Is there a formula for creating great video marketing?

As I mentioned in my last post on avoiding corporate lingo in your videos, the way you begin humanizing your brand is by making the viewer feel like you understand them. A lot of the people I produce explainer videos for are amazed at how quickly we are able to get the gist of what they do and interpret it into a clear and concise message. The truth is…I have a formula.

From large publicly traded corporations on down to scrappy startups, I’ve worked with a lot of different industries and verticals. Everyone is unique and has its own set of challenges and unique audience demographics. But they all have one thing in common: People. Some audiences may skew male versus female, some may be more the 15-25 year old demographic versus the over 40 crowd, but regardless, they are all people.

So this very simple formula I use helps keeps the audience at the core of the message. If what you’re saying doesn’t ring true with your audience, then it doesn’t need to be said. Leave it on the cutting room floor (of course everything is digital so the cutting room floor analogy may be passé…but I digress).

Here are the five steps to my formula which is the building block to truly humanizing a viewer’s experience while watching a video:

1. Identify your audience

Who is the viewer who makes purchasing decisions regarding your product or service? Are they typically male or female? Is there an age range? There are a number of other questions to consider, but identifying this demographic or persona helps you make decisions about the tone of the script, whether the voice over is male or female and what the soundtrack is playing in the background. Preferences will vary depending on the persona you’re targeting, but you must know who the video will be designed to appeal to right from the start in order to make targeted and strategic video choices throughout the production process.

2. Speak to their pain

pain pointsNow that you know who that person is, what’s their problem? Why are they researching what it is you do? How does what you do impact the end user watching the video? Once you know this you can script the video to that person to answer “What’s In It For Me” or WIIFM. Once you grab the viewer’s attention with empathy (show them you understand their problem), clearly show them what’s in it for them.

3. Solve their pain points

Once you have the viewer’s curiosity piqued (maybe you’ve listed common scenarios they face), you can begin tying what you do back into the viewer’s experience. Chances are they are already at least remotely interested in what you do if they are viewing your video, so now that you’ve shown them your competence about their issues, outline how you can solve their problems.

4. Assure everything will be OK

Now that you have empathized with the viewer and explained how your product or service will help them, let them know it will be OK. That’s all they really want to know. Give them an overall incentive or benefit they’ll experience. Whether it’s more golf time, being named employee of the month, or just a less stressful day, let them know that serenity is within reach.

5. Prompt action!

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. So it’s critical that whatever call to action you want the viewer to take next is clearly identified. Also, choose just one specific thing you want them to do. It could be something direct like filling out a contact form right next to the video on the landing page, signing up for a free trial or even something keeping them more passively engaged with your brand like filling out a poll or answering a question on Twitter. Whatever it is just be sure it’s clear and a natural extension to close your video with.

A great example of using this formula is Dropbox’s video:

When Dropbox made this video they had a really cool service but the problem was, most of their potential customers didn’t even know they had a problem with their file storage because they didn’t know there was a better solution. By making a relatable example with “Josh” almost anyone can relate to having to move files from one computer to another. Josh’s safari was a big success, life is good. They ended with asking the viewer to download now. This video was made almost six years ago. Fast forward to today, and Dropbox has over 200 million users and the video was certainly a huge part of their exponential growth.

So I know what you’re saying. Dropbox is the Cinderella story. This sort of formula wouldn’t work for your business. Well, here’s another example of an explainer video my company produced for Broadridge Financial for a product they offer called Intelligent Fulfillment Solutions or IFS:

Sending out all of these reports is a huge burden on the Vice President of Operations or COO and so we began building empathy for that situation. Then we moved to solving their pain points showing how IFS works and simplifies this process. Then we jump back to the Vice President of Operations back at the office after she saves the day. Finally we close with asking the viewer to sign up for a complimentary webinar to learn more.

Broadridge being a publicly traded financial company is under a huge amount of scrutiny and is required that all the marketing meet compliance standards. So they could have stuck to the safe route and used a bunch of corporate gobbledygook, but they didn’t and it won for them big.

There’s no reason why this formula couldn’t work for you to help humanize your own B2B brand. Give it a try or maybe you have already? Let us know if you have or maybe have your own formula in the comments below!

Eric Guerin