Explainer videos are creating quite a buzz around the world. And why, you might ask? Because explainer videos are one of the easiest ways for someone to understand what the heck your business actually does and how it can benefit them. The goal: tell your story in under 90 seconds. But how is that possible?
The best answer I can give you: have someone else do it. The fact is, we are all too close to our own work to step back and take on the necessary point of view of an outsider. You know every nook and cranny of your business and think that every aspect is vital knowledge for viewers. We call this the “curse of knowledge.” It happens to the best of us. You know too much about your company to simplify your story, or you may simply have a tough time conveying it. To create an effective explainer video, you really have to boil your story down into a simple, easy-to-understand package that any viewer can understand, including your 10-year-old son and your 100 year old grandma.
But if you want to do it yourself, for most, a simple problem/solution story format does the job.
Get your viewer to relate; help facilitate empathy. Start by introducing a story where the character is facing the same problem your customers face. From the very beginning, show them relevance. If you tap into their emotions, they’re much more likely to keep watching. If you’re taking the emotional route, it must be funny, upsetting, uplifting, or offensive. Whatever emotion, it has to hit hard. Just ask Fast Company.
Propose a solution. Convey your product/service as the answer to everyone’s problem.
Explain what you do. Now that they know you exist, you have to quickly narrow down the top 3 benefits of using your solution that set your solution apart from others. This is where you can include more details about your product or service.
Wrap it up. Reiterate the fact that you solved the original problem and offer up your call to action: “Check out our website,” “Click the link,” “sign up today,” etc.
About 150 words is all you can pack into a one-minute script, so keep your script simple. Also, simplify the visuals so people have time to retain what they’re seeing. Keep this in mind the entire time you work on your script.
Your script is the most important part of the entire process. Don’t forget that. Visuals are great and add a ton to helping people retain what they’re watching. In fact, studies show that if you only stimulate the auditory sense, people retain just 10% of what they hear. Stimulate both the auditory and the visual sense and you end up with a retention rate of 68%. However, don’t over-stimulate people to the detriment of your storytelling. If your story is weak or unclear, they won’t continue watching and they’ll miss the audio and visuals altogether.
This is probably the most common problem that companies have while trying to formulate their story. You don’t want to sound so complicated that people tune you out. Remember, all of your audience is human. It doesn’t matter if you’re business-to-business or not. A human will be watching your video and humans don’t have conversations in long, complex sentences. Most likely, they hear jargon all day long in meetings and want to watch a video to escape that. Look at the writings of companies like Apple or Starbucks: so simple and we all buy.
If you’re not talking in a way your viewers can easily grasp, you’re going to lose them. You speak very differently when selling to an enterprise executive than to the average consumer. You need to appeal to the executive’s bottom line and they typically need more detail to make a better buying decision. If you’re a new company that nobody’s ever heard of, you need them to know why they should use you (or your product) over the competition rather than going into detail about what you’re selling. You speak differently to a 10 year old girl than you would a 49 year old man, right? Think about your audience when you’re writing. Target the right person and cater your video to them.
Stories are in our DNA. It’s how we learned when we were children and it’s what still appeals to us — — no matter what age. It’s the way we connect, relate, entertain and learn. We also use stories to influence decision makers to purchase. Don’t focus too much on the details. Nobody needs to hear about your product’s 23 features in an introductory video. Drive them to your site where they can learn more. The main goal is to captivate their attention with your initial video.
The quickest way to grab attention and be memorable is to make someone laugh. Add something comical to your videos. But be careful not to push it too far. If your joke falls flat or comedy is overused, you’re likely to turn off your viewer. Subtlety is the name of the game.
Whether you think it’s obvious or not, some people don’t know what to do after they’ve heard your story. Tell them what you want them to do. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter, go to your site, download your app, call you? Make it clear and it’s much more likely that they’ll do it.
Your story, whether it’s your company’s story or your personal one, has the power to motivate and drive people to action. It can increase sales or cause people to turn away and lose attention. It’s all in the delivery. Simple is good. People understand simple, short and to the point. Try it and see how powerful it can be.
What have you done to simplify your story?