But it took no less than 100 hours of brainstorming, researching, writing, with a little screaming, tossed in for good measure.
We’ve learned a lot from creating product and promo videos over the years and thought we’d share our process with you.
You know you need a product video but are intimidated by the process and are unsure of where to start, so continue reading on to see every the step we took to create one excellent video:
Lets set the ground rules early. A promotional video needs to be more than just an extended sales pitch.
No one likes being pitched to. “Your life is nothing but a dark hole without my product!! You must buy it now. It will turn your life into the fantasy you always desired!!” Nope, I’ll pass, thanks anyhow.
Consumers have had a lot of promotions in all shapes and forms stuffed down their throats and are tired of it.
Every day, we are bombarded with ads and videos, be it on the TV, at the movie theatre, on the internet, in the newspapers, in magazines, on the streets, on the radio – even trailing behind airplanes in the sky. You just can’t escape from ads today, no matter how hard you try
Since we’re all so used to seeing ads, we have become desensitized to them.
Everyday pitches simply no longer work –, especially in video.
Today’s consumers recognize a pitch promo right from the very start. And it’s so frustrating that they just stop watching.
What makes this video stand out from others?
Why does it connect with so many people?
The most important aspect is – it’s entertaining.
Who doesn’t like being entertained?
We like to laugh.
If a brand can make you laugh, then they are memorable, and they have us in the palm of their hand.
The Dollar Shave Club video controls what we’re laughing at – it’s clever, witty and satirical.
It’s a lot more than that.
The video gets things right on many levels by creating an engaging, attention-grabbing promo video that you retain and share. It not only held the audience right to the very last second but produced sales conversions.
Let’s dig in and take a closer look at all the things it does right and dig into how these attributes can be transferred to your promotional video.
Study the opening of the video.
It’s personal and engaging, “Hi, I’m Mike, founder of Dollarshaveclub.com.”
Notice Mike talks directly to the camera as if he is talking directly to you as in person?
He’s introduced himself first.
He’s made a personal connection with his audience – you.
It made sounds too simple to be true. But it works both in person and in videos.
He holds your attention with his eyes contact as he continues to talk, and you listen.
Mike’s an eccentric and unusual character. As a result, we almost instantly bond and identify with him because he somehow seems real, human. We like him – right from his introduction.
The takeaway – Create a personal bond with your audience from the beginning, and hold it and develop it from start to finish.
Mike is continuously physically moving in his video. And this works, it holds your attention.
There is real action.
Think about the script – as funny and entertaining as it is, would it have the same effect if Mike was standing in front of a blank wall or green screen?
No, it wouldn’t, it’s the whole animation and movement within the video that captures us.
The takeaway – Keep things moving and interesting. You can do this with different camera angles if you want, and use graphics and/or cartoon figures. Have the cartoon character jump into your product, demonstrate the benefits or hire a local comedian and have them work with you on the script and use them as the character in the video. You, don’t want to bore your audience to death with just one shot of you telling your target market customer to buy your product. They won’t.
“So what is Dollar Shave Club?” Mike asked eloquently.
Pretty simple scripting that works to hook the viewer – the consumer doesn’t know, which leads them to want Mike to tell them more.
Before watching the video, you didn’t care what Dollar Shave Club was or did, but now that question is implanted in your head, it forces us to continue watching to satisfy our curiosity.
And you’re more than happy to do so because the video is just so darn engaging and entertaining
The takeaway – Make the viewer care about the product. Ask a question to the audience and then proceed to answer it. Plant seeds that you’ll harvest later in the video.
What Dollar Shave Club does is that it solves a very specific and genuine problem – buying (and remembering to buy) lots and lots of expensive razors.
The solution is in the offer – “For $1 a month we send you high-quality razors right to your door.”
The lesson – Work out exactly what problem your product or service is solving, explain it succinctly in your video, and then say how you’re going to solve it.
The art of rhetoric centers around the concept of predicting objections to a presented argument – in this case, “Are our blades any good?” – and putting them to bed immediately – “No, they’re f**king great.”
The Dollar Shave Club’s promo does this with humor – the incongruous and unexpected swearing makes us laugh. But, it’s also a f**king bold statement to make, and, as such, we trust it. We believe it. Give me those blades right now!
The takeaway – There are two in this example. The first is not to be afraid to be bold. If your product is as good as you think it is, then say so.
The second is to try and predict any objections to your argument and dedicate a section of your video script to overcome them. This reduces consumers fear of your product.
What the Dollar Shave Club promo video should teach you is that the “Us vs. Them” psychology is massively at play.
Mike creates an enemy through the use of humor with “And do you like spending $20 a month on brand name razors? Nineteen go to Roger Federer.”
What Mike is saying is that paying for celebrity endorsements is costly and wasteful marketing that results in brand name razors being so expensive.
Consumers probably assume this already – but by calling it out, it adds another level of personal connection with Mike and his brand.
The takeaway – Try and position yourself as the knight in shining armor that will save consumers money and from things they distrust or don’t like. Remember, your brand and product are the solutions consumers have been waiting for.
Mike wants his potential customer to know that he’s creating jobs.
This might seem like it’s shaving almost too close to the bone, but it’s a fact, and that adds value to his product.
He’s giving people work – and that’s priceless in any economy.
“What were you doing last month…?
Not working… What are you doing this month…?
As you progress through the video, Mike adds additional value, this time in hard cash in your pocket – “Start deciding where you’re going to stack all those dollar bills I’m saving you.”
Mike is making a big push to emphasize the value added in savings – a big stack of extra dollar bills.
It feels like he’s paying you, rather than the other way around (and this is a feat and a conceit that we forgive Mike, precisely because he’s so likable and his video so entertaining and funny – indeed, the humor of the video is added value in itself).
The takeaway – Never overlook the obvious. No matter where it is that your product adds value – and that doesn’t necessarily have to be on the price – highlight it to the audience. Get a bit creative if you have to, and try and unearth some more profound value points that might otherwise be missed.
Mike’s call to action is to party.
There’s a dancing bear and disco lights and dollar bills being flitted around with a leaf blower.
If you want to have as much fun at this party as Mike, then you better start buying his razor blades.
The takeaway – Its all about adding value. The more, the better. You need to make your potential customer feel that you are sincere and they feel like they’re going to have a good time by doing business with you.
“Shave Time. Shave Money.”
You’ll remember that it sticks in your head. It rhymes. It’s a pun. It’s memorable.
The Takeaway – Come up with a memorable tagline for your product or service. Something that indicates what your product does for the customer and how it benefits them. It doesn’t have to rhyme or be a pun as Dollar Shave Club, but it has to convey the brand, the product and, the added value all in one.
Like any content, you need to know your goals before you start.
Brands can use video in the various stages of the customer journey. Depending on what your business needs are and where you are in the process, you may want a video for any of number of purposes, ranging from:
Your goals help you determine the kind of video you should produce.
To build brand awareness – do a short video that builds your brand.
Want to improve customer adoption and retention – create video tutorials for different product benefits, zooming in on exact problems you solve.
Once you have your goals set, it’s easier to write the script.
The takeaway: Ask yourself, why are we doing this video? What problem are we trying to solve?
Now that you have your goal set now you need to decide who your target market is and who exactly you are addressing and the message you need to convey.
First, who is this video for?
Knowing your target market persona will aid in setting the tone and language to address them, increasing the video’s effectiveness.
Then decide, what do we want to emphasize in the video? What is the problem you are solving for? Why should people care? How do you solve the problem?
These questions should help you narrow your focus on just the benefits that your product brings to the consumer in the video, and make them memorable.
The Takeaway: do your homework to find out who your target audience is and how your product solves their problem.
The script is the foundation of your entire video. Like the script of a movie, you know that a good story needs some sort of conflict or enemy, and then a resolution. Same goes for a good product video.
Setting up the challenge
You need first to set up the context and the challenges (conflict or enemy) faced by your target audience. Then, you introduce your product as a solution (resolution) to their problem.
Use the right tone of voice to reflect your brand
The tone of your video should represent your brand voice and what you’re selling. If you’re representing yourself as a smart solution, sound smart. If you’re Dollar Shave Club, sound fun.
Speak your audience’s language. Are they tech geeks who like to use tech jargon? Or are they teenagers who speak in emojis and slang? To connect with and convince your audience, you have to use the same language as they do.
No one cares about features, it all about me and the benefit you bring to them
Your customers don’t care about you. Or your product. They care about themselves, and their problem. The only way to get them to care about your product is to show them how you can solve their problem.
So if you’re selling razors, talk about the quality of your razor blades and the money you’ll save them. The razor is the feature, the money saved is the benefit. Your script needs to be focused on benefits.
Once you’ve nailed down your script, its time to create the video’s storyboard. A storyboard lays out exactly what you want to show in the video, frame per frame.
So from the script, ask yourself, what am I showing on the screen as I’m saying this?
Get an outsider’s perspective
When you write the script and create the storyboard, you’ll find that you are now to close to it, as a result, you cannot tell what rocks and what sucks anymore.
Invite your sales, customer service and, tech teams to comment on them. They will be able to look at them objectively and with fresh eyes giving useful feedback and insights to improve the video.
Once your video is ready, you need to get it out there for the world to see.
Based on your goals, you have to decide where you want to share and host your video.
A few common options are:
Hosting your video
Are you going to host your video on YouTube?
It’s everybody’s go-to platform for videos, and if we target the right keywords, we can reach a big audience that’s never heard of us. It being completely free also helps.
The only problem is, when you embed a YouTube video on a page on your website, people can click away from your page to watch on YouTube instead, thus less likely to continue reading or doing what we want them to.
YouTube also display lots of ads and suggested videos, which may very well be one of our competitors’.
Consider giving platforms like Wistia a try; it has no ads and no way for viewers to click away from the page.
When you embed videos on your site, you’ll enjoy full control over the branding, including the option to add social sharing buttons, a clickable call to action, divide the video into different chapters, etc.
Creating a product video is more work and more challenging than many realize.
It’s a lot of work, and the enthusiasm can turn into anguish as you’re working on version 9 of your script.
But there’s also nothing more rewarding than seeing a finished product that you’re happy with, and are proud to show the world.