How to Create a Compelling Explainer Video
by Eric Hinson
February 7, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Having a fantastic vision for your business is great, but it’s a whole new ballgame to try to communicate that vision to potential customers, investors, and partners. The goal is to get these movers, shakers, and decision-makers to understand what the heck you do and how it will solve all of their problems.
What’s the best way to do this, you ask? Don’t just tell them how awesome your company, service, or product is — show them.
What Is an Explainer Video?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a video could do.
An explainer video allows you to quickly introduce your business, explain what it does, and tell customers why they need you. It’s a fast, memorable way to make an impact on your audience and provide them with the important information necessary to making an informed buying decision.
Remember, though, that attention spans aren’t long these days. In fact, on average, you have about 8 seconds to sell yourself and your business to potential customers. Rand Fishkin of Moz elaborates on this notion in a Whiteboard Friday video:
“We really do need to communicate quickly, because web users have become more and more impatient. They’re not going to read through paragraph and paragraph and paragraph of text. Therefore, many, many websites have found it valuable to use visual-centric homepages to help communicate and to quickly convey the primary value proposition to those visitors. Sometimes, that’s a video. Sometimes, it’s just an image or graphic that explains things really clearly. That can work out great.”
The point is text alone isn’t cutting it anymore — we need visuals to keep viewers interested in what we have to offer.
Want to check out a premier example of an explainer video? Take a look at this one below that we at Explainify just completed:
And if you want to get really meta with us, you can watch this explainer video on explainer videos we recently put together.
The Benefits of Explainer Videos
Think about how this scenario could impact your business: You’ve created an explainer video and included it on your homepage. Now, you’ve landed on the front page of Google search results. Because of this, more people will watch your video, become leads, and want to buy your product. Sales go up. You earn money.
Does an explainer video seem like the obvious choice yet?
If you want to know more about how beneficial explainer videos can be for your business, take a look at these pros.
You can make your perfect pitch.
There is nothing worse than not knowing how to tell people what you do in a way that clicks with them instantly. An explainer video gives your perfect pitch to anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world you need it. Your presence? Not necessary! Choose the right company to partner with to create this video, and you could end up with an awesome company story that you can use for your website, social media, and email marketing.
You can share your story easily.
Pew Research Center data shows 78% of adults watch or download online video. With such a high volume of online video viewers, you can bet creating an explainer video for your site will draw plenty of views (as long as you actively promote the video, of course).
So, go ahead — captivate the masses with your awesome company. Armed with a video that you can upload to Wistia, YouTube, Vimeo, and other prime outlets, the chances you strike internet gold increase greatly. And remember: You can take your video beyond the internet. For instance, it can be used in meetings and at conferences.
How to Structure an Explainer Video
Now that you know what explainer videos can offer, let’s dive into how one is structured. To create an effective explainer video, you need to be able to boil your story down into a simple, easy-to-understand package that anyone from your 10-year-old son to your 100-year-old grandma can be wowed by.
Unless you have an internal branding or video team you think can handle such a video, you may want to reach out to a professional explainer video production company. Allow them to learn about your company, and combine their discoveries with an outsider’s perspective for more effective results.
Regardless of who makes your video, here’s how you should structure it so it gets your business’ point across effectively and your company comes across as appealing and helpful.
Relay your audience’s problem — and how you’re the solution.
To facilitate empathy, get your viewers to relate to the issue. One common way to do this is by introducing a storyline in which a character faces the same problem that your customers face. From the very beginning, show them relevance. By tapping into their emotions, you’re ensuring that they’ll keep watching.
Once you’ve clearly outlined the problem facing your audience, propose a fix. Convey that your product or service is the answer to their problems.
Explain your company’s value proposition.
This is your chance to give more details about your products and/or services. Simply put, explain what you do. Now that your viewers know you exist, you need to be able to quickly narrow down some of the core benefits of using your solution that will set them apart from the rest. Consider highlighting just a few key benefits — that way, you can cover your bases without speaking for too long.
End your video with the call-to-action.
At the end of the video, reiterate the fact that you’ve already solved their problem and offer up your call-to-action. “Check out our website!” “Sign up for our newsletter!” “Call us now!” Whatever phrasing you choose, just be sure you make it clear how you can help and how viewers can get in touch with you and learn more about your business.
Why the Script Is So Important
While you may know exactly what you want to say in an explainer video, you’re going to want to put those thoughts into a carefully created script, which is the most important part of the entire process. Pairing a great script with enticing visuals helps your audience retain the information a lot more effectively.
For advice on how to put a solid script together — and make your video captivating — take a look at these tips below.
Keep it simple and short.
You’ve only got about 150 words to work with in a one-minute script, so keep it short, sweet, and to the point. You’ll also want to simplify the visuals so that viewers have time to retain what they are seeing.
Remove any jargon.
You never want to sound so complicated that viewers tune you out. Remember, a human being will be watching your video, and, as people, we don’t generally have conversations in long, complex sentences. Just look at the writings of companies like Apple or Starbucks: so incredibly simple, and we all buy in.
Speak to the right audience.
If you’re not talking to your viewers in a way they can easily grasp, you’re going to lose them. For example, we’re going to speak very differently when selling to an enterprise executive than to the average consumer, right? Appealing to an executive’s bottom line typically involves a lot more detail. If you’re a new company that no one has ever heard of, though, you’ll need to simplify your pitch to viewers.
Tell an interesting story.
Stories are in our DNA. It’s through them that we learn as children, and they still appeal to us now — no matter our age. This is the way we connect, relate, and entertain. So, it’s no surprise that we also use these stories to influence purchasing decision-makers. When you write your story, though, don’t focus too much on the small details. No one needs to hear about your product’s 16 different features in an introductory video. The main goal is to captivate their attention. Then, you can drive them to your website to learn all about those awesome features.
Craft a clear call-to-action.
Whether or not you think it’s obvious, some people still aren’t going to know what to do after they’ve heard your story. You’ve got to tell them exactly how to get the most out of your product or service. Do they need to sign up for your newsletter? Download your app? Call you? Make your call-to-action clear, and your viewers are much more likely to follow through.
Your story is your company’s best asset. It’s what brings others in, makes them feel connected, and ultimately sells you and your product to the world. All signs point to the fact that explainer videos are the best way to effectively get your story to the masses every time. Make it simple. Make it relatable. Make it yours.
How are you getting your story out there? Have you tried using an explainer video? Let us know your thoughts below!
Written by Eric Hinson
Eric Hinson is the Founder and CEO of Explainify, which specializes in short, engaging, remarkable explainer videos that increase conversion and sales. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.
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