How to Make a Great Explainer Video?
What makes a good explainer video? Great explainer videos can be highly valuable for your business because they typically have a long shelf life and can be used in multiple ways to promote your brand. To make a great explainer video, you need to incorporate all of the seven key things listed below.
7 Key Things That Make a Great Explainer Video:
- A script that clearly and concisely communicates your core message
- Compelling animation or live action that illustrates the script (meaning that it is not too flashy, distracting, slow, or misaligned with the voiceover or messaging)
- A voiceover that fits the tone of the script and visuals
- It accurately represents your brand and business and adds a “wow” factor
- The style and messaging resonate with your target audience
- It’s placed in a high traffic zone (such as your homepage) and promoted via social channels and email
- It’s directed at a single call to action that you can measure
Let’s talk about a few of these.
What You Need for a Great Explainer Video: A Script that Clearly and Concisely Communicates Your Core Message
An explainer video can’t be successful without a dialed-in script. QuickSprout argues that you should never let a video company write your script because “the video marketing company doesn’t know your business like you do.” Of course they don’t — but if you get into writing your own script, “knowing your business” may be exactly what gets you into trouble. If you’re too close to what you do, you won’t be able to explain it very well. Just about every business has this problem, which is why explainer videos came to being in the first place. Having an outside perspective can help you drill down to your most compelling message.
Being too close to your message is a problem that is easily remedied. When you start shopping for video production companies, you should ask them what approach they take for scripting and what that process entails. To write a great script, they should be asking you detailed questions and getting lots of important information from you. They may have excellent script writers and give you rounds of feedback so that you can edit and approve along the way. Or, you may want to hire your own contract writer to do the script for you. Whether you do it yourself or decide to hire someone, you need to understand the basics of writing a compelling script.
Basics of Writing a Compelling Video Explainer Script
- Discover what you most want to communicate. The process of distilling your message should not be taken lightly. Begin with lots of information — all the material you think you might need — and then evaluate your priorities. Start cutting the copy down until you have the absolute essentials.
- Choose only ONE message to focus on. If you try to communicate multiple ideas to your audience, they will leave distracted or confused. Let’s say Example Software Company wants viewers to schedule a software demo with a sales associate. They could focus on ONE of the following: 1) how their software is the most cost-effective solution for their target audience; 2) the key features that make their software different from the competition’s; or 3) how easy it is to get started with their software, especially with 24/7 support from Example Software Company’s team. All of these messages might be good for the consumer to know, but you should focus on the one message that would have the most impact (or compel action).
- Ensure that the tone of the script reflects your brand. The voiceover should take cues from the way the script is written, whether the tone is funny, smart, sophisticated, fast-paced, reassuring, exciting, calm, simple, whimsical, etc. Speak directly to your target audience and use the language and style that would appeal to them. Later, when you’re choosing a voiceover, make sure that the voice and inflection align with the feel of the overall message you’re communicating. A bad voiceover means a bad video — period.
- Determine a single call to action to close your script. Let’s return to Example Software Company. If they want potential customers to call for an estimate, the only call to action for the video would be “schedule a call,” not “visit our website” or “message us on Facebook.” Multiple CTAs divide your audience’s attention and lower the chance that they will take action.
Once you have a core script, circulate it among your team and get feedback; for the sake of efficiency, ensure that only one person makes the final decision on changes. Next, it’s time to decide what kind of visuals goes best with your script.
What You Need for a Great Explainer Video: Compelling Animation or Live Action that Illustrates the Script
Whether you choose animation or live action for your explainer video, the style of the video should fit the tone of your business and cater to your target audience, just as the script should. The visual scenery needs to align with the message you’re communicating. If it’s bright and flashy, but your message is serious, you should make changes; if it’s slow and structured, but your message is fun, you’ll have another misalignment.
Storyboarding can eliminate most of these issues up front. Storyboarding is usually the third step in the process of developing a video:
- Discovery / Strategy
- Rough Animation
- Sound Design
This is where the narrative of your script literally starts to take shape. That’s why, when you’re approving storyboards or samples, you should be meticulous and bring in other members of your team whom you think would have a good sense of what fits your business and the message of the script.
A good video company will be watchful on this as well, but they are still learning your brand and will want helpful feedback to ensure that you get exactly what you need. Catching key misalignments in the storyboarding phase will keep them from snowballing into bigger issues further into development.
What You Need for a Great Explainer Video: Placement
As we mentioned before, explainer videos are not meant to be buried somewhere within your website or used in your blog. They are high-impact pieces of content that need to be in a very visible or promotional space. For example, they can placed on your homepage (above the fold is best), on a targeted landing page where you drive traffic, used in social media campaigns, or emailed out to prospects or new customers.
Placement is also key to your explainer video’s impact as an educational piece or sales asset. The process of measuring the success of your video won’t be straightforward unless you have a very specific call-to-action that is trackable. Most of the time you won’t know the exact ROI, but you may be able to determine the video’s usefulness within the structure of a marketing or social media campaign.
Explainer videos in general are preferred by consumers and can generate a boost in your brand awareness, even contributing to conversions, but their effectiveness drops significantly if they are put in the wrong places.
What You Need for a Great Explainer Video: A Single Call to Action You Can Measure
Most of the time, explainer videos add to the positive signals that allow people to understand, trust, and interact with your business. You may see significant results on landing pages, especially if you’re driving certain kinds of traffic to the page (and the messaging on the page is targeted for that audience), but if you have the video on your homepage, it will be harder to tell if the explainer video is making a major impact without a couple things:
- Customer feedback
- A single, trackable call to action
If you want to know what your customers or site visitors think of your video — whether it’s working or increases their understanding — you should ask them! Whether you email your list or include a short form underneath the video (“Was this video helpful to you? Yes / No”), you can find out whether your video is resonating with consumers. You can also do this with tools like Hotjar, where anonymous users can give feedback on your website experience so that you have data to improve the usability of your site.
But one of the best ways to find out the ROI of your explainer video is to include a specific call to action that you can track. For example, you could do one of the following:
- Ask them to visit a webpage ONLY mentioned in your video: “Visit [your site name].com/action to find out more.”
- Ask them to call a phone number that is specific to the explainer video.
- Tell them to call your company and mention a certain word to receive savings.
- Use a video hosting platform that allows you to track views of the video to see if people are watching
- Track the number of clicks on an in-video CTA button
If you have a strong concern about the ROI of your video, this is the best way to know exactly who is converting.