Lessons that Video Marketers Could Learn From Direct Response

December 8, 2014


Leo Burnett, creator of Jolly Green Giant



Last post, I’ve written about how explainer videos are similar to copywriting.


But we’ve scratched the surface for a bit. In this post I want to write about what - as a video marketer - you can learn from direct response and how you can apply them to your marketing practices.


While the differences are in length and format, animated videos can be executed brilliantly, provided that you follow these tips:


1. Do your research


Any effective video explainer needs to have a clear message to explain its idea or concept. To do that, you need to do research, a lot. That’s what Eugene Schwartz did for his direct response ads.


If you have iterated and validated your prototypes before arriving at a possible product-market fit, you might want to note down your findings and insights from your experiments. Don’t worry yet about which findings is appropriate for use in the video. That’s for later.


Another possible way is to actually find people to use the product/service, and ask them for their feedback. This way, you get first-hand experience of how users may perceive your product/service, and that gives you tremendous amount of information that you may want to use in your explainer.


There are probably many more ways of doing research. But the above ones are good places to start.


2. Study other (successful) explainer videos


Most copywriters claim that their success is due to the study of swipe files - proven ads that actually convert.


Swipe files contain templates that could be inspirational for copywriters to figure out what their headlines could be, the way sentences and paragraphs are structured, or the overall format of their copies. These templates can be incredibly useful, as copywriters do not have to start a new ad or sales letter from scratch - they can readily start gathering a bunch of successful templates to guide them in writing their own.


You could borrow this tactic for your own marketing practices. Why not? Find videos that have proven to work and study what made them stand out. Perhaps it’s the flow of the animation. Maybe it’s the title. Or perhaps it’s the clarity in how they explain their ideas.

You do need to study several successful explainers and not just one. Not all videos are created equal. And sometimes, you might find it useful to compare and contrast different styles, so you could find out which suits the kind of presentation you want to give. Or, maybe you want to use a combination of different explainer “templates” that could give you an edge in your video marketing.


You might also want to consider how to inject a certain tone into the explainer. Usually an entertaining tone would work - as long as the message gets across effectively.


3. Put them together


Once you have decided on the right ideas for explaining your product/service and the template(s) for making your explainer video, now is the time to start executing it.


Copywriters write. By the time the gather all the information they need about what they are about to sell and advertise, as well as templates for their ad, they just start typing.

Start making an outline for your video. Draw storyboards. Write drafts of your script. Decide which ideas or benefits are worth explaining in your script. Hire a voice-over (or do the voice-over yourself, if you want). Make the video.


And by the time you feel you’re ready, get the message out there!


4. Iterate and refine your explainer


Of course, copywriters may feel the need to rewrite and edit their copy over time, so that before they send them out to direct mail (or PPC campaigns), they have something that is actually well crafted.


Your video explainers might need to have the same kind of refinement if you find that your video isn’t converting well enough. At Kukuzoo, we offer different packages that allow our clients to change and iterate their videos as many times as necessary.


If you want to shortcut your path to creating a successful video explainer, why not learn a little from the direct response tribe? As long as you have the right information to use in your video project, the right templates to use, and the right animation and message to convey, you’ll be on your way to create the kind of explainer that converts.


Do you agree with these tips? Or maybe you some have perspectives to share about it? Leave your comments below.

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