Video emails: saying more in less time

A month ago I wrote about testing out video emails, and promised to report back if my experience was good. The fact I’m writing this will tell you that it has indeed been good.

I’ve been using a service called BombBomb and not only has it been working well, but I think it’s got long-term potential. Here’s why.

To begin with, video emails are a novelty, as you’d expect. But there’s no doubt that clients have reacted positively to seeing and hearing me, even if I’m no model. I’ve sent 20-30 personal video emails in the first month, and only once did the video not get watched quickly (the recipient emailed later to apologise that she hadn’t replied straight away because the speaker wasn’t working on her PC, and she’d had to watch it on another machine later).

I thought that video emails might be a time-saver, and they probably are, but I’ve found that the real benefit is the amount of additional information I find myself getting over. I estimate that a written email where I’ve got something substantial to say takes me, on average, 5 to 10 minutes. (If you think that’s long, try timing your own: they’ll be taking longer than you think.) A video email has been typically taking 5 minutes (2-3 minutes’ length, and I usually watch it back, a discipline which might get dropped in time). However, the 2-3 minute video message will contain way more information than the written email, and it’s good information, which the recipient will appreciate. So everyone wins.

So far I’ve only touched on the capabilities of video emailing. For example, the service is not just for personal, direct emails. You can set up videos which could be selected and sent to anyone you’d like to have a standard response. This might be ideal for support services. You can send the same video email to many people, making it interesting for sales. Recipients can be given the option to reply by video, even if they’re not users, although that’s something I haven’t tried yet. There’s good tracking information on who’s watched the videos, and integration with sales CRMs.

In terms of hints and tips, I have abandoned my PC’s built-in camera and microphone, although that’s a perfectly serviceable option, and moved to having an old video camera set up by my desk, and a clip-on microphone which I happened to have knocking around. I think the improvement in picture and sound is worth it, even if it’s a bit more effort.

I’ve realised that video is not an appropriate form of communication if you’re giving somebody a list of items they’ll need to refer to, as they’d only have to write them down – so be careful not to use it thoughtlessly. In that sense, it falls between emailing and telephoning them. Email has the advantage that you don’t interrupt the recipient, and it doesn’t take several attempts to reach them; however, it doesn’t have any personality and is not efficient for discussions. Video emails get through easily too, and offer the more personal relationship of a phone call. The idea is definitely worth trying out.

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