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Create A Killer Video Ad In Just 5 Steps

Video is a hot topic right now. But so few people are doing it right. 

You only have to spend a minute scrolling through your News Feed to see that video's really taking off... 

Video isn’t just a trend for today — it’s only going to keep moving forward. So if you want to stay ahead of what's happening in the marketing world, you’ve got to get on board the video train.

And with Facebook video specifically, there’s an incredible, little-known, and very affordable way to turn casual viewers into satisfied buyers. I’ll tell you more on that in a minute... 

The Roman philosopher Seneca said that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The opportunity for video is clearly there (and isn’t going away anytime soon.) 

In order to get “lucky” with your marketing, you’ve got to be prepared to use video to its full advantage. 

How to create a captivating video ad

Like making a great chocolate cake, you need to start with a proven recipe.

Otherwise, you’re just going to be throwing flour and cocoa and eggs into a bowl and hoping it tastes okay in the end.

(Except it’ll be more like throwing funny anecdotes and artsy camera shots into your video...but you get the idea.)

It’s a much smarter strategy to go into it knowing which ingredients you need for a tasty end result.

When it comes to a powerful marketing video, you need five main pieces. 

Instead of just telling you about them, I’m gonna make this real and pull apart a video from the insanely successful “Will It Blend?” video campaign. In this simple-but-genius video series, the host Tom tests whether their company’s blender will pulverise different items.

We’re talking iPads, glow sticks, super glue, and more. Each 1-3 minute video gets millions of views. 

The “Will It Blend?” videos all follow the very simple 5-ingredient formula that you can apply to your own videos, too.

Step 1. Grab audience attention

The first thing your video needs to do is grab a viewer’s attention...and grab it quickly. 

Your video needs to have something within the first few seconds that's gonna stop people in their News Feed. You’ve got cat videos and political memes to compete with, remember! You’ve gotta stand out. 


The “Will It Blend?” video opens on Tom wearing a wig, standing next to a blender and saying “I was so excited for Justin Bieber’s new movie.” It’s an intriguing way to make you curious about what’s gonna happen next.

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell you to wear a random wig to grab attention!

You can achieve the same effect by speaking directly to your audience.

When someone speaks directly to you, you can’t help but pay attention. If you’ve got a sore left elbow from a freak bowling accident, a video that starts with “Wishing you’d never joined that bowling league to impress your girlfriend?” is going to stop you dead in your tracks.

So think of a question that engages your audience’s brain. If your target market is first-time home buyers, for example, you could say, "Looking for your first home?" or “Ready to find the house your kids will call ‘home’?” or “Wondering how you’ll ever be able to afford your dream home?” 

Lines like that would immediately make them stop scrolling and say "well, yeah, actually I am!"  

Step 2. Weave in story

Once you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention, your next step is to keep it.

That’s where story comes in. 

As humans, we’re wired to love story. We want to know how something begins and ends. When we feel emotionally connected to an idea, we keep paying attention. 

In the “Will It Blend?” video, Tom doesn’t just jump straight into blending everything up. He tells a story first.

He talks about being in the store and seeing all this Justin Bieber memorabilia. He (in a very tongue-in-cheek sort of way) talks about how he went to the store to buy the movie and discovered all of this other swag — action figures, CDs, even his autobiography.

He makes it entertaining — and pulls us in with the story — before moving on with the actual blending.

This lets us get a sense of TOM, not just a nameless host. We’re connected to him.

The purpose of telling a story is to keep viewers watching. The more connected they are to your message, the longer they’ll watch and the more they’ll engage.

Let’s say you want to reach those young, aspiring homeowners. Instead of launching into an explanation of your services, tell them a story to keep their interest.

Give viewers a taste of who you are and what you do. Tell them where you came from and how you got to where you are now. You could even share what your first home-buying experience was like. Make it personal and give them someone to connect with. 

That’s going to pull them in and engage them in what you’re saying. 

Step 3. Demonstrate your service

This is the most straightforward part of the video. It’s where you'll talk about your service. 

Or in the case of the “Will It Blend?” video, you’ll actually perform it: 

This is where you’ll come right out and tell your viewers what you can do for them. 

You’ve hooked them by grabbing attention. You’ve made them care by telling a story. Now you can lay the breadcrumbs for how you’ll take them from Point A to Point B.

Talk about what you offer and how it benefits your viewers. This is your pitch!

Step 4. Prove it

It’s not enough simply to tell people what you can do for them. Most consumers are used to empty promises, so they’ll need reasons to believe you.

There are many ways to ease their minds and provide evidence that you’re not just full of hot air.

The “Will It Blend?” team has it easy, because they can actually show how their blender pulverised the Bieber products: 

Service providers need to be more creative with their proof.

Testimonials are a fantastic way to prove to viewers that you deliver on your promises. 

Case studies also do wonders to ease a sceptical mind.

Stats and a proven track record work great, too. Saying “I helped over 100 first-time buyers find their dream homes last year” would be a really compelling proof point.

Really think about this step and come up with ways you can show viewers that you’re the real deal. 

Facebook advertising is awesome at layering in proof, too. Because they show people friends who have liked your ad, or even your page itself.

When a person sees “So and So likes this” next to your ad, it gives them meaningful social proof. And you get that perk for free with your ad!

Step 5: Tell them what to do next

Once you’ve grabbed attention, told your story, demonstrated your service, and shown proof, you don’t want a viewer to go off the path that you’ve taken them down.

So tell them what to do next!

In the marketing world, we call this a call-to-action, or CTA. 

A CTA is a nice, natural next action you want a viewer to take. 

At the end of the BlendTec video, after you’ve seen how powerful their product is, they share a slide telling you to go to their website. 

In the case of first-time home buyers, this might be something like “Call me at XXXXX to set up a free consultation.” Or “Click the link to download your free homebuying guide.” This second CTA is a great option because it’s a softer sell, but gives you their name and email to follow up, nurture, and convert them into a client over time.

You don’t want to cross your fingers and hope that viewers will figure out how to work with you once the video’s over. Think through the buyer experience and tell them exactly what to do next!.

Do I need ALL five steps?

The five steps above are like your chocolate cake recipe. As the chef, I can’t stop you if you want to leave out the vanilla extract or sprinkle extra sugar on top.

And honestly, you don’t absolutely need all five to have an effective video.

You do need to grab attention. You need to get viewers tied in emotionally. And you need to pivot into the service you provide. 

The other two steps fall into the grey area.

Proof can actually be very effective to show people after watching your video.

One of the coolest features of Facebook advertising is retargeting. You can set up a Custom Audience of people who watch certain percentages of your video ad, to follow up with another message. 

I’ve had excellent results by retargeting video viewers with proof after they watch the initial video.

I’ll show an ad with a case study or testimonial to people who watched the first video. It adds in a second touch point, which helps build trust, and follows the logical sales process.

So you don’t necessarily have to add that proof into your video but you do need it at some point in the process. 

As for CTAs...

For some videos, like ones for brand recognition purposes, there’s no logical next step once people finish watching. You simply want people to get familiar with you. That’s the end goal.

In that case, you don’t want to force a CTA. If there’s no logical next step, you can leave the CTA out.

Video marketing is insanely powerful, if it’s done right.

If you want to take advantage of the incredible opportunity of video — to reach Facebook’s 1.23 billion daily active users and retarget viewers for only pennies — it’s not enough to simply know what goes into a captivating video.

You’ve got to take action and actually create it.

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