When Tom Dickson first stepped up to the camera, he didn’t just say “We’ve got a great product.” He quietly donned goggles and a lab coat and force-fed seemingly random objects like hockey pucks and crowbars into one of his Blendtec kitchen blenders.

Tom’s a unique individual in that he understands a core principle of attention-grabbing videos: Never tell when you can show.

If you reach out to prospects through a visual medium like video, it pays to be like Tom. Use visuals to your full advantage and, as I always say, get super meta about your product.

Show, Don’t Tell

Blendtec’s videos have been viewed more than 18 million times on YouTube and all have two things in common: They show—not tell—that Blendtec makes one badass blender, and the thumbnails all crackle with intrigue. Many feature a mysterious person in a lab coat dangling an iPhone over a blender. It makes the audience wonder, he won’t really drop it… will he?

Viewers are hooked before they even press play. You can do this too. If you’ve got something worth showing off, demonstrate it. If the customer recognizes that thing, even better. For example, one of their products.

Hold up something from, for, or about their company in your video (though maybe don’t blend it). Make sure it’s featured in the thumbnail (like Blendtec’s dangling iPhone) so you catch their attention at first glance.

If your prospect sells clothing, wear their shirt. Or hold up a pair of their shoes, and describe how many miles you’ve walked and what you love about them.
Here’s an example from the sales team at League, a healthcare benefits provider, where Brock Arbo holds up a cold can of Ace Hill Beer:

If the prospect offers a service that can’t really be held on camera, relate to it on a personal level. Don’t just tell them that you love their store—show them why. Get excited. Is the customer service superior? Do you always leave with more items than you meant to purchase, because you’re so drawn to the brand?

The more personal your examples, the better—your prospect will see that you’ve done your homework and you’ll subtly prove that you aren’t just blindly blasting the same message to everybody.

Personalizing and customizing give you major credibility props – which makes it more compelling to respond to you. You’ve already proven you’re not going to waste their time with the “tell me about your business” lameness.

Here’s Brock again, this time tailoring his outreach to a fellow hockey fan:

To really get meta, tease your prospects with a taste of the service you’ll provide so they can see just how useful, believable, and in this case, flattering, working with you will be. If you offer a review service, give them a positive mock-review. If you offer an AI that reads documents and spits out insights, run it on their company’s public terms of service and show them what it found.

Your outreach is a preview of what it’s like to work with you. Make it memorable. As Vidyard’s own Tyler Lessard once put it, “You can send as many emails as you want about your product, but until prospects actually sees and feels, there’s no ah-ha moment.”

If you can’t get your hands on a product or can’t relate to the service, at least write the prospects logo or name on a whiteboard. If the first thing they see is your face next to a whiteboard with their name, they can see instantly that the video is relevant, and they’re more likely to click.

Pull up their website or their LinkedIn profile and record from that page. Seeing themselves in the thumbnail is irresistible. You have their attention and they will definitely push play and hear your message, see your face, and you have climbed several levels ahead on their learning curve compared to sending a text based email.

It Sure Beats Text

Could Tom Dickson just have sent a scripted email to a bunch of kitchen suppliers hoping to sell them on Blendtec? Sure. But by making visually enchanting videos, he proved how much he believes in his product, and ensured that his viewers saw it for themselves instead of taking his word for it. So can you.

To maximize your outbound email intrigue, remember: Never tell when you can show, and get super meta.

Photo of a woman waving at a computer—text reads:

Shawn Sandy