Hands down, the best way to reach people online is with video. People love video because it’s engaging, helpful, and increasingly mobile. And make no mistake—buyers have gone mobile. Neither desktop nor mobile users have time or attention spans for rambling videos that don’t immediately hook their curiosity. We put together this video marketing guide to help you find your video marketing hook and grab attention with every video you make.
What is a marketing video?
Let’s start in the obvious place, what are we talking about when we talk about video marketing? A well-designed marketing video can help you attract potential clients, connect with target customers, and reintroduce former clients to your brand. To do this, it must answer four central questions:
- Who or what are you?
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- Why should I listen to you?
…and, most importantly:
- How can you help me?
When your video answers these questions, it hooks customers, reels in leads, and increases conversions. But getting audiences to watch long enough to answer all of those questions isn’t easy. Attention spans are short. You need to capture interest immediately. That’s where your video marketing hook comes in.
A hook is the attention-grabber that gets your audience invested in your video. It happens in the first few seconds and sets the tone for what comes next. Your hook could be a question, a promise, or a visual. Sometimes your hook is something about your product or service. Sometimes it exists purely to capture attention. Either way, it should compel viewers to keep watching.
Example of a Great Video Marketing Hook
If you’re still not totally clear on what a video marketing hook actually is, a couple of examples might help clear things up.
This video from ShowerStart Express hooks viewers by combining an odd visual with a personal question: “What do you do while you’re waiting for your shower to get hot?” This question invites viewers to stop and think. That moment of thought creates just enough time for the video to slip in another interesting visual.
By the time we get to the sales pitch, audiences are invested. They’re willing to stick around until the end to see what ShowerStart has to offer.
Here’s another example from Med-Stop. They hook viewers by touching a pain point: “Running a trucking company is challenging enough. When you add DOT requirements…” You bet anyone who runs a trucking company is sitting up and paying attention. They’re thinking, “These guys get it. I wonder what they can do for me.”
So a hook is words, images, or both, that capture the attention of your audience so they’ll stick around for the rest of the video.
Start with your value proposition
Finding a hook can be overwhelming. There are so many possible tactics you could use to engage your audience. (We’ll share those specific strategies below.)
If you’re having trouble choosing a hook, you might start with your value proposition. What sets you apart from the competition and makes customers choose you? Here are a few questions to help you find your value proposition.
- Do you have the lowest price?
- Do you have the best customer support?
- Do you have proprietary technology or a game-changing approach?
- Have you collected compelling data?
- What do you do better than the competition?
Starting from your value proposition, you can work backward to find a hook that works. Look for a question, fact, or image that can keep audiences engaged long enough to hear your value proposition.
Another Awesome Example
Here’s one more example so you can see this in action. PlaneAire’s value proposition is that their spray purifies the air around travelers with 100% organic ingredients that are scientifically proven to kill 99.99% of germs, all in a handy TSA-approved package.
They could have started with that data, but instead, they opened with a question to hook the viewer: “Love to travel but hate getting sick?” It’s one they knew would resonate with the target audience, and it created a perfect segue to talk about their product.
Remember! People Buy Solutions, Not Companies
People buy solutions, not companies. You may be an industry leader, an innovator, or an award-winning business, but that alone probably won’t hook viewers. If your message is focused on you, audiences won’t stick around long enough to find out what you’re offering. They want to hear how you can help them. So put that information front and center.
Even if you’re creating a B2B marketing video, focus on capturing the attention of a single decision-maker in that organization. Remember that your viewer is an individual with their own struggles, interests, and sense of humor. When you speak to that person, you’re well on your way to a conversion.
6 Fun Ways to Hook Audiences In a Marketing Video
Why do we start so many videos with a question? Because they invite viewers to engage right away and focus on our message. But questions aren’t the only way to hook an audience. Here are six fun ways you can capture attention in your next marketing video.
1. Start With A Startling Fact
Fact: Facts are often stranger than fiction. If you can pique the interest of viewers with a relevant factoid, you’re halfway to convincing them to trust you. Naturally, you should look for facts that actually engage with your brand. But don’t be afraid to “Geico,” it and find interesting facts that are a little out there.
This video for Chicago Custom Foods starts with a fact about truffles: “In old Europe, the truffle is prized as a rare delicacy, often referred to as the diamond of the kitchen.” From there, they can make the case that the truffle is a luxury food, something you’d be delighted to use anywhere…even on popcorn.
2. Ask A Personal Question
Factual information can be powerful, but it rarely feels personal. Another great way to hook viewers is by directly involving them. Ask them a question that you hope to answer in your video. Asking questions can be tricky, because you’ll need to know your audience well before you can ask one. But a well-framed and well-worded question can cut through the noise online and get people focused on your innovative solution.
We’ve shown a couple of examples of this already. Scroll back to the video on waiting for your shower or the one on traveling without getting sick. Both start by asking the audience a question about their habits, challenges, or preferences.
3. Ask An Intriguing Question
Personal questions tap into emotions. Other types of questions can trigger curiosity. Consider starting with a question that approaches some of the mysteries in life, scratching an itch audiences might not even know they had.
These bigger questions can come in a variety of forms. Perhaps you begin with something trivial but interesting like, “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why do bears hibernate?”
You might ask a hypothetical question like “Who was the best baseball player of all time?” or “Does getting a mortgage have to be painful?” Just make sure you can segue from that question to interesting and relevant content.
4. Create A Compelling Character
Do you have a favorite movie or TV show where nothing really happens, but you still love it? You’re probably responding to the characters. Great character design can hook audiences from the very first frame. Fun and engaging characters can be a powerful video marketing hook when done well.
It helps if viewers like the main character. Characters and mascots who are over-the-top, memorable, or unique tend to engage imaginations, and there’s no better way to capture attention.
Animation allows us to anthropomorphize all kinds of things, including the standard contractual reference for global interest rate derivatives training. Yes, really. That might be a mouthful in words, but in animation, it’s a book wearing a crown and running through a fantasy landscape.
5. Warm Things Up With a Joke
There’s a reason why so many speeches kick off with a joke. Laughter breaks down walls between subject and viewer, uniting them in a shared understanding of why something is funny. Some research has also linked humor to memory. So if you want audiences to listen and remember what you told them, humor might be a good place to start.
6. Wow Them With An Arresting Visual
Show them an image so interesting they don’t want to look away. The need to find out what happens next will keep them glued to the screen. This method has become extra powerful as more viewers watch videos with the sound off.
As soon as the pages of the Spice Hunter recipe book begin to turn, audiences are hooked. They want to see what’s inside.
To really get audiences engaged, find a way to pair your arresting visual with one of the other audience hooking strategies we’ve listed.
Align Your Video Marketing Hook with your Brand Identity
Now that you have a whole toolbox full of methods to hook audiences, a word of caution might be in order. Remember that your video and your hook need to align with your brand identity. If your brand is generally serious and trustworthy, opening with a joke might not fit. A character can be compelling, but not match your brand. A philosophical question might be too serious for your fun and trendy identity. Choose a hook and style that aligns with your brand identity to make sure you’re hooking the right viewers.
What’s Your Video Marketing Hook?
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about your hook is this: The best video marketing hook is the one that works. You might have to test a few to find the one that really resonates with your ideal audience. But if you start by answering the most important question — how can you help me? — you’re heading in the right direction.
For more guidance on how to succeed with animated marketing video, download our free eBook below.