7 Steps to Maximize Leads & Sales With Video Marketing
Whether you are a small business, new startup or a large, established brand - you have likely already realized that video marketing is one of the most powerful ways to generate leads and sales in today’s world.
In fact, video is currently the most powerful form of content in the world. And that is not likely to change anytime soon. (*In fact, video is 82% of ALL internet traffic and climbing. That’s right… all.)
Your current marketing efforts may already include video marketing campaigns and you want to increase performance - or you might be looking to launch a new campaign and want to maximize its performance right out of the gate.
In this post I’m going to give you 7 powerful steps to maximize your leads and sales with video marketing.
Here's a snapshot of what I cover in this post:
Step 1 - Make a Strong First “Visual” Impression
Regardless of the market that you are in you have to remember that people's attention spans are shorter than ever.
You have 3-5 seconds to capture a person's attention before they either zone out or move on.
This means that your marketing video needs to be absolutely captivating within the first few seconds in order to have a chance to make any real impact.
And because the market is crowded by so much “noise” - it’s really the visual that will make or break your video's first impression - so you want to make it a strong one.
You have to really think outside the box and be as creative as possible.
The first thing the viewer sees is your best chance to set your brand and your video apart and break through all that noise.
Below are 7 of our favorite methods to make a strong first visual impression, with examples from our own video productions of how these techniques were used.
Avoid starting with a “talking head”
Even if your video has footage of interviews, don’t start with a “talking head” style shot unless it’s a known celebrity or most people are going to move on immediately.
Start with an extreme closeup or extreme wide shot.
Giving people a perspective they are not used to seeing is a great way to get their attention.
Take a look at the video we produced for Bowen below, in which we start on a closeup of someone's eyes.
Start with movement
Movement is more visually exciting and the human brain is just hardwired to stop and take notice of movement. Use this to your advantage.
In the corporate video we produced for Premiere Care Industries, we started with some moving drone imagery of the facilities:
Start with a shot of a person “doing” something
Have you ever seen that old prank where a person stands in a public place and stares at the sky? Within 10 minutes they’ll have 20-30 people around them also staring. Human curiosity is an extremely powerful tool when used properly. By starting your video on shot of a person “doing” something or simply “looking/staring” at something we cannot immediately see - you will peak the viewer's curiosity and they will stay for those extra few seconds that could make all the difference.
Take a look at the video we produced for Blue Waters, in which we started with character looking at her phone to inspire curiosity.
Start with a question
Whether the question is being asked to the audience or it is simply seen as text or another graphic - when a person hears or sees a question they have this instinct to answer it. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to do anything about it, but simply by “engaging” the viewer you are increasing the likelihood that they watch more of your video.
Take a look at the video we produced for Mary Brunetti Education, in which we open with several questions to both "engage" and "prequalify" the viewer.
“Reveal” something that’s initially hard to see
This is something that has to be done carefully, as you don’t want to start with something so obscure or blurry that it turns off the viewer. But if you begin your video with something that you can “almost” see - and then quickly start to reveal what it is - you will engage the viewer's curiosity and they’re more likely to watch for longer. Just keep in mind that whatever is being revealed better be interesting and “worth” the wait - or this tactic might have the opposite effect.
Take a look at this sizzle promo for The Lords of 52nd Street, in which we start with a reveal of their logo through lights and smoke to grab the viewers attention:
Start with a "wow" visual
If you are able to start with a visual that is breathtaking, provocative or otherwise impactful - then that visual may do the job on its own. Of course this visual needs to be relevant to the video in some way so don’t just start with an epic drone shot of a Hawaiian sunset unless there is some reason why that makes sense to the video. Artificially interesting a “wow” visual into a video where it doesn’t fit may increase initial curiosity - but you will confuse the algorithms when you find you are attracting the wrong people.
Take a look at this promo for Runway for a Cause in which we start with some captivating and epic drone footage from the night of the event:
Step 2 - Open With Benefits
Continuing in the same mindset as step 1 above, once we’ve made a strong visual impression your video is likely going to follow with some kind of messaging.
To maximize performance we use a very simple, but very powerful principle: Open With Benefits
Remember this acronym: W.I.I.F.M. It stands for “What’s In It For Me?” and it is the subconscious question that is being asked over and over again in the mind of your viewer while watching your video.
The sooner you answer the question, the better the video will perform.
For some brands this is actually a pretty hard pill to swallow (especially smaller brands who don’t have dedicated marketing departments) but...
The viewer simply does not initially care about your product, service or why you started your company.
All they initially care about is what your product or service can do for them.
Once we understand this, it's very clear that our messaging should not start with facts or figures about the product or service itself. Nor should it start with details about your brand or your company.
The video messaging should start with the BENEFITS that the customer will receive as a result of your product or service.
Nothing is going to peak their interest faster than making it clear they will GET something they WANT.
So whether you're speaking directly to the benefits or you are starting with the problems or pains that they face that necessitate those solutions/benefits - you want to make the benefits to the viewer clear as quickly as possible.
Take a look at the promo we did for Mary Brunetti Education below, you’ll notice that the messaging begins immediately with problems and solutions/benefits. This allows the video to quickly “pre-qualify” the viewer by allowing them to know they are in the right place - and then further talks about the desired results/benefits they will have. This promo generated several hundred thousand dollars in digital sales from cold traffic almost entirely on its own.
Watch video now:
*NOTE: Keep in mind that there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the style of your video is a narrative that is meant to be entertaining, funny, emotional etc… - then setting up the narrative is what’s most important. See “Telling a Story” Below.
Step 3 - Tell A Story
Human beings are programmed to be attracted to stories. It’s one of the oldest and most powerful devices on the planet.
Thousands of years ago when there was no digital technology people would sit around a campfire and tell each other stories - and we’ve been doing it ever since.
And if the grid went down tomorrow, it would be one of the only things that we would continue doing, without missing a beat.
What does this mean to video marketers?
If you want to naturally engage the mind of the viewer, “telling a story” is superior to just providing information.
There are a limitless number of ways to do this just as there are a limitless number of ways to begin a story - so you have to get creative.
The important takeaway is not the specifics, it’s the principle that if the viewer feels like you are setting up a story (even if it’s a very short story) they will be more inclined to stick around.
Take a look at this video we produced for Payaru skin care - within the first 15 seconds we set up a storyline about archeologists searching for a magic mirror:
Step 4 - Have a Strategy (The Sales Funnel)
This principle doesn’t have anything to do with the video itself, but it’s also one of the main reasons that some video marketers don’t get the results they want.
In today’s market it’s not enough to have a killer video - you have to also have a clear strategy in place for who that video is for (target audience), what you want the video to get them to do immediately (call to action) and how to convert that prospect into a customer (nurturing and retargeting).
The most tried-and-true strategy for accomplishing all of the above is, by far, a sales funnel.
In its simplest form, a sales funnel is a step-by-step process for bringing your prospect closer and closer to becoming a customer.
There are several varying models of sales funnels used from market to market, but overall all sales funnels identify at least 4 clear “stages” that your prospect will move through. These stages are:
*You can easily remember the stages of the sales funnel with the acronym AIDA.
This is the TOP of a typical sales funnel and is simply where the prospect becomes aware that your brand, product or service even exists.
These are usually considered “cold” prospects, because it’s assumed that at this point they haven’t had any prior interactions with your business - and so they are not yet familiar enough or “warmed up” enough to make a purchase. Awareness is achieved through marketing and advertising efforts. (TV, Internet, Social ADS, Lead Magnets etc…)
This is the upper middle stage of a typical sales funnel and it’s where the prospect has taken some kind of action that demonstrates “interest” in your brand, product or service.
These are considered “warm” prospects, because it’s clear that more than just being aware, these prospects are actually interested in what you have to offer. They still might not be “warm” enough to purchase - but they are much closer. These prospects need to be nurtured over time (email marketing, retargeting ads) until they are ready to move into the next stage.
This is the lower-middle of a typical sales funnel and it’s where the prospect goes through the process of deciding to take substantial action such as making a purchase. This stage can further be broken down into three sub-stages: consideration, evaluation and intent.
This is the stage where the prospect is warming up to purchase, but they are first going to “consider” actually doing it (such as adding the product to their cart), “evaluation” before making the commitment (such as reading reviews or further “vetting”) and finally demonstrate some kind of “intent” (such as going to the checkout page or some other kind of "commitment behavior.")
This decision stage of the sales funnel is the most complex stage and it’s where most sales funnels absolutely fall apart.
This is the bottom of the sales funnel and the reason why it even exists. The prospect is converted into a customer and the purchase is made. Now is your chance to manage the relationship and generate more purchases from that customer over time.
This is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a profitable sales funnel - but the important takeaway is that in order to make sure your video marketing is effective, you need to understand which stage of the sales funnel the prospect is in when they encounter the video. This will allow you to design different videos or even different versions of the same video to be used at different points in the sales funnel.
See the example flow below:
Top of Funnel - Cold Prospects - Video ADs focused on creating interest, generating leads.
Middle of Funnel - Warm prospects - video retargeting and email content marketing focused on communicating benefits, overcoming objections, establishing authority etc…
Bottom of Funnel - Hot prospects - video retargeting and email marketing focused on creating urgency, asking for the sale, providing reviews / testimonial video etc…
One of the biggest mistakes I see in today’s video marketing (even by larger brands) is just creating a generic video marketing ad, throwing money at it and then expecting the video itself to do all of the work - instead of using the video for what it really is: the single most effective element of a larger marketing strategy.
*NOTE: Intrigue Studios is a video production agency that understands the importance of aligning video with a larger sales strategy - and we use that understanding to guide our creativity through each step of the process. This enables our videos to be as effective as they are entertaining. To discuss the strategy for your next video production, you can contact us here anytime.
Step 5 - The “Every 7” Rule
This is a principle that we do our best to live by with every video - but it’s most important when it comes to video on social media or any kind of “interrupt” marketing for that matter.
Consider changing the visual every 7 seconds - even when it seems unnecessary.
The purpose of this principle is to keep the visual changing and moving so that it’s more engaging and less one-dimensional, but the secondary purpose is to make it more eye-catching when it's being played without volume on social media.
A great example of this principle being used is in promos for online masterclasses such as masterclass.com.
If you look at the below example we produced for Vivienne Mackinder, you’ll notice that we will cut to a different shot AT least every 7 seconds (and sometimes faster, when appropriate.) In fact, one of the main reasons we shot Vivienne speaking from 2 camera angles was so we could cut between them if any soundbite we used was longer than 7 seconds.
It should be noted that this is not a hard and fast rule, but more of a guideline. Artificially cutting to different footage every 7 seconds will NOT, by itself, make your video more effective. But being aware of this principle will help to make your videos more engaging and, if used well, will increase overall watch time.
Step 6 - Being Perceived as “High Quality”
We now live in a world where any person can go on a search engine like google and find a 4k camera with an amazing sensor to buy for a few thousand dollars. But that doesn’t mean that the video produced with that camera will be perceived as “high quality.” There is much more to it than that.
In addition to the camera’s technical settings, which is a rabbit hole we are just not going to go down in this post, there are the matters of lighting and sound to consider.
And believe me when I tell you this - the quality of lighting and sound is MUCH more important than the quality of the camera nowadays.
A professional that knows how to use lighting and sound can create a breathtaking “high-end” & “high quality” looking video with a cell phone, while someone who knows very little could have the best ARRI or RED camera and lenses on the planet, and the resulting video may look subpar and actually be perceived as low quality.
For some brands - it’s important that the TV ad have the polished shine of a national Superbowl ad - because that’s how they are perceived. For other brands, the more DIY, handheld look works great for main ads. And those types of video ads are even being used by larger brands in their retargeting and social campaigns more and more these days.
For example - we were working with LG Electronics when they decided to run an AD for the V10 phone and used the actual phone to make the TV spot. See the ad below.
It’s important to understand that there is a difference between the production value involved in a video and its perception of quality.
A video with a modest production value can still be perceived as a high quality video - and the best way to accomplish that (aside from professional editing) is with beautiful lighting and sound.
You have probably seen tons of good video marketing ads, product videos, explainer videos etc… with modest production values. But I bet that you’ve never seen a good marketing ad that had crappy sound quality or dark and muddy lighting.
One final note here is to make sure you’re considering your target audience when determining how much “production value” is really necessary. Learn more about how to set a budget for video production here.
Step 7 - Tell The Audience What to Do
This is one of the most fundamental principles in marketing, so it’s mind boggling to me how many video ads I see that don’t do this - or do it poorly.
Every marketing video, and I mean EVERY VIDEO should have some kind of call to action (CTA).
This DOES NOT mean to add a “call now” banner to the end of every marketing video… that would be tacky.
I’m saying that because every marketing video exists (or at least should exist) for a specific reason with a clear purpose - there should be something specific that you want the video to accomplish. (Depending on the part of your sales funnel for which it was designed.)
Based on that purpose - the video should somehow, someway tell the audience to do the thing you want them to do.
In some cases this can be as direct as: call us now. But it can also be less direct.
For example, in the below video we produced for Apple & Eve, the video ends by mentioning that “parents” (the target audience) have this new option that tastes great for their kids - and then also mentions when it will be available.
This is a much softer call to action as the viewer has to infer that they should go and buy it. (But keep in mind that this video was accompanied by a “shop now” link when used in marketing - so the direct call to action was not as vital)
Don’t Forget To Test
As we mentioned in our section on the sales funnel, it’s really not enough to create a single marketing video, upload it to social media and then expect the sales to roll in.
You really have to treat video marketing as an ongoing experiment in which you are constantly measuring results and making adjustments.
If your marketing videos follow the 7 steps above, they are going to be much more effective and you will be driving sales and leads for your company and increasing sales - and you can even bring in a video production agency if you’d prefer to focus more on your business and the overall strategy.
I hope you found this post helpful, let me know in the comments if you have any questions or think there is anything that should be added.