Today’s consumer is demanding that marketing not feel like marketing. Advertising content needs to be about the story behind the brand or product. The traditional hard-sell doesn’t work anymore, especially in video marketing. Brands need to use their videos to connect with their audience on a personal, interactive level in order to foster a loyal community with repeat purchases and word-of mouth promotion.
The only way to build this sort of client base is with soft-sell, branded marketing.
What is a soft-sell?
Soft-selling is a low-pressure sales technique that uses subtle language and branding to drive long-term customer engagement.
Think of the hard-sell as the classic infomercial. The entire advertisement is about pushing the product. It gives the benefits of the product, focuses on price and discounts, and has a loud, aggressive tone.
Now think of the soft-sell as a Super Bowl commercial. The best Super Bowl commercials create a narrative that reminds you of that brand for weeks following the game. Consider the Budweiser Clydesdales commercial series, which is arguably the most successful Super Bowl commercial sequence since 1986.
The soft-sell is less aggressive and “sales-y” than the hard sell. The goal of soft-selling is to build a relationship with the consumer in a way that will lead to long-term growth and success. You aren’t looking to push one item or product on the customer and never see them again.
The soft-sell is an introduction to an enduring marketing relationship.
The problem with soft-selling is that it doesn’t sell right away. Usually, brands need multiple soft impressions in order to “win over” a client. This is because soft-selling is subtle, focusing more on the lifestyle of the brand than on actually selling the product.
So how can you create a soft-sell video that will sell faster and better?
How do you use soft-sell videos?
1. Bare it all with your brand culture.
What differentiates your brand? What makes your company special? Showing how you’re different also subtly tells the customer why they should buy from you.
Show your culture with a “behind the scenes” look or a montage of your employees talking about your business. Provide client testimonials that show social proof of your personality.
But don’t just throw your brand at your audience. Create a narrative around this brand culture.
Honey Bunches of Oats is a strong brand personality in their advertising campaigns. They often give employee testimonials, where their workers talk about why they love Honey Bunches of Oats. This provides social proof and a demonstration of culture, delicately prompting the audience to try it for themselves.
The below example uses Honey Bunches of Oats’ history of employee-testimonial marketing mixed with celebrity promotion to show off their brand personality in a fun, unique way.
2. Position your company within the industry.
How does your company fit into and contribute to its industry? This is a great way to educate your audience about your company by teaching them about the industry overall. It places you as a thought and production leader in your field.
Even if you’ve never heard of the Anti Defamation League, this video campaign shows who they are in the context of the world and the “slander” industry. You’ve learned something new about a unique sector, and you won’t forget the company that taught it to you.
3. Build a narrative.
Storytelling is crucial to any and all marketing strategies. It’s also the strongest way to soft-sell. You create a compelling narrative that connects your audience and your product.
Intel’s “Meet The Makers” series tells inspirational and uplifting stories of individuals who are using Intel technology to change the world. The Intel logo is delicately placed throughout the video as well. There is then a direct call to action that directly links the audience with the story: “What will you make?”
4. Show but don’t tell.
A great way to get immediate sales through the soft-sell technique is with the “show but don’t tell” tactic. Show the product in use through a narrative or scene without actually talking about the product itself.
Most car commercials use a hard-sell to discuss the benefits of the car… and then show a snapshot of the car driving through the mountains to show it “in use.” But this Ford Mustang commercial focuses on the story and the humor in order to show off their car.
5. Have a professional video.
You need a strong storyboard in order to sell your customers, but it won’t work on its own. You need a quality, professional video to seal the deal of your soft-sell tactic. People will only buy your product if they see you as a credible, trustworthy company through the quality of your video.
Check out our wrap-up of the top True Film Production videos from 2016 to see an example of how motion graphics, visual aids, and quality staging can sell your products:
6. Include a call to action.
They’ve seen your brand video… now what? Even though you’re not demanding “three easy payments of $19.99,” you still need to give your viewers something to do after watching your video.
It doesn’t have to be a hard-sell CTA. You can encourage people to share the video or look at your website. You can even just call them to think further about your brand, like Intel’s “Meet The Makers” ending, “What will you make?” The call to action solidifies this new relationship between consumer and brand.
7. Sell in the engagement with your video.
If you are sharing your video on social media, the “comments” section is a great place to further sell your customers. Listen to what your audience is saying. Address their questions and concerns. If you interact directly with your customers in a positive way, you are more likely to sell them in the short- and long-term.
The Bottom Line
Soft-selling is designed to push without coming off as pushy. It creates a conversational interaction with your audience with the goal of fostering a long-term relationship. If you want to engage a loyal clientele, you need a quality, professional video that relates and sells to your audience.
Let’s collaborate to create the perfect storytelling video for your brand and target market. Contact us now to get soft-selling.
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