Using the visual medium to explain how your product or service works to people who’ve never heard of it before is easier than forcing them to read a lot of text to understand the same thing. That’s the role of explainer videos — short, usually one- or two-minute videos that educate consumers on how to use a brand’s product or service. And at their heart, they should align with your brand’s vision and mission.
With studies showing that the entire web is increasingly trending to more video than anything else — a Cisco study from last year predicts that almost 80% of the web will be consumed by video traffic by 2020. That’s just three years away!
Because of forecasts like this one, it makes more sense than ever for you to incorporate video into your marketing campaigns, with explainer videos being a great start to your visual storytelling.
Here’s what you have to know to start using explainer videos to maximum effect.
Tip #1: Use a template for your script
You don’t necessarily have to labor yourself to reinvent the wheel when it comes to structure for your script. Keeping things simple and straightforward can work best for your explainer video, especially if your product or service isn’t the easiest thing in the world to understand.
To that end, you can use script templates like the one provided by Video Brewery, which will keep you on track to ensure that you don’t overcomplicate what should be a straight-to-the-point narration.
Tip #2: Get a professional voiceover
Theoretically, you could in all likelihood read your own script for your explainer video, but, realistically, it wouldn’t sound as good and therefore as persuasive or accessible as a script read by a professional. Use a professional voice actor when recording your script.
Sure, you’ll have to spend a bit of money, but it’s worth it to avoid having a poorly recorded voice or one that fails to be polished.
Some great voiceover services include:
- Voices.com – Rates are $100 per minute for explainer videos
- Fiverr.com – Rates can be as low as $5, but these usually cover only a limited number of words
Tip #3: Add nifty sound effects and music to set the scene
What’s a video of any kind without any sound and music? Not much, so it’s in your best interest to secure thoughtful and relevant sound for your explainer video. Adding the right music can take your video from ordinary to something lively that’s a lot more enjoyable for your viewers.
Here’s a rundown of places on the web to find sound and music for your video:
- YouTube – A list of free music for various audio projects
- Musopen – A site providing free sound resources such as recordings and sheet music
- Freesound – A collaborative database that allows for the reuse of recordings, samples and audio snippets
- Audio Jungle – A site that features royalty-free music and audio tracks from just $1 and up
Tip #4: Incorporate some animation into your video
You know what looks really good in an explainer video? Animation. It helps to give your video a more light-hearted mood and can help make it more enjoyable. You can outsource your animation to a company or freelancer, but, if you really want to gain experience with this type of content creation, you’ll do it yourself.
Luckily for you, there are two options if you want to go this route:
- Vyond (formerly Go Amimate) – This service lets you make your first animated video in less than five minutes, but it starts at $39 per month (though there’s a 14-day free trial)
- PowToon – This tool lets you create animated videos for free, but it’s very limited; paid plans start at $19 per month and open a lot more features
Tip #5: Use Whiteboard Animations
Your explainer videos can benefit from simple and straightforward whiteboard animations, especially if your product or service is an educational one. What are whiteboard animations? These are when a creative story and storyboard with images is drawn onto a whiteboard as the speakers or artists record themselves during the process.
Using whiteboard animations is a creative way to take your users and customers through how your product or service works in real-time.
There are a number of whiteboard-animation creators on the web. They include:
- My Simple Show – This tool has a free option, but to get more useful features, you’ll have to pay at least $5.99 a month
- Raw Shorts – This drag-and-drop whiteboard-animation software is trusted by like Sony, Pfizer and Coca Cola
- Video Scribe – Create high-definition and visually stunning whiteboard animations in only five, straightforward steps
Tip #6: Choose the video host
Your video won’t just go live on the web all on its own. For your video to be available for viewing, you have to get yourself a great host. Remember that creating your video is just a part of the process, the core of it, to be sure, but just a piece of the whole, nonetheless.
There are quite a few options on the web for video hosting, but you can’t go wrong with well-known names like:
- Wistia – This popular host guarantees efficient playback on any device
- Vidyard – Another popular choice, Vidyard is used by some of the best-known brands like Lenovo
- Vimeo PRO – This video-sharing site also features hosting to great effect
Tip #7: Measure your explainer video’s metrics
When it’s all said and done, nothing’s more important than figuring out if your video is a hit or not. The best way to scientifically do this is by getting a handle on your video’s metrics. It’s one thing if your friends and family love your video, but it’s an entirely different and better thing when raw data supports its success.
Tracking your video’s metrics lets you see very vital data like its number of plays, views, pauses, and the length of time each viewer spent on your video.
One of the best tools is YouTube Insights, which lets you track demographics, watch time, and traffic sources.
Bonus tip: Forget about doing it yourself and instead hire a production vendor.
For some companies and businesses, creating their own explainer videos in-house may not be practical. There may be time constraints, a lack of talent, or just an unfamiliarity and therefore unwillingness to bother with the entire process.
For these scenarios, you can always hire a production vendor (just have your brand guidelines ready to share). Some tried, tested and true ones include:
- Common Craft – These guys made Dropbox’s famous and now classic explainer video
- Sprinkle Lab – They work with big names like Cisco, Levi’s and T-Mobile
- Demo Duck – Another vendor that’s worked with big companies
Use Video to Tell Your Brand Story
The reason that explainer videos only keep exploding in popularity is because they work. They work because human beings (read: your leads and customers) are very visual creatures. Understanding how your product or service works is better served visually than with boring, old text (although classic storytelling never hurts).
Thanks to these tools, you’ll be able to put together your very own explainer video in no time at all. Of course, the more of a budget you have to devote to your explainer video, the more sophisticated you can get with it. However, it’s not necessary to create the most polished video on the web. Even a simple and straightforward video can get you good results and more conversions.
NOTE: Pricing and features for products and services mentioned were accurate at the time this article was published, but may change.