Let’s talk about something that’s nearly as love-hate as popups: landing page videos.
Like popups, visitors swear they hate when a business tries to throw a video in their face, but when using a video correctly on your landing page can mean an 80% increase in conversions?
You know they’re lying.
The thing is, visitors don’t hate videos as adamantly as they say they do… they just hate certain bad practices about them… like autoplay or videos that drone on and on for 50 minutes making big flashy promises before they ever get to the darn point.
Because the reality remains, that watching a video actually means that your visitors go away from your site with more information than they ever would if all they did was skim through your text.
So, yes, using video is a good thing.
But only if you follow the holy and high-and-mighty commandments that will forever protect from landing page shame and low conversions.
1) Do. Not. Autoplay. (Or Thou Shalt Be Smited)
Unless, of course, your goal is to get people to bounce off your page in record time… even before you’ve had the chance to get them to your call to action.
Because think about it for a second. How annoying is it when you’re innocently searching for some information online and all of a sudden you hear this voice coming out of nowhere so you’ve got to scramble around to find where it’s coming from so you can stop it and just keep reading in peace?
The answer: really freaking annoying.
The thing is, if you’ve got a prominent video, a pleasant site design and promising lead-in text, the visitor will want to watch your short video to get the information you’ve got to offer. Just don’t bounce it on them.
Because apparently we’re all control freaks who hate surprises.
2) Animation > Live Film
When you use animation, you’ve got total control over what the screen looks like, the facial expressions of your “person”, applicable background noise, and timing of movement.
(You know, all the little things that can add up and take a video from awkward to awesome.)
It also helps that you explain complicated concepts easier because it’s easy to transition between a character and an explainer-type screen.
And according to Maneesh Garg of Broadcast2World, animation converts much better than live action film. So there’s that argument.
“Animation is simply more conducive to helping your target audience understand your brand, product, or idea,” he said in an interview with Unbounce, “which is why explainer videos are so successful.”
3) Keep the Video as Design Element #1
In other words, design around your video so the rest of the landing page works to draw eyes towards your video.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to simplify your page to have only those elements necessary for needed explanation and conversion. (A small bit of text, a clickable play icon over the video, a call to action, and maybe even an arrow pointing directly to the video itself.)
Further, since the video is the main page element, play around with its proportions and size so it fills out the space well, but isn’t too large in case of a mobile screen or a shrunken browser window.
4) Keep ‘em Short
When people are researching online, they want quick answers. Obviously. With all the data out there on short attention spans, you didn’t need me to tell you that.
But still, there’s a tendency among a lot of landing page video fans to over-explain every single element of their product in the very first landing page video a visitor to their site will ever see.
And guess what ladies and gentlemen?
This is a big turn off.
A good rule of thumb is to make your videos 90 seconds or less, and to only cover the most important, painful selling points. You know, the ones that brought your visitors to your page in the first place.
Later on in your sales funnel you can get more in-depth with your features, showing longer videos if you want to. But the point of a landing page design is to get them to the first “Yes!”, and that’s not going to happen after 20+ minutes of feature explanations.
They’ll invest 20 minutes in those feature explanations once you’ve convinced them that you’re a serious contender in meeting their needs… but not before.
5) Show the Video’s Timer
And for goodness sakes, tell people how much time they’ll be investing in watching your video upfront.
It’s as simple as not hiding that progress bar at the bottom that shows how long the video is and how much time someone has left until it’s over.
It is absolutely the worst when you don’t know if you should commit to watching a video because you don’t know if it will take 50 seconds, 5 minutes, or 55 minutes of your time.
And when you don’t put that progress bar?
People automatically assume the worst and think you’re going to waste three hours of their time making big, lofty, spammy promises before you ever cut to the chase about what exactly you’ve got to offer.
And they also think that when you do finally get to the offer, you’re going to be asking them for hundreds of dollars for a sub-par product.
So just stay away from those preconceived notions altogether. Keep the timer.
6) Show Different Videos to Different Visitor Types
Particularly if you’re in the SaaS or B2B world, you’ll have decision makers who are CEOs and decision makers who are department managers, and you’ll be working on closing deals with each type simultaneously.
The thing is, department managers and CEOs have very different outlooks on business operations and care about different things.
So if you’ve got that kind of data, you can tailor your videos to match what those concerns are.
But this is just one example because even if you have no idea what position your visitors hold within their respective companies, you can still tag them with information like how they found you or what kind of content they normally look at on your site.
For example, if Kara is constantly reading your stuff about content marketing but John is can’t get enough of your PPC advice, but you still want to offer both of them the same product for the same free trial, it only makes sense that you’d highlight content marketing benefits in your video to Kara and PPC benefits in your video to John.
7) Place a CTA Outside of (But Close to) Your Video
No matter how good and short your video is, some people just aren’t going to feel like watching it, and that’s fine.
Maybe they don’t have headphones. Maybe they’ve already seen your video and have been retargeted back to the page. Maybe they’ve already heard loads of raving reviews and just want to get their hands on a free trial asap.
There’s loads of reasons why they may not opt to watch your video.
So while you should always have a CTA within your video, it’s equally important to have one directly on your landing page outside of the video itself. Because I know you don’t want to miss out on even the smallest 0.0001% of conversions.
Dollar Shave Club is one of those insanely cool and popular businesses that inevitably spreads via word of mouth.
So right next to the video, they’ve got a CTA for people who want to get down to business right away and don’t really care so much about the video.
8) Spell Out Your Value Prop & Inspire Confidence
If your main landing page video is an indifferent tutorial on how to use your product or a simple walk-through of your handfuls of features, people will certainly ‘get’ what it is that you do, but no one’s going to be jumping out of their seats to be the next ones to sign up for it.
So instead of a simple tutorial, s.p.e.l.l. o.u.t. the real value proposition you’re offering and show how it can be applied to a real situation.
Hint: Showing numbers and results help. Big time.
GradeLeap helps parents helps their children get organized and do better in school.
Part of the script says, “Your children are smart. But being smart simply isn’t enough to guarantee success in school. Developing solid, organized study habits are needed as well.”
And if GradeLeap wanted to push weary parents over the edge? They could tell you the average grade improvements from students using the site, or increased test score averages.
9) Make it Look Like a Million Bucks
Just like copywriting, design, and SEO, video production can be done on the cheap.
But your video needs to be high quality, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.
Because if your video doesn’t convey a sense of class and value? (And especially if it’s one of the first thing a visitor sees on your site?)
Then your product will never carry the amount of weight you need it to in order to get the conversions you need to create a sustainable business.
In short, it means that you need to get a great scriptwriter and storyboarder, higher your best designer, film in high def (if you film instead of animation), and use quality audio equipment (because your built-in laptop microphone won’t cut it.)
Go Forth & Create Videos as I Have Commanded
So, yea. The vast majority of these commandments are pretty easy to follow, I’ll admit.
A lot easier than some of those other commandments out there, anyway. How am I not supposed to covet my neighbor when he wins a free round-the-world plane ticket??
But, even so, we’ve all seen those businesses who insist that they’re above the rules and do their videos their way. And as much as we’d like to forget how awkward watching their video was, it’s seared into our brains.
So, be a good little church girl, and just stop breaking these commandments already.
You’ll frustrate far fewer visitors and your conversion rates will thank you.
P.S. Did you like what you read here? Gained some insight? Tweet and post this to your peeps to share the wealth.