend on gear, there’s a way that you can do it. You might have to get a cheap set of lights, you might have to use the sun. Last time I checked that’s free light.

You might be able to get a $2,500 pair of lights or, a cheaper mic, a more expensive mic, a cheaper tripod, a more expensive tripod. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re paying attention to good audio, good video, good lighting and stability, you’re going to be able to create a video that people will engage with.

And here’s what I want everybody to understand. No consumer ever, went to a website, watched a video, and after the video said, “Oh, I think that might’ve been shot with an iPhone 7 Plus, I really wanted to buy that product because it really solves my problem, but dang it, they didn’t use a professional grade camera or outsource the video. So I’m out of here.” No, never. Never has that been said. So just create the video, and put it out there and tell your story. I