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7 simple steps to mastering the art of explainer videos (even if you have no video experience)

What is an explainer video?

Explainer videos are a powerful video marketing tool for informing your clients, consumers, or shoppers about your product or service by explaining the benefits, processes, or information most relevant to them.

Why do I need an explainer video?

You may not need an explainer video to seal the deal on a sale, but if we know one thing for sure it’s this: they sure do help. 

Here’s why: the human brain (aka your brain) processes image 60,000x faster than text. In other words, we respond WAY faster to images as we are visual by nature. And in the days of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and tons of time at home, static images just don’t grab us like they used to. 

  1. Making a relevant video starts with knowing your target audience

“Business owner” is not a good target audience. It’s too broad. Going after “business owners” in general is a good way to get lost in the crowd and pay way too much for targeted paid ads that aren’t all that targeted. Consider your physical location and your own area of expertise when narrowing down your target audience. Here are a few questions you can ask to drill down deeper and discover what marketers call “riches in the niches.”

  • Who are your BEST customers? 
  • What kind of person do you appeal to most? 
  • What industry do you have a background in?
  • What types of people often come to you for advice?
  • Who do you most enjoy helping?
  • What does your dream customer want? 
  • What does your dream customer do in their spare time? 
  • Where does your dream customer hang out? 

Once you’ve answered these questions, and please give it some real thought, create a marketing persona by writing out a bio and day-in-the-life-of schedule for your marketing persona, aka your dream customer. To help you fill in the blanks, ask someone you trust for confirmation, for instance an existing customer who meets the criteria.

Our favorite free research tools: Google Ads Keyword Planner, Answer the Public

For a breakdown of marketing personas by generation, check out our webinar video:

  1. Write a script that tells a story

Never skimp on the script. It can make or break your video. You may think that because your explainer video needs to be informative, it does not need to be creative or tell a story. 

That could not be farther from the truth. 

Information needs to be entertaining and simple for people to care enough to pay attention. If you can’t capture your viewers’ attention, they won’t process it and they won’t engage with your brand. In other words, if your script falls flat, your explainer video will fail. 

As you likely learned once in your essay writing class, your script should have an intro, body, and conclusion. More specifically, it should start with a hook, something that grabs your target audience’s attention, and end with a call to action, something that prompts the viewer to do something—subscribe to your channel, buy, learn more on your website, call you, etc. 

Once you feel good about your outline and have written the script, it’s time to check your work. Read the script out loud.

  • Does it sound natural?
  • Does it sound like your target audience talks? 
  • Does it sound like your brand?

To make sure you nailed it, run it by someone you know and trust that fits the audience you’re looking to attract with the explainer video.

Here are two of our favorite explainer video examples with video script and voice over highly tailored to the intended audience. 

  1. Look for voice over talent that matches the tone  of your target audience

Notice how the voice—inflections, accent, pace—matches that of our ideal viewers. You want to make sure your explainer videos are always talking directly to your intended audience. 

Pro tip: annunciate, pause, add inflection, or hire professional voice-over actors at voices.com

  1. Storyboarding is not an optional step

Storyboards are like outlines for the visuals. Just as outlines are important for plotting out the story told in your video script, storyboards are essential for plotting out the timing and flow of your visuals. 

If you’re like us, you’ve gotten through more than one Netflix comedy special during this quarantine season. Ever try retelling a famous joke to a friend and not get the laugh? That was likely due to timing.

Just as timing separates professionals from amateurs in comedy, it can separate amateur explainer videos from professional explainer videos. Be sure to take the time to understand how long the on-screen text and visuals need to stay on the screen to be absorbed. 

Use your storyboarding time to establish style and key visuals. Common explainer video styles include:

  • Character
  • Iconography
  • Test based
  • Live action
  • 3D 

Storyboard Options

  1. Music enhances emotion and sets the tone

Try watching a horror movie on mute. You may be surprised to find how unscary it is. Without the audio cues, you don’t know when to jump and when to wet yourself. In fact, you may even laugh. 

That’s the magic of music. A good romance soundtrack will tug at your heartstrings while a good thriller track will give you a heart attack. 

Regardless, here are the four boxes your perfect music track should check:

Explainer Video Music

Our favorite website for background music: PremiumBeats.com

  1. Check and double-check your production checklist before your start animating

Have you ever started making a cake only to discover you are out of flour? Starting an animation project only to find that you don’t have all the brand assets you need to finish it is equally frustrating. Take the time to check your inventory. You’ll thank us later. 

To help you get started, here’s the exact production checklist we use before moving into the animation phase. 

Explainer Video Production Check List

  1. Animate away!

We use a combination of Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects and 3D Redshift to create our explainer videos. However, if you’re just jumping into the weird and wonderful world of animation, we recommend this DIY animation programs:

It will take some time to get comfortable with this process. But once you’ve done it once, you will no longer feel like you’re starting from scratch. You can reuse the templates you've made and will never have to bother setting up new logins for the needed video websites and software again. 

If you get hung up on a step, please feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to send you a downloadable version of our full How to Create an Explainer Video slideshow. 

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