Teaching people something new and useful is not only satisfying – it can be profitable, too!

When your prospects apply what you’ve taught them and enjoy great results, they’re more likely to buy from you again, and remain loyal customers for life.

Teaching begins when you stop viewing prospects as customers who passively consume your product or service and start treating them as students.

Here’s what you can do to make your whiteboard videos stick, and actually impart something useful to your prospects…

Stoke their curiosity

Have you ever heard someone tell a joke, or a captivating story… only to stop before reaching the end? It sucks, doesn’t it?

Surprisingly, you can do the same thing to make every message in your whiteboard videos more memorable. Here’s how:

  • Open your whiteboard video with a curious question, or a thought-provoking fact. E.g. “Which species of animal do you think kills the most people in the US every year?”
  • Build your narrative on this first “hook,” but don’t reveal the answer until the end of the video. Your viewers will become invested in finding out the answer, and the suspense will keep them watching (and paying attention).

This strategy is called the “knowledge gap,” and it works brilliantly both for one-off whiteboard videos and for a series. Scheherazade from “Arabian Nights” bargained for her life using “knowledge gaps” – and you can use it to win over customers.

Just don’t test their patience too much and always close the gap.

Defy their expectations

The human brain is lazy. Whenever it recognizes a familiar pattern of thought, it takes a shortcut. That’s why cliches and stereotypes bore us, but we still keep using them: it’s convenient to be lazy.

For this same reason, when a thought or a story leads to an unexpected conclusion and “doesn’t compute,” we start paying more attention.

Let’s go back to our previous question about wild animals that kill the most people in the US (see, this is “closing the gap”)… which species do you think it is? A lazy brain would be tempted to guess: “bears,” or “snakes,” or “sharks,” or something else that’s predictably scary.

But the correct answer is “deer.” Deer kill close to 200 Americans a year. They are that good at being run over by cars, with lethal consequences for everyone involved.

Deer kill people

In your whiteboard videos, if you want people to remember something, present it from an unexpected angle that will jolt people’s brains awake.

DON’T be the expert

The deeper your knowledge on a subject is, the worse teacher you will be to someone who is a lay person. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.

Remember the “lazy brain” explanation? When you become an expert on something, you stop noticing concepts and ideas that feel natural to you (because you’ve gone over them thousands of times), but drive a novice crazy.

As a result, you skip over things that you deem self-evident, while your student’s eyes glaze over and they try to make sense of what you’re saying. This is known as “the curse of knowledge,” and it takes a while to unlearn.

If you’ve ever had your accountant explain a high-level financial concept to you, you’ve definitely experienced the curse of knowledge.

To “cure” your whiteboard videos from it, you can do this:

  • Take the script you want to use, and challenge yourself to explain every sentence of it in the simplest words you can think of.
  • For every piece of terminology you can spot, substitute simple English, or add an explanation.
  • Take the central idea behind the video, and ask “why?” and “how?” several times to get to the core of it. E.g. if your product or service keeps people safe from homicidal deer on the roads, you need to make it clear how it gets done.

Next time you put out a whiteboard video for your prospects, teach them something useful. These 3 methods will make them remember it for a long time, and hopefully apply to make their lives better. And that, in turn, will make them remember you.