Entrepreneurs Need to Harness the Power of Video

November 8, 2016

9:15 am

Video catches your eye. Period. In fact, 80 percent of consumers believe it’s important for brands to have videos showing how services or products work. So, while many startups still rely on display ads, creating a video can help your startup stand out amongst the masses. If it’s really good, people will share it with their peers. Incredibly, videos are shared 12 times more than text or links.

A video can also illuminate your pitch. Video ads simplify the user experience, quickly and effectively demonstrating the value of your product or service. With 64 percent of consumers being more likely to buy a product after watching a video overview, it can also lead to purchases.

Startup Video Stars

For proof of video’s effectiveness, look no further than some of the most successful startups in history that utilized the medium.

Airbnb does a masterful job using live action video to demonstrate its platform and walk users through the benefits, making it easy and approachable. Viewers can instantly place themselves in the shoes of a relatable character and imagine having the same experience, which humanizes the product and creates a more effective media experience.

Dollar Shave Club, a subscription razor service, did everything right in its legendary launch video. That video propelled the brand to 1.1 million subscribers and a $615 million valuation. But the biggest payoff was a $1 billion acquisition by Unilever.

These brands used video to reveal their products to the world — you should, too.

How to Make the Most Compelling Video

Knowing the importance of this lucrative medium isn’t going to do you a lot of good without a little how-to. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to a successful video campaign.

Keep It Simple

A simple experience benefits your brand, as three-quarters of consumers are willing to pay more for one. Don’t try to cram all 25 reasons your product beats the competition. Focus on key differentiators, and demonstrate how easy your product is to use. A 12-year-old should be able to watch it once, and then explain it to a friend.

Focus on Benefits, Not Features

This Volkswagen ad offers a great example of how to focus on benefits. By showing how a Jetta could save your life in the event of a crash, it boosted sales by 17 percent. Don’t dwell on the technical features of your product. Instead, convey how it enhances your customers’ lives. Rather than saying, “Upload up to 100 photos at a time!” say, “Easily share photos with friends and family!”

Create an Emotional Connection

In March, the Ad Council created a powerful spot, “Love Has No Labels.” The ad features a giant X-ray machine with different “skeleton couples” dancing, kissing, and hugging behind it. When the couples emerge from behind the machine, each represents a different race, gender, or disability, proving that when it gets down to it, we’re all just people made up of the same matter. The video went viral. Live action videos — using people instead of animation — create a level of intimacy with viewers, making it more relatable.

Include a Call to Action

If you’re running your ad as a digital commercial, use clear title cards that let viewers know exactly what they’ll get if they click for more info. A clear, strong call to action compels further engagement.

To tell more people about your product, ditch the pitch, and make a video. It’s easy, a lot of fun, and might even take your startup’s brand viral.

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Hope Horner is CEO and founder of Lemonlight, a company that produces and distributes branded video content at scale. Hope is a three-time entrepreneur who has been featured in Inc., KABC, Extra, and other publications highlighting her successes in the Silicon Beach community over the past decade.

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