Explainer videos are a great way to make your company’s message compelling, so long as you are creative enough to take advantage of the medium!
From tech companies to toy manufacturers, it’s not surprising to see this style pop across all industries and platforms. It is merely a result of its effectiveness as marketing pieces. Through well-thought-out scripts, dynamic visuals, and subtle branding, the format has proven to bring brands and audiences closer consistently.
…If done right, of course.
As versatile and appealing as explainers can be, pieces like explainer videos and whiteboard animations aren’t magic. They depend on a number of key aspects you should be aware of if you want these videos to meet your expectations.
And that’s what we are going to talk about today!
Figure Out Your Target Audience
Your explainer video is not meant to work in a vacuum. First and foremost, they are a piece of content directed to a specific group of people. Or at least they should be!
Yes, yes… you want your video to be as broadly appealing as they can be. That’s great and all, but you can’t escape the reality that the product or service you are trying to promote with them might not appeal to everyone in the same way.
Say you are making an explainer about a new messaging platform for cryptocurrency investors:
You’ll want your dialogue to include the common terms and language regularly used in cryptocurrency circles. You’ll want your voice actor to convey the passion of expertise of someone deep in that world.
You’ll want your character to mirror the demographic characteristics of the cryptocurrency investor's audience. You’ll want to address their pain points. You'll want to populate your videos' visuals with recognizable iconography from the cryptocurrency world…
And all of that should look wildly different in an explainer for a video-gaming news app!
So, figure out who you are talking to early on – who your target audience is – and use that “persona” to inform your content as you work and develop it. Not only will this give the end-result a much more cohesive feel, but it will make the entire piece more effective.
Animation Quality is Paramount
The first thing that should be on your mind as you plan your future explainer video is quality. Specifically, animation quality.
Don’t get me wrong, as any other marketing piece, all aspects of your video should be on-point. Your script has to be clear and concise, your characters should be relatable (more on this later), and your branding on point.
However, animation quality deserves a special mention for being the presentation card in charge of first – and lasting – impressions. Online, people have little more to gauge the quality of your brand and products than the quality of your content. A company promoting through pieces that look sharp and professional will naturally be associated with those qualities by their target audiences.
Incidentally, companies who put out pieces with unappealing visuals and shoddy-looking animations will inevitably send the opposite message.
So, as you sit down to plan your piece – whether that’s through an in-house team or an outside video company – make sure to allocate your resources appropriately, and never cut corners on animation quality or visual presentation!
Use The Power of Storytelling
If I had to zero-in on a single aspect that summed up explainer’s marketing effectiveness, it would be storytelling.
Now, mind you, storytelling comes in a lot of flavors. It's certainly present in your script and the narrative you weave around the product or service being discussed. But it is also present in your main character's aspect, in your narrators' voice, in the scenery and visuals that complement your message, etc.
An awesome explainer video in the making accounts for all these elements from a storytelling standpoint. Not only making sure they complement each other, but that they are also in tune with your company's broader marketing and branding strategy.
To accomplish this, you need to understand the product, service, or message that's going to be at the center of the piece. Then, build a narrative around it, with a story viewers can identify with and relate to.
My advice? Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. The three-act structure has grown famous for a reason: It works!
- Focus on introducing the problem you are there to solve in act one.
- Move on to your solution for that problem in act two.
- Wrap up by conveying why your solution is better than the competitions’
Translate that formula into an interesting, charming script. Evolve it with awesome visuals on your storyboard, and all the narrative pieces of your video will come together nicely.
You Have Your Piece? Use It!
Let’s wrap this up by addressing a critical – and common – mistake I see a lot of companies falling for.
So, you’ve spent months working to bring that initial cool idea for your explainer into reality. You’ve gone through a number of revisions, approving and rejecting things to make the final piece better than your initial expectations.
A lot of time and resources went into this video, but it was all worth it! Now you have an awesome video that clearly communicates your product and does a great job with branding as well.
Then you put it in a corner on your website and forget about it. HUGE mistake.
The awesome thing about explainers is that, by nature, they are meant to entertain, inform, and engage viewers on an emotional level. That alone gives them a leg up above other popular types of marketing videos when it comes to versatility. So, don’t let all that potential go to waste.
Cut down a 10-second teaser and use as effective content for your social media presence. Make sure you upload the piece on your company's YouTube Channel.
Use it as the centerpiece of that email marketing strategy you've been putting together… And yes, by all means, put it in key sections on your website where it can be most effective.
The main idea here is that by appealing to customers at both the awareness and consideration stages, explainers give you a lot of versatility when it comes to using them! Constantly use for the right opportunities to leverage your piece's potential and get the most out of your efforts.
The main idea here is that by appealing to customers at both the awareness and consideration stages, explainers give you a lot of versatility when it comes to using them! #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Yes, explainers are great, and if you make a great one, you'll most likely be surprised by how well it fits into your marketing strategy. But you need to make them right!
There’s a lot of important details about the production process we could discuss here, and I don't want you to walk away with the idea that this is all there is to them!
However, from an eagle eye's view, the elements we just discussed are essential to amazing explainer videos – and should occupy your mind as you start working on defining what you want to do! Stick to these principles and find talented people to help you bring your vision to life. You won’t regret it
Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.