Explainer videos are short, 60- to 120-second videos that showcase a company’s story or a specific product. They are super effective marketing tools; studies have shown that businesses that feature an explainer video in their landing page can increase their conversion by up to 86%.
Producing explainer videos would seem, at first glance, to be an easy process. After all, you’re not coming up with a feature film; you’re simply presenting your product to the public. Right?
Well, not exactly. Because explainer videos are so short, producing these takes a lot more skill and creativity than you might think. It’s not enough to just show people your product and then list its features one by one. Your video needs to be compelling enough so people will watch until the end. And that’s no easy task. In fact, videos under 90 seconds have an average retention rate of 53%, so you already lose half of your viewers in such a short time.
About half of consumers search for a product video when they’re considering buying something
4 out of 5 people find demo videos useful, and those who view demo or explainer videos are almost twice as likely to buy than those who did not watch
If a page contains both video and text, 4 times as many people would rather watch the video than read the text
More than half of marketing professionals see video as the type of content with the highest return on investment
It’s no question that videos are an effective tool for branding and marketing. But the type of explainer video, the length, and the content of such videos contribute greatly to its effectiveness and conversion rate.
So, if you want to create a superior explainer video for your business, follow these steps:
Step 1: Set your goals
Like pretty much everything else, you have to start by knowing what you want to get out of these videos. Explainer video production costs time and money, and you don’t want to waste valuable resources on a beautifully crafted video that reaches the wrong audience.
Some things you have to keep in mind for setting your goals: Will this be the first thing visitors see on your website? Who are your target audiences? Do you want to convert viewers into customers, or do you mainly want to build brand awareness?
Your business goals will also affect the kind of video you can produce. For a start-up that foresees a lot of changes over the next several months, animation may be a good option since it is easier to modify than a live-action video.
All of these will influence your explainer video production and the steps that follow.
Step 2: Assess your situation
There are different kinds of explainer videos, each one requiring different skills and budgets. How much money are you setting aside for your video? Will you DIY it, or hire an explainer video company? If you DIY your videos, do you have the necessary equipment? Will they be enough to achieve your goals? If your target market is usually finicky, you won’t win them over with a homemade video shot on an iPhone 5 with terrible sound.
You will also need to consider how much time you have to produce the video. Live-action videos are faster to produce, once you already have the actors and equipment.
Lastly, what type of content will your explainer video have? If this is a demo video or one that includes a case study of a real customer, then live action is better. If you want to focus on the benefits of your product, then you can go with either.
The script is perhaps the most important thing for a successful video. For this, you’ll probably want to hire a professional scriptwriter. An explainer video company will most likely have at least one on the team, if you’re outsourcing the production.
KISS—Keep It Short and Sweet. You’ll have about 150 words per minute of video, so brevity and clarity are both crucial. This is not the time to use flowery language—be simple and straightforward. The video does not need to feature everything about the product, but just enough to get your message across.
Marketing gurus recommend the AIDA structure for an effective script—Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. First, get the viewer’s attention, whether by posing a question or bringing up a problem they might have. Sustain their interest by showing that, yes, “we understand your needs and we’re here to help!” Excite them and create a desire to find out more about your product, then end with a strong call to action.
Remember to focus on the benefits of your product, not simply list down its features. Show the viewers how your product will solve their problems and make their lives easier.
Step 4: Create the storyboard
Storyboarding is often overlooked by amateur video makers, but is an important step in the video production process. A storyboard is simply a visualization of the scenes or shots of a video, kind of like a comic book. It will show the flow of the video, as well as other details like voice-over content, music, and transition shots.
You won’t need fancy software to create a storyboard. Just whip out some paper and pencils and start sketching. You don’t need to be Picasso to create a storyboard, either—even stick figures and rough sketches are fine. There are also storyboard templates you can find online, and even some storyboarding tools that let you create storyboard scenes with speech bubbles and audio recordings. Then write down a brief description of the scene, the line of script for that particular shot, and other important details.
From the storyboard, you can create a mock-up of the video, so you will have a better feel of the final product, and make necessary changes before finalizing everything.
Step 5: Record the voice-over
This is another step of the explainer video production process that would benefit from having a pro. Professional voiceover talents know how to modulate their voice so they deliver the right tone, pitch, and speed suited to the script. It’s important to get good audio for an explainer video, as bad sound quality will ruin an otherwise great video.
Step 6: Add music
Music is very powerful. Listen to the music from films such as Psycho, Jaws, and Star Wars, and notice your spine tingling or the hairs at the back of your neck standing, even without watching the scene. The right music can evoke powerful emotions. Make sure to choose music that is suited to your product, and not just songs you think are great. To save money, use royalty-free music. The music should be a complement to the video, and not the star. It should influence the viewer’s perception of what the video is about without them necessarily noticing the music.
Step 7: Decide on the finishing touches
You may want to add some sound effects, graphics, or other types of animation to your video. You can also consider giving the text within your video a makeover with well-designed typography. Just keep in mind that everything has to enhance and contribute to the overall feel of the video and your goals, so don’t just add special effects left and right. They might distract your viewer from fully understanding the message of the video.
Common mistakes in producing explainer videos
Before you start creating your explainer video, take note of these common failures of explainer videos:
Failing to set your goals. You’ll not only make decisions easier if you know your targets, you’ll also save a lot of time, effort, and money. Plus, keeping track of the marketing performance indicators will be easier if you’ve set clear and manageable goals.
Failing to use the appropriate type of video. Just because you love a company’s animated explainer video doesn’t mean that you have to replicate their strategy. Your company and product might not be explained well by simple animation—they might need case studies. Determine what’s best for you, not what you believe worked for other people.
Failing to empathize with the audience. An explainer video isn’t your product manual in video form; it should tell a story. You don’t simply say, “Our product is great, trust us!” Rather, your video should show why your product is great. You need to connect with your audience, figure out what they need, and deliver the solution through your video’s messaging.
You’re all set! When creating amazing explainer videos, whether live, animated, or a combination of both, getting expert help is a good option. Hire a professional explainer video company to create your video for you, or you can go DIY and get professional assistance just for specific steps.
Whatever you choose, don’t attempt to create the entire video by yourself and expect amazing results. There are lots of excellent companies that will give you value for your money. For those doing DIY videos, search online for free or inexpensive tools you can use to make video production easy, even with an amateur team.
A superb explainer video will go a long way toward marketing your products, increasing your conversion rate, and ensuring that your brand gets the attention it deserves.