Is your association using video in your communications with members and prospective members? SURGE keynote speaker Marcus Sheridan said this often-missed opportunity is an effective way to build trust, strengthen relationships and differentiate your association from the rest.
Sheridan, an entrepreneur, sales and marketing expert, and author, said a trend that has rapidly changed is the zero moment of truth. Because of the internet, consumers now have access to infinite information, so the buying cycle looks a little different than it did in the past. Sheridan said prospects are now 70% of the way through the buying cycle before reaching out to engage. Video, he argued, can help prospective members and event goers get through that 70%.
Video is critical to adopt because it is the most frequently consumed online content format. In fact, Sheridan said 85% of all content consumed online will be video-based by the end of 2021. Additionally, video shared on social media generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined.
“As a whole, the association space has been very slow to embrace video the way we could or should,” Sheridan said. “... If it’s not a part of who we are within the association always, all the time, then there’s a good chance we’re being left behind.”
If you’re wondering where to get started, Sheridan said all associations should create these seven video types:
In the next section, we’ll dive into what goes into creating each of these video types.
Sheridan posited that most associations hear the same questions over and over from prospective members. In order to not only work more efficiently, but to further establish trust and build relationships, Sheridan recommends creating a video that answers 7-10 of the questions associations hear most frequently. By creating a video like this, prospective members are better informed and more likely to convert.
“If you keep getting asked the same questions, whose fault is it?” Sheridan asked. “It’s our fault as the association because we didn’t address the thing. It’s our job to make sure they’re informed — the leads we get are as good or as bad as the information that got them there.”
Creating a custom video talking about your professional and personal life, and why you love your field, builds a human connection that text cannot. Sheridan said creating bio videos will make your association feel different from others in your space. He recommends embedding the video into your email signature using a service like Wise Stamp. This helps break down barriers, feel more humanizing, and create a more communal feeling.
Every service or product page of your website should have a dedicated video discussing what it is, who it’s for, and who it’s not for, Sheridan said. “The moment we say what we’re not is the moment we become dramatically attractive to those who we are a good fit for — so do this. Talk about it.” Sheridan said this disqualifying should be done at both the individual product or service level, as well as the association level.
“If you’re a good fit for everyone, you probably wouldn’t be a great association,” he said. “There’s got to be distinctive elements that make you great and attractive to the marketplace.”
Everywhere on your website that hosts a form to fill out should be accompanied by a video, Sheridan said. The video should be titled “See what will happen if you fill out this form” and describe exactly what happens if they share their information through the contact form, like what the next steps are and how their information will be used. Sheridan said landing page videos can increase conversions by an average of 80% because they directly address leads’ fears and concerns.
Prospective members need to be educated on the value associations provide in order to understand pricing. In a pricing and cost video, associations should discuss not only what their fees are, but why they are what they are. This helps prospective members understand what makes some association memberships more valuable than others.
To help prospective members emotionally resonate with the solutions you provide, Sheridan recommends creating a hero/member’s journey video. The video should position one of your members as the hero, with your association as the guide helping the hero succeed. To do this, record a video of one of your members talking about:
Sheridan said this video type is significantly more effective than testimonials and reviews because it allows potential members to see themselves in the video.
Sheridan urged association leaders to take stock of every claim they make (e.g., “the best professional organization in XYZ industry”). Because many competing organizations’ claims are likely similar, Sheridan recommends creating a video justifying and proving those claims. Potential members can watch the video to see for themselves how your claims are verified.
In addition to strategically placing the seven core video types throughout your association’s website, consider bringing the power of video into your emails as well.
Sheridan said video can help associations overcome the most common pitfalls of text-based emails, like low open and response rates. To ensure the message comes across more clearly and is more engaging, he recommends recording a custom video with a tool like Vidyard to answer leads’ questions and follow up in a personalized way instead of sending a traditional and boring “just checking in” message.
“This is something we all should be doing, especially because associations are so community- and relationship-based dependent in terms of their success,” Sheridan said.
Creating a single video made for one individual person not only helps improve open and response rates, but it helps your association stand out by making leads feel like they know you already.
For association leaders and staff members who are camera shy or don’t believe video is for them, Sheridan said to not look at the camera as a camera, but rather as a member you’re meeting in a coffee shop. But at the end of the day, he said, our opinion of whether we believe if we’re good on camera or not is irrelevant — regardless of what we think, the marketplace’s opinions matter more, and video is what they’re looking for.
The key is to make prospective members feel like they know you before they’ve ever met you.
“This is about how can you become that voice of trust. Video is one such way, and it’s an amazing way. It’s not going anywhere, and it’s only going to grow. So let’s embrace it, and let’s lean into it. If you do, it’s going to make an unbelievable difference.”
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Emily Herrington is a New Orleans-based digital marketer specializing in SEO, content, and pay-per-click advertising. She can usually be found at her desk obsessing over data and rankings, or in the kitchen covered in flour.