Six steps to a persuasive website video

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Callum Smith:

Websites should use video because selling is persuading.

For your website to fulfill its primary function and sell your product or service better than any other means possible, it must use video, and in a very specific manner:

Crdit: Getty immages

1.       Relationship – Video provides transparency, which promotes authenticity. Face-to-face interaction is always the best contextual environment for selling. Video assures the audience who they are dealing with, and that helps create a personal relationship, which is paramount to selling. A face-to-face encounter is what your website must use to establish a quick yet authentic relationship.

2.       Proof – Video brings to the audience visual proof of the product or service. For example, a painting-company owner can simultaneously describe how his company provides quality while close-ups of skillfully painted samples are portrayed. Restaurant owners can describe their food while mouth-watering meals are displayed. Seeing is believing and video provides this proof.


3.       Emotion – Video allows a speaker to convey a story. Understand that the benefits of a product or service are what people desire, not the product or service itself. As well, understand that most people are empathetic and need to see how someone else has benefited from what you offer. A speaker in a video can describe a time when he or she either helped someone with the product or service, or was helped by the product or service (a testimonial). Always, therefore, tell a tale.

Music can also create emotions. But selecting an appropriate tune and using it at the right time is very tricky because songs can easily bore and even annoy the audience, who will therefore quickly leave. Music alone should never introduce a website’s video.

4.       Usability – Video should be front and center on your home page because a face-to-face relationship is what visitors should experience first. Great examples of sizing and placement for videos on websites can be seen at .

5.       Urgency –Video provides a dynamic environment which forces the viewer to pay attention. It is, however, paramount that the video starts off with a bang — a hook. Music is definitely not the answer. To acquire interest, start your video with a statement that sums up your argument. Website visitors demand complete control as they’re often in a slight state of anxiety, and giving them what they want to know, providing them with the basic information they’re looking for should be the first thing they get.

Another note on urgency is that video is a powerful hypnotic device. Video causes our brains to slide into what Marshal McLuhan called

…a nondominant, neutral (alpha) state…your mind is in a condition to respond to virtually any suggestion…and you are fair game for the nonrational sell.1

Credit: Hypnosis Counsel

Therefore, have your video play instantly when the web-page opens because as long as the video starts strong, the audience will have no choice but to watch–guaranteed. This is not unethical and you are actually helping your potential customers.

6.       Format – Video is the perfect environment for reciting what is called a persuasive speech. Think elevator pitch. To convince or sell in a short period requires telling the essential elements to your argument in a very specific order. Hiring a professional speech writer for your video is the key to success. In contrast, videos that use the interview technique do not persuade; they merely tell. There is no better way to convince than by using the time-tested and theoretically proven persuasive speech format, employed by politicians, infomercials, lawyers, and other professional speakers who garner your attention from beginning to end. Remember, only a rhetorician or speech writer can help your persuasive argument far better than anyone else. Your website’s video must use a persuasive speech in order to be as successful as it can possibly be. It is the key.

MANY communication theorists know that all technologies come with side effects. Video is no exception and should be kept simple. However, web videos often appear professional, but they lack persuasive effectiveness and are even damaging because little thought was given to the web audience. Videographers must employ a professional writer to write the script; because if not, they will be like a blind person driving a race car. Unless that car has a skilled seer in the passenger seat instructing the driver when to turn, accelerate, and brake, it will be an expensive and sad wreck.

Be aware that video can do more harm than good because people’s online behaviors reflect those of our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors. Pre-agriculture humans anxiously scanned unfamiliar environments in search of ripe fruit and easy-to-catch prey, and never wasted time with stuff they didn’t need. With today’s information-rich, online world, website videos must provide efficiency so visitors can acquire what they need, which is what you offer.

This is an example of digital evolution, and communicating has always been how individuals, tribes, and societies survived their changing environments.

Finally, I missed some points. Here’s a link I found with examples concerning the affordability of videos, at:

Reel SEO, the online video marketer’s guide

Reference: 1 – McLuhan, M. (1989). Global village, the. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.


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