4 Essential Ingredients for a Video that Converts

by 1 05/20/2013

It’s hard to find many companies these days that aren’t leveraging online video. You’ll often land on a homepage and find a short explainer video introducing you to a product or service.

And it’s easy to see why.

Video is engaging, fun, and a heck of a lot more interesting than a page or two of text. What’s more, it works.

According to a study by comScore, website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product from an online retailer after watching a video. After Crazy Egg launched its explainer video, conversion rates increased 64%, generating $21,000 in extra monthly revenue.

There are plenty of stats that help make the case for online video, but don’t go out and spend your hard earned money just yet. Producing an online video can be expensive and time consuming, and you want to do it right. So let’s first take a look at the essential ingredients for producing a video that converts.

1. Write a conversion-oriented script

blockbuster video

I’ve said it a hundred times, but I’ll say it again — a well-written script truly is the foundation of any successful video. Take almost any summer blockbuster film for example. They spend millions on talent and special effects, but the script almost never lives up to the rest.

The same can be true of online videos. You can spend $50,000 or more on Avatar-esque 3D animation, but if the script doesn’t effectively communicate your message, it’s money down the drain.

Neil Patel gives a great overview for writing an explainer video script on his blog, Quicksprout (see steps #2-3 below).

He says to start by surveying your customers and potential customers. Figure out what currently confuses them about your product or service, and try to understand what problem you’re helping them solve.

Once you have a grasp on what really matters to your future viewers, you can begin the writing process.

For more ideas, check out this article on inexpensive video marketing.

My advice

Use the same simple script-development process we use at Demo Duck:

  1. Illustrate a problem or pain point that your customers can relate to

  2. Introduce a solution (your product or service)

  3. Explain how it works (don’t get too detailed here)

  4. Close with a convincing call to action

2. Use visuals that don’t suck

Now that you have a solid foundation in place, it’s time to think about the visuals.

I believe visuals are secondary to a well converting video, but they’re still important. If you go too “low budget” it will reflect poorly on your brand and give people the wrong impression of your company.

There’s nothing worse than a great company with an awful video. By the same token, getting too fancy with the visuals can distract from the message. Sometimes simpler is better (see the Eventbrite video below). And since your video may be the first impression people have of you, it’s critical to get the balance right.

My advice

If you’re shooting a live action video, make sure you invest in proper lighting and a decent camera. If you prefer animation, try to work with an experienced designer you trust — someone who can accurately reflect your brand and personality. At the end of the day, so long as use visuals that “don’t suck,” you should be okay.

3. Have a clear call-to-action

Any veteran salesperson will probably tell you that you need to “ask for the sale.” The same concept is true with online video.

At the end of your video, you should provide a clear next step for viewers. Ask them to sign up for a trial, give you a call, or make a purchase. And don’t just ask them, show them! A lot of video hosting platforms now give you the ability to add a clickable call-to-action at the end of your video.

Here’s a nice call-to-action example from Crazy Egg.

My advice

Social proof always helps, whether it’s mentioning your thousands of satisfied customers or flashing some high-profile logos. It works on the web, so why not in a video?

Another good way to drive action is to provide a clickable link at the end of the video. This could be part of the design on the web page where you host the video, or you could embed a link directly into the video which can be done pretty easily with most third party video hosting services.

4. Don’t forget proper hosting and placement

I’m always surprised how many companies spend good money on a video, only to place it on some interior page of their website in a second-rate video player. If you’re going to make a great video, don’t drop the ball before the finish line!

For starters, choose a video host based on your business goals. A lot of B2C companies choose YouTube because they have billions of users and can serve as a platform for taking your video “viral.”

If you’re in the B2B space like us, check out a service like Wistia or Vidyard. Wistia is built with businesses in mind. It offers access to video analytics and the ability to customize your unbranded player any way you want it.

It also keeps your video on your domain, which means that if it ends up as a rich snippet in Google search results, visitors will end up on your website and not somewhere else. Like this one did…

Video Brewery Rich Snippet

My advice

Put your video somewhere people can find it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be front and center, but it shouldn’t be a game of Where’s Waldo either. And don’t just confine your video to your website, use it in e-newsletters, email signatures, and at company events.

MiniTime Video Placement

Have you been leveraging online video at your business? Please share your conversion tips in the comments!

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About 

Andrew Follett is the Founder and CEO at Demo Duck and Video Brewery, where he builds handcrafted explainer videos. He lives in Chicago, loves startups, and enjoys traveling. You can find more video tips and tricks on his blog or follow him on Twitter at @demoduckvideo.

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