3 Ways to Completely Screw up your Explainer Video

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - March 11th, 2014

Explainer videos are cool. Especially when you read stories of companies like Crazyegg.com that experience a 64% jump in sales after switching from a static picture to an animated explainer video on their main landing page.

explainer-video-increase

Today my partner sent me a link to a cool looking startup, Percolate. They presented at this years SXSW event. After checking out their site and watching a ‘Live From SXSW” video I wanted to scream.

Everything that was so right about Crazyegg’s video was so wrong with this video:

Have a look for yourself:

There are 3 lessons to learn and to make sure you never repeat.

1. Don’t forget to say what you actually do

I’ve watched this video 10 times and I still have no idea what they do.

He starts off with:

“Percolate is a technology platform that is really set to deal with the problems that modern day marketers have, which is how do you go about creating content efficiently, effectively and always on brand in a social mobile world”

I hear that and I’m like:
yes-wait-wtf

Can you please just tell me what on earth you actually do?

Talking in circles might work if you are pitching investors for funding, but I just want to know if I need to pay attention to your product.

What if instead they said:

We make it easier to do content the right way by giving you software to manage, create and publish your new content all around the web.

Now I can grasp, at least on a low level, what they do.

2. Don’t use every buzzword in the dictionary

At the 30 second mark I just started laughing.

  • “Technology Platform”
  • “Social Mobile world”
  • “modern day marketers”
  • “Content Creating”
  • “On Brand”

Real people with mortgage payments and pulses don’t have time to cut through the gibberish. Get to the point.

Use normal language not the generic mumbo jumbo that you think we want to hear.

percolate-explainer-video-landing-page

Their website started off slightly better than the video with a nice clear call to action with ‘normal-speak.’ But, it’s all downhill after that.

percolate-bad-copy

Infusionsoft does a great job of giving you the big picture overall goal of the app as well as the specific features.infusionsoft-explaienr-done-right 

3. Don’t forget to use stories

As bad as Percolate is at getting their point across in the video and web copy, all of that could be cleaned up with a good dose of storytelling.

For example:   

infusionsoft-story-via-video

 

A good story allows your potential customers to envision themselves using your product by seeing how other people have implemented it in their business.

Example:

Recently I was growing frustrated with using Mailchimp to manage by email list. So, I started researching alternatives. Soon it spiraled into pure confusion and overwhelm.

After 2 weeks of research I had no idea what to use. Products like Infusionsoft, Hubspot and Ontraport are all infinitely more complex than what I was using.

mad-at-theinternet

And then I read a book. It simplified it by telling a story of how he was actually using Infusionsoft.

That was the trigger I needed. A few days later I had a list of 15 upgrades I could do to my system and the value became evident.

For $300 per month I could:

  • Save 2-3 hours of work per week
  • Cut out 4 tasks that I was doing every day.
  • Have much cleaner insights into my customer base and audience.
  • Easy insights into my business via a much better reporting system
  • Grow from 1,500 subscribers to 100,000 without adding massive amounts of workload.

Wrap Up

Explainer videos are no different than a blog post, giving a speech or teaching your grandma to use Facebook.

Speak clearly and avoid the mumbo jumbo.

Stick to telling stories.

Bonus

I’ve put together a free resource for you.

Explainer videos can really send your conversion rates through the roof. On the last app I launched (Summer 2013) my sales increased by 200% after putting an explainer video on the front page.

The big problem is that they can be SUPER expensive. Like $5,000 – $10,000 expensive.

I could never afford that and you probably can’t either.

So, after a bunch of hassle and back and forth I figured out a way make a killer explainer video without a massive budget. The last two explainer video’s I made cost $35 & $200. And both took less than a week to make.

Click below and I’ll send you 4 videos that show you exactly how to do the same.
boostrappers-explainer-video-optin

  • Good stuff Bryan. I enjoyed the gifs as well. Here’s to not throwing your laptop across the room on a daily basis.

    I see these same problems all the time. I forget the term (who needs buzzwords anyway) but so many of us suffer from the inability to separate ourselves from our experience and understanding of a product/industry in order to speak clearly to folks who just want simple answers without all the gunk. I definitely suffer from this myself. Hopefully I’ll remember your points and get rid of the fluff in my writing.

    • Oh man, i do the same! I’m sure if you looked through my last 5 post you could find them as well. I’ve started a list of words to use when I have the urge to say ‘engagement’ or ‘bring value’ or …. 🙂

  • Cathy

    Great post Bryan, if people have to go google a term you’ve lost them 🙂
    (Me and Grandma are now working on gmail.)

  • I’ve come across this as well. It’s ironic that many Explainer Videos fail to clearly explain the product/service.

  • This is spectacular!! Definitely gonna follow Bryan!! I love the way you lay out all the info, it just makes sense, plus the gifs!! Killer dude!

  • Allea Marie Santiago

    Nice blog Bryan. You’re amazing to point out things that should be done right in creating a video explainer. Especially on the content of your script you must check everything. You must explain your ideas and thought in the simplest manner or statements, so it is easy for your audience to understand what you are discussing. It is important not to use buzzwords that your audience may find hard to understand. And if you have a good story to featured you must included so your audience can relate of what you are discussing.

  • Johnny Lloyd

    Heads up, the download link to the Bootstrapper’s Guide to Explainer Video’s free course is broken.