How do you create a marketing video that doesn’t just look and sound good, but also converts?

The answer is very simple. Here it is…

Remember Abraham Lincoln? More specifically, do you remember his famous quote: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”?

Indicentally, this is not just the secret to becoming an unstoppable lumberjack, but also to making an effective marketing video! As in, you want to spend 80% of your time preparing and laying the groundwork.

Then, once you finally start filming, you’ll know exactly what to say and show in order to make it as high-converting as possible!

And in today’s article, we’ll show you how to create a terrific marketing video thoughtfully and strategically – just like Lincoln would have. Let’s dive in!

How to make a marketing video – the right way

If you want to create an effective marketing video for your brand, you can use this simple three-step process. No matter what kind of video you’re making, these stages are the same – except the final step (later, we’ll explain why that is).

For Step One, as Simon Sinek would say, we need to start with “why”

Step 1. Your marketing video strategy

Before you write a single word of a script – or film even one second of footage – you need to ask yourself some blunt questions.

Question #1. WHY do you need to create a marketing video?

Do you want to train your employees to do something? Explain your product in a clear, memorable way? Get more customers? Onboard a first-time buyer? Qualify a lead?

Marketing videos have tons and tons of uses. So before you start making one, choose one goal – just one. It will inform everything else you do.

Question #2. WHO is this video for?

Now that you have your “why,” it’s time to think about the viewer. Who is it going to be? A job candidate, a bored website visitor, a new customer, a warmed-up prospect… You get the idea.

While theoretically anybody could end up watching your video, you want to tailor it to a specific persona. Don’t worry about over-focusing on a single type of viewer – if your marketing video resonates with the intended audience, it doesn’t matter if it falls flat for everyone else. You’ll still succeed in the most important way that counts!

Question #3. WHAT is the result you want to achieve?

With your goal in mind, imagine: what would success look like to you?

Maybe you’re making a homepage video, and you really want to increase the amount of time new visitors spend on your site. Or maybe you’d like to double your conversion rate. Just think about any tangible, measurable ways your marketing video could make an impact.

Then, formulate two scenarios: one for success, and one for failure. For example:

If you create a marketing video for your ecommerce product page, you’d reasonably expect more people to click that “Add to cart” button – and to get a net increase in revenue as a result.

So maybe your definition of success would be a 50% boost in click-throughs and a 5% overall climb in the number of orders. And failure would be if nothing has changed once your video is live!

Having a top and a bottom “baseline” really helps to evaluate the performance of any marketing video you create. If you exceed your criteria for success, great! If you fail, you can analyze what went wrong and try again. And if you fall somewhere in between, you can tweak until you meet your goal!

Now that we’ve tackled the big questions of overall strategy, let’s go a bit more granular and discuss the messaging, the context, and the scripting of your future marketing video…

Step 2. Messaging, context, and scripting

After all this, you might be itching to finally make that marketing video… well, hold your horses just a little bit longer! There are still some vital preparations left. If you want your video to be effective, you’d better not skip them!

Let’s look at three elements:

The Message

To hone the message of your marketing video, you want to answer these questions:

  • What’s the topic? Or better yet – what’s the one specific idea you want to convey with the video?
  • Next, how is this idea relevant to your viewers? Which parts of your message are the most important ones – to them? This is where you want to identify the benefits of what you’re offering, and the ideal outcomes your viewers will resonate with.
  • Why should they listen to you specifically? What makes you trustworthy, and what reason do the viewers have to act on what you say to them?

Here’s how you might put all this together…

Let’s say that you sell landscaping services and you’re making a promotional video. You’re hoping to get people to request a free initial session, with the intention to buy a weekly upkeep service once they see how awesome their yard looks.

So your big idea might be: “Here’s an easy way to maintain an immaculate backyard – no expensive equipment, tons of money, or hours of back-breaking labor necessary!”

And then you focus on the benefits. Like, how beautiful their home would look with a nice backyard, how their neighbors will envy them, and how happy they’ll be sipping lemonade on the back porch, or playing with their kids, or barbecuing… Or all that free time they’ll have once they don’t have to worry about their lawn and whatnot!

(Full disclosure: this example is for illustrative purposes only. We know nothing about landscaping!)

Finally, to emphasize why the viewers should listen to you, there are many things you can include in your message: like your industry experience, your unique process, the proven quality of your services… or even just time-sensitive discounts or other tactics to build scarcity and urgency!

The Context

The context is mostly about three things:

  • Where are the viewers coming from, and how familiar will they be with your brand before watching the video? Depending on how “cold” or “warm” the viewers are, and their stage of awareness, you can expect different reactions to your video, different conversion rates, and different results.
  • Where’s your video going to be placed? E.g. on a dedicated landing page, on YouTube, on social media, in an email to your list, and so on… You want to distribute it through more than one channel, of course, but consider how each of them will perform!
  • What’s the action you want your viewers to take, and what happens after they do it? Nailing this question is critical if you want to create a marketing video that works effectively. Check out this article for more info on calls to action.

If we stay with our landscaping video example, here’s how your thought process might look like…

Let’s say that your main source of views for the video will come from targeted Facebook ads. That means your leads will be “cold” (with no prior knowledge of your brand). With this in mind, you’ll want your video to educate and entertain the viewers, as opposed to making a straight-up sales offer.

And maybe asking them to sign up for a free landscaping session is too big of an ask right out of the gate. So you may want to give them something else – say, a free list of 10 beautiful plants that will transform their garden, or time-saving lawncare hacks, or something else along these lines. (Again, we know nothing about landscaping.)

Once you know the context, you can move on to the most important element of all…

The Script

Just like you can’t cook a Michelin-star fish course with subpar ingredients, you can’t have a high-converting marketing video without a knockout script.

A great script can elevate an otherwise average video with low production values. But all the visual wizardry in the world can’t create an effective video if the script is bad – as Hollywood blockbusters prove year after year!

There are many ways to create a marketing video: doing it in-house, outsourcing, or hiring a full-service agency (more on these later). But however you choose to approach it, you always, always want to write your own script! Even if it’s just a rough draft that will be completely reworked later, it’s incredibly helpful to have.

Sadly, writing a marketing video script is by itself an enormous topic, and we can’t cover it in detail here without turning this article into a 4,000-plus word monster! So we’ll do the next best thing and show you some of our earlier articles about writing a good script…

If you need a good writing structure to follow, check out this blog post. To see an actual conversion-focused script, read this brief guide we made – it has a word-for-word example you can study!

And now for the third – and final – step in the process…

Step 3. Producing the actual marketing video

Now that you’ve clarified your goals, strategized, sharpened your message, and wrote a solid script, it’s time to make a marketing video. All these critical preparations you’ve gone through will finally pay off!

Now, as we’ve already mentioned, there are multiple ways to create a marketing video. Now, some of them are cheap – but lengthy and frustrating. Others are easy-breezy – but quite expensive. And then there are those that manage to be time-consuming, nerve-wracking, and costly!

We’re joking about that last one… mostly.

Generally speaking, you have 3 options for making your marketing video:

Producing it in-house. If you have the talent, the hardware, the software, and the production process already in place – great! Then it’s the best way to go. But if not, you might spend a lot of time, resources, and expensive labor hours to produce a video that looks… okay. Maybe. And that’s a pretty big maybe!

In-house video production can be a great option – especially if you have an ongoing need for awesome video content – but it’s definitely not something you can do on short notice. We don’t recommend it if you only need a few videos, or you have zero resources to make it work.

Outsourcing. You can hire contractors to handle the different steps of production, assign a project manager to babysit… er, coordinate them, and use them as the “video marketing arm” of your team. This approach has its merits – but if you don’t have a pool of trusted contractors, or you haven’t managed a distributed team before, you might have a hard time. Hiring good, affordable contractors is even harder than attracting great employees!

Plus, it’s going to be hard to estimate how long it will take to create your marketing video, how much it will cost when all is said and done, and how good the end result will look like.

Partnering with a full-service agency. Unlike outsourcing, where you’ll deal with each contractor individually (aka “herding cats”), an agency will take most of the operational headaches out of the process. You’ll deal with one person most of the time – and your involvement will be limited to paying invoices and giving feedback on work.

You’ll be reasonably certain about the turnaround time and the video quality, too, because many agencies hold themselves to a strict standard about both. For example, here’s how we do it at The Draw Shop:

  • Our 4-week turnaround time on “normal speed” projects is written into the client contract, so people can hold us to it.
  • We hand-pick each copywriter, artist, voice actor, and videographer we work with…
  • …and before we let them anywhere near a client project, we vet them with test assignments!

The only downside of going with an agency is that it’s usually a major financial investment. It pays off in a high-quality marketing video, but still – not every brand can, or even should, choose this option.

If you want to learn more about how much it can cost to create a marketing video, check out this cost-benefit breakdown we wrote. It’s about whiteboard and cartoon animation videos, but it applies to other video styles as well.

See how we create a marketing video from start to finish

You could say that we know a thing or two about how to make a marketing video here at The Draw Shop! We’ve completed thousands of projects for 100+ clients – and every time, we managed to maintain a 4-week (or less) turnaround time and consistently top quality!

Do you want to see how we do it? Here’s our entire video creation process, step by step. Check it out! And if you want us to create a marketing video for you, just fill out the free pow wow form on that page (right there at the bottom) to get started!