Kickstarter.com, the site that made crowdsourcing mainstream, is successful partly because of its brilliantly simple formula for making a great marketing video.

Kickstarter teaches people who may not know much about video campaigns how to create an effective one with their Kickstarter School, and they do this by boiling it down to a few simple steps.

Tell a great story.

Kickstarter advises to tell a story, but they don’t exactly tell you how. Filmmaker Andrew Stanton did a wildly popular TED talk on storytelling in which he explains that to craft an appealing story, you have to appeal to the emotions first. People generally WANT to care about something, and the function of a compelling story is to help make them care.



Ideally, Stanton says, you do this by focusing on a character who in some important way is just like the person you want to reach. Your video story should explore the quality or problem that the character shares with her audience — that’s what the story is about. By the end, you should reach a helpful truth.

It’s easier said than done, but it’s a good start for structuring a compelling video campaign.

The best Kickstarter videos highlight project heroes who are actually a lot like you and me. Their stories are about struggles and passions that we can relate to and therefore we care. As a result, those projects are much more likely to get funded.

If you’re trying to convert people with video, try to tell a story that will resonate with your viewers on an emotional level. If you do, your viewers will be that much more likely to respond to your call to action.

Keep it short.

Kickstarter says, “Be concise.” Once you know your story, cut it down to the essentials. Then cut it down again.

Focus on rewards.

Sometimes just telling a great story isn’t enough. You might need to incentivize your viewers to take the next step by offering them something as well. What are you offering your customers? This should be at the forefront of your mind when running a video campaign.

Kickstarter projects, for instance, offer a variety of rewards in exchange for donations. Those videos that highlight rewards are likely to do better than those that don’t. Make sure that it’s obvious what the viewer will get in return for taking the action you’re asking him or her to take.

Wrapping Up.

So, remember, if you want to use your videos to help get conversions follow these three simple principles:

  • Tell a story to connect with your viewers on an emotional level.
  • Keep it concise so your viewers don’t get bored before your call to action.
  • Highlight what the viewers get in return so they are motivated to take the next step.

Questions? Comments? We’d love to get your input.

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted February 13, 2013

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