Did you know that almost 1 in 3 viewers stop watching a video within the first 30 seconds? And a soul-crushing 45% high-tail it outta there after the first minute?

That’s almost half of your potential customers gone, often before you get to breathe a word about your actual offer.

This is why your marketing video needs to open strong — your business literally depends on it. After all, it doesn’t matter how amazing your solution is if there’s nobody left to convert at the end of the video!


What’s a business owner gotta do to craft the most captivating video opening section possible? What does it take to draw viewers in and keep ’em glued to their screens until the credits roll… figuratively speaking? (Unless you have credits in your marketing videos — hey, I don’t know your life!)

That’s exactly what I will help you figure out today.

In this week’s article, you will learn 3 types of attention-grabbing openers for your marketing videos, along with actionable advice on how to use them. If I’m feeling adventurous, I may even write a mock opener or two for you, who knows!

You will learn:

  • The #1 strategy that will jolt any viewer out of mindless scrolling / web surfing and make them pay attention, every time (hey, does anyone say “web surfing” anymore? Asking for a friend.)
  • 3 ways to command undivided attention from your potential customers… by hitting them where it hurts, literally. Well, almost — you’ll see.
  • The only opener proven over thousands of years of language evolution (you probably already use it every day in regular conversations!)

And more. Sound good? Then let us begin!

Pictured: a smiling grandmother wearing a red dress, a white apron, and thick-rimmed glasses, is holding a tray piled with delicious treats: a slice of pie, a roasted chicken, and cubed red fruit in a bowl


1. The “pattern interrupt” opener

Let’s be honest: your customers have seen thousands of marketing videos by now. At this point, they know exactly what to expect from 99,999% of branded content they watch… because it all sounds and looks the same.

Same visuals, same words, same delivery style.

That means, if your video begins just like any other, you risk knocking your audience out cold like a tall, warm glass of elephant tranquilizer!

It’s just that the human brain is terrible at paying attention to things it has seen before and deemed boring. It shuts down immediately.

So what’s the solution?

Easy: start your marketing video with something totally unexpected. Something off-kilter; something unusual; something that prompts your viewers to do a double take and go, “Hmmm, interesting…” — and then keep watching, because they can’t wait to see where this goes.

(Here’s a terrific example from last week’s post. I love this ad, y’all!)

“Pattern interrupts” can come in many forms, such as:

  • A joke or a gag. Just remember this: it needs to be either really good or extremely bad to be effective — no middle ground! In the game of capturing attention, making viewers groan is just as good as making them laugh.
  • A thought-provoking question or statement. Something to make viewers go, “What? Well, now I have to know where this goes!”
  • A memorable visual. It can be ever-so-slightly out of place or full-on goofy and absurd — either will work.

One of my favorite examples of “pattern interrupt” openers comes from this ad about identity theft we produced a while back.

It works thanks to a 1-2 punch of memorable visuals and a pretty straightforward joke: the topic is identity theft… but the perpetrators and the victims are dogs. It’s beyond simple, and yet it practically guarantees that the viewers will stick around for the entire 1-minute video!


2. The “burning pain point” opener

Let’s get back to the fundamentals for a second…

Why does your product or service exist? Why do you do what you do?

That’s right: your mission is to make your customers’ lives better by solving their toothiest, gnarliest problems. Your business, and the offers you sell, are meant to fix the pains that keep them up at night and poison their daily existence.

So with that in mind, the surest way to grab and lock in your audience’s attention is by connecting with that pain as quickly as possible — right in your video opener.

Because even though your viewers can easily dismiss your offer… 

…they cannot ignore their own pain.

That means, if you lead with that pain first, and then set up your solution as the cure they need, you will compel them to keep watching.

Here are just some ways to viscerally connect with potential customers using a problem-focused opener:

  • Call them out by pointing out an existing negative situation in their life. Something that will make them wince and reconsider their life choices — e.g. “Another year without a promotion…”
  • Validate their frustration, preferably in their own words. For example, “Where have all the good men gone?” (Holding Out for a Hero isn’t an ad, but it easily could be!)
  • Promise a solution to their long-time challenge. E.g. “It’s time to stop settling for high-maintenance clients who complain 24/7 and take forever to pay.”

“Burning pain point” openers are abundant in video marketing — because when they hit the bullseye, they work like gangbusters.

Case in point: check out this explainer video we created for an appliance repair business. Notice how it starts by quoting all the infuriating, lazy excuses we’ve all heard from run-of-the-mill appliance repairmen and their bosses… only to contrast them with the “hero” of the video.

I don’t mean to be too self-congratulatory, but my team did an amazing job on that one!


3. The story opener

Storytelling is the oldest way of imparting information that humans have, period.

And because of that, it’s also the most effective! Stories not only stick in memory, but also compel us to keep listening.

So if you want your marketing video to command rapt attention from viewers, creating an instant bond with your target audience… start it off with a story.

But not just any story.

Open with a narrative that reflects your prospects’ lives back on them — something they can see themselves in, crystal-clear, as though you’re reading their minds.

Here’s how you can pull it off…

  1. Create a character to act as a stand-in for your ideal customers — the more detailed and vivid, the better.
  2. Next, have that character face the same problem or challenge your target audience does. This is your opener, and it will hook viewers without fail.
  3. And lastly, put your character through the story arc of overcoming their problem… and set up your product or service as the solution to what prevents them from living their best life.

This structure can get you through the entire video, not just the opening section!

Incidentally, the story opener is how most marketing videos made by The Draw Shop go. It’s just too good a formula to ignore! It instantly makes your video more intriguing to potential customers, and it sets up your offer perfectly.

Here’s one of my favorite examples of a story-driven video from our vast library of work: this explainer video for Copyblogger.

The story follows a hardcore, overworked content marketer… but in a delightful plot twist, the script eschews gritty detail in favor of comedic exaggeration. It keeps the target audience watching and relating, but also doesn’t make them feel so uncomfortable that they refuse to act. Win-win!


Let us help you create your next high-converting video

Over the years, we’ve created hundreds of high-converting videos for brands across dozens of industries. Education, biotech, manufacturing, finance, coaching, real estate, petroleum, pest control – you name it, we’ve done it!

And our results speak for themselves.

We invite you to take advantage of our genius marketers, silver-tongued copywriters, and absurdly talented artists and videographers to create a marketing video you’d be proud of.

We used to do only whiteboard animation – not anymore! Now you can work with us to create awesome marketing videos in a variety of styles:

  • Live action
  • Motion graphics and cartoon animations
  • Virtual Reality Animation
  • Digital stop motion animation
  • 2D character animation 

And more. 

Interested? Then click here to get a risk-free quote and tell us about your dream explainer video — and one of our marketing experts will get back to you post-haste!

Looking for something smaller… but still more than powerful enough to grow your business? We can craft an irresistible Elevator Pitch that will help you grab your prospects’ attention in less than 30 seconds. Learn more about it here