April 15

How to Create a 1-Minute Video Ad from Scratch

There are a few fundamental truths about the way people consume content online:

  1. They want to be entertained - they’re escaping from something.
  2. They’re happy to toss you aside and move on to the next thing.
  3. They like explosions and bright shiny stuff that moves around a lot.

So because you don’t have much time and have to get their attention right away, a powerful story condensed into a one-minute video can become a super-effective way to communicate with your customers.

Video is the absolute best way to take into account the fact that people are busy and that they want to build connections. It’s the medium that most social media platforms prefer and it typically gets pushed to the top of people’s feeds.

And storytelling is the absolute best way to capture your audience’s attention and keep it. It’s the tool we’ve used universally across time and across cultures to impart wisdom, teach lessons, and share ideas.

It’s the device we use to make sense of the world, to survive and thrive in the unpredictable environments we live in.

Here’s a simple way to create a video that gets attention, builds trust and authority, and presents your business as the solution your customers have been looking for:

The Template: How to Script Your Video

Because we only have a minute for this video, we’ve got to be really intentional about the way we spend each second. There’s no room for wasted time, so planning it out is critical.

We’re going to break it down into segments and what should be included in each segment.

  1. (0:00-0:05) The Scroll Stopper: Let their thumbs rest for a little bit.
  2. (0:05-0:20) The Agitation: Set the stage and make them sweat.
  3. (0:20-0:50) The Presentation: Let them off the hook and show them the path to the Promised Land.
  4. (0:50-1:00) The Call to Adventure: Give them something to do.

Part 1: The Scroll Stopper

This first section is the make-or-break moment for your video. Your audience has a LOT of content to choose from and they’re used to throwing things aside quickly that don’t interest them.

You’ve got to figure out how to stop them from scrolling, how to get their attention quickly.

The catch, though, is that attention is cheap.

What you’re looking to create is attention that’s an on-ramp to building trust.

I can get attention by setting my hair on fire and running down the street, but that’s not the kind of attention that’s ever going to make anyone trust me to be their heart surgeon.

Your job is to open a story in their mind that applies to them. Something they can step inside and relate to. Use the words they use. Speak like they speak and recognize a problem they’re having or an emotion they’re feeling.

The added benefit of this is that you only get the attention of the people you actually want to reach. Attention in bulk doesn’t help. In fact, it can clog your pipeline with people who were never going to be your customers in the first place.

As with any other marketing efforts, what you do here will first and foremost hinge on understanding the audience you’re trying to reach.

Part 2: The Agitation

Using the universally-applicable Hero’s Journey as our framework for what our customer is experiencing, we see that the first experience our customer will have with us is a realization that there’s something wrong, something they need to fix in order to get what they want.

But for characters in most stories, including your customer, that doesn’t mean they jump into action. In fact, we can reliably expect them to refuse the Call to Adventure. It’s just too risky.

Even when people are deeply unhappy in their situation, they are reluctant to take action. People disproportionately dread a change in their situation, a new action they have to take or a new task they must complete, far more than the pain they’re currently experiencing.

Basically, people will choose the pain they know (the problem you solve) over the pain they don’t know (the uncertainty of trying to make things better).

So your job is to agitate their problem or entice them to how good things will be for them - you need to create a response.

The best way to get their head nodding, to get them to acknowledge the depth and pain of their current predicament, is to address their problem on the 3 main levels that they’re feeling it.

  1. The External: This is the stuff you can point to and touch and speak really clearly about - the headaches, the debt, the mountain lion jumping out of the tree. So you’d say something like, “your credit card bills are piling up.”
  2. The Internal: How are they feeling about it? What’s going on inside them as a result of that external problem? “The pile of bills on the counter means you wake up every day uncertain about what the future holds, trapped in a cycle you don’t know how to get out of.”
  3. The Philosophical: What just isn’t fair about the fact that they have to deal with that problem and how it makes them feel? This is where you zoom out and speak from 30,000 feet about the injustice of it all. Use words like should, deserve, ought to, it isn’t fair. “You shouldn’t have to try to figure it all out alone. You deserve a financial professional who’s been there countless times, someone who can stand by your side and help you find your way in the darkness.”

Now, if you were in debt and heard that, it would probably get your head nodding more than just, “In debt? We can help!”

Keep things in the here and now. A good rule of thumb is to discuss problems in the present tense. With problems, it can backfire and cause too much pain if you dig too far into the future. Watch:

“Most kids start school full of excitement, but can easily get frustrated when they start working on things they don’t understand. As math or reading get more difficult, your kids might start to dread spending time on those things and eventually aren’t excited about school at all.

When they’re not excited about it, they stop working hard, so their performance suffers, which means that they’ll have a much harder time getting into a good college or finding a good job, setting them up for a lifetime of hardship and poverty.

They’ll struggle to make ends meet for the rest of their lives and will probably have to eat cat food by candlelight in middle and old age.”


If we stopped after the first paragraph, we’d have gotten our point across. We’d be addressing the problem in the here and now. This isn’t something we have to beat people over the head with - just sprinkle in enough struggle to get their attention and make them care.

In the last part of this section, paint a picture of what life will look like once the problem is gone. How do things get better? What do they get to do that they can’t do now? How does their day to day life change? Say things like, “Imagine if…” and “Wouldn’t it be great if…”

Part 3: The Presentation

If you’re creating a video that you ultimately want to use as a sales tool, this will be where you spend the bulk of your time.

Your goal here is to create a picture in the customer’s mind of what the solution will look like. You need them to walk away with an idea of how their life will look once that problem isn’t in it anymore.

You’ve also got to give them insight but not overload into how you make that happen. In any story, one of the critical things that the mentor or guide gives the hero is a plan. Your customers are going to be reluctant to take action.

Your plan for the solution serves as the stepping stones that will get them where they want to be. If any of those seem out of reach from where they currently are, they won’t take action.

In this section of your video, you need to explain what your solution is, how or why it works (especially if you can position it in contrast to what other solutions they may also be considering or may have tried before) and most importantly, how it will change their lives. In the solution section, don’t be afraid to go out into the future.

Think about the problems they won’t have to deal with anymore, and how that will make them feel. How it will affect their day to day life and their status. How their relationships will change. How their idea of themself will change.

Part 4: The Call to Adventure

The moment of truth.

You’ve gotten their attention and explained with complete clarity how well you understand their problem on every level.

You’ve also shown them what life will look like once that problem goes away and they’re free to live the life they want to live.

You’ve even given them a clear, step-by-step plan that spells out exactly how the process will work and shown them that the solution is within reach.

Now what?

Now, they still probably won’t do anything.

You’ve got to call them to action. You’ve got to tell them exactly what they need to do to initiate the process, begin the journey, and start to work with you.

This isn’t the time to be soft or vague or hesitant. Don’t ask them if they want to “get started” or “learn more.”

Tell them to click a button or schedule a call or buy now.

Make it clear, direct, and simple.

Even when you do, they likely won’t take action. And that’s okay. You probably know why. They probably feel like it’s too expensive or too time-consuming or they’ve got to talk to their spouse or business partner first. You’ve probably heard the same objection over and over.

So address that.

“A lot of people are worried that…”

“But actually…”

Then call them to action again.

Final Steps

Once you’ve got your video scripted out, take your time to review it so that you feel comfortable with each section.

Don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time, or really even at all. You get as many takes as you want. The whole point of condensing things down to just a minute is that you can turn these out regularly. Just like anything else, you’ll get better at them the more you do.

Record a different video for each audience you serve, each product you offer, and each problem you overcome. Let them get to know you and trust you. What resonates with one person isn’t necessarily going to resonate with another.

But also remember that your idea of perfect and your audience’s idea of perfect are likely very different.

Approach each video with the intention to help, to serve, to guide, and to develop a relationship.


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