Whether the project in question is seeking funds from a pledge-model crowd funding platform or through the investment route, a pitch video doubles the likelihood of achieving the funding target. Not only does it let viewers see your authenticity, personality and passion, it allows the project creator or issuer to convey the message and to get buy in from potential backers. With the average drop off time being 40 seconds, it is critical to engage the viewer by then, and make the 2 – 4 minute video as effective as possible. These are the elements for a successful pitch video.
Many successful campaign videos employ the simple IDEA principle – Interest, Desire, Enthusiasm, Action. This is the formula used by infomercials and whist they are criticised for being an interruption to pleasant television viewing, one cannot dispute that they are highly effective in engaging viewers and turning them into customers. They create interest by highlighting the problem faced by consumers, and then solve the problem with the solution they have created, building desire and enthusiasm in just 30 seconds. They then close with the call to action – “call now”, and the urgency to act now or miss out – a simple strategy evoking complex psychological triggers. Therefore, it is essential that a good campaign video starts with the problem which exists and then provides the solution that the project creator has devised.
The Elevator Pitch
The elevator pitch then makes for the body of the pitch video. A simple formula for this is to explain who the product is for, and the market alternative or gap in the market with which they are currently dissatisfied. The next step is to explain in just a few words what the product is (for which the support or investment is being sought), and the problem solving capability of the product. To underscore and further emphasise the problem solving capability, comparison should be drawn to the current product alternative that does not deliver the same result. The final step is to summarise what it is that the project will provide by stating the key whole product with features. This should all be captured in a sentence or two which forms the elevator pitch.
For example – For time poor people who are dissatisfied with the way in which widgets simply break under the slightest pressure at the worst possible time, our Super Widget product will not break as soon as you exert force on it. Unlike Cheapo Widgets, Super Widgets are indestructible and will provide you with a lifetime of worry-free use.
Keep in mind, when writing your elevator pitch and explaining the benefits, consumers only ever seek one or more of the six psychological buyer benefits – Safety, Performance, Appearance, Comfort, Economy, and Durability. Understand your market and realise which of these six benefits your product delivers, and you will have more success in connecting with your market.
A pitch video is a great visual medium for introducing your team. Tell the viewer all about the qualifications and achievements of each member of your team, emphasising those that relate to your project. People invest in teams even more than in an idea, product or concept, so ensuring that you build the viewer’s confidence in the team’s capacity to execute is key to securing investment or support. If you have an advisory board or external team members, introduce them to supplement the skills of your team, and again build the story around how your (extended) team has the ability and experience to deliver the product as well as the return for which the viewer could potentially invest.
In addition to the achievements of the team, people like to see that the company is advancing, and progressing from the initial idea. Any milestones achieved by the company should be articulated, stepping through from concept to prototype to production, commercialisation, revenue and profit, obviously stating those that are appropriate, and being very accurate and truthful as to where the company or product is up to. And contracts that have been won, or nominations or awards received are also noteworthy, as is any publicity or mentions in the media.
The Need for Funding
A high percentage of pitch videos do a wonderful job of explaining the company, the product or the service that is on offer, but fail to address the issue for which the video is actually being made, and that is what the funding will be required for. Be sure to give viewers an overview as to what the capital will achieve, and why the company is raising the funds. Explaining what will be achieved by the support of the viewer will help engage them, and make them want to be part of the journey.
The Investment Opportunity
Most project supporters and investors listen to just one radio station – WII-FM. This stands for “What’s In It For Me”. Be sure to spell out the investment opportunity or return they could enjoy, or at least let them know where they can find your offer document to learn more. Understand that investors are motivated by the return on offer, how it fits with their risk profile, and how they can get their money back out. Explain it to them, or at least tell them where they can find out more, and you have a good chance to secure their support if the opportunity aligns with what they are looking for.
Pitching for support or investment is all about familiarity and trust. The same can be said for when major companies seek consumer support or loyalty, and that is why they use high profile individuals to add character and credibility to their brand, service or product. In a pitch video, issuers and project creators can do the same if they can obtain an endorsement from a high profile person that will support and enhance your brand. To have them appearing in the video and saying just a few words backing the company or product will immediately advance your position in the mind of the potential investor or supporter.
Call to action
The purpose of the video is not simply to make everyone feel good or to just let them know more about your company or project, but to seek investment or support from the viewer. Once you stepped through the stages above to generate interest, desire, and enthusiasm, the viewer then needs to be shepherded into the final stage which is action. What is it that you wish them to do? How do they do that? You need to clearly spell out how they can find out more or how they can pledge their support. It is all about helping them get to the destination where you wish them to arrive, and that is to provide you the funds you need to proceed.
There is a lot of information in the steps above, and the challenge is to put all of it into a short, concise and precise video. It does not have to be a Steven Spielberg production – it is all about quality not quantity. The pitch video should not be too long, remembering that you must engage them within the first 40 seconds or they will drop off. People are viewing it on the internet, so any longer than 3 – 4 minutes and you will have little chance of them viewing it to the end. Sesame Street’s success was based on changing the scene every 8 seconds to keep the viewer engaged, and this has shaped many of our viewing habits. Comprehensive, yet not too detailed, and without becoming disjointed – that is the key to a great pitch video.
Author, Bryan Vadas, is co-founder of iPledg as well as director of Time Masters (Australia) who are accredited capital raising sponsors with ASSOB. Contact him now if you are interested in either, or if you wish to deal with a single point of contact to take you from pledge-model through to investment crowd funding. This is the only place that can transition you through the whole process.