BombBomb Video Email: It’s Time For Your Close-up, Dear
The vast majority of people I know would rather poke out their own eye with a sharp stick than speak in public — or appear on video.
Yet online video is exploding, and the reasons to get over your stage (camera) fright are more compelling than ever.
That certainly helps explain the meteoric rise of YouTube and adorable cats in shark suit videos.
Now, it used to be that you could say that it was too hard to use video in real estate marketing, because it was, in fact, hard.
You needed lots of equipment, not to mention some technical skill to encode and upload video to the web. Those days are over, friends.
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In just a couple of clicks, you can use any device you happen to have instantly send video anywhere to anyone, and it will play on any device. But that’s not all. You can track it and use it to acquire new leads and clients.
It’s time for your close-up … whether you like it or not.
And BombBomb, a video email service provider based in Colorado Springs, Colo., is ready to make it happen for you. BombBomb is the first major email service provider to focus exclusively on making video a part of email. While its overall feature set is similar to AWeber, MailChimp, Vertical Response and Constant Contact, video is what sets BombBomb apart.
Simple, but Powerful
BombBomb spent seven years unlocking the secret of making video a seamless part of one-off emails as well as automated email campaigns. And that’s what makes BombBomb’s offering so compelling to Realtors.
You can use BombBomb to send individual video emails using an app on your smartphone to a single client — or run a complex email marketing campaign that goes out to thousands of subscribers.
Other large-scale email providers specialize in broadcast emails (campaigns) that don’t use video, and discourage one-to-one or one-to-many email distribution. They delegate this small-scale task to your email client, like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail.
For many agents, the concept of running a consistent weekly or monthly email marketing campaign is daunting. The tasks involved (content development, list building and deployment), can be time-consuming, confusing and tedious.
That’s why few agents are able to maintain an effective email marketing program.
Yet BombBomb’s approach allows you to leverage the heavy-hitting functionality of a major email service provider for every message you send, regardless of the number of recipients.
Even if the only thing you ever do with the application is to send thank you video emails from your phone to one client at a time, you’ll still be able to measure your success.
BombBomb includes access to industry-standard analytics like opens, clicks and bounces for every email — and goes a step further by notifying you when your client has opened it. Clients can even respond with video if you allow them to do so.
What’s important to keep in mind is that BombBomb’s ability to send single video emails — and to track them — enables you to get started with email marketing even if you’ve never been able to get going before now.
Why would you want to send a single video email to a client?
Because it’s likely to be seen. BombBomb says that video emails are typically opened and read/seen more often than text-only emails. While the company hasn’t formally benchmarked its performance against other email service providers, its users report higher click-throughs and opens.
Video Works Best When it’s Part of Your Business
You can use video email for a variety of purposes, but Ethan Beute, chief marketing officer of BombBomb, says some occasions practically call for video.
“We see clients succeeding with BombBomb when they make it a part of their natural business flow,” Beute says. “If you’d naturally follow-up with a client to say thank you, that’s a great time to do it in video. Or let’s say you typically send a client a picture of a new listing, that’s another time when you can use video to make yourself stand out.”
Beute suggests that short, 1-3 minute videos are effective for lead follow-up, new listings, working with active clients, after you close, event announcements or even newsletters and updates.
“It’s like being there in person when you can’t be in person,” Beute says. “Video allows you to express yourself, show your personality and be real. It’s a bunch of small, relevant touches that add up, without being intrusive.”
Beute says BombBomb can be used to answer common client questions.
For example, if you have a new listing and know the top five questions your clients are likely to ask, create a short video for each one. Then send the videos on a daily basis via an automatic drip campaign set up within BombBomb.
“You’re really only limited by your own creativity,” Beute says. “We all have people we can thank, help or recognize in some way. BombBomb allows you to do that without actually having to do it in person.”
Don’t Become a Video Producer
Though you can spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours perfecting your video skills, Beute advises against doing so.
“The point is not to have perfect video, like a Superbowl commercial,” Beute says. “You want your videos to be real and immediate, and not too slick. If you overwork your production, you lose some of the authenticity of your message.”
It makes sense: People don’t expect perfect video (just look at YouTube). They want genuine content that’s relevant to them.
That’s one reason that BombBomb allows you to use whatever equipment you have to upload video. Bombbomb’s mobile apps work on iOS and Android, smartphones and tablets alike. You can also use webcam video, or a YouTube link in your emails.
“If it’s as easy to make a video as turning on your smartphone, you’re more likely to do it,” explains Beute. He has a few simple suggestions for getting quality video out of whatever device you use:
- Don’t shoot in harsh light. If it’s high noon, the light will be too bright and create nasty shadows. Shoot in the morning or later afternoon. Shadows are the mark of bad lighting.
- Pay attention to the audio. Avoid noisy and windy locations. Since you’re probably not going to use an external microphone for your smartphone or tablet, you’ll pick up lots of ambient noise that can drown out your voice. Choose a quiet corner.
- Don’t shoot video with your camera in the vertical position. Vertical video syndrome is dangerous. Shoot video horizontally, period.
- If the video seems too long, it probably is. Go for short videos that contain just a point or two of content. Make a list of bullet points for your outline, and stick to it. Most videos are between 1-3 minutes long, and though BombBomb doesn’t limit your length, you should.
- Look directly in the camera. Sounds obvious, but it’s not always so easy to do. Fix your eyes on the lens of the camera.
- Hold the camera steady. Jiggly video is hard on the eyes, yet easily solved by placing the camera on a solid surface or using a tripod.
But I’m Camera Shy
Beute says there’s really only one way to get over being nervous on camera.
You just have to start.
“You will always judge yourself more harshly than anyone else possibly can,” Beute explains. “You don’t need to look like you’re on network television. You need to look in the camera, and talk to me like you would over a cup of coffee.”
Like anything, a little bit of practice goes a long way. You don’t have to be Diane Sawyer to use BombBomb effectively — many of the most successful BombBomb users are more creative than they are naturally telegenic.
In fact, Beute says BombBomb’s customers represent a wide demographic, from agents in their sixties, to new agents who are on the cutting edge.
“A TV commercial is not the yardstick,” Beute explains. “But you can be compelling, professional and genuine, and that does drive business and leads. You can use your personality to your advantage, and distinguish yourself from the competition.”
Easy to Use, Customizable
If you can turn on your phone and open your video camera, you can use BombBomb.
All you need to do is open the BombBomp mobile app (download it from the Google Play Store or the App Store). Then, shoot a video. The app will ask you if you want to send this video via email now. You can choose contacts from your phone, or enter manually enter emails. Enter a title and a short block of text, and hit send. Done.
Or, if you’re in the web app, you can hit Quick Send to immediately send a single email. Just select a video from those that you’ve uploaded, or insert a YouTube link. You can even send emails via BombBomb’s Chrome extension.
You can customize the look and feel of BombBomb’s pre-built email templates by inserting your logo. Though you can get a custom template, BombBomb’s selection of pre-built templates is comprehensive and may be enough for you. There are six real estate-specific templates for open houses and featured listings.
However, if you want to go totally custom, BombBomb will design a template for you for $150. Or, if you know HTML, you can import your own tempates.
You might also find that you want to remove BombBomb’s branding in the footer of the email. You can pay for this privilege, which the company calls “white labeling,” for $10 a month, or $120 annually.
Seamless Video Encoding, Hosting
BombBomb’s video encoding is second to none. Once you shoot a video and import it into BombBomb, it’s automatically encoded in a dozen formats that will play back smoothly on any device.
When the email is opened, BombBomb automatically detects the device and plays back the correctly encoded video. BombBomb delivers up to 720p HD video, depending on the device.
BombBomb relies on HTML5 to play back the video within the body of the email. The company says that this works just more than 50 percent of the time. Where HTML5 is not supported, the user clicks on the video, and a player opens on top of the email. This is exactly how it worked on Apple devices (iPhone 5 and iPad 3).
In Gmail, clicking the video opened a BombBomb landing page with an exact duplicate of the email.
It’s also worth noting that BombBomb’s email arrived in in the Gmail ‘”promotions” tab, even though it was sent on a one-off basis. This may be an issue if many of your clients are using Gmail as their email clients.
That’s because Gmail has recently changed its structure. It’s harder than ever for any type of promotional email (where the sender is not already in the recipient’s address book, or where the sender is sending through a third party service like BombBomb) to land in the “primary” tab of Gmail.
Nonetheless, BombBomb keeps track of who has played your videos, on which devices, and when people drop off (stop playing) your videos. This is an important factor in helping you decide which videos are most effective, since you use this information to produce shorter or more informative videos in the future.
Your clients can also share your video directly to social channels (Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn) directly from the email’s video player.
Lead Capture with Robust Web Forms
Although the company suggests that it’s a “targeted, closed-channel YouTube” you can use to host your videos for other venues (like your blog or on social channels), it’s not clear why you would do this if you already have a YouTube or Vimeo channel with some traction.
However, since BombBomb does have robust lead capture/form functionality built in to its platform, you might choose to use BombBomb as a host to put specific videos on your website.
For example, you could create a lead capture form that features a video you’ve uploaded into BombBomb. The video could encourage site visitors to submit their name and email to get a free homebuyer’s guide, or information about an upcoming open house.
BombBomb makes it easy to link the form submissions to segmented lists within the application, and add the same submission to multiple segments.
This is useful if you have a general list (like monthly market report), as well as a list that is time-locked or specific (like news about an open house). You can also set preferences within the app to notify you of new submissions, or use auto responders to initiate a drip campaign as soon as a form is completed.
This is an excellent way to build your permission-based email lists.
BombBomb is a white listed permission based email provider, with a 98 percent deliverability rating. It’s comparable to every other major provider in all ways, including analytics.
Since marketing is an iterative process, it’s important to keep an eye on your performance over time. Not doing so is like driving with a blindfold. You might still go forward, but chances are, you’re not going to get where you want to go.
BombBomb provides analytics for each email, showing standard email stats, including the number of sent emails, delivered emails, abuse complaints, bounces, unique opens and total clicks.
But BombBomb’s analytics go a step further and show the number of clicks/opens on the video, and the percentage of the video that was played before the user dropped off. This insightful stat will let you know whether your video is working for you — or against you.
It’s also possible to automatically send these statistics after each email, so you never have to go looking for them. Because the analytics show you who has played a video, you can respond in real time once client has opened and played your content. You can call when you’re top of mind — and know exactly when that happens.
More Integration on the Horizon
Beute says that the most requested features in BombBomb have to do with integrating with other real estate lead generation and CRM platforms — and not the product itself. That’s a testament to how easy it is to use.
Although Beute can’t say which partners BombBomb is in talks with, he will say that integrating with other real estate platforms is a high priority for the company.
“We want to make it easy for BombBomb to fit in the ecosystem of an agent,” Beute concludes. “So the easier we make it for agents and brokers, the better.”