How to Engage Your Audience in Five Seconds
Portent Staff Jun 7 2012
I like to look at a potential customer the same way I look at a potential mate (Don’t make it weird). And in this mindset, there is one tenet I follow above all else: less is more.
The more time I spend trying to convince a girl that she should kiss my face, the more time I have to make a mistake, have an unmanly voice crack, or offend the girl without realizing it.
As marketers, it’s pretty easy to imagine all the ways we scare off our would-be online customers:
- Giving them too much information
- Not telling them where to go next
- Asking them to buy too soon
- Asking them to buy too much
The courting process is different and difficult in the online world. If you can pack a punch that will knock out your customer, then swing fast. And no one swings faster than…
5-Second Films was started by Brian Firenzi in 2005, “after being disappointed by so many 5,400-second films.” The 5SF crew puts out a new short film every weekday. And they are hilarious.
Is Five Seconds Enough?
Short answer: yes. Remember how Ernest Hemingway did the equivalent? The literary master had cranked out dozens of lengthy works when he claimed he could write a short story in only six words. Only six words? How could you tell a story with that much brevity?
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
70 years later, 5-Second Films takes it from six words to five seconds. They get to the point. Shouldn’t marketers do the same?
Instead of scaring away your customers, follow 5SF’s example.
Cut the Fat
Everything that isn’t essential must go.
Nothing Too Skinny
Cut the fat, but make sure your pitch isn’t too skinny afterwards. This means that everything that doesn’t belong must go, but everything that does belong must be painfully obvious. Take the first film above — in five seconds you get:
- What is happening. We’re going to Funland.
- How to do it. Get your fun key/fork.
- Where to do it. Put your fun key/fork in the fun lock/electrical wall socket.
- The end result. You have fun/get electrocuted.
It doesn’t look too different from the traditional sales funnel, does it?
Nothing Too Heavy
5SF could make their films differently. Actors could try to ramble off as much dialogue as possible in five seconds, and hopefully some of the words stick with the viewer.
Some of our landing pages do that, don’t they? We know we only have brief moments to deliver information to a potential customer, but then we weigh a page down with far too many words. Please don’t make me think that hard.
All Roads Lead to the Ocean
A quick look at the 5-Second Films website shows you that they are focused on their product.
- You can watch the most recent, top rated and most viewed videos on the homepage.
- Their blog is a collection of videos from behind the scenes of their films and hilarious recaps of the best video comments.
- You can chat on their forums about the films, or showcase your own.
There is nothing on the site that tears you away from the matter at hand. The opposite is true — everything on the site pulls you back towards their core product.
As social media continues to play a bigger and bigger role in marketing projects, you better make sure your product is shareable. Get your product in front of the right audience and you can start generating some real engagement.
5SF nails this. Share buttons don’t jump out and distract you, but they pop up in the right places when you’ve finished watching a film. The few static social buttons on the site pop against the dark background, but they’re not excessive.
The point is that marketers need to get to it (the point). I’ll try to turn that into a palindrome later if I have the time. Questions? Thoughts?
And how about one more film from 5SF?