So you want to make an animated explainer — here’s how to get started
The statistics regarding explainer videos are impressive: 85 percent more conversions, significantly increased time on site, cart sizes that nearly double. When you consider that the average attention span of an internet user is less eight seconds, anything that offers such stunning results is well worth considering.
However, you can’t just throw any old explainer up on your site and expect the profits to come rolling in right away. As with all of your content, your explainer video needs to be approached strategically and developed with a specific purpose in mind. Otherwise, you could be wasting time and money — both yours and your customers.
Start at the Beginning: The Concept
Assuming that you’ve never made an explainer before, where do you begin. Let’s start with a definition of an explainer video. Typically, an explainer is just what it sounds like: A short video (meaning two to three minutes or less) that explains how your product or service solves a problem or fulfills a customer need.
It might show a little bit about how the product works or demonstrate a few key features, but it’s not entirely product focused. Rather, it’s problem-focused. The best explainers are those that clearly demonstrate value to the customer, and spur them to act.
With that in mind, the first step in creating an animated explainer video is to determine your concept, and that requires identifying your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What are their pain points? How can you solve those problems? This usually results in a video that:
1. Identifies those pain points, and shows you understand/share that pain. This is usually done via storytelling.
2. Clarifies how your problem solves those pain points, as well as the benefits that the customer can expect to receive from your solution.
3. Calls the customer to action.
By beginning with the problem-solution-action approach to your explainer, you’re well on your way to an effective script.
It’s All About the Script
Many people mistakenly believe that the animation is the most important part of an explainer video. While the animation is certainly important, without a solid script, the best animation in the world isn’t going to get results. Before you even begin working with an animation creator, therefore, you need to devote your energy to developing a solid script.
The script should fall in line with the concept you developed and follow the problem-solution-action model. In more concrete terms, this translates to:
- An introduction. Who are you and what do you do?
- An explanation of the problem. Use the language that your customers use when articulating their issues to you.
- A transition into why you created your solution, and why/how it solves the problem.
- Lists a few key features of the product or service, focusing on the benefits to the customer.
- Telling customers what to do now.Make a purchase, call for more information, sign up for a trial, etc.
- Answering any potential objections, questions. Like, is there a money back guarantee?
- Offering proof. Include a testimonial, list of companies you’ve worked with, etc.
Remember, the video needs to be short, and that every 150 words or so translates to a minute of video. Therefore, you need to keep your message as simple and focused as possible. This means you can’t answer every possible question or concern a customer might have. That’s okay. Focus on piquing their interest, and you can address concerns later.
Only when you have your script developed should you begin storyboarding and considering animation. Don’t try to fit your script to the animation, but instead develop your animation for the script.
When you do, you’re more likely to choose the right animation style and “look” for your video. That might a simple whiteboard, or a more complex 2-D animation. Whatever your choice, here is where you can exercise your creative muscles and develop video that’s informative, fun to watch, and reflective of your brand.
And again, it doesn’t have to be complex or fancy; with a solid script, you can even create your own animated video with a quality animation creation that gets results — without investing tens of thousands of dollars.
Creating an animated explainer video may seem complicated, but if you spend the majority of your time focused on the concept and the script, the rest of the project will seem much easier — and the video is far more likely to get the amazing results that you’re hoping to see.