Video marketing is a major tectonic shift transforming the business world today. People love video; they’re constantly watching TV, movies, YouTube videos, TikToks, and more. It is the preferred form of content for many people. In fact, 68% of consumers would rather watch videos to learn about new products or services compared to consuming other content, and 82% of consumers would rather watch live video than read social media posts (Source: WordStream).
In today’s episode, we’ll discuss four great benefits of video marketing and reviewing that Troy Howard has seen in his career. We’ll also discuss challenges and opportunities, recurring revenue, and picking the right business partner.
Troy Howard is one of the founders of SoTellUs, which I believe is the best review platform technology for businesses and I recommend it to all of my clients. Troy started his own marketing agency that has more than 3,800 clients in 27 countries.
Troy’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Troy started off as an airline pilot, but he got kidney stones and couldn’t fly anymore. His life was turned upside down as he realized he wouldn’t be able to continue the career he thought he would spend the rest of his life doing. Around the same time, Troy’s second child was born premature with a cleft lip and palate, which required several expensive surgeries.
Luckily, Troy had worked with digital companies in the past doing project management, so he started his own agency with his dad and his brother. They worked hard and eventually hit a point where they could only grow so large without having a huge staff. They decided to shift to the software side so they could have more automated services; this allowed them to help thousands of businesses scale and grow in an automated way.
About five years ago, they went to their customers and asked them, “What’s one of the challenges you’re having right now?” Most of them said they had a hard time getting reviews, so they started the SoTellUs product.
They wanted to be forward thinking with it, so as they were building it, they asked, “What’s the next phase of reviews?” Video reviews were the answer. They built a product that was like Google Reviews and YouTube put together.
After two years of working on it, they had this amazing review platform that not only got their customers reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp, but also got them video reviews, and then actually helped them market those reviews.
“One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is they don’t know how to actually utilize those reviews in their marketing to land more jobs. They think that just getting a review and having to sit on Google is good enough. But only a small percentage of people actually are going to see it there,” Troy said. “If you’re spending money on marketing, [if] you’re pushing out print marketing [or] email marketing, all of those reviews need to reside in that marketing.”
Troy considers this product to be the biggest home run of his career. Its success has exploded over the last five years. He has loved seeing the product grow and seeing what it’s done for business owners.
4 Benefits of Video Marketing and Reviews
Video reviewing is a huge tectonic shift happening in the business landscape today. There are many benefits to using video reviews. Here are a few.
Video reviews can be much more credible than written reviews. It is easy for someone to write a fake review and put it up on their website. With video, it is much harder to fake. We can see the person, hear their tone of voice, and listen to their unique story. It would be hard for a founder of some startup company to fake a whole bunch of videos. Because of this, video reviews provide credibility that written reviews don’t.
“The majority of the traffic nowadays on the internet is video. That’s what people want to see. They don’t want to read text anymore. They want to watch videos,” Troy said. Video reviews deliver what people want.
Videos are easier to digest; they don’t take as much effort to consume. They’re also usually easier for the customer to create. They can sit in front of a camera and tell their story. They don’t have to write out a review and then wonder if they used the correct wording or grammar.
“With video, you can deliver emotion. You can create emotion with those that are watching the video. With text, that’s so much harder to do because the person is able to look at the face or they’re able to see the emotion and it makes all the difference in the world,” Troy said.
Videos can be so much more authentic than text. We can see when someone is happy. We can see their enthusiasm when a product blows them away. Customers are able to communicate their emotions in a real way to the audience.
Video reviews can be amazing sales tools.
Troy had a content marketing product they were having trouble selling online. It was a great product, and the clients who used it loved it. It took one of Troy’s clients from about $150,000 a year to over $750,000 a year after using the product for two years.
However, they couldn’t quite figure out how to get more users. It was hard to explain online, and people often didn’t understand it. They were spending about $20,000 a month advertising through Google and Facebook, and it just wasn’t working.
They decided to go in a completely different direction. They met with some of their clients who used the product and asked them if they could video them reviewing the product, sharing their experience with it, and what their business was like before and after using it.
They used these reviews as their entire marketing strategy. This method took them from a couple thousand dollars a month to $500,000 in recurring revenue in just six months. “The product didn’t change. The only thing that changed was how we presented it to our clients. . . . We stepped back, and we let our clients share their story [through video],” Troy said.
“That was the lightbulb moment for us as business owners,” Troy continued. “We need to stop trying to sell our products and services, and we need to let our customers sell them for us because people are 40 times more likely to believe what our customer says about us than what we say about ourselves.”
Challenges and Opportunities
Troy’s career path completely changed when he got kidney stones; they drove him to leave his previous career. As I’ve interviewed great entrepreneurs, I’ve seen this pattern: something challenging happens that pushes them into entrepreneurship.
A lot of times when we’re in that moment, all we can see is the horrible challenge we’re going through. We think our world is ending. We think we’re not going to be able to provide for our family. We only see the worst case scenario.
Once we make it through, we often see that challenge as a blessing. It’s often a catalyst that helps us take that uncomfortable step to arrive at a much better outcome in our future.
Troy said, “What happened to me was the best thing that ever happened in my life, even though it was one of the hardest things I ever went through. It totally changed my life, not just from a business perspective. Back when I was flying for the airlines, . . . I was gone 275 days a year away from my family. All of a sudden, I went from being gone all the time to being home with my family. That made a huge impact in my life. It pushed me into doing something else that I never thought of doing. . . . I would never go back to what I was doing before.”
It can be hard to look at challenges as a blessing while we’re going through them, but they are often opportunities in disguise. As Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, said “When one door closes, another one opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
When challenges come, we should look for the opportunities in them and seize those opportunities.
Recurring revenue is another big tectonic shift happening today. Many major companies are shifting to recurring revenue.
Troy took his business from a consulting firm that was trading hours for dollars to building a software product and becoming a software as a service (SaaS) vendor. Before there were only so many hours a day he could give to his clients. If they wanted to give more hours, they had to hire, train, and manage new employees.
“You’re always limited by people and hours. What we realized was if we really wanted to have a big impact on businesses—and on a lot of businesses—we had to create software systems and automation in order to do that,” Troy said.
They’ve been able to change so many more lives than they would have if they had continued consulting individual clients. Recurring revenue also gave them a stable income.
When Troy, his dad, and his brother first started their business, Troy’s dad went out and sold a website. Then Troy and his brother created the website. As soon as they finished, they told their dad, “Okay, we finished that one. Dad, you need to go sell another one because we’re almost out of money.”
“It was like a roller coaster,” Troy said. “You would make a sale, you would get some money, but by the time you fulfilled it, you needed money again, so you had to get that next sale.” Their growth mimicked that rollercoaster too. However, when they switched over to recurring revenue their growth and their sales skyrocketed. Recurring revenue gave them a sense of security with predictable revenue coming in.
Picking the Right Partner
Troy said the biggest mistake he made in his career was having the wrong partner. He had another business with a partner who was a great salesman, but he would often sell something they didn’t have yet.
Troy remembered one meeting they had with a client, and they landed a huge deal. After the meeting, Troy asked his partner what the product was that he’d told the client about. His partner told him that he had to create it in the next 30 days.
Troy was able to do it, and it worked out. However, the partnership didn’t work out long-term. Troy ended up selling his portion of the business. Troy said, “Having the right partner in your business is one of the biggest decisions you can make. . . . Picking your business partner is as important as picking your spouse.”
Thank you so much Troy for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- To learn what our customers need we can ask them, “What’s one of the challenges you’re having right now?”
- Video reviews can be much more credible than written reviews.
- Videos are easy to digest.
- Videos can be so much more authentic than text.
- Video reviews can be amazing sales tools.
- When challenges come, we should look for the opportunities in them and seize those opportunities.
- There are many benefits to recurring revenue including stability, security, and growth.
- Picking a business partner can be as important as picking a spouse.
Connect with Troy
To learn more about or connect with Troy:
- Connect on LinkedIn
- Visit his website at SoTellUs.com
- Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Check out his podcast SoTellUs Time