With platforms like YouTube and TikTok thriving, video is one of the best ways to reach and engage with customers online. Want to take advantage of the trend? Film a product explainer video for your startup.
A product explainer video does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a chance for you to explain what your startup does and the product (or service) you sell.
Most major companies have product explainer videos on their websites, but it was a Pitch semi-finalist in 2021 that really put them on our radar. Glasgow startup BarsGripsRings had us hooked with the product explainer video for their portable fitness tools:
In this article, we’ll look at what makes an amazing product explainer video and how startups can create one (even without in-house video expertise).
Define the purpose for your explainer video
The first step is deciding why you’re creating the video. Where will the video be used? What message do you want to get across?
Some product explainer videos will focus solely on how the product works, like this example from previous Pitch finalist Rockit. The video demonstrates how easy it is to use its portable baby rocker in multiple situations and builds trust with its target audience: new parents.
Other product explainer videos will also include background information on the team, values and mission. In this example from 2020 Pitch finalist SolarisKit, founder Faisal Ghani explains how the product works and its intended social impact.
Decide on a video script
A script isn’t always essential for product explainer videos. If it’s a simple product, you can often get the message across through text overlays and clips of people using the item.
However, if you do decide your video needs a script, don’t rush the writing process. Even the best video footage and graphics won’t help if your script is aimed at the wrong audience.
Here’s the best practice to follow with a script:
- Explain what your product does in the first 15 seconds. Remember, people have a short attention span
- Keep things simple. It’s best to assume the viewer has no knowledge of your product, unless you’re creating it for a specific point in the marketing funnel
- Be conversational. The script should feel like natural dialogue
- The shorter the better. Aim to keep the entire video to under three minutes
- Include a call to action. What do you want the viewer to do next?
There’s an argument for and against writing the script yourself. On one hand, you know your product and target audience better than anyone. On the other hand, fresh minds bring fresh ideas. You may miss out on better writing or a better angle for your video by doing everything alone.
Writing a detailed creative brief and outsourcing to an expert is a good halfway option. That way, you’ll be able to pour all your knowledge into the script and benefit from an outside perspective.
You can find freelancers offering script writing and voiceover services on platforms like Fiverr. There are also freelancers who will include both in a video package, so it’s worth having a browse before you make your decision.
Don’t forget the entertainment value
While your startup’s product explainer video doesn’t need to be the next Avengers film, it should still have entertainment value.
At best, you want to hook potential customers in, get them engaged in your business and build brand loyalty. Worst case scenario, you want the viewer to at least watch until the end.
You’ll only keep viewers interested by creating a video that’s entertaining. Whether it’s beautiful visuals or a humorous script, make sure you’re giving people plenty of reasons to stick with it.
Film your product explainer video
The proliferation of video online means that you have plenty of options when it comes to filming – especially if you’re on a budget.
The cheapest option is to do the filming yourself. You can rent cameras and filming equipment, which typically range from £50 per day for a GoPro-style camera to £150 for a top-of-the-range camcorder.
Alternatively, if you have a high-quality phone camera, you can film clips and then edit them using apps like iMovie (for iOs) or FilmoraGo (Google Play).
For TikTok users, you can also film and edit your video in TikTok. Apps like SnapTik will let you remove the TikTok watermark so you can share your video elsewhere.
While this is the most budget-friendly option, it’s also the most time consuming. Filming can take up to a few days, plus you’ll need the extra time to get your head around the video editing tools.
Outsourcing elements of your video
Much like the script, it’s usually better to outsource elements of your product explainer video to freelancers. You might outsource the entire production or just the video editing – it depends on your in-house skills and capacity.
You can often find good freelancers to fit smaller budgets as well. On Fiverr, one of the best reviewed video packages will set you back around £90. You’ll get a 15-second video that combines stock (or your own) video footage, background music and text overlays.
Create a marketing plan for promotion
You’ve put time, effort and resources into your startup’s product explainer video – make sure you’re getting the most from it.
It’s a good idea to embed the product explainer video on your homepage, like BarsGripsRings have done. You’ll get maximum exposure and it can help to improve your website’s conversion rate.
To go down this route, upload your video to a hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo then simply embed the link in the best place.
Finally, don’t forget about all the other marketing opportunities for your video. Include it in newsletters, email signatures and relevant product pages. You can also break it down into five or six shorter clips for social media to make it go even further.