Every business needs quality leads. A short, snappy, promo video is a great way to get eyeballs on your brand, but how do you turn those eyeballs into paying customers?
It all starts with telling an engaging story.
Customers don’t care about the features and benefits of a product or service, they care about themselves and their own interests and problems. They’re thinking about what’s immediately relevant to THEM. By illustrating how your solution relieves them from pain and inconvenience, you should reinforce brand loyalty and get more leads, right? In theory, yes, but the challenge is getting people that are more distracted than ever to pay attention. In today’s world of 6-second ads and apathetic audiences, this is often easier said than done!
In essence, a video promo is a short story with a beginning, middle and end. Video is not a purely visual medium. Sound makes up half of the sensory experience, so choosing the right soundtrack is critical to success. But music and visuals can only take you so far. If you add a human narrator, you can go beyond your eyes and ears and speak directly to the emotions of the audience. Human storytelling predates writing and the earliest forms of storytelling were usually oral, combined with gestures and expressions. Humans have evolved to learn from stories being told by other humans and to take these stories to heart – to remember them and share them with others.
The inspiring voice-over in this 6-second Cheetos promo tells a story that leaves you wanting more…
Whilst we all like to imagine we make independent, rational decisions; our emotions play an important role in our decision making. And emotions are heavily influenced by – guess what? – other humans. Making decisions based on ‘gut feelings’ or ‘instinct’ is so common we don’t think about the whys and wherefores. We liked that brand better, or believed in that product more, or connected more strongly with that job candidate.
Why? You may have received a recommendation from a good friend, but that friend probably told you a story you believed in. They may be talking from personal experience, or they may have heard those good things from others who saw a video. A good promo video helps this process. Crafting a good story will convince enough people to try it and then, ultimately, share their own stories.
The human voice is compelling and inspires others to do things because it helps us to feel and to act. A professional narrator will invite laughter, offer reassurance, instil trust or inspire excitement. Isn’t that marvellous?
So, how do you choose the right voice over for your message?
1. Start with demographics
Building a brand voice isn’t just for big business. It is for every organisation that wants to connect, human-to-human, with their audience.
First, consider your audience demographic:
- Where are they located?
- What is their education level?
- What gender and age are they?
- What do you want the audience to do or feel?
Create a full persona of your typical customer and then think about how you want them to perceive your message.
A localised voice is much more likely to be listened to than a ‘neutral’ accent, but it depends on the effect you want the message to give. If your audience is located in a specific region, such as Scotland, it’s almost always beneficial to use a voice-over speaking a general Scottish accent – it immediately breeds familiarity. Alternatively, you may want the audience to resonate with your authentic Chilean Wine brand, and in this case, a native Chilean voice speaking in English could be a perfect choice.
2. Set the tone
Audio branding is all about making the appropriate associations between your audience, your offer and how you want them to feel about the message.
Here are three quick examples to illustrate:
1. A skincare product for young women
Offering: an easy solution to better skin.
Example Tone: a Conversational tone from a young female voice-over will immediately be relateable, get them on the same wavelength and make it sound easy.
2. A tech product for male gamers
Offering: a cool way to get the edge over the online competition.
Example Tone: an Inspiring tone from a young male voice-over will give them confidence your product will get them results and give them a sense of urgency to act now or miss out.
3. A mobile banking app for anyone
Offering: a simple app for managing your money online.
Example Tone: an Authoritative tone from a mature male or female voice-over will instil trust in the app, vital for a product about managing money.
Are you seeing a theme here?
Every professional voice-over is acted in a specific tone, and the tone you choose for your project depends on how you want the audience to feel. The most common tones for business use are as follows:
• Authoritative (e.g. a market leader you can trust)
• Comedic (e.g. a happy, fun product or service)
• Conversational (e.g. friendly, relaxed, ‘this is going to be easy’)
• Eloquent (e.g. professional, confident)
• Enticing (e.g. excited, personal, edgy)
• Inspiring (e.g. motivated, moved)
• Nurturing (e.g. reassured, ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’)
Other tones such as Angry, Sad, Scared, Unorthodox are mainly for entertainment projects, but they may also be appropriate for organisations looking to arouse strong feelings in their audience.
3. Get it produced
It’s always worth getting the script written by a professional copywriter or film director. Especially if you’re getting your promo produced by an external video production company! The script is very important because the language and the order of words influence the tone of the material. It’s not all about the voice; the script helps to shape the performance. Most of the production companies we work with here at Voquent include scriptwriting as part of their service and it’s ALWAYS worth using their expertise.
Of course, if your budget is very small and you are writing the script and creating the video by yourself using a video creation tool package, this may not be an option. As a general tip: always keep the script succinct. Reading it out loud to yourself and to others will help you refine the message and to get the tone just right. Also keep in mind that the average rate of speech is around 150 words per minute, so if your promo is 30 seconds long, a script of more than 75 words will mean the voice talent has to speak very quickly to fit it within the duration! In fact, the length of the script can sometimes ruin the tone altogether! For example, a fast-paced read at a high-pitch isn’t something you would expect from an authoritative or nurturing tone. Whereas 150 – 180 words per minute is ideal for a light, conversational tone.
When you are happy with the script (or when you can finally stop tweaking it!), getting the voice-over recorded is easy with an agency like Voquent. We’ll guide you through the entire process, and this isn’t necessarily more expensive than going directly to freelance voice talent. But whether you use an agency or freelancer, don’t expect miracles for cheap rates. A professional voice-over artist will have invested YEARS in training and THOUSANDS on their studio equipment. It is an art form and there is always a hidden cost to getting a cheap voice-over. Poor quality audio and a badly acted performance will just turn off your audience.
When you search for voices at Voquent your time will be saved because we have already verified every voice sample and voice artist on the platform to ensure they are able to deliver. At Voquent, we ensure you always get the best quality at an affordable price.
Writer: Al Black (Co-Founder)