Dustin: 00:10 Hey everybody. Welcome to our first episode of Gettin' Buzz'd. I'm Dustin Brackett, CEO and founder of HIVE Digital Strategy and with me today is Michael Thebeau. He's our business development manager at HIVE.
Michael: 00:20 So Dustin and I have been talking about kicking off a podcast now for a couple of months. I think everybody in our office is kind of part of that podcast craze where everybody's kind of got their head down and headphones in and they're listening to a murder mystery or sports or news, comedy, something. So that's exactly why we wanted to start a podcast because as marketing experts and with our team, we thought this is an easy way to mix in that business podcast, but at the same time we wanted to add something that was different, something that showed our Colorado roots and gave a fun spin. So, that's why we named it Gettin' Buzz'd. We wanted to hopefully give you a few tips or whatever it might be per episode to help your business move forward, help you in marketing, and then hopefully give you a new spirit, a new wine, a new beer, something to go out and try for that weekend.
Dustin: 01:17 Absolutely. So, today we're actually drinking Citradelic. It's actually one of my favorite beers from New Belgium, a local Denver brewery. They're actually a pretty big deal now, but it's a Tangerine IPA and like I said, one of my favorites. Here's to our first podcast.
Michael: 01:34 Cheers, man. This is exciting.
Dustin: 01:40 Great. And so today and every week we'll have a different marketing topic that we're covering or sales topic. Today we're actually talking video email; one of my favorites. So, Michael, before we get into video email, why don't you give our listeners or viewers kind of a background of you and how did your sales career kind of get started? What was it like when you started down this career path?
Michael: 02:07 Yeah, sure. I started my career in sales right out of college. So this is what I've been doing for the last almost seven years. I graduated from the university of Colorado Boulder back in 2013 with a degree in communications. Going into college, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, ended up on a communications degree, which again, doesn't really give you kind of that idea as to what you want to do. But probably around my junior year, I decided I wanted to do something that every day was a little bit different. I didn't want to be stuck behind the computer, just crunching numbers in a finance degree or something. I knew I wasn't good enough at math for engineering. And so realistically I just wanted to solve issues and I wanted to talk to people and I wanted to get out and about, and sales was kind of that perfect career for me. As I mentioned started back in spring of 2013, and my first job, I was in kind of a real ground-and-pound type sales job where it was, you know, don't let the phone sit for 30 seconds, smile and dial, make as many phone calls as you can and that'll get you to your sales number.
Dustin: 03:18 Right. And I mean, that was kind of always the mentality, right? With sales, it's what's your output? How many emails can you send? How many phone calls can you make? How many doors can you knock? That's interesting. So obviously a lot's changed over the last even year, right? That's where we wanted to bring this, this video email topics. So what is video email? First of all?
Michael: 03:43 So video email, if you aren't familiar, it's really just kind of this new wave technology where you're not able to actually put a video directly in, but you're able to embed kind of that link. There's a lot of different free extensions, to do this. We personally use VideoArt here at HIVE. I've used BombBomb in the past and other companies. Rather than sending a text email, you're sending a video email to get the same message across.
Dustin: 04:12 Okay. You mentioned just the smile and dial, right? Like, yeah, I'm going to make a hundred phone calls, 200 phone calls a day, how has that kind of evolved with your use of video email?
Michael: 04:24 I mean, I think you touched on it kind of at the beginning as far as that kind of mentality and that kind of work ethic and urgency is never going to go away. Sales is always going to be a number game. You're never going to bat a thousand or, you know, hit every single one out of the park. Not every prospect that you fall in love with is going to fall in love with you. And that's just part of the nature of the beast. What has changed is the prospecting on the front end. When you're in a smile and dial type sales environment, you're not really prospecting these people. You're just seeing a name, seeing a number, maybe seeing the company and you're calling them and hoping that they're willing to give you five minutes of their time or whatever it might be. With the video email, you really need to prospect it a little bit more. So you can certainly make the blanket videos, and I use quite a bit of them in my sales automation, but typically my first outreach in a video email sequence is going to be a really personalized video that shows some sort of intrigue and makes that prospect want to open that video.
Dustin: 05:29 Okay, that makes sense. Does that mean your numbers have gone down, like as far as how many people you're out, you're reaching out to? And what does that kind of look like? How much extra time is kind of the video piece taking?
Michael: 05:45 I would certainly say my numbers as far as outreach have gone down drastically, but still seeing a high number of conversions or meetings set and things like through more of a personalized outreach, which in turn is getting in my sales goal quicker or whatever it might be. Just spending more time on the front end, being able to qualify leads, being able to figure out, 'Hey, these people do need my help and I see a problem on their website or their social media or something that we can help with,' that's really helping me versus just calling and dialing. And then they're like, well, did you even look at our website? And it's like, uh, kind of.
Dustin: 06:26 Sure. So it's still a numbers game, right? Like you mentioned, you still have to put it, you still have to have the output, right? But it's not necessarily, 'Hey, I'm going to make 200 phone calls today.' It's, 'I'm going to touch these X number of prospects because I know they're a good fit for us.'
Michael: 06:44 Realistically, it's about five video emails a day. I'm still doing other outreach tactics, but just focusing on the video email portion, I'm doing about five a day, which translates to 20 a week, which translates then to what, 80 a month. And so about 120, maybe a quarter. Um, but at a 20 to 25% conversion rate, that's pretty good numbers.
Dustin: 07:14 So you mentioned you're just doing maybe five a day, right? So has it like completely replaced your other email outreach or phone calls? How does it fit in?
Michael: 07:31 Because we are a digital marketing company, I'm not door to door. I'm not really face to face selling as much, but I'm still putting a lot of people into our email automation and getting people through sequences with different messages and whatever it might be. I'm still texting emails. I'm still calling every person that gets into a sequence. I'll still call multiple times throughout my outreach to that company or to that specific person. I'm still connecting with everybody on LinkedIn and sending messages when they connect with me and things like that. But at the beginning of each quarter, if I select maybe 120 of my top prospects, companies that I know fit our business model and our verticals and things like that, those are going to be the people that I spend a little more time on, send that personalized video email and again, kind of get that higher conversion.
Dustin: 08:28 So it's a little bit of account-based marketing, right? So you're identifying who you want to reach out to. It's not just, 'Hey, I'm going to open up the white pages.' Right? It's not just 'Hey, let's go through a list and call everyone on there, send an email to everyone on there.' It's, 'Hey, we know you're a good fit for us. We know we can help you. Here's kind of some personalized content.' Right?
Michael: 08:53 Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, so I think I'm kind of in a lucky position where everything I'm doing is digital. So I'm able to go through people's websites. I'm able to go through their social media or whatever it might be and I'm able to show that in those videos. If you run your own HVAC business, can't really show a website. And if you're showing them the inside of their vents, then you're probably going to jail the next day. But if you own a business, we do a lot in education. So let's say you are the marketing manager at CU Boulder. If I'm able to show you your website, you're probably going to be a little bit intrigued and then you look down and there's a little bubble of smiling Michael and it says "Hi, Dustin," or something.
Dustin: 09:48 So now, you know, okay, this is definitely going to me because it says my name on a whiteboard plus my website is pulled up. I'm going to be a little intrigued to click on that video and watch it. Those are some of the ways that you use video email. It used to always be, 'Hey, you had to have the best subject lines, right?' That's how people opened your emails is you had some something that was intriguing or fun or funny or something like that to get them to open it and now you've got a quick paragraph to quickly explain why they should give you a call back or something like that. That video really knocks down a lot of those barriers.
Dustin: 10:22 You kind of mentioned you got this personalized upfront feel, right? You're showing a website and you've got the whiteboard. What are some of your best tips? Like how can somebody watching or listening today, really start with video email, and what are some of those tips that they can implement right away so they get a return on it?
Michael: 10:54 I think number one, you want to work on your setting. You want to have good lighting, you want to have something that's inviting, something that people want to click on, right? If you're creepily in a dark room, nobody's going to want to watch that. Nobody wants to see you and your dungeon. You want to have a good setting, something that's inviting. You want to keep it super digestible. It's just like writing a cold email; if you're writing eight paragraphs, nobody's going to read that. That's too much for them. It's a waste of time. Same thing with the videos. Nobody's going to watch a five minute video. So keep it short and sweet. Keep it between 30 seconds to 60 seconds, I'd say. That's something that's digestible, that's not intimidating. Once they click on that link, they think, 'alright, I've got a minute to watch this.' I think those are some of the things that really break down a lot of those barriers that cold emails have.
Dustin: 11:44 Okay. And so obviously, I mean, at HIVE we're very data driven, right? All of our decisions we're making are based on what does the data actually say? Is there any data that you have or that you get through, you mentioned VidYard or BombBomb and how do you know if somebody is watching your video or how much of it they're watching or what that looks like?
Michael: 12:11 There's a couple of things. Again, everything we do is marketing automation. So, that's showing me how many more people are converting through my video emails versus through just my regular text email sequences. And again, I'm probably getting maybe four to six people that click through and convert through regular texts, but about 20 to 25% through a video email. So the numbers drastically jumped there. Currently, we're using VideoYard every time that somebody watches a video and everyone is labeled differently. If I've got one that's labeled CU Boulder video email, anytime that video is watched, it tells me that it was opened. So then I know, Hey, either I'm top of mind right now, I should reach out within the hour or they're going through and they're responding to my email and saying, no, I'm not interested. Or yes, I am interested or they're scheduling through my online meeting link. Through all of those people raising their hands and through just the numbers I see on conversions, I know that the video is working and that it's worth me spending more time on.
Dustin: 13:15 Sure. That's great. If you couldn't tell already, Michael loves his CU Buffs. They'll be used in every example. That's great. Anything else that you can kind of think of that the viewers or listeners could get? Why should they implement video email into their prospecting?
Michael: 13:41 To me, it's just something unique. It's something different, right? Everybody's getting a text, email, or a cold call. These are all older tactics and again, there are still tactics that I'm using on a day in and day out basis. They're not dead. I'm not saying get away from them, but if I've got these ideal prospects and people that I really hold close and near and dear, I want to be a little unique and be different and show that I'm kind of revolutionary and not just every other sales email that's going in there. It's also really fun. It's interesting. It's helped me through my audio, through my thought process, being on camera, things like that. It's taught me that not every video needs to be perfect. Adding that humanistic value that 'Hey, I can relate to this person, this is a real person sending this email,' not just kind of a computer automation. All these things are helping me stand out from the competition. Then I think I'm learning my own sales style, right? I'm not that woo bubbly over-the-top kind of video, it's taught me, 'Hey, have a better tone, have better posture, do these things.' And that's helped me drastically as well. So there's been a lot of benefit for me, seeing myself on camera at least five times a day. But at the same time, I'm seeing a lot of good results from it, which has made me buy into it even more.
Dustin: 15:01 I think that that's another great point. You're great on camera, you're very comfortable. But not everyone sits down in front of the camera and just can go to town. Do you have any thoughts? How can somebody get more comfortable with it?
Michael: 15:19 I think it's just practice and I think that's another big thing that I preach is you're going to try something new and if it doesn't work right away, don't move away from it. Maybe it's going to be three weeks, a month until somebody actually converts and sets a meeting with you or says, yeah, that sounds great, I'd love to meet. But stick to it. Give it a quarter, a decent amount of time and through just three months you'll see yourself become so much more comfortable, so much quicker in your process. The first week or month that I was doing this, it probably took me half a day to send out five videos and now it's just like one after the other and they all are much better than those ones that were taking me a lot longer. So it's a little bit of learning about yourself and your own sales strategies, but just stick with it, give it a little bit of time. And if it doesn't work for you after a quarter, stop doing it. But I think you'll find that you're getting a lot more conversions, a lot more interaction, and at the same time learning a lot about your sales strategy.
Dustin: 16:21 That's great. Well, thank you Michael. I think that's a lot of great information. It was something that we hadn't really done until you came along. I can definitely say that it has had a big impact for us. So this last segment, it's how's the buzz, right? We want to bring it back around to the beer because suddenly it all revolves around the beer. What's your thought? I said upfront, this is one of my favorites.
Michael: 16:50 I like it, man, cracking this open. I thought,Tangerine, it might be a little bit too sour, might be a little bit too sweet and I'm not a big sour beer guy, but this is really hitting home. It's refreshing. It's got that kind of strong IPA kick to it. I really like it. I'd definitely buy it. You got a little buzz six pack? I'd say this beer is pretty good.
Dustin: 17:14 Perfect. Well, thank you everyone for joining us. Make sure to subscribe to our podcast or YouTube channel. We'll have a new episode each week with a different topic and guests. So again, Michael, thank you for joining us!
Michael: 17:28 I'm excited, man. Cheers!