Show and Tell: The Video Product Demo

The importance of video for any web-based communication cannot be overestimated. YouTube is the entertainment channel of choice for Millennials, and the proliferation of Facebook video as of late is an indicator that the company has bet on video being the key factor of its future growth.

This is especially relevant for online sales. One of the greatest challenges when doing business online is getting to connect with people on an individual level when selling them your product or service. While techniques and tips we have discussed previously help with that, they are mostly customer relationship management tools that can’t really replace a competent salesperson pitching you the product face to face.

That kind of stuff is hard to replicate online, no matter how great your website looks or how crisp your copy is. The most effective way to overcome this inbuilt deficiency is with a video demonstration of your product or service. The best demo videos recreate the experience of engaging the potential customer directly and giving them all the pertinent information about your product or service in a compelling way, ultimately driving your sales.

To this end, it is preferable to have a face, a living person that the viewer can relate to, in your product demo. This helps you forge a personal connection with users. But that is just one secret to making a compelling video demo.

The first order of business is to write a script that will contain all the relevant selling points and present them in a compelling way. A good script makes or breaks the video – fancy camera shots and cool animation can only go so far. So, the chief question is what makes a good script?

There is a short window of opportunity in which you can grab a viewer’s attention, especially when the video is viewed online. You should aim to achieve that within 10 seconds from the start. Having that in mind, studies have shown that those who stick past that mark will be yours for about a minute more. So your goal is to condense everything you can about the product and the reason to buy into that timeframe.

So, the maximum length of your video product demo should not run north of the 100 second mark. This may seem challenging, depending on the product, but it is a great way to distill the essence of why your product or service is worth buying. Think of your demo as an elevator pitch to everyone who comes to your website.

After watching, a viewer should be left with a basic idea of what your product or service does and why it would be useful to them. Don’t try to cram in anything more, no matter how complicated, sophisticated or original your product or service is, because you risk losing the attention of what are your potential buyers. Focus on 2 or 3 key features and common use cases, and wrap it all up with a nice call to action, which should inform the step you wish the viewer to take next, ideally becoming your next customer.

There are many great examples of video product demos online, but one of our favorites must be the Dollar Shave Club video, which blurs the line between advertisement and product demo and completely owns it by adhering to all the principles in this guide.