Whilst we’ll admit to being a little biased here, we would honestly struggle to think of a better way to promote a product than via the medium of product videos. Making a product video is a highly effective, if not the most effective, way to inform your audience of your product’s merits and persuade them to invest in your brand.
But don’t just take our word for it. 88% of people say that they have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video, according to research conducted by Wyzowl, and data collected by Think with Google indicates that online videos have helped more than half of shoppers to decide which brand or product to buy.
Before you start shooting your miniature masterpiece, however, you’ll need to produce a script that does your product justice. As Alfred Hitchcock famously observed, there are three things that are required in order to make a great film: the script, the script and the script. Putting together a high-quality product video script will enable you to highlight your product’s key selling points and present a strong case to your target market.
Prepare a video brief
Creating videos is often a fun and ultimately very rewarding experience. With that said, making a product video from scratch might sound a little intimidating.
Taking the time to write a video brief can help you to overcome some of the fears and creative blocks that you might have at the outset. It will also provide your project with the structure and guidance that it needs to get off the ground.
Begin with a good old-fashioned brainstorm. You’ll be able to start outlining the form that your video will take if you ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is your target market?
- Where would you like your product video to be shown, e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, TV, etc.
- What are your product’s main selling points?
- What video style would be most appropriate for your product?
- How do you want your audience to view your product at the end of the video?
- What is your budget?
- What is your deadline?
Setting out this information in a clear format will help your team to understand your creative vision, and there are a number of creative briefs that you can download for free to help you on your way. Ideally, you’ll be able to summarise your concept with a snappy logline, e.g.
A down-on-his-luck gardener realises that the only thing that can help him successfully deter hordes of evil slugs from eating his cabbages is copious amounts of copper wire.
Make things easier with script and storyboard templates
Once you have a video brief that you and your team are happy with, it’s time to start drafting your script.
You can choose from a wide range of product video script templates and other online tools that will make the scriptwriting process much easier. Using a script template can help you build upon your original concept and develop it into a story that can act as the foundation of your product video.
The process of scriptwriting is sometimes followed by storyboarding, which involves creating a visual representation of your video and breaking the action into individual panels. There is a wide range of storyboarding software tools that you can use to generate images, and a number of storyboard templates can also be downloaded free of charge, giving you the option to select a template that is best suited to your product video format.
Captivate your audience with a strong opening
We’ve all been there. After having settled down to watch a video on YouTube, you groan inwardly upon realising that you’ll have to sit through yet another set of ads before you can watch the content that you’re really interested in. The only saving grace is that you have the option of skipping them after just five seconds; you won’t have to endure a couple of unskippable 30-second ads.
Every once in a while, however, you’ll find yourself watching past the five-second mark – and perhaps even watch until the very end of the video. Why one might ask, would anyone in their right mind choose to watch somebody attempt to sell their products online?
The answer lies, quite simply, in the hook. Think of the video hook as a magical device that allows you to grab your audience’s attention – even to the point where they’ll happily delay watching whatever it is that they initially came to see for a precious half a minute or so.
Like most magical instruments, the hook can take a number of forms. It can take the form of a question (‘What if you never had to worry about deadlines again?’), an interesting fact, a joke or a direct address to your viewer. Your first task as a product video scriptwriter is to capture your audience’s attention in the first 3-5 seconds of your video – and that means finding a good hook.
The people in charge of marketing Dr. Squatch soap to men have really perfected the art of the hook over the years, as this video demonstrates:
[Dr. Squatch X The Batman™ Collection – Limited Edition]
We’re still kicking ourselves for not having launched a product video that begins with the words ‘‘Gotham City is riddled with filth’, accompanied by wonderfully foreboding music. This short opening statement, uttered in a declarative tone, combines a pop-culture reference with a dollop of humour. And it works magnificently.
You’ll even find comments that attest to the effectiveness of this approach:
Come up with an opening statement that leaves the right impression on your audience, and your chances of capturing their attention to the point where they’ll choose not to hit the skip button will rise dramatically. Even if you have no interest in advertising on YouTube, the same principle should apply: you should aim to capture your audience’s attention within a matter of seconds.
Introduce your viewers to your product
Once you’ve decided upon a good opening, it’s time to introduce your audience to the product and your brand. You may even decide that you’d like to introduce yourself at this point, although we’d advise that you keep your bio short and snappy!
If you intend on making a relatively short video, i.e. a video in the 30-60 second range, a mention of the product itself and some accompanying close-up shots should be more than enough to acquaint your viewers with your offering. Ideally, your product will be introduced as offering a solution to a problem that your viewer might have or as having the potential to make their lives easier.
Observe how the difficulties involved in prospecting and selling are discussed at the beginning of this product demo video, before the ZoomInfo Engage sales tool is introduced as a solution.
If, however, you’re inclined to produce a longer-form piece (1-2 minutes), the intro can also serve as a great opportunity to introduce your audience to your brand as well.
In our product video for Everhot, we used the intro section to talk about Everhot’s brand story: namely, Osman Goring’s vision of an environmentally-friendly electric range cooker that could run off the water turbine that he’d installed at Coaley Mill, where Everhot continues to be based.
[Everhot Brand Film]
Sell your product in the body of your video
The body of your video is where you need to convince your audience of the myriad benefits that your product has to offer. Put simply, it’s time to get selling!
Revisit the key selling points that you identified when working on your video brief. Is there a unique selling point (USP) that sets your product apart from the competition? If so, make this front and centre of your sales pitch, and aim to follow up with 2-3 extra benefits that your product could provide to your users.
The Dollar Shave Club launched its brand with this famous (some might say infamous) promotional video in March 2012, and it’s an absolute masterclass in how this is done.
[DollarShaveClub.com – Our Blades Are F***ing Great]
Within a couple of days of this video going live, Dollar Shave Club had received more than 10,000 orders. And it’s not hard to see why.
There’s no getting away from the fact that Michael Dubin’s outrageous brand of humour is a huge part of this video’s appeal and perhaps even a selling point in its own right. But once you look past the offbeat tone and hilarious one-liners and instead focus on the substance of this video, it becomes apparent that the case for Dollar Shave Club’s products is presented in a compelling, logical fashion.
Dollar Shave Club’s USP, i.e. razors that are sold at a significantly lower price point than its better-established competitors, is referred to throughout the video, and the body of the video is divided into digestible, 15-second segments in which each of the various features, e.g. stainless steel blades and a pivot head, razors that are delivered to your doorstep, etc. are presented to the viewer. We followed a similar structure in our product videos for Aldi.
The body of your product video is your golden opportunity to go in for the kill and sell your heart out. Just remember that your pitch will be all the more effective if you focus on how the customer could benefit from your product, and address specific pain points that your target market might have. It’s all very well talking about the fabulous features that your product might offer, but you’ll make a much stronger case if you demonstrate how those features can make a real difference to their lives.
Including positive user reviews in the body of your script provides a degree of social proof, and it will help to reinforce the sense that your product is providing something of value.
Inspire action with a clear CTA
Having made your product utterly irresistible to your audience, you now need to translate engagement into action from your viewers!
Whilst this is a relatively straightforward step, it is easily one of the most important; without a clear prompt to take action, you risk confusing your viewers and sending them on an internet scavenger hunt.
Close the deal with a short, clear instruction to do whatever it is that you want them to do – whether that’s to sign up for a custom demo, start a free trial or click through to your website. If your aim is to drive traffic through to your product page, include an end screen call-to-action. A simple command, such as ‘Buy Now’, normally does the trick:
[Google Home: Celebrity]
Strike the right tone
Once you’ve put together a draft script, it’s highly advised that you read it all aloud to yourself (after having taken a well-earned break, of course!).
Do a table-read in order to finetune the tone and remove the parts of your script that sound too formal or robotic. Don’t be afraid to include words or phrases (gonna, wanna, etc.) that give your video a natural, laid-back feel: a conversational approach is almost always the best approach when making product videos. Write the script according to how you would like the subject of your video to speak.
Finally, avoid marketing buzzwords and complicated jargon like the plague. Keep both your sentences and the words that you use short and sweet – this is a far better way to keep your audience engaged than blathering on about synergy and synchronicity. What you really want to do is infuse your video with the authentic personality of your brand.
Man Crates’ product videos are a good example of how brands can project a masculine voice in a humorous fashion to great effect:
[Wooden Crate Grand Opening]
It’s time to get writing!
Creating persuasive product videos is a great way to breathe new life into your brand and lay the groundwork for a successful product launch. It also just so happens to be something that we genuinely enjoy doing at Small Films.
If you’re in need of further inspiration, check out the product videos that we have produced over the years, and head on over to our YouTube channel to see all of our latest work.
Small Films is a video production company in London. Our team of videographers, editors and animators create all sorts of videos, including awesome testimonial videos, explainer videos and animations that can help bring your brand to life. Do get in touch; we’d love to hear from you!