Sometimes words are just not enough. Explainer videos are a super good investment for fresh startups. This holds even more true when dealing with startups with very complicated concepts. In case you are unfamiliar with explainer videos, an explainer video is an animated video that explains and illustrates the concept of your product/business. These videos are usually short, and if created right, can be very efficient in getting your message across.
As an entrepreneur who has had explainer videos created before, I can tell you that they’re an invaluable marketing asset. Adding one to your landing page is an easy way to boost your conversion rate. They are always a great way to kick off your social media outreach and grow subscribers on YouTube and followers on Vimeo.
In my own experiences they did not only prove to be a great marketing tool, but were also very useful when pitching to investors or competing in pitch competitions. The explainer videos I had created were able illustrate how certain things worked in seconds that could have took me minutes to explain. They also showed a level of professionalism and that we had already began investing in our marketing plan.
I have had a total 3 explainer videos created for my 3 start-ups, and I felt each one was better than preceding one. By the time I created an explainer video for my third and current startup WishBooklet, I learned what worked and more importantly what didn’t. Here is the explainer video we created for WishBooklet and 5 tips that I applied during the creation process.
1. Start with the problem
At its essence, a product is merely a solution to a problem. So when you’re creating a video that illustrates a product concept, it’s best to start with the problem the product solves. Since you are using a visual aid, it’s best to give a scenario of the problem rather than just straight up say it. This will make the problem resonate more with your audience. It’s important you make your audience empathize with the problem otherwise you lose them in the first couple of seconds. The problem should account for about 1/4 to 1/3 of your entire video. Once you illustrate the problem you need transition immediately into the solution aka your product.
2. Focus more on benefits than features
When it’s time to begin talking about your product more than likely your first instinct will be to talk about all its cool features. While you can talk about features in your explainer video, it’s much more effective to talk about the benefits your product provides consumers. People don’t care as much about what your product does as much as they care about what it can do for them. So its fine to talk about features just make sure you display how those features translates into benefits. To illustrate for you the difference between a feature vs. benefit; a feature on WishBooklet would be the ability to crowdfund and the benefit would be getting money to buy a gift you really want.
3. Don’t use real screenshots
This tip is a little open to question but one I recommend myself. I believe explainer videos should be completely animated and the illustration of how the product works should be more abstract than literal. This holds especially true to products that are not finished or are in their early stages. When creating an explainer video for my first startup I made the mistake of using actual screenshots in the explainer video. Within 3 months of the video being produced our site went through a design overhaul and the screenshots used in the explainer video were obsolete. If we just used abstract graphics we wouldn’t have had to redo the video. Choosing animation over screenshots will greatly increase the lifetime of your video.
4. The script > The animation
Explainer videos are a great marketing tool because they provide a visual aid when explaining your concept. As much as the animation and graphics will help your video, the script will make or break your video. The script will persuade customers to use your product, the animation is just there to help bring the words to life. Your script should include the following elements: the problem, the solution (aka your product), how it works and a call to action. When creating an explainer video, I would suggest writing the script first and then come up with animation versus coming up with the animation first and then creating the script.
5. Keep it short
This is an important tip that will not only make your video more effective but also save you some money. The explainer video for my first startup was 2 minute and 39 seconds long, the video for my second startup was 1 minute and 22 seconds long, and the explainer video for WishBooklet is 1 minute and 4 seconds long. As you could guess each video got cheaper to produce but they also became much more enjoyable and straight to the point. The ideal explainer video should be around 1 minute long. This should be more than enough time to give a high level overview of your product and persuade the viewer into taking the next step. Make an explainer video that is short, cool and converts.
Eric Santos is a blogger, growth hacker, and entrepreneur. Eric is the co-founder and Business Guy at WishBooklet, a gift crowdfunding web-app that makes getting the gifts you really want easy. Eric is the current CEO of Dwibbles and former founder and CEO of Soshowise Inc. Eric received a B.S in Entrepreneurship from CSUF. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
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