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The Seven Fundamentals of Online Video Scripts… In One Video

by | Sep 11, 2013 | Online Video, B2B Copywriting, Online Mktg. and Copywriting | 0 comments

I’ve been doing some study of B2B online videos, recently, to sharpen my scriptwriting skills. And I came across an excellent example I wanted to share with you. It’s a near-perfect realization of what a colleague of mine, copywriter and online video expert Pete Savage, calls “The Seven Fundamentals of Effective Online Video Scripts.”

Pete’s Seven Fundamentals encapsulate everything you need to keep in mind when scripting an online video. Most online videos I’ve seen lack one or more of them. This one has them all.
It’s an overview demo of the CRM application, Salesforce. I encourage you to click here to have a look at it – it only takes 3½ minutes – and then continue reading too learn why it’s so good.

We’ll discuss it in terms of the Seven Fundamentals.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Salesforce. I neither endorse their product nor receive remuneration from them. I simply like this particular video.)

Fundamental #1: Clear Objective

Having a clear objective is important when creating any piece of marketing collateral. But it’s critical for online video. That’s because the development process for video is far more involved than that for print materials – both creatively and technically.

Defining a clear, simple objective at the outset of your video project will (1) keep the development process on track, and (2) improve your chances of getting prospects to take the action you want. Both of which will improve your ROI.

The objective of our example video is readily apparent: Show prospects how easy it is to use Salesforce and the benefits they’ll gain from it, so they’ll sign up for a free trial.

Fundamental #2: Strong Opening

Just as every ad and sales letter needs a strong headline and lead paragraph, every online video needs a strong opening that quickly grabs prospects’ attention and builds their interest. If you want to keep your prospects watching to the end of your video, you must communicate relevance right from the start.

The opening of this Salesforce video is very strong, even though its tone is low-key. It quickly identifies the target audience (business people), identifies a problem they have (getting their hands on the business and customer information they need, when they need it), and positions Salesforce as an ideal solution to the problem. All in less than 30 seconds.

Fundamental #3: Pace

Business prospects don’t click on B2B videos for entertainment. They click to learn something. And learn it quickly.

So, to be effective, your online video has to be slow enough for viewers to absorb the information being presented, yet fast enough to keep them engaged. In other words, it’s extremely important that scriptwriters and videographers be mindful of pace.

I think the Saleforce video we just watched has great pace. It’s quick, yet comfortable.

Why is it comfortable? The main reason, I believe, is it does one thing at a time.

In marketing copy that’s meant to be read – either in print or online – we often group benefits together in the same sentence, or inn a bulleted list, to convey greater value. Or simply to get our message across as quickly as possible.

But in video, putting benefits or features too close together can overwhelm viewers.

When scripting a video, you have to think of the text as a soundtrack. And you have to think how that soundtrack is going to work together with your visuals. If you stack features and benefits in a video script the way you might in a bulleted list in print, one of two things will happen. Either viewers are going to feel overwhelmed, because they won’t have time to grasp most of the information you’re giving them, or they’re going to feel bored, because you’ve slowed the video to the tempo of a slide presentation. Either way, the pace is wrong.

Our Salesforce example does a good job of keeping things moving without overwhelming the viewer. It does this by covering Salesforce’s benefits one by one.

Fundamental #4: Efficiency

Online, your prospects are information seekers. They’re goal-oriented. So they tend to be impatient.

And because they’re impatient, there’s no room for excess baggage in your online video. You need to get to the point quickly. And you need to convey each important message clearly and succinctly.

I think the Salesforce video we just watched is extremely efficient. All explanations are quick and clear. And each is clearly illustrated with screen shots of the product and easy-to-follow cursor movements and highlighting.

Fundamental #5: Clear, Simple Language

Vague, pompous language – also known as “corporate speak” – is all too common in marketing communications. It’s bad enough when we see it in print. And it seems twice as bad when we hear it.

But when it creeps into online video, “corporate speak” can be the “kiss of death.”

Viewers click on your video to be educated. They won’t be impressed by corporate self-importance, and they’re not obligated to sit around listening to hot air. Bombard them with buzzwords, and they’ll probably click away from your video.

The words you use must convey information that’s clear and relevant to your target audience.

Think about the language you heard in our Salesforce example. It’s simple and straightforward. There’s not a word of corporate speak. It’s easy to understand and absorb every point that’s being made. That’s what you want. Because that’s what your prospects want.

Fundamental #6: Effective Use of Visuals

The whole point of using video in your marketing is to provide prospects with visual stimuli that will make your informational content more engaging, more memorable and more powerful. Video lets you convey more information in less time than print or audio. The images fill in the verbal gaps.

But only if your visuals are effective in conveying the messages you’re trying to send.

Salesforce has done an excellent job with the visuals in their demo video. The screenshot sequences – with the cursor movements, zooms and highlights that call out features of interest – show how easily and efficiently viewers can gain the benefits being described.

And as in all good videos, the visuals reinforce the audio information being received. Which makes the message easier to remember.

Fundamental #7: Call to Action

Every marketing communication should end with a clear call to action. Online videos are no different.

You must tell your prospects what you want them to do next. Otherwise, they probably won’t do anything at all. If you can give them an incentive to act right away, or mitigate their risk, so much the better.

Salesforce’s video concludes with a very clear call to action – one that eliminates the prospect’s risk:

“Get started now. Try it for FREE at Salesforce.com.”

Take-Away Points

I think you have to agree, the Salesforce demo video we viewed is a well-conceived, well-executed and highly effective piece of marketing communications. It’s also a shining example of the Seven Fundamentals of Effective Online Video Scripts we discussed today, which are:

1. Clear Objective

2. Strong Opening

3. Pace

4. Efficiency

5. Clear, Simple Language

6. Effective Use of Visuals

7. Call to Action

Need a well-crafted, “fundamentally sound” script for your next online video project? Call CopyEngineer at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or drop me an email at info@copyengineer.com.

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