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There’s a story that was reported by the Washington Post as a social experiment that will serve the purpose of helping me to get my point across so I’ll briefly tell it here…

Joshua Bell, a world class musician, played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes on a $3.5 violin in a Washington DC Metro station, posing as a busker. Around 1,100 people passed him by. A few people threw some change in his case and some people stopped for a few seconds to listen. When he finished up playing, no one took any notice, no applause or recognition at all. Two days before this, he sold out the Boston Theater charging $100 a seat.

So, what does this have to do with you? People react to a show…they want to see what you have to offer in an entertaining showcase. If you’re offering up your pitch along with all the information on your products on a website spread over a billion webpages, or you have a giant PDF with a few nice pictures and graphics, you will only reach the people that can be bothered enough to investigate with no real prompt to do so.  People need to be told that your product is worth buying in to without any kind of ‘work’ involved, eg. reading. If there was a TV ad that ran stating that Joshua Bell was going to play for free in a Metro station and that told everyone who saw it how amazing and celebrated a musician he was, people would have seen the value. It’s not that they’d recognize it for themselves, even when he was playing right next them, they would have been told as much and then opted to buy in. It’s the same with your business online selling financial services or promoting a cause or showing off a new iPhone app. You can throw it up on a website but even if it’s the greatest product ever created, a lot of people will pass it by, perhaps taking a glance on their way to Twitter or Youtube. However, when you have an explainer video that asks nothing of your visitor other than to relax and watch something entertaining for 90 seconds, they’re much more likely to stick around. More than that, the explainer video is showing them how awesome your service or product is and letting them know why they should care to invest the time and effort involved in buying in, without initially making any effort or commitment past clicking a ‘play’ button.

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