Monthly Archives: June 2016

Gone in 60 Seconds: 4 Must-Use Tips for an Explainer Video That Converts

When it comes to making an explainer video that actually gets results, timing is everything. Up front, you have less than 10 seconds to get your viewers attention – and from there you only have a minute to drive your message home.

explainer video

That’s 60 seconds (around 150 words) to convey your brand’s value so well that viewers not only keep watching – but also take action.

High stakes, no?

There’s no doubt that an explainer video can go a long way toward improving conversions. But not all explainer videos are created equal. And if yours lacks a few crucial elements – you may be out of luck.

The good news: We’ve compiled our top four production musts to ensure your video content converts… and looks good doing it.

Top Quality Production Value

Would you give your next big sales presentation on a transparency projector? What about your website? Still rocking that late 90’s JavaScript?

Probably not. In marketing, it’s all about enhancing and protecting your brand image. Videos are no exception (even though so many marketers seem think so). Watching videos is the primary use of the internet nowadays, and with so much content competing for your audience’s attention – you have to stand out.

Related: Three Easy Ways to Increase Video Marketing Exposure

The good news is that, with so many new videos being produced, it’s never been easier.

Here are a few key elements of explainer video production value:

  • Excellent Visuals: Explainers are usually animated and should be pleasing to the eye (Think Disney animation now vs. Nickelodeon in the early years). And yes, there is a difference in animated video quality. Cheap, simplistic, and cartoony visuals from that $1,500-dollar production company are not going to communicate that you’re a professional who deserves to be taken seriously.
  • Excellent Voiceover: Audio equipment has come a long way in the past decade. Professional voice overs are more readily available and can make your business stand out. Great VO artists have incredible studio equipment, but they also have the ability to read your script with the right feeling and emphasis.
  • Excellent Music: Music sets the tone you want. Your overall sound quality is every bit as important as the visuals. At Explainify, we love Tunefruit for their thousands of cinema-quality sounds.

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is better than two doubles.” –Steve Jobs

Related: 5 Reasons to Get Your Stock Music from Tunefruit

Phenomenal Copy Storytelling

Since you only have about 150 words to work with, you’ll need to bring your A-game. Chances are, coming up with a 60-second script will actually take you more time than writing a long, in-depth blog post. The reason it’s so difficult to find your voice in a short video is in partly due to brevity, but it could be due to your lack of focus.

Sure, you may know what you want to get across (e.g. how your new product works, laying out a new initiative, and so on) to your audience.

But the question is – how do you make them want to know about it?

The Short Answer: Find out the one thing you want to convey in your explainer and forget everything else. Then, focus on compelling copywriting in the form of a story (just a really short one). Instead of trying to squeeze in all your features and product specs, focus on the one thing that makes your offering or service incredible, then create a video script that shows the viewer how that one thing can help them be better.

We can go on and on about the intricacies of telling a story. In fact, we did. Check out our guest post for Mirasee by clicking the link below.

Related: 5 Effective Business Storytelling Techniques You Need To Use

Prove It

Now that you have told a story that portrays a way for viewers to become heroes, it’s time to put your animation where your mouth is. Give them data or proof showing the benefits that your solution brings.

Combining the power of a short explainer video with the added juice of social proof gives you one heck of a one-two punch. Here are a few ways to pony up:

  • Case Study: Referencing the success of your clients adds credibility to the power of your video.
  • Demo: Show your audience how easy it is to put your solution to use with a few powerful seconds of demonstration.
  • Social Proof: Show who you’ve worked with (it’s okay to name-drop here), include quick blurbs from your best testimonials, mention some big wins. Whatever you do, make it clear that your brand is a real catch!

It’s important not to get caught up in cramming your explainer video full of social proof. Remember, your audience is the hero of this story, so you don’t want to make it all about you. However, once they know you’re in their corner, viewers will be happy to know that there even more reasons to trust you.

A Targeted and Compelling Call to Action (CTA)

You can have an Oscar-worthy video that doesn’t convert if there isn’t a CTA. You can also have that same great explainer with a poorly constructed call that doesn’t convert very well. But why would you let that happen? Once you’ve conveyed your value through an incredible video, it’s time to get what you want.

Here are a few ways to do it:

Take Away Risk. Offering a trial or no commitment with your offer will set viewers minds at ease, paving the way for a click.

Make It Plain. Clearly convey what you want them to do. Whether it’s share, comment, or click, make it extremely easy and obvious.

Reiterate. Since it’s what you really want, it may be worth one more mention to encourage them to take action.

By the way, we make videos like this for a living. Check out some of our work here and let us know if you want to talk more about your next explainer video.

3 Brand Storytelling Secrets the Big Guys Don’t Want You to Know

You’ve heard the term brand storytelling so many times, it’s probably starting to sound meaningless to you. It’s definitely  been used around the Explainify HQ a few (thousand) times in the past few years.

But, buzzword or not, we are totally unapologetic about the power of story… and you should be too.

brand storytelling tips

Here’s why.

According to a Johns Hopkins University study, whether or not your content is structured as a narrative can be way more critical to the success of an ad than the content itself.

Brand storytelling positively influences the way people feel about your company better than any other method. And if you can make people feel the way you want them to feel, their behavior will follow. In other words, purchasing is simply a natural response to how your marketing makes consumers feel about your brand. While this post isn’t about the finer points of behavioral economics, it serves the point.

The world’s biggest brands are successful, in part, because they get storytelling. They know how to sweep their audience up in a narrative that’s bigger than them, that has meaning for them. And frankly, these big brands would just as soon you don’t learn how to tell stories like they do.

Related: 4 Ways Video Marketing Helps Dominate Your Objectives

Unfortunately for them, we’re here to show you how.

We’re calling these tips “storytelling secrets,” but really, much of the intel around this topic is common sense. Tell the truth, have personality, create characters and/or personas that your target audience can relate to. This is good advice, but we wouldn’t really classify these tips as “secrets”. However, they’re so often forgotten by brands in so many industries, they might as well be.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best brand storytelling open secrets out there.

Ancient Structure for Modern Brands

While your goal may not be to produce the next Hamlet, Citizen Kane, or Star Wars, your brand story should share a few basic similarities with these classics.

One way to think about the framework underlying all great stories is the use of Acts. In fact, the basic 5 Act structure has been used by the best stories for about 2500 years or so – and it’s still going strong.

You may feel like this is something you should have left behind in high-school English, but if you want to captivate your audience until the end – listen up. Here is how dramatic structure translates to the world of brand storytelling:

Act One: Entice your audience. Draw them in from the start with something worth sticking around to see it play out. The ancient playwrights called it “in medias res”, which is Latin for “in the middle of things.” Draw them into your story and make them wonder where you’re headed.

Act Two: P>resent the problem(s) that are common to your customers as the “evil villain”. If you’re an athletics company, the villain is your audience’s limitations. If you’re a SaaS startup, the villain might be something as (seemingly) minor as siloed communications between teams.

Act Three: Bring your story to a climax with the raw pain points of dealing with those villains. Remind your audience of how frustrating their obstacles are, without making them feel hopeless. As we’ll see in Act Four, there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Act Four: This is where the hero (your viewer) finds the solution (your solution) and things start to take a turn for the better. It’s important to remember that your customer is the hero – not you. Your product is simply their Excalibur, the tool they’ll use to vanquish the enemy and achieve their goals.

Act Five: The villain is defeated through the newly discovered power of your newly discovered customer. That’s a happy ending, yo!

If you treat you next ad, explainer video, or an entire marketing campaign like an epic play you may find yourself rocking your story. And when this dramatic/narrative formula is used really well – it feels anything but formulaic.

Related: 3 Companies Who Are Absolutely Rocking Their Brand Story

Don’t believe us? Check out this video Nike put out just last week, profiling the runner Mo Farah.

All five Acts are featured in this 90-second spot: We’re thrown into the middle of things (Act 1), and we’re introduced to our hero (Act 2), who has plenty of obstacles to overcome (Acts 3-4), but we’re given hope that he’ll achieve victory in the end (Act 5).

A Little Bit of Mystery Goes a Long Way

At Explainify, we think it’s important to create clarity around your brand story. So obviously, creating ads conveying your UVP with crystal clarity is the single most important thing you can do, right?

Well, yes and no. While it is crucial to convey your story with clarity, sometimes less really is more.

As human beings, we have an innate desire for mystery. And if you’ve read Oren Klaff’s Pitch Anything, you know this is because our pre-rational brains deeply crave novelty. If we are presented with information that we already know, our brains are happy to shut off and stop listening – but if we hear something new and unexpected, we’ll give of our attention long enough to see what’s going on.

This is why M. Night Shyamalan’s movies are so compelling (except for The Happening, of course); people watch his films with bated breath because they know there’s a twist coming – but because they don’t know what exactly that twist will be, they’re hooked from the opening scene.

It’s also why you should weave a bit of mystery into your brand story. Rather than telling your audience everything they need to know up front, give your audience a trail of bread crumbs to follow. Captivate them with your company’s mission, then invite them to dig deeper to learn what you’re actually offering them.

Related: Why You’re Not Educating Your Audience Right (and 4 Ways to Start)

Of course, you also can’t make your audience work too hard. Mystery is a balancing act between giving people enough information to keep them moving forward, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity all at once.

Mystery within your brand storytelling is the key to drawing people deeper and deeper into your world. While we could go into the finer points of revealing your message slowly for maximum effect, we’ll defer to Mr. Mystery himself (J.J. Abrams). Below you’ll find a video of his fantastic Ted talk explaining the value of this tactic.

Features Never Win. Seriously.

Boil down the greatest tales in history and you will find a similar story structure underlying each of them, but that doesn’t mean they’re all copying each other. In fact, sometimes key elements of different stories might be nearly identical – but they are still entertaining. For example, in 4 of the 7 Star Wars films a little ship is used to fly into a big weapon and blow it up.

What does that have to do with brand storytelling? Glad you asked.

Everyone’s heard of “New Coke”, right? It was a massive failure for Coca-Cola.

But why? 53% of people preferred the taste of New Coke to Pepsi. So how could it have flopped so miserably?

Okay, so there are a ton of reasons why New Coke didn’t work, including the fact that most consumers liked the original recipe better. But one reason it flopped is because Coke failed to tell a compelling story around the product, as seen in the 1985 ad below.

Coca-Cola took decades of good feelings and associations people had made with their product… and tried to replace them with facts. But proving statistically that people prefer your product over another can never substitute for a great story.

If there had been a cute polar bear or a famous football player involved, we may still be drinking New Coke. The takeaway here is that a great story really and truly trumps facts – every time. So next time you’re about to bust out your spec sheet, ask yourself: What is the underlying, overarching story that gives my product features meaning. What’s going to make people care about this information?

 

Of course, there are so many facets to incredible brand storytelling, and this post only scratches the surface. But if you can tap into the power of storytelling – by harnessing dramatic structure, making it about more than your features, and keeping a bit of mystery in the mix – you’ll be well on your way.

Brand Storytelling - Blog Lead Magnet CTA

Content Roundup – 6/17/16

Phew! It is hot in Arkansas. As we start hitting the peak months of summer, it’s awfully tempting to laze our way through these hot summer days. But we’re dedicated at Explainify to working through the heat and improving our business.

So for this week’s content roundup we were all about finding simple and effective strategies to make us better leaders, employees, and an overall business. We hope that these strategies motivate you to join us in making the most of these summer months!

7 ways you can become a super manager

7 Powerful Lessons From Film That Can Teach Us How to Become a Super Manager (Entrepreneur)

Have you ever known that manager, leader, or influencer who seemed larger than life? Almost as if they were straight out of a movie? That might be because they learned everything they know from famous movie bosses!

One thing a lot of movie execs have is a mindblowing focus on doing that one thing they do. Whether they’re great at being a bloodhound, always affirming and encouraging, or just being incredibly insightful, they do what they do better than anyone else in the world – maybe even the galaxy!

We as managers are often so close to being effective – but take a cue from the movies and exaggerate your strengths even more. Who knows? You could just win an Oscar!

5 things to know to make your retargeting campaigns more effective!

5 Little Known Strategies to Use Retargeting The Right Way (GetClicks)

So you’ve probably heard about RLSA campaigns. It’s all the buzz these days. But here’s what’s not buzzing – how people are using them. Look, retargeting is great. It gets people back to your website, and that’s awesome!

But it’s not a magic wand that you wave and magically start converting people who never bought from you in the first place.

So if you’re ready to start retargeting your customers in a bit more meaningful way, check out these 5 sweet ways you can leverage campaigns to not only get people back to your site, but actually buying from you.

3 dynamite tactics to get your video marketing more exposure!

3 Easy Ways to Increase Video Marketing Exposure (Explainify)

Are you taking part in the video marketing phenomenon sweeping the globe? Everyone is starting to understand that incorporating video as a part of their strategy is important, and so the rise of videos getting created is rising rapidly.

Making videos isn’t enough, though. You need to know how to effectively get those videos exposure.

You friendly neighborhood sidekick Explainify has 3 tips on how you can start increasing your video marketing exposure right now – that’s today!

6 methods for making your content more shareable!

6 Tips to Increase Your Social Media Shares (Social Media Examiner)

If you’re like us, then you probably know all about content marketing. It might be all you hear about anymore. But if you’re like us – and we certainly hope you aren’t! – then you also may struggle to see your content get shared much. #thestrugglesisreal.

Social Media Examiner has some great tips on how to make your content get more shares. After all, your content is dynamite. So make sure it gets shared.

5 communications tricks to stop sending noise and start sending useful information

5 Tips To Create Effective Internal Communications With Your Team (FastCo.)

Blahblahblahblah bobloblaw blah blah. Oh, sorry. You couldn’t understand me? Hm. Isn’t that a lot like what it feels like to communicate in businesses sometimes? So many ideas, Slack messages, and e-mails are going around that it can make your head spin.

We know you’re interested in becoming more effective at what you do. So stop just sending Slack message and start sending communications. Take these 5 tips and you can start changing your business for the better today.

A Match Made in Heaven: How to Use Video Marketing in Your Email Campaigns

More than likely, you’ve heard the statistics about the benefits of video marketing. And you don’t need to be told the countless benefits your business can reap from a well nurtured email list.

Related: Are Video Ads The Next Video Marketing Goldmine?

But did you know that email and video are even more powerful together? In fact, adding video to your email campaigns can actually triple your click-through rate… and reduce your unsubscribe rate by 75%.

video marketing in email

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But as with all things digital marketing, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing it right.

In this post we’ll guide you through the two most common questions that need to be answered before you can pull off a successful successful video marketing email campaign.

Question #1: Where Do I Put the Actual Video?

Should you directly embed video into your emails – or include a thumbnail with a link that drives traffic to your site or landing page?

At first, it may seem intuitive to embed the video directly in your email. It saves your audience a click and improves the likelihood that they’ll actually watch the video. But even though in-video email seems like the natural choice, there are actually some really compelling reasons why you should prefer the thumbnail approach.

The biggest one is this: If you’re sharing video content with your audience, odds are you want them to take some sort of action once they’ve watched it. Whether that’s downloading additional content, contacting you for a demo, or simply watching more of your videos – these things need to take place within the context of your site.

If you allow people to watch your videos without having to visit your site… they probably won’t visit your site. With that in mind, here’s the ideal practice for video use in emails:

Place a thumbnail image in your email that links to a landing page where the video lives.

There are exceptions to everything, but it’s always good to have someone on your site after a video has been viewed. Having viewers on your turf will be way better for conversions.

Question #2: What Kind of Video(s) Should We Send?

Short and Sweet Powerful

How many times have you said, “Send me a quick email about _____”?

Most forms of internet communication (especially email) have a natural relationship with being short and to the point. So if you think it’s a good idea to send out that 67-minute presentation your IT guy gave about coming improvements to your SaaS product, please stop.

The bottom line: People don’t care for long emails and probably won’t be fond of a lengthy business video before lunch, either.

If you’re planning to share a lot of video marketing content via email, over time you’re going to be asking your audience to commit a lot of their minutes to watching that content. So while it’s okay to share long-form video content every once in a while (think Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays), most of the time you should plan to keep things short and to the point. :30 to :90 seconds is the sweet spot.

Related: 3 Ways to Make a Video Your Customers Will Actually Care About

Don’t Be a One-Hit Wonder

If you’re going to introduce video marketing into your email efforts, why would you stop with just one? A series will help you gain trust and, if you seriously deliver on value, could land your brand in the coveted primary inbox.

Create a series of high-quality, useful videos for your email list, and you may just have an audience that can’t wait for the next installment.

The bottom line: You really can’t go wrong with a video series – and email is the perfect place to share them.

R-E-S-P-E-CTA

No matter what medium or method you choose, a call-to-action (CTA) can always be included when the content is valuable. Even if it’s just to share the email with colleagues, there should be a way for viewers to pay you back.

Without a way for your satisfied audience to give back, you are missing a huge opportunity. With a CTA you can:

  • Recognize that a lead is ready to talk with sales
  • Convince them to sign up for a free trial
  • Educate them further (e.g. download a whitepaper)
  • Convince them to buy (obvious but…)

The bottom line: A clear CTA will help you measure ROI and engage with your list in powerful ways.

Related: You’re Going to Need a Bigger Funnel: A Different Way to Think About Lead-Gen

Bonus Tip: Always measure your results. Keeping track of the conversions for your CTA will help you in future campaigns.

Quality Through and Through

It’s becoming a more common practice to weave quality video marketing and email together in beautiful harmony. To stand out (and not get deleted), your content has to be special. Something that hits right at the heart of a pain or behavioral trigger.

Sure, it takes time, effort, and some creative thinking. But with the chance to triple your CTR – there are few things you could do to crank up the impact of your email marketing.

Explainify Case Study - Video Marketing

Content Roundup – 6/3/16

Whether you participated in sports, musical ensembles, theater, or something else, everyone grew up practicing something. The old saying is practice makes perfect. But dig a little deeper into that and you realize that practice doesn’t make perfect – practice makes permanent. Practicing improperly is why there are those sports teams, musicians, and actors you would never bet on!

We think the same thing can be said for businesses and marketing. There’s a lot of “best practices” out there that people subscribe to, but everywhere you look you can find examples of people who have practiced poorly. Is it really a surprise that they don’t see their desired results? This week in our content roundup we dug up some great practices to help you start playing the game the right way.

Remember this: It is not enough to simply do something. You have to consistently do something right to start seeing desired results.

Content Marketing Institute can help you prioritize what things must get done in your company!

What Should Your Content Marketing Priorities Be in 2016? (Content Marketing Institute)

Are you working on Hail Mary passes when you can’t even run the ball? Take some things off your plate and make sure your basic fundamentals are being accomplished. It’s impossible to practice something well if you don’t even know what you should be practicing consistently. Let this list save you a bit of sweat and tears and get you organized.

Inc. wants to ask you - how well do you really know your customers? Hint: the answer is probably not well enough.

How Well Do You Really Know Your Customer? (Inc.)

In case you didn’t catch it in the first article, understanding your customers is paramount to taking you company from a disorganized mess to operating with the cohesion of a symphony. Who hops on a drum set and tries to land a big fill when they haven’t even practiced holding a steady beat? Unless you’re abnormally talented or lucky, that just doesn’t work. This article challenges you to get to know your consumer and gives some help on how to start that process.

Explainify thinks that some marketing "best practices" are really very misunderstood. Learn how to adapt these strategies for business success!

Popular Video Marketing Tips That Are Just Plain Wrong (and Killing Your Engagement) (Explainify)

Explainify found 3 best practices that people are consistently implementing. Spoiler alert! Plot twist! They’re not best practices and could be stifling your brand! Read here to understand why these best practices are misunderstood and how you can take your strategies to the next level and start dominating your opponents!

Too busy to get stuff done? No, you're not. Entrepreneur has some advice on how to free yourself up to be more effective.

You’re Too Busy? No, You’re Not. Here’s Why. (Entrepreneur)

Okay, great, you’re getting organized. You have some ideas about what your priorities should be, and you even know a few practice strategies you should be perfecting. But really, none of that does you any good if you fall into one of the biggest traps facing businesses; the trap of telling yourself that, “I’m too busy to get it all done.” Yes, I know you have things on your plate. But read this article and understand that you can make great things happen.

Understanding the community you're from and how to give back to it is vital. Best part is, you can still grow your business while doing it!

The 5 Fundamentals For Corporate Social Innovation (PSFK)

Watch any great sports team and you’ll notice that they have become a physical embodiment their local environment. That’s because these teams understand branding – they understood their organization’s ethos. They understand that part of being great is understanding where you’re from and how to give back to that community. Not all companies are created equal, but every company can find a way to practice social awareness in a way that benefits their business.

Do you folks have any ways you practice to make permanent in your businesses? We would love to hear about them. You can tweet at us! We would love to have a conversation about what works for everyone.