How to Hook New Customers with Your Explainer Video

Surf in any category on the Internet and you will find words, words, words, and more words.

But our brains are hardwired to detect motion. So it’s easy to understand why YouTube is the #2 search engine and the #3 social media site in the world.

Because our brains are wired for motion, we skim through pages and pages of information, our eyes overloaded with letters and numbers. Yet we will endure a drab video to its end because it’s visual.

For your business, the home page or landing page explainer video is the communication gold mine that you want to get just right. How do you do this? Well, let me explain…

1. Good Explainer Videos use Motion to Inform and to Entertain

Competition online is fierce. One germ of a concept may spawn hundreds of copy cats. What differentiates a good explainer video from a mediocre one?

It answers the 3 W’s through motion, information, and entertainment.

The creative use of moving objects in a visual format, followed by an entertaining overview of the WHO•WHAT•WHY of your business, separates a good explainer video from a trite one.

Take a good look at your landing page. Most likely, you have a “Welcome” blurb. That won’t cut it in a highly competitive market. In less than a minute, a well-made explainer video will show us what we need to know about your business:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Why we should use your products or service

Check out the explainer video for Message:

The three W’s are answered through motion, information, and entertainment:

  1. Who – Web app for managing social networks and group communication
  2. What – Easy to use and navigate software that boosts productivity
  3. Why – Clean and beautiful, and very reasonably priced

Are you not compelled to try the Message app? Did your eyes not follow the action animation to its end? That’s the power of a good explainer video as our brains are wired to detect movement. And when it’s visually entertaining, then it’s even better.

2. Good Explainer Videos can Evoke or Provoke an Emotion

A very engaging method that makes a good explainer video is to build a thoughtful and meaningful visual story with characters to evoke an emotion in the viewer.

Check out the explainer video for Attentive.ly:

This charming explainer video feels more like a mini short film, yet it still informs on the WHO•WHAT•WHY of their business. It’s full of visual motion and loaded with information and heartfelt entertainment.

You understand Attentive.ly’s social media match service. What they do is help you connect with your clients’ social network preferences. Why you should use their service is they can help you promote events and campaigns and find out what your clients are saying on social media sites.

After seeing this creative style of storytelling explainer video, you’re intrigued to learn more about Attentive.ly to see how their services may promote traffic campaigns for your business.

3. Good Explainer Videos combine Live Action with Animation

Animation is fun and entertaining, but you may want to add a personal touch – a human connection. A good explainer video can couple graphics, animation, and illustrations with an actor who can personalize the WHO•WHAT•WHY of your business.

Check out this explainer video for Airbnb:

Notice how the scene continually changes, but the focus on the girl remains the same. There is constant motion instead of a static still shot.

You’re captivated. Signals fire in your brain to keep your eyes on the female actor and the little animations.

Suddenly, you’re inside all kinds of different homes. That’s the human personal factor. There is a home that feels warm and inviting. Then there is another one that’s entirely different, yet it also looks comfortable and welcoming.

Graphics continue as the female actor expresses the WHO of Airbnb as a company that helps you find an interesting place to stay, the WHAT of Airbnb with a variety of places available and easy searching for and/or listing a property, and WHY you should use Airbnb as there really aren’t any other companies doing something like this – it’s different.

Now that you’ve seen this explainer video, the next time you go on vacation, you may want to consider renting a room and/or listing your home through Airbnb.

4. Good Explainer Videos influence You to Buy or Use a Product or Service

The above three explainer videos were about services, but maybe your business sells products.

People may not have a need for your particular product, but after watching a visual presentation, people may impulse-buy your product because they will want it.

Check out the explainer video for Urbanears Tanto Headphones:

Human hands exhibit the product in this visual presentation, which is, again, a warm human connection. The headphones are given almost a lifelike appearance as they prop straight up. Vibrant colors change continuously throughout the video.

WHO they are is a company that manufactures headphones in Stockholm, Sweden. WHAT they do is connect you to your music with colorful headphones that pack a punch in a featherweight size. WHY you should buy the product is it’s an open headphone that allows you to listen to music and the outside world at the same time.

The constant change of vibrant colors and scenes happens so quickly that you’re bound to watch the video again.

You may not need headphones, but now that you know this company exists through the explainer video, you will recall this information the next time you want to buy a headphone for yourself or as a gift.

5. Good Explainer Videos let People Know You Exist

When someone uses Google or YouTube to search for a product or service, there is a chance they will find your video. If you put effort into developing a better explainer video, you create the chance for opportunities like these:

  • Team members of organizations may share the video to discuss the possible benefits your service has for them.
  • Prospects and potential customers will see your product or service in action. (That’s always a more visceral way to demonstrate usefulness.)
  • Because video can be much more efficient at communicating, you can increase the number of sign ups and purchases – sometimes by factors of 2x, 3x and more.

Visual media generates interest for you in a way that words cannot by showcasing the WHO•WHAT•WHY of your business through motion, information, and entertainment.

A good explainer video will make any business unforgettable.

About the Author: Sean Duran is the Co-Founder of Sean Duran Studios where he creates animated and live action explainer videos. He lives in sunny Southern California and loves problem solving and building things. You can find more interesting explainer video tips on his Twitter.

  1. Thanks for this post, I’m currently in the process of creating my own product and was thinking of going down the route of solely using video to sell on the sales page. I think I might try a split test with one of these short explainer videos too now, followed by more text sales copy. No harm in testing I suppose :)

    • Definitely worth a test, read a few posts confirming videos do increase your CR…if done right of course

    • Lindsay Nelson Jul 02, 2013 at 11:32 am

      You might want to check out themedragon.com, our sister company that just launched. It’s a new tool for creating explainer video faster easier and cheaper. You customize existing video themes, and receive it in 2 weeks for $700-$1,000.

  2. Great examples of explainer videos. We currently offer video production to our clients, but are lagging in terms of quality animations like the ones you showed. Where should an agency look to get the level of quality shown in your examples? Elance/Odesk?

    Thanks for the post!

  3. Interesting post. Unknowingly, we followed a very similar approach and ended up with an animated Facebook timeline video to explain ours. Been getting some rave reviews – probably because we were able to pull emotional strings using the same method you’ve outlined… http://youtu.be/BcTQp935yco.

    • Hey Mark,

      Really love that video. There is constant motion (that’s not distracting) and it really holds your attention throughout. Great job!

      Sean

  4. Great post. We made an explainer video at Bomgar that’s been really well received. Our in-house team wrote the script. Then we hired a local creative agency to create the animation and find voice talent. We’re planning to do more, too

    Even though we’re a software company, we decided on animation rather than a screen recording. Our product gets major updates two or more times a year, so the shelf life on animation is longer for us.

    Check it out: http://www.bomgar.com/overview.

  5. I definitely need to step up my game when it comes to creating videos for my businesses. Thanks for the great visual tips!

  6. What a great post… I’m all jazzed up and feeling creative now!
    Thanks.

    La

  7. This post makes me reflect about new customers and their impact in the current economical situation. I like your blog. Nice work Sean.

  8. Nice post. It sums up the ABC for explainer videos: A: call-to-action; B: storytelling; C: Technique. Cheers!

  9. great post especially this part “People may not have a need for your particular product, but after watching a visual presentation, people may impulse-buy your product because they will want it.” it is true that people don’t understand their marketing strategy for promoting their business. customer have no time to read words of words articles they only give attention to those things which are more innovative and entertaining and animated video is best solution for this.

  10. Clarity has posted a video article with a few tips on explainer videos at claritycomms.com, in case it’s of interest.

  11. Good post. For the explainer videos i create at http://www.quickshotvideo.com there’s a simple formula for success. 1) Highlight a problem or need 2) Introduce your product or service as a solution to that problem 3) Briefly explain how your service works 4) Summarise the key benefits and 4) Wrap up with a call to action to buy or find out more.

    This ensures a consistent story and keeps the explainer video to no more than 60 to 90 seconds long.

  12. Explainer video is indeed a very convenient way to communicate with visitors or audience. Instead of making them read lengthy texts, we can put them together in a short and simple form as an animated explainer video. Since possibilities are endless with the animation, I always suggest animated explainers (as discussed here : http://www.kasradesign.com/explainer-video-production) over the live action explainers. Live action might work better for some certain industries but if you want a quality result, it will cost you a lot and there is no way to cut corners for this.

    Unfortunately, you get what you pay for.

  13. Online businesses should have an explainer video on their landing page. Not only it will provide clients/customers an overview of what the company offers but also it will help them with their site being optimized for search engines.

  14. Great post as usual Neil! Explainer videos are starting to get more trendy now and the good news is that you can easily find good quality videos at affordable prices. For those who cannot afford a large budget, we do offer clients affordable high quality videos that can be integrated either on social media or landing pages. There is great emphasis on visual content today, so explainer videos are a great way to break the ice for a lot of visitors!

    Check it out: http://explainymvideo.com

  15. Great post Neil. Since the time your crazy egg explainer video was published, such videos are becoming a rage. We created an explainer video showing how a good explainer video is made. You can check it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TAYYNenga0

    Thanks,
    Akbar

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