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Nine Do's and Don'ts of a Good Explainer Video

Wojciech Jezowski

December 5, 2022

Ah, explainer videos.

They are the bread and butter, meat and potatoes, teff and couscous of b2b tech marketing. And they are everywhere.

We've all seen them: the crappy and dull ones, the overly creative and abstract ones that make little to no sense, the "corporate arty" ones, and sometimes even the great ones (those also exist).

Making a good explainer video is an art in itself. But, as with most things that "just work," it's a game of knowing what to do. And what not to do. 

To help you out, here's a list of do's and don'ts that will make your explainer videos enjoyable and informative. 

Informative AND enjoyable? Well, if they're not enjoyable, people will stop watching them before they reach the end and miss all those meticulously crafted product features 🤪.

It'll fall into the void. Just like the videos that are average or just… "meh."

1. Do have a strategy.

Remember that a marketing strategy is a good thing to have before you make your video. A strategy will also inform you on why you're making it, its purpose, and who you're addressing.

Do the research. Find out what your target audience want's to hear or what automatically makes them diss the video.

You don't need expensive, bespoke research. Use Google. It's there. 

2. Don't talk to everybody, everywhere, all at once.

Focus on the customer you want to have an impact on and not on "everyone in the IT space in the entire United States." 

If your service or product helps a broad scope of people, break them up. For example, create separate, shorter videos.

These videos can be in the same style but will focus on the different solutions you provide. For different people. Features and benefits that a CISO might find interesting are probably different from those a Dev Ops will engage with. 

This will make your audience feel you are focusing on them and their needs. No one wants to be caught in a large net. Everyone wants their own hook.  

 

3.Do know exactly who your audience is and what they want.

When you research your audience or simply ask around (you can ask your client, your agency, your freelancer, and anyone else that comes to mind - or read a few blog posts back), you will actually be able to discern who the video is for. 

That means you can hone your message appropriately and speak your audience's language.

By avoiding needless jargon and speaking the language of the person you're trying to reach, they will more likely finish your video and hear your entire message. That'll happen because they'll get it. And they'll get it because you know who you're trying to communicate to.

An example for the cyber security space is a sweet and super informative article, "30 Security Vendor Behaviors That Set Off a CISO's BS Detector."

4.Don't plan on the video becoming a viral hit overnight.

We've all been there. You and your team work weeks on end creating a video. It gets the green light. You post it on YouTube and every other platform you think of, and… nothing happens. Even though everyone knows that's not how it works, you'd be surprised how often it's the case. 

How could this have been avoided?

The answer is simple: you must have a distribution strategy prepared ahead of time.

Don't rely on internet magic. It's reserved for cats and Mr. Beast.

5.Do have a distribution plan.

Use your video assets for what they are: Tools.

Each tool does a different job. And you wouldn't use a hammer to install a screw, would you?

But, of course, you wouldn't!

So remember that an explainer video is an educational asset, no matter how long it may be. But it won't fare well as an ad.

If you run a paid ad campaign with a 3-minute explainer as the main asset, you run the risk of a low view rate and CTR. That's because you're pushing a round peg into a square hole.

Instead, plan for and create a 10-20 second trailer of that explainer. Then, use a different voiceover and CTA linking to the landing page with the full explainer video.

Imagine the customer journey as a.... well, you know. Funnel!

So use specific assets at specific funnel levels to move the customer along.

When you run the campaign with that teaser, there's a bigger chance that the people who actually click the link will be interested in watching the explainer to the end.

They clicked the link, didn't they? They had a reason to, didn't they? You just traded a net for a hook, and you hooked them real good. 

6.Don't flood the video with too much data.

Deciding what to leave out is just as crucial as what you choose to put into it. Keeping it short and sweet helps everyone. 

Remember that the more you cram into the video, the fewer people will remember what the video was about.

By keeping your work focused and accessible, your video's chances of being remembered are all the higher. 

Just focus on the core message. You're supposed to entice your audience to look for more information. If you lure them in the right way, they'll want that information from you.

Why waste your time and money on a video no one sees more than half of (at best!).

A good rule of thumb is to talk about one thing (message, feature, benefit, etc.) for 20 seconds.

7.Do keep it real (less jargon, focus on the customer).

This one's easy. But we can't stress this enough. If you know your audience, you will know how to communicate with them.

Don't oversell or, god forbid, over-complicate matters. People know when stuff is covered up with super technical mumbo jumbo or just plain fluff marketing lingo. 

People HATE that shit. And they listen to these buzzwords day in and day out. Give them a break.

For example, when talking to a CISO, don't say your product is "100% secure". Everyone, even our mothers, knows that no service or product is 100% secure. 

So know your audience and remember that they can smell bullshit from a mile away. Don't be another type of brand that shovels it in their face. They actually prefer a teaspoon of authenticity.

8.Don't make another video that looks like all the others.

Stand out. Why?

Because b2b tech buyers do a lot of research before contacting your sales department.

That means they've seen your competitors' content as well. Imagine wading through a sea of explainer videos that all look the same and say the same thing. At one point, it starts to resemble torture, huh?

You're missing the opportunity to get a foot in the door by doing it like everyone else. So why would you do that and not take advantage of showing them that you're different from the rest? Differentiate!

9.Do make interesting.

Countless studies show that the more creative the campaign is, the more effective it is. Don't take our word for it. Take 50 years of effectiveness data!

Dig into 9 Marketing Effectiveness Lessons From The Last 50 Years: 

 

Creative campaigns are simply more effective. 

I should just end here. 

Period. You know what. I will. 

Should you need some good examples, check out these favorites:

Good stuff, right?

Look at the myriad of solutions that these fine folks have shown. Each of these videos hits the points mentioned above. So be like them.

Stand out! Speak your customer's language. Be human! 

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