It’s a well-known marketing rule that people like to buy from people they like.
The difficulty for many business owners, unfortunately, is that being likable doesn’t always come naturally.
For some, being likeable in the real world is hard enough. Communicating likability through a short, squeeze page video is nigh-on impossible.
So, we settle for being relatable.
That’s not a bad thing. If your audience can relate to you, it means they recognize something in you that is familiar and comfortable.
If you express a feeling or describe something you’ve thought, said or done, that your audience had also experienced, you’re on the right track.
But you need to go further.
Being a little relatable is good, but if you want your audience’s trust, loyalty, and… well… their email address, you need your audience to watch you video and go…
“Oh, yes… you and me both sister… it’s like you’re reading my mind.”
Creating this effect is easier than you might think.
And all it takes is one tweak to the way in which you present your video content.
The Audience Proxy
In television and movies, an audience proxy is a character whose role is to be in the dark about what’s happening around them. When the director wants the audience to learn something important, he can simply have one of the other characters explain to the audience proxy what’s happening.
The audience proxy learns and, by extension, so does the actual audience.
Some would say that this is a cheap trick for writers with little imagination, but it’s also very efficient and unfailingly effective.
When a character explains the plot out loud, it ensures the audience knows EXACTLY what’s going on, with zero chance of confusion. (Unless it’s a David Lynch movie, in which case no amount of audience proxies are going to be able to make sense of anything.)
And let’s face it… the goal of your squeeze page video is not to win an Oscar; it’s to get your viewers to exchange their email address for further information about your product.
With this as your aim, efficiency and effectiveness are exactly what you need.
At this point you might be wondering why you can’t be your own audience proxy. What’s wrong with standing in front of your character and explaining the details yourself?
Well, it goes back to what we said earlier…
Make a Connection
A typical squeeze page video starts with a hook (see the previous article in this series, “Successful Squeeze Page Videos: Part One – The Hook”), describes a problem the audience is facing, presents your solution, and then invites the viewer to hand over their contact details to receive further information.
In this context, you’re presenting yourself as someone with more knowledge and expertise than your viewer.
And here’s the paradox…
The better the job you do at presenting yourself as an expert, and the more effectively you position yourself as being able to fix people’s problems, the less relatable you become.
Imagine for a moment that you’re watching a squeeze page video and the host, unexpectedly, is Bill Gates. He smiles warmly and says…
“I’m one of the richest people in the world. And I’m going to teach YOU how to become a multi-billionaire.”
See the problem?
There’s no doubt that Bill Gates is qualified to talk about wealth generation, but I can’t help suspecting that he’s rich BECAUSE he’s Bill Gates. I can’t relate to that. And I’m not convinced that he could teach me replicate his success.
What if Bill Gates used a proxy…?
Imagine that Bill Gates appears in a squeeze page video in which he introduces his neighbor’s 21-year-old son…
“My neighbor, Jeffrey, had a great idea for a tech business but he didn’t where to start looking for investors. Let me share with you some of the great questions he asked me and the advice that I gave him.”
Can you see how much that one shift in presentation changes the tone and believability of the video?
Now I’m absolutely convinced that Bill has information that could help ME find investors for my business idea.
And it’s all because Bill’s proxy allows us to make a connection.
Disclaimer: Obviously, this is fictitious example. I’ve no idea if Bill Gates even HAS a neighbour. It’s more likely he lives in a mansion on a private island on which he regularly burns big fistfuls of hundred-dollar bills just to free up storage space.
We can relate to Jeffery’s problem, therefore we relate to Jeffrey. And since Bill can relate to Jeffrey (as illustrated by Bill’s desire and ability to help), we can also relate to Bill.
It’s not a conscious line of logic, but if you introduce a proxy into your video that is more relatable to your audience than you are, your visitors will respond much more eagerly.
Someone Else’s Story
We love to experience other people’s highs and lows. Vicarious adventures are a safe way to enjoy the euphoria of success and the devastation of failure.
When you introduce a proxy to your audience, you give them someone they can relate and connect to.
And you don’t literally have to physically bring the person into the video. You could simple relate a customer case study and describe their story from zero to hero.
Or you could go simpler still, and show your audience an email, social media post, or customer support ticket in which someone describes a common problem or asks a frequently asked question.
Literally show the proxy’s question or problem via a screen-grab, and then, instead of talking to your general audience, talk DIRECTLY to the proxy while everyone else listens in.
- Acknowledge that your proxy has asked an intelligent question. If you’ve been smart enough to pick a question that many in your audience will have, you make them feel intelligent by association.
- Refer to something specific in the correspondence and make a light-hearted comment or joke about it. Maybe your proxy has mentioned something about a pet, a family member, a favorite movie, or some kind of inside joke that your audience will get – acknowledge it and establish a connection with your proxy, no matter how small.
- Remove any blame from your proxy and don’t be subtle. Look into the camera, address your proxy directly, and explain why it’s not their fault. Usually because they’ve been misled or because it’s a common misunderstanding.
You’ll notice that this technique doesn’t have to change the content you planned to feature in your video. You still get to highlight a problem and present a solution. The only difference is that now you’re presenting your problem through an audience proxy.
It’s less intimidating for your audience and it makes the whole presentation more believable.
In this structure, Luke is your proxy and you’re Obi-Wan. Or Bilbo and Gandalf. Or Neo and Morpheus.
Let your audience relate to your proxy, and focus on being the mentor that everyone trusts and admires.
In the next article in this series, I’m going to show you how to use a cliffhanger to keep your audience fixated on your video to the very last frame.