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By John Eberhard

One of the most challenging aspects of marketing a product or service is to explain the value behind product or service simply and engagingly, especially with products or services that are not widely known or understood. Explainer videos are great for that!

Explainer videos are short marketing videos that are used to describe a company’s product, service, or message. Explainers should be simple, powerful, informational, and engaging, and they are also one of the most valuable resources for marketers right now.

What Elements Need to Be in an Explainer Video?

This is a simple way to put together an explainer video.

  1. I usually open with a screen or animation of the company logo.
  2. Then go to a screen with the title/topic of the video, often with some stock music.
  3. Now you have your voiceover, explaining about the product, service or message. This can be video of a talking head (spokesman for the company). But it can also be just the voiceover, then with various still images or video clips to illustrate what the voice is saying. You can also intersperse talking head shots with still images or video clips. The video clips can be live footage shot at the company showing the product or service, but often you can use stock video footage gotten from one of several companies offering this. You can but don’t have to have the same music as at the beginning, but much quieter, underneath the voiceover.
  4. The call to action (CTA). This comes at the end of the video and tells the person to do what you want him to do, whether that is calling the company, or going to a specific webpage or whatever. You do not want to make a promotional video without a call to action.
  5. Copyright and disclaimers. At the very end you have a screen that has or includes your copyright for the video and any needed disclaimers.

Quality Points

I personally think promotional videos today should be in HD (high definition) quality, which means 1920 pixels wide by 1080 tall. You can take smaller resolution video and increase it to HD, but the quality will not be the same. This is a function of the camera you are using. I do not recommend taking video from a webcam as it will usually not be HD.

If you are using a voiceover, with still images or stock video clips, then it doesn’t matter, because you don’t need to use any live video footage of the company or its people. When the images or clips are put together in a video editor it will be in HD.

I like to professionally record the voiceover, though the voice recording can be done using a cheap microphone or webcam. It should not be done in a boomey or echoey room.

If you are shooting live video footage, make sure you have the space well lit. There are several excellent videos on YouTube on 3-point lighting.

There are several excellent video editing software programs available. I use Adobe Premier Pro which is more or less the industry standard. But Adobe also sells a product called Premiere Elements, which costs $99.

I have used a company called Viddyoze.com to make short animations with company logos, that look really slick.

Ideally the video should be 2 minutes long or less, but can be as much as 6-8 minutes long.

How to Use the Video

Once you have your video made, you should upload it to YouTube. Your company should have a YouTube channel which contains or will contain all your company videos. There are other video hosting companies such as Vimeo. But do not fail to upload it to YouTube, which has the second highest traffic search engine on the web after Google.

Next you can put the video on pages of your website, such as your home page or specific product pages.

You can send out emails to your lists, showing a graphic of the video linking to the video on YouTube and telling people to go and watch it. You can’t actually put the video IN the email. You have to link to it.

You can post the video to Facebook and other social sites. You can just post the YouTube URL to your Facebook feed and it will show the thumbnail image. People then click on it and it jumps to YouTube. BUT, if you actually upload the video file to Facebook, the video will start playing (without sound) as people scroll down their feed. Then they can click on it to hear the sound. I prefer that way as it tends to grab people’s attention.