“Animation” means breathing life into something. Explainer video animation is popular because just about any subject can be explained — without the need for actors, crews, and cameras. But what style of animation is best? Here are five must-ask questions to help guide your choice.
What is the hook?
If your video is chiefly about your brand, or your product really makes life more enjoyable, you want to make an emotional connection. You need to figure out exactly which emotion you want to evince in the very first scene — sympathy, envy, pride, etc — and build from there.
However, if your solution is one technology buyers are researching online, they may resist having their heartstrings pulled. (Though customer success stories are always effective.) Buyers who are doing their own research value insight above all else. Try to start off with something they’ll be glad to know.
Do I need characters for explainer video animation?
If it’s emotion you want, animated characters deliver. Animated characters can use body language, facial expression and take actions viewers will identify with.
On the other hand, talking characters can get in the way of delivering insight. Visual explanations, such as animated diagrams, models and charts, are usually more efficient and leave a more lasting impression. Of course, characters can interact with other kinds of visuals and their environment. If they’re not adding emotion or information, they may be just getting in the way of the story.
What kind of characters should I use?
In fiction, most of us prefer character-driven stories. Of course, character
With so many DIY video tools and cheap production options for “explainer” or other type of tech solution marketing video, it’s reasonable to question the $5,000–$15,000 cost of a professional production studio. Here’s how professional specialists earn their fees.
Viewer-friendly tech solution marketing video
You’re involved in sales and marketing. That makes you an advocate for your solution.
The video pro is an advocate for the viewer. They’ll look at your messaging, personas, and customer pain points with fresh eyes. They’ll ask questions like “Doesn’t the viewer already know this?” and “Are these the same pain points your competitors talk about?” as they work to make sure your video story is fresh and interesting for the viewer.
The video pro is thinking about how to hook the viewer in the first 30 seconds. While your messaging documents describe the product in context, the writer of your tech solution marketing video will start by trying to nail down how much knowledge — context — the viewer brings to the video. This is good discipline that comes with experience. It’s worth paying for.
Communicating technical differentiators
Marketers sometimes fear getting too technical or “down-in-the-weeds.” A good video producer will be confident in their ability to depict technical values clearly. And will give you confidence, too.
Why is this more important? Because IT buyers, in particular,
Make better technology videos than your competitors — here are five ways
1. Focus on the action you want the viewer to take
Everyone knows a video should have a call-to-action. This is often defined in terms of clicks or conversions. But if you’re marketing a complex technology solution, the action you really want is information seeking.
“The only decision a prospect really needs to make is to seek more information” is how interactive video expert Randy Tinfow puts it. Try sizing up every word and image in your video this way: “Is this something a good prospect wants to know more about?”
Instead of just putting up a link at the end that clicks through to another piece of content, make a video that arouses curiosity. Your competitors are probably not thinking along these lines. Nearly all technology marketing videos are designed to maximize the amount of product information delivered over the video’s duration.
2. Divide (your audience) and conquer (with relevant info)
If what you’re selling is a software solution bought by committee, then your video’s audience will include users and non-users in various roles. The users want to know what it’s like to use it; everybody else probably wants to know — well, almost anything else. They don’t want to see a lot of screens.
Think of it this way: you’re making a sales pitch to the CIO, the COO, the CEO. They’re all raising different issues. They not very interested in each other’s issues.
This is why we’re recommending producing multiple short videos about clearly defined issues, features, visions, differentiators, etc. If you can get to the point — one your audience cares about — in the first 15 seconds or so, your video is more than halfway home.
3. Draw a diagram
Try watching some “explainer” videos on YouTube with the sound turned off. Did you learn anything that makes you want to know more? Not likely.
Yet, we all know that people process visuals at least a thousand times faster than words. So maximizing the visual content minimizes the length.
Speeding the B2B technology buyer on his way
The value of video in speeding people on their technology-buying journey is simple: there’s no faster way for a person to pick up a high-level understanding of a subject that would otherwise take a lot of hard work to understand. Animated B2B videos, in particular, can make difficult subjects very approachable. With a B2B marketing video, you can dramatize the problem your solution addresses — and catch the attention of your most qualified prospects — very quickly. If you do present a problem dramatically, and the viewer is not familiar with the problem, chances are he wouldn’t turn out to be a qualified lead, anyway.
Exactly who in the business are you talking to? So, the first step in explaining a solution that’s hard to explain is to define the audience as narrowly as possible. Settle on the most obvious problems they have in common. They should be those problems that almost go without saying, because those are the issues that are giving your best prospects sleepless nights.
It’s inbound marketing
Here’s a question we often ask our clients’ salespeople about things they include in their own sales pitch: “Doesn’t everyone you talk to already know this?”