An Overview Of The Best Methods for Leveraging Explainer Videos
By Tom Seest
When you’re an online entrepreneur, you are competing with thousands, if not millions, of other individuals who are trying to attract the attention of the same audience. You have to stay one step ahead with ideas that set you apart and help brand yourself as one of the go-tos, a leading expert in your niche.
There are many different strategies you will learn to use, from tapping into search engine optimization (SEO) to collaborating with influencers. But one thing that is gaining traction in the marketplace as a way to engage your audience and generate traffic to your offers is the use of explainer videos.
Video is a media format that is extremely popular with a wide variety of individuals. Traditionally, they have been longer formats, but short-form videos and the use of explainer scripts are effective ways to provide product demos, share a story about your brand and goals, and let the audience see your expertise unfold on screen.
If you are looking for ways to deliver a concise message that increases engagement and sharing, explainer videos might be the best option for you. They’re easily digestible and fun to create, and there are a number of tools we’ll discuss that can do the job for you!
This photo was taken by cottonbro studio and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-person-holding-a-steering-wheel-of-an-arcade-machine-5767759/.
Table Of Contents
- How to Leverage The Power of Video Storytelling
- How to Choose the Right Style of Explainer Video for Messaging
- How to Create a Compelling Narrative with Strategic Scripting and Storyboarding
- How to Use Advanced Optimization Efforts To Boost Results
- How to Avoid Mistakes With Explainer Videos
- What Tools to Leverage For The Best Explainer Videos?
Storytelling is one of the most important skills you can have in creating a bond with your target audience in a way that helps them trust your advice and view you as a leading expert.
But it’s hard to connect with people using text-based content. Many online entrepreneurs are turning to short-form video known as explainer videos that take otherwise complicated information and distill it down into a clear message that clarifies things for the viewer.
These are not simply short videos, but they employ the use of visual elements that grab the attention of the viewer and pull them into a story. These easily digestible snippets of information have a big impact on whether or not people get to know your brand.
Instead of having to sit through a 10-minute video from someone they don’t know and don’t trust, an explainer video packs a punch in a far more effective manner. Not only can you use it to showcase what your brand is all about, but you can also use them for product demonstrations, promotion opportunities to drive traffic to your offers, and more.
An explainer video is technically anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds, maximum. They can be filmed in different formats, from having a person on screen delivering live action to a screenshot showing a product in use or even one of the most popular formats, which is the use of animation to deliver a story or concept.
Many top brands use explainer videos as a way to get their message shared in a viral manner. They often employ the use of humor to do this, but you can also tug at the heartstrings of your target audience and deliver something that has more of an emotional impact.
When you are considering the use of explainer videos in your own branding online, you have to understand not just how powerful this format can be but also what makes them so effective in the minds of the consumer or viewer.
Because they are absorbing the information with their eyes and ears, it’s imperative that you use visuals that are stimulating and that keeps the viewer engaged at all times. Filming an explainer video in a dimly lit corner of a room that is messy is not an effective use of this strategy.
Another thing that consumers are drawn to when it comes to explainer videos is the messaging itself. You have to be able to trim down an otherwise lengthy explanation into short bites of content.
It also has to have some sort of emotional aspect to it. Whether you are entertaining them or warning them, showing them how your product is going to change their life for the better – you have to have the concept of storytelling that can immerse your viewer into whatever is being shown on screen.
They have to know that you understand what their goals are and what their pain points are so that they can feel comfortable taking the next step in following your advice. The explainer video must have a strong call to action that ends the content with clear guidance.
This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/vip-passenger-having-a-phone-call-while-on-a-private-jet-5778511/.
Now that you can see the power of using explainer videos for your business, you’ll want to begin the process of developing some for your own branding and reach. To start with, you want to think about what style of an explainer video is right for your brand.
Of course, you can test out different styles to see what your target audience responds best to. But keep in mind that each one will showcase your products and messaging in a different light.
You may also be limited buy a budget that doesn’t allow you to have a full-blown production for your explainer videos. But that doesn’t mean your videos won’t be just as effective when you use a different style.
Explain our videos started out using the popular whiteboard animation method. You have probably seen many of these in the industry before, where a whiteboard is shown, and a hand-drawn animation story unfolds on the screen.
Typically, it looks like an actual hand is holding a marker and drawing the message that you want to create. These have always been wonderful, simple concepts that allow you to tap into the use of short-form video – but they’re not nearly as creative as the explainer videos that are being distributed to online audiences today.
Another popular method of creating explainer videos is to use screen capture recordings that allow you to show something being done on your computer screen, such as a demonstration of a tool or plug-in where the viewer is basically watching over your shoulder to see how it is done.
Some marketers like to use what is known as live-action explainer videos. If you have the ability to set up some sort of studio with a green screen and lighting, you may want to employ the use of this strategy for your branding efforts.
You can also outsource you are explainer video to professionals who will do the recordings for you. You can hire people on Fiverr and elsewhere who will stand in as your live-action expert and recite a script for you as your representative.
There are also 2D and 3D animation styles that you can use for your explainer videos. These are either flat graphics or those with more dimensions that typically deliver a fun and humorous approach to your messaging.
When choosing what style of explainer video you want to use, you need to consider several different things. First of all, who is your audience? A younger audience or an audience that is tuning into a lighthearted topic might appreciate the animated style for the delivery.
If you are trying to deliver a more serious approach, then you may want to have a live-action shot that has a human connection helping you lower the barriers of hesitation and create a better bond.
If your purpose is to get sales of a product, then you may want to use the over-the-shoulder approach of screen capture recording so that viewers can gain confidence that your product is going to do what you claim.
You may even want to split-test these explainer videos using different styles if you have the resources and time to create them. That way, you can see which method has a more powerful end result for you in terms of the engagement that it gets with comments and shares, as well as the profits, traffic, and signups that it generates.
It will benefit you to conduct this testing early on in the process so that if and when you decide to use explainer videos in your paid advertisements on social media and elsewhere, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly which style will pay off for you with a better return on your investment.
This photo was taken by Kyle Loftus and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-wearing-headset-2877332/.
Before you begin the recording and optimization phase, you have to sit down and figure out what your narrative is going to be and then create a script and storyboard for your explainer video.
Whether you are using an over-the-shoulder approach, a live-action, animation, or whiteboard, you need to have a script prepared so that the recording does not end up scattered or going on for too long.
By preparing these elements ahead of time, you’ll be able to execute your vision with ease, and this will help you cut costs, too. Start by considering who you want to consume the explainer video.
Create a customer avatar in your mind so that your messaging is on point, whether you are talking to most men or women, senior citizens or college students, people on a budget, or those who are still in luxury, etc.
Ideally, your script will be brief yet engaging. You want to have a story arc for your messaging. The first thing you’ll do is introduce the problem to the audience in a way that grabs their attention.
Next, you might go into a little bit more detail and talk about the sense of urgency or desire to find a solution to this problem or pain point. Finally, you want to deliver the resolution that you feel will work best for them, either by demonstrating your product or simply telling them about how you can help.
If you think it will help and you have time to include it, you can also add some social proof where you are either delivering quotes from other customers or images that show someone using your product.
At the end of your storyboard, you always need to have a call to action that tells the viewer exactly what they need to do next. That might be clicking on a link to buy a product; it might be downloading a free gift and signing up for your list, or even just commenting on the video to help increase engagement.
The next thing you want to do is piece together visuals that will accompany each step of your script. This task of storyboarding will allow you to visualize exactly what your viewers are going to be seeing as they hear the message unfold.
Shortly, we’ll be talking about tools that you can use to help with these images. But you can also use stock images and tools like Canva that can help you create storyboard slides that you can use if you are on a budget.
When you create your script and storyboard, you want to make sure that when you look back over it, you are thinking about what the viewer is going to be feeling as the video plays.
If your message lacks any kind of emotional interest for them, you need to go back to the drawing board and include that. Be willing to cut out any part of your script and story that does not keep the reader engaged.
There’s always time at a later date to expand on information. Don’t try to cram too much into an explainer video because this should serve as a bite-sized delivery of important information.
Make sure that the wording you are using is simple for viewers. You don’t want to be using difficult words or technical terms that your viewers may not even know. The last thing you want them to have to do is to pause the video and go look up what you mean.
You may discover when you are creating your storyboard and looking at the overview of it, that you need to rearrange part of your story so that it flows in a more logical manner. Having the overview allows you to piece the explainer video together in a way that maximizes the impact with your audience.
This photo was taken by Tima Miroshnichenko and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-in-beige-jacket-sitting-while-filming-using-a-video-camera-7991577/.
Once you have created the video concept, you want to make sure you are optimizing it so that it performs well for you. The first thing you have to remember is the length of the video.
Shorter is better, and it must be no more than 1.5 to 2 minutes long, maximum. Anything over this amount means you will begin to lose your audience and the engagement that they could have delivered for you.
Make sure you have included branding elements within your video. That includes the URL that you want people to visit, along with any other branding that you have, such as a logo or a specific color palette.
You don’t want your branding to distract from the overall message. You can have a small URL at the bottom of the screen, and you can introduce it at the very beginning or at the end of your video as an intro or outro.
Because you will be sharing this online and hopefully getting it indexed by search bots, you want to employ the use of keywords and phrases that will effectively inform the target audience about what your video is about.
You want to use keywords in the title of your explainer video as well as in the description that you provide when you upload it on YouTube or elsewhere. You also want to make sure you have appropriate tags.
Many marketers like to include a transcript of their explainer video. Not only does this help you with search engine optimization, but it allows people who have a preference for text to read along with your visual and audio message.
When your video is produced, make sure that it is optimized for mobile viewers. That means you have to use players on your blog and elsewhere that will automatically adjust to the size of the screen, whether they are watching it on a smartphone or a tablet.
Another thing you want to do to optimize your video is include closed captioning. Many people are watching videos with the sound off, and there are also people who need this option because of disabilities, so it can improve your search engine optimization efforts to make sure it is easily indexed for all audiences.
This photo was taken by ANTONI SHKRABA production and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-wearing-a-printed-robe-8843720/.
Explainer videos are going to help elevate your branding online and deliver more traffic for you. But there are some mistakes that you want to avoid making when you are using this strategy in your business.
One critical mistake many marketers make is in trying to pack too much information into one explainer video. People do not want to see a lot of information in these videos. You can create multiple explainer videos, where each one focuses on a different concept.
Another mistake you might make is in using visuals that distract the viewer from your actual message. Sometimes, animation videos can be cute and endearing, but if you overcomplicate it, the viewer will be paying attention to what is happening on the screen but not listening to your message and call to action.
You want your visuals simplified yet effective and engaging for your audience. Having plenty of white space on the screen so that they can focus on one type of action is a great way to have your video crafted.
If you are using live video action, you want to make sure that you’re setting is polished to perfection. That means you need proper lighting, backgrounds, and even a professional appearance by yourself or whoever is on camera.
When you are recording, you have to have good-quality audio. That includes everything from the actual sound production to the way you speak. If you are nervous and rushing through your messaging too fast, viewers will click away.
Another mistake you might run into is that you forgot to deliver a call to action. People can watch your branding and messaging videos all day long, but unless you tell them specifically to click on a link or download something, chances are, they are simply going to exit and go about their day.
This photo was taken by Ron Lach and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-using-a-laptop-while-video-calling-8061977/.
There are dozens upon dozens of tools that can help you create amazing explainer videos. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can always outsource the entire task to a freelance service provider.
But if you do want to invest in a tool so that you can bring your vision to life on your own, here are some examples of tools that may come in handy. The first one is called Vyond (which used to be GoAnimate).
This platform lets you use their templates to create different styles of explainer videos. These include traditional whiteboard animation, 2D and 3D videos, etc. You can customize your videos and bring it together with a user-friendly, drag-and-drop system.
They have a neat feature called the Continue Scene function. This is perfect for animated videos and allows your character to enter and exit the screen so that the movement is fluid, and it brings the character to life with motion.
They have a free trial that you can sign up for so that you can test drive this tool and see how it works for you. Then, you can sign up for a monthly or annual plan that ranges from a basic essential plan all the way to a premium, professional, or enterprise plan.
Animaker is another cloud-based tool that you can use to create different styles of explainer videos. They also have a library of assets available to you that you can then customize before adding your own voiceovers to the finished product.
They have more than 100 video templates that you can use that will help you promote your product or educate your audience. You can also start from scratch if you prefer, and customize the video to your needs.
They have over 30,000 royalty free music tracks and sound effects in their library and once you have completed your video, you can simply download it and share it on social media.
They do have a free version that you can use, but it does include an Animaker watermark. Their pricing for the removal of that, along with other features such as longer video links, better quality, more custom characters, and other assets, ranges from $10 a month to $49 per month, depending on your business needs.
Renderforest is an explainer video tool that you can use to not only create videos but animate your logo and slideshows. You can customize your videos and add music to them, sound effects, and your traditional voiceover script.
They have thousands of templates that you can search through with different typography, different character scenes, and unique slideshows. You can pay monthly or yearly, and they have a free version, lite option, pro version, and business option that are all very affordable.
With VideoScribe, you can leverage their templates and add your own custom graphics to create engaging explainer videos. This is a whiteboard animation software, so it doesn’t have as much versatility as some of the other tools.
EasySketchPro is another drag-and-drop whiteboard animation software that also provides you with built-in templates. It does tend to have a lot of features that you can use to customize your video and make it stand out.
They have a free trial that you can use to test drive the product. Then, you can choose between a monthly or annual plan. The free trial will give you a full week’s use of the tool, and you don’t have to enter a credit card in order to try it out.
Raw Shorts is a cloud-based explainer video tool that has a drag-and-drop interface with plenty of customization features and premade assets that are available for you to use when creating your finished product.
This tool uses artificial intelligence to transform your text-based script into an animated video. They also have a free, no credit card required trial version for one week. After the trial, you can choose between a monthly or annual payment plan that ranges from $20 to $30 per month.
Biteable is a web-based explainer video platform. It has footage and animations that you can use from their library and over 1,700 templates available at your disposal. You can test drive it for a week with no credit card required.
Then choose between a monthly or annual fee ranging from $49 for individuals to $99 for up to three team members. It also has analytics built into the tool so that you can see what kind of reach you’re getting with views, completed views, and locations.
And lastly, PROMO is a tool that has many of the same types of features, and it also includes a whole library of licensed music and images you can use along with built-in social marketing tools.
These include things like templates to help you make explainer videos for an Instagram story, for YouTube and more. If you haven’t tried creating an explainer video to date, give one of the options above a shot at helping you gain confidence and make a splash in the online marketplace for your message!
This photo was taken by Ron Lach and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-black-video-camera-8088396/.