Online Video Selling Tips for Direct Marketers

In today’s presentation we’ll discuss how you can produce strong online video advertising using proven direct response broadcast techniques.

I want to emphasize that today we’re talking online video advertising, not content videos. Video advertising is often what you see at the beginning of a video, called pre-roll, usually 30 seconds or longer. You’ll see advertising videos on YouTube and other video hosting sites. Sometimes video ads are placed in the midst of a long-form content video and are called mid-roll. Those can be short—as little as 10 to 15 seconds. Post-roll videos are placed at the end and are also usually 10 to 15 seconds.

First, we’ll share with you five tips from Google’s Inside Adwords that can help you produce effective video ads that can work even with small budgets. Then we’ll look at seven classic direct response television advertising best practices.

Google’s Inside Adwords makes a point of saying that the Internet gives everyone a voice. Small advertisers can get their message out at a fraction of the cost of broadcast television.

Said another way, videos are as important to a company’s online presence as is your website.

So, if you’re ready to start creating online video ads, here are five recommendations based on Google’s Inside Adwords:

First, look at your starter image, also known as the poster or the thumbnail still shot. Its purpose is to entice the viewer to click play. Google suggests bold, vibrant colors, and to limit your text to a minimum. The deep dive for direct marketers is that it’s critical to craft the text in the poster image just as you would choose the teaser copy on a direct mail outer envelope.

Second, tell story. You’ve heard us recommend this in our past blogs. For example, use a story involving people, whether it’s the company owner or customers. But, resist the temptation to develop your video using a product-based infomercial style. Your story’s purpose is to build trust and that you understand the viewer’s issue. Only then, can you focus on solutions.

Third, it’s okay to use animation, but only if you have a complex idea. Otherwise it can easily end up being an expensive distraction to your story.

Fourth, front-load your video with important messages, to get your pitch out early especially if you’re trying to keep your video short.

And finally, number five, avoid scripts unless you’re hiring actors. Otherwise, scripts are stifling. Let the people on your video come across as authentic and credible. Get them to talk as if they were speaking with a new prospect, conversationally, with their own natural spoken rhythm.

One more thing: keep mobile in mind as you create your video ads. Your video needs to come across clearly in the smaller screen of a smartphone.

Now let’s turn to seven classic direct response television ad best practices that can give your video an edge over other advertisers.

Number one, your video ad needs to instill a sense of immediacy. Viewers must feel that an opportunity will be lost if they don’t click to a landing page or call a toll-free number.

Two, your offer must be clear. Your viewer must know exactly what they will receive from you.

Three, your video offer is much more powerful if you’re able to state that your product isn’t available in retail stores.

Four, positioned as a “web only or video offer only available a limited time,” builds on urgency and increases the value of the offer.

Five, don’t give too many options. You only have a matter of seconds to get to “yes.”

Six, ask for a response early and often. Don’t wait until the final seconds.

And seven, if you’re selling a product, demonstrate how it benefits the user, and turn it into a “how-to” message.

Today, more than ever, direct marketers can embrace online video advertising, and you can test it with a small budget. When you use your proven direct response marketing techniques honed over the years to tap the power of online video ads, you’ll have an edge over your competition.


Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.