5 Tips to Making Product Demos That Sell

Source: Flickr Ronaldo Ferreira, licensed under CC

I was talking with my friend Danielle who has been in the sales and consumer feedback industry. We got on the subject of product demo videos, and how they correlate to more sales. Because of my recent job change, I have been fielding more questions from friends about what I do on the demo creation team—and how it even makes a difference. She asked me what elements of a video could increase sales. I had to stop and think for a minute about what makes or breaks a product video. How do you produce a video that really sets apart your product and significantly increases sales? Certainly a great product is key, but there is more to it than that. I answered her by saying that there are five key things that are important to making a great product demo video: knowing your audience, transforming the benefit from a want to a need, establishing credibility, making it enjoyable, and ending with a clear call to action. There are many opinions in this area. However, being in the trenches of video production has given me recent insight into what sells and what does not.

1. Know your audience

When you are getting ready to produce your video, you need to think about who you are trying to reach. Are you looking to talk to the CEOs of the world or your next door neighbor? You need to make a decision about your audience and stick with it. Without a clearly defined audience, your video will be as mixed up as scrambled eggs. Though humans have the same basic needs, we all have different likes and wants. Appeal to your audience by explaining the benefits of your product, not the features. Explain how you will make their lives easier with your product. Why they need your product. The implications of having your product. Think about your audience and their lives. What are their goals? What are their painpoints? What frustrations are they facing? Think long and hard about your target audience’s needs.

Another thing to think about is the demographics of your target audience. Think about how this will impact your sales messaging. Making references in your script and animations can make or break the video. For example, if you made a reference to technologies such as Snapchat or Spotify, it could flop if your target audience is a 65 year old CFO that is just learning how to use his smartphone. A reference to the Beatles or The Beach Boys would be much more appropriate in that case.

I still love the Beach Boys

I used to work as an outreach coordinator, and I would do speaking engagements all over Utah. A lot of times I would try to tell a joke to break the ice, and sometimes the jokes would be met with complete silence. That was awkward, but it was a good lesson in using the correct rhetoric or ideas for one’s target audience. The point is, you need to be relevant to your intended audience or you might alienate them and lose the sale.

There are exceptions to every audience, but if you choose to use references, it is good to stick with broader references that will apply more often than not.

2. Make the product a “need” not a “want”

Whenever I want to make an expensive purchase, my husband (who is in the financial services sector) always asks me “is it a need or a want?” That question makes me cringe (especially when I’m looking at a really nice purse), but he’s right. People do think about their needs and wants. In most cases, people will not trade buying food and making their house payment (needs), for a brand new Porsche (want). It does not mean that people do not want the Porsche, but rather there are more important needs than the Porsche. The simple truth is that consumers make purchases based on emotion, so you need to create that emotional tie through your product demo video.


Your job is to make the product you are selling into a need rather than a want. It has to be an honest need—you can’t make anything up, or it ruins your credibility. That is a key hurdle. People will put other expenses aside for a need. A good example is what mental floss says is the ninth best selling infomercial product, the Snuggie.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Snuggie, it is a blanket that has sleeves. The snuggie solves the problem (real or not) of being able to use your arms without them getting cold. Selling Snuggies by making a video of people wearing them around a nice warm fire during the winter (when people like me are freezing) is brilliant. This video was effective because it showed family members gathering together and staying warm while reading books or going to sporting events. It made me think about spending time with my own family and the warm fuzzy feeling I would get. It made me start to feel like I needed a Snuggie to make it so I didn’t have to worry about being cold. It would make it so I wouldn’t have to worry about a blanket and could just enjoy being with my family. The Snuggie is an example of an infomercial but is a relevant thought when it comes to sales strategies. They key is to find where the need is in your target audience, and help them understand what void your product will fill in their lives. Most of the top selling infomercial items do just that—appeal to a “need” that people never thought was a “need”.

3. Credibility

I think we all can agree that no one wants to feel uneasy when making a purchase. A reluctant prospect isn’t likely to become a paying customer. If you can’t show legitimacy behind your product, prospects won’t feel comfortable making a purchase decision. I am not talking about cheesy infomercials that have “before” and “after” photos or a celebrity spokesperson. People like to see the real impact of your product on their business. Think about incorporating social proof in your videos. Do you have any customer testimonials or case studies you can use to demonstrate your product’s effectiveness? What are numbers behind the product? For example “70% of the U.S. population suffers from lower back pain.”  That gives the customer a number that they can think about. They might start asking themselves, “Am I in that 70%?”  Don’t be just a boring advertisement. Remember to add value to the conversation.  The customer should be more knowledgeable about their needs and possible solutions. You need to keep the product demo video fun and upbeat, but you also need to include takeaway facts like statistics or legitimate testimonials.

If everything adds up, people are 83.7% more likely to purchase from you.

Okay, I made that statistic up, but it made you trust my statement for a second, right?

4. Make them smile

No matter how serious your audience, everyone feels good when they smile. In fact, in Dale Carnegie’s famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”,  he says “Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.” You want people to love your product, and getting them to smile or laugh during a video presentation stirs up good feelings. When you get someone to genuinely smile, they are showing through their actions that they like what you are doing. You want potential clients to be able to relate happy feelings to your video. You want them to think back to watching it and say, “that made me feel good and smile.” You want them to feel this way about your product after watching your demo video. An added bonus is that people are more likely to share videos and products with their friends through word of mouth or social media if they associate good feelings with the video.

5. Call to action

Lastly, you need to call your audience to action. Ask them to “call now” or “check out our website” in order to keep their attention while they are interested. A call to action actually ties in very well with the old marketing methodology called AIDA. It’s an acronym that stands for attention, interest, desire, and (this is key) action.

We have talked about getting your audience’s attention, interest, and desire through your product video. However, the most important step of the sales process is sealing the deal with a call to action. If you do not call to action immediately, you risk having your audience forget about you. This means that all of the time and energy you have put in to your product demo video will be wasted. Sure, they may try to look you up later, but it is best to make it as easy as possible for people to get your product. So, add a link to your website, a phone number, and sometimes even a bonus if they contact you right away. This will result in many more sales than just saying “here’s my video–hope you liked it—come find me now!” People want it to be simple to contact you and purchase your product. So keep it simple.

Incorporating a target audience, making the product into a need, increasing credibility, and making your potential customer smile are all good steps to increasing sales with your product video. Just be sure to keep on track and enjoy what you’re doing. Product videos should be fun, and as long as you get your message across to your clients, that is the most important part.

Looking for more great content? Try:

Demo Scripts: 7 steps to better script writing

Getting your demo up and running: 6 steps to demo production



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