Video outreach: how to get prospects and candidates to reply
And start closing deals and roles fast and efficiently
Over the past year, how many video messages did you receive? Compare this to the number of emails you received of people trying to sell you a service, product or job opportunity…
Video has been around for a while but the majority of outbound prospecting and recruiting is still done by cold emails. Even though video has a 3X higher reply rate compared to regular email. In this article I will show you how to use video messaging and for you to start closing deals and jobs fast and efficiently💪.
Why is this article useful for you:
1. Cold emails don’t work anymore, you need to stand out to get a reply
2. You will learn which tools and knowledge are required to create a great video
3. You will be able to send out quality videos at scale that convert to leads/candidates
This article will show you:
1. Why video is such a powerful way of communicating
2. What tools you can use to create powerful video messaging
3. How to make a great video
4. My learnings of sending hundreds of video messages
5. How to send personalised videos at scale
6. The data
If you don’t want to read the entire article you can also watch my presentation at Sourcing Summit on “Video outreach: how to massively increase your conversions” 🍿.
1. Why video messaging
In this section I will discuss the power of video messaging
Video is personal
Video messaging is (very) personal. The receiver actually gets to see your beautiful face :). And not only that, all your verbal and nonverbal communication that comes with it. This immediately creates a bond between you and the receiver which will be much stronger compared to a text message or an email.
You can be (very) creative
The possibilities with video are endless. If you use video to sell your product/service you can actually show your service/product in action. If you use video to convince a potential candidate to have a conversation about a ‘great new opportunity’ you can actually show your office, get the hiring manager involved and/or show the actual product/service/project this person will be working on. Think about all of the good stuff you normally try to cram in an email that you can now show.
“An image speaks louder than a thousand words…”
There are pitfalls
However there is a pitfall with the ‘endless possibilities’ using video. When you make your video too ‘professional’ and looks more like and Instagram advertisement, the message won’t feel personal and authentic. This will negatively impact your reply rates. Secondly you will spend too much time on crafting a beautiful video which is not necessary. All videos in this article are recorded with the camera of my laptop and with the microphone of my headset.
Video makes you stand out
Video makes you stand out, because the majority of your competition doesn’t use this powerful medium. Again think about how many videos you received last year? That is your opportunity. Think about all those unanswered emails you send that will now get a reaction…
Your reply rate is (much) higher
2. What tools to use
In this section I will discuss the three most popular tools to create personalised videos
Below the three most popular tools:
Loom is my personal favourite and is very easy to use. Loom allows you to record a video of yourself, the screen of your computer or a combination of yourself and your computer. Your videos are stored in the cloud and can be shared either by a link or Giphy. Loom’s software allows you to trim your video, add a call to action in your video and chose your thumbnail.
The first five videos are for free. If you need more videos you either delete one of your old videos or switch to a paid subscription plan of $10 for an unlimited amount of videos. The downside of Loom is that it can be slow to load (cloud) and I discovered several times, too late, that my microphone was switched off…
Vidyard clearly focuses on cold outreach using video and is primarily used as a sales tool. It has the same functionalities as Loom but allows you to personalize your thumbnails with a prospect or candidates name. Great if you want to create a ‘generic’ video but still make it feel personal. The first 5 videos are as well for free but if you want to create more videos you need to pay $15 for an additional 20 videos. Vidyard has more reporting functionalities compared to Loom.
BombBomb software enables you to directly embed your videos in Gmail. Despite its great integration in Gmail it unfortunately doesn’t integrate with Outlook (yet). It works similar to Loom and Vidyard but is more expensive. You pay $29.99 for its most basic subscription plan.
If you are new to using video in your outreach my advice is to start with Loom. It’s the most straightforward tool out there. Once you have mastered using video you can still decide to use a bit more of a sophisticated tool like Vidyard of BombBomb.
3. How to make a great video
In this section I will discuss several rules of thumb to keep in mind when you record a video
If you ask any director what a great video should look like you most likely get different answers but with any great clip there are a couple of rules to follow. Make sure to keep these rules of thumb in mind when you create your video and set yourself up for success.
Have the right equipment — test your video on sound, lighting and quality of the video
Be personal — Be yourself, be personal and be authentic. Scripted messages, videos that are too clearly edited or messages where you can see that you are not yourself will result in lower conversions.
Explain why you are reaching out
Make it about him/her — Why is your message interesting for the receiver? What is the value you are brining for them?
End with a call to action
Keep it short — Rule of thumb is to keep your video under a minute and ideally aim for 40 seconds.
4. My learnings sending hundreds of video messages
In this section I will openly share some of my learnings / failures using video.
Don’t over do it
It took me over 2 hours to send my first short video to a prospect. There was just always something to improve in my video. I didn’t like my tone of voice, my message wasn’t powerful enough, I didn’t like the way I looked on camera etc. etc. Only when I started to get more comfortable recording myself and understanding that it is more important to send your message than spend hours on crafting the perfect message I got more comfortable that good is ‘good enough’.
The first one is the most difficult video you will make but “just do it” and you will soon get more comfortable and more efficient.
Send a good follow up in text
Make sure to send a good follow up in text. Video is a great way of getting your message across but not every receiver will like it. Your prospect needs to click on your video, be in an environment where he/she can listen to your message, actually watch your video and give you a reply. Often prospects will see your video, don’t have time to watch it and forget about it.
Send a clear follow up 2 days later with you explaining in text what you explained in the video to make it easy for your recipient to reply. There are various tools that make it easy to automatically send follow ups like Trinsley, Lemlist, Mixmax. Vidyard and BomBomb also offer this service integrated with their video platform.
Check for email deliverability
When I just started with video messaging there was one crucial component in my whole strategy that I neglected, and I paid the price… I created personal videos for each potential new client explaining our service with MatcHR.
Out of the 124 videos I send, only 44 people actually viewed my video (!). Eighty videos never saw the day of light and were buried in someone’s spam filter or were send to an email address that didn’t even exist! A complete waste of time.
Therefore check for email deliverability using a tool like Bouncer or Zerobounce. I personally use Bouncer and if you use this code “MATCHR” you can get a 10% discount on the credits that you buy. The first 1.000 credits are for free.
Lemlist, an email automation tool, enables you to ‘warm up’ your email account to make sure that your emails get to a prospects inbox instead of its spam.
“So what did work? Below two examples how you can use video messaging.”
Example for BD work
Below is a video I have sent to a prospect. Despite that the video didn’t end with a clear(er) call to action, it did get a positive reply because I clearly did my homework (this was a company selling online soundclips) and it received a positive reply.
Example for a candidate review
Below is an example how you can use video to actually show a candidate that you reviewed his/her LinkedIn profile and explain why he/she would be a great fit for the role you are hiring for. Super personal and will get you a reply for sure.
The downside of doing this is that you might waste a lot of time on candidates that will reply but that are not interested.
In order to avoid this I have found a way to send out personalised videos at scale 🚀! Please fasten your seatbelts!
5. How to send personalised videos at scale 🚀
In this section I will show you how you can send videos at scale using one email template and one video!
You will need the following tools:
1. Lemlist — email follow up tool (paid)
2. LinkedIn — social network (paid/unpaid)
3. Phantombuster — automation tool (paid/unpaid)
4. SalesQL — email finding tool (paid/unpaid)
5. Bouncer — email deliverability tool (paid/unpaid)
6. Loom — video recording (paid/unpaid)
The template and the video
In July I was invited to speak at Sourcing Summit on video outreach. A week before the actual event I sent all sixty speakers the same email and the same video. Completely automated and super personalised.
Below the email template I used for all speakers at Sourcing Summit. In this case to sourcing guru Irina Shamaeva.
And the image enlarged with a screenshot of Irina’s LinkedIn profile :).
And once a prospect clicks on the image it will go to a landing page similar like this:
If you look closely you see that the landing page was completely personalised even with a headshot of the person I reached out to (again Irina in this example).
Over half of the people I reached out to replied and all of them complimented me on my video and approach :). Keep in mind these are all Sr. leaders in the sourcing and recruitment industry and with the majority I had never been in touch before.
In this section I will explain the steps you need to take to send out personalised videos at scale.
1. Find your prospects and their URL’s on LinkedIn
2. Find the right email address from your prospects using SalesQL
3. Scrape your prospects LinkedIn profile’s including a screenshot of their LinkedIn profile using Phantombuster
4. Check on deliverability using Bouncer
5. Create a video using Loom recording software — to create a video
6. Send out “personalised” emails and videos at scale using Lemlist
In order to successfully set up this automation you need to start to collect the LinkedIn URL’s of your prospects in a Google Spreadsheet.
You can collect your prospects LinkedIn URL’s manually or use tools like SalesQL or Phantombuster to scrape your search on LinkedIn and get these links in bulk for you.
Make sure that the LinkedIn URL’s are actually the right people you want to send out a video too and that the message is relevant for them. You will otherwise end up with a lot of false positives and low conversions.
Once you have collected your Linkedin Url’s it is time to put Phantombuster to work.
Phantombuster is a software tool that allows you to automate many steps on LinkedIn and also scrape different kinds of information from LinkedIn (next to other social media platforms).
In this particular case we want Phantombuster to scrape all publicly available information of your prospects LinkedIn profile. We want this for three reasons.
1. Phantombuster offers the opportunity to automatically take a screenshot of someone’s LinkedIn profile and save this as a hyperlink (we want this!)
2. Phantombuster saves your prospects LinkedIn profile picture as a hyperlink
3. The resulting spreadsheet with all publicly available data allows you to filter out false positives based on job title, company, years in the company etc.
Phantombuster is free for the first 14 days and this should give you plenty of time to scrape your first list of prospects for this automation :). If you need more time you are either restricted to 10 minutes of “Phantom time” per day or switch to a paid account ($30 per month).
Phantombuster step by step
In this section I will explain how to use Phantombuster and scrape your prospects LinkedIn profile
After you have created your Phantombuster account and downloaded their Chrome plug in you need to use the Phantom “LinkedIn profile scraper” for this automation. Click on “Use this Phantom”.
Once you have clicked on “Use this Phantom” you will go to the screen below. You need to click on “connect to LinkedIn” to give Phantombuster access to your LinkedIn account.
The second step is to make sure that all your prospect’s LinkedIn URL’s are in a Google drive sheet and that you make this Google Drive spreadsheet ‘editable’ for everyone.
Copy paste the URL of your spreadsheet into the field of “Spreadsheet URL”.
Your next step is to click on ‘advanced settings’. This will open up a dropdown menu that looks like the image below.
You can scrape a maximum number of 100 profiles per time. On average it takes Phantombuster around 10 minutes to scrape 30 profiles including their partial screenshot. If you are on the free version keep it therefore under 30 profiles per time.
Make sure that in your advanced setting the “Take a partial size screenshot of the profile” is checked.
Give your resulting CSV file a name click “save”.
After you clicked “save” you will go to a follow up screen in which you can select whether you want to run this phantom ‘manually’ or repeatedly. If you have a larger data set you want Phantombuster to run in the background and you can select repeatedly. Since Phantombuster runs in the cloud you can even go to sleep and Phantombuster does the work for you :). How about that for automation… 🦾
Click on safe and keep notifications in the next screen on any preference you like. I always keep it at none.
You are all set to start scraping all publicly available information from your prospects LinkedIn profile. Just click launch and let Phantombuster do the work for you.
You can find your results under the ‘download all’ button and by clicking the CSV file you will be able to extract your results.
After you unpacked your CSV file your results will look like this and you need to look for the column “imgURL” (this is the profile picture) and the column with the title “partialScreenshot” (this is the partial screenshot of your prospects LinkedIn account).
Create a new CSV file with all the relevant data (name, email, URL to profile picture and URL to screenshot LinkedIn) and upload this data to Lemlist.
Lemlist is an email automation tool that offers great personalisation options to send out personalised emails at scale. You can try Lemlist for free for the first 14 days but in order to send videos you need to switch to their most premium package of $99 per month 💸. Despite the costs I highly recommend to use Lemlist because of its powerful personalisation options.
Lemlist makes it possible to send an email with a link to a special landing page, created in Lemlist, where your video plays. You can have the link directly in your email or create a thumbnail in your email that your prospect clicks on to go to your landing page. In my email template is a picture of myself pointing to my prospects LinkedIn page.
The ‘raw’ email template out of the example looks like this.
In grey, the area where a screenshot of someone’s LinkedIn profile will be copied. Instead of a LinkedIn profile you can also copy paste a prospects website, his/her LinkedIn profile picture, a company logo or someone’s first name written on for example a coffee cup.
Lemlist’s video landing page (once you click on my image it looks like this):
At the top of the page you can add your logo and your prospects logo or even his/her LinkedIn profile picture (the small rectangle in grey). You can change the colours of the templates and copy paste the link of your video directly into this template. At the bottom you can insert any landing page of your liking. For example your own website, Calendly link to schedule an appointment directly with you or the vacancy that you are recruiting for. All of these items can be personalised specifically for your prospect.
Very powerful, highly personalised and… scalable!
6. The data
If you want to be successful using this method it is important to keep in mind that your message still needs to be relevant for your recipient. You can have all these ‘personalised’ templates and images in your emails but if the video isn’t relevant for your recipient you still won’t get a reply. Even worse the recipient will understand that you automated your message and might think less of your service/company.
So what does the data tell me. This is the data from Lemlist on my video to all the Sourcing Summit speakers.
On average we see a 30% — 50% reply rate and the majority make a positive comment about the video. Again this is a 30%-50% reply rate using one email template and one video!
Video offers a lot of opportunities to stand out, personalise at scale and improve your conversions on your lead generation activities. However the first step is always the hardest so don’t be afraid get in front of your camera and just do it!
“If you think you can or you can’t, you are right” — Henry Ford
Ps. you can help me by giving this article some claps and share it via social media and email!
Ps2. This article has been written with the help of Marcel van der Meer, who knew about sending out videos at scale way before I did :). I highly recommend youto join his Facebook group: “Badass Recruiters & Sourcers”.
👉 A small note about me. I am Adriaan Kolff and I am the Co-Founder of MatcHR. At MatcHR we believe that talent is distributed equally but opportunity is not. We help companies unlock global (tech) talent by offering sourcing and recruitment on a subscription based model or help them hire remote tech talent in Ukraine.