Why explainer videos?
Explainer videos are an excellent method for a brand or business to demonstrate the functionality of their products or services. Their concise, informative, and captivating nature has made them a top choice for video content today.
The most popular are animated explainer videos. You know the type. In theory, an animated video has no limitations. You can say and show anything you want about your product or service. On the other hand, if you want to stand out, a live action explainer video is the way to go. Apart from the obvious, you are showing users interacting with your brand, which is marketing gold. I could present many statistics about how more and more marketers find explainer videos useful with a positive ROI... but you probably know that already. I won't bore you with that. What I want to do is help you create good explainer videos that are engaging and stand out.
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). So, how to make a killer explainer video and boost your marketing video strategy?
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.
The do's and dont's of creating explainer videos
To help you out, here's a list of 9 do's and don'ts of a good B2B explainer video 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 own explainer 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 explainer 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 of explainer video 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 an explainer 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 beforehand.
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 video 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.