This post first appeared on Vimeo.
Whether you’re selling a product or service, the ubiquitous product video can be the make-or-break moment for your potential customers. A truly great product video both informs and inspires viewers to give you their attention (and their wallets).
At Vimeo, we’ve seen our fair share of product videos that have launched successful crowdfunding campaigns and sold millions of laser-pointer toothbrushes that also toast bread. Here are some rules for product videos and some examples of people who do it well:
1. Context is king
Don’t just show off your slick product, show how it fits in the bigger picture of your customers’ lives. What problem is your product solving? How does it enrich your customers’ lives? Is it inspiring a customer to do more? Is it increasing their overall happiness?
Fluidstance does a great job of giving context around the need for their balance board for standing desks:
2. Show and tell
A high-concept product trailer may be artistic and fancy, but if viewers don’t know what you’re selling at the end of it, they probably won’t be inspired to become customers. Pretend you’re back in first grade doing Show and Tell — show off your product, and tell your customers about it. It’s that simple.
Restrap really knows how to show and tell about their snappy magnetic camera straps:
3. Tell your story — or let your customers tell it for you
When people look at a product video, they don’t just want to know the technical specs of the product. They want to meet the people behind the product and the people who use it.
We love how biblical-beautification company Bibliotheca (say that three times fast) tells their genesis story:
4. Beautify your home
Contrary to what your mother told you, it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts. The outside counts too, particularly in product videos. Your product video is essentially an advertisement for your product/service. As you may have heard, the Vimeo player makes your videos look great — customize it with your logo, and treat your viewers to zero pre-roll. Because the last thing a potential customer wants to watch is an ad before your ad (before your ad, before your…).
On Broadcast customizes their video player colors and logo to show off their PR services in the best way:
5. Cater to your target audience
Often when bands go on tour, they’ll shout out the name of the city they’re playing in. We recommend doing the same in your product video, figuratively or even literally. Whether it’s a certain demographic or geographic audience you’re targeting, you should customize your product video to be highly relevant to your potential customer.
Cartier hits each of their target customer segments in one elegant, diamond-encrusted swoop:
6. Don’t use scare tactics
Nothing screams “cheap infomercial” like attempting to scare people into purchasing your product. By fear, we mean FOMO, what the kids say to refer to the fear of missing out. When businesses try to sell the risks of *not* buying their product, they’re using fear as a cheap tactic to get people to buy. A great business like yours should be focusing on the benefits of your product/service in your product video, rather than on scare tactics.
We love how Koala Safe focuses on how they help families spend more time together, rather than how the Internet is a dangerous place for kids:
7. Inject your video with some personality
Don’t be afraid to use a product video to showcase your brand’s identity. Showcasing your personality is a great way to differentiate your product from the millions of similar products out there.
Check out Dollar Shave Club’s bro-tastic video that practically beats you over the head with its razor-sharp identity (ouch!):
8. Include a call to action (CTA)
Make it easy for potential customers to purchase your product/service once the video comes to an end. How? Include a call to action, or a next step/destination. If a person makes it all the way to the end of your three-minute blender demonstration, they’re probably pretty interested in buying that blender. If your product video is more of a proof-of-concept, try including an email capture or link to preorder in your video.
Watch (get it?) the pure simplicity of Pebble’s ending CTA:
9. Connect, human to human
It’s all too easy to talk AT your audience in a product video instead of TO them. Because your goal is to start a conversation with a potential customer, do your best to connect with the human on the other side of the screen.
Be subtle and engage your viewers’ emotions, or even take our advice more literally, like Freaker, a company with a stylish jacket for your favorite beverage:
In summation, to make a successful and interesting-to-watch product video, try to be direct, creative, and human. After all, robots might watch your videos, but they certainly aren’t going to purchase your products. For more biz-type video advice, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin!
Image credit: Unsplash