Being a tech entrepreneur isn’t easy. It’s not all the glamorous nap pods and free gourmet meals we see in the movies. On top of the countless hours you spend working on every aspect of your business, you probably spend many more hours enduring nightmares about your venture wilting and shriveling into oblivion. Thankfully, explainer videos are one thing you don’t have to worry about; in fact, they may even soothe your fears.

Explainer videos aren’t an uncertain financial risk. Investing in one is a calculated and tested business move that helps your startup balloon. Explainer videos have soared in popularity over the past few years because they fertilize online business ventures, turning them from thirsty seedlings into flowering electronic beauties. If you are thinking about ordering one for your business, congratulations: you are about to make one of the best business decisions of your career.

Explainer Videos and Tech Companies: A Match Made in Heaven

An explainer video is the ultimate marketing tool. It can boost your conversion rates, clarify the many different uses of your product, and upgrade your sales. Here’s just a sampling of what explainer videos can do:

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Efficiently Explain Your Idea: Explainer videos don’t just tell potential customers what product or service is important; they show them why it is important. They convey your branding, values, and services in just one minute (or less!).

Attract Interest: Explainer videos are catchy and thought-provoking while offering solutions to customers who have related problems or needs. No wonder Americans watch nearly 50 billion online content videos a year.

Boost Search Rankings: It’s a well-known fact that high-quality videos (such as explainer videos) boost search engine rankings. Search engines use algorithms to determine your ranking, and they reward websites with quality content. Videos definitely count as quality content: in fact, 62% of Google universal searches include video. Did we mention that Google owns YouTube?

Encourage Sharing: An explainer video planted in a casual social media conversation can easily be seen by hundreds of friends and followers…and cause a powerful chain reaction.

Increase Traffic to Your Website: Getting a better search engine ranking and pulling people from secondary outlets and platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, means a lot more customers. No wonder search results with video get 42% better results than those without video.

Make Sales and Investor Pitches Easier: If you’re tired of sweating and stuttering your way through sales and investor pitches, an explainer video could be your new best friend. Access it anywhere there is WiFi or Internet service (or put  it on a flash drive) and never get mid-pitch pit stains again.

The Best Animated Explainer Videos

What features should you look for in your ideal explainer video? The best explainer videos are under two minutes. They clearly dictate the product or service directly to the target audience, but without feeling like an advertisement. Many successful tech businesses use animated explainer videos, including Mint, Google, Dropbox, and Skype.

What makes all these particular explainer videos successful?

The Script: The best explainer videos have fresh, creative scripts. The animation glides above this basic foundation so the customer feels confident about your product or service.

The Mint app explainer video’s script captures a plethora of features without feeling overwhelming. It is brief and to the point, but it also moves at an exciting and understable pace.

The Voiceover: Clear, direct, and attractive voiceover work gives the script life and drives the animation forward.

The Animation: Successful videos have novel animation that works with the script. It isn’t busy; instead, it deepens the consumers’ understanding in a fun new way.

The Music: The music is catchy without being distracting, allowing the voiceover to shine. It pulls the animation and the script into a tightly branded package, providing a roseate Hollywood glow.

Marketing: Second to the actual creation of the animated film, great explainer videos are launched with a careful marketing plan. Choose hosts thoughtfully and leverage your video on social media and blogs as well as your company’s websites.

Need an example of expert video marketing? Google puts all their animated explainer videos to good use. For every new service they provide, they create an animated explainer video and release it on social media, their websites, and email subscribers.

Tech Companies and Explainer Videos

If tech startups were Jedi, explainer videos would be lightsabers. Here’s what makes them such a natural match.

  1. Tech products are notoriously difficult to explain. If your company has a game-changing product, it is likely something completely original, and therefore people might have trouble understanding it at first. It doesn’t matter how great it is unless people “get it.” An explainer video does just that: it helps people “get” your product or service in under a minute. That’s something no amount of copy can do.
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  3. Have you ever wanted to be a hero? Now your company gets to be one! Animated explainer videos often showcase a character with a problem. Your product or service gets to be the hero. The  main character recognizes that your company solves their problem and–poof!–the day is saved.
  4. Tech startups often have one major disadvantage: lack of manpower. Startups are busy, and (as you know) workers tend to get overloaded. An explainer video is so effective that it takes a lot of strain off your marketing and sales departments. That way, they have time to focus on other aspects of your company.

Getting Started

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Making an Explainer Video

While there are many obvious advantages to creating an explainer video, not every company is ready to dive headfirst into the marketing pool. If you are still developing your business ideas, for instance, you should wait awhile before you order an explainer video.

If you believe your company is ready, crystallize your ideas before contacting a company. This will help your explainer video team create the perfect video for your business. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before contacting a development company:

  • What is my company’s quick elevator pitch? How would I sum up my product or service?
  • What customer segments am I trying to reach?
  • What are the key services or products that I want to highlight in my video?
  • How does my product or service work? Will it be easy to explain this process in a short video?
  • Do I have visuals already in mind or am I open to suggestions?
  • What is my call to action? How will I measure the success of the explainer video campaign?

Picking Your Production Company

Choosing the right production company is the first step to creating the explainer video of your dreams. A good explainer video is able to communicate how their development system works. This includes:

  • Script
  • Storyboard
  • Style Frame
  • Voiceover
  • Animation
  • Music and Sound
  • Production

Animated explainer videos can look cheap when done badly, but it is easy to avoid these stinkers. Professional explainer video production companies have strong portfolios. Find videos that you like in a company portfolio and mention them in your initial contact so the company knows what type of video you want.

FAQ About The Cost of an Explainer Video

If you are a business owner, you likely already know that cheap marketing looks cheap. This holds true for the explainer video. These are some of the questions we get most frequently, and the answers you should expect from a reputable explainer video company.

Question: Should I pick my company based on price?

Answer: As with any product or service, you get what you pay for. Think of your explainer video as the equivalent of a sign outside of a store. If the sign is creative, descriptive, and attractive, customers are more likely to come in. If you order a subpar sign from a discount company, you aren’t going to get a lot of interest.

Put succinctly, you need to produce a video that represents how great your company is. Companies such as Apple or Google do not create low-quality explainer videos because they understand that their investment improves their brand. Invest and you shall be rewarded.

Question: How much should I expect to pay?

Answer: You should be ready to spend between $5,000-$10,000 per minute. The entire development process is broken down and handled by a professional team, including script writers, illustrators, designers, animators, voice talent, and sound designers. Each person needs to be fairly compensated for their hard work.

Creating Your Video

Creating explainer videos is a collaborative effort. Your company rep will guide you through each step and ensure that you like everything that is happening.

The Script

Your video will have the power to tell a convincing story, but before you envision mind-blowing animation, you need to pour your energy into helping the scriptwriter creating a killer script. You are the foremost expert on your company, and a clear script is the foundation of your video. The scriptwriter is an expert on explainer video scripts, but she or he needs your help to do your company justice.

What can you do? Supply your production company with your targeted audience, your message, and your call to action. Do not be afraid to ask for changes to the first draft of the script, but remember that the scriptwriter is focused on these concepts.

Short is good: People lose interest fast, so scriptwriting isn’t like normal writing; each word is carefully weighed and chosen. Scriptwriters put vital information in the first 30 seconds of the script, and they work hard to condense your message and eliminate unnecessary words.

Breaking the third wall: Scriptwriters want to make your target audience feel like they are being directly spoken to. Keeping a script intelligent without sounding condescending or confusing is a delicate balancing act.

Writing rules: Scriptwriters are paid to write well. If you make changes to a script yourself, you are likely adding mistakes without knowing it–and the poor scriptwriter will have to fix them. Keep your scriptwriter smiling by suggesting changes rather than trying to make them yourself.

Picking The Right Animation

Animated explainer videos are abundant and protean, but many of them follow the same animation forms. For tech companies, polished animation rules. It exudes the digital competence implicit in your brand while flattering your product or service.

Whiteboard and extreme cartoons look cheap and unprofessional. If you pick the right explainer video company, neither of these mediums will not be options. Here are a few styles you may want to consider instead.

2D Animation: 2D animation is popular among startups. By comparison, it is cheaper than other types of animation and, if done well, can carry serious branding power. See the Appsmitten video in our portfolio for a good example.

2.5D Animation: 2.5D animation extends the 2D animation model by adding a few 3D images into the mix.

Motion Graphics: Many startups bring their products to life using motion graphics. These streamlined, simple visuals support the script and are both entertaining and flattering to the company.

Key Terms and Animation Concepts

After you have a completed script, your video production team will design your video. Here are a few terms that your animators use as they work. It sounds a bit like a foreign language, but don’t worry: your animators will not expect you to know this stuff. They will, however, be impressed if you compliment their use of arc or secondary actions.

Staging: Akin to film or theater movement. In explainer videos, proper staging directs the audience through frames while focusing on your product or service.

Straight-Ahead Action vs. Pose-to-Pose Action: Two different approaches to the drawing process. For straight-ahead action, the animator draws each frame in the video in the order in which they will appear (think of a flip book). In pose-to-pose action, the animator starts with key frames, then fills in the intervals later. Computer animation heavily relies on “pose to pose” methodology.

Follow Through and Overlapping Action: These concepts help create realistic movement in animation by loosely following the rules of physics. Follow through encompasses movements that occur even after the main object has stopped; for example, the pitcher’s arm continues to move downward after throwing the ball. Overlapping action defines the tendency for different parts of a body or machine to move at different speeds. For instance, the pitcher’s arm moves down quickly even as the rest of his body is relatively stationary.

Anticipation: Used to prepare your viewer for an important action. For example, a pitcher doesn’t just throw a ball; she moves her arm back and aims first. In your video, anticipation builds on a larger level because the main character has a problem that your company will solve.

Secondary Actions: These make the main action more realistic. For example, people tend to swing their arms as they walk. If an animated character is not doing so, it can look unnatural.

Arc: Lots of real-life motions occur in arcs rather than straight lines. Think about the way your arms and legs move: in arcs around your joints. This concept helps animators create characters that follow curved, realistic movements.
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Timing: Timing refers to the entire speed action of the film. This is particularly important in explainer videos because the whole film is so short.

Squash and Stretch: The idea that drawn objects have a certain amount of weight or flexibility. In extreme animation, a figure might be squashed or stretched for comedic effect (think of Tom and Jerry). In realistic animation, it is just important that an object’s volume doesn’t change when it moves.

Exaggeration: This purposefully bends reality for comedic effect or emphasis. Just think of Tom and Jerry getting steamrolled into 2D, only to return to their normal selves. Your video’s level of exaggeration depends on your animation style. Realistic animation will have less exaggeration, while heavy caricatures have extreme exaggeration.

Appeal: How real or interesting the viewer finds your animation. In explainer videos, your animation should always draw attention to your fabulous product or service.

Using Your Product Wisely

After weeks of consultation and decision making, your lightsaber will be ready. Post that video everywhere! Present your explainer video on your social media sites, embed it into your homepage, and send it to customers via email. If your video goes viral, you’ll never need to advertise again.

To get the most out of your video, include live links and contact information in your email or video description boxes. Your video’s “call to action” should be easy to spot or even accessible right from the video.

Social Media Response

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Social media is a marketer’s playground. It encourages instant sharing and reblogging, letting others spread the word about your company. If your company has not already established a social media policy, it would be great to create one before you post your video.

Social media lets you interact with your audience, which is a big bonus. However, it also presents the possibility of trolls, those nasty, wanton critters who make fun of everyone and everything online. Regularly monitor posts and comments for both the good guys and the bad. Quickly respond to your customer’s questions or concerns if they post them on social media.

If irate customers or naughty trolls comments on your video, assess whether or not to respond. Sometimes criticism can strengthen your product, while at other times jibes resemble schoolyard bullying. Choosing to not reply, or even deleting the strangest or least relevant comments, is an option. With good marketing, your explainer video will generate lots of pertinent talk and positivity to drown out the weirdos.

Measure the Results

Companies create explainer videos for specific reasons. For some companies, the goal is to sell a product. For tech companies, the goal is often to encourage users to download or subscribe to an app or online service.

Whatever your goal is, establish a way of measuring your progress. The first step in calculating overall success is to monitor the pre-video sales environment. Collect this information before you launch your video:

  • Average conversion rate
  • How much time people spend on your site
  • How many visitors your site gets

After you publish your video, pull stats to calculate the difference. There are a plethora of stat collection tools, both free and paid, that can help you collect and analyze information. If your views and sales have spiked, get a bottle of champagne and celebrate! If your numbers aren’t shifting much, try marketing your video differently or posting it in more places so everyone can see how spectacular it is.

Go For It

Animated explainer videos are your greatest weapon. With your own explainer video, you can fight your way through the noise and clutter and get your product in front of a global audience. All you have to do is pick a professional, collaborative, and creative production team and tell them what your company is all about. Once you’ve done that, sit back and enjoy the chance to launch your company into unprecedented, blissful success.

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