Geoff Strauss & Rafer Weigel - Make it Video, Case Studies - Episode 46
We kick off 'Make it Video' month with this livestream version of the September 1st episode of the Smarter Business Podcast, featuring Geoff Strauss & Rafer Weigel.
We will discuss traditionally 'live' business practices that can improve reach, reusability and engagement by leveraging video, including Geoff and Rafer's specialty - case studies.
Geoff Strauss (LinkedIn) - https://lnkd.in/eXManw5h
Rafer Weigel (LinkedIn) - https://lnkd.in/ebg7HfGg
Hey all welcome to this live stream episode of the Smarter Businesses podcast we're here to talk with video professionals who are finding interesting ways to use video in their own businesses. And today we are kicking off Make it Video month on the vCN. If you find this type of info, engaging and useful, go ahead and hit all those engagement buttons on whatever platform you happen to be watching or listening to this podcast episode on subscribe, share review, you know what they are today though, we're going to move right into it. We've got two guests, which is a switch for us. We've got Geoff Strauss and Rafer Weigel. Geoff, I'm going to start with you because you're on my left and my, on the screen. If you want to give a quick intro, just talk a little bit about the business you're in and what you have. Sure thanks, Neil. The business that we're in and what we do is case studies for businesses and case studies is a loaded term. I think a lot of people have a vague idea of what case studies are. Maybe they use the kind of traditional format where it's just, here's a situation, here's a solution, and here are the results. We approach it in a more in depth fashion week to a journalistic approach where. What we're doing. And, I love the term case types because it is what we're doing, but I also like to get away from that and say, all we're doing is telling your customer success stories. We're working with you to find customers that have gotten really good results from working with you and then helping you to tell those stories so that other people know how great you are and they'll hire you. Okay. Excellent. Rafer. You want to give a quick intro about yourself and what. Yeah. Thank you, Neil. God grateful to be here. It's Rafer Weigel. I know it's very difficult to say it as a Tom Ford. I still curse my parents to this day. I have a background in journalism as well. In fact I was a TV reporter and a lot of rapport, a lot of anchors when they tossed to me with butcher my name, so you're in some pretty good company with that. I'm a storyteller by nature. I did start at print with the Chicago sun times and then eventually the Los Angeles times. And then I moved into TV news and and then left in 2020. And so I am a storyteller and I prefer the visual media. Which we'll get into in this podcast, just because it's impactful how much more impactful it is. But if you compliment it with the written word, that is a very powerful marketing tool. And again, we'll get into that. But I, before I met Geoff was really focused on video storytelling because there's a difference between shooting a video and telling a story. Anybody can shoot a video, but can anybody tell your story? And your story is your most marketable asset. If it's told, right? It's it started out as a videography company. It moved more into a communications firm because at the end of the day, our differentiator is journalists is to find out what the messages are. In journalists we call it the story of marketing. We call it the messaging, the brand scripts. So that's been our differentiator. And then I met Geoff. I was really impressed with the guy we've been in a lot of networking groups together and he's he's really cerebral where I'm a little more I'm less emotionally intelligent. I'm a little more reactive. So it's a good compliment. And and his skill set in terms of the written word with videos together, as I said, can be a pretty good pairing. That was my elevator pitch in a nutshell. Sorry. I heard the playoff music's background is I was giving that at long speeds. That's all right. And you all are both based in Chicago, right? Awesome. Now I usually have, when I've got the one guest, I have him kinda, package it all up into one sentence. So I'll let either one, you go with this If you want to explain what you do together in one sentence? We'll give it to the words guy, Jack. Yeah. Geoff, you're the words guy. I was kind, kinda like what I said in the, with your last question. Basically what we're doing is helping businesses to tell that stories of success that their customers have had because they've worked with them and we do that in both the written and the video form. All right. That's one sentence. Right there creating more sales to create more sales of leads. Yes. Okay, perfect. And that is including the results. Always good for that one sentence. All right. So we're going to move into, I mentioned briefly that it's a make it video month here on the video creator network. And I just want to over Ben, who's out there and listening or watching the. We'll create your network or VCN is a video community that helps solopreneurs and small business owners leverage video to increase your reach, become more efficient and find more perfect fit clients to grow your business. If you're interested in showing up at the next one of these live streams or coming to some of our live events you can find email@example.com we would love to have you out. And with all that out of the way I would say, let's see, let's talk case studies. So Geoff, you already talked about this a little but case study. Why are they, why were they the route that, that kind of brought you together? Why are they special for a business owner? Like Rafer said, we're both storytellers by nature. We just chose different formats in how we approach that. The thing that I saw with case studies is that. Not being used as much as they should be. And the ways that they are being used are like I mentioned earlier than the traditional format of here's a situation, here's a solution and here's the results and that's fine. That's better than nothing, but there's a much more effective way to be telling those stories. And that's when the customer is actually. Telling their own story about how you help them. If you have, they're saying we did this for and we did that for XYZ company. That's great. And you're asking me to believe you, but if you can put together this story, this case study that says here's this business, here's their situation. Here's the things that they were thinking about doing here's the thing is that they. Reasons they actually chose to go with us versus the other people in the marketplace. Here's the results that we got and it's all in their own words. That's a piece of social proof that is going to, instead of you asking people to believe you would give them a reason to trust you. I like that. So it's half kinda, you're incorporating testimonials more into a case study, right? Yeah, I was just going to say, on the heels of that, that, there's a very clear yeah, you bring up the word testimonial. I think that's a very clear message we need to convey is that this is different than a testimonial. Testimonials are great and definitely you want those on your website, but a case study by nature is a lot more granular. What that is actually going to do is allow the audio. To go through the journey virtually of what it was like to actually work with your company from start to finish, as opposed to somebody just saying that you're great. So that's the difference. They want to be able to see you want your potential customers and clients to see themselves. Throughout that journey and what that's and that is what's going to lead them. There's a lot of factors why people buy, I'm not trying to oversimplify and say the case studies is a magic bullet, but that is going to be a very powerful tool in terms of, because the competition is just too great right now. And everybody's making their decisions virtually online right now, before anybody picks up the phone or gets on a zoom or sends an email, you have to be able to take your customer. Through the experience of working with you virtually. Now, if you want to break through the noise, it's just a fact of where we are in the digital age. The COVID thing has really moved everybody more into the D into the virtual space. So this is I think it's almost necessary and for a lot of businesses to do stuff like this, otherwise you're losing market share because your competitors are doing. And then at the end of the day, it's people have said if it's, I dunno if I want to invest the money in my response is can you afford not to at this point because the beautiful thing about a case study is that you use it over and over again, it's not a one-shot deal. It's not a one and done it's a tool that, it's the gift that keeps on. I think that's a great point and that's something I know we focus on quite a bit within the group is having those pieces that you can use. Yeah. You can use on multiple sales calls, you can use within your marketing. You can use as communication that, that kind of. Yeah moves throughout your business. It doesn't have to be a one-shot thing. And it's not, it's a, especially if you've got a powerful case study that really fits with what you're trying to do going forward, that is, that's a great way to describe it if the kid keeps on giving. I really liked that. I think that's a good explanation. The. Let's see we covered a lot of benefits. I do want to hear from Geoff because Geoff is not a video guy, like Rafer and I. Geoff, what do you think video really adds? Like, why do you think in this case, and I'm sorry to all the word-based people out there, words are not enough. What is. Not everybody responds the same way to the same things. Some people are readers, some people are Watchers. And if you can present your message in the more formats you can present your message, the more likely you are to capture market share, because you're going to, if all you're doing is putting out a written case. You're missing all the people that just watch videos. If all you're doing is video production, you're missing all the people that just read and don't watch videos. So the more ways that you can get your message out there, the more effective your messages are going to be. That's kinda the way I've approached it and seen the value in video in addition to the written. Excellent. I like that answer. And I guess with. In mind do you all, when you make these case studies, do you have the same information in the video is you have in written format or do you find that you're putting certain types of info and say video format and other types, yeah, ideally, it's a complimentary arrangement, right? Ideally you want them to compliment one another? I'm a visual, I'm, I started in print and I went to video and I admire what Geoff does. I admire what scribes can do in terms of the written word. I am just all in, on video in terms of communicating messaging. It's, the stats are out there and I know I'm preaching to the choir with you, Neil. The stat out there. The viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to just 10%. When they read it in texts. Now that is, from wordstream.com, but whether that's an accurate stat or not, you are able to retain a lot more information in a video format. I have a teenage son, all he does is watch videos. That's all he does. And his generation is going to be the ones making the buying decision. But the written component really is helpful because at the end of the day, we are still not able to search, do word search. Audibly through YouTube. You still have to type in words in order to search for specific times. The written component and there are, I'm not, Geoff is right. There are people that do prefer read, especially when you're making a very important decision on whether to hire somebody. You want to be as educated as possible on whether that company is going to be right for you. And that is where the written component where Geoff really can get into a lot more into the weeds to be able to answer some of those questions. So I look at it as a. As a two-pronged approach they are the words are gonna are going to connect. If it's going through a Google search, the video is going to be the first thing that engages them. And video is a way to virtually connect with people. It's a form, it's a virtual networking tool, when you're building the know like, and trust factor to look somebody in the eye, I hear that passion. And to hear that enthusiasm come out organically is not something you can get just from reading in the text. And that to me is that's the one, two punch. That's the initiation. That's the entry point. Then you get into that written word where now we're going to really, the video testimony, testimonials the video case studies, we do get granular. We go in depth, but at the end of the day, the attention span for video is usually not more than 90 seconds. You really want to keep that short and succinct and that have that, take them to. The written word where, you can get a lot more in depth. An article that's five paragraphs would translate into about a five minute video people. Aren't going to watch a five minute video. But you will read the article and keep going from one point to the next, as long as those points. So they cater towards different attention spans. They have different intentions behind them. And married together as much more impactful if that answers your question. Yeah. Yeah. Very good. And it sounds like you can really get people, maybe grab a little more interest and get that base level interest going with the video and then provide some more context maybe with with the written word, go a little, they get to meet people in the video. There's a lot of info being grabbed there, but. Yeah, the specific stats and in, things like that, you could always reference a little more easily through the written word. So you want to, you obviously want the major points in both, right? If there's some ROI and I made this much money, et cetera, et cetera, working with company X, you're going to want them both because you want that touch. You want the multiple touch points on that point. You can cover a lot more basis with both mediums. Yep. I agree. And I think that's a, that's an excellent explanation of how that can happen. So we've talked a good amount about benefits. It's all been sunshine and rainbows so far. What are the challenges of this type of either producing this type of content or getting clients to to sign up. Geoff. I think that one of the first things I learned when I started going down this path was that there's a lot of education to be done about what a case study is, what the value of a case study is. And how do you use a case study? So that's. Something that I've made myself intimately familiar with, and I'm very comfortable in having those conversations at this point, but that is something that I wasn't necessarily expecting because once you are the authority on what you do, you expect everyone is at the same level. It's just a human nature thing, I think. But with. Yeah, I generally enjoy talking about it. Cause I think it's such a good thing. And you got it. I find it almost a two-step process. The first time I start talking to somebody about it, it's the education piece. It's, here's what it is. And here's, what you might think it is, but here's what we're actually doing. And here's, all the benefits to this, that the other, and then you gotta let them go step back and let them think about that. Cause that's all new information for them. And then with the second step, you can go into the conversation. Now let's talk about actually getting this thing done for you. Can I put on my journalism hat and ask you a question that I know the answer to, but I want to hear your words now. Geoff how do you use a case study? All kinds of ways, Rafer, you can drop it on your website. You can put into your email marketing. You can, once it's onto your website, you can reference in the social media posts. You can say, Hey, do you have a company like this, check out this story of how it helped the company. Just you want the results like this, check out this story about this company. We helped get those kind of results. And each one of those touch points that the case study does, whether it's this type of company, this type of situation, this type of solution, this type of results. Those are all touch points that you can break down and turn into social media posts that reference back to the website, which now will give you more content for your. Social media, it will drive traffic to your website and potentially lead to sales. You can also, if you're doing in-person type things, I was talking with someone who had a big presentation coming up with a multinational company and she had a a presentation. She was going to be giving to a room full of people. And she only had a little bit of room in her slide deck, and I said, perfect. You don't have to put the whole case study on there. You just put a link to it on the website. You don't. So there's all kinds of ways you can use that piece. I am recommended also as a great followup tool, right? How many sales calls, zoom sales calls are we going on a regular basis? Let me think about it and they get back to you and I'm going to talk to six other people. If you can follow up with that, then that's going to be, as Geoff said, that's another touch point and that's going to make it stand out from the other five, six people that your customers talking to. It's just going to build trust, but at the end of the day, that's I think the biggest battle we're battling in this virtual world. Right now. And how can we, how can people trust you that you're going to take care of their problem? Because at the end of the day, how do you, how are you solving problems for your customers? That's all they care about. And, I'm a big Donald Miller guy. I'm going to go on a tangent here who wrote this great book, building a StoryBrand. And at the end of the day, you know what I tell them my biggest challenge for me, when telling a client stories, remembering them, having to remind them that you're not the hero of your own. You are an integral part of that story. You're the guide. You're the only one Kenobi in the Yoda, but the hero is your customer, but let's highlight that hero. Let's talk to your customer. We've talked about how you help them to feed Darth Vader, the star wars nerds like me out there. That's going to be, what's going to set you apart because as soon as you start talking about how brave you are and actually feel weird in this interview now, like we're talking about very, we are. We need our own case studies, but do people just tune you out? And I hope people are still watching this. I'm hoping it's a little bit educational, just in terms of, thinking about, how to break through the noise, how to stand out right now, because it is unbelievably competitive. I was with a sales guy recently and he told me, I thought it was like seven, eight touch points to get a new version. He said, no studies show. Now you need nine to 15 touch points to get the media. To get the first meaningful touch point. You're going to have to nine to 15, that's going to be social media. That can be emails. That could be, a whole number of things, a LinkedIn posts. So it's just, people are inundated right now with so much. And I'll take that and say off of what Geoff was saying, like I would assume, and this is how I would treat it. If I got a nice case study put together, I would be taken little chunks, snippets of video, pieces of text, and you could build. All kinds of content from that one masterpiece of content, take care of some of those touch points and keep moving forward. And I also do want to very much agree with you, Ray, for that trust in this. Virtual landscape that we're in is a little bit of a different game, right? You can't sit down and look somebody in the eye. You need to feel comfortable from input that's coming from other places than just from the person who's trying to provide the service. So I think that's spot on. I liked that one. And in video, that's the only way to do it. And I, I talk with marketing people all the time and I say what's your video strategy with your clients? And if they say, oh we don't do it. And I think, then what the hell are you doing? And I'm just going to say this right now. If you are working with a marketing. And they are not emphasizing some form of video as part of your marketing strategy. You need to fire them right now because they are stealing your money. Because at the end of the day, that is the only way for people to learn, to know and trust you virtually in today's virtual world. It is the most meaningful way that you can make an impact on their time. Not on you. Then these are virtual networking and meetings that you take with people while you're sleeping. And the one thing I wanted to say is, we will carve up these assets for the clients as well. Geoff we'll carve up those written components and take out those things. I will carve up that video and take out the various soundbites to get you those, 24 extra social media posts post. So you get those touch points if necessary to get the meeting, because that content is king, yeah. And your company, your competition is doing content. And if you what I've been doing has been working for me in five years, it's not, look at IBM, they were doing everything that was working for them. Now they're not in business anymore. If you keep, if you don't evolve and look at the trends that are happening then you know, your competition is doing that. So I'm off my soap box here. Sorry about that. Sorry. I was going to say just a quick counterpoint to that, and there's value in doing those short pieces, those snippets, because we are in Twitter and tic-tac land now, but at the same time, everybody's running towards the short form. What we're doing is long form. We're running the opposite direction from the crowd, which is going to give our customers. Vantage in the crowded marketplace, because as you both know, the internet marketplace is a double-edged sword. It's great. You get to expose yourself to a worldwide audience, but you're also competing with the world for the same customers. So that's another benefit of the things that we're doing is we're putting out. Different from where the crowd is going, but it can still be pieced into those popular things that are happening currently as well. And people get a very complete picture of how your company does business when they make that commitment to consume the longer form. So I think that's, I think that's excellent. I am going to move us on to. Do we have any specific success stories that we want to talk about? Do you have one case study that just crushed it or anything like that? I wouldn't say there was a specific one, but I will say that everyone who we have done work for has been overjoyed with the product that they've gotten from us. And. Actually even one way that we've marketed it is we'll go back to the people that were the subjects of the case study and say, Hey, here's what the final product looked like. Get back in touch with us when you're ready to do one for yourself. And we've gotten positive response on that route as well. And a lot of that is on a per I don't want to say to performance with a customer. But it is ultimately going to come down to what your customer says. In terms of, whether you work with us or anybody who goes to the case studies, they need to make sure that they take it. And I'm a little, I'm a little high and mighty on the journalism word. I tossed that around. I just feel it's important, even, you have to have that journalism mindset of really getting to the heart of the story in a way. Still keeps the subject comfortable. You're not going after, you're not interviewing a a political candidate here and trying to nail to the wall. You want him to feel comfortable. You want him to have an interview style that brings out that authenticity, that passion. But at the end of the day, it is going to be contingent on having the right person. Now we will talk to a few of them. And we'll find out which is going to be the best one for that case study to really amplify that message. But that's the X factor, right? So if you're doing a case study really think hard about, Hey, who are the right people that would be right to talk about this. And when you have that, then the best compliment we've given as well. I really liked the way I sounded and felt so but it has helped grow businesses in terms of the stats. We're still new with. So we needed, we'll be in a position where we're going to be doing a case study on our case study and a couple of lines. We did a little bit more hard data, but the preliminary data coming in has been, it's been there's been it's shortens the sales cycle. And so it, it just gives that extra meaningful touch point in the process. So instead of four zoom calls and one client said it took them two to close because in between those two, he had that case study to go in between. So we didn't have to go. The road of doing, zoom call four and five. So in terms of, is it an ROI in terms of money, Mo I think it's really more on ROI in terms of time and what, in, in, in the process of closing a client. So what does your time mean to you? That's what it's going to save you. Okay. And to build on that point real quickly, the way our process is set up is that it does not take a lot of time or energy. From the people that hire us the way we have it set up, we have an initial meeting. We talk about the project. You put us in touch with the person you want to be as a subject of the case study. And then basically you're done till we present a draft to you and you say, yeah, this is great. Or, Hey, can we change a thing or two here? So basically, it's something that you could probably do yourself, but with our process, that's also a part of what you're paying for. You're getting this high quality marketing piece that you're not putting a lot of your own time and energy into it so that you can use that time and energy to do your thing right. Real quick. Is that the biggest concern for people is, oh, I don't want to put my clients out. I don't want to stress out the client. So there's a real element in terms of client care, in terms of us not taxing them. Getting that information, getting those, money soundbites, as we say in the business without make with while making them feel very comfortable and that they come out of it with a positive experience. Because that's key because if we do that and the person's oh my God, that sucked. I hated that those guys were in a bunch of AOL, when we won't work it yet. And I understand people are hesitant. You don't want to, this client of yours gave you a bunch of money. Hey, can you now do this for me? So yeah, that's. I have found though, cause I've done a lot of work in testimonials and that type of stuff that you like very often, the client is more than happy to do it. A happy client is thrilled to be able to support your business. So I would never let that be something that, that hangs people up. What's the worst. They're going to say no thanks. It's not the end of the world. So so I've found that to be true, Neil, and a work around if you do run into that person says, or is hesitant and says, eh, maybe. Yeah, maybe no. Th the real selling point is that wherever this case study goes, because we're working in the B2B space. So we're serving businesses that serve other businesses. So it becomes a marketing piece for the subject of the case study also because wherever that case study goes in our portfolios, the business that is using it in their marketing, There's gonna be a piece in there, all about that business. That was the subject of the case study, and there's gonna be a link to their website. And so they're getting free marketing out of it for a little bit of time and energy spent answering a few questions on paper and on video and you're going to make them look good. So of course we have to make it sound as good as possible. That is ultimately. All right. I've got one last question on case studies and then we'll move into the close out here. So CA if it's great to know that there's a surface that you can have case studies done for you. And I'm sure some of the folks who are listening are excited to hear that reach out to Geoffer Rafer. If you want to hear more about that. If somebody wants to incorporate video into their own case studies, do you have any general tips that could work well to make it an easier process? You can do it on zoom. That's fine. I think it's very, I'm a big, I'm a technical guy. So yeah, we do the videos virtually. I like to encourage them to have an external camera of some kind. Geoff, we got to get you a better camera buddy. Yeah, production quality helps a little bit. You don't have to go. I got a $70 4k, one external. So a laptop camera, by the way. So I can tell, so I do encourage a modicum of production value. You don't have to, Neil, you've got the headset, the background, you would be ideal. You'd be fantastic with that changing of the colors. But no, it's just, I think the most important thing that if somebody is going to reach out to a client and get a video, a case study more than a testimonial. Is you obviously want to keep it conversational, but I think you want to have them explain to you what the process was like for them from start to finish, go through the entire process, because we work with clients and we've had a perception of how the process was for them. But then to hear it in their words, they're going to bring up things that maybe you didn't even realize that. W we're a member for them like, oh, when you did this and X, Y, and Z, that was really differentiator. And you, as the co as the business owner are like, oh, that's what I do for everybody. Interesting. That resonated. So it can be a really good educational tool as well for you in terms of your business model and understanding what you're doing well. And if they mentioned things that you're not doing well, obviously that's beneficial as well. I would edit that out. But that's the other thing about the video? Is it you can edit it. There's a lot of editing tools out. Simple ones that, I'm moving for. Zoom is fine. I use Adobe premier I'm preferred a little more high level because we weren't to put graphics on there and motion graphics and make it look as nice as we possibly can. So that would be my suggestion. Okay. And can I make one suggestion for all of the non video people like myself, if you want to start incorporating video into anything you're doing or case studies in particular, find yourself a friend like Ray for like I did. It's the best thing that. There you go. Perfect. It's all about who, so that works out really well. All right. So I am going to move on to ask one question that kind of runs as a thread through all of these episodes of these sparger business podcasts, it's called the smarter business podcast. What is one thing that you have done to make your business or clients business smarter? What do you think? Who wants to go first? And if you need some cues, we've got them, some people talk about books, software specific business tips. One thing we have done to help our businesses, clients. Your business or a client's business. It could be video case studies, not to put words in your mouth, but, yeah. By emphasizing and really working through, it is ultimately if you're a business owner, to hear that feedback is going to really help, it just goes back to what I was saying before. It's going to give you intense. On what's working and maybe what you want to double down on. And if you have a larger company, maybe they're going to site specific people throughout the process that they worked with that gave her a very positive experience. That's also going to give you a window into, who's doing a great job. What's working, what's not working. I would think that type of feedback to a business would be invaluable. Yeah. Yeah. So I'll tweak that a little and say, even if you're not making a case study, interview your best clients. And see what's working for you from, yeah, from a business perspective, I really liked that. And that's an important thing to do. Geoff you're off the hook cause Rayford jumped in unless he got something, just a real short. I think I tried to remember to tell people when we started talking about case studies, even if you don't hire us, think about some of this really gotten a good benefit from working with you and your business and try and tell those stories. Because if you're not telling those stories, you're missing out on a marketing goal. I liked that. I liked that a lot. If you relay the story yourself, you get part of the way there, that works really well. I'm going to ask. One last thing, which is where can people find you? Where's the best place to catch up with Geoff? You can find me on LinkedIn. You can go to the website, which is just case studies that come things like this. Yeah, I'm around case studies.com and Geoff Strauss, G E O F. Yes, I spoke the wrong way. He's got the pretentious spelling, said the guy named Rafer, by the way, pretentious. How about you Ray? For where do you find you let's go through Geoff? I, Geoff was kind enough to bring me in on. I do, we do also onsite video storytelling as well with videographers, we, content creation on a higher level, and that is another op that is another tier that we can offer. I've done several client testimonial videos, where we actually went on location with a crew to camera shoot, and gotten them on a really nice high end camera for one's website. That costs a little bit. But that website is w M G communications.com. And I, as far as I can tell, I'm the only REA for widening. All right. That's pretty good. I like that. Yeah, both LinkedIn profiles are linked in the show notes of the live streams and we'll be up with the podcast as well. That's another good way to catch up with these guys. Thank you both for coming on. Thank you for talking video and case studies and just to given a little bit of your time and your insights it's been great. Thank you so much. Now there's a lot of real pleasure. Thanks. All right, we'll give you the whole wave. Goodbye. Thanks guys.