Raise your hand if you have ever heard someone complain about people having no attention span nowadays. It’s a familiar cliche that we all know by heart:

“Boo hoo, nobody pays attention or focuses on one thing anymore – thanks, Internet!”

As someone who’s in the business of getting people to watch whiteboard videos all the way through, and take action afterwards, we should be worried.

But we aren’t, not even a little bit! Here’s why…

We don’t believe the cliche. We think that people’s attention spans have remained unchanged. That being said, one thing that has increased dramatically is our ‘distractibility’.

And no wonder – there’s so much stuff to be distracted by! Every day, every time your customers turn on their computers, they are bombarded by notifications from social media and email, and attracted by an ocean of content, from blogs and videos to Netflix and podcasts.

Note: If you want to explore this concept in more depth, you should pick up and read Captivology, which explores the idea of attracting and maintaining your customer’s attention in this age of billions of distractions.

But the question is, as a marketer, as a business owner, how do you make sure people pay attention? For example, what do you do to make your potential customers watch your whiteboard animation videos all the way through (a challenge we solve for our clients dozens of times every day)?

It all starts with a compelling introduction. The first few seconds of your whiteboard video are critical – that’s when the customer makes a snap judgement if they want to keep watching… or do something better with their time.

Today, we would like to explore three ways to make an interesting, creative intro for your whiteboard animation video – one that hooks your customer, pulls them in, and doesn’t let go until the very end.

OK, we’ve talked enough – time to jump in!

Gripping Intro

1. Pattern Interrupts

Pattern interrupts have been around since the early days of direct response advertising, and they aren’t going anywhere. They work just as well in video format as in text.

When a customer clicks to watch your whiteboard video, they have their guard up. They don’t want to be sold to. They are reluctant to commit to anything – all they want is to check if what you have to say is worth their time. And they will decide within seconds.

But instead of talking to them about your brand, or your offer (remember, they have no reason to care… yet), what if you came at them with something completely unexpected?

That’s a pattern interrupt.

Here’s a great example from a whiteboard video we did to help United Americans raise money with Indiegogo. The introduction isn’t typical: it’s talking about someone who couldn’t possibly be a real person… and then it reveals that the video is about you, the average American.

By the time it gets to raising money, you’re not thinking, “Oh, they want me to donate – I’ll pass!” You’re thinking, “Wow, what are we doing? This is terrible, and I want to help.”

In the end, the video achieves the same result, to get people to donate. But the ‘framing’ makes all the difference in the world.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to grab your customer’s attention. But here’s a couple of pattern interrupts that we like the best:

  • Focus them on a highly desirable result, like so: “Imagine a steady stream of qualified leads flowing into your sales funnel, 24/7, on autopilot – wouldn’t that be awesome?”
  • Remind them about a problem that needs solving – e.g. “How’s that New Year’s fitness resolution going? If you’re not already stocking up on small-sized clothing, you need to hear this…”

They work really well for almost any whiteboard animation video, on whatever topic you can think of. Everyone wants to gain pleasure or avoid pain – and that’s how you can introduce your message.

2. Questions and Qualifiers

One of the easiest ways to attract your customer’s attention is to ask them a relevant, poignant question they won’t be able to ignore. Said question can also perform an additional function of pre-qualifying the viewer, to make sure they are someone you actually want to see your message.

For example, let’s pretend you sell glasses online. Unlike your competitors, you aren’t charging people hundreds of dollars for each pair. Your glasses are awesome and affordable.

If you wanted to focus your whiteboard animation video on people who have been duped by eyewear stores into paying extortionate amounts for their glasses, what would you ask them? How would you qualify them?

Well, for example you could ask…

“How much did you pay for your last pair of glasses?”

Or better yet, “Ever wondered why glasses cost more than a smartphone?”

Chances are, they are still feeling the sting of that purchase! Then, all it takes is to present your viewer with a better, more affordable option. But it all starts with a question – something they’ve been wondering, too. If you can connect to that concern, your message will be ten times more compelling.

Note: If the viewer can’t relate to your question, then you’re asking the wrong one – or that person isn’t the right customer for your brand.

3. Stories

Everyone who saw this coming, raise your hand!

Stories are a wonderful and inescapable part of being human. Like salt and pepper, we add them to everything, for good reason:

  • Stories are sticky, they are easier to remember than isolated facts and figures.
  • Stories make use of the curiosity gaps, making us want to hear how they end.
  • Stories are easy to share, as we have been doing for thousands of years.

It’s only logical that stories can enhance your whiteboard animation video by creating a hard-to-resist introduction. If you take a look at the numerous videos we’ve done (on YouTube or Vimeo), you will see that we love making up stories.

Now, as much as we love a great story, we wouldn’t do that if it didn’t promote engagement and drive conversions!

There are many great stories you can use to promote your brand:

  • Your own story as a company, or its founder.
  • Your customers’ stories of success or failure.
  • A hypothetical story of your customer avatar.
  • A famous, or not-so-famous story from history, fiction, or nonfiction.

The only rule is, a story has to be relevant and interesting in order to make an impact on your customers, and give you that gripping introduction you were looking for.

You will notice that the three tools we’ve just discussed don’t have to be used in isolation. You can combine two of them, or all three of them, to craft the perfect introduction for your whiteboard animation video. And you should!

A great story, augmented by powerful questions, that doesn’t make your customer think, “Ugh, I’m being sold to…” – you bet that a combination as powerful as this will keep people watching!

We hope you’ve found today’s post helpful – and that your whiteboard videos are about to get a lot more irresistible!

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