The 5 Elements of Defense-Piercing Multimedia

Even though we decided to postpone the multimedia copywriting seminar in southern California due to the fires there, my friend, copywriter David Garfinkel, asked me about it:

“(One of my coaching students) asked if you will share detailed test results like what to say vs. what not to say, what to wear in video, and other nitty-gritty like that, at your seminar when you reschedule it. Those would be excellent points to cover for a serious direct marketer. Anything you'd like me to tell him?”

Valid question. So here's the answer I gave him, along with a few tips…

Yes, those are precisely the things I was going to share at the seminar. But here's something you might want to tell him.

Online video should do either one of 5 things.

This is what I call my “SPEAR” formula, which I alluded to in my salesletter for the seminar. Think of using multimedia like a spear that pierces through your target market's defenses, and pinpoints their dominant desires.

SPEAR is an acronym, which means:

  1. Support
  2. Proof
  3. Emphasis
  4. Attention
  5. Response

In other words, use your multimedia for any one or more of the above. Let me explain what each element means.

(For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to multimedia as “video” from now on. But note that the formula applies to audio as well.)


You can use video to educate viewers as a supporting element to your copy, such as delivering the same sales message but in a different modality — thus appealing to the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic visitor, instead of appealing just to the reader.

In this case, the video is non-essential. They are basically complementary to your overall sales message. But its usage is definitely the easiest of the bunch.

Some people learn and understand better with visuals, while others do so with sounds. Either way, video enables all your readers to grasp your message in the way they feel most comfortable with, and to do so with greater ease, speed, and comprehension.

Essentially, it covers all the bases by ensuring that your message is received in the best way possible by everyone in your audience.


You can use video to prove your case and persuade your audience by offering an added dimension to your sales message, such as using video to create or build value, scarcity, credibility, or believability.

Video is a perfect opportunity to showcase actual results, clinical trials, samples and examples, case studies, before-and-after comparisons, demonstrations, product or website tours, etc.

Best of all, they're perfect for demonstrating social proof, too, such as a clip of you delivering your product or service, or speaking to a captive audience.

(Take a look at how some marketers use videos to show what the product looks like. Some of them even record themselves in the process of receiving the package in the mail, opening it up, and unwrapping the product.)

Incidentally, just as action shots outpull still photos or mugshots in pictures, action scenes also do outpull talking heads in split-tests, too.


Video can also be used to emphasize key points in your copy, such as expanding on core benefits or the offer itself, or to drive home complex ideas or critical points in the copy that may be hard to understand otherwise.

You can dive deeper into specific things you want to cover that, in text copy, is difficult or requires too much copy to do. You can even use it to emphasize parts of your offer, or even as a way to surprise viewers such as by offering an extra bonus not discussed in the copy.

Ultimately, think of illustrations or figures in a book. But in this case they're videos. They help to illustrate or showcase something you talk about in the copy, which not only supports it but also highlights and accentuates it.


Attention is what video does best. It's the most common and effective way to use video with any website, and particularly with web salesletters.

For example, having a video, especially at the top of the salesletter, is an effective attention grabber. You can use it to stop people from surfing and/or scanning your salesletter, and force them to start reading your copy.

Basically, the video is like (or expands on) the headline, which is supposed to do the same thing: get people's attention and get them to start reading.


And finally, while grabbing people's attention is the most effective way to use video, boosting response is by far the most productive and profitable way.

In fact, video is not only perfect for boosting response. It's necessary. You should use the video to command your audience to take action. The video is really a “response aid,” and there are many different ways to do this.

Aside from using calls to action in all your videos (even if it's as simple as asking them to keep reading), you can also use video specifically on or near your order forms, response devices, and other calls to action as a way to educate readers on how to take action, and what to expect when they do.

For instance, a video on my order page at TheCopyDoctor.com instructs visitors on how to fill out the form and process their order.

The added benefit? Since it's a digital product (specifically, a membership website), it also gives people an idea of what's “on the other side” once their order is processed, such as showing them how to log into their new account.

You can even go through a mock order, where the video is a screencam of you filling out the form and processing it in seeming real-time, along with the resulting “thank you” page, confirmation page, or download page.

The bottom line is, this reduces fear and skepticism by allowing users to know, precisely, what they will see, get, and enjoy by taking action.

(By the way, this alone has literally tripled my order form conversions and vastly reduced shopping cart abandonment.)

Finally, here are some additional tips.

Whenever possible, use a professional voiceover. Because when a third party introduces you before you speak (or if you don't speak at all in the video, speaks on your behalf), it makes you look more credible, authoritative, and important.

This has been proven in test after test. Even when your own voice might sound just as good as a professional voiceover artist.

Why? Well, as the saying goes, “a third party will always sell you better than you can sell yourself.” This is true for a number of reasons.

One of them is, of course, the fact that the voiceover doesn't appear like a shameless, self-interested plug. It's perceived as being more credible, believable, and objective than if it were to come directly from you.

For example, if you say, “I'm the best,” it appears self-serving. But if a voiceover says, “Michel Fortin is the best,” it seems less so.

Now, you can still do it yourself with your own voice. It's better than nothing. And sometimes, you should (unless, of course, yours is not the most pleasantly sounding voice there is).

Specifically, you should use a third party when making claims, but you should use your voice (or speak in the first person, if it's a voiceover artist) when making promises.

Using a voiceover (or the third person) when making a promise might come across as cold, vague, impersonal, and formal.

Remember, just like with copy, videos should be personal, conversational, and direct. Your video should speak to the individual — as if you were right there, in front of them, engaged in a one-on-one conversation.

Aside from that, a voiceover artist will make you look more professional, trustworthy, and credible. It also increases perceived value, because it boosts you as a solution. As a brand. And not as a salesperson.

A company I recommend is VoiceTalentNow.com. They're pretty inexpensive and have over 40 voice talent artists that you can choose from, with samples on their website you can listen to, too.

Some of my clients have used them with great results. Although I've never used them, a few other websites include Voices.com and Voice123.com.

Finally, don't be afraid in using stock video in your web videos to give your videos movement, demonstrate a certain benefit, and even emphasize a specific problem they are suffering that you can solve.

The best one is iStockVideo.com (from the makers of iStockPhoto.com). There are tons of stock video clips you can use, especially in incorporating any of the points of the SPEAR Formula.

As an example, visit Keith Gilbert's VideoAdProfits.com, which also offers a lot of extra tips and ideas on the very topic of making online videos.

Another example is my friend Jay Douglas' brand-new ClickBank Squeeze Videos, which offers pre-made videos to sell affiliate products on ClickBank.com. But pay attention to the video on the opt-in page.

In conclusion, here's an aside.

Some people ask, “What about being entertaining?”

Nothing stops you from being entertaining with your video. But remember, while it should always have a purpose and an outcome, your video should be relevant to your audience, your story, and the advancement of the sale.

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