How to Sell with Video

Viral videos like the one from Dollar Shave Club are fun and entertaining, but can they sell products and services effectively?

Absolutely. In our previous posts in this series, we’ve gone over the exploding demand for commercial video and the unique advantages that medium creates. Even with those compelling reasons, the thought of creating sales videos can seem intimidating.

But it doesn’t have to be. You can tap into the key principles that make sales videos effective to connect with prospects in a memorable way, make more sales, and grow your business.

Here’s how…

Start with a Storyboard or Script

How can you build a house without a blueprint? The answer is: you can’t. In the same way, a video without a storyboard is like a house without a foundation.

You know your business like the back of your hand. But even if you could cold call prospects in your sleep, you should begin your sales videos with a storyboard or script.

Doing this creates a framework for you to follow in order to sell systematically. It also forces you to think about every word in your video and weed out the filler. This is especially important online, as the average user’s attention span is only about 8 seconds.

Nothing kills conversions quite like a long, boring sales video. Pare your script down to what’s absolutely necessary, and you’ll make your video more compelling.

And how do you determine what’s “absolutely necessary?” If you have any doubts about the strongest selling points of your product or service, turn to customer feedback for insight.

You can collect invaluable feedback from survey tools like Qualaroo or Survey Monkey. Collect enough data, and you’ll start to notice trends. A few areas to watch for:

  • Common objections that keep users from buying
  • Common misconceptions or confusion about what you’re selling
  • Unique language users use to describe their problem or frustration

You can use this feedback to tailor your sales video to a select group of people: your target customers. Speak in their language and remove the common roadblocks to doing business with you, and you’ve set the foundation for a persuasive sales video.

Creating a Compelling Sales Video: 4 Essential Persuasion Elements

Once you have a script or storyboard ready to go, it’s time to create the sales video. Integrating these 4 elements into your video will help you connect with users and persuade more of them to become customers:

1. Identify the viewer’s problem

Nothing motivates prospects to buy like a frustration or problem they can’t fix. Identifying that problem shows viewers you understand them. It’s a great way to grab their attention and get them receptive to watching the rest of the video.

Beginning your sales videos with this allows you to, in the words of legendary copywriter Robert Collier, “enter the conversation already taking place in your prospect’s mind.”

Depending on what you’re selling, this could be simple or require a bit of finesse. If you’re an auto mechanic, for instance, you don’t have to convince drivers they have a problem when their car starts smoking. But that could change if you’re selling something more complicated or technical. Sometimes it takes showing users they have a problem in the first place – getting them to recognize and understand its implications – before they become willing to watch the rest of your sales video.

Take a look how Vidyard does this. Less than 20 seconds into the video, they identify a key problem (not knowing if you’re getting the most of your video marketing), which gets attention and shows viewers they understand them.

2. Frame your offer as the solution to the problem

Showing viewers you understand their problem is just the first step. If you can’t convince them you’re offering a solution to that problem, you’ll find their interest fizzles quickly.

A lot of businesses go on about product features and other details. But they don’t “connect the dots” for their viewers. They don’t explain how their product or services solve the viewers’ problems.

People are only interested in what you’re selling to the extent it can help them solve their problems or frustrations. Don’t assume they’ll make connections you might find obvious, and you’ll strengthen your sales video.

Check out how Shopify does this. They sell Ecommerce software, but that isn’t the focus of the video. The video frames the software as a solution to their viewers’ problem: not having a place to sell their products.

3. Introduce your unique selling proposition (USP)

Unless you’re selling underwater basket weaving classes, you probably aren’t the only one fighting for business in your niche.

The people you want to become your customers are acutely aware of this. That’s why your sales video is the perfect time to introduce your Unique Selling Proposition (or “USP.”) What can your viewers get from doing business with you that they can’t get anywhere else?

Is it an unbeatable cost?

Zappos-level customer service?

Valuable bonus products?

Whatever it is, convey that unique value in your sales video. This helps convince viewers that you not only can provide a solution to their problems; you’re the best choice to do it.

Crowd Bass, a viral crowdfunding platform for music artists, does a phenomenal job of this. It doesn’t take long – only about 12 seconds – for them to start explaining how they’re different than their competitors and the unique value they offer.

4. Ask viewers for action

Your sales video might be fun, but entertainment isn’t the main reason you want people to watch it. You want them to consume the information inside and act after they see it.

Asking for action is such a simple step, but it’s also where a lot of businesses fall short. Even if viewers think your video was fantastic and are convinced you could help them, it’s easy for them to linger in their comfort zone (non-action). So a little encouragement of what to do next can help them follow through.

You don’t have to be pushy, but you should ask for action to capture the interest your video creates. Take a look how Olark, a live chat software provider, does this in their video. They encourage viewers to contact them via live chat to see how effective the software is for themselves.

Placing Your Video

Once you’ve created your sales video, it’s time to place it on your web page. You can do this strategically to increase your number of video views and viewer engagement.

Invodo used research to develop some evergreen strategies for video placement. They found that ideal video placement for engagement and page views is:

  • Above the fold: more users will watch your sales video if they don’t have to scroll down your web page to find it
  • Uses a large video player: a larger video player (400-500 or more pixels) gets more views and engagement than a small video player
  • Includes a text call to action near the video: including written copy that tells users what to do (“Click to play video” or something similar) can increase views and engagement

Visual Website Optimizer also found that embedding videos directly into web pages (as opposed to just linking to them) increases conversions.

Optimizing Your Sales Video for Conversions

Applying the principles above will create a strong foundation for a compelling sales video.

But this process – creating the video and placing it on your website – is just the beginning. Just like with your written copy, testing your sales video will give you the data you need to optimize it for more conversions.

Free video platforms like YouTube include basic video analytics. You could also opt for premium video software like Wistia or Vidyard to help you collect the data you need.

Your testing options are only limited by your imagination. Here are a few popular elements you can test to get started:

  • Video placement on your sales page
  • The length of the video
  • The video narrator
  • Your call to action
  • The size of your embedded video
  • Your video thumbnail

Over to You

A sales video can help you connect with users on a deeper level and drive more of them to become your customers.

It doesn’t have to be intimidating. The key is getting started. You’ll learn what resonates best with your audience as you experiment and test. Keep the principles of effective sales videos in mind, and you’re in good shape to grow your business.

Stay tuned for the next post in this video marketing series. You’ll see how companies from a variety of niches are using video to show their products and services in action… and how you can do the same!

Have you used videos to sell your products or services? What did you struggle with the first time? Leave a comment below and let us know.