Don’t Promote… Explain!

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Musings | 0 comments

Many performers use promo videos. I’ve made a few myself.

Animated Logo for Craig’s Magic.

But are we looking at this the wrong way round? Yes, a ‘promo video’ is designed to promote the performer and his work. But perhaps we need to give more attention to the potential viewers; not making the concept of ‘promotion’ the centre of our intent, but instead to explain why what we offer solves specific needs our viewers have.

Think of them as ‘Explainer’ videos, not promo videos.

“An explanation is a way to package ideas.” To create an effective explanation we must transform bare facts into a more understandable collection of ideas and concepts.

Explanations helps to clarify why something (a product or service, for example) makes sense and fits a need and solves a problem, thus making it easier to understand and apply to some purpose.

An Explanation Video should enable people to see an idea from their own perspective”, thus allowing them to make educated decisions about whether they want to invest their time, money, or energy to find out more about what you can offer, and ultimately book you.

With the wide availability of broadband services, the proliferation of video hosting platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), and the reducing costs of video production, online videos have become an indispensable part of our marketing arsenal.

Explainer Videos are short (certainly less than two minutes), imaginative, and succinct videos that can be used to communicate a product, a service, an idea or a value proposition quickly and effectively.

Explainer Videos can use video clips of you and your previous clients, photographs, places you’re worked, and objects, or 2D/3D animations, or a mixture of these to communicate some aspect(s) of your business, and create an engagement with your potential, or current customers.

Explainer Videos use real people or animated characters (or both) within a and engaging narrative or story-line to create emotional bonds, trust and empathy with your viewers.

How Should Explainer Videos Be Used to Gain Most Benefit for Your Effort?

Using Explainer Videos as part of your overall marketing solution will enable you to communicate information, feelings, and emotion to your audience, by using motion, images and sound.

Explainer Videos should be included on your website, your blog, on video hosting sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), and within your social media network: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.

Ideally, you should have a video channel set up on YouTube (or other video hosting sites), with video and channel branding which is consistent with your overall online brand; your website and all social media channels.

You need to ensure that your videos are properly annotated and tagged to ensure that they are properly indexed on Google, YouTube and more easily found by your potential viewers when performing searches.

To be effective, Explainer Videos need to have a well thought out script. If using animated characters, they do not necessarily need to be complex to be effective. In fact, Lee Lefever of Common Craft uses animated characters with no facial features in many of their animations. As this removes the emotional distraction created by our brains interpreting the emotion on a character’s face.

So, some considerable thought and creative imagination needs to go into your explanation and the proper format and structure of your video for it to have the desired effects of communicating your message and creating engagement with your audience.

An Example Explainer Video Script Outline

Neil Patel, co-founder of CrazyEgg, drew up a list of what a good Explainer Video script for a startup company should contain. I’ve adapted his suggestions for our market. The basic elements are:

  • An introduction to you and an overview of the service(s) you offer;
  • Why your services are of value to your target market;
  • Specific examples;
  • Show what you can offer and how you can solve a problem or meet a need;
  • Give a ‘call to action’;
  • Use client quotes and testimonials to seal the deal.

Why You Should Be Using Explainer Videos: Some Relevant Statistics

According to a recent survey by Shutterstock/Comscore, when users perform online search they are significantly more likely to click a video link rather than a text link.

Digital Video also tends to be most often watched on mobile devices, when the viewer is in their own home, or on their own leisure time. So, your viewer is relaxed and has more time to take in your message.

60% of all Internet data is now made up of video content.

Of the 190 million videos watched, one sixth were watched on mobile devices. 36% of those 190 million videos were ads, some being forced views to get access to otherwise free content!

So, video ads have also become a popular and acceptable medium for viewer business/product/service information gathering, and entertainment. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, online advertising revenue/spend has been above $11bn for three consecutive quarters in 2013/2014.

Of this figure, mobile advertising makes up $5.3bn, a 76% growth on 2013 figures (PWC/IAB 2014);
Digital Video makes up $1.5bn, a 13% growth over the same period in 2013.

The proportion of consumers watching TV or movies on tablets on a weekly basis has grown from 17% to 26%.

Many companies are adding videos to their home pages as a means of increasing user stickiness and engagement. It has been shown experimentally that users spend more time (up to 88% more) on websites that include video content.

This can also help search engine rankings, as search engine algorithms also take duration of user time spent on webpages as a measure of relevant and quality content.

Explainer Videos can lead to a higher sales conversion rates; online retailer reported that visitors were 144% more likely to purchase after seeing a product video than those who did not.

Including video in emails greatly increases the probability of reader click through CTR: GetResponse Study showed that video Emails Increase Click-through Rates by 96%. Wistia showed a 300% increase in click through rate compared to emails not including video. Hubspot – normal CTR 2.4%, with video CTR of 16.4%, 583% higher than average.

According to Kissmetrics, video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search results listings, and viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video.

In short, Explainer Videos are ideal for small to medium businesses with a low budget, which I reckon includes most of us!

Why Explainer Videos?

All videos enable you to connect with potential clients in ways that you cannot do with e-mail, phone calls, or print. It takes time to build customer rapport and trust, and research has shown that videos can do this more effectively than any other medium.

Explainer Videos can help introduce yourself and your services before you make direct contact with prospects. As the client has contacted you after seeing your videos, this cuts down/out most of the initial effort required to get a customer familiar with your work and increases the prospect of a successful relationship.

Impact of Effective Explainer Videos on Sales

This research has come largely from the retail market, but I feel strongly that it applies equally to those in the entertainment business.

Higher Conversion Rates and Reduced Returns with Videos: Recent research has shown that shoppers who chose to view product specific videos were 85% to 174% more likely to make a purchase than viewers who didn’t, and that pre-purchase video viewing reduced returns by up to 25%. [Sources: Retail Touchpoints, Internet Retailer,]

Videos Reduce Your Bounce Rate: When making buying decisions, 60% of consumers will spend between 2 and three minutes watching Videos that educate them about a product that they are considering purchasing.

Video Gives Higher Search Rankings: Video results appear in about 70% of the top 100 listings.

Videos Increase Sales: site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.

Videos Encourage Use of QR and Barcodes: The most popular use for mobile action codes, such as QR and bar codes, is linking to mobile video: 40% of codes link to video content, including product demos.

Videos Establish Credibility and Trust with Your Customer before You Sell To Them: 57% of purchase decisions are made prior to ever talking to a sales-person.

What Kind of Explainer Videos Work Best?

According to one recent analysis by, YouTube videos under 2 minutes in length get almost 50% of all views. This is an ideal duration for short Explainer Videos.

A recent study, “Types of Brand Videos Consumers Want to Watch” (Source Levels Beyond August 2014) found that viewers were primarily looking for the following kinds of videos online:

  • How-to, instructional or tutorial videos 67%
  • Comedy or spoof videos 42%
  • Product/information videos 34%
  • Micro-documentaries telling the story of a person or event 33%
  • Animations/infographic videos 30%

From the point of view of Explainer Videos it is interesting how many viewers are interested in animation/infographics, product/information videos, How-to and micro-documentaries. All of which allow ample scope to create interesting videos with promotional objectives in mind, especially product, service and support videos.

The reason we don’t emphasise comedy, or spoof videos, is that it is easy to offend people with comedy, and it takes either a naturally funny presenter, or team to pull them off effectively. Nevertheless, younger viewers do prefer humour, and, if you have the imagination and resources then this can work very well to show yourself in a light-hearted and different way to the fact-heavy manner of the usual showcase video. Especially if you’re a comedy entertainer!

So, keeping in mind the above insights, you should be able to effectively use low budget, short, Explainer Videos to help boost bookings with the following:

  • Promotional: Showcases your performances and services
  • Testimonial: Highlights your talents by showing clients happy with work you’ve done
  • How-To: Informs prospects on how they can use your services
  • Information: Explains the features and benefits your services offer
  • Entertainment: Shows your human side; leverage viral videos, perhaps contests or challenges?
  • Hints and Tips: Present useful information relevant to your clients (hints on organising kids’ parties, etc)

These are types of videos that most performers should be able to make use of to help promote themselves and their services. They fit into the ‘normal’ range of things that good businesses do in their usual marketing efforts, but transformed into a new medium that allows more creativity, expression, engagement and dynamism in communication.

A recent STRATA survey found that viewers are more inclined to watch online video ads if they’re entertaining (43%), targeted to their interests (31%) and educational or informative (30%). Younger viewers (18-29 year olds) prefer humour, whereas older viewers find the informative side of an ad more appealing. *[Source: marketing Charts, STRATA]

Further evidence for the use of Explainer type videos comes from Advance Auto Parts, a car parts retailer, which tried placing how-to and instructional videos on its website and Facebook pages. They found that visitors who watch video stay on the site twice as long and visit twice as many pages versus those who don’t see video. Sharing their videos on Facebook (which you should always do!) further enhanced their online reach.


Explainer Videos are a very effective way to communicate your services in an engaging and imaginative manner. With the rapid uptake of Video as a marketing communications medium by many businesses, it would be very easy to get left behind and lose the advantage of Explainer Videos to reach and engage new clients, or just to get your ideas out there and get recognition as a leader in your area.

Wedding DVD promo for SmartDanceWorks.

About Magick’s Video Services

We produce ‘real-life’ and animated videos for performers, such as magicians and dance companies, and other small businesses. If you have any questions about Explainer and/or Promo Videos, or the production process involved in producing one, or if you are considering having a video produced, please contact Russell for a no obligations conversation about your aspirations! Or with a little thought (and hardly any technical expertise) you could have a go at making your own! Click here for more information.

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I Want Magic

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Musings | 0 comments

I don’t want realism. I want magic. Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it!

— Tennessee Williams, from ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

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Where’s the Magic: A Third Way?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Musings | 2 comments

Feeling momentarily philosophical this fine Easter Monday afternoon…

I mean, it’s pretty obvious that as magicians we should wish to appear as more than demonstrators of a clever prop, or even a clever sleight. As if we’re offering a puzzle to solve.

The next step from that is perhaps to perform as the magician — the one who has the power to perform seemingly impossible acts. That’s fine, although if we’re not careful maybe that can be seen by our audiences as another kind of challenge?

Is there a third way? In which we may become facilitators, enabling spectators to explore or discover a kind of magic in themselves… Our performance then becomes a co-operative act. Even, dare I say, a journey which we may share with those willing to join us?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Feel free to use the comment button.

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To Houdini

To Houdini

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Musings | 0 comments

Houdini_Edwards_smThe text above is an excerpt from Stevie Edwards’ poem ‘To Houdini’ which was printed in issue 1 of the Stonecoast Review. You can read the full poem here.

Stevie’s blog is here.

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2013 in review

2013 in review

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Blog, Musings | 0 comments

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Shingle Tales

Posted by on Jun 27, 2012 in Lounging Around, Musings | 5 comments

Many thanks to everyone who enquired after me and sent messages, texts, cake and DVDs. I’ve tried to reply to as many as I can, but I thought I’d give a little progress report here for all those who asked.

Just to recap, I’ve had shingles on the right side of my head for over a week now. This is not to be recommended. Last Monday the doctor gave me tablets to ease the symptoms and half a kilo of Cocodamol for the pain. She was also concerned about my right eye; it was very swollen and I couldn’t see too well from it. Arranged an appointment at the eye clinic at the Hallamshire last Tuesday. They dropped in various potions and shone assorted lights.

Apparently the shingles had gone onto the cornea. They said that if I slapped in half-an-inch of the rare unguent five times a day it would help with the symptoms. And apparently it’s something which is difficult to clear up so they booked me for a check-up a week later (yesterday).

I’d gone by bus as driving didn’t seem like a good idea, and it was interesting to watch passersby recoil and cover the eyes of small children and horses.

By that evening my right eye was completely closed and my face had the full horror-make-up appearance with an extensive network of inflamed red blotches covering the right side. (Both doctors, incidentally, commented on how symmetrical my appearance was. I pointed out that I was a tango dancer and such things as coordinated balance came naturally.)

Over the next few days I shall draw a veil, an item of attire which could have come in handy.

So to the hospital yesterday with my hat pulled down well over my right side, which I felt was both functional and gave me a pleasing, rakish look.

More eye-drops, eye tests and air blown onto my eye (I now understand why dogs get so annoyed when you do that to them). Then a wait for the drops to take effect before seeing poorly-eye-due-to-shingles specialist. Spent some time with my head clamped into a machine which shone bright lights of various colours and from various angles into each eye, producing an effect probably similar to drunkenness except that you get the throbbing headache at the same time instead of having to wait until the next morning.

Finally she pronounced the result as excellent and said that the eye had cleared up entirely surprising quickly. And that I could stop dropping in the ointment. This last statement was a relief too as I really hated doing that. And most of it tended to end up in a sticky mess around my luxuriant eyelashes instead of going into my eye.

My face now seems to have moved from X-rated to PG. None of this is life-threatening but somewhat uncomfortable and pretty well put paid to any serious work for a while. So apologies for those waiting for video editing jobs! But I’m definitely on the mend, and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the pc screen for brief periods. Which is good.

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