The world of video content marketing is awash in acronyms of varying length, importance, and degree of obfuscation. From ACE (Adjust, Combine, Expand) to BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline), CPC (Cost-per-click) to CMS (Content Management System), there is no shortage of jumbled letters curated to make your job easier…in theory. While sorting through this sea of acronyms can feel like a chore, two consistently rise to the top because of how essential they are to the video marketing process: MQL and SQL.
MQL vs. SQL
MQL stands for Marketing Qualified Lead. In essence, an MQL is an individual who is more likely to become a customer for your brand or company. They are not a customer yet, but based on the intelligence that you have gathered on them and their engagement habits with your marketing material (like filling out a specific form, for instance), an MQL has many of the qualities that could possibly lead them to become so, given the proper nurturing.
SQL stands for Sales Qualified Lead. An SQL is the next stage after an MQL, when a potential customer not only matches the ideal profile for your brand, but is also actively interested in buying. An example of this behavior might be their asking you a specific brand question on your website form, or emailing you. Again, someone being an SQL does not mean that the deal is totally sealed, but it is an absolutely vital step in getting to that point.
On paper, these two acronyms are nearly identical. In practice, there is a world of difference between them, and converting an MQL into an SQL is one of the greatest challenges that any content marketer will face. But fortunately, through the power of video, this challenge has been alleviated. With a keen strategy and creative thinking, conversion is within your grasp for even the most tricky potential customers. All of which raises the question: How exactly can your brand turn MQL’s into SQL’s through the use of video content?
Understanding the Lifecycle
Before we delve into the subtle, powerful ways that you can use video for conversion, we need to break down the fundamentals of the customer lifecycle – the larger conceptual conversion process that both MQL’s and SQL’s are a part of. By understanding this cycle, you will understand what role these two stages play, and how you can take advantage of them.
At the start of the cycle is the Visit Stage. This is the first toe dipped in the water, when potential customers view your content, take a look at your brand website, etc. Sometimes they subscribe to your channels. Sometimes they just click back to it again and again. After the Visit Stage comes the Lead Stage. At this level, you have begun to collect information on this particular visitor and realize that not only are they casually browsing, but they just might be the right fit for your brand and its products/services. Instead of just subscribing to a general newsletter, they subscribe to a specific subset or offer.
Next comes our focus, the MQL and SQL Stages. You have identified a potential customer and they have enthusiastically engaged with your marketing materials. The kindling is put in place, and all you need now is the right spark.
Our last two stages are the Opportunity Stage and the Customer Stage. In the Opportunity Stage, a genuine opportunity to collaborate comes up – time and purpose align in your favor, all the pieces are in place, and you finally make that sale. This in turn leads to the Customer Stage, which is…well, exactly what it sounds like. Your potential customer is potential no longer, and has finally decided to invest their money in your brand.
While the Opportunity Stage may sound like the most important because it is when a potential customer is primed to purchase, the real salesmanship is in the groundwork you lay with the MQL and SQL Stages. By choosing carefully from an array of video content based around a particular stage in your customers’ lifecycles, you can master those two steps and make sure that when an opportunity arises, your brand is ready.
Nature and Nurture
Getting a customer to the MQL Stage is half the battle. In fact, it’s less than half the battle, as studies show that 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. Without proper (and active) nurturing from your team, MQL’s will never reach the SQL Stage. They will wither with flaccid interest, soaking up your resources but never reaching the point of conversion. If you can target MQL’s with specific, strategic video content, your odds of conversion will dramatically increase in turn – and with it, the percentage of visitors who graduate to the Opportunity and Customer Stages.
The most effective types of video content to share with MQL’s in order to nurture them include:
Emails are one of the oldest and most reliable forms of content marketing, dating back to the dawn of the internet. This is partially because of their persistent success: Studies show that emails have a 4400% return on interest (ROI) for every $1 spent. But another factor of their appeal is the way they give your brand steady, direct access to prospective customers. MQL’s are already considering purchasing your products or services, but are not ready to buy yet, for whatever reason. Keeping your brand front and center in their thoughts with video-optimized emails is key to gradually overcoming their uncertainty.
As MQL’s near conversion, they want to be reassured that they are investing their time and mental energy in the right brand. And what better way to do that then through a testimonial video, where they can hear directly from professionals and other satisfied customers? 89% of customers find testimonial videos helpful in their decision-making process, so why not engage the help of the people you helped to share your brand story?
Case Study Videos
Like a testimonial video, a case study video is all about proving to MQL’s that they can trust your brand or company. Break down previous success stories with stylish animation and graphics to make it clear that the proof really is in the pudding about what you do – and why you do it the best. Case studies have been shown to be especially effective for business to business (B2B) exchanges, so keep that in mind the next time that you need to target a potential customer with your well-organized statistics.
Product Demo Videos
No video reflects your confidence in your own product better than a demo. All the usual smoke and mirrors of marketing is stripped away as you show MQL’s exactly what they’ll be getting, how it is used, and why. This sort of plainspokenness is very appealing to potential customers, and helps your MQL’s believe that they are coming to their own autonomous decision about advancing to the SQL stage…with a little help from you, of course.
By keeping these strategies and stages in mind, your brand can utilize video content to convert MQL’s to SQL’s like never before. And while these stages are neither the very start nor the very end of the customer lifecycle, they are the make-or-break point where most marketing strategies fall apart. Create video for your MQL’s and avoid those mistakes by elevating your content to a new level of excellence.